FREE 2019 reading challenge + printable

Happy New Year, friends!

I don’t know about you, but I’m welcoming 2019 in like an old friend. Last year was extraordinarily difficult for our family, and while we’re incredibly grateful for the lessons we’ve learned and the strengthening of our faith, we’re ready for a fresh start.

I have a handful of goals for 2019, but my top two are:

  • finish my second book

  • allow myself to read more books

My love for reading is what sparked my passion for writing, and sometimes I let myself believe that if I chose reading a book over writing one, that I’m wasting precious time. But truth is, reading is self-care for me. So, in 2019, I’m going to allow myself to enjoy one of my top loves without feeling any sort of guilt.

I would love for you to join me!

I’ve created a reading challenge worksheet for me (and for you) so that each time I finish a book, I can give myself the satisfaction of marking it off on my challenge. To make it even more fun, I want to make this challenge social media wide!

Here are the deets:

  • It’s absolutely free.

  • You choose your books. I’m focusing on the number read, not the titles read.

  • You choose your goal. Two books, ten books, 100 books - it’s all up to you!

  • There will be PRIZES! If you just want to do the reading challenge for yourself - feel free! Just download the sheet and be on your merry way. But, if you’d like to have some extra fun with this challenge, I want to reward you for joining me!

    • Each month I will be choosing one winner for a $10 Amazon gift card. How do you enter? Post on social media about your reading challenge with the hashtag #brandisbookchallenge as you go! Every month I’ll put names of posters into a drawing to win a gift card. Your post can be about what book you’re reading, a pic of your challenge sheet, etc. It counts as long as you add the hashtag to your post! At the end of the challenge in December 2019…I’m planning a huge giveaway for all that participated!

If you’re with me, click the link and let’s get started! Bonus: there’s an adult version AND kid version! Both count for the online challenge. :)


Ps...be sure to sign up for my newsletter by clicking the "Newsletter" tab up above to gain first access to book updates, subscriber-only giveaways, and writer tips! 

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fifteen christmas gifts for writers & book lovers

Hey there! Just so you know, this post contains affiliate links, which allow me to support my website and writing career. Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again soon!


Two weeks from today is Christmas Eve. Can you believe it? December is always a month I want to just sllooowww down. I love the holiday season and as excited as I am for Christmas, I’m not ready to let go of the festivities yet!

I also haven’t even begun my Christmas shopping yet, so I could use a couple more weeks, ya feel me?

As a writer/avid book lover, I’m all about the gifts that’ll make my writing process go a bit smoother. So I scoured Amazon for the coolest writer and book lover gifts that you can buy for your writer friends, put on your Christmas list, or buy for yourself for Christmas. I won’t judge.

Anddd, since all of these gifts are on Amazon, if you’re a prime member, you can get them before Christmas! Even if you’re not a prime member (I’m not), Amazon generally has fast shipping.

Gift #1: Novel Teas || Twenty-five tea bags that each contain a literary reference…sign me up.

Gift #2: Tequila Mockingbird || I’m not a huge fan of tequila, but this might just change my mind. This book is filled with tequila recipes that have a literary twist on them, sixty-five recipes to be exact.

Gift #3: The Book Lover’s Journal || In high school, I read every single book our library had to offer, other than the fantasy section (minus Harry Potter, of course). While I should say I went to a really small high school, I would have loved to be able to look back on all of those books I read. This is the perfect gift for a book lover.

Gift #4: Personal Library Kit || I used to spent hours in libraries when I had unlimited free-time (before the tiny human era, obviously). The book-filled space brought comfort to me, and I love that this kit brings that comfort in its own little way, right in your own home.

Gift #5: The Ultimate Spiral Notebook || Ninety percent of my desk is scattered with notebooks, containing ideas and story plots and reminders. Writing in a notebook is something that has not be replaced by technology for me and I don’t think ever will be. This notebook is great because it has sticky notes, page markers, a matching pen, and writing space.

Gift #6: The Writer’s Toolbox || This kit includes games and exercises to inspire the side of your brain that your ideas float from. I know that my brain, oftentimes, feels like it might explode from the ideas that overload it, and this would be a great tool to help unwind the brain.

