Tips for Establishing a Dinnertime Tradition

Supper time is sacred time at the farmhouse.
Almost a decade ago, Luke & I began our family dinnertime ritual. With the hustle & bustle of everyday life, we knew setting aside an hour to eat a meal together & talk about our day was time well-spent. Whether we're eating a feast on fine china or pizza on paper plates, it's intentional, uninterrupted time we look forward to each day.

Today I want to share a handful of tips for creating your own dinnertime traditions! I've teamed up with Red Diamond - my favorite source for unsweetened tea served at suppertime - to share how we carve out time in our day to reconnect around the dinner table. 

1. KEEP A CLEAN SPACE: I know this sounds simple, but it's hard to enjoy dinner at the table when bills, backpacks & clutter fill the space. I always make a point to put everything away right when I get home to eliminate having to throw it to the side just as I am serving supper. Bonus - Create a "command station" in your entryway, a closet or right by the front door to place bills, backpacks & more so you can keep the kitchen table clean & clear.

2. CREATE A BEAUTIFUL TABLE: Light candles, treat yourself to a beautiful bouquet of flowers, get out your wedding china, & use cloth napkins. This is time to slow down & enjoy each other's company & conversation so make it count. 
If it's an extra full day & you can't quite swing an elaborate tablescape, make paper plates special by serving camp-inspired food like hotdogs & kettle chips. Turn out all of the lights & eat by candlelight - this is sure to make extra special family memories!

3. MEAL PLAN: Create a meal plan that aligns with your weekly responsibilities & commitments. If it's sure to be a busy day, make your family's favorite crockpot meal. I love to serve up delicious chili on nights when I can't quite swing an elaborate meal. 

4. THE LITTLE DETAILS MATTER: Every Monday night, we always go over to my husband's childhood home for Family Dinner. I always know my mother-in-law will have something special to drink - she never serves just water. 
This little detail never goes unnoticed to me so I am working hard to bring this small but special tradition into our home. I love Red Diamond's Unsweet Tea because it's simple (just grab it at the store & serve) & it's made with the real stuff (no weird additives - just tea leaves & water).

5. ELIMINATE DISCTRACTIONS: A big tip for a successful dinnertime ritual is to eliminate distraction. Remove your phones & set a rule that no one can answer a call, respond to a text, or scroll Instagram while at the table. This is sure to inspire richer conversation & thoughtful time together as a family.

6. SHARE RESPONSIBILITY: In our family, the rule is simple - If one cooks, the other cleans. It allows not just one family member to be burdened by the task of dinnertime.

I'd love to know your tips & tricks for dinnertime & if you've tried Red Diamond! Share your thoughts in the comments below!


This post is in partnership with Red Diamond.

Overnight Chia Seed Oatmeal Recipe + Tips for a Healthy Breakfast On-the-Go

Hello, friends! Let's talk about breakfast...

The busyness of the morning often makes it difficult for me to sit down & enjoy a balanced, healthy breakfast. I feel the pull to get to the office & usually grab an on-the-go breakfast, such as a boiled egg, but by 11am I am starving! 

Today I want to share with you my new favorite on-the-go breakfast - Overnight Chia Seed Oats - that can be prepared ahead & enjoyed on the road if you so please.

It's simple, really.

 - Grab a wide-mouth mason jar & add 1/2 cup rolled oats. 
- Pour 3/4 cup Bolthouse Farms B Strong™ Protein Shake in Vanilla. I prefer Bolthouse Farms' shake to others because it has 16 grams of protein, is lower in sugar & makes the oatmeal extra creamy!
- Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract & 1 teaspoon chia seeds.

- Screw on your mason jar lid & shake well to combine! Add to the refrigerator & allow to sit overnight. 

I often make 5-6 jars on Sunday afternoon for the week ahead. It's a simple way to have a delicious breakfast that I can grab & go all week long!

In the morning, I grab whatever ingredients or toppings I have on hand & add to my jar. 

Some ideas include: 
- blueberry crumble: frozen blueberries & granola
- peaches & cream: frozen or fresh peaches with fresh whipped cream
- coconut banana: sliced banana & coconut shreds
- fresh fruit & cinnamon: sliced nectarines & cinnamon are quite delicious!

Once I've added my toppings of choice to my jar, I screw on my mason jar & head out the door - the perfect balanced & delicious breakfast for those extra busy mornings!

Let me know if you whip up this recipe. I'd love to know your favorite toppings! Please share below.


This post is in partnership with Bolthouse Farms.

Lemon Basil Quinoa Bowl Recipe

Hi, friends! I'm stopping by today to share a favorite recipe of mine that I like to make on busy evenings when dinner's the last thing I have time to make. Say hello to my dear old friend, the quinoa bowl!

Quinoa bowls are so versatile & taste even better the next day. I like to double my recipe so I can bring a delicious green salad & side of leftover quinoa to lunch!

Instead of mixing up my own homemade dressing, I like to save time & simply use Bolthouse Farm's organic dressings. There are no preservatives & it's low in calories. Plus, it's convenient & tastes amazing, y'all! I love the Three Herb & Lemon Basil atop my quinoa bowls as a fresh & flavorful addition. 

