8 Inspirational Books that You Must Read This Summer

August 6, 2018

A little known fact about me is that when I read a book that I'm really enjoying, I read really fast.  I'm talking, like I could finish a good book cover to cover in a day or two if given the time.  It is like I become so immersed in what is on those pages that I just can't wait to get to the end.  I want all the knowledge that those pages can share with me. (On the other hand, if it is a book I can't immediately get into......I will never finish it.)

8 Inspirational Books that will Change Your Life

Free Printables for July

June 29, 2018

Free  printables for July that will help organize your month, tackle some must-do chores, and stay inspired.

Beautiful printables to download for free each month - calendar, monthly to do list, and inspirational quote.

Good morning my sweet friends!

I hope that your summer has been going well and that you've had plenty of time for relaxing and enjoying all that the season has to offer.  It goes by all too quickly and we should be savoring each and every day.

Hand Tools You Need to Be a Successful Gardener

June 25, 2018

Gardening doesn't have to be difficult if you are prepared with the tools you need.  Be ready for keeping your flower beds weed free by having these five essentials.

Essential Garden Tools

The weather has been beautiful here.  Lots of sunshine and warmth and just enough rain to keep the grass looking green and hydrate the flowers.  Of course, these conditions are also prime for helping weeds to sprout up in the flower beds.  And if you don't stay ahead of those weeds, well, it sometimes feels like you wake up to realize you've somehow lost complete control over your garden just while you were sleeping.

French Vintage Decor | A Must Read Book for Any Home Decorator

June 14, 2018

One of my very first blogging friendships was formed with Jamie from So Much Better with Age.  Not only do we share the same first name, but bonded over our passions for vintage treasures and painted furniture and shared similar dreams and frustrations concerning our blogging journey.

It has always been my belief that Jamie is crazy talented and possesses a keen eye for all things French style.  There are some people that I think are blessed with a gift for design and putting the right pieces together and she definitely has it....along with the ability to be able to capture it all with her camera.

12 Useful Gadgets for Quick and Easy Summer Food Prep

May 30, 2018

Be prepared for handling all things food this summer with these twelve handy tools.  Whether you are cleaning and cutting fruits and vegetables, cooking outdoors, or entertaining, these tools will help you be fast and efficient giving you more time to enjoy the season.

The summer season, more than any other, is when people tend to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables thanks to backyard gardens and farmer's markets with fresh produce.  There is nothing better than slicing into a a fresh-from-the-garden tomato for a BLT or biting into a juicy, ripe peach as an afternoon treat.

These warm months are also when we do a lot of outdoor cooking whether it be on the grill or over an open campfire.  Why warm up the house turning on the oven when you can just as easily prepare dinner outdoors?

I'm not typically a fan of kitchen gadgets because they tend to turn into clutter rather than be helpful tools.  But.....I've actually found a few over the years that have made all the summer food prep quick and easy whether it be preparing those fruits and vegetables for eating, entertaining friends, or cooking your meal outside.  And best of all, they can help you create a special treat or meal to enjoy in less time and with less stress.

Do you have any favorite kitchen tools that help you be more efficient in your food prep?

Affiliate links are provided in this post for your convenience. View my disclosure policy for more information.

8 Things You Can Do to Make This Summer Special

May 29, 2018

Take some time away from all the things that "must be done" this summer and try a few of these ideas for enjoying the season and what is really important.

June is a month much like January and September.  It can be seen as a time to start over.  You've got three months ahead of  you to move life in a completely different direction or get caught up on the things you've been putting off.

There are so many possibilities in summer....it's a season of being able to enjoy all the little things in life like tweeting birds, the warm sunshine, sweet smelling flowers, and great tasting fruits.

How many of us really take the time to enjoy these things, though?  Are we more concerned with mowing the yard, painting the porch, and trimming the trees?  I'm not saying that these aren't important things to do in the summer (your neighbors wouldn't be too happy with the grass in your yard being six inches tall, I'm sure).  But I think we all need to take time from worrying about the important "jobs" we have to do, and spend some of it enjoying everything the season has to offer.

