Friday, July 30, 2010

Listen & Obey

Showing off her craft

Examining it before I photographed it

The whale she made in her class at church

Around our house lately, if you ask Charlotte - when she is in trouble - what she is supposed to do she will automatically say "I listen and obey!" It truly is a mantra around here as our sweet 2 1/2 year old has determined that selective hearing should be a daily, hourly, minute by minute practice.

So when she came home from church a few weeks ago talking about Jonah I was thrilled that we could incoporate this Bible story into training her on listening to what we say and then obeying us. Her class at church talked about Jonah and the whale for four straight weeks so you can imagine how often we got to bring this whole thing up in conversation.

Has it really helped, I don't know. I do know, that having our faith to draw from to teach our children not only helps me explain these things to her more effectively, but it also teaches her that there are reasons why we do and don't do certain things and sometimes we just have to listen and obey because we (or God) are told to. I am just hoping - and praying - that little by little our values are sinking in to that sweet, and sometimes devious, little mind of hers.

{sidenote: in the pictures above Charlotte requested that I curl her hair with the curling iron - it was our first time to do it. She kept touching it over and over again with both hands after it was done saying, "Mommy, it so pretty!" Love my sweet, girly girl!}

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Growing Up - a little...

Personalized Folded Notecard with Circles

Bridal Shower Invitation in floral design

Well, The English Pea has taken a little hiatus over the summer - I have purposely slowed down A LOT! That doesn't mean that my wheels aren't turnin' and my creativity isn't stewing.

Over the last six months I have begun to get more requests from customers for things like bridal shower invitations, calling cards for mommy, recipe cards and notecards - geared for a little more mature audience. So... I have taken on a few projects that resulted in a few new items.

Over the next few months you will begin to see a few more things appearing in the shop that are geared more toward you - a woman, mom, grandma, a friend. Hopefully things you can personally use and give to those you love. So, let me know what you think about these two new designs. They will be up in the shop soon!

(p.s. I haven't forgotten about our little ones - I have more great invitations coming for them too. Stay tuned!)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Vacation Day

Yesterday Doug gave me the day off. I took the day to...

visit with a good friend - Thanks Suzie

shop on the square in downtown Marietta

Mimosas - enough said

ate at Sugar Cakes (Where you can find this fabulous sandwich - and honestly, the name says it all)

fabric shopping without the kids

an hour full body massage

Thanks to the sweetest hubby for giving me a much needed break. I truly had a WONDERFUL day!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

{lagniappe 2}

So I have been promising another lagniappe for a while. Sorry for my delay. Hope you enjoy!

Meal idea: Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and green beans.
I don't know about you, but we NEVER finish a meatloaf and there are only so many sandwiches you can make afterward so, when you finish mixing up your recipe and start to form your loaf just use 1/2-3/4 of the mixture and reserve the rest for the next recipe - meatballs.
(Also, you may have a great meatloaf recipe and you can truly use whatever - I know there are some family favorites. This one is from my neighbor, Kristin, and is quite delicious. I go a little lighter on the onions)

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 cup fresh bread, cubed
1 medium onion, diced fine
1/2 can Hunt's tomato sauce (8 oz can)
salt & pepper
1 egg

Mix all of these ingredients with a fork until well blended. Pat into a loaf shape in the center of a 9 x 13" baking dish.

Barbecue Sauce:
1 1/2 can tomato sauce (8 oz can)
1/2 cup water
5 - 6 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 Tablespoons vinegar
3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons mustard (spicy brown is best)

Mix all of the sauce ingredients well and pour over the meatloaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 75 min., baking sauce over meatloaf every 20-30 minutes.

Meal Idea 2: Spaghetti and Meatballs with green salad
Take the left over mixture from the meatloaf and make into round balls (You can add a few more things to it later if you like - garlic, bread crumbs, etc.).

In a large pan put a tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of the pan, place heat on medium and brown your meatballs - you can always finish them off in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Once cooked place them in your favorite sauce and serve with desired pasta.

(you can also take them browned - with no sauce - and freeze your extras for another meal later. Another alternative to using the meatballs, BBQ Meatball Sandwiches - YUM).

Bon Apetite!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Whipped Cream

Do you eat dessert at your house? We certainly do and on this particular day - after a spaghetti supper - Charlotte's choice was just a little whipped cream. I'd say, she loved it seeing as she licked the bowl clean (she obviously liked her spaghetti too based on the evidence all over her face).

So what is your fave dessert? Stay tuned for a wonderful dessert recipe coming your way - a Sundae Brownie Cheesecake. Yum!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Reaping Rewards

Growing up with my father as a physician in a small town picnics in the park, morning swims in the pool, and weekend getaways were virtually unheard of. Because we lived in a small community my father not only ran a practice but he was required to also take call at the local hospital, round at the nursing home, and there were always charts to dictate - lots and lots of charts.

