The Life of Jennifer Dawn: January 2016

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Behind the Blog: 10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging

 "It would have been nice if I actually knew what I was doing. But that's the beauty of blogging: you just jump right in whether you know anything or not!" --Ree Drummond
The Pioneer Woman wrote that in a post years ago when she was sharing insight into her early days of blogging. She started with a point and shoot camera and a longing to connect with others while living on a working cattle ranch in the middle of nowhere.

I am nowhere near the position she's reached but I, too, started my blog with a point and shoot camera and a desire to try something new. In my first blog post, I even described it as "my feeble attempt at giving something new a try," and feeble it was. That post didn't even have a picture with it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Kitchen Measurement Conversions

Does converting units of measurement for recipes ever feel a bit tedious? Oh, I know it does for me! The internet opens us up to a whole world of recipes--literally--and converting measurements across the systems can be challenging.

How about a little "cheat sheet"? Here's a kitchen measurement conversion chart to help you out! This printable that will come in handy for those quick baking and cooking conversions! It includes temperature, liquid measurements, and even conversions for a few common ingredients.

It's been cold and snowy here in my corner of the good ole' U.S.A. lately. I consider that baking season! What better way to warm up the house than by starting up the oven to make something scrumptious?! This measurement conversion printable can serve as a valuable reference for those kitchen adventures. Hang it on the refrigerator or even keep it stashed away in a drawer to pull out whenever you need it. Frame a copy and set it with your cookbooks for a fun and unique pieces of decor.

Monday, January 25, 2016

DIY: Letter Wall Decor

Letter Wall Decor is a fun way to add interest and personality to a space. These new decorative wall letters in the homeschool room do just that! The 3-dimensional cardboard letters really add a pop of fun to the wall.

The decorative wall letters are the first of three new projects I created for the homeschool room and will be sharing here on the blog. When I first decided to make a few changes to the back wall of the homeschool room. I had a few goals in mind: add functional storage space, create visual interest with some new DIY projects, and maintain the homey, schoolroom feel to the room. The salvaged wood shelves give us the extra storage space--something you can never have too much of when you school at home. The book page letters add a quirky, fun touch to the room.

Book pages were used for the front of these decorative wall letters since they were being used to spell the word "READ!" How appropriate for a schoolroom, right? The great thing about these DIY wall letters is that you can use this same idea to spell anything--a child's name in their bedroom, the word "PLAY" in the playroom, or even "READ" in a schoolroom or reading nook. The possibilities are endless!

Have an idea where you'd use letter wall decor in your home? Keep reading to see how to make these fun book page letters for yourself!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Recipe: White Chocolate Latte

Decadent white chocolate meets fresh brewed coffee in this incredibly delicious latte recipe. Thaw out during the cold, winter months with a cup (or two--I'm not going to judge!) of a White Chocolate Latte. It's a true white chocolate delight!

Are you a coffee lover? I enjoy a fresh brewed cup with cream and sugar every morning--especially during the winter months. I'm also a big fan of those fancy lattes from Starbucks. Yes, those steaming, sugary beverages are my vice.

Who can afford the time or money required to sample a coffee shop drink every time you want one though? And for me, that would a lot. How about a delicious coffee latte made from the comfort of your own kitchen? This simple white chocolate recipe might just have you casting off those expensive coffee shop beverages for good! Keep reading to see how to whip up some for yourself. You're absolutely going to melt when you try it!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Delicious Breakfast Treats to Supercharge Your Morning and A Little Bird Told Me Link Party #166

Looking for easy and delicious breakfast recipes to kick start your day? Here are several sweet treats that will supercharge your morning. Fruit, grains, and other delicious ingredients abound in the collection of recipes below. Read on and visit each link to see how to make them for yourself and your family.

1. Apple Pie Pancakes
Apple pie is amazing, right? A tall stack of apple pie pancakes are just as amazing! Make this wonderful recipe with Stacie of Simply Stacie.

2. Cinnamon Quick Bread
Few things smell better than freshly baked bread. Mix up a batch of this quick bread with Shannah from Just Us Four.

3. Green Super Food Smoothie
What a delicious and healthy way to start the day! Whip up this green smoothie with Erin of Delightful E Made.

4. Vanilla Purple Sweet Potato Pancakes
The purple sweet potatoes in this pancake recipe make them super unique and colorful. Enjoy a batch with Rebecca from Strength & Sunshine.

5. Lemon Drizzle Muffins
You're sure to get your lemon fix with these amazing muffins. Make a batch of this lemony goodness with Stacie of Simply Stacie.

6. Orange and Raspberry Baked Oatmeal
It's a fun twist on a breakfast staple. Make this fruit-filled, baked version of oatmeal with Annie of Annie's Noms.

