The Life of Jennifer Dawn: January 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

His & Her Framed Chalk Love Notes

In the midst of work obligations, taking care of kids, and the hullabaloo of life, it's easy to drift away from being intentional when it comes to marriage. Sometimes the simplest gestures can make the greatest impact though. Brewing a cup of coffee in the morning for your spouse, rolling up your sleeves to help unload the dishes, or just leaving a simple note can go far in reminding them how much you care.

Gift Ideas for Valentine's Day & Weekly Link Party

Welcome to...
The Life of Jennifer Dawn

It is wonderful to have you here!
Meet your party hosts...
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Let's get the party started with four fabulous posts that were linked up last week...
Rebecca of Living Better Together linked up her recipe for Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, and it looks amazing!
Marie from Blooming Homestead shared a fabulous Mail Organizer Makeover! I love the color she chose for this project!
Rachel of Craving Some Creativity linked up a tutorial for making these cute Sweetheart Mugs!
Claire from The Simple, Sweet Life shared these scrumptious Hot Chocolate Doughnuts!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Saturday, January 24, 2015

L-O-V-E-ly in Fabkids

Pictures of my kids are my most precious possessions. I'm sure you feel the same way about pictures of your own kids. Doesn't every momma feel this way? They are our way of capturing life--the everyday moments that collectively tell a story...

Years from now, I'll be able to look back at these and remember how those little wisps of hair fell across her face. I'll remember the pure delight on her face from receiving balloons--something so simple--to match her new fabkids outfit. My mind's eye will recall how she looked skipping ahead and spinning around on her toes to check to see if I was still right behind her. I'll remember how cute she sounded as she pretended, chatted, and played without a single toy to entertain her--just her imagination. And I'll especially remember how magical and lovely it all was...

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sweet and Simple Ideas for Valentine's Day & Weekly Link Party

Welcome to...
The Life of Jennifer Dawn

It is wonderful to have you here!
Meet your party hosts...
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Let's get the party started with four fabulous posts that were linked up last week...
Lani of Life Anchored linked up these wonderful Valentine's Day Dipped Cookies!
Kendra from Simply {Darr}ling shared an adorable Valentine's Day Shirt for kids!
Kathy of Penney Lane Kitchen linked up her recipe for Cookies & Cream Dessert Dip!
Sugar Aunts shared these cute DIY Felt Cookies that are perfect for playtime!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Glitter and Mod Podge Heart Wreath

Red glitter and hearts just seem to scream Valentine's Day! And this craft calls for a lot of red glitter. The end result is a sparkly heart wreath that's a perfect decoration for Valentine's Day!

This fun craft is great to try with the kids. There's no wrong way to make your wreath. It's an easy craft that's best served messy. Let's face it! Kids love a good mess, and this craft is messy in the best possible way. It's super simple too--requiring only 5 simple supplies.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Winter Treats and Decor & Weekly Link Party

Welcome to...
The Life of Jennifer Dawn

It is wonderful to have you here!
Meet your party hosts...
Image Map

Let's get this party started with four fabulous posts that were linked up last week...
Luisa of Living and Learning with Luisa linked up her Winter Mantel with DIY Pom Pom Garland!
Ashley from Hello Nature shared how to make this delicious-looking Caramel Cinnamon Apple Cider!
Kim of The Baking ChocolaTess linked up her recipe for these decadent Dark Chocolate Covered Hazelnut Cheesecake Bites!
Michelle from The Gracious Wife shared an amazing Snow Princess Birthday Party!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Snow Dough {12 Months of Sensory Dough}

Did you see all of our sensory dough recipes from last year? Making homemade dough is a fun and easy activity to do with the kids.

Why provide opportunities for sensory play? Well, there are many reasons...

