Friday, September 30, 2011


Yes, it is with a heavy heart, but this little blog is a movin'. It has been my goal since the beginning of the year to house my business and my blog in one spot - and have more of a "website." The kids are also getting older and Doug and I have had MANY a discussion in the last year and a half about the purpose of the blog, my growing business, and how much to expose the children. Sigh... why does the world have to be so icky at times.
From a personal perspective, we aren't really sure what we are going to do with this little corner of the world. So for those wonderful family and friends who keep up with me because you love me, my kids, and are happy about my business - but that is not how you know me - I will most likely be using facebook to update photos and more personal stories (and if a private blog comes into play I will let you know).

There will still be lots of stuff I share over on the new site - including the kids - it is just time to be a bit more careful. So... I hope you will join me over at and "keep in touch" so to speak.

It has been a great four years, "Cheaper by the Half Dozen." You will be missed!

Monday, September 19, 2011

{peace} printable

To say that I am not a peaceful person is an understatement. No, I don't mean that I am always conjuring up drama with people, picking fights, or yelling up a storm. There just isn't a lot of peace in my mind and spirit most of the time. You see I am an obsessive worrier and these worries, well, I kind of let them overtake me in a very unfortunate way. If you are like me, you know what I am talking about. These worrisome obsessions can litterally take over one's mind and be very debilitating - whether in just day to day accomplishments or even with one's health.

As I have gotten older I have realized how much of a problem this has been in my life and I am not going to lie, I have seen a counselor to help me learn to deal with this problem more effectively. She helped me with things like triggers, relaxation exercises, and changing some patterns in my life that were actually contributing to the problem.

All these things have helped tremendously, but my pastor several weeks ago mentioned something that I had failed to do - and that was use God's Word to help me with these things as well. I hate to admit it, but when I went to find my Bible the next morning I didn't remember where it was. Granted, I read something spiritual everyday, but it was a good reminder that I really do need to be in the Word.

So... I started flipping through and I decided on Phillipians. Even if you are not familiar with Scripture, most all of us - whether we have religious affliation or not - are familiar with the passage that speaks of being anxious for nothing (found in Philippians). I started reading that passage and had never realized that all these verses were connected.

I love the references to heart and mind - where my battle lies - and the encouragement to think on things that are noble, just, lovely, excellent. It is difficult to stay in a deep, dark, anxious place when one thinks on these things.

So my goal is to print this out, post it in my bathroom, memorize it, and when I feel that overwhelming feeling come over me - use the tools I have been given as well as these verses - and hopefully focus on the things that God promises can and will give me His peace!

Oh, and the printable, please enjoy and I hope you will use it to help you, if you find yourself in an anxious spot (just right click with your mouse, "save picture as," place it in a file on your computer and print it out).

Friday, September 16, 2011

abercrombie and fitch

Yes, I know I am a bit biased and yes, I am dating myself here (although you must admit abercrombie always did have gorgeous models) but my little guy has been suffering from a buzz cut. He stands by every day as I comb Charlotte's hair (while she screams) and then is told that she looks beautiful. He, with barely any hair, had none to comb.

We have been growing it out for Aunt Sarah's wedding and he has come to me repeatedly asking me to fix it. So, this is what we did the other day, and well, lets just say, he was pretty thrilled with it. I must admit, he did look a bit like a little model and he thoroughly enjoyed the attention his new-found hairstyle brought him. :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's time to Stock UP

Yep, it is that time of year again - and the last time I will run this promotion in 2011. So if you haven't heard, my Stock Up and Save sale is going on RIGHT NOW! And I have added a few goodies this time around - you don't want to miss it.
Here is how it works:
Get 6 FREE Notecards with EVERY Personalized Notecard purchase (flat or folded).
Get 10 FREE Calling Cards with every Calling Card Purchase.
Get 6 FREE Recipe Cards with every Recipe Card purchase.
(Sorry cannot be used on custom or existing orders, printables, or any of our party packs or invitations.)

To receive your FREE notecards/calling cards/ recipe cards
BE SURE to enter
"Stock Up!"
in the message to seller upon purchase.

