30 BEFORE 30

I run out of fingers & toes counting the bounty of blessings poured out when I reflect on this wild & precious life. Thankful doesn't even cut it, y'all. 

Today is my birthday. As I thought about how I wanted to celebrate this day & upcoming year, I was pulled to the art of list-making. The past 28 years have been full & wonderful, brimming with the good stuff & lots of learning. I want to make sure that as I enter into another decade, I've soaked up every last ounce of my 20s.

So I introduce you to 30 BEFORE 30 - a list of 30 things I want to see, do, eat, experience & more before turning 30 years old. Some items on my list are simple & small while others are big & will require continued work. Some of the items on my list I've experienced before & want to make sure I experience more of while others are firsts. It's a list I've been working on for many weeks & I cannot wait to start tackling it... NOW!

30 BEFORE 30

1. Breakfast out with Luke during the middle of the week just because
2. Get a facial
3. Play bingo!
4. Sit on a beach with a fruity drink in hand
5. Reach Lifetime at Weight Watchers
6. Take a pottery class
7. Get my first tattoo
8. Visit the desert
9. Go out to coffee with my parents
10. Watch a sunset 
11. Cruise country roads with the Jeep top down
12. Unplug for a day
13. Bonfire in the backyard
14. Spend a weekend at the lake house
15. Watch a movie at the Drive-In
16. Hike a mountain
17. Create a backyard oasis
18. Spend the afternoon in a hammock with a good book
19. Bicycle on the trails
20. Go Berry Picking
21. Surprise a friend with a bouquet of flowers
22. Picnic dinner in the park
23. Eat tacos at our favorite taqueria
24. Make homemade face masks
25. Spend a morning at yard sales
26. Go to New York City with Luke
27. Host Aunt Camp
28. Learn to drive a stick Check!
29. Bake a pie
30. Go swimming at the river

What's on YOUR list? Have you ever accomplished something like this? Share below!


My Go-To Sugar-Free, Grain-Free Granola & Yogurt Bowl Recipe

About a month ago I eliminated grains & sugar from my diet due to some significant digestion issues that I had been stubbournly ignoring. I've had some hiccups & special events along the way, but the changes in the way my body has felt overall throughout the last handful of weeks have been amazing! I feel lighter, brighter, less foggy & more energetic!

In making the switch, I decided to replace grains & sugar with more vibrant, nutrient-rich foods. Instead of a traditional bun for my veggie burger, I've been cooking up delicious sweet potato buns! I've been eating lots of beet kraut + pickled treats for a boost of flavor on salads & making a delicious yogurt bowl every morning for breakfast.

I've shared my yogurt & granola bowl many times on Instagram, but I've yet to share the full recipe. There are so many ways to mix it up, but here are the basics:

Natalie's Go-To Yogurt Bowl
1/2 - 1 cup plain greek yogurt 
1/2 chopped banana
1/2 cup fresh fruit of your choice 
2 teaspoons raw, creamy almond butter
2 teaspoons grain-free, sugar-free granola (My go-to is Wildway granola from Whole Foods Market)
Sprinkle unsweetened coconut flakes

Spoon plain greek yogurt into bowl. Layer bananas & fruit of choice on top of yogurt. I love adding blueberries, pomegranate seeds, raspberries & strawberries (April 4th - 10th, you can grab two cartons of organic, seasonal strawberries grown without toxic or persistent pesticides for just $7 from Whole Foods Market! Yes!) Next, drizzle creamy almond butter on top. Finally, add granola & a sprinkle of coconut flakes!

One simple addition to my yogurt bowl that I've been loving lately is my homemade, sugar-free strawberry sauce! It's so wonderful to have this sauce on hand when the berries are plentiful & on sale - pour a little on top of your yogurt bowl or mix in balsamic vinegar as a tasty dressing for my favorite spring dinner - strawberry & chicken salads!

Simple Strawberry Sauce
1 quart organic strawberries, tops cut off & chopped
teaspoon local honey (optional)
1 teaspoon water

Add all ingredients to a small saucepan on the stovetop. Heat over medium high heat until sauce begins to bubble. Using a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon, mash your strawberries as they bubble. Once the consistency is thick & to your liking, remove from stovetop & allow to cool. Place in a small jar & refrigerate. Add to your favorite spring dishes for a boost of flavor! Lasts about 3 weeks.

What recipes are you enjoying this spring? Have you been making any switches in your food journey? Please do let me know if you make my yogurt bowl & strawberry sauce! 


