Five Tips for Managing the Crazy

I get lots of comments & emails asking how I do it all, how I stay organized, how I run two businesses, how I keep our home so clean, how I love my husband well, how I make time for margaritas with girlfriends, how I stay on budget, how I run a farm & the list goes on.

The short answer - I don't. 
The better answer - You're not alone.

Let me paint you a picture. 

Earlier this week when we announced our (big! awesome! fun!) news of our brick & mortar shop opening, I was suffering from a pretty intense 48 hour stomach bug. I had intended to write our newsletter & create the event the week before, but my to-do list got the best of me & I was buried in work. 

Sunday afternoon came & so did my stomach bug. I thought I could just sleep it off. Oh no, my friends, how very naive of me. Monday morning came dreadfully quick & at the crack of dawn, with my puke bucket nearby & frantic breaks for the potty, I wrote our newsletter announcing our exciting news & fell straight back into bed.

On time? Barely. With grace? I nearly died. 

But here's the thing. I did the work, you got a pretty announcement in your inbox & you had no idea what was happening behind the scenes.

Our life isn't always as chaotic as the story above, but my point is that we all deal with our own versions of crazy. How we manage that crazy is key. 

What strategies do we implement in our own lives that keep us from having to write newsletters at the crack of dawn with a puke bucket in hand? 

How do we find a simpler, sustainable rhythm for our lives that gives us room to breathe & enjoy life's goodness?

I'm not perfect. But I've learned a whole lot amid the crazy. Here's a handful of tips, strategies & calls to action that I use in my own life to keep the chaos at bay. Enjoy!

1. Hire a housekeeper - I talk about this all of the time, but my housekeeper is my favorite person. It's the best investment on our quality of life & I am just so grateful for her service to our family. Create a budget category for this expense & find a housekeeper you love. It is the best gift you can give yourself in the new year!

2. Make time for YES! - Truth be told, I am exhausted by the many books out there telling us that in order to feel less stressed, we need to say no. I believe that's left us feeling disconnected & without community. Friends, I'd invite you to say yes. Saying yes has enriched my life in countless ways & allows me to feel a little more "me" when life feels hectic. Yes to weekly coffee with girlfriends! Yes to reading that book! Yes to movie nights with family! Yes to pie before dinner! Whatever your yes is, make time for it & watch your joy grow. 

3. Sign up for services that you'll use & will actually make your life easier - Signing up for Grove Collaborative & having our favorite home + body care products delivered right to our doorstep every month helps me feel on top of my game when I have zero energy left. Living on the farm makes it tough to go into town for a roll of toilet paper. And let's face it, that toilet paper pack turns into the fun earrings I need for that cute, new top I found on the end cap. It's an energy suck, a time suck, & a money suck.

Grove Collaborative keeps me focused on what we actually need within our home, saves me money & honors my time. The best part? The folks at Grove Collaborative are gifting every Natalie Creates reader a farmhouse enamelware caddy full of Mrs. Meyer's cleaning supplies when you sign up as a new customer & place your first order! I know you'll love & use this service just as much as our family does! 

Click HERE to sign up & never run out of toilet paper again!

4. Take time to plan - I spend 1 hour every Sunday planning out the week ahead. I jot down my commitments for the week (I'm using this monthly planner this year & loving it!) & my list of priorities for each day. I also set aside time within that hour to meal plan & write out my grocery list. This hour leaves me feeling in control of what I can realistically accomplish that week & how I plan to feed my family. Try carving out a little time this Sunday afternoon to plan out your week. Let me know how it transforms your days ahead.

5. Be ok with sometimes not being ok... & ask for help! - When we've implemented all of our strategies, followed all the rules, hired that housekeeper, taken time to plan & we still can't get it all together, admit your shortcomings & ask for help. This is where the grace comes in. This is where your people come in. Shoot an email & ask for a meal, a prayer or a babysitter. I cannot begin to tell you how many millions of times I've leaned into my precious community & they've shown up with paintbrushes, warm food & love. We've all got our own versions of crazy, but we should never expect to deal with them alone.

How do you handle the chaos? How do you manage the crazy? Share your thoughts in the comments, friends!


FREE Mrs. Meyer's Cleaning Kit ($40 value!) for a Fresh, CLEAN Start in 2017!

Are y'all in the thick of new years cleaning, dusting & decluttering? Every square inch of our home is in need of a good scrubbing! 

Well, I am thrilled to share with you all that I have an exciting offer from my dear friends at Grove Collaborative to help you start fresh within your home in 2017!

You all know just how much I love Grove Collaborative, formerly known as ePantry. For three years, we have used their service exclusively within our farmhouse. We buy all of our household goods from Grove Co., including toilet paper, soaps, detergents, toothpaste, shampoo & everything else you might need to run a home!

If you have never heard of Grove Collaborative, they are an amazing company that sends your favorite, all-natural home supplies right to your door! Their products are cheaper than what you'll find at the store & it is SO convenient. 

