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!!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Toddler Toys {Two Year Old}

With each new stage in Jonah's life comes new toys. I'm totally a planner/researcher (What will he learn the most from? What toys are age appropriate? Which will last longest?) so I thought it would be fun to share the toys that Jonah is loving at each age- starting now. This post from Oh Happy Day blog TOTALLY inspires our playroom toy dreams. It's THE best toy collection and I love it. I can't wait to add some of these to our own toy collection!

Jonah's Two Year Old Faves-

1. Jonah received this tool set from his grandparents, plus another set of tools and all day, every day he's "werkin' on it". He carts the hammer and screwdriver around in his Easter basket and it makes for hours of fun!!
2. This Melissa & Doug car carrier is his absolute favorite!! He received it for his birthday a few weeks ago and has been loading and unloading the cars (he also shoves his matchbox cars in there too!). 
3. We bought this $10 train set from Ikea hoping he would like it, and we definitely hit the jackpot. He LOVES this train and the little magnetic cars. I'm hoping to add fun pieces to this set at Christmas!!
4. He received this adorable frog in his Easter basket from his Nanny and Poppy. It's totally realistic, squeezable and the coolest! He's been toting it around the house saying "ribbit" lately, and it's SO cute!!

He's also really into taking (anything) things apart, and putting them back together. And, stacking wooden blocks! Here are a few toys that I would like to add to our collection-


What are you child's (or yours!) favorite toys? I would love to hear!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Writing our Vision Statement {A Purposeful Life}

Yesterday was Part II in our Revolution series at church. I blogged about our Vision Wall last week, and this week we're focusing on making what matters most, matter most NOW!

I wrote down a couple of key points in the message yesterday that I wanted to remember:
- A vision statement answers the question, "Where do I want to be?"
- A dream without plans is just a wish!

Our Pastor shared several fascinating stories about people with a plan and vision. In one study conducted on the 1979 Harvard MBA program, graduate students were asked, "have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?". Only 3% of the students had written goals, and 13% had goals, but not in writing, and the remaining 84% had no goals at all. Ten years later the same students were interviewed and the results are pretty crazy-

The 13% of the class who had goals, but not in writing were earning twice the amount of the 84% with no goals. The 3% who had WRITTEN GOALS were earning (on average) TEN TIMES as much as the other 97% of the class combined.


Link to a related article can be found here.

It really goes beyond finances (but that's definitely a plus) and gets to the heart of WHO are we, and WHERE are we going! This week Jeremy and I are writing our plan, making it plain, so we can run with it (Habakkuk 2:2). The questions that we're answering are:

1. Who do I want to be?
2. What is my purpose/passion?
3. What was I put on this earth to do?
4. What drives me?
5. What makes me happy?
6. What are my 5-6 most important values?
7. How do I want my life to feel?
8. Who do I love?
9. What do I want to accomplish?

We've decided to answer these questions individually this week and then meet + discuss and compare our vision to come up with our family vision statement. I'm really, really excited about this because it's bringing us closer as a couple, and as a family. I can already tell a difference in our communication, which is so awesome. Sometimes I feel that we drift through life without ever really talking about it (Jeremy would roll his eyes at me right now, because I'm an over-share-er!!) so you can imagine how thrilled I am that he's sharing his heart. And, I'm working on being a good listener so he wants to KEEP sharing it!

In other news- summer is in full swing and I'm loving it. We're having lots of pool time, feeding the ducks, playing in the water table. He loves to be outside!

Jonah woke up yesterday (first night back at home after his summer vacay at the grandparent's) saw our new chalkboard in the kitchen and said, "woooahh". It was the CUTEST!! Jeremy and I busted out laughing.

Jeremy asked him if he was happy to be home and he said, "Yes! Plums!!" which is funny because he and Jeremy have been eating fruit on the sofa every evening while watching the World Cup together. I mean. He loves our family time. So adorable.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Five Dolla' Chalkboard

I've wished about a hundred times that I had a chalkboard wall in this town-home, y'all! I miss my Birmingham chalkboard walls, but since this space is temporary- I knew I could make a quick fix happen.

