gallamore west: May 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

Remembering {Memorial Day}

Something you probably don't know about me...

I'm fiercely patriotic.
I cry every time I sing the National Anthem.
4th of July is my favorite holiday.
I vote in every single election.
But you'll rarely, if ever, catch me debating politics.

Since I have little kids, I try to have conversations about important stuff in a kid-friendly way.  So yesterday I decided to pull out my Valentine's Day clearance purchase and make some heart shaped homemade buttermilk donuts.  I used the recipe that came on the packaging, and honestly, they were just okay.  I can't wait to try a lemon recipe!

While putting the sprinkles on our "We love the U.S.A." donuts, one of our boys asked:
"What's Memorial Day for?"
I told him that it's a day to remember people who have fought and died for our country.
"Well then I think we should say a prayer AND the Pledge of Allegiance."

So we did.  And his little brother's prayer went like this: 
Thank you to the people who served our country, and I'm sorry that Abraham Lincoln died."

When I was pregnant with Luke, I was getting my hair done one day {one rare, rare day} and my hairdresser told me that one of her clients had called to cancel that day because she had just learned that her son had been killed in Afghanistan.  I remember getting teary-eyed for that Mom.  I asked the name of the son, but my hairdresser didn't know his name.  When I saw a picture of the grieving family in the newspaper a couple of nights later, my heart dropped and I woke up my husband to tell him that it was our former neighbor, Marc.  He was 19 years old.  He and his family lived next door to us in the 1st home we owned.  Marc was the oldest of three boys.  He had mowed our lawn for us.  And just one year out of high school, he went to heaven. Ever since Marc passed away, I can't help but picture myself in his Mama's place and my heart crumbles for her.  Her name is Joy, and I hope that she finds joy in the memories of her sweet boy.

It's easy to forget what today is really all about.
I hope we'll all pause to remember.

I am forever grateful for the freedom that we enjoy because of the incredible sacrifices that people like Marc have made.  And Abraham Lincoln too.  xoxo

Friday, May 25, 2012

Countdown to Summer 2012!

Are your kiddos already out of school for summer?  
{Lucky you!}
Or maybe they're getting out next week?

My boys don't get out until late June.
It seems long now, but I do loooove those few weeks in late August when most kids are back in school and all of our favorite San Diego places aren't so crowded 
{my boys start back after Labor Day}.

So, to keep the momentum going these last few weeks {Mama included, because with a brand new baby, I'd love to just stay home in my pjs and not have to hustle four boys out the door in the morning!} I made this easy little Countdown to Summer using scraps of paper and ribbon I had in my Craft Corner.  Every day until summer vacation, we'll pull down a number.  I think the numbers came out so cute and fun that I'll save them for another fun summer project I'm working on :)

I still had the honeycomb and lantern decorations up from Jake's Dinosaur Birthday Party {that I STILL need to blog about!} and I thought they looked cute so I just left them.

I love this chalkboard and have used it for Valentine's Day, a photo display for Jake's birthday, hanging artwork that the boys do at school, and more, but it's driving me crazy that I can't get the writing off from previous uses.  Anyone have tips?

Come on Summer... we can't wait!!!

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!  xoxo

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Guest Post: DIY Message Bracelet from Design, Dining + Diapers

Happy Wednesday!  I'm so excited to have Taryn from Design, Dining + Diapers guest posting on Gallamore West today!  Thank you, Taryn, for sharing your adorable DIY Message Bracelet with us.  Be sure to stop by Taryn's blog- she's always full of creative inspiration! xoxo