Plus, their monthly subscription makes budgeting for home supplies much easier. If you're working toward financial sustainability/responsibility in the new year, Grove Co. is a wonderful way to do just that. Our family sticks to an intentional monthly budget & their subscription service has been a wonderful tool for us!

I am SO excited to share that Grove Collaborative just released their farmhouse enamel cleaning caddy AND the Mrs. Meyer's hand lotion! The BEST PART? Every Natalie Creates reader who signs up as a new Grove Collaborative customer & spends just $20 on their first order will receive this cleaning kit (a $40 value!) for FREE! 

If you have yet to pull the trigger on joining Grove Collaborative, now. is. the. time! This offer is too good to pass up, dear friends!

This offer is valid for new Grove Co. customers only, but because Grove Collaborative provides the very best in customer service, they're offering up a hand soap (in the scent of your choice) for FREE to all existing Grove Co. customers. Grab yours HERE!

You can choose just one scent of Mrs. Meyer's goodies or mix & match to try an assortment! We have shifted to using just Mrs. Meyer's products to clean our home... the scents are just too amazing! The free scrubber sponges are equally wonderful. We use these all the time for cleaning up spills & messes. And y'all. I have fallen head over heels for that cute little caddy. It serves about 100 uses within our home & is pretty to look at, too!

Here's a step-by-step on how to easily grab this Free Grove Collaborative deal:

1. Sign up for Grove Collaborative HERE. You will receive the Mrs. Meyer’s offer for free when you sign up!

2. Answer 4 quick questions about your home that Grove Collaborative will then use to customize your first basket- this takes under 30 seconds!

3. Once you’ve answered the questions, you can finalize your basket of products to suit your household needs by adding or removing items. (This is the hardest part — so many great choices!)

4. To receive this offer, your order needs to be a minimum of $20. Choose the combination of products and scents you love to receive in your first box.

5. You made it! Click Finish & Pay to place your first order!

Let me know if you have any questions! It's always such a gift to share products with you that I really love to use within our home. I can't wait to read just how much you love your free bundle of goodies! 


New Year, New Building!

Happy 2017, dear friends!

If you've been around for a bit, you know that Luke & I opened a small online general store, Freckled Hen Farmhouse, in March of 2016. Freckled Hen Farmhouse was inspired by our own fixer-upper farm & home. (You can read our original announcement HERE).

 And because of YOU, it blossomed & grew beyond our wildest dreams!

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that we are continuing to share our goods online AND will be opening a full-time brick & mortar general store THIS January! 

Consider this your official invitation to join us on January 20th for our grand opening! Don't forget to click HERE to RSVP!

Since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to own my very own store. It was such a gift to open our virtual doors to our online shop earlier in 2016, but I knew we were not done yet. 

I found this beautiful little rock house months & months ago. It was occupied at the time, but I diligently checked back. I knew it was meant to be Freckled Hen Farmhouse's permanent home. 

One night as I was driving home from our studio space, I noticed it was empty & immediately touched base with the landlord (perks of a small town, y'all!). Days later, it was ours. 

Quirks & all...

Since the day after Christmas, we have been renovating what will soon be the home of Freckled Hen Farmhouse. We are excited to offer regular workshops & a gathering place at our long farmhouse table. There will be ample room for shopping our goods along with a lovely spot in the back for shipping your beloved orders worldwide! 

We will be open Wednesday-Saturday of every week! Winter hours will be 11AM-5PM W-F & 10AM-3PM on SAT.

Here's just a sneak peek of our progress...

This mom & pop shop is our heart & soul, friends. It is a tangible way to share our story with you & we are so grateful you love it just as much as we do. 

Thank you for your encouragement, your support & your love in 2016. We are excited for what 2017 will bring! 


My One Word for 2017

In 2013, I chose Joy.
In 2014, I lived out Quality.
In 2015, my one word was Pursuit.
In 2016, I chose Present but the word Provision chose me (perhaps more on that later..).

In 2017, I will live out Peace.

I believe choosing one word each year has such power over our days ahead. It's an anchor for the way we can live out our days, months & year. It allows our yearly goals to be measured while also allowing for that freedom to grow within that particular time. 

It's always such a surprise to look back on my year & note that - yes - that word lived & breathed through me. Perhaps it's lived out in bigger ways some years than others, but there's always a mark of that chosen word - small as it may be - on my time.

Over & over again, the word Peace kept coming to me as my intention for 2017. Perhaps it's the unrest we feel as a community at large or the conflict I've felt in my own personal life. Whatever the reason may be, I am choosing Peace in 2017 & I pray it has a profound impact on my heart & year.

By peace, I don't mean avoiding the noise or quieting my voice (although at times, that might just be what's needed)

I had an amazing conversation with a customer in Tulsa just before Christmas. We were talking about words for the new year and I mentioned mine. She began sharing her thoughts on peace, reflecting on what it could look like in the midst of chaos.

