The Life of Jennifer Dawn: October 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Favorite Fall Meal

I have had a lingering cold for almost two weeks now.  This short season of sickness has begged for comforting meals.  I've been sick from "the change of weather crud" and blue from missing my daddy.  (Yes, I will always refer to him as "daddy".  Doesn't every Southern girl?)  A dose of my favorite fall meal was in order one night and probably will be again tonight.  Lucky me that when fall rolls around, I keep the things I need for this particular meal constantly stocked in the kitchen.
I keep everything I need to make...
grilled cheddar and apricot sandwiches with butternut squash soup paired with a sparkling apple cider!
This is truly one of my favorite fall meals.  It's easy to make even when you aren't feeling well; not to mention delicious.

Butternut Squash Soup
I use a ready-made kind that simply needs to be heated up and "doctored up" with a little cinnamon.  Yes, I cheat.  Hey, I told you this meal was simple.

Grilled Cheddar and Apricot Sandiwiches
*cheddar cheese
*apricot preserves

For a perfectly grilled cheese sandwich, I like to have a grill pan heating up with a little butter while I spread one side of each slice of bread with butter.  (I'm guilty of turning the simplest of things into an art.)  Then I add a slice of cheddar cheese and a generous heap of apricot preserves to the non buttered sides of two slices.  Putting the sandwich together, I put it in the pan with the buttered sides out and grill it until it reaches the desired color.  Tim loves his grilled dark, I like mine lightly grilled.  I know that using apricot preserves may sound a bit odd, but trust me when I say that it is amazing.

Variations: You can change things up a bit by using cheeses other than cheddar or even using mango chutney or peach and mango preserves rather than the apricot preserves.
Serve both with a glass of sparkling apple cider and you'll have a simple and delightful meal in minutes.
It's a true winner on a chilly fall evening when you need a little "pick me up". 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tutu Skirt Tutorial

Need a last minute costume idea?  Or a whimsical outfit for a special occasion?  Have you thought about a tutu?  These dreamy, gauzy creations are more versatile than you may think...
 Photo Source for the picture above:  My friend Lori Johnson!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Winner of the Giveaway for Raspberry Creek Fabrics

We have a winner of the fabulous fabric bundle from Raspberry Creek Fabrics and Trims!
The lucky winner of the 2 1/2 yard bundle containing 5 different fabrics from Riley Blake's Puppy Park Collection is...
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Congratulations, Wendy!
I will be e-mailing you!

Didn't win?
That's okay.  You can still win big by shopping at Raspberry Creek Fabrics.  Diana's shop offers a wide assortment of designer fabric at great prices.  Want to score a really good deal?  There is even a terrific clearance section.  I have to admit that I officially in love with this bright and beautiful bird fabric that is available in her shop right now.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Boy or Girl?

Have you been wondering about baby #3?  Curious to know whether we are having another boy or girl?  We've actually known for a couple of weeks now, but any announcements got pushed aside in light of everything else that has been going on.  Close family and friends were told, and my dad was able to hear the news before he passed away.  We had names prepared for either gender...
But obviously we only need one of these names, so without further ado...
I'm excited to announce that the baby's name will be...
Caleb Joseph.
That's right!  It's a boy!  L.G. was quite pleased.  She enjoys being the only little princess.  Lydia Grace and Eli will have a baby brother in March.

Caleb-A biblical name just like Lydia and Elijah (Eli)
Joseph-My dad's name

Not to put a damper on joyful news, but I have to admit that I have worried about my sweet Caleb.  Between all the stress and the clotting conditions that make my pregnancies high risk, I've been anxious about him.  I've almost been tempted to call the doctor before my next appointment just to see if they would do a sooner check-up.  Each time I feel him kick, it is so reassuring though.  I know God has C.J. in his hands.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalm 139:13-14

I would greatly appreciate your continued prayers for a happy pregnancy and healthy baby!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Downtown Family Photo Shoot

A few weeks ago, the four of us--five of us counting the sweet baby who will be born in March--met up downtown with Lori Johnson (my friend and go-to photographer) for a family photo shoot.  Since it was the day after Eli's 1st birthday, we continued the celebration with cupcakes from a local cafe.  Here are some photos from our downtown adventure.
After we finished the photo shoot, we ate dinner downtown and went to my parents' house to visit.  Daddy had not gone into the hospital yet.  He was still smiling, fighting the cancer, and tickled to see the kids.  He loved L.G.'s outfit and Eli's new "big boy" shoes.  Pictures always tell such a strong story.  These in particular remind me not only of a special evening spent downtown with my husband and children, but also of the smiles and laughs we shared with both of my parents afterwards.  I know that Daddy is smiling down on us now and would want us to share many more special evenings together just like this one.

Do something special with your family today!  Life is too short not to soak up every moment!
Happy memories!

Friday, October 19, 2012

New Sponsors and A Giveaway

Have you noticed the recent changes to the sidebar?  Well, allow me to give you a tour...

How about something fabulous and free from one of these great sponsors?!
Raspberry Creek Fabrics and Trims would like to give one lucky reader of TLofJD a fantastic fabric bundle!

Here is the prize...

Want to win?
Follow the directions below...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I Know...