Benefits of Sensory Play:

Fine Motor Skills: All of that pressing, squishing, and molding strengthens muscle tone in those little hands.
Calming: Sensory dough could be compared to as a child's version of Zen gardens and stress balls. It's relaxing and soothing for them to sit, play, create, and take in the sensory experience at their own pace.
Creative Thinking: Providing a child with sensory dough also provides them with the opportunity to create! There is no limit to what they can mold and make from the dough.
Social Skills: Any activity that brings kids and parents together for some quality time builds social skills.
Following Directions: Whether it's through following the recipe or your verbal instructions, getting the kids directly involved in making sensory dough provides them with a hands-on opportunity to sharpen those listening skills.
Hand-eye Coordination: Create a station with the dough and other items like cookie cutters, rolling pins, beads, and even ice cream cones. As they are picking things up to play and create, they are unknowingly practicing hand-eye coordination.
Imaginative Play: The sky is the limit for sensory dough experiences! Let your child's imagination soar as they engage in this open-ended, sensory experience.
Academic Skills: Turn sensory dough into a science lesson. (We did this last year with fizzy dough and glowing slime.) Use cookie cutters shaped liked letters and numbers to practice literacy and numeracy skills. Use the dough to teach colors and shapes. These are just a few suggestions for the numerous educational experiences that can extend from playing with sensory dough.
Neurological Development: Sensory input builds nerve connections in the brain, and all of these connections help your child process and complete more complex tasks.
FUN: It's just plain fun!

So...what's our newest sensory dough theme? It's snow dough. Here in the South, we haven't seen much snow beyond a few flurries. Instead of playing with real snow, we mixed up a batch of snow dough. It was a perfect wintertime activity and it only requires a few ingredients!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Sewing Tips and Tricks

"Put the thread in here and then pull it down through there." Momma first showed me how to thread a sewing machine when I was just a little girl. I'd watch as the foot of the machine pulsed rhythmically up and down stitching the fabric pieces together that she had carefully cut. She sewed a little bit of everything--clothes for my sister and me, costumes, patches on the knees of worn out jeans, buttons on daddy's shirts, rips along the seams of treasured stuffed animals...
It was years later before I had an interest in trying my hand at it. My sister actually picked up the craft first. When my own passion for sewing struck, it was momma who bought me my first machine. Now I'm turning pieces of fabric into creations for my kids and home just like momma used to do.
Lydia Grace is already showing an interest in wanting to learn. "Can I press the pedal, mommy?" I must have asked my momma that same question dozens of times when I was around her age. So under my watchful eye, I let her glide the fabric through the machine and try out the pedal. I've also been passing a few tips down to her. They are ones that I learned from my momma or have picked up from personal experience. And I'm delighted to share them with you too...

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Essentials for Our Homeschool Room

Our decision to homeschool was an easy one to make. It just made sense for our family. (Perhaps I'll dive more into the whys in a later post.) Planning, preparing, and embarking on this new journey hasn't always been as easy though.

In the beginning, I was faced with the daunting task of carving out a place in our small home where much of the learning would happen. I had a room in mind and began by emptying its former contents. That just left me with an empty room to look at night after night and wonder...

What do I need to put in here? Where do I even begin? How is it that putting a classroom together was so easy, but this is overwhelming?

On one of those nights, I sat down and began to first envision what I wanted our homeschool journey to look like. I imagined our days filled with books being read together on the couch, taking field trips, keeping interactive notebooks with jars of freshly sharpened pencils handy, outdoor adventures, a snug place to sit for our devotions, large rolls of art paper to pull out and cover with splashes of paint and colorful scribbles. We'd do science experiments, explore new ideas with a hands-on approach, use math manipulatives, play, and learn together. With this delightful vision in mind, I began to make a list of the things the room needed to accommodate these activities.

Do our days always look like the picturesque description above? No. Rewarding as it is, homeschooling is not an easy journey. But having an organized, happy space that fosters a love of learning has been vital. The room has continued to evolve as the year progresses, but these essentials remain...

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Year of Sensory Dough Recipes and The Best Kid Blogger Posts of 2014

The year 2014 was a great year for my little corner of blogland, and I'm looking for things to keep getting better and better! I already have some fantastic things in store for this brand new year. But as much fun as it is to plan ahead, it's just as much fun to take a look back...

The other day I shared my top posts for 2014 and revealed that my most popular posts were from the 12 Months of Sensory Dough series. Although the foam dough and edible chocolate play dough recipes took center stage, I wanted to compile a round-up of all of the recipes from this year.

In this post you'll also find some of the Best Kids Activities for 2014 put together by my fellow members of the Kid Blogger Network! Get the kids ready because you are about to be inspired with some great ideas for your playtime and learning adventures...