Tips to Create Your Own Self-Care Retreat at Home

While there are a handful of critics out there, I must say - Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays. I think we could all use a day dedicated to expressing our love for those around us, don't you think?

Not only is it important to show our love for those nearest & dearest to us, I find it's a healthy practice to carve out a little time to love on ourselves. 

We often pride ourselves on checking off our to-do list & maximizing every minute of every day, but rarely do we pat ourselves on the back for scheduling time to rest & reset.

This week, in honor of Valentine's Day, I am treating myself to one hour of uninterrupted self-care in our cozy little bathtub. Nothing fancy - just a pretty bouquet of roses, fair-trade dark chocolate, a  yummy-smelling bath bomb, candles & a good book to make it a little more special. 

This year I committed to purchasing only sustainably-grown, Whole Trade flowers, which fully support farmers & their communities. You'll always find a fresh bouquet of blooms within our home - it's one of my favorite indulgences. 

This week, February 7th - 14th, you can grab two dozen Whole Trade roses from Whole Foods Market for $24.99 (& Prime members can purchase them for just $19.99)! Divide them up into mini bud vases for all of your Galentines & arrange a few for you!

While you're at it, grab a few chocolate-dipped strawberries (they're $9.99 & available at Whole Foods Market from 2/12-2/14) for your tub time!

Don't forget to save a rose for the bathtub! Throw in a fizzy bath bomb from Whole Foods Market & fill the tub with rose petals to make it a little more festive. To do this, simply remove, or peel, the petals from the stem & throw them into the water. They'll float on top & add a floral scent to your steamy bath. 

Tip: Fresh petals will last for more than one bath! Gather up petals in a small bowl after one soak & add them to hot water the following day. Do note - petals will begin to wilt after a few days so promptly reuse them.

Light a candle & soak up your quiet hour of bliss as you read & rest. With a small budget & a handful of goodies from Whole Foods Market, you're sure to create a lovely self-care retreat so you can love those around you better. 

Do you ever carve out time for a little self-care? How will you carve out an hour or two to love on yourself this Valentine's Day week? Share your thoughts in the comments!


Freckled Hen Farmhouse is GROWING! March 2018

Friends, I am so excited to finally share the big Freckled Hen Farmhouse news!

Freckled Hen Farmhouse is growing! We are moving to a bigger, better building in March! Triple the space, double the product offerings, endless opportunities to serve our amazing patrons!

 This was such a tough decision to make, friends. Our current space has become our home away from home. We've made such amazing memories, connected with so many customers, held workshops & cultivated a rich community in our cozy space. 

Our original building holds such a special place in our hearts, but with the news of our block being sold & rebuilt, we no longer had the option to stay put where we are.

And with this news was the reminder that this building was also just a stepping stone. Luke & I have learned along the way that it's so important for the health of our business to continually take small steps toward our big, brave dreams. When we first opened our brick & mortar building last January, we had no idea if people would even show up! Month after month, folks have supported Freckled Hen Farmhouse beyond what we could have ever dreamed. We're so thankful for the continued support in Fayetteville & online.

We want to create a business that outlasts trends & fleeting styles. We're working to create a cornerstone in our community, a place where folks from all over the world feel welcomed & inspired to cultivate an intentional home. A unique shop - both online & in-person - that offers practical yet beautiful gifts you are excited to share with your dearest friends & family for fifty, sixty, seventy years to come. 

We believe this building right here is part of that wild & crazy, rich & meaningful, community-inspired story.

So, come on in & see what we've been up to. Watch your step, it's still a work in progress. But we cannot wait for you to see what it becomes! 

The store front is double in space compared to our current location. Lots of windows to brighten the space, making it extra warm & welcoming. Our ceilings are vaulted like a barn, which makes us feel right at home. The open floor plan will allow us to move things around so customers see something new every time they come through our doors.

We've been collecting old general store fixtures, wallpaper & more to bring character & charm to this bright & beautiful space. Imagine gingham, copper, chippy pant, florals & more.

The best part - more shop offerings! In the upcoming months, we'll be introducing even more goodies, workshops, classes & community events! Freckled Chicks, a hand-curated line of old-fashioned children's toys, puzzles & more will be joining the farmhouse. In addition, we cannot wait to share our expanded Freckled Hen library with you along with freshly-brewed Freckled Hen coffee roasted right here in Fayetteville, Arkansas! 

Luke & I, along with our incredible Freckled Hen team, want to thank you from the bottoms of our hearts for the support, love & encouragement both online & at the general store! 

