date night idea: drive-in movie for under $15


friends, dating is fun.

why do we not put more time & energy into this? 
why do date nights go forgotten & time together unintentional?
i'm preaching to myself here, y'all.

friends, dating is fun.

& dating is necessary.


luke & i try to date regularly. sometimes i get stuck in the thick of workaholism or busy seasons happen, but we set aside budgeted money every single month ($50) to date each other.

go ahead & fit "date night" into your budget. it's worth it, friends. even if it's $10 a month for a red box movie & a bag of snickers, set aside money to date your partner. 


i use the word "date" intentionally here. i think we too often forget to really date our partners.

do you remember your first date with him or her? how did you feel? what did you do?

my people, let's recreate these events, feelings, butterflies, conversations, kisses & cuddles.

again, i'm preachin' to myself, too.


i truly believe our relationships are investments & what we put into it is returned to us. too often luke & i get stuck into the boring routine of dinner out. don't get me wrong, going out to eat is fun, but i get absolutely giddy when we plan creative dates. it brings about those first date butterflies. 


when luke suggested we pack up the farm truck & go to the drive-in movie, i'm not quite sure i could have loved him more. it was so much fun!

it cost less than $15, too. we packed up the back of our truck with sleeping bags, quilts & pillows. we brought our own snacks, popped our own popcorn & paid $14 to get in. we watched the film in the back of the truck & held hands while munching on our little treats & drinking coca cola from mason jars (his idea! he's the cutest!)!


essentials for a drive-in movie date night:

- radio: allows you to tune into the radio station to hear your movie
- snacks: we brought popcorn with nutritional yeast & salted butter, peanut m&ms, tortilla chips, salsa, & candy corn.
- drinks: we brought coca cola  & sprite with a cooler of ice.
- blankets, pillows, sleeping bags: provides a comfy space & keeps you warm

what are some of your favorite date night ideas? how do you plan intentional time with your partner?

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big hugs to these small businesses, makers & bloggers for supporting natalie creates this month:


if you would like to support my blog, click here. this small fee includes an ad on the sidebar & an optional giveaway for my readers/ig followers! the fall months are the perfect time to sponsor; holiday shopping is just around the corner! there are just a few spots available for this upcoming month so purchase an ad today! it's easy & oh so fun.

love,
natalie

the shop is open!


hooray! my shop is now open & stocked with reversible headbands & happy flags!

i'm offering a little treat to blog readers, too! just enter "BLOGTREAT" at checkout & receive 20% off your order. yay!

love,
natalie

fall mantel inspiration + autumn bucket list giveaway!


it's almost autumn, but around these parts, we're seeing little hints already. 

we have begun collecting wood for our winter wood stove & wrapping ourselves in blankets during the evening hours. the days are cool, which our garden & animals really love, & that warm autumn light is absolutely magical. 

hints of autumn also mean autumn mantels.


...pumpkins, happy flags, red & orange tones, bright leaves & whatever else might strike my fancy.

i keep a little basket in our guest bedroom closet of seasonal decor. it's so exciting to pull out my little bits of festive goodies to decorate our home for the seasons.


i have become a big fan of clipboards. if you've stuck around for long enough, you know this.

my dear friend, sara of the rosy life, gifted me this print. i clipped it to one of my favorite rusty clipboards & placed it on our mantel. it's the focal point of our decor & the best reminder of the good stuff about autumn.


i now want to curl up with a book & rest next to the cozy fire, yes? grab me a slice of that homemade apple pie while you're up! 


sweet sara is offering up one of her autumn bucket list prints from her rosy life etsy shop to a natalie creates reader! 

it's simple to enter this giveaway...
1. check out sara's shop & browse a bit. what's your favorite print in her shop?
2. leave a comment with your email address & one activity you plan to add to your autumn bucket list this season!
3. follow sara on instagram @therosylifeblog

happy winning, friends! 
love,
natalie

 p.s. sara is offering 20% off in her shop with the code "ROSYLOVE20." grab yourself a print right now, y'all!

i am a workaholic.


something changed this summer. something inside of me shifted, altered & grew off balance.

this summer, i became a workaholic.


tears well up when i even begin to type that word.

workaholic.

isn't that for the ceo of walmart & the highly successful business suit type? 

no, it actually fits quite nicely into my story... the long days, the numerous cups of coffee, the sleepless nights, the insomnia, the to-do lists & the neglected relationships.

it explains the poor judgement, the grumps & the weight gain. 

i am a blogger & a homemaker & a workaholic.

i lack work boundaries & life balance. i push myself until the wee hours of the morning & set my alarm to pop up before daylight. all for the sake of a to-do list & the approval of others.


friends, does this ring true in your life?

how did we get here?

do you need rest? i need a nap.