Amazing recipes, ladies! Now...

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Candy Recipe: Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Pinwheels

These peanut butter pinwheels are a sugary sweet confection that are simple to make and require only five basic ingredients. Don't you just love easy recipes?

This one is easy enough to even let the kids do much of it for themselves. In fact, it's one that my mother used to make with her mother when she was a little girl. I have fond memories of making this peanut butter candy with my mother as a small child, and now I make it with my own children. It's been tried and tested for multiple generations!

Some treats just taste sweeter because of the memories behind them. And this candy with peanut butter spirals surrounded by sugary sweetness is one of them! Each bite just tastes like childhood and brings back a flood of memories!

These peanut butter pinwheels are my great grandmother's version of the old fashioned potato candy--minus the potatoes that are found in many traditional variations of the recipe. Up until a few years ago, we didn't have the recipe in writing. It is one that my mother and my great grandmother before her just knew how to make. Watching my mother make it with my daughter one afternoon, I was able to write down everything she did to make this scrumptious treat.

Today I'm sharing that recipe with you! Keep reading to see how to make this delicious candy.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

DIY Projects for the Home and A Little Bird Told Me Link Party #165

Welcome to...
The Life of Jennifer Dawn

I'm glad you're here! It's link party day! Today I'm sharing some incredible DIY projects for the home that you aren't going to want to miss. These ladies used creativity and ingenuity to make something beautiful for their homes. Whether it be a fresh coat of paint or an entire room makeover, their posts are filled with fantastic DIY ideas. I hope you enjoy browsing through them and gleaning a little inspiration for your own space.

1. Dining Room Makeover
Freshening up just one room can make a big difference in your entire home. See how Tasha from Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body gave her dining room an impressive makeover.

2. Command Center
Need a command center for your home? Let Becky of The Logbook show you how to create one even if you only have a small space for it.

3. Industrial Desk
Build a desk with Trina from Just us Four. The coat of chalkboard paint makes it a fun and unique piece.

4. IKEA Step Stool Makeover
Paint a stool with Maria from Pastels & Macarons. It's a project that shows the amazing difference a little paint can make!

5. Chair Makeover
A fresh coat of paint can give something a whole new look. Learn how to paint wicker furniture with Sherri from To Simply Inspire.

6. Test Tube Spice Rack
I love when items are used in an "out of the box" way! Turn test tubes into a creative way to store your kitchen spices with Jenny of Refresh Living.

7. Stacked Wood Lamp
Make a stacked wood lamp with Tasha from Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body. It's a knock off that is much more fun and inexpensive than the original.

Amazing posts, ladies! Now...

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

6 Amazing Sewing Projects to Try Today and A Little Bird Told Me Link Party #164

Welcome to...
The Life of Jennifer Dawn

I'm so glad you're here! It's link party day, and I'm sharing six amazing sewing projects. Get out your sewing supplies and prepare to try these unique crafts. Whether you're looking for something to make for yourself or as a gift for someone else, you're sure to find the perfect project!
This first one is not a sewing project with fabric and thread, but this cute scroll saw sign from Virginia of Fynes Designs would look fantastic in any sewing space!

Sew adorable owl stuffed animals with Lynda of Lynda Creates. I love the different expressions on these little birds' faces.

Coffee never looked so cute! Whip up a few mug cozies using this tutorial from Bev of Flamingo Toes. Wouldn't these make fantastic gifts?

What a lovely and unique piece! I can't wait to try this embroidered necklace also from Bev of Flamingo Toes.

I'm loving this gorgeous quilt made by Leslie of The Seasoned Homemaker. From beginner to expert, it looks like the perfect quilt to try.

Lisa from Mabey She Made It shared this beautiful dress. The lace trim on the bodice is perfection. Want to know the best part? There's a free pattern included in her post!

Amazing posts, ladies! Now...

Monday, January 4, 2016

DIY Projects and Printables for the Home

Over the last few days, I've been sharing my top 20 posts of 2015. There were five delicious recipes and ten super fun crafts that have already been reshared! That just leaves five more that fell into the category of HOME--nesting if you will.

It actually surprised me that five of my printables and projects for the home fell into the top 20. This felt like a year that I didn't accomplish much with our house. I certainly wasn't the year of the hallway and bedroom makeover or the year of our fabulous master bath remodel. I had so many grand plans for DIY projects I wanted to do in our home this year, but they just didn't come to fruition.

I did kick-off a kitchen remodel, but even that didn't get done. Most of the cabinets are painted and the whole area has been redecorated. What's still left? Well, I have one more section of cabinets to paint, hardware for the cabinet doors to install, plans for a new sink, and a tile backsplash to complete. Whew! This is the year though! It will get done. "Someday is now" as Myquillyn Smith wrote in her book The Nesting Place. Afterall...
"Creating a beautiful home is a journey, not a destination." --M. Smith
Here are a few tiny pieces of that journey for my home...

