The Life of Jennifer Dawn: February 2016

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Best Blogs to Follow with Published Books

Which came first--the blog or the book? For some of the authors mentioned below, it was the blog that came about as a result of publishing a book. But for many bloggers listed in this post, a book was born as a product of their amazing blog. Today I'm sharing a list of bloggers/authors and the books they've published. You'll find blogs and books from several genres including DIY, cooking, inspirational, crafting, and more! Whether you're an avid reader of books or blogs, you're sure to find some fabulous new reading material in the list below! 

This month's theme for our Behind the Blog Series is Blogs We Love! When I started thinking about all of the blogs that I follow, it seemed like an impossible task to narrow the list down to just a few of my favorites. That's when the idea came to incorporate another one of my loves into the list--books! With that criteria in mind, it became a little easier to narrow my list down. I know there are so many other bloggers out there who have published fantastic pieces of work, but the ones below are some of my tip top favorites whether it be for their creativity, stunning photos, or beautiful way with words! Without further delay, here they are--20 talented bloggers that I read and follow and the books they've published. Enjoy this list of must-see, must-read blogs and books!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Five Cute Crafts to Try Today and A Little Bird Told Me Weekly Link Party #170

Welcome to...

Running short on storage? Just make your own! Here are five fabulous crafts to try today. There's a tote with loads of pockets, unique leather trays, and more! You're going to love these cute and functional DIY projects. Grab those supplies and start crafting your own storage solutions!
1. Multi-Faceted Succulent Vases / The Scrap Shoppe
These have got to be some of the cutest vases I've ever seen. These are sure to add some fun pops of color to your home. And the gold edges give them a polished touch.

2. Cute and Easy Zipper Pouch / Flamingo Toes
Donut you love this adorable pouch? (Sorry. I just couldn't help myself.) This donut pouch is so much fun! Be sure to click over to get a closer look at the zipper pull. It's the perfect finish to this cute sewing project.

3. Leather Tray / The Logbook
How unique are these?! With just a few simple supplies, you can make your own trays to store jewelry and other odds and ends.

4. Ethel Tote / Nap Time Creations
I love all of this pockets in this roomy, stylish tote. The pattern is FREE, so click on over to see how to make your own bag.

5. Geometric Jewelry Dish / AKI 1 a.m.
If you're looking for extra storage for your jewelry, these clay dishes are a perfect option. They can be decorated and painted to match any decor.

Amazing ideas, ladies! Now...

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Bite-sized Desserts and Appetizers & Weekly Link Party

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Bite-sized desserts and appetizers are the ideal foods for entertaining. This round-up includes both sweet desserts and savory appetizers! Don't let their size fool you! There's an amazing amount of taste packed into each bite-sized idea. No matter what your next event is, these delicious recipes are sure to impress your guests and have them going back for seconds.

1. Nutella and Raspberry Fillo Cups / Summer Scraps

2. Cream Cheese Cherry Crescent Rolls / The Jenny Evolution

3. Chocolate Dish Recipes / Inspiration for Moms

4. Reese's Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups / A Wife, New Mom, and Baker 

5. Pizza Stuffed Popovers / Living La Vida Holoka

6. Pimento Cheese Fillo Cups / Lemons for Lulu

7. Smoked Salmon Bites / Dizzy, Busy, & Hungry!

8. Red Velvet Cheesecake PretzelsLemons for Lulu

9. Chicken Parmesan Muffins / Just Us Four

Amazing recipes, ladies! Now...

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Chocolate Pretzel Recipe

Chocolate covered pretzels have long been a popular treat. How about a new twist on an old classic with these chocolate pretzel bites? They have that tasty mix of salty and sweet that so many people love and are super simple to make. Use different colors of candies and sprinkles to theme your homemade pretzel bites for any occasion. It's a delicious combination of a chocolate bar, pretzel snack, and sugary candy all in one delicious bite!

You aren't going to believe how simple and fun these chocolate treats are to make. They're so easy that Eli, my four-year-old, was able to do most of it for himself. You'll see his little hands preparing them in the video below. What a great gift for kids to make for family and friends! Just wrap a few up, add a ribbon, and you have a sweet, kid-made gift. That is...if you and the kids don't eat them all first.

