Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Nothing in the world like it...

These two boys are like two peas in a pod.  

Hopefully when their baby brother gets a little older, they'll be okay with their duo turning into a trio.  Because if not, we might need #4 to balance it out, right?! :)

They do everything together.  

 {They loves their bubbles!}

Today I was going through pictures to print some new ones for the frames on the walls in the house and I loved seeing soooo many pictures of these two boys together. 

Here are just a few of my favorites...
{Sea World last summer}

{Right before we moved... so excited to come swimming at our new pool house!}

 {Christmas family photo shoot by Blon D Photography}

 {Picking blueberries at the Temecula Berry Co.}

{A cold afternoon at Sea World}

{Perfecting the piggy-back rides during Christmas vacation}

 {Being silly in their always messy bedroom!}

As they get ready to venture off to separate schools next week for the 1st time, I pray every day that these two will always share this special relationship.  They're more than brothers... they exemplify the definition of 
best buddies.

"Of all the things I have to play, 
I'd choose my brother every day." 
Unknown










Friday, August 26, 2011

Quick and easy wall art!

Are your kiddos back in school yet?  

We're soaking in the last week and change of summer here, but even after school starts, we'll be keeping it beachy here all year long in our "beachy" themed Sun Room!

A couple of skinny little walls {brats!} were crying out for some love, so Sam and I made these in about five minutes for just $ 4.


I had lots of leftover shells from my beachy burlap wreath...

so I pulled out a couple of Ikea frames {$1.99 each}, some scrapbook paper, a few supplies {paper cutter, glue gun, pencil}, and had my best helper pick out some of his favorite shells...


We just traced the paper, pulled out the glass that came with the frames, hot glued on the shells, and hung them on the wall.  They coordinate so well with my Beachy Burlap Subway Art too!


I'm all about quick, easy, and inexpensive craft projects these days!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Sunshine

Earlier tonight 
{after getting to Sea World 10 minutes before it closed... what happened to summer already?!} I was thinking in my head that it's a good thing I have plenty of sunshine-y days, because if they were all like today turned out to be, I'd be ready to throw in the towel.  Ugh!

I'm not talking about the weather.  
The sun is almost always shining outside.  
I'm talking about inside my heart.

But then I saw these pictures I took this afternoon, 
and was reminded of what's really important.



Things may not always go my way 
{insert stomping foot and scrunched up nose}
but when life tries to drag me down, 
I turn to these precious little ones 
who always bring my mind back to where it belongs.
  




Back to a place of gratitude, 
a feeling of peace
and knowing that I am so loved.

These three are my sunshine.





And yes, these cuties are all getting pretty shaggy... 
time to line them up for the Boys Barber Shop 
{me + the buzzers in our bathroom}.

I'm bettin' my bottom dollar that the sun'll come out tomorrow.  
I hope so because we'll be at Sea World {take two}.  

Speaking of sunshine, have you entered the giveaway yet?


I'm linking up here!



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why I Blog... and a giveaway!!

I'm thrilled that Gallamore West has reached 
{and past} 300 "likes" on Facebook!  
{Giveaway details posted at the bottom of this very long post... }

I've had this little blog here for over three years, 
but I still consider myself a new-ish blogger.  

Why?  

Because I was never consistent about posting here.  I attempted to have two separate blogs- one for sharing creative projects, and one just for my family stuff.  But I had a problem... my family life and my creative loves are all tangled up into one big beautiful messy thing called Life. 


I had a lightbulb moment back in March where I realized that I want to share all of who I am, not just part.  I love being able to...

share some of my favorite projects with you, 

share some of my favorite days with you, 

share some of my favorite parties with you, 
like Jake's Red Scooter Party


share how I'm not the kind of mom 
I thought I'd be,
like in this post here

and even share my biggest secrets with you, 

And I love blogging because I've had the opportunity to connect with some of my favorite bloggers, like...