Gift #7: 500 Writing Prompts || I own a book very similar to this one and I love it. It’s fun to write out a five minute story and give my brain a break from writing the important stuff.

Gift #8: Typewriter Coaster Set || Old typewriters make my heart fall in love, and these coasters are positively awesome. You could even pair it with the cocktail book!

Gift #9: Writer’s Block Journal || Writer’s block is a true disease, just ask any writer. I love this idea for a completely blank, idea-inviting journal to help cure it.

Gift #10: Book T-shirt || While I only picked out one of these shirts to tag in my post, there are hundreds to choose from that are all equally punny and make great gifts.

Gift #11: Writer Bracelet || If your writer friend is also a jewelry lover, this bracelet would be ideal. “Be careful or you’ll end up in my book” is a common threat among writers. ;)

Gift #12: Do Not Disturb Door Sign || If my daughter could read, I think I would get this for my office door.

Gift #13: Writer Keychain || A simple stocking stuffer or small gift for writers.

Gift #14: Ask Me About My Book Mug || Because writers always need more coffee.

Gift #15: “Write” Necklace || I have a love/hate relationship with jewelry (having a toddler does that to you), but this is gorgeous.

That’s all, folks! I don’t know about you, but I put a few of these into my cart for my “I didn’t get it for Christmas, so I’ll buy it for myself” gifts. ;)

Which one is your favorite?


Ps...be sure to sign up for my newsletter by clicking the "Newsletter" tab up above to gain first access to book updates, subscriber-only giveaways, and writer tips! 

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cooking up thankfulness

Hey there! Just so you know, this post contains affiliate links, which allow me to support my website and writing career. Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again soon!


Happy Thanksgiving week, friends!

I don’t know about you, but I cannot believe it’s already time to gobble gobble. This year has gone surprisingly slow for us until last month. Now it’s almost 2019 and I’m not sure why time started going so fast??

Nonetheless, I’m pumping myself up for Thanksgiving (and maybe some Black Friday shopping, too…). Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year or just bringing a side, I’ve compiled up a list of some cookbooks that may aid you in the chaos of menu planning.

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Tasty Latest and Greatest || Have you ever seen those quick recipe videos on Facebook that show you some mouthwatering recipe in a minute or so? Did you know they have a cookbook? I didn’t! Perfect for an easy Thanksgiving side.

Magnolia Table || Okay, I’m 99% sure I don’t even need to say anything about this one because…Joanna Gaines.

Thanksgiving 101 || If you’re looking for a full Thanksgiving meal worth of ideas, this one definitely has you covered.

Fix-It and Forget-It Big Cookbook || My second husband is my crockpot and I use it for every single gathering. I personally have the smaller version of this cookbook and I can’t believe there’s a bigger one because mine is FULL of yummy recipes.

The Instant Pot Cookbook || This is one kitchen appliance I haven’t invested in yet, but judging from my social media feed, I’m going to guess it’s pretty awesome. If you have one, this cookbook is right up your alley!

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime || If your goal on Thanksgiving is to have people bow at your feet while simultaneously busting through their belt, this book is the one for you. If the Pioneer Woman does one thing well, it’s cooking with butter. What more can you ask for on Thanksgiving?

The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook || I’m just saying…if you show up to my house and say, “Hey, this recipe is inspired by Harry Potter!”, I’m going to adopt you as my best friend. #always


Do you have any of these cookbooks in your kitchen? Or any others that are worth taking a look at?


Ps...be sure to sign up for my newsletter by clicking the "Newsletter" tab up above to gain first access to book updates, subscriber-only giveaways, and writer tips! 

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a hedgehog craft + five hedgy books

Hey there! Just so you know, this post contains affiliate links, which allow me to support my website and writing career. Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again soon!


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I feel like hedgehogs are sort of forgotten animals. Sure, they’re a little ugly. Yeah, they’re a bit prickly.

But did you know they make for really freaking cute crafts?!

Lilli and I had a blast doing this craft together. We went to the park and picked out some leaves, came home and talked a bit about hedgehogs, then created this leafy hedgy (see, even their nicknames can be cute).

While we didn’t have a book about hedgehogs that we could reference, I think this craft would have been even better had we had one to read. So I did some research and found some adorable books that go right along with this craft!