1. Printable Planner Page
The motivation behind creating this planner was better time management. I wanted to be more intentional about my days and carve out time for not only myself but also for all of the things that are on the docket each day. This is a great page to print off a whole slew of and bind them together or print just one to place inside a page protector that can be written on and erased.

2. Homeschool Room
We have the homeschool looking pretty good. I have some plans for the back wall. That's on the list of things to get done this year too.

3. Framed Chalk Love Notes
Last February I made these framed chalk hearts. I left the glass off the frame so they could be written on. There are two of them--one for the hubby's nightstand and one for mine. It was just a fun idea I had for a way to leave notes to each other.

4. Quote Printable and Craft
This was a fun project to do. I designed a printable and showed how it could be framed or transferred onto wood for a unique piece of art. Click on over to take a look.

5. Sparkly Fairy Fort for a Girl's Room
This project was pure magic. I created a glittery fairy fort for my little fairy princess. She has now switched to a teepee, but this was so cute while it was up.
Thank you so much for stopping by and taking a look at a few of my home posts from the year. Be sure to also take a look at the top recipes and crafts for the year! I have high hopes for 2016! It's going to be the year I finally get to share the work on my kitchen and the fabulous DIY projects I have planned! What plans do you have for your home this year? Anything exciting? I'd love to hear about them.
Happy homemaking!
Image Map

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Best Crafts of 2015

It's no secret that the kids and I love to craft and create. I guess you could say that I'm just passing the legacy down. My sister and I grew up with a mother who was always sewing, crocheting, or painting something. Long before Pinterest, she was making Pinterest-worthy crafts and providing us with the tools and freedom to create.

If you're looking for some fun crafts to try with your kids this year, you've come to the right place! Below you'll find my Most Popular Craft Posts of 2015! It's always fun to look back and see what YOU loved most.

(Side note: You'll find my Most Popular Recipes here.)

I always love a good countdown! So...counting down from #10 to the #1 MOST POPULAR, here are the top crafts for the year!











That's a wrap on for my top crafts from 2015. Be sure to also check out my MOST POPULAR RECIPES OF 2015.

Still craving more craft inspiration? Linked below you'll find the top kids' crafts from several of my fellow bloggers. Get that clicking and pinning finger ready because you aren't going to want to miss these...

Happy crafting!
Image Map

Friday, January 1, 2016

Best Recipes of 2015

It's hard to believe that the year 2015 has come to a close! The end of one year and the start of another opens up time for reflection. Year after year it's fun to look back on the blog and see what your favorite posts were. Usually I throw them together into one big collage and reshare them with you. This year I decided to do something a little different. I've taken the top 20 posts for the year and separated them into three categories--recipes, crafts, and printables & home. Over the next few days, I'll be sharing them all with you.

Let's start with recipes! Here they are--the five most popular recipes for 2015! You'll find them in order of their popularity.

#1. Apple Pie Popsicles
These were a lot of fun to make, and the kids loved them! I frequently come up with new popsicle recipes and use our Zoku Quick Pop Maker to make them. This is a recipe that I created during the fall. It's was a mash-up of a cool treat and the tastes of the season.

#2. Whipped Lemon Cream Cheese Tartlets
Playing off the popularity of my whipped lemon cream cheese frosting, I decided to make tarts using the creamy delicacy. These were easy to make and oh so delicious!

#3. Strawberry Jam
One of the things that the kids and I enjoy most is going down the road to the fruit and berry patch. Year after year we pick and sample the berries, peaches, and apples that are grown there. One of our hauls of strawberries was made into this delicious treat--homemade strawberry jam. I put up several jars that didn't last as long as I had expected. I guess that just proves how delicious this recipe really is. In the summer, we're going to try making blackberry jam from the wild blackberry bushes we discovered in our backyard this year.

#4. Pasta Sauce
This tasty recipe was a result of our own personal garden. We grew more tomatoes than I knew what to do with this year, so I started cooking them into meals like this garden fresh pasta sauce.

#5. Homemade Caramel Candy
Caramel is one of my favorite treats! I really enjoyed whipping up these homemade candies and sharing them with others.

AND just for fun...
You can find my ALL TIME most popular recipe by clicking here! It continues to be my most popular post year after year proving that kitchen mishaps can become delicious strokes of luck!

Update: TOP 10 CRAFTS OF 2015 are here!
 Happy kitchen adventures!
Image Map
*Affiliate links may be present to help you find products mentioned in the post.