I do not hold this against my father. He spent time with us and we enjoyed it when he did. While his job was his passion it was also quite demanding.

When I married my husband he was finishing his degree in education. I knew he would go on to become a teacher but I really had no idea what this would mean. In the first few years he had it rough and I didn't make it any easier because I began to realize that his teacher's salary wasn't going to be quite like what I was used to. Don't get me wrong, I didn't have everything I wanted growing up, but we truly wanted for nothing and I didn't realize in my young years just how blessed I really was.

After some rough years and Doug deciding to leave the teaching profession for a year we both learned a valuable lesson - it is more important that one does what he loves than something that makes him misserable and makes him a lot of money. I believe this is true with both sexes, but more so with men.

As we picniced last Friday in the park - just the four of us - I realized that while our rewards aren't monetary, we are overwhelming blessed with the reward of time. My kids get to have something I barely knew and that is large, quantities of time with their father - quality time too.

To say that I am already mourning the end of our summer is an understatement. To say that I now appreciate and value the profession my husband has chosen is a true statement. I value both my father and my husband for choosing their professions based on passion and calling. Both had cost and both had rewards. I am thankful that our little family gets to relish in one of the greatest rewards - Doug's time.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Oh, Yes Please!

Totally in love with this dress! It also comes in a gorgeous kelly green. Ahhh, in summer there is nothing more fun or appealing to me than a stylish, colorful, and fun frock to wear! Want to see more just go here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

From the Archives

The girls' - Adeline and Charlotte - on the dock at Owen and Mary Catherine's condo

My sweet Douglass Charles

These pictures were from the begining of the summer and two that my sister-in-law, Mary Catherine, took during our trip to South Alabama. They were too cute not to add to the future blog book, and too cute not to share with you. :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Rock Out!

For those of you that have known me a long time, you know me as cautious, conservative, and a little uptight. I don't know if I have really changed much - in some things, yes, but I am pretty much a control freak. Ask my husband, and he will readily agree.

I chop this up to being the oldest of six, having to be ridiculously responsible, and probably having to grow up much more quickly than most. But I am so one of those drivers that when I believe no one is looking I am belting out tunes to the radio or rockin' out in the privacy of my bedroom.

Thanks to my Dad I learned to listen to my music LOUD!!! As a very young child I have vivid memories of him blaring James Taylor and Chicago on his record player. Later - in my teen years (when radio and rock wasn't allowed) - he would play Vivaldi's Four Seasons at such a high decible that my mother would beg that he would even turn those melodious notes down.

So, when I am cleaning house or working on The English Pea you can pretty much guarantee that I am "dancing my a** off" to some rockin' tunes.

I do have a confession to make - and Mom and Mrs. Patti, if you are reading just tune out here as to not judge me too harshly - my jammin' music is not what you would place with my personality. But remember, this is the place I let myself lose control. On my ipod you will find the likes of J.T., Timberland, Jaime Fox, and Chris Brown as some of my faves. I will spare you details as to not totally humilate myself, but honestly, how can you rock out to Nora Jones (oh, she is on there too. LOVE HER!)

Regardless, this up-tight, control freak, very conservative gal has a little "wild" streak - and f.y.i. if you get to see me "rock out" feel priviliged. Very few - even my precious mother - have ever seen it. :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Best Dessert EVER!!!

I failed to take many pictures this go around - including a picture of Doug and myself - we just kept forgetting. I did remember a highlight to both this getaway and last - this delictable cookie sundae from Food Works in Chattanooga. If you ever happen to find yourself in Chattanooga looking for a wonderful eatery this place will not disappoint. EVERYTHING I have had there is wonderful, but this dessert, it takes the cake.

Each time we have eaten this wonderful piece of goodness I have reread the dessert menu. I would never choose it the way they describe it and our waitress last time highly recommended it. One bite and we knew why.

So if my humble photography doesn't make your mouth water then maybe my description will. If you love chocolate and you love a freshly baked cookie just imagine that entire little cast iron skillet is covered with a thin layer of partially (yes, partially) baked chocolate cookie. It is crunchy on the top and chewey and gooey on the inside. Surround that with a little rocky road ice cream, some chocolate sauce (and not Hershey's - the nice restaurant, home-made kind), with whipped cream on top and you will seriously believe you have gone to heaven.

Now is your mouth watering? Just had to share a little piece of the heaven we got to experience on our wonderful getaway weekend.

Happy Friday!


Let me preface this post by saying that I was not really excited about this little venture, but it turned out to be quite lovely. I am married to a history teacher and thus, a history buff. Doug teaches Georgia studies and this is one of the battles he covers with his students. He was SO excited about seeing this place and I got a little history lesson in the process.

It really was quite a beautiful park. And many people had come prepared in either a convertible or with bikes. I would have opted for either means of transportation to view the whole place, but we stayed in the air conditioned car and checked out some of the sites.

