August Goals

Monday, July 31, 2017

Summer is coming to a close. Kind of. We'll be sweating in Texas until October. But a girl can dream. :) This season has been sweet and fun for us. Every year I grow more in my appreciation for the rhythm of the seasons changing. I love the differences in weather, wardrobe, food, etc. The last few months haven't felt like real life. Parties, travel, and play! I look forward to all that fall will hold. Except why am I already talking about this when it's still awhile away, haha!!

July Goals: 
  • Enjoy Two weeks away!!
  • Host a Monograms and Mimosas Bridal shower for my friend Sarah
  • Enjoy the last little bit of summer with Ben home
August Goals: 
  • 3x a week workouts (I did this last week and I need to kick myself in the pants and make this habit again like it was before becoming a mama! talk about a slow recovery haha!) 
  • Celebrate Sarah & Dillon's wedding with Beau as ring bearer
  • Celebrate Ben's 27th Birthday 
  • Welcome BABIES!! Two of my besties have baby girls this month!! 
  • Attend and don't cancel MY doctor's appointments (I've been terrible about this since having Beau.. something always comes up! but NO! I will go to the dentist and for my well woman this week haha!) 
  • Swim as a family 
  • blog all or a lot of our trip recaps
  • love on our boy as he has the first of two upcoming surgeries (this one is not a big deal!) 
  • study Galatians as Nicole leads a sweet study 
What do y'all have planned this month? :) 

My Party Planning Steps

Thursday, July 27, 2017

1. Pick a Theme
I have so many party themes on retainer at all time.. I'm a total loon. I have so many potentials for Beau, and future children all lined up and ready to go. I literally have a theme for a potential baby girl Strader third birthday READY to go. Haha! I'm crazy, I know! Sometimes picking a theme can be the hardest step.. for me, a lot of time things snowball after that.

2. Invitations + Other Inspirations
Then I'll move on to either contacting someone to design an invitation, or ordering something online. Either is a great option. I will say it was a splurge but I LOVED doing a custom watercolor invite for Beau's first birthday. It's such a keepsake for us. No matter what I end up doing, I usually look on etsy to get ideas of ways people have done invitations for similar themes to get in mind what I'd ideally like. I always plan to mail invitations a month out from the event, and usually end up mailing them a few days before that mark. While searching for invitation ideas, I'll also search for other inspiration photos for how I want to decorate or an atmosphere I want to create.

3. Food List
We have many incredible cooks in our family so I am always wanting to take advantage of having people make sweet treats. One of Ben's aunts makes INCREDIBLE sugar cookies and decorates them beautifully too! I like to have food semi correlate with the theme, but sometimes that doesn't work and you just have to choose some delicious things and go for it. For our "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" gender reveal, I wanted to do Southern foods, so our list included a biscuit bar, chicken and waffles, pimento cheese, red velvet cake, etc. For Beau's farmers market we had bbq and tons of fruit and veggies. My rule of thumb is to try and make ordinary things a little more special. For example, if you're doing grilled cheese and tomato soup, maybe try a few different fancy cheeses instead of just good old Kraft American Singles ;)

4. Sourcing + Shopping
If I'm planning with a group at this point we'll divide things, but for parties I'm hosting on my own, I try to start looking online for anything I'll need to order in advance.

5. Focal Point Planning
Often times with a party, I want to have a focal point area. Usually with some kind of banner, and things to make it special. For Beau's birthday, I had my brother in law build me a fruit stand, which I'll now adapt for other party themes in the future. For the gender reveal, my besties and I cut out a MILLION stars. This was before I purchased a cricut and we did everything by hand to save money instead of ordering on etsy. This part is always really fun and I plan on building our future home with a good place for a focal point in mind. Our old house had windows on all the dining room walls so we had to create a backdrop and it was a whole ordeal, haha!

6. Party Time!
Recruit helpers for setup, make sure you have an outfit that feels chic and effortless, and enjoy your guests. I've been guilty many times of focusing on setup and whatnot instead of enjoying my party. I've not eaten at many events I've hosted, which is silly. Learn from my mistakes. :)

What are some party planning tips y'all have picked up over the years? 

Linking up to Thoughts for Thursday! :) 

GUEST POST: Writing Scripture and Truth in Your Home with Kyla Mary

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Hi y'all! It has been a delight to follow along with Victoria's adventures as a reader for the past couple of years. I am so grateful for the opportunity to share something dear to my heart with you today!

