Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mom in the picture {#mommemories}

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the pictures I take.  Moms are always taking pictures, right?  My Mom took soooo many pictures of us growing up. But she's only in a few. Mom was mostly BEHIND the camera, not in front.
 I've made a commitment to myself recently: 
 Step out from behind the camera.

 Most days, I attempt to rock a 2-day old ponytail while wearing my standard daily attire of well-worn jeans, flip-flops and a baby in my Ergo carrier.

While I am FAR from a perfect looking Mom, 
my kids don't care about that.  
They don't care what color my toenails are painted,
or what brand of mascara I use,
{or whether I wear any at all}
or that I wear the most hideous pajamas ever,
or that I haven't gone to the gym in forever,
or that I rotate through about 5 shirts that fit me.

My kids care that I am HERE...
that I am laughing with them,
that I am listening to them,
that I care about what they like,
that I play trains with them,
that I kick the soccer ball with them,
that I sit and watch a movie they like with them,
that I support them in their class at school,
that I tickle, giggle, hug and kiss them,
and that I put little notes in their lunch.

They care that I am HERE for them.  

And when we look back on the pictures of fun memories we've made together as a family, I want those pictures to show that I was there with them too.  

So, here goes... Mom is HERE and she's in the pictures! 

And honestly, it helps ease all of those lack of confidence issues, or "but I have no makeup on" and "my hair is in a ponytail AGAIN" issues to just start putting pictures out there that are less than perfect.  Because that is real life.  

And real life is what we're living here at Gallamore West :)





And here's a really silly video where I actually thought it was a picture being taken {thus the non-moving smile for the 1st bit} and where I say "chunka chunka chunka" in a scary man voice.  But you know what?  My 7 year old and I laughed our heads off sitting on the front porch watching this tonight. So that's what matters.

video


How about you???  
Are you hiding behind the camera?  

Let's step out in front together and show our kiddos that we are here making memories with them.   Whether we are working moms, work at home moms, stay at home moms... as long as we are doing what we can to show our kids that we are here for them, that is what matters most.  You ARE present in your kids' lives.  

So I encourage you to step out in front of the camera...
show your smile, 
rock that ponytail, 
and let's gather memories through pictures that show that you are present in the lives of your kids.

Hash-tag #mommemories on Instagram pics {and Twitter too, although that is still sooo foreign to me... am I alone in thinking that?!}  I would love to have you join me in creating a fun community of Moms who live with purpose to create meaningful memories with our sweet kids! xoxo




Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Peanut Butter Candy Cup Cookies {GYCO}

Ahhh, peanut butter... how I love you. 

I took one of my favorite recipes, combined it with the memory of a cookie I had a few years ago and haven't stopped thinking about since, added some extra sweetness and came up with these little cuties! I call them "candy cup cookies" because they look like little cupcakes, minus the cake part. And I filled half of them with chopped up Snickers in the center and the other half are filled with Reese's pieces in the middle. All are drizzled with melted chocolate chips and topped off with a little more sweetness just for giggles :) 


I really do looooove Peanut Butter, so when I heard about this month's Get Your Chef On {GYCO} Challenge at Four Marrs & One Venus and White Lights on Wednesday, I knew I was in!   For the record, I also really wanted to be in on their previous two challenges which included two of my other BFFs, lemon and coconut. But I had a newborn. 
  Now that he's a whole FOUR months old, I'm jumping into GYCO with two spoons in the peanut butter jar :) 

Here's my little guy... those thighs aren't so little, huh? 
So squeezable! 
{If you follow me on Instagram or are personal FB friends with me, you've already seen this... sorry, I love it and had to share it one more time!}

 Back to the Peanut Butter Candy Cup Cookies now... 
here's the recipe.
 {Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book, except it's not new at all.  I've had this cookbook since forever ago, also known as 1998.}

Peanut Butter Candy Cup Cookies
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter {I use natural PB}
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

For filling/topping:
1 king-size Snickers bar- I used original, PB Snickers would be great too!
2 cups Reese's Pieces- some for the recipe... eat the extras
2 tablespoons chocolate chips

Preheat oven to  375 degrees.  Generously coat mini-muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and peanut butter until light and fluffy.  Add in the sugars, baking soda and baking powder.  Beat until combined, scraping down sides as needed.  Beat in the egg & vanilla until thoroughly combined.  Turn mixer to low and beat in flour.  

Shape dough into 1 inch balls.  Before pressing dough into mini-muffin tin, press one chunk of cut-up Snickers or a few Reeses pieces into the center of each dough ball.  If needed, add a little more dough and roll it again to cover candy completely.  Drop the dough ball into the mini-muffin tin and gently press to fill.