Don't wait too long, this great promotion ends September 17th !
p.s. for those of you who would rather not fool with etsy, you can contact me via email at and let me know what you want OR stop by the facebook page on Friday, September 16th, and choose what you want to purchase there (there will be instructions on how to do it). Just visit me at

And if you need to get to the shop click this link
(Shhhh, I have a surprise to announce soon. If you go over to you will get a glimpse of what is going on. :))

Monday, September 12, 2011


A week ago Saturday we had a somewhat leisurely morning at home and before the whirlwind of our day started the kids happened upon these caterpillars. With the lack of rain and the end of the season I have let my plants go, but it seems that the caterbugs (as DC likes the call them) have not. They are taking full advantage of these plants and are obviously getting their fill - see how fat they are.

These little critters have provided a wealth of entertainment and while I like nothing with a worm like figure, these little guys are quite interesting in their own right. It is amazing how easily they blend in with their enviornment. I do love, though, that my kids are in love with them (and nature for that matter). I just try to put my girly self to the side so as not to damage their intrigue. That camera lense is about as close as I am getting. :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011


It has been hard for me to even know what to say about today. I guess remembering the terrible events of this day is a good thing - the reminders that our lives can change in an instant, to love and cherish those that mean most to us, the men and women who have sacrificed and still sacrifice to give us our freedom, all those that lost. But it is hard for me to want to remember this day. The fear, the anger, the anguish, the images...

I will never forget where I was, trying to understand it. I was working on the teller line in the main branch of First National Bank in Atmore, Alabama - that moment, the space etched in my mind.

I remember my father telling the same story - never forgetting the time, place, the moment, when JFK died. I must admit, as a child, I never thought that I would have a similiar story, obviously one that would change our American world forever.
Sadly, the events of 9/11 are part of my memories, a part of my childrens' history. A time we have learned from, still learn from, and I still mourn over.

And when I tell myself that I don't want to remember, I remind myself that those thoughts are just selfish. I just want to believe that my life is this little safe bubble - free of all the wrong, ugly, and terrifying. But again, remembering is good, because while I don't want to dwell on the horrible events of that day, that day represents the reason we fight, have faught, and continue to press on for freedom. And that, is worth remembering!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Random Post...homemaking kind of day...

Last Monday was one of those days - a homemaking kind of day. The weather was sunny, the projects many, and the children - as always - under foot. Obviously I have many of these days, but I must admit, I was thankful for this one. It reminded me of the small little moments I will miss when the kids are tucked away at school, off with their friends, or away from home for that matter.

Both of the kids were eager that I eat with them at breakfast. I normally turn on the t.v. and watch a bit of the Today Show while they eat. I sit and sip my coffee for about five minutes before I set about my chores, but on this day I left the t.v. off and I enjoyed breakfast with my kiddos.

Not long after we began doing a little "school" work. Neither of my kids are in a Mom's Day Out program or preschool so we are pretty much together 24/7. This, too, is one of those things I will miss - in just a year when Charlotte is off at school.

Today we learned the letters "a," "b," and "c." And by the end of the "lesson" they could both write them and Charlotte could identify two out of the three - ironically "c" being the harder one for her to remember.

It was fun seeing them get excited about what they had learned and I enjoyed teaching them. More training ensued as there were a few fights to break up, but all in all they went about their morning, helping me with chores, cleaning up their rooms, and even helping me prep for dinner.

I do love watching their make-believe play. The older they get the more fun it is to watch. I wonder how often my mother watched us as we were engrossed in our little worlds.

While a twinge of loneliness captured my spirit for a bit, I still reveled in the quiet, the simplicity of just "being" with my children.

I don't know about you, but I tend to feel guilty over allowing chores to take time away from my kids and I realize how ridiculous this is. I truly try to involve them in as much as possible and no one in real life gets to be entertained all day. I know that the lessons of homemaking are teaching my children valuable skills - like teamwork, organization, patience, and ultimately love.