Natalie {A Turtle's Life for Me, my sweetest bloggy friend I've never met in real life}

Jenny {Crossing the Bugger-Dixon Line, fellow Mama of boys and hostess of super creative parties}

and Ashley {Little Miss Momma... she's commented a few times and I respond, so that counts as connecting, right?!  She is a doll.}

And seeing a couple of my favorite real life friends start their own adorable blogs too, like Jen {Twiddler Houseand Reannah {Shaped by Grace}.

What I love most about blogging is being able to connect with YOU.  I appreciate each of you who read and follow along in my little corner of the world here.  And to thank you for that, I have an adorable giveaway opportunity to share with you!  

Giveaways on my blog are rare {after all, I prefer blogs with real content and real people, not one that just wants to attract anyone to follow} so when I host a giveaway, it will always only be something that I LOVE.

And this is something that I absolutely love!  
Our family theme song is You are my Sunshine, 
so I'm thrilled to be able to give away 
this "You are my Sunshine" sign from MissMelissBoutique to one of my lucky readers!

I am so excited to have connected with Melissa and her adorabe shop, MissMelissBoutique on Etsy!  
This girl is real, beautiful, and talented.  
And her signs are adorable.  



I have the pleasure of having one hanging in my dining room and I am in love with it.  Everyone comments on how adorable it is.  And there's no vinyl there... it's all painted.


And you have the chance to win one from
 MissMelissBoutique!

Plus Melissa is such a sweet heart that she is offering a 10% discount to Gallamore West readers during this giveaway too!!  If you just can't wait {because yes, her signs are THAT cute} you can order one now.  
Enter code Gallamorewest at checkout and receive 10% off of your sign!  They come in all different color combos, all of which are gorgeous.



There are EIGHT ways to enter to win.  
Complete any or all of these eight ways to enter to win...
{Just please be sure to comment one time for each entry you complete to increase your chances of winning!  Please leave your email address in your comments if it is not visible and/or linked to your comment.}



Winner will be chosen by random.org on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 12:00 PM PST.    

 1.  Go to MissMelissBoutique on Etsy and check out her adorable You are my Sunshine signs. Come back and leave a comment telling me which colors you like the best.


2.  While you're looking at the You are My Sunshine signs on MissMelissBoutique on Etsy, click the little Facebook "like" button and/or the "tweet" button to share her sign on Facebook and/or Twitter!  Then come back here and let me know in a comment that you shared her sign on Facebook and/or Twitter. {One entry for sharing on Facebook, one entry for sharing on Twitter, so TWO possible entries here!}


3.  While on MissMelissBoutique on Etsy, {heart} her shop to add to your favorite Etsy shops for an entry!  Then come back here and leave a comment telling me you did.


4.  Follow Gallamore West on Google Friend Connect.  That's on the right side of this blog where it says "I love these people!"  Then comment here telling me that you follow, or if you already do, leave that in a comment.


5.  "Like" Gallamore West on Facebook.  Then comment here telling me you now "like" it, or if you already do, just let me know in a comment.


6.  Share this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter {one entry for EACH, so TWO possible entries here!}  Then come back here and tell me that you shared it, with a link to where you shared it.  To share this giveaway on Facebook, just copy the link of THIS post and attach it to your post telling about this fun giveaway!


Whew, so many ways to enter for a chance to win this gorgeous sign!   Good luck and thank you, thank you to Melissa of MissMelissBoutique for this adorable giveaway :)


Due to the cost of shipping this oversized item, this giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.  Winner will be chosen by random.org.  Winner will be given 72 hours to claim prize.  If winner has not contacted lauriegallamore@yahoo.com within 72 hours of winning, a new winner will be chosen.  Giveaway will end on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 12:00 PM PST.  Entries received after 12:00 PST on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 will not be eligible.  All entries must be entered as comments on THIS BLOG POST to be entered for the chance to win this giveaway.




Tuesday, August 23, 2011

3 things on my mind, plus a recipe...

I haven't posted in a whole week... 
where is the time going?!


We've been enjoying leisurely summer days for so long, and now all of a sudden, my boys start school in two weeks.  


Two different schools- both brand new for them.  
Akkk!!!  
Thankfully they don't seem to be nearly as nervous as I am :)  


So, to play a little catch up, 
here's what is on my mind...


