miss lucy grace's baby shower


this weekend i hosted a little baby shower with a group of my dearest friends to celebrate our newest mama gal pal, daila, & her sweet lucy grace! 


little lucy grace surprised us all by coming a month earlier than her due date! that sweet pea was happily in attendance to her own shower & we were all absolutely giddy about it.


we passed around the little peanut while sharing birthing stories, mothering tips & all of that other good parenting stuff that i gratefully file away in my parenting toolbox. 



thank you to the amazing ladies who baked & cooked up the yummy treats for the shower! (i will happily decorate, but i refuse to cook for parties & showers... i'm not the chef in our tribe!)


i do love a good excuse to buy sweet treats such as sprinkled doughnut holes & pretty mints! i just threw them in glass jars & added a white tag. 


those adorable gold forks & gold straw flags are from hobby lobby! i love their paper & party goods section. the tablecloths were thrifted... the white tassel tablecloth made my heart stop when i saw it. 



my dear friend, jen, made the amazing gluten free cupcakes & those cute flag cupcake toppers out of cardstock & toothpicks. love! also, i went a bit crazy with the glitter & made miss lucy grace a giant gold glitter "L" for her room along with glittery heart cupcake toppers for a bit of happy. 


now c'mon, someone else have a baby so we can hang, cuddle newborns & eat sweets again! xo.
love,
natalie

family retreat 2015


last weekend we packed our bags & headed to a little cottage on the lake for our annual family retreat!


if you've been around these parts for any time at all, you know about our annual family retreat.

you can find a little bit more about our retreats of the past here


when luke was just a tot, his parents decided to begin the tradition of family retreats. 

we disconnect from distractions one weekend in january & reflect on the previous year. we then set new goals & intentions for the new year. the location changes based on our budget & calendar, but the goals are always the same - reflect & envision. 




i believe the practice & yearly tradition of meeting together to celebrate another year of the good stuff & imagine what could be in the new year is a must for family unity. we discuss heavy topics together, laugh together, imagine together & cry together (i'm usually the only one crying. go figure!). 



we slow down to just simply be together. we play games, share meals, journal, read, explore & nap.



today i thought i'd share some of the family goals luke & i have in mind for 2015- 

financial family goals:
- build emergency savings account
- consolidate student debt
- purchase new truck

home project goals:
- clean out shed for luke's workshop space
- hang clothesline in the backyard
- restore hoosier cabinet in living room
- build permanent shelves in pantry

farm goals:
- expand laying flock
- continue selling farm produce during summer/fall months
- build garden fence

our family retreats allow us to process & set tangible goals to achieve during the year. it's amazing what can happen when we set aside time to envision the year together as a family. 


do you have a family retreat tradition? what does goat setting look like for you as a family? i'd love to read your thoughts!
love,
natalie

hank & june valentine's day giveaway!


today i am oh so excited to share with you some goodies from a new maker on the block, betsy of hank & june

betsy is sweet as pie & i absolutely adore her flour sack birdie towels!

as a gift idea for this upcoming valentine's day, i am gifting my gal pals a love birds flour sack towel for their kitchens! paired with a cute spatula, your favorite sweet treat recipe or even a happy flag to brighten their kitchen, this is a happy little treat! 


i simply tied my tea towels with string, added a heart doily, a little happy flag & a homemade tag with their initial. i can't wait to gift these to my dearest friends!

as a happy little treat for you, hank & june is offering a giveaway of one love birds tea towel to one natalie creates reader.

to enter, simply...

3. comment below with your email address 
& a fun valentine's day gift idea for your closest friends!

i will pick a random winner next wednesday, january 28th! happy winning!
love,
natalie

p.s. hank & june is offering free shipping on any order with the code "natalie" until february 14th! happy shopping! 

currently...


i found this fun list on meg's blog last week & thought i'd follow along!

currently...

reading: hands free mama by rachel macy stafford (a great one even for the non-mama!)

playing: the lumineers station on pandora... love!

watching: my people, do you watch new girl? we've watched it from the beginning & we cry-laugh every single time. 

trying: to schedule time for rest & relaxation. last year was so good, but i need a little more white space on my calendar. how about you?

cooking: all the whole30 foods & i am running out of ideas. friends, share with me your favorite whole30 food ideas!

eating: apples & almond butter. bless! 

drinking: coffee all day. amen.



calling: my mom & i talk on the phone every single day. i'd be lost without our conversations!

texting: erin & megan all day 'erday! - my group text bffs.

pinning: baby shower decoration ideas, cute clothes, diy projects & more.

tweeting: i just don't get twitter. i'm not witty enough for twitter. moving on...


crafting: i made a sweater pillow at craft night with my tribe! & now i think i am addicted... make your own with me!

doing: brainstorming paint colors for my new house project... it's top secret, friends! 

going: on our family retreat! we go on a family retreat each year to talk about family & personal goals. my favorite few days of the year!

loving: this unexpected warm weather this week! hello hiking, short sleeves & sunshine!

hating: my overflowing closet. i need some serious help in this department.