There are so many days when the mundane seems so draining and I hear my thoughts saying, "not this again." But, I truly am trying to soak up these little moments because they will be so quickly gone and I will once again wish for the sticky fingerprints on the windows instead of the sun shining so clearly through them.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


 Not the dance, but this fresh wonderful goodness that we have enjoyed so many times over the summer. I have had several people ask me for my salsa recipe and since I made it over the weekend I decided it was time to get it posted on the blog.

 I adapted this recipe from another salsa recipe that I received from my Farmers Market Basket. It really is so simple and there are a few things that really MAKE it.
 Alison's Fresh Homemade Salsa
1/2 large onion chopped
1 large (or two small) peppers chopped (I prefer red, but green work fine too)
2-3 tomatoes chopped decent size
approximately 1/2 a bunch of cilantro - chopped (I used a little less)
a few cloves garlic finely chopped (optional)
1 8oz can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice (can add more if you feel it needs it)
Salt, pepper, cumin, and garlic salt (only use garlic salt if you don't use garlic cloves) to taste
Mix together and serve (better if it sits over night in fridge). The ingredients that make this salsa are the cilantro, tomato sauce, and the lime juice. Serve over chicken, fish, or just snack. I don't feel quite as guilty eating it because it is just veggies.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Many of you may not remember my post from here or that a year ago I lost my job (see post here), but from that layoff last year there have been plenty of low professional moments for me. Any of you who have lost a job know, that regardless of the circumstances surrounding it, one's ego takes a big hit.

I also was really discouraged the first of the year wondering why I couldn't seem to get this little business "off the ground." The fact was, things were going relatively well considering I didn't lose money in 2010, but I was wanting more.

In June Doug and I had a real heart to heart about finances. We both had been looking for other means of income to try to conquer some of the school debt we have incurred from Doug's Masters. As many of you know, especially in education, going back to school is a necessary evil - especially when one wants to move into leadership.

So with a heavy heart I began to do some praying. With the economy I knew finding part-time work for either of us was going to hard. We did some looking, Doug did some applying, but nothing panned out. Not even a class I put together to teach during the summer while I had free childcare.

My parents were praying too (they are great this way and usually pray for things before I even ask them). And during this time I had an aha moment. I know, you are going to think, seriously, but it came to me that I already have a "part time job" with The English Pea Studio. The problem was, I hadn't started paying myself. I was just dumping any money I made back into the business.

Now, I know that this is necessary especially in the beginning, but I realized after making a profit last year maybe I needed to reevaluate things. So I did, paying our little family my first "paycheck" that month.

And you know what happened, since then, every single month, God has provided more business for me than I even dreamed possible. Seriously! No lie, May was my best month ever since being in business and in August - that number doubled. I have been quite overcome with His provision and quite honestly, surprised. I know this seems silly, but it was like when Doug and I finally decided to make this step the business started coming.

Now, we aren't back to what I was making last year working my "day" job, but I can see that God is opening doors for me and I am quite overcome with emotion, humility, and ultimately gratitude. So for those of you that have just found me and those of you that have been sticking along side me and cheering me on - Thanks! I am humbled that God is beginning to give me this dream that I have had as long as I can remember - a dream of owning a creative business!

Friday, September 2, 2011

They're Back!

I must confess, I had to keep myself from putting these up sooner. It is no secret that I LOVE fall, but I felt like I had to wait to put these up until at least September. Forgive me, but we have had a touch of fall in the air, and well, it is getting me excited.

So... enjoy. These will be around a while and all will be available as printables AND printed materials in the shop. And don't be surprised if come October there isn't a freebie that makes it your way.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Penne with Sauteed Shrimp

So a couple weeks ago my local grocery store had shrimp - as well as some other great fish - on sale. I am trying to incorporate more seafood into our diet, which is hard to do because it tends to be a bit more expensive than other meats. So when it went on sale I stocked up.

I had several peppers - both red and green - available from my garden (and for those of you wondering, yes, green bell peppers will turn red if left on the vine for a long period of time - only IF they can hold out before the bugs get them). I roasted them off one day and put them aside in the fridge. I was craving something delicious, but not heavy and this little recipe just came about. Man, was it good. Since my conscience wouldn't let me get away without sharing the goodness with you, I snapped a picture and recorded the recipe. Here you have it!