(All descriptions are copied from each Amazon listing.)

The Very Helpful Hedgehog || “Isaac is a hedgehog who has only ever been alone, and that is the way he likes it. One day an apple falls from a tree and sticks onto the spines on his back. He wiggles and jiggles, but he cannot get it off. As he struggles to remove the apple, help comes in the unexpected form of a donkey who cannot reach the apples which fall outside of his paddock. Isaac learns that it is better to have a friend and to be helpful, than to be on your own all of the time.”

Hedgehugs || “Horace and Hattie are hedgehogs, and the very best of friends. Together, they make daisy chains, splash in puddles, and have tea parties. But there is one thing they can't do―hug! They are just too spiky. Throughout the seasons, these two hedgehogs will try many different ways of hugging. But will Horace and Hattie find a hug that feels just right?”

Prickly Hedgehogs || “When the sun has set, Hedgehog’s day has only just begun. She’s out and about, snuffling through layers of leaves and twigs as she searches for bugs and other things to eat. Young animal lovers will enjoy following Hedgehog and her little hoglets through towns and gardens, parks and woodland, as they sniff-sniff-sniff for food. The facts threaded throughout this inviting story augment the charming illustrations and will satisfy the most inquisitive of readers.”

Curious Little Hedgehog || “Hedgehog doesn't want to go to sleep and hibernate the winter away. He certainly has no intention on missing out on all the frosty, frozen adventures there are to be had. However, he might not have the choice...”

How Big Is Love? || “Little Hedgehog is determined to understand just how love works. His curious questions will warm your heart, and his sweet story will remind you that love grows every time you give it away.”

Have you read any books about hedgehogs lately? Do you plan on making this craft? If you do, be sure to tag me on Instagram (@brandijolittle) so I can see!


Ps...be sure to sign up for my newsletter by clicking the "Newsletter" tab up above to gain first access to book updates, subscriber-only giveaways, and writer tips! 

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how to lay foam wood floors + a before and after

Hey there! Just so you know, this post contains affiliate links, which allow me to support my website and writing career. Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again soon!


Helloooo and happy Monday! Can you believe it’s already November?! Part of me can; part of me can’t. I feel like this year has lasted forever, but at the same time, it’s almost 2019! Whoa!

This November, we’ve decided to host our first Friendsgiving, and hopefully make it an annual event from this year on. I wrote down a list of projects that I wanted to accomplish beforehand because, while our house is a true fixer-upper and needs a lot (emphasis on the words a lot) of work, there were a few things I wanted to do to make things look a little bit better.

Cue this project! We’ve never had a mudroom before, so I am so so so happy that we do now. But - it was an ugly old room. The floors are plain concrete and it’s in desperate need of a paint job. We honestly weren’t planning on tackling this project yet - until we found these foam wood floors.

Now let me say, we eventually want to actually hardwood this area. But we definitely cannot afford that route right now, so we figured these would work in the mean time. And really, they look real until you bend down and look at them. I’ll take it!

Since this is a mudroom, we needed whatever we put down to be resistant against water, dirt, etc. These surprisingly are, at least for the immediate future.

So here’s how we did it:

  1. We cleaned our floors really, really well. We swept over and over again, making sure all debris was off the concrete.

  2. We laid the flooring down first before we cut anything to fit. This gave us a good idea which pieces needed to go where before we cut them. This is especially important if you have a room that is not perfectly square.

  3. We cut the pieces, laid them, then interlocked them.

  4. That’s it. Literally. So so so easy. It literally took us an hour.

The only thing left to do is choose your pattern! I unfortunately wasn’t able to find the exact brand we used online as it was an in-store product, but I did find quite a few similar!

THIS one looks a lot like ours and is specifically water resistant. THIS one is a darker version if you’d prefer a darker color. I also really love THIS gray color!

As promised, here are some before + afters!

BEFORE

AFTER

Would you ever consider laying foam floors, or have you already? I’d love to hear it in the comments!

If you’d like to see more of our fixer-upper adventures, find me on Instagram at @brandijolittle and/or follow the hashtag #thelittlefamilyfarmhouse.

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