Friday, December 12, 2014

Stockings and Presents

This is the first year that Christmas actually means something to Jonah. He will be two and a half the day after Christmas and this holiday season has been just the best ever. To see the wonder in his little face when he sees a house lit up with Christmas lights.It's amazing. We pulled up to my parents house and he exclaimed in a high pitch little voice, "Ohhhh, Papa's lights are SO beauuutiful!!!" it totally made my Dad's day! :)

I have been making a point to do something special each week (go for a walk at dark to see the lights in our neighborhood, build our first gingerbread house together) to make the most of the holiday. Has this season always been so short?? It feels especially so now that he's growing and I want it to last and last.

We've been talking about the true meaning of Christmas with Jonah as much as possible. We've explained the Christmas story, read several books to him and are just trying to put the spirit of giving into his little mind. He's not so fond of it, really. It's pretty funny. We talk about giving presents to other little kids and he automatically says, "those toys are for me, Momma" and I gently remind him that they are not for him.

We adopted a 5 year old little boy named Josue for Christmas and picked out his presents carefully. I prayed over his gifts as I was wrapping. I know that sounds a bit silly but I just wanted to send extra blessings to him and his family this season. We are trying to teach Jonah in all the best ways about the JOY that comes from giving to others!! I am so thankful for my blessings big and small.

Along with giving to others- I've had the BEST time assembling Jonah's stocking stuffers. I have been thinking about it awhile now (nerd alert) and knew I wanted to give him fun, original toys and candy. I picked up the candy at Candylicious on West Alabama and most of the toys came from World Market. I was blown away by their fun toy section. So original! I can't wait to see Jonah's face when he tries Pop Rocks for the first time!! Also, if you squeeze the chicken a squishy egg (complete with yolk) pops out. It's the funniest! He's gonna love the chocolate tools, too.

Christmas is definitely for kids (okay, and Momma's too!)...

Happy Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Party like a Strickland: Jonah's first Christmas Party!

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Really, truly!! I've been on a blogging break mainly because I am filling my time with existing in our moments. Everyday moments. Cooking. Baking. Working. Crafting. Parking. (with Jonah, not with Jeremy. Ha!) Churchgoing. Festivaling it up. Who doesn't love a good festival?! Totally digging into this holiday season and making each moment count!!

I just wanted to pop in to share a few photos from this past Monday night. I hosted our first annual Christmas Party. I really plan to make this a tradition in our house! This year I invited a few of our friends over and we made salt dough ornaments, laughed, devoured tasty hot chocolate, chased the boys around our tiny apartment and had the best time ever. The boys had a blast and Jonah was completely zonked the next day. All of the fun wiped him out!

*The salt dough recipe can be found here.

And, on Sunday we headed down to Galveston to explore Dickens on The Strand, the annual Victorian Festival that the City of Galveston hosts each year. We had the best time shopping and trying the festival food. I stopped a lady passing by on the street and asked it she would snap our photo. I never do that, but I am SO glad I did!! I'll cherish this photo of us in such a fun moment-

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thankful Heart

I love the words to this song. As we head into the crazy busy (and slightly stressful- January markets are quickly approaching!) holiday time this song keeps popping into my mind.

Bring your tired. 
Yes, I think I will.

There'll be days I lose the battle.
Grace says that it doesn't matter.
Cause the Cross already won the war.
He's greater.

I am learning to run freely.
Understanding just how He sees me.
And it makes me love Him more and more.

I hope you guys have the most wonderful Thanksgiving!!
Love and turkey.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Happy Fall!

We're having the best Fall! Definitely excited and gearing up for the upcoming holidays. Honestly, it's hard to believe that it's about to be Christmas?! The years a short. I've been making tons of Fall crafts and playing with my little guy. He's at the cutest age. I have so much to be thankful for this (and every, really) year! I'm hopeful for the future and the adventures it will bring.

Hope you guys are doing so well.
Happy Fall, Y'all!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Salt Dough {Halloween Ornaments}

I've wanted to make salt dough for a reeeeally long time now. I'm so, so pleased with the way these turned out. I am a sucker with sentimental crafts for the holidays, especially now that I feel like time is flying and Jonah's getting so big. I plan to do these for each and every holiday and just cherish his little two-year old chubby hand print.

So, yesterday afternoon I whipped up a batch of salt dough. It's easy peasy.
Here's the recipe:

1 c salt
2 c flour
1 c water

* This recipe made 6 large (5" diameter) ornaments.