Roasted Red Pepper Penne with Sauteed Shrimp
3-4 peppers (any color)
box of whole wheat Penne Pasta (I wound up using a little less)
2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1lb shrimp - deviened and peeled
1/2 cup of shredded Italian cheeses
roast garlic (optional)

Roast your peppers on 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Let cool and then peel off the skins. Cut into small strips (you will need to do this a bit earlier. I like to roast mine off the day before just so prep doesn't take as long the next day). Start by cooking your pasta to the package directions. Place butter and onions in a large sautee pan and cook onions until clear. Toss in roasted peppers, garlic, and shrimp. Cook shrimp until pink - just a few minutes. Once pasta is done, drain and drop in with the other ingredients, coating the pasta with "sauce," peppers, and shrimp. Then sprinkle shredded Italian cheeses over and serve.
Servings: Approximately 4-6

Monday, August 29, 2011


I love my customers and they sure have been showing me the love over the last two months. I am wrapping up yet another wonderful month and my hands have been quite busy tending to all the love.

But one of my favorite things about my little business is getting to bring my customers' ideas to reality. This little singing in the rain shower invitation was the inspiration behind a recent customer's request. She loved the concept, but wanted something a little more fun. So the process began.

First I put three variations together of the invitation per her request. Guess which one she chose...

Next she wanted to create a return address label to go with the ensemble and this is what we came up with.

Finally, she requested that I put together a send to label that she could use with a mail merge document that also complimented her vision. And if this wasn't cute enough she chose a bright strawberry pink envelope with the teal cloud liner to finish off the whole thing.

So what do you think about her "alterations." I thought it was a fun, creative twist to an already lively design. (Oh, and in case you are wondering which invitation she picked I am sure you have figured it out by now. It was the one with the purple umbrella).

Friday, August 26, 2011

Singing in the rain...

So, sadly, most of the time when it rains around here - especially in summer - there is thunder involved - so no playing in the rain. But on this particular day the thunder did not come so I, along with the kids, ran out into the pouring rain. We had so much fun and the kids thoroughly enjoyed it. Charlotte kept asking me if we needed to put on our bathing suits. She didn't quite get why it was okay get her clothes wet (say something her ole Mom you think?). Only down side to our little venture, the kids didn't quite understand why they couldn't go out in the rain the next time it came around - one guess, thunder. :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Thai Lettuce Wraps

My first experience with a lettuce wrap was in Las Vegas and I wondered why I had never tried one before. Maybe it is because I am a carb loving fool, but the lettuce wrap, well, it blue my socks off.

I revisited this wonderful delight one evening while dining with my in-laws several years ago and my sis-in-law insisted that I try the Thai lettuce wraps at Cheesecake Factory. Again, I wasn't disappointed.

So, when I started getting strange lettuces in my Farmers Market Baskets last year I set out to create such a recipe. And while the prep can take a bit of time, these truly are delicious!

Thai Lettuce Wraps
Shred carrots, slice cucumber (did both of these in my food processor),
 wash and dry lettuce (butter lettuce is great to use), cut chicken into strips, pick leaves off cilantro stems
(set all these aside)
Salt and Pepper chicken and then grill until done
cook ramen noodles until soft - do not use seasoning
Sauce: In a small sauce pan heat up about a cup of Ken's Teriyaki Marinade. I added a clove or two of finely chopped garlic, about 1/2 a teaspoon of ginger, and a bit of sugar to tast. Bring to a simmer and let it cook down just a bit until it is a little syrupy.
Your done. Now just assemble and eat!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The many faces of...

Pouty/Mad face

Trying to stay mad...

Can't help it, just have to smile...

Douglass Charles. This sweet boy has been coming into his own. I tell ya, boys are a different breed. He is not like my people pleaser, Charlotte. I know her currencies and she is definitely motivated to do good especially when her currencies are involved.

DC on the other hand, well, I haven't figured him out. It seems that he doesn't seem to mind if dessert is on the table for eating a good dinner, candy for going potty, or a longer time out is necessary for a punishment. He just doesn't care.

