gallamore west: March 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How Does Laurie have a happy day?

Having my April Fool's Day spaghetti cupcakes featured on today was super exciting!  Sam riding his bike sooooo fast was a biggie today too since he just finally got into even wanting to ride a bike at all.  It was such an exciting day that we decided to  eat dinner on the back patio {which Jake called a Beach Party!} and light some 4th of July sparklers after dinner just for fun.  Between my screams of "WAHOO!!!  Go Sam!!" all afternoon and us lighting mini fireworks on the driveway tonight, I'm pretty sure the neighbors think we're crazy.  But we're moving soon so who cares! :)

There are the "spaghetti" cupcakes again!

Tonight it's {another} late night of packing and crafting.  
It's all about burlap and baking around here... 
we've got a Bake Sale for Japan 
coming up here at Gallamore West soon!   

Oh, and if any family members are checking for Jake's Trike A Thon results... it will be THIS Friday {rained out last week}!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Luke {5 months}

Our little Luke,
Lukey Boo,
is 5 months old today!  

He rolls around, 


smiles like there's no tomorrow,

loooooves his big brothers and

naps through {almost} all the noise they make,

cuddles in his Ergo for hours every day,

and sleeps through the night.

Can't ask for much more than that, right?  

We love you Lukers!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

C is for...

cousins!  {visiting from Idaho}

{golf} cart rides! 

cake! {not a pretty picture, but ohhh sooo good} 

 cutie patooties!

Oh, and crepes {not pictured because they're in my belly already!}
It was a fun day at Nani and Papa's desert house.

What I'll miss {part three}

This burrito.
That's right... when we move, I will miss this burrito because that is a Farmer Boys "Buy one, get one free so I'll have two with bacon and salsa on the side please" burrito.  It's become a Thursday morning date with Sam after we drop off Jake at preschool.  And sometimes Tuesday morning, and also the occasional Saturday night.  In second thought though it's probably a good thing that I won't have my daily frequent breakfast {at any time of any day} habit so readily available.

My boys' school.  
Pretty sure our kiddos think we're being cool moms by letting them stay and play on the grass for an hour or so every day after school, but really this is Mama Therapy.  We joke about how we are going to bring lawn chairs someday as we stand there where we can keep an eye on our kids running around collecting snails and dandelions {Mommy, here's another flower for you!} while we laugh and joke, console and cry... and I can't even put into words how much will miss this part of our daily routine.  "Two more minutes and don't get your knees dirty!" and then we talk for twenty more minutes.  I know that first day {and week and month and more} that I pick up Sam from his new Kindergarten class and we go straight home without that play/mommy time it will break my heart a little.  

 My front porch.  
It's a weird picture because someone was driving up right then and I got embarrassed because I was in my pjs and taking a picture of my porch.  And then today I was out and about and thought that I should NOT have felt awkward about being on my porch in my pjs since it was pajama day for adults in public day today.  Seriously lady, are you really wearing your flannel pjs and hot pink fuzzy slippers to Subway? Sometimes I wish I had half of her confidence or lack of caring about what others think, not that that is what I'd choose to do with it if I had it.  But I don't have it and that's why this is such a weird angle of my porch.

Back to the door: I'm not talking about the bird poop from the bird that perches above it {watch out below!} Every time I pull into the driveway I peek over at the porch.  And I cannot even count how many times there has been a little something waiting there for us... cookies, Starbucks delivery, my favorite candy bar, 7-up and saltines when I had the flu, Dr. Pepper, homemade muffins, a package of diapers, books, pumpkin bars in a shoebox!, a shirt decorated for me... I could go on forever.  And that's just the things left on the porch.  The memories made inside this house have made it a home, something I longed for in the two homes we owned before this one and never quite felt.  

When I get sappy I never feel that I can express it like a quote I found from google so this is what I came up with...

“What you leave behind is not 

what is engraved in stone monuments 

{or breakfast burritos}, 

but what is woven into the lives of others.”

And now it's time to start purging and packing... and prepping for our moving sale that I've put off for weeks and now MUST be done on Saturday, April 9th.  Rain or shine!  Who am I kidding?  Not if it rains.