Bake until lightly browned, about 10-14 minutes.  {I forgot how long they cooked because I have mommy-mush-brain, but I do remember that I started checking at 10 minutes!}

Cool in mini muffin tin for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.  Once cooled, melt 2 tablespoons chocolate chips in microwave and drizzle on top of each cookie.  If the chocolate is too thick, add a *teeny tiny* amount of vegetable oil and stir it well to combine and thin your chocolate.  Enjoy!!  

Do you LOVE Peanut Butter too?

And check out all of the other GYCO Peanut Butter links.

White Lights on Wednesdays

And congratulations to the winner of my Halloween or Autumn burlap wreath giveaway chosen at random by Rafflecopter from over 1100 entries... 
Tanya Contreras- Lozoya!!  

Tanya is actually a sweet friend of mine who I haven't seen in over a year (since we moved back to San Diego) and I miss her so much.  I'm happy she'll have a little part of Gallamore West in her home now :)  Thank you to everyone who entered.  I know my numbers are small compared to some of those big bloggers out there, but I LOVE my readers.  I love "getting to know you" through blogging.  Come join me on Facebook if you're not already! xoxo

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fall Fun Chalkboard!

Oh, Fall... we're ready for you now!  

School's back in, the leaves are falling, but it's a million degrees outside today {ugh!}  But I'm hoping that by making Halloween and Fall wreaths, baking with pumpkin, and clicking the heels of my flip-flops together, we can usher in some fall weather here soon {as Fall-ish as it can get in San Diego!}

Whenever Fall decides to arrive, we're ready for it with our 
Fall Fun Chalkboard! 


There are so many fun things to do and important celebrations in our family during Fall.  So, to keep us on track with all the fun stuff we want to do and not let things pass us by in the busyness of daily life with 4 little boys I decorated our huge chalkboard from Stitched. with these fall leaves cut on my Silhouette and attached with jute & mini clothespins.  And yes, "Eat a Costco pumpkin pie" is on our list... gotta pace myself with those or I'll look like a pumpkin by the end of Fall :)


Ever wonder how people get their writing to not look like a wobbly Kindergartener's writing on a chalkboard?  {Not that wobbly Kindergartener writing isn't cute... it's adorable when actually done by my Kindergartener, but not when written by me!}  Chalk Ink pens are great for smooth, pretty handwriting on chalkboard.   
Bring your 40% off coupon to Michael's, or have it ready on your fancy phone, because these markers are a little pricey.

Then to make our chalkboard fall leaves decoration have a purpose too {other than just looking pretty} I added things that we'd like to do this fall & important celebrations {2 of our boys have Fall birthdays} to the leaves.  

 
I'm loving the look of our Fall Fun Chalkboard and now just impatiently waiting for the weather to get on board too!  Is it Fallish weather yet for you?  What are your favorite Fall activities?

Have a great weekend!! xoxo



Home Stories A2Z

Monday, September 10, 2012

Burlap Wreath Giveaway!!

I love making wreaths, especially burlap wreaths.  
And I love fall decorating {with burlap wreaths of course!} 

And one more thing that I love is my Gallamore West readers. So, as a thank you to each of you for following along here {and/or Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Google +} I'm having a Gallamore West wreath giveaway this week!

It's super easy to enter via Rafflecopter below.  One lucky winner will get to choose one of the following wreaths:

Burlap and Chevron Halloween Wreath 


OR

Mixed Media Autumn Wreath  


Both of these wreaths were featured in Tatertots & Jello's Fall Door Decor Features this past Saturday.  Just think, if you win you'll have a famous, featured wreath on your front door :) 

Thank you so much for following Gallamore West!  
Have a fabulous week :)
xoxo


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 7, 2012

Mixed Media Autumn Wreath

Happy Friday {again!}  
Two posts in one day... someone pinch me!! :)





Burlap, buttons, twine, a fancy little owl {thank you, Pick Your Plum}, fabric, muslin, stamps, mini clothespins, and pretty scalloped scrapbook paper... I mixed them all together on a straw wreath to create my Mixed Media Autumn Wreath!

Here's a close-up of that cute little owl...
 
 I'm loving the natural burlap mixed with the chocolate burlap.
Are you starting your fall decorating yet?  Or is it too hot to even think about it yet?  We're rocking the 90's here {temperatures- not music} but we're so excited that we've started decorating and baking for Fall already. 

It's the weekend... this cute wreath is going to go party at these fun places!  Hope you have a fabulous weekend! xoxo

Visit thecsiproject.com

Halloween Burlap & Chevron Wreath

Happy Friday, friends!  
Thank you for visiting Gallamore West.  
I love having you here :)


I'm loving this new wreath I made over a few afternoons during nap time.



Black and orange burlap,
 a touch of chevron {courtesy of Sprik Space},
and a cute little saying 
{inspired by this lawn stake sign at Michael's}.

    I love the contrast of the black burlap with the little pops of bright orange burlap.  