All in all, though, he is a pretty good little boy, but we do have many moments like the photos you see above. He still tries to use the baby thing to his advantage and thinks that offering me a pouty/mad face just might get him what he wants. Sadly, it doesn't work on me anymore (Doug might disagree here because he still is my baby). I mean he is getting to be quite a big boy.

Regardless of the woes that come with sometime wild little boys, he is so much fun (both of them truly are) but this aggressive boy thing - well, it is a whole other ball game (like you that have boys know all too well).

Friday, August 19, 2011

Back to School FREE Printable

Happy Friday! Just right click on the image, save to your files and print away. Hope you enjoy this little freebie. Use it leave notes in a lunchbox, make stickers for a folder, or sweet favor tags for a party (or a gift for your sweet teacher).
And if you are on facebook, join The English Pea for a Friday Night Facebook sale - a great way to stock up or get smaller quantities. I will start around 8:00 EST and end at midnight. Only select items will be on sale and there is a theme this evening - guess what it is. :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Back to School

Ahh, if you haven't started back to school yet - like we have around here - then it is just around the corner. And while I love me some summer and the transition is hard, I do LOVE me some school supplies. One of my favorite things every year as a child was shopping for school supplies - nothing beats a brand new box of crayons.

So to celebrate I have created a little line to help organize, label, and celebrate the beginning of the new school year. So... jump on over to my shop and Check out the new stuff and be sure to check back here Friday. I will have a FREE prinable for you to celebrate the occasion. You won't want to miss it!

Monday, August 15, 2011


In her (future) Uncle Rob's boots -
he's getting the kiddos ready for their adventure in Texas

Late night swim with cousins are fun -
DC has chocolate icecream on his face.
My two had a BLAST and stayed up
WAY past their bedtime - but that is what one does
when at Nannah's, right?

Uncle Owey getting them to laugh.
I won't mention what he did,
but if you know my brother
 it had to do with bodily noises and
the kids died laughing

If you have noticed my absence on the blog, don't be alarmed. I have been busy as a bee and then away for a few days to enjoy my precious family.

The college grad, little sis, Emily

Last Saturday the kids and I ventured down to Auburn University to celebrate my baby sister's college graduation. I am thirteen years her senior, so you can imagine how proud and how nostalgic I was of this accomplishment in her life. She's a smart girl and finished in about three years if I'm not mistaken. She is off to Austin, Texas.. and yes, for those of you counting that is sibling number four whom the great state of Texas has claimed. There is only my brother and I left out here in the East...

The sweet and happy couple -
doesn't my sister look beautiful here.
She is so happy and it thrills my heart
to see her this way. Can't wait for her big day!

I also was able to celebrate another sister, Sarah - as my parents threw a party for her and her fiance over the weekend. It was wonderful to see old friends and have my parents' home full again - of children, our family, and old friends. I miss those days.

The kids had a blast playing with their cousin Adeline and I had a wonderful time enjoying most of my family - all but five of them (they were unable to make it) - and holding my sweet niece, Leah Cate, who is the sweetest thing I have ever seen (seriously, if I could guarantee to have another one just like her I would probably have a third child).

The kids and I stayed through the middle of the week and enjoyed having Nannah and PaPa's undivided attention - this is a rare occurance as our time almost always must be shared. There are so many of us.
And finally, I am so grateful for this man. We celebrated nine years of marriage on the tenth. Seems hard to believe. Number nine was a hard one for us and I am grateful that we came out of it together on the other side. Ahhh, those bumps in the road, thankfully God can use them to grow bonds stronger and I think the two of us are all the better for it.

And lest I not forget a couple of other things I am oh so grateful for in the past few weeks... my kiddos (so glad that God saw fit to lend them to my care. I love those monkies), my business - just finished my best month ever, and my faith - seriously don't know where I would be without the love and grace my Father desperately gives me every day. I will never be deserving...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Roasted Tomato Sauce

 I know you are probably sick of seeing pictures of tomatoes on this blog. Forgive me, but I LOVE their red color. And while they are not my favorite food, there are just so many beautiful aspects about them. Even cut in half and roasted, they are pretty.