Friday, March 25, 2011

I spy with my little eye...

"something yellow!" says Sam {while in the car the other day}

me: "the fire hydrant?"

him: "no..."

me: "that store sign?"

him: "no... your HAIR Mommy!"

haaaaa!  Thanks, sweet boy.

And speaking of hair, 
when oh when are you gonna let me cut yours?

Lemon Birthday Cake {recipe}

My friend Cari has an amazing lemon tree and she let me go in her backyard while she was at work last week and pick lemons.  Her lemon tree is amazing!!  And Jake really liked her daughter's scooter :) 

I really should bring Cari some cake, but who in the world tries to save a few pennies by buying the off-brand of "Pam".  Who in the world besides me? :(  So, the cake isn't pretty but it still tastes fabulous.  It's supposed to be three layers, but one layer would not come out of the pan so that one is breakfast because my rule is if it doesn't have frosting, that's breakfast!  Except cinnamon rolls which do have frosting and are breakfast.  Silly rule... new rule, cake can be breakfast with or without frosting.  Yay!

But none of my boys {grown up included... love you silly boys!} understood why in the world we'd have a cake when it's no one's birthday.  I thought we should celebrate our "unbirthdays" but they  all decided to sing to our dogs instead, whose birthdays are both in October... I think. 

Happy Birthday Doggies!  
Your birthday cake was awesome, 
Charley and Flick.

Recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book 
{I don't know what year it's from, but it's anything but new}
 I added WAY more lemon... more lemon juice, more lemon peel, even squeezed a lemon on top of each layer before frosting it.

Triple Layer Lemon Cake
2 1/3 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel {I used a little more}
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice {I squeezed a whole lemon, definitely more than 2 tbsp.}
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk{I never buy buttermilk for recipes.  Just squeeze about a tbsp. or so lemon juice in a measuring cup, fill the rest w/milk and wait 5 minutes... works like a charm}

Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl- set aside.  Cream butter and sugar.  Add in lemon peel and lemon juice.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly each time.  Alternately add in flour mixture and buttermilk just until combined.  Pour into 3 greased {with PAM or Cake Release, no cheap stuff!} 9 inch cake pans.  Bake @ 350 for 18 minutes.  That seemed super quick to me.  The recipe said 25 minutes, but mine were definitely ready to come out at 18.  17 would've been better even.

And I topped it with this...
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
1 brick cream cheese, room temp.
4 cups powdered sugar
juice of one super juicy lemon
finely shredded peel of one lemon
Cream butter and cream cheese until soft and creamy.
 Add lemon juice and blend until combined.
Slowly add in powdered sugar.
Mix in lemon peel.  

I'm linking up here!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

{looking back} Farmer Jake's cake!

Jake's barnyard cake display is the most popular post ever on Gallamore West. THOUSANDS have viewed this post. I have no idea who they are because I'm pretty sure I don't even know that many people, but I appreciate every single time someone comes to check out what's going on at Gallamore West! So, I'm sharing the cake pics again in case you're looking for a really adorable and time-consuming project that was totally worth the time. I still smile when I see these pictures, and Jake's chubby little hand reaching in for a cupcake!

Speaking of cake, I'm off to frost one right now :)

{original post}
I realized that after hastily throwing all of Jake's birthday pictures into one big slideshow, that you can't really see the pictures too well. {Or is that just me and my bad eyes?!} Anyway, here's his cake... it seriously took forever!! Mandy and I worked on the cake- first in buttercream, then switched to fondant for a smoother look. Hours and hours {and HOURS} of work and it was just the centerpiece... we didn't even eat it! I had Ben cut some cardboard for the base, then I hot glued craft sticks and spray painted it all white. I grabbed some hay out of the bales in the back for the party. And I used the new Cricut {LOVE that thing!} to cut all the little circles for the farm animals. The chick cupcakes were vanilla almond, the pigs were strawberry, and the cows were chocolate. So much fun to make, so fun to listen to everyone enjoy checking it out too!! Now, off to plan Samuel's Buzz Lightyear party. He started making some decorations for his party last night... and his birthday is in November!!

