The Life of Jennifer Dawn

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Rustic Christmas Farmhouse Decor & Weekly Link Party

Our family has been running a little behind on decorating this year. I finished the front porch last week and just got the tree up a few days ago. There are still a few more decorations to put out. I'm keeping things simple this year, though. Simple and cozy! Yes, that's what feel likes home to me.

How has your decorating gone this season? Did you go with a certain theme or style? We'd love to see your holiday decorations, recipes, crafts, and DIY projects linked below. Or you can also tell us about them in the comments below.

 In the meantime, enjoying gleaning inspiration from these talented bloggers. This week I'm featuring lovely farmhouse decor perfect for the holiday season. From a burlap stocking to pops of red plaid, here are several decor ideas to bring a Rustic Christmas Farmhouse vibe to your home.
1. Painted Burlap Stocking / Gluesticks Blog
Picture an entire row of these hung along the mantle. Dreamy! I'm loving the contrast between the burlap and the delicate lace around the cuff!

2. Farmhouse Holiday Wreath / Timeless Creations, LLC
What a gorgeous wreath! And it only takes a few supplies and mere minutes to make!

3. Rustic Deer Silhouette Printable / The Organized Dream
This printable gold deer over buffalo plaid is perfection! Just click on over to grab your free copy to print and frame. This is one that I could see myself leaving up all winter long.

4. DIY Wooden Advent Tree / A Fireman's Wife
Here's a project the kids will love! The little bags hanging on the tree can hold scripture cards, candy, and other goodies for the days leading up to Christmas.

5. Tartan Chair Covers / Of Faeries and Fauna Craft Co.
It's amazing how festive a few pops of red plaid can be. And these chair covers are the perfect way to add holiday flair!

Now it's time for...

Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas Advent Calendar Puzzle

The countdown to Christmas is on! Does your family have a special way that they count down the days? There are so many ways to orchestrate a Christmas countdown or advent calendar--opening a small present, eating a treat, or reading a book each day. The list could go on and on, and I'm sure you've seen dozens upon dozens of ideas all over the internet.

For years my family used the handmade Advent calendar linked here. Each day the kids would open a numbered tin to reveal a verse, pieces of candy, and biblical figurine--to go along with the verse. The verses would collectively tell the story of Jesus's birth.

This year I decided to try something a little different, though. We are going to use the Christmas Advent Puzzle shown below. The idea for an Advent Puzzle just hit me the other day, so I quickly whipped up this whimsical printable.
We are still going to read verses from The Nativity Story each day during our daily Bible time. That's a crucial part of our Christmas, but instead of opening the tins each day, I thought this printable might be a little simpler. I created and started it with the kids on December 1, but just now got around to sharing it here on the blog. Tis the season for busyness. But I'm loving this simple idea and I'm so excited to share it with you!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

6 Amazing Desserts to Try Right Now

The holidays always put me in a mood to bake. My sister and I grew up with a mother who baked the most scrumptious treats. She'd divulge her baking secrets as we'd lean in to help mix and even taste test whatever it was that she was making. My childhood holidays were coated in sugary, sweet memories. Now I get to share baking memories with my own children.

Do you have a traditional recipe you enjoy during the holidays? I can remember cherry cheese pies, Magic Cookie Bars (similar to the recipe shared below), peanut butter pinwheels, and so many others. The bloggers being featured this week shared some of their own delicious recipes at last week's link party. Enjoy clicking around and taking a look at these delectable treats. You might even find a new one you'd like to try during the holiday season.
1. Reese Lava Cake / Simply Stacie
Who doesn't love peanut butter and chocolate together? You just have to click over to see the rich, decadent filling in these cakes for yourself! Yum!

2. Magic Bars / Simply Stacie
These Magic Bars look delicious! They're a great treat to make ahead and freeze for later.

3. Rolo Pretzel Turtles / To Simply Inspire
These little treats are simple to make--with just three ingredients--and they look so tasty!

4. Homemade Brownies / Little House Living
Ditch the mix! These ooey, gooey brownies are made from scratch and look absolutely scrumptious!

5. Chocolate Mousse / Christina Chitwood
This mousse is the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way. Just wait until you see what it's made with!

6. Coconut Whipped Cream / Living Montessori Now
This fluffy whipped topping is the perfect addition to the chocolate mousse you just saw. I bet it would be amazing in a mug of hot cocoa too.

Now it's time for...