Mix all ingredients together and add tablespoons of flour until the dough isn't sticky. Then, roll it out on a floured surface. I pulled up a chair and floured Jonah's hands and feet. He LOVED getting involved in this craft. Standing on the table and stomping on my dough. Yes, it was messy. Yes, we had flour everywhere. Everywhere!! But seriously. Could I replace these cute ornaments? Nope.

So, my method was to press his hand or foot into the dough, THEN cut my shape. It worked better that way for us. Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees and bake for about an hour (until the dough is hard/firm and starting to turn brown).

I free-handed the cut shapes. I am a fan of imperfect. I knew I wanted a pumpkin and candy corn, then I just winged it. The tombstone was a candy corn mistake (true story). And, a hand upside down makes for the perfect spider.

Right before I baked the ornaments I took a straw and poked out a hole for ribbon. Once painted/dry I tied on a cute Halloween ribbon! My favorite part of these are Jonahs hand and foot prints. I pushed down really hard into the dough so they would leave an impression....and I'll always have the size of his little hands.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Thrifty Momma Finds

A couple of Wednesdays ago, while frantically trying to get myself dressed for church AND get Jonah bathed and dressed (a little Mom real talk there, right?!), I realized that Jonah has grown inches. He had ONE pair of casual orange pants that fit him. The rest were way too tight-- so tight that he complained about it when I tried to put a pair on him anyway- yes, total Mom fail moment!! So, I've been pondering how I want to go about getting his fall wardrobe set. 

Normally I buy for an entire season all at one time. It might sound crazy, but honestly it works for us. I spend about $100-$200 on basic play wear (think tees, shorts, casual shoes, etc..) and will add a few nicer pieces (smocked outfits and suspenders/bow-tie sets) for church + dressy occasions as the year progresses. He goes to school five days a week so I always make sure to get things than can be mixed and matched on a weekly basis. It's worked really well for us thus far.

A week or so ago one of my friends posted a photo on Instagram of her PILE of loot that she scored at Once Upon A Child, a child's consignment shop. Which just happens to have a location 4 miles from our apartment. She stopped in and found her little dude a TON of fall goodies and highly recommended that I go. Naturally, I wanted in on the thrifty action so I stopped in.

Jack. Pot.

Here's a fun preview of what I scored, AND what I saved. I mean. This is amazeballs, right?!

The total of all items in the photos is $63.00, y'all. That's sixty three dollars for fourteen items!! An average of $4.50 per item. All of the things that I selected for Jonah are in fantastic condition, hardly even worn actually. The mustard Baby Gap cords look brand new. Of course I'll still buy him new things that I come across, but this is just amazing. I kindof got a thrifter's high after this haul!! I've already washed these babies and they're good to go!! Really excited, y'all!!

How do you shop for your babes?? 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Hattie Mae

I checked something off my bucket list this month. I bought my first brand sparklin' new car, y'all. 

Meet Hattie. Hattie Mae Hatchback. She's zippy and a little sporty, but mostly sensible. 4 door. She gets 27 city/37 highway miles per gallon, so gas mileage is a dream. Jonah and I are totally loving to cruise around in her. I've been driving Jeremy's Tacoma since I had Jonah so I love, love that I can put groceries in the trunk (I've been awkwardly stuffing our groceries in the front/back seat and front/back floor board. Not exactly easy or ideal), and Jonah can climb in and out! Perfect for our family.

And, I'm not sure if you followed my vision wall posts from earlier in the summer, but Jeremy and I set a bunch of goals and made some plans and dreamed some big dreams. One of the things that we wanted to do was minimize the amount in our current budget that we allot to our monthly car/insurance category. I'm happy to report that due to a couple of amazing (God) things we are now able to save $500 per month in this category, AND I got new wheels. That's a huge, huge blessing and we are so thankful! God is truly faithful.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Korie Paige

She's here!! She's finally HERE!!!

We are overjoyed for Shelby and Josh!! Korie Paige arrived yesterday at 12:05 pm, she was 8lbs 14oz, and 20 3/4". Shelby had the best delivery, and we are just so thrilled that Momma and baby girl are doing fantastic. They actually get to go home today and I can't wait to get my hands on her again!!! We are proud of you Shelby. You rocked that delivery!! And, we LOVE baby Korie so much already...

And, Shelby sent me a photo of our angel girl early this morning and I thought something looked a little familiar, so I dug up this. Korie and Jonah, both 1 day old. I mean. Definitely cousins!! :)

Love both of these sweet little nuggets!! 