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Trike-A-Thon Awesomeness... the REAL reason.

It's not about the shirt I stayed up late last night painting for Jake to wear...

It's not about the adorable letters Jake's getting in the mail along with generous sponsor checks 
{thank you!!!}, 
even though they are SO awesome and he looooves getting mail...

It's about helping kids who are AMAZING.  Kids like the boys' cousin Simeon, who was diagnosed with Leukemia when he was in Kindergarten.  He rocked his treatments and kicked cancer to the curb!  And THAT is why we get so excited about the Trike-A-Thon every year.

So it won't be about what's on the front of Jake's shirt tomorrow.  It will be about what's on the back of it, just like it's been on Sam's back for three years in the Trike-A-Thon... a picture of his cousin.
We love you Simeon!

I'm linking up here!

and here!

I Am Momma Hear Me Roar

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

You're watching WHAT??

Mr. Gallamore's night goes like this: hug the boys, mumble something about being really tired, heat up his dinner, half listen to whoever is talking {which is usually everyone all at once because we've got like five minutes tops} and then head upstairs for pjs, a little tv and bed.  I'm not complaining.  I really am not. He commutes three hours a day right now and yesterday he took the trash out in the rain, went to Costco on the way home, put all the groceries and the trash cans away.  Awesome!

So tonight I piggy-backed Jake upstairs to our room so they could say good night to each other.  The tv was on and as I walked out he said...

"I'm flipping back and forth between this and Olivia"

Again he says, "I'm flipping back and forth between this and Olivia."

Me:  "What?  You watch Olivia??"

Him:  "I said Libya."

Ohhhh, Libya.  Right. The country, not the cartoon.
And that was our only conversation today.  
The whole day.  
And we talked about Olivia, a cartoon pig.

THE best sugar cookie recipe!!

Many people have asked for this recipe.  First I was greedy and didn't want to share.  Then I was lazy and didn't want to post.  
These days I'd like to think I'm neither of those.  
So finally, without further ado, here it is...  

THE best sugar cookie recipe that I have found.  
And I've tried many, many recipes.
From Jake's Barnyard Birthday

I got it a few years back from a blog that I loved so very much.  A blog where I had gotten SO many of my very favorite recipes, but sadly I hadn't checked Katie's blog {} in a long, long time and recently went back and it is 

I just googled her just in case it had been a bad dream but I'm not the only one who is super duper sad that her blog just disappeared because there are actually forums on her disappearance.  One person said she has a book deal in the works and they made her delete her blog.  I'm keeping my eyes peeled for that book.  And if I ever "find" Katie again someday, I'll do a little happy dance.  And it won't be pretty, because my dancing is anything but pretty.

4th of July Party
Okay, back to the sugar cookies.  They are called "Fabulous Sugar Cookies" by Ashlee, who I think was/is a friend of Katie's.  These cookies are reviewed and compared against other sugar cookie recipes on multiple recipe sites and are the hands-down winner every time!  
Mandy's Baby Shower

So, you may ask... are they time-consuming?  I'll be honest... they are kiddos grabbing at your legs because you need to stop and feed them dinner time-consuming, so you might want to wait until the angels are tugged in bed for the icing/decorating part.  
But don't let that stop you from making them because
 if you know your sugar cookie like I know my sugar cookie, they are worth the time and effort.
Bunco Party

Over time I've found a few teeny tiny changes that work for me {in brackets}
1 1/2 cup butter {I use unsalted, always, always, always}
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 eggs {room temp is best}
1 tsp vanilla {plus a smidge more, just a smidge}
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tablespoon lemon zest {if I have it, I use it except if the cookies are for kids, sometimes I skip it}
5 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Flour, for rolling {original recipe says powdered sugar but that was just a sticky mess for me}