Best Macaroni Salad for Your Summer Picnics

May 23, 2018

A few special ingredients in this macaroni salad give the traditional summer picnic food a unique flavor everyone will love.

Macaroni Salad Recipe

With Memorial Day just a few days away, I have no doubt you are putting the final touches on your holiday picnic plans with friends and family.  Monday officially kicks off the summer season and I couldn't be more thrilled.

Chances are that many of you will be putting together some summertime salads to accompany the hot dogs and hamburgers likely be eaten across the country.  One recipe I turn to again and again throughout the year is for macaroni salad with eggs, mayonnaise, carrots, and celery.  (Another is Supreme Pasta Salad.)

An Anniversary and Some Exciting News

May 18, 2018

Hi friend!  Today is a very special day because.....it is my blog's fifth anniversary!

It still amazes me that although I am a person who normally gives up quickly on things that don't go perfectly the first time around (character flaw I'm attempting to work on, by the way), there is something about this space and blogging that keeps me coming back. 

Sure, there have been plenty of extended "breaks" and a long list exists of things I could and should be doing to make my blog more successful.  And yes, many times the thought has popped into my head that it would be so easy to walk away from it all.  But......I'm still here.

Blogging is tough.  There is so much behind the scenes work that readers can never fully understand unless they are a blogger themselves.  You are a one woman (or man) show and must learn to be a creator, photographer and photo editor, writer, proofreader, promotion team, and business owner all tied up into one.  And as the industry grows, it changes, especially when it comes to social media and getting your blog out there into the world.  You've got to constantly be learning and experimenting to see what works.

Those many hats a blogger wears is part of the reason why I love what I'm doing, though.  I've enjoyed seeing things through the lens of a camera as far back as I can remember.  Creative writing became something I enjoyed my senior year of high school and continued after graduation.  And during college, the show Trading Spaces opened my eyes to realizing that I had passion and talent for decorating and designing rooms, while Martha Stewart has always been my role model in terms of homemaking and creating a thriving multi-faceted business.  Suffice it to say everything I love is rolled up into one exciting occupation with blogging.

One thing that I can say is true with just about every blogger out there is that as the days and months pass, you get better and more proficient at what you do.  When looking at old posts that I've done, I sometimes have to cringe at just how bad the photography was or how off-the-point my writing could be.  The good thing is that those posts were back in the days when few people were reading my blog or even knew it existed.  The bad part was that they were still basically good posts that no one has really seen.  So one thing I'm doing after five years here on anderson + grant is going back to some of those old posts and updating them for you to find and enjoy now - recipes that I continue to make time and time again, DIY projects and furniture before and afters that you can make for your own home, and tips for keeping your home clean and organized.

When my new blog design went live earlier this year, I included the tagline "Learning to Make a Home" in my logo.  After honestly years of trying to come up with an accurate way to describe the direction I wanted to take this blog, this phrase came to me last summer and has been guiding my thoughts from that day forward.

Regardless of your season of life, where you live or who you live with, or the income that you have coming in each month, we all have to make a home somewhere.  We all have space that needs to be decorated in a way that inspires and makes us happy.  And those spaces need to be kept clean and organized for us to thrive.  We all have to eat and feed those we love.  And we all have to find ways to make everything function together well so that we are productive and efficient.

As Emily Ley points out in her book A Simpliflied Life, "The work you do in and for your home - cultivating a space full of order and love - is called homemaking...."  So thinking along those terms, we are all homemakers to some extent and need to understand the basics of what needs done in that role to make the best use of our time, money, and energy.  There is so much we are expected to know and be able to do well whether it be painting a wall, cooking breakfast, or maintaining routines to keep everything running on schedule.  And my hope is that moving forward here we can really dig in together building a foundation of what you'll need to know to feel confident and successful in what you must get accomplished in your own home.