Hello new friends! I am so excited to be here today at Gallamore West! Laurie is such a sweet momma and I'm so excited for her and her family as they welcome little Brycen into this world! What a doll. In case we've never met before, I'm Taryn from Design, Dining + Diapers. I live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, 14 month old baby girl and our spunky Golden Retriever. When I’m not busy being a mom or part-time freelancer, you can find me blogging about DIY home decor, crafts, sewing projects, and allergy friendly foods! Today, I'm sharing an easy little craft that would make a great gift or just something fun for yourself!  
This DIY Message Bracelet is a fun way to share what you are feeling for the day or send a little note to yourself! 
The other day I was going through my old bead collection when I came across these beautiful black and white glass beads. They were all so different and unique and I instantly knew I wanted to make a bracelet out of them.  
Within the bunch was this really cool flat rock bead (like my technical terms?). It was flat, really smooth and had almost the texture of chalk paint. So what did I do? I grabbed a piece of chalk to see if I could write on it and it worked beautifully! I used the flat rock bead as the the focal point with the idea that someone could write a personal message on it. Once I knew my idea was going to work, I laid out all of the beads into the patterned I wanted. I'm generally not someone who plans ahead very well, but I find this very helpful when making jewelry! I strung each bead onto the ribbon one at a time and tied a knot in-between each bead. I kept repeating until the pattern was complete and the size was just right.  
There are so many fun things you can do with this custom message bracelet. You can share a word that describes how you feel for the day, write your or someone special's initial, draw a pretty picture or write down a quick memo to help remind you of something. Like what time to pick up the kiddos! Since this specific bead is probably not something you find every day, you can easily make a DIY version using a wooden bead and paint it with chalk paint.

Thanks for letting me visit with you today! Here are a few other projects you can find on my little ole blog: 

 If you like what you see come visit me on my blog, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest! I would love to meet you! 

Thank you again, Taryn!  What a great project- thank you for sharing with Gallamore West readers! xoxo, Laurie

Monday, May 21, 2012

Welcome to the World, Baby Bryce!

We welcomed our newest little love bug last Tuesday! 

Brycen Matthew
8 lbs, 10 oz, 21 inches

He already has a million nicknames... Bryce, Brycie, Brycie Bug, Brycie Boo, and my favorite, Bryce-a-Roni, the San Diego treat :)

Whatever you call him, this little guy is LOVED.

We knew his biggest two brothers would be excited to welcome him home...

but we weren't sure about Luke, whose is just 18 months old and doesn't quite get it all yet.  But we've been pleasantly surprised with how well he's doing, although he thinks swapping pacifiers is the coolest thing ever... eww.

We are thrilled that Bryce is here, safe and sound.  There was a really scary complication about 36 hours after his arrival when we realized that I was bleeding internally.  After being rushed back to the Operating Room and pumped full of meds, the doctors got me all fixed up.  Despite being very, very scared and crying my eyes out, I was grateful that we caught it in time and while I was still in the hospital.  I could go into a bunch of details here, but I won't because the important thing is that Bryce is here and we're all in love with our sweet little guy!

p.s.  It's official... I will never get a picture with our whole family looking the right direction ever again!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Finding "my thing"... Happy Mother's Day!

Our sweet Sam and I have had the same conversation a few 
times. He's looking for "his thing" in life...

He tried T-ball and liked it, but didn't loooove it.

He tried soccer and absolutely hated it {insert sad mama face here}  I mean he hated, hated, hated it.  He enjoyed it so little that I couldn't even find a picture for this post.

He tried Karate and we thought he had found "his thing" but now he's decided that Karate is definitely not it.  Getting through these last few weeks is HARD.

He somehow feels like he has a mission in life at the age of 7 to find "his thing. So during one of our recent conversations, I told him about me growing up.

I played the piano from Kindergarten until 9th grade, and I despised it.  It was so not "my thing" at all. I quit in 9th grade because I finally wore down my mom with my non-stop begging to quit. {and of course I now regret it...shh!}

I liked soccer, but didn't start playing until 8th grade so I wasn't good enough to get playing time on the field and quit in 10th grade.

I've never taken a single dance class in my life, and if you've ever seen my moves... I'm really, really bad.

I bought a sewing machine a year and a half ago.  After sewing a couple of very crooked pillow covers, it broke.

I got a degree in International Business, 
but that is clearly not my thing.

I guess I never really found "my thing" either. Until I had Sam that is, and then I knew that I had indeed found it.  

"My thing" is being Mom, Mama, Mommy, to our boys.

While I don't have it all together by any means and constantly have 10 to-do lists going at a time {none of which get everything crossed off... I just keep moving stuff from one list to another}, I know I've found my place in life.

"My thing" includes cuddle expert, kisser of boo-boos, middle of the night nurse, short-order cook, school tutor, taxi driver, personal shopper, social coordinator, finance manager, organizational expert {in training}, party planner, housekeeper, nutritionist, schedule coordinator, lullaby singer, recreational specialist, bedtime story reader, homework helper, speech therapy assistant, weed puller, cheerleader, baker, and as all moms know, this list could go on and on endlessly.