Make sure to mark your calendars & join us for our Grand Re-Opening and 2nd Birthday Party on March 9th & 10th at 840 N. College Avenue in Fayetteville, Arkansas! There will be sips, sweets, laughter, squeals, hugs, happy tears & more! We cannot wait to celebrate with you.


Simple & Easy Crockpot Chicken Broth Recipe

Homemade chicken broth is such a simple way to nourish our bellies & save a little money. At least once a week, on our busy days, I stop by Whole Foods & pick up a rotisserie chicken. Paired with roasted veggies & Luke's sourdough bread, it makes for the perfect meal. 

I don't stop there, though. I always take off the leftover chicken from the bone & prepare sandwiches for lunch or make chicken nachos. I then add the bones to the crockpot & let it simmer into a rich & golden chicken broth for the week's soups. A $7 chicken turns into two meals & two delicious jars of broth, an impressive way to stretch one's dollar!

Today on the blog I am sharing my go-to crockpot chicken broth recipe. It's simple & one we make weekly. Enjoy!

Crockpot Chicken Broth Recipe

1. Remove all meat from the chicken carcass & place the bones in your crockpot. Fill with water until the bones are completely covered. Add your favorite herbs - rosemary, thyme & bay leaves - along with salt & pepper. Allow to simmer on low for 24 hours (yes, this means your crockpot will be on overnight!).

2. Once your broth has simmered for 24 hours, allow to slightly cool. Then pour bones & broth into a large colander with a bowl underneath. I typically do this in our sink. Lift the colander from the bowl & discard bones. You will be left with a rich, golden bowl of delicious broth! There may be some floaties, but that's just a flavor bonus!

3. Grab your jars (I use wide mouth) & a funnel. Pour broth into jars & screw on the lid. Don't forget to label your jars with the date!

4. Store your beautiful jars of broth in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. Use broth in soups, chilis, sautés & more! 

Let me know if you make this recipes! It's one of our family favorites & sure beats the pants off of the stuff you buy in the store.


Winter Skin Regimen & Dry Brushing

As I inch closer & closer to 30, I realize just how important it is to take care of my skin. I took for granted my soft, dewy skin of my earlier 20s & now I'm met with dry patches & hormonal acne - ack!

Thankfully I've found a few practices that have significantly helped my skin & I wanted to share those with you today!

1. Drink water, cut down on coffee: I know, I know. It's tough to read, but it's true! I enjoy my coffee just as much as the next person, but I was replacing my need for water with caffeine far too often. It was a nasty cycle, but one I am slowly overcoming. In the middle of the day when tiredness starts to kick in, I reach for water with lemon instead of coffee with cream & it shows in my skin. To encourage your water habit, keep a pretty glass pitcher next to your desk during the day. Fill it with fresh mint, cucumber or citrus for extra flavor & fill up your glass/sip as you work. 

2. Dry brush: I've fallen in love with dry brushing, y'all. It's a practice I am especially enjoying during the winter months. Just a few minutes of self-care really does make a difference when it's so cold & dark outside. It's rejuvenating, meditative & even helps reduce dry skin while increasing circulation! 

I got my body brush & my face dry brush from my shop, Freckled Hen Farmhouse. I love them because they're made of natural materials & handcrafted in Sweden by artisans with visual impairments - an incredible product with an even more amazing mission. 

Here's a quick step-by-step on dry brushing:

Face: 1. Thoroughly clean your face, rinse & allow to completely dry. 2. Once dry, begin gently brushing your face by starting at your neck. Work your way up to your forehead, using upward motions on your neck, chin & forehead. 3. Once you arrive to your cheeks & nose, use counter-clockwise circular motions. 4. When you're finished, apply moisturizer.

Body: 1. Jump into your shower. 2. Start dry brushing at your feet & move up your legs with each long stroke moving towards the heart. 3. Move to your arms & shoulders, moving the brush in the same direction. Pay attention to rough spots, spending just a few brief additional moments on those areas before moving on. 4. Finally, move to your sides, working from your hips to your armpits. 5. Once finished, enjoy a hot shower to remove any extra dead skin. 

Please note: Dry brushing 1-2 x per week is the recommended max.

3. Skin Oil: I used to believe that oil would clog my skin, but I've learned that it does just the opposite. I apply my skin serum to my face & neck twice a day & it has made such a difference in combating dry winter skin. I love the Seriously Glowing Face Serum from Acure & purchase it at Grove Collaborative, but any natural blend of oils will do.

