Four Gift Ideas for Fall

Friends, I don't know about you, but I am exhausted by the negative political arguments happening all over our social media outlets. It leaves me feeling drained & quite weary as I watch good people fall into the trap of Facebook fights & Twitter wars. 

Today I want to share a little joy with you. Today's blog post includes a handful of inexpensive & free gift ideas because sometimes all we can do is shine a little light & brighten someone's day.

1. Pretty jars of preserves: Last Christmas I gifted my family jars of homemade strawberry jam. Who says we can't extend this kind of giving year-round? Gather up bits of fabric & your favorite personable tags. Don't forget to include a wooden spoon or knife for spreading the love! Drop your cheerful jars off at your neighbors' doors right before they arrive home from work!

2. Coffee gift cards: There's nothing like free coffee, y'all. Purchase a handful of $5 gift cards from Starbucks or your favorite coffee shop & share them with your coworkers, momma friends & whomever else needs a little perk up! 

3. Baking Kit: I created this baking kit last autumn for a girls' get-together at my home & I still love it to this day! Pull together your favorite baking mix & throw it in a cute mixing bowl with decorative ribbon & a seasonal tag (I love Lindsay's tags found right here)!

4. Yummy handsoap: If nothing else will calm the chaos, at the very least we can promise yummy smelling hand soap for our people. I am a Mrs. Meyer's junkie & their autumn scents are amazing! I'm excited to share that I am offering a fun little FREEBIE until October 16th (this Sunday!) - grab $30 worth of Mrs. Meyer's hand soap, spray & dish soap for FREE when ya spend $20 at Grove Collaborative. Click HERE for the details & click HERE to get your free goodies!

I've shared this freebie in years past & lots of ladies have stocked up for teachers' gifts, Christmas stocking stuffers & housewarming gifts. Why not stock up & share the goodness right now just because? Purchase a bouquet of grocery store blooms & add your Mrs. Meyer's freebies in a basket for a friend in need!

What are some of your favorite ways to brighten someone's day? Please share!


The FREE Mrs. Meyer's Seasonal Scent Bundle is BACK!

Y'all! It's Fall! That means lots of flannel, carving pumpkins, wool blankets, bonfire parties, fresh apples from the local orchard, pumpkin spice everything & Mrs. Meyer's Seasonal Scents! YAY!

If y'all have been around these parts for any time at all, you know I am a HUGE Grove Collaborative fan! 

What's Grove Collaborative, you ask? It's a fantastic company that sends your favorite, all-natural home supplies right to your door each month! They're cheaper than what you'll find at the store & it saves our family tons of time. Last minute trips to Target are fun, but they can get this sister into a wee bit of trouble... I was just coming for toilet paper, right?! 

We've been using, enjoying & obsessing over Grove Collaborative for three years now. Whatever did we do before toilet paper & cute hand soap were delivered to our doorstep?!

Here's what your FREE Mrs. Meyer's Seasonal Scent package includes:
Through October 16th, you can grab a FREE (in the seasonal scent of your choice - mix & match if you'd like!): Mrs. Meyer's Fall Hand Soap, Mrs. Meyer's Fall Dish Soap, Mrs. Meyer's Fall Multi-Surface Cleaner & a Grove Co. exclusive cotton kitchen towel with any $20 minimum purchase at Grove Collaborative. Friends, shipping is free, too!! 

Y'all, there are absolutely no catches or schemes. This is exactly the way I heard about Grove Collaborative all those years ago & I truly appreciate their services now. 

This offer is valid for new Grove Co. customers only, but because the folks at Grove Co. are sweet as pumpkin pie, they're offering a 50% discount on all kits to existing Grove Co. customers. That's $15 off, y'all! Grab the discount HERE.

There are two scents to choose from:
- Mum
- Apple Cider

You can choose just one scent for your package or mix & match to try them both. We can't get enough of the Apple Cider scent. It smells like there's a pot of hot apple cider simmering on the stovetop while we wash dishes!

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! I can't wait to read just how much you love your free bundle of yummy smelling goods!


loving lately list

As I sip on my favorite pumpkin spiced coffee (at Trader Joe's - go get some!), I cannot help but feel wildly inspired by the autumn season. It's such a wonderful time of year to experience one's favorite Fall traditions, make a few changes within the home & heart, decorate the front porch and get outside in the crisp air. 