1st: 
Today I went to the school office for my soon to be 1st grader to plead my case on why he MUST have the nicest 1st grade teacher there... nothing like being a pushy new mom, right?!  I can't help it.  He's a precious, sweet boy who has been in a little bubble so far in his education {and his whole life really}, and I am not ready for some meanie teacher to pop that bubble!


The secretary in the office looked SO familiar to me, and when she said, "You look so familiar to me..." I knew everything would be fine.  It turns out that we went to high school together!  I guess this really is a small town still.  And after talking to her,  I feel assured that he will be placed in the right classroom.  Don't let me down please, sweet Christina from high school... or I'll march in there again and I really don't want to be THAT mom :)


2nd:  
Natalie at A Turtle's Life for Me is precious to me too!  I mean, she's not my first born child, but I would march down to any school office for her too if needed :)  And I haven't even met her in real life!  I hopped on the computer today and saw THE SWEETEST post by Natalie, and it was all about me.  I seriously cried happy tears to think that she took all that time, effort, and thought to write a post about me.  Thank you Natalie!  And welcome to those of you who are new here at Gallamore West, and on Facebook, and on Pinterest thanks to Natalie's post.  I'm so glad you're here!
Isn't Natalie just the sweetest girl ever?!







3rd:
  I signed up to be a Scentsy consultant yesterday and I'm thrilled about it.  Nooooo, don't leave!!  I know that not everyone is into "selling" stuff, or in this case being sold something.  I totally get it because I'm not really into all that either.  So I promise you that Gallamore West will not turn into my platform to urge you to buy Scentsy products.  I do however think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Actually, bread's not even this good... I think it's the greatest thing since cheesecake.  Now, that's good! :)   It's a product that I love and tell everyone about, so it seems a natural fit to sell it myself!


I love writing on my little blog here, so Gallamore West will still be about all the same stuff I've been writing about... 


every day joys 
 creating and crafting 
silly kiddos
sweet recipes 
traditions with our boys
and all that fun stuff.


I might just tell you about my monthly Scentsy specials up in the corner of my blog though in case you are interested in buying.  


Ohhh, and you all are learning just how much I love Pinterest, right?  
If not, check out my boards.  I'm a pinnin' fool :)


 And when I made {and LOVED} this Peanut Butter Cake last week that Natalie just happened to make too on the same weekend... I decided that I'd like to try a new recipe from Pinterest once a week or so, and bake it on Monday nights.  


Why Monday?  


So I can send some of the yumminess to work with the hubs, and also to school with the boys {my Pre-K boy is going 2 days a week only}.  This week I tried this recipe for Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake.   Seriously, any excuse to eat cake for breakfast is a winner in my book... it was delicious.  And oops, I didn't send a single piece out of the house!
image from alexandracooks.com


Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake
Recipe and pictures from alexandracooks.com


{I didn't have any lemons so I skipped the lemon zest, 
and mine needed to cook for about 47 minutes}.



Serves 6-8
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp. lemon zest or more — zest from 1 large lemon
7/8 cup + 1 T. sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
½ cup buttermilk
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with lemon zest and 7/8 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour, then whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt.
3. Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries.
4. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan (or something similar) with butter or coat with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 minutes. (Note: Some of you have found this cake needs much more time in the oven, so don’t be afraid to cook it for 10 minutes longer, if need be. Just check with a toothpick every 5 minutes or so.) Check with a toothpick for doneness. If necessary, return pan to oven for a couple of more minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.


YUM!!  
So, I think that catches me up a little... 
Thank you again, Natalie for helping get my Facebook page to 300 fans.  You are such a sweetheart!  I have an ADORABLE giveaway post coming tonight!!! :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My free Bon Appetit Burlap Art {and free curtains too!}

Ever since watching the movie Julie & Julia a couple of years ago, 
I've had this thing for the saying:
Bon Appetit

Whether it's a fancy dinner {oh wait, that doesn't really ever happen here}.  So whether it's a real dinner with the table set for our family of five, or a quick quesadilla on a paper plate, I love saying

Bon Appepit!

as we sit down to eat.  I say it in my best Julia Child's voice {reeeeeally high and chirpy} of course.  The boys giggle like crazy, and I love it.