And with four little boys under 8 in our home, 
the little warning in the frame is quite appropriate, 
don't you think? :)


Are you starting to get ready for Halloween and/or Fall yet?  My boys LOVE Halloween so they've already started pulling out the decorations, and I LOVE fall baking so I've already started baking with pumpkin.  Here's a link to my favorite muffins- Pumpkin Muffins filled with Cream Cheese.  Oh my yum!! 

If you like what you're seeing here at Gallamore West, I'd love to have you follow along here via Google Friend Connect or by email {on the right sidebar}, on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter!  Have a fabulous weekend! xoxo



Visit thecsiproject.com

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Goodbye Summer, Hola School!

These boys soaked in every last second that they could of this summer before starting school on Tuesday! 


Even though we miss Jake's preschool {it truly was a special place} I am soooo very happy that both of these sweeties are at the same school and on the same schedule.  They have been so excited to be at the same school.  We walk to school everyday, so I hardly even have to get in my car anymore  {yay for saving $ on gas... geesh!}


On Tuesday morning, our Kindergartener Jake was the 1st one up and out of bed, ready for his 1st day.  He wore his backpack around the house for half an hour before it was time to leave... so cute! 

 But when we got to school, my boys stilled seemed calm & relaxed, while I tried my best to hide it that I was a ball of nerves.  Our oldest started in a Multi-Age Technology Classroom, and our Kindergartener started in Spanish Immersion.  I was SO nervous for him.  We've practiced some Spanish over the summer, and have talked so much about what to expect and how it's okay that he won't understand at first.  But still... I imagined that tears would flow and I'd be stuck wondering if I made the right choice or not.  

But...

Have you ever been so incredibly pleased and proud of your kids that you just can't stop thinking about it?  Of course, there are plenty of "toys all over the floor" and "please stop whining" and "don't forget your manners" moments with kids, but forget all that for a minute.  

I'm talking about those beautiful, rare, amazing moments where you are so impressed that you can't even imagine why these amazing little people are entrusted to you?   

I have been amazed and humbled so far with my boys' attitudes in their new classrooms.  No tears, all smiles, and plenty of new knowledge shared with us at home.  

I mean, look at this little guy.  He went from two half-days at preschool to full-day total Spanish Immersion and he walks in for Day 2 like it's just no biggie.  


My heart is happy beyond words.

The night before school started, we read special books, including our favorite Back to School book, The Kissing Hand.  Have you read it?  I totally cry every time!  And I made these little Rice Krispie treat "kissing hands" for their after school snack on their 1st day.  I have a million and one cookie cutters, but I can't find my hand cookie cutter, so those were cut freehand... don't judge, I tried :))


The boys each brought their new teacher a cute little container from Target filled with lots of supplies and a little questionnaire from one of my favorite blogs, Thirty Handmade Days. It's super helpful to learn more about their favorite stuff now so we have ideas of what to get them for holidays, birthdays, and Teacher Appreciation Days! 

{sorry about that horrible lighting... I got to bed sooo late the night before school started!}

And, please no one tell Luke's big brothers that he really likes to "take care" of their fish while they're at school... yesterday I found his pacifier floating in their tank.  Oops!


Are your kids enjoying the new school year?  

Do you have any fun Back to School traditions 
that you look forward to each year?

Feel free to share your stories & 
traditions in the comments!! 

And I'd love to have you follow along here via Google Friend Connect or email {on my right sidebar}, or on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter!  xoxo

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Filled Muffins

Oh my goodness.... do you love fall baking as much as I do?  I love, love it and last year I felt like I missed out on it because I was newly pregnant and pretty much spent the fall snoozing on the couch.  So this year, watch out for an overload of baking, especially with my favorite fall baking ingredient, pumpkin!

I made these Pumpkin Cream Cheese Filled Muffins last night and my boys gobbled them up so quickly, along with with rave reviews that I gobbled up quickly like, "This is THE BEST thing you've ever made!" and "Our kitchen is like a bakery!"  This morning they couldn't wait to dive into their breakfast muffins.


Pumpkin Cream Cheese Filled Muffins





For the muffins:
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1.5 teaspoon ground cloves
1.5 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil

For the cream cheese filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350.  Fill 24 muffin tins with paper liners or spray generously with non-stick spray.  Mix all dry ingredients together.  Mix wet ingredients together in a separate bowl.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry mix and stir just until mixed.  Spoon mixture into muffin tin, about 2/3 full.  

Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar in stand mixer until thoroughly combined.  Fill plastic piping container full of cream cheese fitted with a wide tip.  Press piping tip about halfway down into muffin and squeeze in about 1 tablespoon of cream cheese.  A little circle of cream cheese will show on top of each muffin.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Do not over bake.  Let cool in muffin tins for 10 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to complete cooling.  Can be stored in an airtight container for 2 days, but I'm pretty sure they'll all be gone quickly.  Enjoy!

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