The Life of Jennifer Dawn: October 2016

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Recipes for Thanksgiving Day & Weekly Link Party

You don't need a fancy, complicated meal to host a memorable gathering on Thanksgiving Day. These recipes prove that! From a classic gravy recipe to simple sides and a few easy desserts, you're sure to discover delicious additions to your menu that don't add a lot of time, stress, or expense.

At last week's link party I shared several Thanksgiving Day Recipes to help you begin planning your menu for the upcoming holiday. This week I'm adding several more that are just as delicious and even more simple to whip up! Did you see that? SIMPLE! Which means less time in the kitchen and more time gathered with family and friends around the table. Take a look around. You're sure to find at least one new addition to your Thanksgiving spread this year.
1. Classic Turkey Gravy / The Gracious Wife
What's turkey and mashed potatoes without the grazy? This classic recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser at your Thanksgiving festivities.

2. Honey Maple Bourbon Glazed Carrots / Creative Cynchronicity
What a quick, easy, and delicious side to add to the meal! Yum!

3. Fall Salad / Simply Stacie
This fall salad with warm bacon vinaigrette is a scrumptious side that brings the delicious flavors of bacon, cranberries, pecans, and blue cheese to the table.

4. Sweet Potato Turkey Shepherd's Pie / The Gracious Wife
Need a tasty way to use up those turkey leftovers? This recipe has you covered!

5. Pecan Butter Tarts / Simply Stacie
I can't believe how simple this recipe seems! Oh, and let's not forget how tasty the finished tarts look!

6. Caramel Apple Cookies / The Country Chic Cottage
Caramel apples meet cookies in this delectable treat that's perfect for snacking on before or after the BIG meal!

7. Reese Pie / Simply Stacie
Upgrade traditional peanut butter pie for this creamy, chocolaty version. One of the best parts is that it's a no-bake pie! That's a huge plus when there is so much competition for the oven on Thanksgiving Day.

Now it's time for...

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Thanksgiving Day Recipes & Weekly Link Party

The Thanksgiving season is all about being grateful--whether it's for good health, loving family, friends who feel like family, a beautiful home, or countless other blessings. The Thanksgiving Day meal is the cornerstone of the season bringing all of these things together. Here are several delicious recipes to help you plan your Thanksgiving meal. Collectively they make an unforgettable spread, but any one of them on their own would be a tasty addition to your table. You might even discover a new family favorite to serve year after year. These recipes are proof that you don't need anything complicated to enjoy a warm, memorable meal with the family and friends who you're immeasurably thankful for.

1. Roasted Chicken with Rosemary / Quirky Inspired
Sub in a chicken for turkey this Thanksgiving or try this easy recipe when roasting up that traditional turkey. Either way it's a flavorful entree for all of your guests to enjoy!

2. Southern Corn Pudding / The Gracious Wife
I love dishes that give me an opportunity to pull out my old cast iron skillet. This delicious side is warm, comforting Southern food at it's finest!

3. Parmesan Roasted Carrots / Simply Stacie
Looking for a new twist on roasted carrots? This recipe calls for tasty touches of Parmesan and thyme.

4. Butternut Chicken Salad with Apple & Cranberries / Your Vibrant Family
This dish is loaded with fall food staples--butternut squash, apples, and even cranberries! Substitute chicken for turkey and it's a great meal to make with those Thanksgiving leftovers.

5. Caramel Apple Cider / Party Fetti
Hot apple cider is the perfect signature drink for a Thanksgiving event. This would be delicious enjoyed with the meal or with the good conversation that comes after.

6. Pumpkin Silk Pie / The Gracious Wife
This rich, creamy pumpkin silk pie is a decadent variation of traditional pumpkin pie. Scrumptious!

Oh, and for a unique table setting that's warm and inviting, these Crochet Placemats from Olives & Okra are ideal!

Now it's time for...

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

9 Simple Ways to Decorate with Pumpkins & Weekly Link Party

When I think about fall, pumpkins are certainly one of the first things that come to mind. Real! Artificial! Even ones made from paper or fabric! Here are 9 ways to incorporate pumpkins into your home decor for fall. Which of these simple, creative ideas would work for your home to add some festive flair for the season?
1. Pumpkins as Placecards
What a fun idea! Chalkboard paint transforms these small pumpkins from The Heathered Nest into lovely and creative placecards for fall entertaining.

2. Pumpkins on the Front Porch
Adding pumpkins to the front porch like the mother-daughter duo from Timeless Creations did is a lovely way to usher fall into your home.

3. Pumpkins as Mantle Decor
This Pumpkin Hoop Fall Banner is such a cute craft! And it looks great strung across a mantle. Be sure to stop by The Country Chic Cottage for a full video on how to make them.

4. Pumpkins on Tables
What a gorgeous fall tablescape Vicki and Kristen from Timeless Creations put together! I love the textures and the contrast between the white pumpkins and wood table accessories.

5. Pumpkins on Pillows
Holly from McCall Manor did a gorgeous job with these applique pillows. How I love white pumpkins and neutral fall decor!

6. Pumpkins on Garlands
This garland of paper pumpkins from White House Crafts is darling! And it would look great anywhere in the home--across the mantle, mirrors, windows, or even door frames.

7. Pumpkins on Printables
Printables are an affordable and lovely way to decorate a space. The internet is filled with hundreds of free printables that you can print, frame, and display like this beautiful chalkboard printable from Gluesticks Blog.

8. Pumpkins and Flowers
This DIY Magnolia Pumpkin from Lolly Jane is a decor piece that's versatile enough to go anywhere in the home. Beautiful!