discovering: that "you can do anything, but you can't do everything." - david allen. yes!

enjoying: quiet, cozy evenings with a good book in hand spent by the wood burning stove.

hoping (for): snow! i love being snowed in on the farm with the hubby. 

celebrating: that we have finally finalized our europe trip plans! i can't wait to share our agenda with you... yay!



smelling: nothing! dang you, sinus congestion. 

thanking: the dear lord above for my lady tribe & last night's giggles. friends are so good.

considering: adding kid-sized headbands to my shop. what are your thoughts, friends?

finishing: baby shower decorations including these fun pom pom sticks!

starting: the best yes

love,
natalie

my favorite organizational tools


we're well into the new year & it's quite possible that your new years resolutions are starting to lose their glittery shine & appeal.

you'd really like to eat that chocolate bar.
or stay up just a bit longer.
or check your phone just one more time! 

there's all this talk about a new you! a new life! brand spankin' new possibilities & endless ways to screw it all up.

my people. i'm here for you. i'm riding the emotional waves of the new year with you. i'm taking on my second round of whole30 & i swear to you, last night i imagined my arm was a baguette & i almost chowed down (where's the gluten?! waaaah!)

moving on...

today on the blog, i don't want to fix your life or give you unhealthy advice that will leave you feeling guilty or less than.

today i want to share some organizational tools that i use to make the hairy parts of my life not-so-hairy & the busy parts of my life a little more manageable. because let's face it, life gets crazy & good tools make for lighter work. amen.


1. WALL CALENDARS: any ol' wall calendar will work as long as it has space for you to write in events, goals, appointments & more. i snatched this katie daisy calendar up & i love it. 

as recommended by my business guru friend, katy, i write my business-related tasks for the year on my wall calendar. this includes etsy shop openings, product launches, deadlines for ordering supplies & all of the nitty gritty details of running a small business. this is a way for me to prevent missed deadlines & overworking. 


2. DAILY PLANNER: some prefer google calendars, but i am a pen & paper gal. i will not remember a task or scheduled event unless i write it down. i am fairly new to emily ley's simplified planner, but i absolutely love it. every day has it's own separate page so this layout allows plenty of room for my to-do lists & meal plan. it's a bit bulky & somewhat pricey, but i love having everything in one place.


3. CALENDAR MEETINGS: luke & i meet for weekly & monthly calendar meetings. at those meetings, we share what we have scheduled for the week or month ahead. we usually jot down the other's responsibilities & then i add our family activities to our giant dry erase board calendar in my office. it's a nice place of reference when life feels a little chaotic. we use this white board calendar from hobby lobby.


4. BLOG CALENDAR: i use this fantastic free printable from emily ley for scheduling my blog posts. it's simple, straight forward & easy to use. when i have an idea, i jot it down on my blog calendar & appoint a date to it based on my current blog schedule or the lengthiness of the post. 


5. CASH SYSTEM WALLET: since he popped the question & i said yes, we've been using the cash system inspired by dave ramsey. for the longest time, i used battered paper white envelopes that looked like they had just come home from war. as soon as i found miss money bags' cash system wallets, i jumped on the bandwagon & i'll never go back. they're cute, functional, sturdy & practical. i have a pouch for each cash category & it keeps me accountable to our budget. here's a bit more about how we budget


6. RECEIPT ORGANIZER: if you own a small business, pick up a receipt organizer. i picked this one up for a dollar at target & it's perfect. each month has it's own pocket. once i record the transaction in quickbooks, i file it away in the corresponding month. 


7. SHOPPING LIST: peace out scratch paper, i've found a new love. i love amy's meal planning kit. i especially love her shopping list, which gives me ample room to write what we need from the grocery store. it keeps my list organized & decreases the amount of time spent in the store. 

 

8. WEEKLY MEAL PLANNER: i've used several meal planners in the past, but this free printable is my favorite. it's simple, cute & leaves plenty of room for me to write in meals & events corresponding to our dinnertime hours. 

so there you have it... my favorite organizational tools & tips.


& for even more organizational ideas, check out my simple & organized pinterest board

i'd love to read how you stay organized! please share your tips & tools!
love,
natalie

my shop is open!



head on over & purchase goodies for your valentine's day gifts & decor!

enjoy 15% off with the code "bloglove15" in my shop just because you're fantastic!

love,
natalie

happy flags & valentine's day inspiration


happy day to you friends! today i am here to share a fun sneak peek of my valentine's day inspired happy flags that are being released in my shop tomorrow! 


i loved this set so much that i made a little space for them on my winter-inspired mantel.

it's always nice to have a pop of color & now my winter mantel has transitioned to my favorite holiday, valentine's day!


i started making little fabric flags for my plants several years ago. a little seed was planted & from there, happy flags grew & blossomed! 

just a few ideas for using your happy flags...
- add a bundle of happy flags to a mason jar 
- stick one in your favorite potted plants
 - tuck a handful into bouquets
- the perfect handmade touch to showers & parties!

they're oh so fun & add a bit of happy to your day!


so hop on over & grab a set or two for you & a friend! 

love,
natalie
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