And it is all worth it.  It's an amazing feeling to finally have found "my thing" in life.  
I am so blessed to be called Mom.

Happy Mother's Day!  

To all of you who enjoy the privilege to be called Mom, to all of you who yearn to be called Mom, to all of you who nurture... it's "your thing" and I hope you enjoyed your special day.    xoxo  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Shots, slurpees, and the time I hung from a Starbucks door handle.

I wrote all about Jake yesterday, and here I am at it again.  
It's easy to write about our Jake. 

He's cute.
He's funny.
He's smart.
He's loving.
And as his Mama, I could go on and on here just like any Mama could about her precious little ones.

But there is this one thing about Jake... 
he's a little clumsy :)

Sometimes he trips over his own feet.
Sometimes he bonks his head into a wall.
Sometimes he slips and falls.
Sometimes he crashes his bike.
And the list goes on... and on... and on...

Poor guy inherited all this from his clumsy Mama.  I once got my purse strap caught on a door handle while attempting to walk out of a BUSY downtown Starbucks.  Not realizing I was attached to the door, I flung my hot coffee onto the sidewalk as people screamed to run out of the way of the hot mocha flying their way and I was left hanging from the door handle... literally.  In heels and a skirt.  
Good times :)

So back to Jake... 
he almost always bounces right back up and says, 
"I'm okay!" and we just giggle and move on.

But today when I brought him to his 5 year old check-up, I cringed inside when I saw his knobby little knees covered in little bruises, scrapes, and scratches.  All minor things, but add them all together and this Mama felt some guilt creeping in.

What was the Dr. going to think about all that?

But when she did the exam, 
and she saw his boo-boos and ouchies and said, 
"I love seeing legs like this.  These are anti-couch-potato marks!"

And she's right about that.  He is constantly running around playing and exploring outside.  And just like that, with one positive comment when she could have easily made a snide comment or ignored the sad state of his knobby little knees altogether, the Mama guilt was washed away.

And then we topped off our afternoon 
with this fun little tradition... 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A {birth}day in the life of Jake!

Today our sweet Jake turned five years old!  

For some reason, the age FIVE hits me harder than any other sweet young age because it means that my precious baby has been alive for half a decade already. 

Jake's one of those kids that seems to have been born with a permanent smile on his face... he is always saying the funniest things, making us laugh, wanting to be tickled, singing at the dinner table, giving hugs, cuddling, and he always says, "Now for the silly picture!" 

We celebrated Jake's birthday with a lot of Jake's family and friends a few weeks ago {I know, I haven't posted the pictures yet... ugh!} so today was a low-key family day.  A birthday on a Wednesday could be a little ho-hum, but not for Jake!  Today was filled with some of his favorite foods, places, things, and people.  

I started snapping my camera at 7 AM until about 7 PM... 
here's a {birth}day in the life of Jake!

We started the morning off with "cupcakes" {which were really muffins since I was not actually going to fulfill his request of cupcakes for breakfast!}

Nani and Papa stayed the night, which was a treat for Jake to have them there to sing to him this morning!

Jake and his big brother are sweet, sweet, sweet to each other, especially on their birthdays and always let the other one help blow out their birthday candles.  They also buy each other a gift on their birthdays.  I'm telling you, these two are BEST buds for sure. 

Then there was a 9 AM lollipop.  So much for limiting that sugar intake in the morning... but it's his birthday, right?

And he had to sit through Luke's MUCH needed haircut to get that lollipop.  Luke's our tender-hearted baby who now cries at the sight of a Dr. office, Dentist, and now hair salon too.... oh Lukers!

Checking out the seals, birds, and squirrels in La Jolla is one of Jake's favorite things to do...  it was a gorgeous clear morning {rare for May} at the beach this morning.

With gift cards burning holes in Jake's pockets, we went to Toys R Us where he picked out some toys for himself and an extra one for Sam too... sweetness!  He wanted to get one for Luke too, but Luke's so young that he doesn't ask for anything so we skipped that one.  Am I mean?

I loved it when he saw this Tom & Jerry ride.  Instead of asking to ride it though, he asked me to take a picture of him on it, then hopped right off!

Lunch time came and my little sweetie chose my favorite lunch time place... yay Jakers!  Even though I did just eat there yesterday... oh well :)

Then there was an hour spent in the backyard, playing, exploring and waiting for Sam to come home from school.

