gallamore west

Monday, May 16, 2016

Plan Your BEST Camping Trip Ever!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #StaterSnacks #CollectiveBias


Summer is quickly approaching and we are definitely counting down the days here!  My favorite thing about summer is how relaxing it is- no school lunches to pack, no alarm clocks to set, no homework to get done, and less laundry to do since the boys live in swim trunks and flip flops all summer. For me summer is also all about easy meals and quick snacks, especially when we go camping, which is something we love to do. We just got a camping trailer this Spring (yippee!) so we're busy planning our summer camping trips.


And I definitely have a favorite part about camping... it's the FOOD!

So get ready and pack your s'mores ingredients! Seriously, camping is all about fun foods. I plan out all of our meals ahead of time so that I make sure I have all of the ingredients ready to go. It means less time for me in our trailer kitchen and more time relaxing with my family. I ALWAYS bring fun food with us when camping. And remember to pack plenty of easy to grab snacks. 

Sometimes I set out healthy snacks like a platter full of sliced fruit and veggie sticks, but sometimes I like to get some fun camping snacks. They're easy to grab, the kids love them, and they're on sale right now at Stater Bros. Markets. I just set out a tray of snacks and then I get to relax. Aren't those mini Coca-Cola™ cans the cutest? I like them because they are little, so there won't be half full cans sitting around. 

And speaking of S'mores, it's always fun to come up with fun variations of S'mores, like these and these. These cute little S'mores are super fun because they don't even require a fire (perfect if you have little ones and don't want to deal with the stress of little ones by a fire). 


Here's how to make these Mini Nilla Wafer S'mores:

- one package Mini Nilla Wafers
-mini marshmallows
-chocolate buttercream frosting (use this recipe and add 3-4 teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder) 
Spread a teaspoon of frosting on a Mini Nilla Wafer. Sprinkle with mini marshmallows and top with another Mini Nilla Wafer. Enjoy! 


Everything is cuter in mini form, right? 


Right now all of our favorite camping snacks are on sale at Stater Bros. so it's the perfect time to stock up for Memorial Day, lazy summer afternoons by the pool, and your upcoming camping trips. Fun, easy snacks = more time for hanging out and relaxing with your loved ones!


 In May, save $2 when you buy any four (4) Coca-Cola .5L/6pk, 6pk glass, mini-cans and Nabisco family size or 12 count single serve products and in June two (2) for $6 mix and match Coke .5L/6pk and Nabisco Toasted Chips with Digital Deals.

 





So, are you ready to plan your summer camping trip?  Grab yourself some fun snacks and get out there! 


 





Tuesday, May 3, 2016

8 Things to Do When You're Feeling Sad

This post contains affiliate links. See more information in my Disclosure Policy



Ugh, it happens to all of us and lately it's been happening to me. I've been feeling sad. So many big decisions and thoughts swirling through my head ALL THE TIME. I feel like I'm spread so thin in so many different directions. Sometimes it takes time before things work themselves out and I KNOW that everything will work out, but in the meantime I can't just drive myself crazy overthinking all of it. 

Here are 8 things to do when you're feeling sad.

1) Clean something. Does that sound crazy? When I'm feeling sad, I find a drawer to be organized, a sink that needs a good scrub, a porch that needs a wash down... any little project where I can see IMMEDIATE, POSITIVE RESULTS works for me because it gets my mind thinking positive thoughts. Here are some tips to keep a house clean

2) Open the windows. Let the breeze flow into your space. Or if it's too cold out to open your windows, light your favorite candle. Breathe in the scent and be grateful for that breath you just took. Seriously, there are people taking their last breath. Be grateful for the breath you're taking in.

3) Turn up the music. Sometimes I just need to crank up Pandora and get lost in the music. This girl gets me. 

4) Make some coffee (this is my FAVORITE coffee maker... well loved every single day here!) Or some tea. Or lemonade. Whatever drink you like, pour it, sip it, and enjoy it. Simple pleasures can go a long way in brightening my day. Pour your drink in your favorite cup, even if it's the cup/glass/mug that you would normally save for a special occasion. 

5) Do something nice for someone else. It's hard living in this world of social media where everyone else seems to have the perfect life, the perfect home, the perfect everything, and when I'm feeling down it seems like everyone has something to smile about except me. Which is ridiculous because it's absolutely not true. Doing something nice for someone else is the perfect way to brighten my own day. 

6) Turn off your phone notifications, let go of Facebook or Instagram or whatever social media may be occupying too much space in your mind. Enjoy your new-found free time to do something productive.

7) Make something that makes you happy. It can be something as simple as a batch of homemade cookies (these Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies always put a smile on my face) or arranging a bouquet of flowers from your yard, or something big that you're been putting off for a long time. 

8) Get moving. I definitely go through my ups and downs with my commitment to exercise, but I ALWAYS feel better after exercising. Whether it's a walk around the neighborhood or a kicking/punching/sweating workout (this kickboxing DVD is under $10 and I LOVE it!), I never regret a workout. 

Get lost in your project, or your cup of coffee, or your exercise, or your music and remember that you are enough. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. If you're having a hard time finding your happy on your own, know that you are far from alone. Make an appointment with your doctor and together you can find your way back to your happy place. xoxo 


Monday, May 2, 2016

What I'm Reading

This post contains affiliate links. See my Disclosure Policy for more information. 

I've been a bookworm ever since I was little. When I was a kid I loved spending hours and hours in my bedroom reading. I'm still that way as an adult. There is almost nothing I enjoy more than a good book,  a hot cup of coffee, and a cozy corner to read in. For years I seemed to have lost my love for reading, but I think that was just because I had been up to my ears in babies. Now that my boys aren't babies anymore, I actually find myself having moments to breathe, relax, and READ. I love going to the library and grabbing a stack of good, quick reads. 