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees
-Cream butter and sugars in a mixer for five minutes.  Five WHOLE minutes... no cheating here!  I think this is the secret to the success of these cookies.  
You've gotta have a KitchenAid or something similar or your arm will fall off at this point with a hand mixer.
-Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly.  
-Add vanilla, almond, and lemon zest.
-Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt a little at a time.
-Do not overmix.  Mixing in the dry ingredients should take about one minute.
-Chill dough for up to a week {says Katie, I say no more than a day or two.  Overnight is the perfect chilling time}.  Or in the freezer for a few hours, but definitely chill it before rolling it out or it will be a sticky mess no matter how much flour you use for rolling.
-Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and bake cookies for 7 minutes.  7 minutes exactly always works for me.... just barely starting to brown on the edges and puffed up beautifully.
-Wait until cookies are cooled before icing. 
Evan's Train Party

And speaking of icing, that's a different topic for a different day but don't get too excited because I don't follow a recipe so it's always a little tricky to explain.

Valentine's Day Party 2011

There you have it... Fabulous Sugar Cookies by Ashlee.  Posted by Katie.  
Thank you Ashlee, Thank you Katie.  
I miss you, please come back Katie!

More pics of "Fabulous Sugar Cookies"
Kendall's Fancy Nancy Party
Andrea's Baby Shower

Sam's Space Birthday Party

I'm linking up here!
Get Your Craft On Tuesday

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Monday, March 21, 2011

It's Trike-A-Thon time for JAKE!

Jake's been the best little brother cheering on Sam in their school's Trike-A-Thon for the past three years, but this Friday it's Jake's turn!

Look at that smile... think he's excited?!  

Hope they let him scooter it though... this boy's got zero interest in bikes, but he can scooter like the wind!  All of the money earned from sponsoring the Trike-A-Thon goes to St. Jude Children's Hospital.  Jake got his first sponsor check in the mail today... wahoo!!   If you're interested in supporting     St. Jude Children's Hospital with a tax-deductible donation through the Trike-A-Thon,  send me an email to

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Storming and brainstorming...

The boys and I went out for food today {drive-thru} in our pjs because I was too lazy to cook, but it's finally storming here after wanting to all day. Jake only had one sock on.  Sam was in footed pjs and I was in flip-flops with socks...  it was not a pretty sight!   But now the skies have opened up and since I am the most horrible "relaxer" in the world, now that it's raining I finally can feel good about lounging around in my pjs all day loooong.

So I'm listening to the storm and brainstorming what to do for April Fool's Day this year. Nothing mean {because I still remember doing something so mean on April Fool's Day once and seeing the saddest look in return and a million years later I NEVER want to do anything mean on April Fool's Day again... ugh!}  Just one cute little fun food trick is what I normally do these days.  And this year, it's gotta be something for breakfast because April 1st is going to be a busy, busy day around here already.  Dinner plans will probably involve a drive-thru that night... hopefully sock-free in flip-flops.

Here are the "Spaghetti" cupcakes I made for dinner on April Fool's Day a couple years ago.  
Totally tricked my boys and my hubs!  And they were really easy to make too.   
And they didn't break any hearts... total plus. 

They're from the book Hello, Cupcake! but I never really follow recipes too well so here are my abridged directions...

-Make yellow or white cupcakes and make sure to use white paper liners {or no liners would be good too}
-Make {or buy} whatever kind of white frosting you normally use, but tint it just a little w/vanilla extract and one teeny tiny drop of yellow food coloring.
-Put the cupcakes close together in a circular dish that has an edge that comes up around it so the cupcake part is not visible {mine were in a fluted ceramic Ikea round thing}
-Pipe the frosting onto your cupcakes in a random pattern to look like spaghetti noodles and let it hang off the edges of the cupcakes, all messy just like a big ol' mound of noodles {I just used whatever piping tip was about the size of a spaghetti noodle}
-Dip Ferrero Rocher chocolate candies in raspberry seedless jam for the "sauce."  Or maybe it's strawberry?  Either way, I remember that the recipe called for either raspberry or strawberry, but I used what I had in my fridge {which was either strawberry or raspberry, but it wasn't the kind the recipe called for... holy confusion!} and it looked just fine :)
-Grate white chocolate on top for "parmesan cheese"

And taa-daa!!  Trick your family, WOW your friends, and do it with something sweet... not with something mean 
on April Fool's Day!  