My real struggle all of these years has been with believing in myself and trusting the path that I want to take with my blog.  And not owning my own home has always kept the vision that I have had contained to what I could do where I am.  I haven't been in a position where I could rip down walls, landscape the yard, or take you on an entire house tour.  That has probably been the toughest part of the past five years - knowing what I want to share with you and what could help you in your own homes, but not being able to do it in the way that I would like.

Well, although there are still things to be worked out, I'm excited to say today.....that it looks as though I'm finally going to be buying a house!  My grandma's house, actually.  It is quite the fixer upper, but that is what makes it so fun.  It is literally going to be a blank slate that I can make my own.  The plan is to guide you step by step through the process of transforming any home into a sanctuary for yourself and your family......without spending a fortune and completely gutting the inside of the house to do it.

Don't get me wrong.....I adored watching Fixer Upper and the other shows that go in and basically start from scratch to create a beautiful place.  And over the years so many of my favorite bloggers have had the opportunities to completely update their spaces.  But my guess is that many of you are like me and don't have $100,000 just to spend on renovating your home.  And while new and completely fresh is wonderful, it isn't always possible.  But I don't think that anyone should have to live in a place that doesn't fill them with joy just because they are constrained by a budget.

I don't have a timeline for when all this might be happening yet as we are still trying to get the house emptied out to have an estate sale.  But that doesn't mean that I haven't started thinking through design plans and scouting out light fixtures!  I'll be sure to keep you updated as to when all of this will be happening and I'm also going to soon start posting some foundational posts such as how to renovate on a budget and how to build a cohesive design plan for your house.

I am beyond excited for this opportunity to really take anderson + grant to the next level.  I don't want to just renovate a room and show you the before and after.  My goal is to truly take you behind the scenes and show you exactly what I've done to update each space and give you tutorials on things like how to choose the correct light to hang over your dining room table that you can use in your own home.  I'll also be sharing some posts that include variations of the things I'm shopping for at the moment like furniture or rugs.

And.....I'm planning on starting to incorporate some videos of the process as well.  I am a behind the computer screen kind of gal all the way and do not love the idea of being in front of the camera at all.  But I also know that I love being able to watch as well as read what my favorite bloggers are doing and this seems like the perfect opportunity to start branching out.  So I'm going to attempt to step out of my comfort zone for you all.  We'll see how it goes!

So if you have made it to the end of today's lengthy post, give yourself a pat on the back and pour yourself a cold summer beverage to sit and enjoy as a reward.  From the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you for joining me at this space.  Whether you are a new reader, you've been following since the beginning or you fall somewhere in between, I am so grateful for your support and following.  Here's to another five years and beyond! 

And by the way, if you aren't currently a subscriber who receives my newsletters in your email inbox, be sure to subscribe in the box just a bit further down in this post so you don't miss a single thing!

Free Printables for May

April 30, 2018

Free  printables for May that will help organize your month, tackle some must-do chores, and stay inspired.

Beautiful printables to download for free each month - calendar, monthly to do list, and inspirational quote. #freeprintable #printables #printablecalendar #inspirationalquote

As we enter into the month of May tomorrow, the time has come to really start digging into those outdoor chores so that they can be done and out of the way, leaving plenty of time to fully enjoy the summer months that lie ahead.  It feels so good to get the flower beds weeded, porches repaired, and windows cleaned.

Everything You Need to Know to Mix and Match Throw Pillows

April 23, 2018

Mix and match different throw pillows for your home with the confidence of a  professional using these five easy to follow tips.

The basics of mixing and matching pillows for your sofa or bed #throwpillows #howtodecorate #decorate #pillows #andersonandgrant

Throw pillows can complete the look of your home, just like the right pair of shoes can make or break an outfit.   They are one of the last accessories to be added, but can set the tone for the entire style of a room.  Because there are many options to choose from at a wide range of prices, adding pillows to your sofa or bed is the easiest and most cost effective way to completely change the feel of the space.  They provide a pop of color, texture, and pattern and can be restyled often to easily refresh your decor.