Today I thought I would share a small list of what I am loving lately - experiences, places, moments & things that bring me joy & inspire my days. 

1. Smoky Mountains of Tennessee - I just arrived home from a quick trip to Tennessee with extended family. Goodness, it's such a beautiful part of the country! We made a quick trip through the Smoky Mountain National Park & were amazed by the beauty of Cades Cove. I cannot wait to bring Luke to this gem of a place!

2. Weekly baking - As most of you know, I have been prioritizing my health & working hard to lose weight. I am down 30 pounds, yay! At first I gave up baking as to avoid temptation, but most recently I have been baking simple muffins each week. I love Skinnytaste@trackingisthenewblack's recipes - so far I have made pumpkin spiced & pineapple coconut muffins.

3. Self-care - Yesterday morning before the work of the day began, I grabbed a coffee & headed to the local nursery. It was such a wonderful way to clear my head & soak up a bit of inspiration to continue the creative work that my career so often requires. I am slowly learning just how important these self-care moments are. 

4. Homemade Bread Candle - Don't get me wrong, I am a huge Pumpkin Spiced everything fan. But I have fallen in LOVE with the Homemade Bread candle available in our online shop. In the evenings, after the house has been picked up for the day, I light my candle and enjoy a few quiet moments with Luke & a book or an ongoing project. It's such a delicious addition to our home. 

5. Podcast Interview - I recently had the honor of being interviewed for the Style Matters podcast with the amazing gals from Little Yellow Couch. Click here to listen - it's about 30 minutes long & full of the ups, downs & in-betweens of living on the farm, owning a small business & being a creative. 

6. Fall Wreath Making - Over the weekend I made my way through the Delta & stopped by the cotton fields my grandpa once farmed. I picked a bundle & brought it home for a bit of wreath making. It's such a sweet, simple gift to hang this wreath on my mantel. 

7. Pickling Workshop - Just in time for the final harvest of the season, I am teaching a Pickling workshop in Fayetteville on October 4th. Click here to register, friends! It's just $35 & will include detailed instruction, hands-on experience & recipes! You will also walk away with two jars of pickled dilly beans and my favorite bread & butter pickles. Join me for an evening of fun!

What are you loving right now? Please share your list in the comments below!


my favorite from-scratch hot apple cider recipe

Happy first day of Fall, y'all!

With the arrival of Autumn, our home instantly becomes cozier. Stunning bright leaves scatter just outside our windows & we begin tucking pumpkins into every corner of our home. 

We also find ourselves being more intentional about making time for family around the farmhouse table. 

Today I thought I would share my favorite from-scratch Hot Apple Cider recipe to accompany you & your guests during the Autumn season!

Natalie's Favorite From-Scratch Hot Apple Cider Recipe

- Roughly 2 pounds of apples, chopped  (this recipe is a wonderful way to use seconds from the farmers' market!)
- 1 cup sugar (or to taste)
- 1 orange, sliced
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 2 cinnamon sticks (plus more for serving)
- 1 teaspoon allspice

1. Place roughly two-pounds of apples in a large stockpot. Add enough water to cover your apples completely.

2. Stir in sugar, sliced orange, cinnamon, cinnamon sticks & allspice. Bring to a boil. Boil, uncovered, for 1 hour. Your house will smell amazing!

3. Strain apple cider through a fine mesh sieve & pour back into your pot.

4. Serve in my new favorite ceramic mug with whipped cream & a fresh cinnamon stick!


P.S. Our new "Home" mug launched today at the Freckled Hen Farmhouse & I love it so much! It makes such a lovely gift for friends & a wonderful treat for you! xo.

simple ways to freshen your home

every time i return from a trip, i feel a hint of discontentment with our home. yet oftentimes the littlest tweaks are quite significant in changing the feel & mood of a space.

today i thought i would share a little list of simple things i love to do within our home to make it feel fresh & new again.

1. light my favorite candles - there's nothing quite like the warmth & coziness of a candle burning. i love the gather candle from our shop & burn it in our kitchen next to the sink.

2. make the bed - luke & i begin each day by making the bed together. it's a quick bit of time to connect & chat about our goals for the day while we fold the blankets & pile on the pillows. also, it's such an easy way to calm the chaos of home. 