I don't know how many of you have made homemade tomato sauce. It was a new experience for me several years ago, and while proud of myself I seriously questioned why anyone would go through the process because ready made sauces are really just as good and SO MUCH EASIER! Until...

I had to do something with all the lovely tomatoes I had been growing and I set out to make homemade sauce again. Ahhh, if you have ever made it you know that it is not difficult, it is the prep that takes so much time. I prefer skins off and so peeling tomato after tomato got just a bit old - and time consuming.

So I decided to roast them and the wonderful part about it is once roasted the peeling comes right off! And the prep, well, there is barely any. Just wait, you won't believe how easy this is!

First wash and cut your tomatoes in half. Spray the bottom of a casserole dish with some Pam and place them skins side down in the pan.

Next, salt and pepper liberally and add any other Italian spices you like. I added garlic salt, a bit of ground red pepper, and Italian seasoning. Next drizzle Olive Oil over the tomatoes.

 Pop in the oven for 45 minutes on 425 degrees. Once done remove from the oven, cover with alluminum foil and let them sit for an hour or so until they are cooled. Once cooled peel the tomatoes - the skin will literally pull off and takes no time. Discard the peeling. Throw all the skinned tomatoes in the food processor - juices and all from roasting and...

You've got your roasted tomato sauce. See, I told you this was easy. I seriously have four to five cups in my freezer right now and enough tomatoes to make another batch. I'm thinking we have a lot of red sauce in a near future... Enjoy!

Monday, August 1, 2011

how does your garden grow

We now have an abundance of tomatoes and peppers. I have grown tomatoes for the past three years and my crops have yielded more fruit this year than ever. I learned a few tricks this year - like using Miracle Grow weekly - thanks to my friend Anna's dad - and that tomatoes and peppers like lots of room for their roots - thanks to my neighbor Angela and the random stranger at Home Depot. I found that the plants that have done the best were the ones that I planted in BIG paint buckets. Doug laughed at me when I brought them home and they are quite the eyesore, but the plants have LOVED them. Next year we are excited about planting a raised garden and trying a few more things. It has been so much fun and the children have thoroughly enjoyed it. And you may ask, "what are you doing with all those tomoatoes?" Check back tomorrow - you guessed it a recipe - one of the many ways I am using all this homegrown goodness. (Oh, and for all you who don't believe you can grow anything - I couldn't either three years ago. So there is hope. Seriously, before I started tomotoes I killed any plant I was given.)

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Congratulations to my Christmas in July Winner:

Baby Ford
Stay tuned for more fun stuff coming this month - like Back to School must haves and a few more wonderful summertime recipes! :)

Friday, July 29, 2011


If I could I would have all kinds of fruit bearing trees in my yard and it just so happens that we do have one. Doug planted a series of trees in our yard when we first moved in. They were just saplings and we got a variety from The Arbor Foundation. The problem was we weren't sure what our variety included. Doug noticed these pretty little things last year on the tree and he and the kids ate a few. We have been pretty certain that it was a crabapple tree, but I finally did a small bit of research just this past week and we had our suspicions confirmed. So while I don't have a multitude of fruit bearing trees I can enjoy this one - not to mention it's blossoms are beautiful in Spring and these little baby "apples" are pleasing to both the eye and palette.

Happy Friday and be sure to check back tomorrow when I announce the winner of my Christmas in July contest!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

to cinch...

to cinch...

or not to cinch?

This was the question I posed to Doug after I completed this dress. So... I want to know, what do you think. I have a very pear shaped figure so cinching is not always that flattering. You won't hurt my feelings, I honestly want to know. What do you think?

and here is the little item that is causing me all the questions.
And for documention purposes - yes, I made the dress and the belt. My first ever project for me with NO pattern. Before you are too impressed, look closely. It is a grown up version of a pillow case dress. Yep! With a few darts for my womanly figure and some altering around my waiste and nice birthing hips. :) It was fun, and now I am glad I have it finished so I can enjoy it before summer's end.

Don't forget to comment on the cinching so I can clear these questions in my silly mind. :)