five years.


seven years ago today, i convinced you to like me.

five years ago today, i became your bride.

every day we say yes to a life of messy mistakes & beautiful moments.















we've grown up together. 

we have studied together & we have graduated with degrees in hand together. we've bought a farm together & grown food together. we've celebrated our tiny successes together & we've held on amidst the disappointments together. 



thank you for saying yes to the good & the bad. thank you for loving me.

i'm looking forward to hundreds of more years with you.
love,
natalie

the cleaning power of thirty minutes


i'm that disorganized, dysfunctional girl. i roll my eyes at the women with their little clipboards, color-coded pens & cleaning schedules.  i mean, who follows a cleaning schedule? (don't answer that)

five tips to clean your entire house in thirty seconds
ten ways to mop so well you replace your fancy china with the kitchen floors instead
fifteen cute pinterest housecleaning checklists that make cleaning the house as fun as a night out
twenty five ways to make you feel less than so others can stare at you in pity

and so it goes, as we prepared for our upcoming vacation, i started a check list of to do's before leaving. just as i would check off a to-do, ten new items would magically appear on the list. 

in a moment of desperation & self-pity, i decided to set my timer for thirty minutes. 

our house was a disaster. 

what could i really do in thirty minutes? perhaps those highly organized women with their fancy office supplies were on to something...

here's proof of the mess (edited to reveal pretty light & hide the dirt/smudges/fur balls caked/smeared/floating on every & all surfaces):





with a trash bag in hand & a basket at the ready, i set the timer for thirty minutes.

my results:


a made bed.


clutter picked up & in it's designated place.


groceries unpacked & put away, canning supplies organized & life in a manageable state.

i didn't have time to sweep the floors, scrub the pots or clean the counters. my house was definitely not martha stewart approved.

but that thirty minutes was well spent & put me at ease.

we don't have to be that woman with her regimented cleaning schedule & highly organized life. i promise you, i'll fail at being her. 

but we can acknowledge the power of a well-spent handful of minutes focused & oriented toward cleaning up the mess of life. we don't always have to choose this path because sometimes a mindless half hour of facebook is good for the soul, but being intentional about how we spend our time can make a big difference in how we enjoy our time.

i plan to practice this thirty minute cleaning session in my daily rhythm.  i'd love to know - how do you manage the dirt, grime & chaos of home? 
love,
natalie

water bath canning dilly beans recipe


while i'm away relaxing on the beach, soaking up the sunshine with margarita in hand, i give you dilly beans.

canning dilly beans in your hot kitchen during the steamy summer months is kind of like sitting on the beach. minus the waves & margarita.

you can thank me later.


dilly beans are like pickles, but dare i say better? they're delicious on the side of a salad or shared at a barbecue. a friend even mentioned that she tops fancy alcoholic drinks with her dilly beans! genius.

so grab those green beans & let's get to canning!


dilly beans recipe

makes about 12 pint jars

6 tablespoons pickling or canning salt
6 cups white vinegar
6 cups water
5 lbs green beans, trimmed & cut into jar-length pieces
3 large bell peppers, seeded & thinly sliced
whole black peppercorns
1 sprig of fresh dill or 1 teaspoon of dried dill seed per jar
24 cloves garlic

1. prepare canner, jars & lids in preparation for water-bath canning. see this link for a detail description of water-bath canning preparation.
2. in a very large stainless steel pot, combine salt, vinegar & water. bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt. add green beans & peppers. return to a boil. once it has started boiling, remove the pot from heat.
3. place a pinch of peppercorn, 1 sprig of dill & 2 cloves of garlic to the bottom of each pre-heated jar. 
4. pack beans & peppers into the jar. add vinegar liquid from pot, leaving a 1/2 inch headspace. remove air bubbles within the jar with a wooden spoon. wipe rim & place the lid on top. screw the band on until resistance is met.
5. place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered in water. bring to a boil & process for 10 minutes. remove the canner from heat, wait five minutes, & then remove jars to cool. 
love,

natalie

a morning at freckled hen farm // photos by nikki toth


when nikki toth emailed us about photographing our life on the farm, i squealed in delight! we haven't had professional photos since our wedding almost five years ago. 

our yearly christmas card photos are usually an aftermath of me setting up the tripod & running as fast as humanly possible to stand beside luke, disheveled with windblown hair & muddy shoes. 
there are lots of outtakes.

don't get me wrong - i am so thankful for the opportunity to photograph the beautiful moments that happen daily, but too often i'm behind the camera instead of within the frame. 

nikki's gift of photographing our little family on our farm is one i will always cherish. she captured moments more intimate than our wedding day. nikki, thank you for blessing us beyond measure with these photographs.

a morning at freckled hen farm ... 





















please visit nikki's website & facebook page for more of her work.

love,
natalie

blog love


thank you to our fantastic blog love small business & blogger supporters for an amazing 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! we have just a few spots available next month!

 your support allows me to continue pouring energy into this space that i so dearly love. 

thank you!
love,
natalie

a space to just be.


how do you recharge & relax? what makes your heart sing? 

how do you unwind & gather your thoughts? what inspires you to pour your all into your daily rhythm & tasks?


i think these are questions all of us should ask ourselves. 

i am often times surrounded by women who do not know the answer to these questions because they're never really given the opportunity to explore what rejuvenates their soul, inspires their being & makes their heart sing. 

friends, we must leave space in our lives to relax & just be.

space to just be.


i am so thankful for my sweet friend, sara, who said yes to her dream & created the rosy retreat - a space to just be. 

when i answer those questions centered around rejuvenating, lifting spirits & caring for myself best - i imagine a creative, relaxing, calm space with a group of like-minded girls. 

sara created just this. (bless you, sara.)


& she invited us to be a part of her dream. 




i left that evening with a full heart & a group of new girlfriends. i left with a handful of crafts, a pretty flower crown, some lovely photos & an inspired soul. 

friends, i said yes to a space that allowed me to just be so that i could leave & be so much more for my home.


what relaxes & inspires you? what makes your heart sing?

craft with your girlfriends or read a book. host a dinner party & eat on paper plates if you don't like washing dishes. say yes to your dream & host a retreat for women. invite your tribe to coffee dates or go thrifting together. take a long nap or go for a long walk.

find a space that allows you to just be. 
love,
natalie
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