The battlegrounds made me ponder the past, what had occured there, the turmoil in our country at that time. Catching a glimpse of what transpired on the grounds on which I was standing did make me stop and think of the many, many sacrifices that were made on that hallowed ground for me, my family, and our nation. While easy to get caught up in the beauty I certainly did not walk away without some sorrow and appreciation for those that came before me.

Despite the circumstances surrounding the Battlefield of Chickamauga, exploring the grounds and monuments was a nice little diversion in relaxing getaway weekend.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Our Getaway

Our weekend to the mountains was wonderful. It is not often that Doug and I even get a date night, so having three evenings and two full days was amazing. We stayed at the same little place we went to last year. It is just 30 minutes south of Chattanooga. We both slept, ate too much, read, and slept some more. It was just nice to have no responsibilities and no schedule.

We visited this little winery Saturday morning. The vines you see here were on location - where the wine shop was - and housed all their organic grapes for their organic wines. The main vineyard was a few miles away and they transport their harvest to the shop which also houses where they make all their wine.

Doug and I thoroughly enjoyed tasting all they had to offer and I discovered a red wine that I really liked (if you know me I am all about sweet, white wine) and I found out that there are actually some wines that are too sweet for me. Doug and I later wondered what the etiquette was on how many one could taste, but we purchased enough bottles to bring home that I think we were okay (quite the splurge).

Needless to say, our first wine tasting was a great experience and we look forward to doing it again soon.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Just a few more vacation pics...

So we are back - just - and I am still trying to wrap my head around all that must be done after being gone. We did have a wonderful time and I will post more on that later. My sister did get some more "in action" photos from beach vacation so I wanted to share these here. Enjoy!


Swimming some more

The food lineup - every meal. :)


Charlotte being "big sister" to Flannery. Not too sure she was all that into it.

Silly face

Douglass Charles relearning how to crawl with Flannery

Charlotte getting in on the action

Bathtime and more instruction from Charlotte - funny!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summertime Dinner

(Photo courtesy of The Food Network)

Sauteed Tilapia with Avacado Salsa
So this is so easy, if you can shake a salt and pepper shaker and use a knife or food processor you are good to go!

Tilapia - salt and pepper each side (this is a very light fish - not fishy in taste - can easily buy frozen at your local supermarket).

Heat 1 tablespoon of real butter in a pan to light brown and then place fish in pan. Cook on both sides about five minutes a piece - or until golden brown. That's it. You are done with the fish.

Avacado Salsa:
2 tomoatoes
2 avacados
1/2 of a sweet onion
1/2 of a red pepper (optional)
1 bunch of cilantro leaves chopped
2 limes (juiced and zested)
roasted corn (optional)
1 8oz can of tomato sauce

Chop all the veggies, juice and zest the lime, pour in the tomato sauce and mix together. Do this the day before or the afternoon before and let it sit in the fridge so the flavors can marinate. Serve on top of the fish right after you have sauteed it.

Add some rice, roasted potatoes, or asparagus and you are good to do. Delish! Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hooked on Clipping

On the menu this week at my house. So delicious!

So I haven't posted a Lagniappe in a while and I also haven't commented on how the couponing was going. Let's just say I have a lagniappe in the works for later this month and I am hooked on couponing. My best savings yet - saved $90.00 at Publix and I paid about $45.00. Pretty awesome, right? Also, each week I have seen our grocery bills go down. Before I started we were spending around $75.00 to $100.00 a week on groceries. Now my tab is normally $50.00 or less.

While it takes a LOT of work, I am not sure that I can go back. I can't believe what I was paying for so many items that I can get for free or less than .50 cents (i.e. feminine products, toothpaste, deoderant, dish soap, and so much more).

And we aren't hurting in the eating department. Actually, my pantry is fuller than before and I have tons of variety for dinners and snacks. For example: Here is our menu for this week:
Sunday: Hamburgers, baked fries and beans
Monday: Roasted shrimp with lemon pasta (see picture: courtesy of The Food Network) and salad
Tuesday: Chicken Salad with fruit
Wednesday: spaghetti and meatballs
Thursday: Broccoli soup with Cheesy biscuits

Oh, and I won't leave you without some yummy goodness before I head out for my getaway with the hubs. I will post a delicious, summer time menu tomorrow. Fresh, delightful, and so, so healthy! :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Big Girl Bed

Yelling, "My Big Girl Bed!!!"