Yesterday Jeremy and I ran in Goodwill (that man will NEVER turn down the opportunity to thrift!) and I grabbed this terribly ugly artwork for $5 and I mean. Really. You just can't mess up a $5 project, y'all. Impossible.

This is the easiest DIY project. In the history of DIY. I promise. Find old artwork (I didn't even waste time searching for a cute frame, because I'm impatient like that!), remove the Goodwill sticker, paint with chalkboard paint (I used Valspar Chalkboard paint that I had around the house and painted three coats). Tape the frame if you want, but I'm sure you guys realize that I'm not a wait around until the paint dries kinda girl, right? Okay, good. We can be friends then.

Five dolla' chalkboard. Holla.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Our Vision Wall {A Purposeful Life}

This week has been so kind to me. I miss Jonah really badly, but Jeremy and I have had time to connect + share conversations in our heart that needed to happen. I thought I would share a struggle (and a solution) that we're working through in our life right now.

Soooo, lets talk finances. Budgets. Goal setting. Are you getting squeamish yet? Because when I mention those things around our house it gets suspiciously silent  <crickets>. Check out time, y'all.

Jeremy and I are night and day. Donuts and milk (not sure why I just used that analogy, but it's really early and I'm hungry. Go with it.). Just totally different. I am the in a hurry, plan it, put it in action, do it girl. He is the calm, unhurried, spur of the moment dude. So, we just think differently inherently. Not even close to being on the same page. Lately (read- the last year) I've really wanted more of his input in our finances. I make the monthly budget (I currently use Excel and budget 6 months - 1 year out, loosely following the Dave Ramsey system), and pay the monthly bills. Jeremy is exactly my opposite- he doesn't have a clue what our passwords are and can't tell you what is in our accounts at any certain time.

So of course things can get really tense (let's have real talk, mmkay?) and it has been my goal to get him more involved in this area of our life, assist me and have real input into our future (retirement, savings, and so on..).This week I made the resolution to bring up our budget again, and see if I could get the conversation started. I brought it up in the car (so he couldn't escape, of course- just kidding. Kindof.) and had a real moment where I just had to tell myself to STOP TALKING and listen to my Husband. I struggle with that.

I listened, and of all things, he actually told me that my spreadsheets just don't mean anything to him. He's not a spreadsheet kindof guy. He gets distracted, the numbers are just there- not his strong point and not the way he's wired.

Okay. Pause.

Not gonna lie. He's said this before but I've powered through (rolled right over him) and just wanted him to do this MY WAY. Right? Just read and follow my spreadsheets. Everything will be fine. But, no. Not so much. Because he isn't me. He doesn't think like me, and honestly for the first time I just thought about what he was saying, and while discussing it he mentioned that he does really well with graphs, charts and in jest- even those thermometers that people use for goal setting. He is very visual when it comes to this type of thing.

It was kind of a break-through moment because I stopped being hard-headed and having to do this MY WAY and actually listened to him. And, he was brave enough to really open up about it all. So, y'all. Yesterday evening I made something. And I came up with an idea.

A family vision wall. Complete with savings thermometers. Our family vision. Our goals. Our dreams. In plain sight every single day, and our progress clearly visible.

Jeremy was ELATED, y'all. And honestly- I am too!! We want to pay off our vehicles so we don't have any monthly payments going into the transportation category, and we just have some other dreams and promises from God that we need to believe in.

(Side note- my sweet friend Ashley inspired me without realizing it. She and her Husband, Chuck, created a neat Vision Wall for their family and I loved the idea. Check hers out here.)

So yeah. I'm pretty pumped. I have a couple of ideas that I'm tossing around. I'll share the wall once it's complete and let you know how it's going, and if we're staying motivated by this, etc..

And- here's the file I used if you want to create one of these yourself!

Do you have a place in your home that you celebrate your goals + family vision? Or, how do you do this with your spouse? Would love to discuss and hear how other couples work this out as a team!

Have a super Thursday, friends!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Vision {A Purposeful Life}

Goodness. Where do I even start. I've been (suspiciously) silent on the blog for awhile regarding anything deeper than party crafts and pom poms. Just wrestling with things in my head a bit. I've felt very restless for a couple of months now. God has been tugging at my heart, gently urging me to think about life. Become a bit more uncomfortable.