To introduce myself a bit further, I blog at Kyla Mary. My husband, Dillon, and I just got married on June 10th - YAY! I've been enjoying sharing a glimpse into our daily life as we establish our life together over on my blog, which has been a sweet adventure. 

Our faith is central to who we are as a family. The love we have for God is immediately followed our heart for loving others well - including each other! I believe this value starts at home by loving our families. Whether it be speaking scripture over yourself, praying strength over your husband, or encouraging your roommate with sweet words, we have a beautiful opportunity to fill our homes with truth. A beautiful way to do this is to write scripture and truth in your home, putting it somewhere you will see each and everyday.

Proverbs 16:24 says, "Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Writing scripture and truth in your home puts what matters most right in your line of vision. Scripture and truth sometimes get lost in the commotion of our days, so this serves as a way to remind us of words we often need to hear most. This principle not only serves those who live within the walls of your home, but also the sweet guests you welcome into it. 

Writing scripture and truth in your home can take many different forms. One of the most popular, beautiful ways to accomplish this is through large-scale wall pieces. 

via Magnolia Market (spotted here in the Strader home!)

If you prefer the option to frequently swap out the scripture, a chalkboard wall can be a sweet way to write scripture in truth in your home with variety. This is a great option to encourage scripture memorization in your home, too. I found an apartment-friendly way to do this in our apartment and will be sharing more on that this summer - so stay tuned!

via Em for Marvelous (with helpful instructions, too!)

This concept isn't limited to walls, friends. If you are in a rented space without the option to add to your walls, there are so many cute prints that can be framed throughout your home!

Be encouraged, friends! There are so many ways to bring scripture and truth into your home. If you do this already, please share your favorite ideas below so we can spur each other on in making this happen!


Monday, July 24, 2017

Yay! I'm so excited to start recapping our trip. We just got back on Tuesday and it's crazy how fast this trip went. We were gone for 16 days, and we were ready to come home when we did, but we loved every second of our adventure. It was a sweet time for our little family, seeing extended family, and exploring parts of the world that we hadn't seen before. :) 

Once we got all checked in at the airport, we were hungry for lunch before we were scheduled to leave at about 3:30.. we ended up being delayed about 30 minutes which honestly was helpful with Beau's schedule.. getting him closer to bedtime! 

I don't know about y'all.. but every time we get on a plane I can't wait to get settled in our seats and know what to expect. Booking this flight to Amsterdam with miles, we were pretty far back.. which ended up being AWESOME! We were two steps from the bathroom which I know some people say they don't like because of waking your baby up.. but Beau sleeps through anything so it was just incredibly convenient and I wasn't hauling across the plane to do diaper changes and then wait in a line. There were several other families around us (all Dutch families!) who were incredibly sweet and just put us at ease for the flight ahead. We had a seat for Beau (as you can see below) and we brought on his infant car seat.. thinking it would be easier than his big one that he's used for awhile now. 

He slept about 4 hours in the seat before sleepily waking up. Ben picked him up and he just wanted to cuddle, and then he was more comfortable laying out across the seat so we put the carseat on the floor. Upon reflection, we should have just checked it, but it wasn't a big deal at all. Now we know. :) 

Beau's Infant Carseat 
(and in case you're interested.. his convertible carseat!) 

We arrived at 9 am Amsterdam time and headed over to our hotel, which was in a GREAT location. We were in a quiet, beautiful spot. I had emailed all of our hotels our expected arrival time, but this one couldn't accommodate our early check in.. womp womp. They let us put our bags in the room and I freshened up, but the room hadn't been cleaned yet. So we set out to find something to eat and get our first glimpses of the city before our room was ready for us, and our afternoon naps. :) At this point we were so amazed by how good Beau was doing.. and loving the low 70s weather. 

Beautiful Amsterdam. So unique. 

It's rare to see a photo of just us two these days. :) 

I was so proud of Beau at this point.. he had been such a trooper. Just like his mama and daddy, he was surviving on about half of a normal night of sleep. 

This was literally RIGHT outside of our hotel. It was so wonderful staying away from the more congested areas. 

After a sweet and easy lunch of dutch pancakes and salad, we headed back to our room. I remember that we were dragging at this point, haha! This hotel was also the only hotel that couldn't provide a bed for Beau.. so decided to try out a good old cosleep situation. Not our favorite, but it was fine for two nights. We all slept for a few hours and were then ready to head back out to enjoy the city! 