Add as many chopped vegetables as you can & you have the makings of a yummy & light dinner the whole family will enjoy. Find my go-to recipe below...

Lemon Basil Quinoa Bowl

Serving Size: 1 cup

1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup Bolthouse Farms Lemon Basil Dressing
4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, halved

Combine quinoa & vegetable broth in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat & simmer for 15 minutes until the broth is absorbed & the quinoa is tender. Remove from heat & allow to cool. Once cool, place the quinoa in a large mixing bowl. Add all remaining ingredients & stir until well combined. Add salt to taste & enjoy!

What are your favorite ingredients paired with quinoa? Let me know if you try this recipe!


30 BEFORE 30

I run out of fingers & toes counting the bounty of blessings poured out when I reflect on this wild & precious life. Thankful doesn't even cut it, y'all. 

Today is my birthday. As I thought about how I wanted to celebrate this day & upcoming year, I was pulled to the art of list-making. The past 28 years have been full & wonderful, brimming with the good stuff & lots of learning. I want to make sure that as I enter into another decade, I've soaked up every last ounce of my 20s.

So I introduce you to 30 BEFORE 30 - a list of 30 things I want to see, do, eat, experience & more before turning 30 years old. Some items on my list are simple & small while others are big & will require continued work. Some of the items on my list I've experienced before & want to make sure I experience more of while others are firsts. It's a list I've been working on for many weeks & I cannot wait to start tackling it... NOW!

30 BEFORE 30

1. Breakfast out with Luke during the middle of the week just because
2. Get a facial
3. Play bingo!
4. Sit on a beach with a fruity drink in hand
5. Reach Lifetime at Weight Watchers
6. Take a pottery class
7. Get my first tattoo
8. Visit the desert
9. Go out to coffee with my parents
10. Watch a sunset 
11. Cruise country roads with the Jeep top down
12. Unplug for a day
13. Bonfire in the backyard
14. Spend a weekend at the lake house
15. Watch a movie at the Drive-In
16. Hike a mountain
17. Create a backyard oasis
18. Spend the afternoon in a hammock with a good book
19. Bicycle on the trails
20. Go Berry Picking
21. Surprise a friend with a bouquet of flowers
22. Picnic dinner in the park
23. Eat tacos at our favorite taqueria
24. Make homemade face masks
25. Spend a morning at yard sales
26. Go to New York City with Luke
27. Host Aunt Camp
28. Learn to drive a stick Check!
29. Bake a pie
30. Go swimming at the river

What's on YOUR list? Have you ever accomplished something like this? Share below!


My Go-To Sugar-Free, Grain-Free Granola & Yogurt Bowl Recipe

About a month ago I eliminated grains & sugar from my diet due to some significant digestion issues that I had been stubbournly ignoring. I've had some hiccups & special events along the way, but the changes in the way my body has felt overall throughout the last handful of weeks have been amazing! I feel lighter, brighter, less foggy & more energetic!

In making the switch, I decided to replace grains & sugar with more vibrant, nutrient-rich foods. Instead of a traditional bun for my veggie burger, I've been cooking up delicious sweet potato buns! I've been eating lots of beet kraut + pickled treats for a boost of flavor on salads & making a delicious yogurt bowl every morning for breakfast.

I've shared my yogurt & granola bowl many times on Instagram, but I've yet to share the full recipe. There are so many ways to mix it up, but here are the basics:

Natalie's Go-To Yogurt Bowl
1/2 - 1 cup plain greek yogurt 
1/2 chopped banana
1/2 cup fresh fruit of your choice 
2 teaspoons raw, creamy almond butter
2 teaspoons grain-free, sugar-free granola (My go-to is Wildway granola from Whole Foods Market)
Sprinkle unsweetened coconut flakes

Spoon plain greek yogurt into bowl. Layer bananas & fruit of choice on top of yogurt. I love adding blueberries, pomegranate seeds, raspberries & strawberries (April 4th - 10th, you can grab two cartons of organic, seasonal strawberries grown without toxic or persistent pesticides for just $7 from Whole Foods Market! Yes!) Next, drizzle creamy almond butter on top. Finally, add granola & a sprinkle of coconut flakes!

One simple addition to my yogurt bowl that I've been loving lately is my homemade, sugar-free strawberry sauce! It's so wonderful to have this sauce on hand when the berries are plentiful & on sale - pour a little on top of your yogurt bowl or mix in balsamic vinegar as a tasty dressing for my favorite spring dinner - strawberry & chicken salads!

Simple Strawberry Sauce
1 quart organic strawberries, tops cut off & chopped
teaspoon local honey (optional)
1 teaspoon water

Add all ingredients to a small saucepan on the stovetop. Heat over medium high heat until sauce begins to bubble. Using a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon, mash your strawberries as they bubble. Once the consistency is thick & to your liking, remove from stovetop & allow to cool. Place in a small jar & refrigerate. Add to your favorite spring dishes for a boost of flavor! Lasts about 3 weeks.