20 Classic Dark Blue Area Rugs for Any Budget

April 18, 2018

If you are searching for a dark blue area rug for your home, consider your shopping done for you with these twenty classic rug choices available online.

When designing any space, large furniture like sofas and dining tables are considered investment pieces.  They are the items that you pay a lot of money for with the hope they will last for quite some time both in condition and style.  

But something else to buy that can be just as pricey (and many time more so) are the area rugs.   They add color, texture, pattern, and style to the room and can be the foundation to an entire design.  Oftentimes a single rug can influence the paint, fabric and furniture choices in a space.

Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies | How to Make Perfect Cookies

April 4, 2018

Basic chocolate chip cookies get a unique flavor twist with the addition of a box of JELLO vanilla pudding in the ingredients.

Get a recipe for the most flavorful chocolate chip cookies with a special ingredient + tips for getting perfect cookies every time. #recipe #cookies #chocolatechipcookies #andersonandgrant

There are certain recipes for all of us that surely bring up memories and pull us back to a different time.  Certain flavors, smells, or tastes can transport us to times like when we tasted our first homemade lemonade at a county fair, savored a piece of tiramisu at a favorite Italian restaurant, or in my case, sat down to enjoy chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven with my grandma.

Fixer Upper DIY Projects for Your Home

April 2, 2018

A collection of easy DIY projects for the home inspired by Joanna Gaines and the show "Fixer Upper."

It is safe to say that "Fixer Upper" has had an immeasurable impact on many aspects of life.  Aside from just being a fun show to watch, Joanna has inspired so many bloggers, homeowners, and creatives in regards to decorating and DIY projects.  Just think of how popular the terms shiplap and farmhouse have become in the last few years.

As tomorrow will regrettably bring about the end to this amazing show, I decided to take a look back through my own posts that have been created with a "Fixer Upper" style in mind.  It was shocking to start going through countless projects and see just how many things I've made over the years with her signature farmhouse vibe.  I narrowed it down to thirteen, but there were still many more that could have been included.

Free Printables for April

March 28, 2018

Free monthly printables for April to help organize your month, tackle some must-do chores, and stay inspired.

Stay organized + inspired in 2018 with these free printables - an inspirational quote, 2018 free printable calendar, + monthly to do list. #freeprintable #organization | www.andersonandgrant.com

Can you believe we are into the last week of March already?  I swear this month flew by.

Many of you were "lucky" enough to have that wonderful snowstorm pass over your towns last week altering travel plans and closing schools.  (Thankfully for once I escaped seeing any of that, but know many who were impacted.)  And across the country we are still seeing below average temperatures.

But even though it doesn't quite feel or look like spring quite yet, I'm confident it is right around the corner.....And I will gladly welcome it into my neighborhood when it gets here.

Refreshing Your Home for Spring

March 19, 2018

Simple tips for adding a fresh spring touch to your home, plus a few of my favorite decor finds.

Simple tips for adding a fresh spring touch to your home, plus a few favorite decor finds.   #spring #decor #andersonandgrant

The first official day of spring is tomorrow, and I'm starting to see the smallest signs that winter is coming to an end.  The temperatures are ever slowly creeping up to at least what is normal for March here in PA and I even witnessed close to two dozen robins and a chubby rabbit enjoying dinner together in my yard a few evenings ago.

Free March Printables

March 1, 2018

Free monthly printables to help you organize your month, tackle some must-do chores, and stay inspired.

Stay organized and inspired in 2018 with these free printables - an inspirational quote, 2018 printable calendar, and monthly to do list.  |  www.andersonandgrant.com

Happy first day of March!

I'd like to start today's post out with a little bit of a personal story about the past month.

As fast as the days, months, and years seem to go by as I get older, February was a month that seemed to go on forever.  My grandma, who had been in the nursing home for over three years, passed away on February 22 after catching the flu and then pneumonia following Christmas.  For our family, most of the month was spent spending time with her hoping that she would recover, praying for her peaceful departure when we knew her time was near, and then planning for the events to celebrate her life.  She lived a long 97 years on this earth and thankfully lived life practically right up until the end.  She leaves behind a family that has grown to include three children, seven grandchildren, thirteen great-grandchildren, and seven great-great-grandchildren.  There are not many out there who can see that happen or be part of a family so vast.