There are so many questions that I don't have answers to...
For five months I've been asking questions in my head.  Questions that until recently had not audibly passed my lips.  Some of those questions finally came out as screams in the car on the night daddy died.  We had left the hospital.  Had to walk out without him.  I can't even begin to describe how hard that was...
Being in separate vehicles, Tim temporarily left his car at the hospital knowing that I was in no state to drive myself to my mom's house.  He picked me up from the hospital entrance and had to pull off to get gas.  As he was standing outside by the car, I slammed my fist down and screamed out with tears streaming down my cheeks, "WHY?!"
"Why did this happen?!"
Tim just stood silently by the car pretending like he had heard nothing--letting me cry it out.
I still don't know why.  I don't know why my dad got sick.  I don't know why he had to leave us at the age of only 57.  I may never know.
When I find my heart getting heavy and burdened by the things I don't have answers to, it helps to focus on the things that I do know...
 I know that he loved his family.  Throughout his illness he repeatedly said that his family, faith, and friends were the three most important things to him.

Since we are on the topic of faith...I know my daddy is in heaven which is of great comfort.  One of the last things he said was that faith was knowing that Jesus would be there to welcome him into heaven.

I know he would want us to be happy.

I know that I will always have my memories of him.  Albeit, each one brings tears to my eyes during this present season of grieving.

I've called his office voice mail everyday since just to hear his voice.  I miss hearing his voice.  I know that I would give almost anything to hear him jokingly say, "Hey there, Miss Priss", just one more time.

I know that we prayed for a miracle, and we saw one on the day of my sister's wedding.  Just days before daddy went to be with Jesus, my sister and her fiance' had made the beautiful choice to move their wedding to the hospital so daddy could attend.  Daddy mustered every ounce of determination and strength that he could to walk his baby girl down the aisle.  It was heart wrenching and beautiful at the same time.  Someone told my husband that my dad's selflessness that day showed him an example of the type of dad he wants to be someday.  A nurse gushed to us that it was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.  A hospital maintenance worker cried and told my family how blessed he had been to witness it.  These are just a few of the lives that was forever touched by the events of that day.

I know that my own life has forever been changed.  I look at the world differently now.  I relate to others differently now.

I know that "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble."  (Psalm 46:1)

I "know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him."  (Romans 8:28)

I know that I have amazing people in my life who have been lifting my family up in prayer.

I know that God will answer those prayers and provide peace, comfort, and purpose at a time when we need those things the most.

I know my faith will never be shaken!

I know I will see him again someday...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My Daddy

"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18

My daddy went on to be with the Lord at 1 a.m. this morning while surrounded by his family. Please remember us in your prayers as we go through this difficult time.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Perfect Wedding

As brides plan their wedding day, they often obsess over finding the perfect dress, rounding up the right vendors, and ensuring that every detail is perfectly in place for their special day.  What is perfection though?  What makes a perfect wedding day for a blushing bride? Outside of finding the right man to share your life with, what is your idea of a perfect wedding?

For my sister and her fiance', the perfect wedding was one in which they could make their vows to each other surrounded by all of their family and friends--one in which they could begin their journey together surrounded by the ones who had led them to that moment.

It wasn't about the cake which L.G. ended up sticking her finger into or the flowers which I as her matron of honor/florist had a bit of a debacle with or even the venue which she changed at the last minute so that our daddy could attend.  It was all about love--the enduring love that family shares.

Daddy has been battling pancreatic cancer for the last five months.  When he was admitted to the hospital last Tuesday for a surgical procedure, the first thought on his mind was that he couldn't miss his daughter's wedding on Saturday and the doctors reassured him that they had every intention of getting him there.  Unfortunately, complications from an additional surgical procedure on Thursday resulted in him being moved to the ICU.

Allison and Carl made the selfless, last minute decision to move their wedding to the hospital where the hospital staff, family, and friends did everything in their power to make my sister's dream wedding come true--a wedding in which my dad could give her away.

On Saturday, October 6, my daddy walked my sister through the courtyard of the hospital to give her away in marriage to a wonderful man.

And you know what? It was perfect!
*Photo Source: Lisa Price Photography

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Teddy Bear Picnic Birthday Party

Saturday, September 29 was Eli's 1st birthday.  In honor of his special day, we decided to have a Teddy Bear Picnic Party based off Jimmy Kennedy's book The Teddy Bears' Picnic.  The invitations included excerpts from the book and read...
If you go down in the woods today
You're sure of a big surprise
For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain because
Today's the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic.

Come join us for a backyard picnic

On Saturday, September 29 at 12 noon

In celebration of Eli’s 1st birthday!

Kids, be sure to bring your teddy bears!

Every Teddy Bear who’s been good
Is sure of a treat today
There’s lots of marvelous things to eat
And wonderful games to play
Beneath the trees where nobody sees
They'll hide and seek as long as they please
'Cause that's the way the Teddy Bears have their picnic.

Unfortunately we were unable to have the picnic outside as planned.  It had rained the night before and our backyard was a soggy mess with the sky overhead threatening to rain even more.  Thus the party was moved indoors which took away my plans for the outdoor entertainment.  Eli never knew the difference though.  He was all smiles which made me a happy momma.  Our inside picnic was decorated with pennant banners, balloons, teddy bears, and a large, comfy quilt.  In keeping with the picnic theme, the food included sandwiches, chips, a fruit tray, and vegetables with a ranch dip.  I made a small basket for each child out of a paper plate which included Teddy Grahams, a juice box, applesauce, spoon, and napkin.  I think the kids enjoyed getting their own special picnic basket that they could add a sandwich to and eat from while sitting with their teddies.  (The paper plate baskets were very similar to the ones I made here.)  Eli wore a onesie appliqued with the number one.  (The fabric for the onesie came from my Ready Set Go Fabric Bundle from Raspberry Creek Fabrics.)  I also made chocolate teddy bear lollipops for everyone to take and enjoy.  Tim's mom and step dad came early to help me setup, and I couldn't have done it without them.  A big thanks to everyone who helped make my little boy's birthday a beary special one!
 Happy Birthday, Eli!

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