gallamore west

Friday, October 9, 2015

Hello, Fall!

Oh my goodness, how have I been away from my precious blog for so long?! 

To catch you all up on why I've been absent from here, I went back to teaching!!!! After nine wonderful years of staying home to raise our four boys, I have returned to the classroom and I am LOVING my job! I teach first grade part-time (2 days a week, sometimes more) at my boys' elementary school. Between that and driving all over town because my 4 boys are spread out at 3 different schools, I'm definitely staying busy. Oh, and we are also currently in the middle of re-doing all of our flooring, painting the inside of our entire house, picking out some new furniture and getting ready for a birthday party. Whooooosh!!! Life is busy and time is flying by! And I've been busy decorating classroom doors...!!

Now that I'm back in the classroom, my Pinterest boards are filling up with amazing classroom decorating ideas, classroom management tips, and most of all, wonderful ideas for teaching content to my cute little students. And one way that parents can help their children start off on the path to success before they even enter their first ever classroom is by simply talking, reading and singing to their children at home. You as a parent have so much power over your child's future success just by reading, talking, and singing to your children at home. Science tells us that 90% of the brain is formed by the age of 5, and more recent research  reveals that more than 80% of a child’s brain is formed by age 3. 

Our house is BUSY with four boys and all of their different interests, activities, homework assignments, etc. But we make sure to fit in at least 30 minutes a day of actively reading, talking and singing together. Who am I kidding?! We spend pretty much 24/7 talking over here. It's a zoo! 

Here are some ways that I incorporate reading, talking, and singing into our daily routines:

1) Give your little ones choices. Pick two breakfast items and ask them to choose between the two items. This gives them the freedom to choose and a chance to talk about what they like. Give them two outfit choices, two free time choices, two drink choices... anything that gets the conversation flowing. Even if they're too little to respond, their brain is busy absorbing your voice and your words. 

2) Put flashcards on a keyring so they are portable. When we're in the car waiting for older brothers, the little guys and I can practice our letters, numbers, and sounds.

3) Download your kids favorite songs onto your phone. When we're in the car or in the kitchen, you can find us singing and dancing to our favorite learning songs!

4) Story Time... find a good time of the day and read to your child. It doesn't have to be bedtime, just anytime during the day that fits into your routine.

5) Night-time talk time... or anytime! I make it a habit to ask my kids questions all the time to get them talking and staying open with me. 

By following these 5 simple tips, you are starting off your child on the right path to success! 

Monday, July 27, 2015

5 Tips for a Successful Road Trip!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TwizzlersSummer #CollectiveBias 

 Summer time is the perfect time for vacations, especially road trips. And with four little ones, I've learned some tips along the way to make our road trips successful... well, as successful as it can be with four kids asking, "ARE WE THERE YET?!" from the back seat. 

 Here are five simple things that work for us in making traveling with kids a fun, successful experience. 

 1) Be realistic! The best way to ensure that things will NOT go your way is to set unrealistic expectations. So if an occasional meltdown is part of your everyday routine at home, you can probably figure that the same will happen while traveling. 

 2) Be prepared! Let's go back to #1- if you're prepared, you can handle that meltdown so much better than if you're unprepared. Prepared to me means that I've gotten a good night's sleep so that I'm able to take a deep breath, patiently talk to my child, and work through the situation calmly. 

 3) Pack smart! We just got home from a super fun, whirlwind trip across the country. We didn't drive, but this tip works great for any type of traveling with kids. Pack only what you need, plus some fun things, and make sure that what you need while traveling is within reach. When we travel, I pack an OPEN TOP bag within my reach so I can grab whatever I need while we're on the road. Then I pack our clothes smartly, with the first thing the kids will need when we reach our destination packed ON TOP. For example, when traveling cross country last week I knew we'd be arriving at our destination late at night so I packed the kids' pajamas right on top of the suitcase. 

 4) Pack fun, smart snacks! It's vacation so I like to make it fun and buy special treats for the kids. To avoid chaos in the back seat though, I package everything individually for the kids so there is no fighting over "But he got more than me!" or anything like that. Some of my favorite snacks to pack are little bags of grapes, crackers, trail mix, puff snacks, and Twizzlers Twists. 

I love packing Twizzlers Twists because unlike other candies, Twizzlers don't melt so they're the perfect road trip treat for Summer Fun! 

And they look so cute too, wrapped up with washi tape.

 5) Have fun! Making memories is what Summer Fun road trips are all about. Even though it isn't always the most relaxing with little ones, the memories made are worth it. So load up that minivan, grab your Twizzlers Twists from Walmart (there's even a cool Summer Fun display of them right when you walk in the door) and hit the road!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Expressing Feelings with Inside Out!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #InsideOutEmotions #CollectiveBias

Summer is in full swing here at Gallamore West! My blog is slow, my days are busy, and my boys are home with me ALL.DAY.LONG. And I love it... I really do :) My boys and I love the lazy days of summer, but I also like to add in some fun activities for us to do occasionally too. So we made DIY Glitter "Calm Down" Jars, and decorated cookies this week. All with Disney's Inside Out movie in mind.

