The Life of Jennifer Dawn: August 2014

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Wildly Loved {Product Review}

As soon as I opened the package from Wildly Loved containing Lydia Grace's new scarf and headband, I found myself wishing they were my size. I even tried the scarf on only to have Lydia Grace insist that it was hers. Even at five, she is becoming quite the fashionista.

Nichole, the creative maker behind Wildly Loved, writes that she uses only the best fabrics for her handmade items. I can personally attest to how true that is. The fabric for these items was gorgeous and oh so soft! And her work was flawless. Lydia Grace won't typically wear headbands. She complains that they bother her and pulls them off within minutes. Since this Jersey cotton headband was so soft, Lydia Grace had no problem at least giving it a try. She loved it and declared, "Momma, this one doesn't bother me!" Headband dilemma solved! Just look how sweet she looks...
If you are interested in purchasing the Minty Aztec Infinity Scarf and Headband for your little one, that link is here.  Nichole is launching a new line for fall soon, so the items currently in the shop won't be available for long. Be sure to browse all of this shop's unique, handmade items.

Wildly Loved
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Happy shopping! 
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Coloring Book Pillows

You may remember seeing Lydia Grace in her new school outfit from FabKids. We truly love their clothes! Did you know they also have a blog? I was honored by the invitation to whip up a post for them. Visit me over at FabKids Blog to see how to do this fun craft with your kiddos...
Happy crafting!
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Monday, August 25, 2014

The Most Important Work

"Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work."

John Trainer, M.D. Our Muddy Boolser

You may have noticed that things have been a bit slow around here. Blog posts have not been as numerous. All but four of my Etsy listings have expired. The posts on Instagram, my favorite form of social media, have become less frequent. Where am I? Well, as much as I love this little blog, I've needed to step back from it just a bit this month.

I felt like posting something tonight though. I'm not really sure the direction that this post will take. Will it be the one to contain those summer pictures I've been dying to share? Should I go into all the reasons I blog and why I haven't been doing it as much lately? Will this be the introduction to our homeschooling plan for Lydia Grace who started school two weeks ago? Will I finally get to one of the dozens upon dozens of posts that are planned but not published? I'm not sure. Bear with me though, and we'll see where this ends up. I said a prayer tonight that God would let my words be exactly what someone needs to hear. Then I began typing about what was on my heart...

I'm an ambitious person. I've always been. I dream BIG dreams. This isn't the post to dive into the details of those though. Let's just say that there are a lot of things I'd love to accomplish that just aren't going to come to fruition in this season of my life. Even some of the simple things are being left undone. With three kiddos, it's an accomplishment just to shower and keep the house looking like a tornado hasn't ripped through it by the end of the day. Some days there are as many as six little ones running from room to room. I take care of 2-3 other little ones a few days each week in addition to my own. I'm not sure I've shared that with you before. Yes, my days are filled with 3-6 kids who are all five and younger. I love it! Their laughter, chatter, and play fill the house. There are moments when I sigh with utter happiness at how blessed I am. I'm blessed that my days are filled to the brim with music, singing, stories, playtime, and silliness. Of course, there are moments of frustration too. Motherhood is filled with messy moments--both figuratively and literally. There are days when I don't think I can handle one more argument or tantrum. There are some days when all I feel like I've done is changed diapers and cleaned up one mess after another. It's on those days, I find myself wondering about the importance of the job I'm doing. Where have my BIG dreams gone? Don't misunderstand me. Having children was one of those big dreams, but there are others that lay dormant. But who really cares that I'm changing my twelfth diaper for the day and picking up the dozens of toys that have been strewn around the living room once again? Have you ever felt that way? In the midst of life's messiness, have you ever wondered if you're doing enough?

I remember a conversation I once had with my daddy. I was a junior in high school at the time, and to the best of memory it went something like this...

Me: I feel like I'm not doing enough?
Daddy: What do you mean?
Me: I feel like I'm not doing enough with my life? I want to do more. I want to help others more and do something really important?
Daddy: {chuckling} Well, Jenn, you aren't going to be able to fit much more into your day. You volunteer for every charity that comes along, make good grades, and play on the tennis team. You are a member of several clubs and groups at school. You work too.
Me: Yeah, but I feel like there is something more I'm supposed to be doing. I just don't know what it is yet.
Daddy: You will. When you're older, you'll have lots of opportunities to do more. Enjoy today.