On our walk towards the "I Amsterdam" sign, we saw a charming little place and I couldn't resist a giant raspberry macaron. YUM. Pre dinner snack? :) 

These are some of my favorite photos from the trip! The area by the sign wasn't packed by any means but for sure had some fellow visitors. It was fun watching people climb the letters and Beau was in a really great mood (as you can probably tell by the photos, ha!) so we took a few photos and just enjoyed the cooler air. On our evening walk we realized that we could have really enjoyed having brought our jackets.. which was a GREAT feeling for us Texans!

My Sweatshirt + Jeans (on sale for Nordstrom sale even though I've had these for 3 years haha!)

This photo hurts my heart.. I love my boys!

We wandered around and saw people eating outside of The Seafood Bar, and couldn't resist. I got fish and chips with calamari as my chosen fish (delicious amazing treat meal!!) and Ben got this crazy bowl of lots of fish haha. Beau surprised us by loving all of this. He was going to town on his crab salad. 

A sweet little hiney enjoying his night night! We went to bed at maybe 9 o clock? and were exhausted!! But we felt like staying up had helped us defeat jet lag.. until the next morning when I woke up so frustrated that I could hear people outside our room. How dare they make noise at 3 am... OOPS JUST KIDDING IT WAS 10!!!!! We all slept a million hours and had made up for our travel day. I literally bolted up when I looked at my phone and woke up Ben and then we woke up Beau. We had places to go and people to see. :) Our destination for the day was a visit outside the city to Zaache Sans, a windmill village that was just a 15 minute train ride away. 

Our arrival was nothing less than MAGICAL! I had read online that the proximity of a chocolate factory to the train station made you smell chocolate the second you get there.. and it was true! So amazing and made it feel like a fairy tale! 

I'll also note that on this trip I kept paying attention to details that would come in handy as our family grows and we travel with children of different ages. The train tickets were free for under 12.. so I thought it was cool that our 14 euro round trip would have still been 14 euros even if we brought 5 kids along. Probably won't have 5 kids.. but still! :) 

We loved the windmills and got our one good family pic of the trip! 

Lots of photos Ben insisted taking of me posing with the stroller haha!!

As you can tell, the village was incredibly charming. There was a farm and so many cute little places to eat and get farm made goodies!

Dutch bitterballs.. such a unique snack but they were honestly SO good! 

Speaking of good food, we loved all the cheese samples at the cheese factory. 

And then I got a little windmill chocolate at the chocolate factory.. it was delicious! 

We then decided to head back to the city after loving every bit of our time checking out the windmills. Before this trip, we usually would face Beau's stroller towards us, but we flipped him to see the world which he loved.. and we loved having the little window open to check on him :) This is honestly one of my favorite photos from the trip. 

After our train arrived back in Amsterdam, we decided to walk the long way around back to our hotel, stopping at Winkel 43 (a famous apple pie spot!) and to walk by the Anne Frank house. You have to book way in advance to get into the house. We might have been able to get tickets even with our last minute trip, but.. well have y'all seen the fault in our stars? If you haven't this won't make any sense but I remembered from that movie that you're climbing up ladders and stuff which totally makes sense, and I kind of "umm-ed and ahhh-ed" over if Beau could hang and once I decided he was good to go, it had sold out. Not a big deal. :) We still enjoyed walking by and seeing that piece of history. 


Sleepy boy ready to get his taste of apple pie! Also, I should note that I purchased him two long sleeved outfits to wear over and over on this trip knowing he would outgrow them by the time we had colder temperatures at home. 

There she is!! Such a yummy snack, but Ben kept talking about a sweet friend at his parents' church who makes much better apple pie. He insisted that I comment on her Facebook and tell her how much better hers is. 

I should mention that the day of this adventure was July 4th! We were really sad to miss being home for the holiday.. celebrating with our family and remembering the sweet life of the baby I miscarried on July 4th of 2015.. but the only way we could see my grandmother on this trip was to leave on July 2, so that's what we did. We decided to make our dinner a little July 4th family celebration. 

The whole time we were taking these photos I kept telling Ben I hoped people didn't think we were some kind of weird American supremacists because of Beau's outfit.. but literally no one cared haha!! I will cherish these images forever! 

We ate dinner at a fun pizza place, and the napkins were very on brand for Beau, haha!! 

We headed back to our room and set 18 alarms before going to bed because of our late wakeup that morning, and our early train to Brussels the next day! :) We loved our short and sweet time in Amsterdam!

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