Insert a couple photo-free hours here, full of building train tracks, playing with Sam, and playing Angry Birds on Daddy's iphone {normally a weekend treat only, but since it's his birthday he got to play on a Wednesday... I think he almost fainted when I said yes to that one} while this prego Mama took a break on the couch.  zzzzz :)

Jake had been waiting since early morning to ride his new birthday gift so when I asked him what he wanted for dinner and he said, "Nothing, I just want to ride my bike!" we decided to skip our plan of going out to dinner and had his favorite at home dinner instead {noodles with butter, salt and pepper... did I mention that this kid is ridiculously easy to please?!} so that he had time to go on a bike ride.

I made cupcakes for his preschool class yesterday and realized at 11 PM that I was out of the sprinkles I wanted to use.  Jake didn't care at all and thought these cupcakes were perfect.  

even though a crazy prego ate that 12th cupcake... whoops!

Since he has a really small preschool class, I only used half of the cake mix {yep, I use Betty Crocker mixes!} to make the cupcakes, so I used the rest to bake this little cake.  Jake loved, loved his silly little birthday cake.  

I loved that it was quick and easy to make, and that he got to smash those little dinosaurs and candles wherever he wanted on it.

And since he blew out each candle one at a one tonight, I had plenty of time to snap some cute pictures of those precious cheeks!

We absolutely adore our Jakers.  He brings so much joy and energy and love into our home.  Did I mention ENERGY?!?!  He is happy, free-spirited, kind-hearted, silly, silly, silly and honestly has never thrown a single fit in his life.  
Isn't that crazy?  Crazy awesome if you ask this Mama :)

We love you to the moon and back, Jake!

p.s.  Jake- I hope you thought your birthday was as awesome as I thought it was, because tomorrow someone has a 5 year old check-up and a bunch of shots... Watch out Kindergarten, here comes Jake!

Monday, May 7, 2012

A "Berry Sweet" Teacher Gift!

I soooo wanted to post our Day 2 of Teacher Appreciation gifts tonight, especially since I have Day 2 AND Day 3 ready to go {UHH-MAZING for me these days!}  But it's late and the lighting will be horrible so I'm a cheater, cheater pumpkin eater and I'm posting one of my very favorite teacher gifts from last year instead.  We gave these for end of the year gifts, but they'd be great for Teacher Appreciation gifts too!  
{And Michael's has the adorable flower pots again this year... wahoo!}

Here's the original post...

9 days left of school here, 
but we just couldn't wait to give these to 
the boys teachers today!
I'm so happy with how they came out!  It's a great {and sometimes rare!} feeling when the idea in my head comes out just as planned... I kept staring at them in the fridge :)

Here's a little tutorial on how to make them.
First gather your supplies...
 Adorable clay flower pots from Michael's 
{on sale for $3.49 each}
 Paper filler {Wal-Mart} and lollipop sticks {Michael's}
 Wilton candy melts {Michael's}
 Rainbow sprinkles {Wal-Mart}
Strawberries, washed and dried {and sorted biggest to smallest, 
because I'm crazy like that!}

Okay... have all your supplies?  You're ready for the fun!

Pierce the strawberries with a lollipop stick... it's too hard to get it exactly through the middle because the stem made the stick bend so I poked mine through as close to the center as I could.   
{After I took this picture, I realized that I should pull off any ugly parts of the little leaves}

Have your melted candy melts ready {I melt in a bowl in the microwave at 15-30 second intervals until melted.... don't heat too long or they burn!}  Dip and twist, then tap the excess chocolate off on the side of the bowl.  Sprinkle on your sprinkles right away before the chocolate starts to dry.  

Then stick the strawberry in a styrofoam block {Michael's} to dry.

Once the strawberries were dry, I transferred them to a parchment lined cookie sheet because I only had one styrofoam block for drying.  

Once the last set was dry, I cut the styrofoam block into 5 equal pieces to put in the flower pots.  Then I covered the styrofoam with the shredded paper and arranged the strawberries in the pots.  

I also added the little tag with my two favorite fonts {Pupcat and Amelie, both free downloads at}

And there you have it... a cute, sweet, edible End of the Year Teacher Gift, and an adorable flower pot to use after the sweet treat is gone! 


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