I've recalled that conversation often. It usually comes to mind at the times in my life when I've had those same feelings of restlessness return.

Here I am--older now. And what am I doing? What am I really doing with my life? I'm not taking mission trips to a third-world country, working with the elderly, raising hundreds of dollars for juvenile diabetes, serving as the philanthropy chair for a sorority, or even serving as president of a volunteer organization. These were actually all accomplished at a much younger age. "When you're older, you'll have lots of opportunities to do more." Hmmm... It's interesting to think back on those words from this perspective. At times it feels like I was doing more during my high school and college years. Here are some things I've learned since that conversation though. More is not always more if your heart's not in invested in it. Sometimes it is just that--more! One person's mission field may look very different from another's, but both ministries are equally important. And sometimes it's not about what we are doing, but who we are doing it for.

For years, I walked into the same fourth grade classroom day after day. Beyond college it had become my mission field and ministry. I taught with everything I had in me. I fed students who came to my class hungry. I showed as much loved and compassion to my students as I possibly could. It is what God had called me to do. It was one tiny classroom, years of service, hundreds of lives, and long-term effects that I may never realize. In that role, it was easy to feel like I was making a difference.

God later called me to another mission field though. It's one that doesn't even require me to leave the house. My current ministry is my own children and any others that walk through my door that day. The hours are long. The messes are many. The gratitude is very little. Who really sees me as I'm wiping away tears, bandaging skinned knees, or sweeping up crumbs from the floor again? Who hears me singing the same song for the fifth time because of the giggles it brings or teaching my kids about kindness? Well, fellow mother, let me encourage you as I encourage myself...

God does! He sees us in the midst of breaking up yet another fight between siblings. He sees us running across the lawn to chase and tickle a laughing toddler. He sees us in our triumphs and in our trials! He also sees the impact that our work will have on our children. Though the field be small, it's effects are long-reaching.

My mother said it best when she gave me a book with this message inside: "Though I've not always been a perfect mother... There are things I'd have done better... I know I gave you the most important thing... I gave you Jesus Christ! That is my legacy to you that I can be most proud of... That you know of His Great Love and carry Him with you! Pass it on too. If you lead just one person to Christ... You made a difference!"

That's my ministry in this beautiful season of my life! Now that I am homeschooling Lydia Grace, my work is even more time-consuming. There may be dishes in the sink, blog posts left unwritten, and dreams put on hold, but I can fall into my bed each night utterly exhausted and deliciously happy because my children learned a little more about God's love and faithfulness that day. Motherhood is a BIG job and a BIG blessing. It's all my heart needs. My children! They really are my most important work!
Enjoy today!
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Happy Sunday

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Slime Dough: Sensory Dough Series

It is August's installment of the 12 Months of Sensory Dough Series!  Each month 11 fellow bloggers and I are sharing with you our playtime adventures involving a different kind of dough. To take a peek at last month's fizzy dough, you can click here. This month's theme was Slime Dough which has now taken the place of ice cream dough as our favorite. Take a look at how awesome it is...

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Happy Sunday

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Back to School Lunch Ideas

It's back to school time which means many of you are are searching for school lunch ideas for your kids! Even though we will be homeschooling, we'll still need a packed lunch and snacks for co-op days. Here's an easy way to make those lunches a little more colorful and eco-friendly...
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Friday, August 8, 2014

Starting Kindergarten

It's back to school time which for us means shopping for new school items, earlier mornings, and preparations to begin our homeschool journey. Lydia Grace starts kindergarten this year which certainly deserves a new outfit! This is one she picked out herself saying, "I want that outfit because it has rainbow colors and a star. Those are my favorites!" She's a shining star in her new Fabkids ensemble. That's something that every student should feel like...

Lydia Grace's outfit:
Fabkids--an outfit club started by a team of parents including mom and actress Christina Applegate. It's a fun, convenient, way to shop kids' fashions in sizes 2-12! Every month there are outfit suggestions personalized for your child. You have the option to purchase one of the suggested 2-piece outfits or shop from dozens of other high-quality looks. Visit them to check out all of their back to school looks for both boys and girls!
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Happy shopping for back to school time!
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Sunday, August 3, 2014