Getting sleepy with her Bue (a.k.a. her monkey/security toy)

About a month ago we finally got a big girl bed for Miss Charlotte. We attempted using her crib (adjusting it to a toddler bed) back in February, but Charlotte (and myself), were not ready. Charlotte has adapted well to her little bed and is very proud of her accomplishment. We are too as she has done really well transitioning. The only thing we miss - her sleeping until 8:00 every morning. Apparently she wasn't really waking at 8:00, but just playing in her crib until then. How do we know, at 7:00 a.m. - almost on the dot - I have a sweet little voice at the side of my bed telling me "Mommy, I sleep good!" :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

The 4th

Walking back to the blueberry bushes - I came prepared to let Charlotte pick. I should have known Douglass Charles was going to insist on coming too. Isn't this pic too cute?

Picking blueberries

Mrs. Suzie showing Charlotte how it is done.

Little man walking hand and hand with his daddy. Douglass Charles has become quite attached while Doug has been home this summer.

We spent the long weekend at home. We had a weekend full of activities - dinner with The Kimmels' on Saturday and dinner with the Lazzaros' on Sunday. Doug normally plays golf on Mondays, so they are actually there today. It was a fun and relaxing weekend with lots of wonderful food.

Saturday, Suzie and her husband Brad invited us to her parent's place and we swam, grilled out and picked blueberries. Sunday night we had a shrimp boil with our new neighbors, Adam and Liz, and watched neighborhood fireworks after the kiddos went to bed (sadly the kids were just too tired to wait for all the loud, lighted fun).

One of the highlights of the weekend was picking blueberries. Honestly, in my mind, blueberries are kind of a staple of the holiday and what better way to enjoy a summer's eve. Suzie's parents have a Christmas tree farm (where we will be getting our tree this coming year). Her father grows a wealth of veggies along with a multitude of blueberries. They were generous enough to share the wealth.

The kids thoroughly enjoyed this task - much to my delight. One of my favorite childhood past times. Douglass Charles is our little blueberry addict and he seriously went hardcore over the bushes - literally shoving handfulls of blueberries into his mouth (we are still paying for this indulgence).

We had such a wonderful time and appreciate Suzie and Brad and Adam and Liz sharing part of their holiday with us.

P.S. Suzie will have much better pictures of our blueberry extravaganza in the weeks to come. :) Hope your 4th was a good one.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Moore Family Vacation

The Whole Family - Left to Right: Me, Douglass Charles, Doug, Melissa, Emily, Charlotte, Dad, Mom, Sarah, Owen, Mary Catherine, Adeline, Matt, Lauren, and Flannery

The grandkids - There are also two buns in the oven - Lauren is due in December and Mary Catherine in February. :)

My parents with the grandkids - this is just too funny!

The Moore Kids: left to right (youngest to oldest) Emily (at Auburn), Melissa (in Austin), Owen (in Birmingham), Sarah (in Houston), Lauren (in Dallas), and me

Sisters - I am one lucky girl to have so many!

This is not a play on words. For those of you that have only known me for a short time, my maiden name is Moore. Most of these pictures were taken during our family photo session. Taking pictures with a family this large is one tall task. As you can see not everyone was game. I thought the pictures turned out well considering...

We were also very thankful for beautiful beaches. With the BP oil spill threatening all of the Gulf Coast we didn't have any expectations, but where we were was basically untouched.

With 40% of beachgoers cancelling their vactions to the Gulf this year we wound up with little traffic, rarely a restaurant wait, and plenty of room at the pool. I was saddened for the economy of our beloved Gulf, but it made more enjoyable for all of us.

We did get to hit a few favorite spots - the Donut Hole, The Red Bar if Grayton Beach (thanks Mom and Dad for watching the kids), and put-put golf for the adults along with a late night trip to McGuires Irish Pub for drinks afterward sans kids. We truly had a wonderful time.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

1st Time in the Ocean

Charlotte loved the sand

Charlotte's face is classic here - shows her true feelings about the ocean.

Douglass Charles with his Aunt Sarah

Sweet Flannery

Flannery touching the sand for the first time

Douglass Charles LOVING the water with his daddy

Ahhh, the beach. One of my most favorite places in the world. Sadly, we have been unable to vacation there since the children were born. While crossing the bridge into Destin Doug asked, "Why has it been son long since we have done this." I graciously reminded him that since our trip three years ago all of our "extra" money for things like vacations went to paying to have our precious kiddos and paying for the surgical procedures we had within days of one another (not by choice).

So, to say that we were thankful for my parents insisting on taking the WHOLE family (that means 15 people) on vacation this year is an understatement.

These pictures are from the kids first encounter with the Gulf and the sand. Charlotte loved the sand, but was terrified of the ocean (until the last day when she started venturing out there on her own). Douglass Charles loved it all - jumping the waves with daddy, playing in the sand, wading in the water on his own. he LOVED everything about it.

You also see my sweet, niece, Flannery experiencing her first sand and waves. She is such a happy girl she was just content to be where ever her mommy was (isn't she sweet. She is ten months old and so tiny but out eats my children twice over).

We look forward to many more trips to the coast. We seriously cannot wait to get back there. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for treating us to such a wonderful vacation!