Anyone have any good April Fool's Day breakfast ideas?  
Cute, easy, fun, and something we'll remember for years to come for good reasons :)

I'm linking up here!
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Get Your Craft On Tuesday

Happy Spring!

I wish this picture was taken today, but this was last week.  It's a cold, dreary 1st Day of Spring here.  I'm bundled up in my pjs drinking my coffee at noon {reheated for the 4th time} and looking forward to all that Spring has to offer:

-Jake in the Trike-A-Thon at school!
-My sister and her family visiting from Boise!
-Lots of other fun stuff that my brain is too tired to think right this second so I only listed two things happening this coming week 
MOVING!!! {not this week}

I'm actually sad about that last one, but excited too.  

Mostly my current excitement about moving has to do with gas prices at 4 dollars a gallon here and my husband commuting three hours a day {yes, THREE hours... sadly that is not a typo} I'm ready for a break on our budget and some help around the house because I'm tired of whining about how tired I am from our current routine of chaos!  Single mamas, I bow down to you because lately I feel just a teeny bit like one and it is hard beyond words.  You all are AMAZING.

Wow, why did I include the word "happy" in this title??  
Hopefully I'll pull some "happy" outta somewhere soon...
maybe if I go for coffee reheat #5?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

{looking back} Jake's 2nd birthday

Our sweet Jake is going to be four soon... eeek!  Time is flying by!  It's going to be a small family birthday party because it will be just two weeks after we move AND on Mother's Day, but I can't wait to plan some fun little details :)  Here's a look back at Jake's 2nd Birthday, A Barnyard Party.  This was probably my favorite party I've planned so far...

This E-I-E-I-O sign greeted our guests at the front door.

Our front entry way {along with a couple of accent tables in our house} were decorated with farm decor and adorable farm pictures of our birthday boy!

Our loooooong counter in our kitchen serves as the best party/food serving area ever!  It has three windows above the counter, perfect for making a banner in three sections, one to hang above each window.  Here is the "Jake" section of the "Happy Birthday Jake!" banner.

I had fun with my new Cricut cutting out little farm animal accents for the plastic ware that I wrapped in the napkins and tied with raffia.

I made these water bottle labels with scrapbook paper that matched the paper in the birthday banner, favor tags, and other party signs.

For the farm food we served chicken strips, pigs in a blanket, bbq beans, bbq chips, farm fresh watermelon, farm fresh rolls (yes, I baked them myself!) and of course, Farmer Jake had veggies from his garden to eat :)  I made little signs labeling all of the food with scrapbooking paper and attached the signs to kabobs wrapped in raffia.

Jake's cake display was by far my most favorite party detail!  I made this barnyard using cardboard from our new tv and spray painted it white.  I hot-glued craft sticks to make the barn fence and I used hay from the bales we had in the backyard as decoration.  My sister in law and I decorated the barn {I used the big Wilton cupcake for the barn!} and I baked strawberry cupcakes {the pigs}, vanilla almond cupcakes {the ducks}, and chocolate cupcakes {the cows}.  It was so much fun watching the kids {and the parents!} oooh and aaah over the cake display!

For activities to keep the little farmers happy and busy at the party, we had three stations set-up.

The kids made their own paper plate farm animal craft {from Oriental Trading},

they played barnyard bowling,

and they fed the farm animals {the paper bags had duck food in them and the galvanized tin had milk bones for our dog!}

Opening gifts and taking group shots of the party guests worked great with this barn backdrop I painted {don't look closely... I painted it on our driveway on a windy afternoon while hoping Jake would take a long nap}.

And who doesn't love party favors?

For most of the kids, I wrote their name on a cow bell {from the dollar section at Target back in January!} and tied it to a kraft bag that was filled with fun farm stuff,

including one of my special recipe sugar cookies shaped like a sheep.

The babies had their personalized cow bell tied to a farm animal one-sie.

And for the adults I made pig, cow, and roster pops to take home.

We love our little Jakers so much and were thrilled that he enjoyed his 2nd birthday party!  {Mmmm... root beer floats are ready to be made the background!}


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