I'd love to read your tips for winter skin & more! Please share in the comments below.


Housekeeping Habits for a Happy Home + FREE Mrs. Meyer's Cleaning Kit!

"The humblest tasks get beautified if loving hands do them." - Louisa May Alcott

So much of life happens within the home & I find it's so important to be intentional about how we live, breathe & work within our space. 

As I was reflecting on the past year, I realized just how many changes we made within our home related to house cleaning, body care & homemaking in general. Today I wanted to share some of those changes along with staples that have made living within our home much more enjoyable & peaceful.

+ Tidying up each evening: We have made a point each evening to tidy up our space. For our family, this looks like washing the dishes, wiping down the sink, sweeping the floors & putting things back in their designated places. It's such a wonderful feeling to wake up the next morning to a clean home.

+ Housekeeper: I've blogged about this several times, but hiring our monthly housekeeper was the best decision we have made. She does such a wonderful job of deep-cleaning our space so that we can just focus on the daily upkeep. 

+ Purchasing/growing fresh flowers: I believe a house really feels like a home with a touch of green. I purchase (when I'm not growing my own) a small bouquet of flowers every week. It makes such a difference to my mood & costs very little. I love dividing up the bouquet & adding a few stems next to the sink, on my dresser & in my office. Do grab a bouquet next time you're at the grocery store!

+ Cleaning supplies that make me happy: I believe it's so important to find joy even in the simplest of tasks. I love finding cleaning supplies that make me smile & help me to enjoy the work at hand just a little bit more. I love the cheery scents of Mrs. Meyer's products & receive them monthly at my doorstep from Grove Collaborative, an amazing subscription service that I can't recommend enough.

Right now through Monday, January 8th, Grove Collaborative is offering a FREE New Year Cleaning Kit to Natalie Creates readers! This bundle features Mrs. Meyer's Surface Spray, Hand Soap & Hand Lotion along with cleaning sponges all bundled up in their adorable enamel cleaning caddy + free shipping & 60 Day VIP Trial! All you have to do is sign up for Grove Co., spend $20 on your first order & your freebies will be added to your cart. Click here to sign up! You can mix & match scents as you choose - I love lavender during the wintertime.

Grove Collaborative's easy-peasy service is invaluable for our family & my sanity. It prevents those last minute trips to the grocery store for toilet paper, keeps our family organized, helps us save money & allows us to stay within our budget. 

+ Diffusing Essential Oils: I have loved diffusing oils in our home this year. I purchased my diffuser from Amazon & have found a variety of essential oil brands I love & diffuse. I know that some are faithful to one specific brand of oils, but I've found several I really love. dōTERRA, Young Living, Aura Cacia & Grove Collaborative's own line of oils are a handful of my favorites. Right now I am diffusing pine & grapefruit, a wonderful winter combination! I also love diffusing peppermint when I'm feeling under the weather & lavender when I am hanging out around the house. 

+ Natural Deodorant: I switched to natural deodorant last year & am never going back to the toxic stuff. I tried a whole bunch of brands & landed on a favorite that I love - Schmidt's Deo stick. It keeps me fresh & their scents are fantastic. My favorite is Rose & Vanilla. I purchase my deodorant from Grove Collaborative, but I've seen it at Whole Foods, too! 

+ Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus has become a monthly indulgence for me. I buy an inexpensive bundle from Whole Foods & hang it in my shower - a little tip I picked up on Instagram. It smells heavenly & naturally diffuses while you're enjoying your hot shower. It was especially helpful when I had a cold the week of Christmas.

+ Divvying up chores as a family: We find that it's necessary within our home to divvy up weekly & daily house chores. We've done this since we first got married. On Sunday, Luke cleans the bathroom & sweeps all the floors. I pick up around the house & complete odd jobs. I always cook, washing dishes along the way, and he finishes clean up after we've eaten. This definitely helps our home & marriage run smoother. One should never be solely responsible for the cleaning responsibilities within the home - it will surely leave you depleted & exhausted if so.

Here are a handful of changes I'd love to make this year:
+ Purchase more from the bulk bin
+ Make some of my own beauty care products
+ Waste less & bring my own jars/bags to the grocery store to reduce food packaging

What are some changes you have made or hope to make within your own home? I'd love to read your thoughts!


P.S. Grove Collaborative's offer is only good until Monday, January 8th, so make sure to grab your FREE cleaning kit full of happy Mrs. Meyer's cleaning goodies soon! Click here to sign up right now!
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