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Gift Wrap Ideas for the Avid Crafter

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WrapGiveRepeat #CollectiveBias

Just like the song, brown paper packages tied up with string have always been one of my favorite things! Anyone else? Here are five crafty gift wrap ideas to dress up those papered packages. It's a crafty collection of gifts that are almost too pretty to unwrap, and each one starts with a plain brown package. Even if you don't consider yourself to be the "crafty type," you'll find these gift wrap ideas to be super simple and quick to pull together.
Packaging and wrapping presents has always been one of my favorite things to do during the holidays. I used to have "wrapping parties" with my dad where we would put on a holiday movie and wrap gifts together. He would share tidbits and tips for cutting the paper or folding in the ends to make the present look perfect. He had a knack for making packages look fantastic! Now it's my kids and I enjoying those same "wrapping parties".
I love coming up with a new theme for our packages each year. Last year I shared these chalkboard inspired gift wrap ideas. This year I'm trying out fun ways to add pops of color and crafty touches to brown papered packages. It's a collection of ways to add pretty details to simple papered packages. 
Brown paper is a quick and affordable way to wrap all your gifts. It's my go-to wrapping paper. These ideas add flair to each presentScotch® Tape is an essential part of wrapping up these festive packages. I especially love the Scotch® Gift Wrap Tape because it blends in with the paper for an almost invisible look.
I stocked up on brown paper and a few kinds of Scotch® Tape at Walmart. All of the other supplies were pulled from my craft closet. You probably already have many of these supplies on hand too! How's that for simple?! There are so many other things to buy during the holidays. Who wants to spend a ton on expensive gift wrap. Be sure to stock up on Scotch® Brand wrapping products early and save with a 50% bonus and Walmart Rollback. And since we are getting into the holiday spirit of giving... Did you know that Scotch® Brand is donating $200,000 to Fisher House this holiday season. It's a charity that provides housing for military families while their beloved hero is receiving treatment. By using Scotch® Brand products for wrapping gifts for your family, you are supporting a company that helps military families. It's a gift that keeps on giving!

Ready to grab your supplies and have a wrapping party together. Let's get started!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Pumpkin Pie

It just wouldn't feel like Thanksgiving without my mom's recipe for pumpkin pie. It's a traditional recipe that's been enjoyed by my family for decades. And I'm sharing that special recipe with you today!
When my sister and I were growing up, our mother always made the holidays wonderful. The traditions, decorations, crafts, and food--especially the food! Holidays of my past are coated in warm, buttery memories. There she would be--apron on, cooking away, and listening to a favorite holiday song. Daddy would be close by reading the paper, drinking coffee, or rolling up his sleeves to help her in the kitchen. He was the official turkey carver and mashed potato whipper. Sweet, savory smells would wash over the house as the timer beeped and Mama clanged pots and pans together trying to pull out the specific one she needed. We'd clamor into the kitchen begging to help, and she'd happily oblige by allowing us to stir and taste while she divulged some of her baking secrets. Yes, mama was an amazing cook! Not only that, but she knew those moments spent together in the kitchen were the stuff of memories!
As I got older, my mom and I started a tradition of enjoying the Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pies for breakfast. We'd load up a piece with whipped topping and enjoy it along with a mug of coffee (me) or tea (mama). Not wanting to break with tradition, I enjoyed a pumpkin pie breakfast with my husband and kids this year. The hubby and I paired our pie with steaming mugs of NESCAFÉ® TASTER'S CHOICE® Instant Coffee sweetened with sugar and NESTLÉ® COFFEE-MATE® Liquid Coffee Creamer. It was the perfect breakfast beverage to have on a chilly morning with our pumpkin pie.
Holidays are harder now. There are empty places at our table where both my dad and younger sister once sat. I wasn't sure how we'd make it through this first Thanksgiving without my sister, but somehow...we did. Grace and prayers are probably what got us through.

Despite my broken heart, I was determined to try to make it a special day for my own kids--just like my own mama always did for us. It was my turn--to put the apron on, roll up my sleeves, and make sweet memories with my kids. We went shopping at Dollar General for the things we needed including LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin. They were running some great deals and had a coupon for the coffee and creamer on their coupon app. Caleb, my youngest son, had a blast carrying the can or pumpkin all around the store. It's always the simple things with kids, isn't it?
On the night before Thanksgiving, we gathered our ingredients and joined in the kitchen to make my mom's recipe for pumpkin pie. I must confess that I did have to call my mom a few times...just to make sure I was getting it right.
My dad used to teasingly call these pumpkin pies her Pilgrim Pies since she'd make them from scratch even down to cooking and straining her own pumpkins. In more recent years, she started using canned pumpkins. That's a shortcut that I'm happy to take too using the LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin that I picked up with the kids at Dollar General. Even with that shortcut, the memories are no less sweet. The kids and I had a wonderful time making pies together just like I used to do with my own sister and mother.
And now...I have a special treat for you! It's my mama's recipe for Pilgrim...I mean Homemade Pumpkin Pie. I hope you enjoy! But even more than that, I hope you savor making sweet memories with your family this holiday season--in and out of the kitchen!