It hit me. She was right. 

How can I live out Peace in chaos? Friends, how can we be peace amid the crazy?

In 2017, I will choose Peace. 

 In how I treat my neighbor on our road, in my community, around the globe. In the choices we make for our business. In the decisions we make as a family. In the ways I speak & in the ways I act. 

I look forward to the hard work, the noise, the successes & the mistakes of 2017. How can I be light in darkness & peace in chaos? I look forward to sharing these thoughts in the year ahead!

Do you choose a word for your year? Share your 2017 word in the comments below!


Oliver's Tree: Ornament Recipes + Fun Ideas for Kids

This is indeed one of my favorite times of year. I love decorating for the holidays, baking sweet treats, hosting festive parties & enjoying holiday traditions with family. Having my sweet nephew close by makes it even more special!

When our nephew, Oliver, first moved to town, Luke & I decided to gift him experiences rather than stuff. Sure, we buy him little things here & there, but we knew gifting him a date to the movies & a visit to the bakery would be much more valuable than a plastic toy. Thus our weekly date was born! 

Every Wednesday afternoon, I pick up Oliver from school & take him on a little adventure. Every Wednesday, he asks, "Aunt Natalie what's the fun plan for the day?!" Sometimes we go to the museum. Other afternoons we spend at the library or the park! 

This Christmas season, we decided to treat Oliver to his very own Christmas tree at Uncle Luke & Aunt Natalie's home! We went to the tree farm & Oliver picked out his very own, just-his-size tree! We brought it home & have slowly been decorating the tree each Wednesday afternoon.

We have made a variety of ornaments & decorations together this season. We made colorful paper chains as garland & these cinnamon dough ornaments to hang!

I rolled out the dough & Oliver picked the cookie cutters - pig, snowflake & tree - to make his ornaments. You can find the recipe right HERE for the cinnamon ornaments. They'll make your house smell amazing & are very easy to make!

We also made orange slice ornaments together! We sliced the oranges in circles & dried them on a baking sheet in the oven at 200 degrees for 10-12 hours (keep an eye on them so they don't burn!). I then threaded each ornament & Oliver hung them on the tree. 

Each week that Oliver comes over during Christmas, I have been placing a "special treasure" underneath the Christmas tree for him. It's oftentimes a book & his finished ornaments in a small basket. I can't wait for him to find his soft little fox slippers under the tree this week!

It has been such a gift to share these little dates with Oliver each week. One day, when Oliver is grown up, I hope he knows he can come to Uncle Luke & me with anything at all. You are so loved, sweet Ollie Pop!

What Christmas traditions do you keep with your favorite littles? I'd love to read your wonderful ideas - please share in the comments! 


Our 2016 Christmas Card

Friends, it is my favorite time of year! Christmas card time! 
Can you hear my squeals from where you are? Eeeep!

I love sending cards to friends & family near & far. It's always so fun to open our mailbox to find a card or two from our nearest & dearest. 

This year I chose a double-sided card from Paperless Post. I fell in love with this card the minute I saw it. Illustrated by Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co. & donning nontraditional (a bit whimsical!) red & green tones. 

It matches our autumn photos perfectly & might just be my favorite card to date.

Here's a little flashback of our Christmas cards throughout our marriage: 2015 & beyond! 

Do you send out Christmas cards? I'd love to know in the comments!


Freckled Hen Farmhouse Holiday Gift Guide

Luke & I took a big leap of faith this year & opened up our dream shop, Freckled Hen Farmhouse, an online general store brimming with well-made home provisions & farm supplies. We have a cozy brick & mortar, too! 

In honor of the festive holiday season, I thought I'd share a handful of my favorite gift ideas from our shop! These are goods & tools we've used within our home for years & absolutely love. Instead of just sharing a big ol' list with ya, I thought I'd create a gift guide for that specific person you may have in mind.

I hope you enjoy this little guide just as much as I enjoyed pulling it together! Thanks so much for a magical year, friends! Now onto holiday gifting...!!!

This year will surely be marked by many loaves of artisanal bread lovingly baked by my sweet hubby. I am not complaining, y'all! 

When you've had a little too many carbs, thank goodness for fresh greens from the garden. Our shop is brimming with beautifully crafted hand tools boasting a lifetime warranty & sure to withstand years of hard work.

I'm a homemaker & proud of it. I love to fluff, nest, gather & love on folks within our home. Nothing lights my fire like a dinner party!

Hiking enthusiasts & happy campers, we've got the goods for you! When you need to get out of the farmhouse & breathe in some fresh air, we've got the enamelware mug to accompany you next to the campfire!

Y'all know I love a good budget spreadsheet. The holidays are no exception!


Happy gifting, dear friends! I'll be back soon with fun homemaking ideas for the holidays & what we're cookin' this time of year!

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