The strangest part of this time has been that even as we knew my grandma's days were coming to an end and felt sorrow from seeing her go, we also joined as a family and laughed together more than we have in years telling stories and reconnecting.  Because we can all trust she is now in a better place, our time of grief can also be a time of joy and celebrating.

None of us can know how the days of our lives will progress and the changes or emotions we will experience.  But I hope that you can be able to end each day knowing you made the best out of it that you could, being thankful for the family and friends you were able to share it with, and trusting that even when the end comes you and your legacy will live on.

Oddly enough, these feelings tie in so well to this month's printable quote, even though I had chosen it back in December when creating the yearly calendar.

"What if you that trusted everything is unfolding exactly as it should?"

I first saw this quote last fall on Instagram and love how even then it instantly brought a sense of peace to my mind.  Life is going to happen and on so many occasions we can beat ourselves up for the things we've done or haven't done, the choices we've made, or the way things haven't worked out.  But at the end of it all, I think you just have to believe that you are exactly where you were meant to be at this very moment and your path is leading you somewhere amazing even if it doesn't seem like that in this instant.

My hope is that this thought can inspire each of you this month as we get ready to enter a new season of the year, and possibly, like myself, enter a new season of life as well.

Stay organized and inspired in 2018 with these free printables - an inspirational quote, 2018 printable calendar, and monthly to do list.  |  www.andersonandgrant.com

As in previous months, I'm sharing three different printables you can print off or save to your computer to use.  (You can find the previous months here.)  

|   A monthly "to-do" list that includes upcoming holidays, various tasks to take care of your home, fun activities, and ways to stay organized.....

Stay organized and inspired in 2018 with these free printables - an inspirational quote, 2018 printable calendar, and monthly to do list.  |  www.andersonandgrant.com

|   An inspirational quote, available in both a vertical and horizontal format.....

Stay organized and inspired in 2018 with these free printables - an inspirational quote, 2018 printable calendar, and monthly to do list.  |  www.andersonandgrant.com

|   And a monthly calendar that you can use in whatever way you need.  Maybe to keep track of upcoming appointments, to plan your monthly menu, or use as an editorial calendar for anyone who blogs....

Stay organized and inspired in 2018 with these free printables - an inspirational quote, 2018 printable calendar, and monthly to do list.  |  www.andersonandgrant.com


How to Fold Bath Towels for a Tidy Linen Closet

February 26, 2018

Learn how to properly do one of the most basic homekeeping tasks - folding your bath towels for a neat and tidy linen closet.

This post will teach you exactly how to fold bath towels, hand towels, and washcloths for an organized linen closet.  #organize #linencloset #homekeeping #andersonandgrant

There are a lot of seemingly mundane tasks involved in keeping a home.  Things like doing laundry and washing dishes sound like boring chores you just want to get done so you can get on to the bigger, "more important" things.  But the fact is those mundane basics are actually the most important part of keeping a home.  If the fundamentals are not properly done, it has an impact on how your entire house looks and functions.

One of those basic chores important to successful homekeeping is folding laundry and today I want to focus on how to fold the towels in your bathroom.

9 Essential Baking Pans for Any Kitchen

February 12, 2018

Nine essential baking pans that anyone should have in their kitchen, plus tips on how to use each one.

Be prepared for any baking recipe with these nine essential baking pans. #baking101 #kitchentools #baking #andersonandgrant

Whether you are a seasoned baker or just getting started in the kitchen, it can be overwhelming to know what you actually need to buy when it comes to baking pans.  There is a pan specifically made for just about everything and they come in different materials including aluminum, glass, ceramic, silicone, and nonstick metal.  Most pans typically come in more than one size, too.  And you can find them everywhere from the dollar store to pricey department stores and everything in between.