What is the vision for my life? 
What is the vision for our life?

And, of all things (not happenstance)- finding + focusing on our vision is the theme of a new sermon series we started at our church this past Sunday. The year is officially half-way over. We're closer to Christmas than January. It really struck a chord in me. Am I moving in the direction I want to go in for 2014? Most importantly, has my relationship with Christ deepened in the last six months? The answer to that kind of wounds me. The sermon on Sunday was spot on. I'm incredibly excited to get back to the basics and focus on the vision for our family. And, even more exciting- pray about this very topic and write out our vision together.  Yes, the year is half-over, but I'm determined to make it count.

You cannot frame your future without a vision.
You cannot get far without a plan.
With eyes focused on your vision, you lose sight of the easy distractions on each side.

This is something that Jeremy and I have determined to get better at. Conversations about our life, the future. What we want out of life and what goals we want to achieve. Our life plan, together. It's really, really easy to just live day to day. In the routine. Especially with young kiddos, I think. Real, deep conversations aren't had around here often enough. 

So we're starting this week. Jonah is headed to his Grandparents for a couple of days and Jeremy and I will be able to spend some time together. Here are some of the bigger things we're determined to start a conversation about-
  • Retirement (that word sounds silly to my ears right now) 
  • The vision for our family
  • Creating our will (another word that I dread to say out loud)
  • Family (and personal) Goals
  • Our careers 
  • Jonah's future 
  • Our future family 
  • Location 
  • A "less is more" life (more on that later this week)
I have tons of jumbled thoughts flying around my brain about our life and where we are today, what I thought our life should look like at this point in the year (or our life, really) versus what it really looks like today. And, what this pruning season in life really means. 

I'll be back with more conversations about this topic. I just wanted to write it down. Get it out.

I would love to know if you've read any new books lately that have pushed you (made you uncomfortable, even) and inspired you? Please do share!!

Monday, July 7, 2014

God Bless America

Family. Freedom. Food. Fun. Sunshine. Pool time. Park play. Grocery runs. Zoo trips.
American SUMMER.

ps. I made these bars with leftover blueberries. YUM.

Happy JULY!! The year is half-way over. I hope 2014 is living up to your dreams for it. The sermon at church on Sunday really hit home with me. What's your vision for the year/your life? What are you currently doing that moves you in the direction of your vision?? I have lots of thinking on this to do.

See y'all around.

pss. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my beautiful Mother today. I love you more than you know.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Stars and Hearts

I disassembled Jonah's birthday celebration tree yesterday evening and put up a few July 4th pretties. When Jonah noticed what I was doing he came over to "hep you Momma". He immediately pointed to the decor and said, "stars, heart, boom-boom" and patted his little chest. Uhm. How does he know that he has a heart? And, it goes boom-boom?! Jeremy and I just looked at each other like, oooookay. He's a brainy one, that Jonah Knox. And I love him to pieces.

And, I love celebrating life. So, we put up some yarn poms, pulled out the star garland and celebrate it. Freedom. Life. Family. I am thankful to live in the US of A!

We have a long weekend headed our way, and I'm thankful for that too.
Happy Independence Day, y'all!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Dear Cookie, I love you!

You guys. We made Jonah a larger than life Cookie Monster prop for his birthday party. It was a HUGE hit. Especially to him, which was just what I intended. He LOVES "big" Cookie (as he's been calling it). It was also a big impact for little cost, which is awesome! Love DIY projects like this! I thought it would be fun to share how we did it with you-

Step 1- Purchase a large sheet of insulation at Lowe's or Home Depot ($14)
Step 2- Purchase paint (we used a small tub or trial paint that I had them mix at Lowe's ($3)
Step 3- Draw your shape!
Step 4- Cut that sucker out (I drew, and my handy hubs cut him out using a razor)
Step 5- Paint! I did three coats of blue on this big monster. I did not paint the rear (ain't nobody got time for that). Then I painted his eyes & mouth, arms and the "2".
Step 6- Prop him up! You can glue a stake to the back or create a prop from simple plywood. We used tape (yes!) and taped him to the post with clear packing tape. It totally worked.

and then, PARTY!!!