What recipes are you enjoying this spring? Have you been making any switches in your food journey? Please do let me know if you make my yogurt bowl & strawberry sauce! 


Tips to Create Your Own Self-Care Retreat at Home

While there are a handful of critics out there, I must say - Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays. I think we could all use a day dedicated to expressing our love for those around us, don't you think?

Not only is it important to show our love for those nearest & dearest to us, I find it's a healthy practice to carve out a little time to love on ourselves. 

We often pride ourselves on checking off our to-do list & maximizing every minute of every day, but rarely do we pat ourselves on the back for scheduling time to rest & reset.

This week, in honor of Valentine's Day, I am treating myself to one hour of uninterrupted self-care in our cozy little bathtub. Nothing fancy - just a pretty bouquet of roses, fair-trade dark chocolate, a  yummy-smelling bath bomb, candles & a good book to make it a little more special. 

This year I committed to purchasing only sustainably-grown, Whole Trade flowers, which fully support farmers & their communities. You'll always find a fresh bouquet of blooms within our home - it's one of my favorite indulgences. 

This week, February 7th - 14th, you can grab two dozen Whole Trade roses from Whole Foods Market for $24.99 (& Prime members can purchase them for just $19.99)! Divide them up into mini bud vases for all of your Galentines & arrange a few for you!

While you're at it, grab a few chocolate-dipped strawberries (they're $9.99 & available at Whole Foods Market from 2/12-2/14) for your tub time!

Don't forget to save a rose for the bathtub! Throw in a fizzy bath bomb from Whole Foods Market & fill the tub with rose petals to make it a little more festive. To do this, simply remove, or peel, the petals from the stem & throw them into the water. They'll float on top & add a floral scent to your steamy bath. 

Tip: Fresh petals will last for more than one bath! Gather up petals in a small bowl after one soak & add them to hot water the following day. Do note - petals will begin to wilt after a few days so promptly reuse them.

Light a candle & soak up your quiet hour of bliss as you read & rest. With a small budget & a handful of goodies from Whole Foods Market, you're sure to create a lovely self-care retreat so you can love those around you better. 

Do you ever carve out time for a little self-care? How will you carve out an hour or two to love on yourself this Valentine's Day week? Share your thoughts in the comments!


Freckled Hen Farmhouse is GROWING! March 2018

Friends, I am so excited to finally share the big Freckled Hen Farmhouse news!

Freckled Hen Farmhouse is growing! We are moving to a bigger, better building in March! Triple the space, double the product offerings, endless opportunities to serve our amazing patrons!

 This was such a tough decision to make, friends. Our current space has become our home away from home. We've made such amazing memories, connected with so many customers, held workshops & cultivated a rich community in our cozy space. 

Our original building holds such a special place in our hearts, but with the news of our block being sold & rebuilt, we no longer had the option to stay put where we are.

And with this news was the reminder that this building was also just a stepping stone. Luke & I have learned along the way that it's so important for the health of our business to continually take small steps toward our big, brave dreams. When we first opened our brick & mortar building last January, we had no idea if people would even show up! Month after month, folks have supported Freckled Hen Farmhouse beyond what we could have ever dreamed. We're so thankful for the continued support in Fayetteville & online.

We want to create a business that outlasts trends & fleeting styles. We're working to create a cornerstone in our community, a place where folks from all over the world feel welcomed & inspired to cultivate an intentional home. A unique shop - both online & in-person - that offers practical yet beautiful gifts you are excited to share with your dearest friends & family for fifty, sixty, seventy years to come. 

We believe this building right here is part of that wild & crazy, rich & meaningful, community-inspired story.

So, come on in & see what we've been up to. Watch your step, it's still a work in progress. But we cannot wait for you to see what it becomes! 

The store front is double in space compared to our current location. Lots of windows to brighten the space, making it extra warm & welcoming. Our ceilings are vaulted like a barn, which makes us feel right at home. The open floor plan will allow us to move things around so customers see something new every time they come through our doors.

We've been collecting old general store fixtures, wallpaper & more to bring character & charm to this bright & beautiful space. Imagine gingham, copper, chippy pant, florals & more.

The best part - more shop offerings! In the upcoming months, we'll be introducing even more goodies, workshops, classes & community events! Freckled Chicks, a hand-curated line of old-fashioned children's toys, puzzles & more will be joining the farmhouse. In addition, we cannot wait to share our expanded Freckled Hen library with you along with freshly-brewed Freckled Hen coffee roasted right here in Fayetteville, Arkansas! 

Luke & I, along with our incredible Freckled Hen team, want to thank you from the bottoms of our hearts for the support, love & encouragement both online & at the general store! 

Make sure to mark your calendars & join us for our Grand Re-Opening and 2nd Birthday Party on March 9th & 10th at 840 N. College Avenue in Fayetteville, Arkansas! There will be sips, sweets, laughter, squeals, hugs, happy tears & more! We cannot wait to celebrate with you.

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