3. flowers in unexpected places - go out to the garden & harvest a bouquet or grab one from the grocer. create mini bouquets throughout your home in the most unexpected places - the bathroom, your bedroom dresser, atop the coffee table. every time you turn the corner, you'll smile!

4. set the table - gather your favorite linens, a bouquet of flowers, a candle & your favorite china. set the table & ready your family for a wholesome meal together. it's the simplest way to reconnect with your family & ground yourself to your sacred place.

how do you freshen your home & it's corners? please share in the comments!


late summer wishes

with the start of school in our neck of the woods, we feel a slight shift toward fall. while i love the autumn season, i adore summer & never wish to rush it's presence. 

today i thought i'd take a moment to write out our late summer wishes before the season's end. a simple way to remind myself - & perhaps you! - that there's still so much living to be done before the days grow shorter. 


- take susie q, our beloved camper, on an overnighter 
- one more trip to the beach this september 
- ride bicycles on our local trails
- take long walks in the evening
- visit the local fruit stand for fresh fruit
- jump in the river & enjoy a day of adventuring
- wear sandals, shorts & tanks as much as possible
- practice shibori dyeing & make cloth napkins for our home
- walk around the farmers' market with coffee in hand
- host a canning swap at our studio
- eat basil pesto pasta & caprese salads 
- sit on the porch in the morning
- soak up the sun in the backyard pool
- watch a film at the drive-in movie

what are some of your late summer wishes? share your list in the comments!


our favorite recipes for preserving the garden bounty

i often find it's difficult to sit down for even just a bit during the summertime to share my thoughts with you in this space. with these august days oh so full in the garden & in the kitchen, i'm lucky if i can even fit in a shower! 

but with rain coming in & a decently checked off to-do list, i thought i would carve out a moment or two to sit with you & share a handful of my favorite recipes for putting up the garden bounty. it's what's on my mind right now as i am sure it's on yours, too. there's always a basket of produce waiting on me, which is indeed such a gift. 

i've blogged about most of these recipes, but it's always nice to have one place to go & find my most used recipes. happy canning & preserving! 

- my easiest, go-to tomato sauce: this sauce can be used with pasta or on pizza. it's very versatile. the recipe is a slow-cooker recipe, but i've also cooked it on low atop the stovetop. 

- heather's salsa: i've made lots of jars of this salsa this summer & we love it. i look forward to popping open a jar of this fresh tomato goodness with tortilla chips in the dead of winter. 

- the most delicious sweet pickles: i love this simple cucumber sweet pickle recipe from smitten kitchen. it's straight-forward & easy. simply pop them in the fridge when you're finished - they'll last for a couple of months. 

- pickle everything with this go-to recipe: okra, sugar snap peas & more... i use this recipe as my go-to for quick pickling almost everything from the garden.

- canned dilly beans: we love dilly beans! can them & enjoy them in the winter with a good meat & cheese plate. don't forget a good loaf of homemade bread, too.

- our family favorite cucumbers & onions: this is a summer potluck go-to & a favorite dish among my family. simply combine ingredients & let them mingle for just a bit before serving. it's a delicious, fresh addition to almost any meal from grilled burgers to salad. 

- chop & freeze almost everything from the garden: to freeze berries, peppers, fresh corn & more, simply wash & chop (if necessary) your produce. lay on a baking sheet & allow to freeze completely. once thoroughly frozen, place in a labeled plastic freezer bag & store in the deep freeze until ready to use. tip: i keep a deep freeze supply list on clipboard hanging from the wall next to our deep freeze so we don't lose track of what's inside.

- my favorite crustless zucchini pie: skinnytaste's zucchini pie is a favorite of ours. i made a few for freezing this summer with our extra zucchini & they will make the perfect quick & affordable dinner this winter. to process the zucchini, i pulled out our food processor, which makes the work much easier.

- my favorite basil pesto: i love this basil pesto recipe because it does not use nuts, which cost a small fortune when you're processing the quantity of pesto we do. once my pesto is made, i freeze it in small jars & ice cube trays. once the trays are frozen, i remove each cube & place them all in a labeled plastic freezer bag.

let me know if you use any of our go-to recipes for processing & preserving your garden bounty!

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