We can't wait to watch you grow into an amazing, Godly young lady (but not too fast!!) Korie Paige. You're gonna be a world changer. You are SO loved by your Uncle Jeremy, Aunt Lou and cousin Jonah!!! Love and BIG hair bows forever!!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Mini Pun'kin Pies

Isn't any dessert better when it's mini? Especially because you can eat two (or three) without the guilt. Not that I would do that. Ahem.

Introducing Mini Pumpkin Pies. Classic. Mini. Delightful. You're craving pumpkin pie now, so you're welcome.

Basically I didn't do anything amazing here, just rolled out my double pie crust into one huge blob (I used my old faithful pie crust recipe) and cut the dough with a glass (who has time to look for a biscuit cutter?). Then I pushed them down into the muffin pans and filled with classic pumpkin pie filling (Libby recipe). Ya know. Fall delights.

They. Were. Delicious.

"So dewish-us, Momma" (Thank you, sweet Jonah!). I told everyone that I made them for my boys but secretly I made them for myself (I kid. Kindof.). Maybe when I retire I'll open a little to-go bakery of seasonal goodies + treats. How adorable would that be? Your local stop for teacher treats, homemade breads, and I mean. Of course, mini pumpkin pies! ;)

In other news it appears that I'm still taking a blogging break. Basically I haven't felt the urge to share, so I'm sticking with it. You can follow me on Instagram, although I haven't really felt that creative there either. Kinda a busy/stressful season at work so I'm using all of my energy to make things happen there. Zaps me.

I'll be around. This is my favorite time of year! Lots of pumpkin recipes and photos for you to delight in (right).

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Homemade Pretzels

I came across this blog post awhile ago and have had it bookmarked to make for quite some time. Yesterday was the perfect day. It was the end to a long, holiday weekend. One of those goods days that starts with the baby sleeping in (until 9:45!!) and me drinking my coffee + baking in peace and quite. Very good. My perfect kind of day if you add a little crafting + shopping and of course, iced coffee...

So, I made homemade pretzels. And by far, BY FAR this is my favorite treat that I've ever baked. So, so good.

I've worked with a lot of dough in my life, but never boiled any. Pretty cool to watch what happens when you drop these suckers in the water. I was a teensy bit nervous, but they are perfect. The recipe makes 10-13 depending on how big you cut the dough. I made both buttery and cinnamon sugar. I can't really decide which are my fave, but really- is there anything better than a hot, steamy pretzel brushed with butter right out of the oven?


Jeremy will be requesting these on the daily until I make them again. And honestly, they're so good that I kindof want to make them again today. And tomorrow.

Recipe via Nine + Sixteen Blog.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Two Years Old {A day in Jonah's Life}

I've been feeling like time is flying by lately. Trying to savor every moment of this two-year old stage. Jonah's talking in complete sentences being the funniest, and we just love it. It could be our favorite age yet (but I say that about each new thing)! It is really so much fun.

Jonah's still a great sleeper. Most mornings I wake him up between 9-9:30 and get him ready for school. He sleeps hard and through the night. My working hours are 7:30 - 4:30 right now and am very thankful I can take him to school a little later (rather than at the crack of dawn!). For breakfast he is loving mini pancakes, fruit squeezes, blueberries and bananas. He is totally a little fruit fly and can down a pint of blueberries in two days!!

I pick him up from school and we spend our evenings playing baseball, going to the pool, and playing MORE baseball. Hands down that's still his favorite- he makes me sit in front of the sofa on the floor and pitch to him. If he hits the ball he throws his bat and runs through the breakfast area, kitchen and hall (it makes a big circle) while I cheer him on/chant his name for his "home run". Then he gives me a high five before he finds his bat and we start the process over again. It's seriously the cutest. I love it when he misses and yells, "A SWING AND A MISS!".

We've been going on family walks in the evenings and I love to run through the sprinklers with him (let's pretend it's not sewer water, m'kay?). The evenings go by so quickly- it's dinner, bath and bed.

Speaking of bedtime, he sleeps right in between Jeremy and I. I never thought I would be a fan of (semi) co-sleeping but I totally am. We talk about the day, count to 10, and say our bedtime prayers. Jonah prays this cute little prayer by himself now ("Thank you Jesus, Amen.") then says, "your turn, Momma" and "close you eyes!". So bossy. It's the perfect way to end the day. Jeremy usually stays up for another hour or so and then puts Jonah in his crib before he comes to bed. I love falling asleep next to my baby boy!! Cherishing the time because it really is going by so fast.