A photo posted by Laurie Gallamore (@gallamorewest) on


I know many people aren't "library" people anymore, but I guess I'm kind of old fashioned {and cheap... ha!} 

Here are some of my favorite books that I've devoured read in the past month. 


I loved this book because it was about the friendship of 4 women living very different lives, all in the same neighborhood. I was sad when this book ended.



Who doesn't love Bridget Jones? She is SO funny, quirky, and I could "hear" her voice while reading this book. I read it in one afternoon! 

Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave

I enjoyed Eight Hundred Grapes because I love reading about California's wine country. It's so romantic and I like to imagine myself living there :) 


I just started this book last night, so I'm not finished yet and can't give a review just yet. But I love summertime romance stories, so I'm hopeful to have a positive review soon. 


Have any great recommendations for me? 
I'd love to hear your favorites! xoxo 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Seven Ways to Save Money on Almost Everything

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my Disclosure Policy



Lately I've discovered how to save money on almost everything that I buy, without clipping a single coupon.  I'm pretty sure it's because I've picked up some great bargaining skills by watching American Pickers, but whatever it is,  I realize now more than ever that every single dollar saved is a dollar that we can put towards something else {like putting our four boys through braces and college someday}.

Here's the #1 thing I have learned to save money lately... ASK!  While I would never try to bargain with a handmade boutique shop or something similar, with a big business, it's totally worth it to just ask.

For example, we recently had our carpets cleaned.  The guy quoted me $100, which was more than I wanted to pay.  So I asked, "Can you do it for $75?"  He said he'd do it for $100, but throw in some free Scotch-Guard.  So I told him that I didn't want anything extra, just that I wanted to pay less.  He said, "I'll do it for $80."  Bam, just like that... $20 saved!

#2- I shop at Kohl's when they have a good sale.  Since my husband and I both have separate Kohl's charge accounts, we both get separate coupons mailed.  You know those ones where you peel off the sticker to reveal your savings?  It's either %15 off, 20% off, or 30% off.  One of us always gets a 30% off so we toss the other one & shop 30% off.  And did you know that Kohl's isn't supposed to take Kohl's cash after the expiration date?  But I had one 5 days expired the other day, asked politely, and the girl said yes.  And just like that... another $20 saved!  And even if I go to Kohl's without a coupon, I ask for a discount if I tell them I'm using my Kohl's card, and every time, I have been given a 15% discount.

#3- When we moved here one year ago, we got free internet for a year when we signed up for our cable service.  After a year, it jumped to $60 a month.  I told my husband that I was going to call and cancel our service if they didn't lower it.  Sweet guy called for me and got it down to $15 a month, just by asking.  Another $45 saved... just by asking!

#4- I do a quick google search for a coupon to that store, and 99% off the time, I find one.  More savings, just by clicking around for about 2 minutes!

#5- I shop online using Amazon Prime. With FREE two-day shipping, I save money by not going into a store where I have a hard time sticking to just the items on my list. Now I buy many everyday items, like dog food and my favorite cleaning spray, from Amazon. Even my favorite new kickboxing DVD is from Amazon (I LOVE this 10 minute workout!) 

#6- I stock up on things that I use when they're on sale.  For example, my boys recently discovered that they love Annie's Organic Macaroni & Cheese.  When I saw them on sale for $1 a box, I bought 10 boxes.  It was cheaper than the "blue box" brand and healthier too.

#7- Put yourself on a "Shopping Time-Out" for a month. I'm doing it right now and it's actually kind of fun. I'm not buying ANYTHING extra besides the essentials and I've even banned myself from one of my favorite stores for the entire month of April so I don't spend extra money. I'm finding so much more time for myself by not running to the store for every little thing. 

What are your favorite ways to save money when shopping? 

I'm linking up to Tatertots & Jello

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Spring Must Have Items

Spring is in full bloom here in San Diego, and hopefully you're enjoying some sunnier weather and blooming flowers too. I'm feeling inspired this Spring by florals (both in my yard and in my closet), sunny days, outdoor activities.  Here are some Spring Must Have Items on my list... what's on your list of things you've had your eye on lately?



 1) The Magic Art of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organization I've been on a decluttering mission for about 3 years now. It's a constant focus with a home full of people. I've heard so many great things about this book. Have you read it? 



2) This adorable Spring dress from Modcloth. I think it would be perfect to wear to our son's 5th Grade Promotion coming up in June. Yes or no? 



3) This cute camping sign! We just got a camping trailer, and we're currently planning a summer camping trip. I want to keep everything really simple in our trailer, but this one sign would be perfect. 


4) This AWESOME pillow from Zulily. Do you ever shop at zulily.com? I absolutely LOVE Zulily!

5) This chicken coop! Am I crazy? We live in the outskirts of San Diego, where we're lucky enough to have a big yard (well, big for Southern California!) and we have the perfect spot for this. I would love to be able to gather fresh eggs from our chickens instead of overpaying at the store. 


6) This pineapple pool float is calling my name. Is it calling yours too? 

7) Or what about this giant donut pool float


8) I've had skin cancer a few times (boo), so to keep my skin out of the sun while I'm lounging in my new pool floats, this hat would be perfect. 




9) I've been seeing SO many cute little fairy gardens on Pinterest lately! This little hedgehog would be the sweetest little garden accessory, right? 


10)  We bought one of these butterfly gardens a couple years ago and my kids loved watching the butterflies develop and then we released them. So much fun- I'd love to do this again this year. 


I hope you're having a great Spring so far, and hopefully something on my list inspires you to enjoy some time outside! :) 

xoxo,
Laurie 

p.s. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on any of them and purchase something from that website, Gallamore West earns a very small commission from that sale. I truly appreciate you supporting Gallamore West. See more info here


















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