Ready to make your own chocolate pretzel bites? Here's our recipe for this homemade chocolate treat!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Edible Play Dough: Birthday Cake Dough for Kids

Making homemade play dough or sensory dough is probably one of my kids' favorite things to do. We've made a lot of different kinds together--ice cream dough, foam dough, scented dough, fizzy dough, slime, and even one that glows in the dark! Edible dough seems to be the kind they get the most excited about though. Probably because the edible dough recipes we've created taste and smell amazing like edible chocolate play dough or the edible birthday cake play dough that I'm going to share with you today.

Edible dough or taste-safe dough is ideal for little ones who still put things in their mouth. The whole everything goes straight to the mouth thing is just a normal part of healthy development and exploration. My youngest who has sensory processing disorder is still in this stage. I certainly don't want him sticking store-bought play dough into his mouth though. That's why homemade taste-safe dough is the perfect solution. Although I don't openly encourage my kids to gobble up their entire portion of edible play dough, it's fine if they take a few tastes. That's the whole reason it's edible, right?!

Playtime with edible play dough has so many benefits! This particular dough appeals to the sense of taste and smell. It's a great way to explore textures and provide tactile input. It can even help with the development of fine motor skills. It's an open-ended activity that gives kids the opportunity to engage in pretend play and practice social skills while sharing and playing with each other. These benefits and others can all be said of edible dough and many other variations of sensory dough.

The best reason to make edible dough is that it's just plain fun! Ready to make some for your child or even for that next play date you're hosting? Keep reading for the recipe to a a fun and festive birthday cake dough!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Simple Gift Ideas for Valentine's Day and A Little Bird Told Me Link Party #168

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Looking for a few no-fuss gift ideas for Valentine's Day! These simple and sweet DIY ideas are a great way to let someone know that you love and appreciate them! Whether the recipient is your mother, sister, friend, child's teacher...these lovely ideas are sure to brighten their day!

Use colorful, cheery cardstock to make your own envelopes with Antonella from White House Crafts. Just tuck a small gift or gift card inside and you're done!

Make your own bath bombs with Mistie from Homespun Engineer. They can be customized with different colors and scents for plenty of fizzy fun!

Sarah from Bombshell Bling is giving the gift of chocolate with her adorable Candy Bar Wrappers. Be sure to visit her site for these and other cute printables!

I'm a fan of anything pertaining to chalkboards. These chalk hearts made by Michele of The Scrap Shoppe Blog are no exception! So cute!

Let Lindi from Love Create Celebrate show you how to make custom artwork with vinyl! Just create, frame, wrap, and gift!

Homemade goodies are another fantastic gift idea, so be sure to look back at last week's round-up featuring Valentine's Day treats! Happy Valentine's Day!

Amazing posts, ladies! Now...

Monday, February 8, 2016

Cute Classroom Valentine's Day Cards for Kids

Still looking for some cute ideas for Classroom Valentine's Day Cards? Send your child to school with these personalized cards from Minted. They'll be bursting with excitement to hand them out! There are dozens of unique designs to choose from.  I'm so excited to share the ones we chose, as well as, some fun candy and non-candy pairings for each one. Hopefully this will give you a little inspiration for your own classroom Valentines.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

5 Sweet Treats for Valentine's Day and A Little Bird Told Me Link Party #167

Welcome to...
The Life of Jennifer Dawn

It's February and Valentine's Day is just around the corner! I enjoy using this time of year to do something thoughtful for the ones that I love. A beautifully packaged homemade treats is a simple way to show you care. Here are five fabulous treat ideas from some very talented bloggers. Each one would be perfect to package and gift to your family and friends this Valentine's Day!

1. Valentine's Day Muddy Buddies Mix
What a sweet mix! The recipe makes a big batch, so there's plenty to share.

2. Chocolate Chip Cake Mix Cookies
It's a special version of the classic chocolate chip cookie. The sprinkles give it the perfect pop of red and pink for Valentine's Day!

3. Strawberry Cream Truffles
Sweet and creamy! I have a feeling these chocolate truffles wouldn't last long.

4. White Chocolate Hearts
These chocolate hearts look amazing and only require two ingredients to make. Simple and scrumptious!

5. Strawberry Fudge
Strawberry M&Ms and fudge together! Yum! It's a combination that reminds me of chocolate covered strawberries!

Amazing recipes, ladies! Now...