First, we went to the drive-in movie theatre to see Inside Out. We've so lucky to live about 5 minutes from a great drive-in theatre! 

But things aren't all peaches and cream here every day. We definitely deal with our share of arguments, disagreements, differences of opinion, etc. I try to let the boys work out their issues as much as they can without my intervention, but sometimes tempers flare and Mom has to step in. So, taking all of the boys to see Disney's new summer movie, Inside Out, has been a great way for us to talk about expressing our feelings appropriately. Inside Out is all about an 11-year old girl, Riley, working through her emotions after a cross-country move away from all of her friends, her hockey team, and all of her favorite memories.  Her emotions get all out of whack and she spends a lot of time feeling sadness. 

After watching the movie, the boys and I talked about how to handle it when they feel sad- that it's okay to feel sad sometimes, that it's normal to feel sad sometimes, how to best express our emotions to others, and how to overcome negative feelings. We even decorated cookies to look like some of our favorite characters from Inside Out. 

Here's Sadness...

And Joy... (she must've tasted too good to wait for a picture!) 

And Anger. 

We also made DIY Glitter "Calm Down" Jars for those times when we really need to take a deep breath, relax, count to ten, and watch the glitter fall down to the bottom of the jar. I'm telling you- that Calm Down Jar has been a wonderful calming thing... for me :) 

These DIY Glitter "Calm Down" Jars are so great and easy to make. Just fill your jar with vegetable oil, pour in your favorite color glitter, and seal the jar (you can hot glue it sealed also if you think little hands may try to open it). 

I bought a multi-color pack of glitter at Walmart, where I also picked up some fun toys that go along with the Inside Out movie! I bought Joy- one of the main characters and my personal favorite emotion. 

And my little guy couldn't resist Bing Bong, who happened to also be a favorite character in the movie. Bing Bong talks too, and says some of his cutest lines from Inside Out. 

Have you seen Disney's new movie, Inside Out, yet?

 It's an adorable movie, and brings up the importance of discussing our feelings. It was a great way to kick off summer here at Gallamore West, especially because we were able to talk about expressing our feelings AND do some super fun things along with the movie, Inside Out! 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Star Wars Cereal- May The Force Be With You!

With a son named Luke, you know we just HAD to have a Star Wars Party here.  And of course we have our own little Luke Skywalker! 

He was over the moon excited when he saw that I had new Star Wars cereal for him and his brothers... I mean, Jedis. 

There are currently two Limited Edition Boxes of Star Wars cereal, Yoda and Darth Vader. Both have the same fruity flavored cereal with Star Wars shaped marshmallows inside.  How fun are those lightsaber marshmallows?!

Both boxes are packed with fun on the outside too!

You can get a $1.00 off coupon here! And get these Yoda and Darth Vader boxes while you can because they'll soon be gone and two more Limited Edition Boxes will come out next! 

So, which side of The Force are you on? This little Luke will never go to the Dark Side :)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Red White & Blue Ice Cream Sandwiches!

4th of July is my favorite holiday! I love everything about it- the colors, the decorations, the food and mostly the meaning behind it. Today I'm SO excited to be gearing up for 4th of July with this fun Blog Hop packed full of awesome NEW ideas for you! 

 Red, white and blue desserts are always part of our 4th of July celebration. Today I'm sharing a classic All American dessert with a red, white and blue twist.

Here's the recipe for you: 

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 sticks butter, room temp
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups red white & blue M&Ms candies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large cookie sheet (jelly roll pan) with non-stick cooking spray.  In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside. In a stand mixer, combine butter and sugars until well mixed. Add in the eggs and vanilla until well blended. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients. Fold in the M&Ms. Spread onto cookie sheet and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake until lightly golden, about 18-22 minutes. Cool completely. Use a round cookie cutter (or ANY shape!) to make your sandwiches- 2 cookies cut per sandwich. 

For the ice cream part, I like my ice cream sandwiches to have a nice, smooth look to them so I use a cutting board, 2 sheets of freezer paper (parchment or wax paper would work too), and a rolling pin.  I just scoop out my ice cream onto the cutting board lined with one sheet of freezer paper. Then I place the other sheet of freezer paper on top and roll it out until it's smooth. Pop the whole thing in the freezer and once your cookies are cooled and your ice cream is frozen (it gets a bit soft during the rolling part) then you can assemble your ice cream sandwiches. Just cut your ice cream using the same cookie cutter you used for the cookies so everything is the same size.  

My blogging friends and I have a whole Red, White, and Blue board filled with amazing ideas for you!

There are almost 100 awesome NEW Red, White, and Blue ideas for you!

Want even more ideas?


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