As of 8/25/14 he moved into the 2k class at preschool and he is no longer allowed to have his paci throughout the day at school (not even at nap). So we made a new rule- paci at bedtime only. He's adapted to that like a charm. He understands that it's bedtime only now. Something he says that really makes me laugh is- "wanna go night night, Momma", basically because he wants his paci. Smart little cookie!

Just wanted to write this down so I don't forget what two-years old looks like. He's at the cutest age and I love him so very much!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Jonah moved up to the two-year old class at his preschool yesterday morning (August 25th). He was ready for his "big class", but his Momma wasn't. I get so emotional with each new milestone. Just a Mom thing, I guess. I'm so thankful that his school has video cameras in the classrooms. I logged in and kept it up to check in on him throughout his first day. Love that feature of his school. His new 2k room also has a weekly tumble class in the school gym. Such a big boy now!

Here are Jonah's 2k milestones-

1. He can count to 10 by himself, in sequential order (he always forgets 3, it's pretty funny!).
2. He sings his ABC's by himself, but always out of order and kindof half-sings it. It's definitely not bold/strong without prompts.
3. He knows the following colors by sight and verbal recognition: red/blue/green/orange/black/white (sometimes gets yellow and purple).
4. He speaks really well. He knows exactly what he wants and can make a decision and let me know what he wants. His teachers comment on how well he is talking/communicating.
5. He has great manners! He says please/thank you/excuse me/bless you. We are working on the yes ma'am, and yes sir.
6. VERY strong willed/bossy. Like his Momma. And, a total clown like his Daddy. His favorite thing to say is, "that funny, Momma?" when he tries to make (and succeeds) me laugh.

LOVE my little 2k nugget SO much!

(I love the photo below best because he still looks like a baby love rubbing Cookie's tag on his little face!)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Fall Kicks


I'm beefing up my fall wardrobe (because a girl can dream that fall will hit Texas one day soon, right?!) and thought I would share these great casual shoe options. I'm totally digging the sneaker trend right now because let's face it, I'm a sneaker girl all day, on the daily. 

I snagged the $20 pair of cheetah sneakers at Target last month (option three above) and have already worn them non-stop. Love them!! Cheetah is just a neutral in my book....

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tidbits and Target Finds

1. Life is great around here. Wonderful, actually. Just too busy to blog. Or, maybe I should say that my priority isn't blogging right now in my free time. I'm not too busy. I'm enjoying the last afternoons of summer with Jonah. Cooking delicious dinner for my fam and baking up delicious treats. Making play-dough treats with Jonah. Going for family walks. Trying to relax with my guys in the evenings. I've taken a bit of a blogging break this summer without realizing it, or even meaning to. Just life I suppose.

2. I do have lots in my head. This summer we have had a lot of changes and have taken pause to really reflect on our life (remember all of my vision posts?) and where we are going + how we want it to feel. This season of "pause" has allowed us to really get our priorities straight. It has been awesome. And freeing.

3. We are still in our town-home/apartment for a bit longer. I've researched areas in Houston and I'm pretty sure we've decided where we want to live. So, that's a big step. And because of #2 up there we will be in a position to act soon. More on that later. Just really thankful for the way God has his hand in our life and is directing our movements in ways that are totally (TOTALLY) unexpected. But so good. He's always good, y'all.

4. I went to Target last night and was shocked. I haven't been in over a month (or more!) and can count the number of times I've been in the store on one hand in the last six months. Dunno. Just not in the shopping at Target mood lately. Anyhow, I was pleasantly surprised by the fun things I saw in store. I snapped a few photos to share my faves with you-

This tapestry-like tote is so cute. Would be adorable this fall with chunky scarves and boots! 

Uhh. Target?? Is this really you?? These Euros ROCKED my socks off. Totally. The coral one was soft and completely perfect. The navy had a velvet texture going on that I loved. Mixed together these would be dy-nooo-mite on a bed. Maybe my bed. Hmmm.

Have I just missed these cute rugby striped storage bins in the past?? Cutest. Perfect for rounding up ALLLL the toys that come out to play each evening. Love the colors and the stripes. Good price point also!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Strickland Summer Vacation: 2014

We just got back from summer vacation and it was the most fun time ever. We visited Austin, Wimberley, San Marcos and San Antonio. We ate lots of delicious treats and celebrated being together in the BIGGEST way. Love my dudes to the moon and back!