So I knew when we moved here that I had to have that saying in our dining room.  With a budget of pretty close to ZERO dollars for decorating, I'm thrilled with how well I've been able to "shop the house" and repurpose things I already have on hand.  

I've had my eye on this for a re-do for a while... 

It was originally a Christmas gift from my sweet little sister, Kari, years ago.  And it was adorable and well-loved.  But after years in the boys room, when we moved here it looked like this.  Pictures falling and tacks missing...

Time for a makeover... yes!!

So I pulled off the fabric, ribbon, and tacks and saw that my sister is a GENIUS because she made that photo board with a piece of drywall!

I put a big beautiful piece burlap on top of the drywall {because it's what I use for just about everything these days.  Poor hubs just might find his bathroom towel replaced with burlap at any moment... ha!}

I cut the burlap just about an inch and a half or so too big all the way around the drywall, ironed it to get the wrinkles out...

and attached the burlap to the drywall with spray adhesive from Michael's {it's my new bff}.

Then I used Pinky, my little glue gun, to glue down the burlap on the backside.

And then it looked like this...





  This metal fork and spoon were great at our old house, but didn't have a home here so  I tied a little yellow ribbon on them and hung them on the board with some of the tacks from the original photo board.

Then I used my new Silhouette 
{hello, I loooooove you Silhouette!}
to cut these freezer paper stencils.


And I painted them black.

The fork and spoon were a bit scratched, 
so I pulled out my new friend...

and gave them a quick, shiny "Black Coffee" makeover.  


I also roughed up the edges of the burlap by rubbing some of it on the edges.

I am LOVING the final product!  And especially loving the price tag... {freeeee!}  I had every single element of this project on hand... 


recycled 
reused 
repurposed
= love.

See those white curtains below?  Those were free too!  
Left by the people who lived here before 
{but hung really high and not my style}  

I washed them, had the hubs rehang the curtain rods straight, cut off the metal grommets, re-sewed them to length, and tied them back with scraps of burlap.  And now I love them... plus we have three rooms that go across the front of the house so there are three sets of them.  


All for free!   


I'm loving our dining room wall art and our three sets of {free} curtains.  I'm a reformed Pottery Barn/Z Gallerie shopper and I've learned that it's MUCH more rewarding to make it yourself {for next to nothing, or even totally free!} than to fork out a bunch of money for something mass produced.  


It may be taking A LOT a bit longer than I wanted it to take to show you what I've been up to around here, but it's all worth it in my mind because it's more meaningful and done on a tight budget.  


I have so many projects going on here... I can't wait to finish them up and show them to you.  Ohhh, and there is exciting stuff going on at Gallamore West on Facebook too!!  When it hits 300 fans {getting sooo close} I've partnered up with an adorable Etsy shop owner for one of my Facebook fans to have the chance to win one of these!!  


I have one hanging in my dining room and I LOVE it!  So, if you don't already "like" Gallamore West on Facebook, I would love it if you did.  And if you do already, I would love it if you would send your friends.  I'm super excited for this giveaway! :)


  I'm linking up my Bon Appetit Burlap Wall Art to 
Todays Creative Blog 
and some of my favorite link parties!





Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Red Carpet at the HWTM Launch Party!


The HWTM Launch Party was 
my first time walking a red carpet!



It was super fun and completely out of my element.  
I'm really more of a stay in my jammies pinning away 
on a Friday night kind of girl :)  



Sometimes it's fun to get totally out of your element though, right?  Oh yeah, I think I pinned a quote about that somewhere... gotta get back to my boards.  Just joking!


It was such an amazing night with two of my favorite girls, Jen and Erin.  I'm so glad they drove down to San Diego to spend an evening in Wonderlandia with me.



All of the photos from the Red Carpet are here, taken by Dan Fields Photography.  Check them out if you'd like to see some of your favorite party blogging celebs! 

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