DIY Felt Coasters for Your Hot and Cold Drinks

January 31, 2018

Protect wood furniture from being damaged by warm beverages or condensation with theses stylish and easy to make DIY felt coasters.

Learn how to make these quick and easy DIY felt coasters for under your hot and cold beverages. #DIY #coaster #felt #andersonandgrant

Cups filled with a hot beverage and wood furniture are normally not a good combination.  I'm always a little nervous setting my morning mug of coffee down in my bedroom when getting dressed fearing that I'm going to see a ring form on my dresser from the heat.

I realized a little DIY was in order and wanted to share what I did so that you can make some of these unique coasters for your own home.  It is a really affordable project and is easy to do regardless of your crafting skills.  And what is really fun about this DIY is that they can be made to suit your own style and color preferences.

Free February Printables

January 29, 2018

Free monthly printables to help you organize your month, tackle some must-do chores, and stay inspired.

Stay organized and inspired in 2018 with these free printables - an inspirational quote, 2018 printable calendar, and monthly to do list.  |  www.andersonandgrant.com #freeprintable #printablecalendar

Can you believe that we are already so close to being done with the month of January?  I hope that your year started off well and you're still motivated towards working on the goals that you set for 2018.  

Last month I started a new series with a couple different monthly downloads to help you stay inspired and on top of what needs done for the month.  (You can find the previous months here.)  It was so nice to hear from  many of you that you liked the format and found the printables really helpful.  They are a lot of fun to put together and I find myself learning a few things as I make them.

Add Style to Your Winter Home with Decorative Throws

January 26, 2018

Throw blankets are important for more than just warmth in the winter.  They can be an essential piece of your decor.  

A decorative throw is not only important for warmth in the winter but adds style, texture, and color to your decor.  |  www.andersonandgrant.com

During the cold winter months, we all understand the importance of having a cozy throw or two close at hand.  There is nothing much that I like better than being able to snuggle under a soft blanket for a night of TV watching  or reading by the fireplace.  There is something comforting about being wrapped up indoors while the wind and snow blow outside the window.

But what we turn to for warmth is also a valuable item to add a decorative touch to our homes.

Keep Snowy Boots from Melting on Your Floors with this DIY Boot Tray

January 24, 2018

During the winter, bringing snowy boots and shoes into the house in inevitable.  But this easy project for a DIY Boot Tray will allow the boots to dry thoroughly and keep the snow and water off of your floors.

During the winter, bringing snowy boots and shoes into the house in inevitable.  But this easy project for a DIY Boot Tray will allow the boots to dry thoroughly and keep the snow and water off of your floors. #winter #organize #mudroom #andersonandgrant

If there is snow outside of your home this winter, it is highly likely snow is being brought inside on everyone's boots and shoes.

Maybe it is from your children outside building snowmen.  Or possibly it is from your spouse  shoveling the sidewalk.  And it just might be on your own shoes from going out to get the mail.

It doesn't matter who is outside or what they are doing....during the winter you need a reliable way to make sure that the shoes dry out and the snow doesn't end up on your precious floors.  A little prevention goes a long way in keeping your house clean during the messy winter months.

An Easy Alternative to Making Homemade Soup this Winter

January 22, 2018

During  winter, soup becomes a go-to meal as it provides warmth from the cold outside.  While you may feel homemade is best, there are delicious alternatives for days when you don't have the time or energy to make it.  Prepared correctly with a few homemade touches, you likely won't even know the difference.

A few special details give this Idahoan potato soup a fresh, homemade taste for a warm winter meal.  |  www.andersonandgrant.com

Thank you Idahoan® Steakhouse® Soups for sponsoring this post. Grab yourself a bowl and celebrate National Soup Month with me!

When temperatures dip below freezing as they have been for awhile through much of the country, we all reach for the things that will warm us and make us feel cozy.  Whether it is snuggling under a heavy throw or wrapping our hands around a mug of hot chocolate, our bodies and souls crave warmth from all of the cold.

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