Thursday, July 31, 2014


This kitchen reno. I mean. Hello beautiful white + clean kitchen. Love it.

Let's all have less mom guilt, shall we.

Lesley's trip to the Gulf Coast.

A pretty top that would be perfect for fall (and it's on sale!).

I bought these (or very similar) camo sneakers at the Target by my house. Mine came with neon pink laces. They're the cutest!

I want to try this homemade play dough recipe with Jonah. Looks like a fun afternoon activity (rainy day!).


I'm off next week so we're going on a small family vacay to the Texas Hill Country. Follow along on instagram. I really can't wait to just relax. Unwind. Be still and not think about a to-do list or any type of chore. Ya feel me?! 

 I hope you're having a happy (and fun!) summer!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


"Simplicity is never a matter of circumstances; simplicity is always a matter of focus...To realize that the real hidden cost of everything you buy is how much life it cost you to get it. That life is not an emergency but a gift to slow down and savor. That it glorifies God to spend your extraordinary life paying attention enough to the moments you enjoy God. That the moments all matter. The daily decisions add up to the sum of your life. And a pail with a pinhole loses as much as the pail pushed right over. A whole life can be lost in minutes wasted, small moments missed."

Ann Voskamp in the forward to "Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World" by Tsh Oxenreider. Via JenLovesKev Blog.

I couldn't get that quote out of my mind. So I whipped this up and plan to print it out. As a daily reminder to live intentionally. Not foolishly. Jen's recent post is awesome and totally spoke to me.

Have you guys been doing any summer reading? Let's discuss...

Happy Wednesday, friends!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

50 Things {Vision}

If you've been following my blog for a few weeks you know that we are focusing on our family (and personal) vision lately. We're actually doing a series on it at church since we're officially half-way through the year. It's actually pretty awesome. A lot of times we make these grand (or even small) goals at the beginning of the year, but don't have a check up mid-way through the year. Have I stuck to anything I said I was going to do in January?? Have I grown in this area or that?

It has been amazing to really think this through and become better equipped to achieve our goals. Have you written any of your personal goals? Actually written them out. Put them on paper. Typed them up? It's amazing what a freeing feeling that is. There's something about writing it out that makes it real. And alive. Like, we can do this. This is where we are going.

Our "homework" at church on Sunday was to make a list of the 50 most important things to us
(Yes, I am secretly the nerd who gets GIDDY about homework like this. Jeremy totally rolled his eyes at me IN church. For shame.)

Example questions to ask yourself-

What do I want to achieve for my children?
What cities do I want to visit?
What benevolence goals do I have?
What do I want my life to feel like?
What material goals do I want to achieve?
What relationships do I want to have?

So. I started on my 50 things last night. It's a big list. Sounds simple right? Well. I'm totally stuck on number 28 right now. Honestly it's been a little eye-opening to see what I write (sounds strange, yes) but, who knew I had these dreams? And, why don't we allow ourselves TO dream more?? Why does dreaming feel like a waste of time to me? Why don't I have more BIG dreams? Why have I limited myself (and God!!) in the dream department?

I think my love of planning gets in the way sometimes (a lot of the time). Because I want to have this grand plan and for things to go THIS way that I think it should which sort of eliminates God in the equation. Sounds terrible (and it is!) but honestly I'm really glad to be learning. It's okay to not have a detailed-by-the-hour-plan. It's okay to write your goals and dreams and vision. And then to allow God to work in your life (in a way that you might not have thought possible, or even dreamed BIG enough to get!).

 Just interesting things that I'm learning the more we dig into this vision stuff.


Otherwise we are having cuddle time + pool time + pizza night + grand summer fun over here at Casa de Strickland.

I made this pizza dough on Sunday morning before church.
And this sauce last night.
And this was the result-

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sheving Crush + WM Finds

I've loved this shelf from World Market for quite some time. It's industrial looking, but new (the best of both worlds in my opinion!). I was recently catching up on my friend Natalie's blog when I realized she has this exact shelf in her studio. And, it looks fantastic. I just had to share photos. Love her styling and the fun + vintage accents in her studio space. Ch-ch-check it out..

So pretty and airy, right?!! Love her studio space! Pop over and say hi to Natalie (and visit her Etsy shop too!). And, whilst browsing the World Market website the other evening I noticed something. Remember this pretty canister set at Anthropologie?! Well. Ahem...

BOOM. Go getcha some. It's really too good to be true, y'all. Love every piece in the WM collection!!