& change. 


i wish i could wrap this up with a pretty bow on top & entitle this blog post, "how i conquered workaholism & found balance", but i would be lying.

i continue to struggle & lack rhythm. i still say yes far too often than i should, but i am finally recognizing my need for rest & balance.

so here i am, telling you i need change.
here i am sharing my guts out, sharing my inner most flaws & doubts.  

here i am sharing my mantra for this week:

seek balance & fight workaholism by
+ getting a full seven hours of sleep each night
+ eating well
+ saying no at least once this week

----

friends, i would love to read your stories & journeys. i would love to read how you find rest & balance each week. 
love,
natalie

roasted cinnamon & maple glazed butternut squash recipe


let's talk about squash.


a few weeks ago we harvested acorn & butternut squash from the garden. y'all, it's a christmas miracle that we managed to snatch up some squash before the squash bugs & vine borers got ahold of them first. 

down here in the south they give you gold medals if you can manage to grow squash. we deserve a blue ribbon for that basket of squash goodness.


so naturally, we had to share the bounty from our garden with friends. we invited our dear farmer friend over for a little dinner on the patio & served up some delicious butternut squash.

i love experimenting with vegetables from our garden & this recipe is no different. i'm not one for measuring so you'll have to bare with my "pinch" of this, "little of that" & "dash" of this. 

i also love that this recipe is one you can pop into the oven & go about your business until the timer is up. it's a hands-off, no-nonsense sort of recipe & really, those are the best kind.


roasted cinnamon & maple glazed butternut squash
serves four

1 butternut squash
extra virgin olive oil
dash of cinnamon
maple syrup to liking
sprinkle of sea salt
sprinkle of freshly cracked pepper
sausage (optional)

preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. cut your butternut squash in half & scoop out the insides, leaving the skin on. place your halves of squash, face up, on a baking sheet. dribble just a tiny bit of good olive oil onto your squash, making sure it covers the entire surface. add a dash of cinnamon & a sprinkle of sea salt. sprinkle a bit of freshly cracked pepper & drizzle maple syrup to liking on top. place your dish in the oven & bake for 30 - 40 minutes until the squash is soft. you may serve it on the side just like this or add cooked sausage to make a stuffed squash entree. eat & enjoy!

let me know if you try this dish! i'd love to read your thoughts!

love,
natalie

the barefoot seamstress tote bag giveaway!


there are two articles of clothing in my life worth investing in: shoes & purses. 

i really wear my shoes. from farm chores to scavenging junk among piles at thrift shops & yard sales, my soles see miles & know hard work.


my purses & totes carry my life. at any given moment inside my purse, you're likely to find a craft project, books, my daily planner, our cash budget wallet (by miss money bags- love her!), a measuring tape, & bits of life chicken-scratched on tiny pieces of paper fluttering throughout. 

my bag is my come-along friend, up for any adventure & tucked among rusty goodness stuffed in the back of my tiny hatchback car. 



so i was absolutely thrilled when becky sent me her new desert horizon tote bag from her shop, the barefoot seamstress. 

y'all, becky is the real deal & this bag is not playing around. 

it has deep pockets inside for storing chapstick, pens, your phone & more. it also has sturdy leather straps perfect for carrying weight, like that over-due library book. also, can we just talk about it's cute factor? i've been carrying this tote for over two weeks now & it's the highlight of my outfit every single time. 


it's your lucky day because the barefoot seamstress is offering the desert horizon tote bag to one lucky natalie creates reader! it's easy peasy to enter. simply -

1. visit the barefoot seamstress shop & browse her beauties.

2. follow @thebarefootseamstress on ig or like "the barefoot seamstress" on facebook.

3. comment with your email address & one piece in your wardrobe you often invest in!

i'll pick a random winner next wednesday, september 17th, at 8 am CST. happy winning!
love,
natalie

p.s. head on over to the barefoot seamstress right now & get your shop on! becky is offering a generous 20% off with the code "nataliecreates" until september 18th. yay!

--- comments closed! congrats to natalee for winning the giveaway! -- 

gift basket idea for the gal pals


sometimes life's rough & we just need a good ol' perk-me-up gift basket from our girls.

can i get an amen?


if you don't already keep a basket or box of little last minute, quick gifts - do it. 

i keep my basket of little gifts in my guest bedroom closet. i pick up things here & there that tickle my fancy or are on clearance for a great price. when i need a gift, i look through my basket & pick out items that would fit that person's interests & style. 

this is perfect for those moments when you feel the urge to give but you don't have the budget or the time to run to target. 

when my gal pal mentioned that she was going through a particularly challenging season, my tribe of lady friends pitched in a couple of dollars each & we made her this basket. we included a bottle of izze & straws, nail polish, a cinnamon roll & a bouquet of flowers to add a bit of happy to her day. 

i even re-used the colorful izze box, which is just the cutest. from trash to treasure, i say. 


a bit of crinkly turquoise paper from amanda's shop along with sequins, gold, a clothespin & the perfect card to reminder her that she is indeed "beauty full."


this little package came together in just a handful of minutes & brightened her day!

how do you love on your gal pals? i'd love to read your ideas!
love,
natalie
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