9. Pumpkins and Paint
I love pumpkins that you can decorate with year after year. Be sure to stop by Brandy's blog to see how to make these stunning vintage inspired silver pumpkins.

Now it's time for...

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Printable: Color Memory Games

Playing games together is a simple and fun way to enjoy quality time as a family. And these printable versions of the long-time favorite game MEMORY make having your next family game night super easy. Throw in some snacks like Goldfish crackers and you'll be sharing smiles together in no time.
I'll admit it! I'd much rather play a board or card game than a video game any ole day. And Memory has been a favorite game for families for decades. It's active and entertaining but simple enough that even young children can join in on the fun. Two players? Four players? Teams? It all works! The game of Memory lends itself to multiple generations and variations.

Not only is this game a fun way to spend time together, it's educational too! The game of Memory sharpens concentration, observation, and memory skills. These printable versions also give preschoolers practice on color identification and young children practice on recognizing and reading color words. Yes, I'm giving you multiple printables for multiple ways to play!

Below you'll find a version that requires the players to match fish of the same color. Which is why pairing the game with a Goldfish snack is ideal! That and the fact that Goldfish crackers are baked with real cheese and contain NO artificial flavors or preservatives. They're a snack you can feel good about giving your kids during a family event like Game Night. And I'm guessing since you're taking the time to look at this post, that's something that's important to you.

There is also a version of the game for matching a color block to its corresponding color name. This version comes two ways--with the text colored correctly for a little hint and with the text in black for more of a challenge. You can even combine the different versions for one HUGE, epic game of Memory with the family. Whichever way you're sure to have fun!

Ready to start your own Family Game Night? It would make an excellent weekly tradition! I'll make it easy for you this week and even pick the game. Keep reading to see how to print off and prepare these colorful, fun versions of Memory. Oh, and don't forget to grab those snacks!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

5 Delicious Apple Treats to Try This Fall & A Weekly Link Party

Pumpkins are taking a backseat today! It's all about those fall apples. The kids and I went apple picking recently and I have a few ideas for homemade treats brewing in my own kitchen. If you're looking for some delicious inspiration for apple treats to try this fall, these bloggers have some tasty and unique ideas for you! Which would you and your family enjoy?
1. Baked Apple Chips / Gluesticks
Ditch the greasy potato chips for this healthier chip option. What a tasty, simple treat for kids and adults!

2. Easy Homemade Apple Crisp / Quirky Inspired
I love apple crisp! It's one of my favorite fall treats, and this one looks amazing. Oh, and did I mention that it's gluten free?!

3. Caramel Apple Muddy Buddies / The Country Chic Cottage
Have you tried Muddy Buddies? Here's a fall version with cinnamon, caramel, and homemade apple chips. Yum!

4. Caramel Popcorn Apples / Lou Lou Girls
Caramel apples are taken to the next level with a coating of popcorn. Don't you just salty, sweet combinations?!

5. Apple Pie Popsicles / The Life of Jennifer Dawn (right here!)
Pie and frozen pops combine in this tasty treat. These have all the comforting flavors of apple pie in popsicle form!

Now it's time for...

Monday, October 3, 2016

Glazed Pumpkin Cookies

It just wouldn't seem like fall without a batch of these scrumptious pumpkins cookies. For as long as I can remember, my mom has made these delicious cookies with their light brown glaze each and every fall. It's a recipe tradition that I've already begun passing down to my own children. And my kids love them just as much as I do!

When I was growing up, my mom would serve these glazed pumpkin cookies alongside her homemade pumpkin pies on Thanksgiving Day. Sometimes she'd even have a baking day where she'd make the cookies ahead of time and freeze them until she was ready to serve them up. They were just as delicious frozen and later thawed as they were served fresh.

My sister and I were, of course, always on hand to help lick the bowl--especially for that glaze. These soft pumpkin cookies are wonderful without the glaze, but it really is the brown butter glaze that makes them amazing!

I know that it's a pumpkin-palooza this time of year, with pumpkin everything hitting tables everywhere. Trust me when I say that these are a treat truly worth trying.
Although these pumpkin cookies were a traditional treat that usually accompanied our Thanksgiving meal when I was growing up, I personally think they are perfect to enjoy throughout the entire season! Ready to mix up a batch? I guarantee they will quickly become a family favorite!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Top Crafts, Recipes, and Activities for Kids

I've been doing this little blog of mine for eight years. Eight years! And in that time, a lot of life has happened--some good and some...well, not so good. There have been babies, miscarriages, celebrations, birthdays, holidays, beautiful moments with the kids, hard days, job changes, devastating losses (my dad and sister), new adventures...the list could go on and on. It's been the good and the bad all muddled together into a beautiful, messy journey. Yes, the last eight years have taken some BIG twists and turns. Life--the very heartbeat of it--seems to happen not in the BIG events of our lives, but in the simple, ordinary moments though. Leaning over the sewing machine to stitch together a blanket for a much prayed for, new baby or crowding around the kitchen counter with the kids to whip up a handmade treat... Those are the moments that are the makings of beautiful, delicious memories!

With all of these life changes there have also been a lot of changes to the blog. It's evolved from essentially an online journal only read by two people--my mom and sister--to a place for me to come and share recipes, crafts, DIY projects, and the life lived in between all of those creative outbursts. It's my place to share things with you, sweet friends. The pictures are a little sharper. The camera equipment is a whole lot better. My blogging knowledge is a lot wider. But one thing has not changed.  In the midst of all life's chaos and tragedies, I've always wanted the blog to be a colorful, happy place for you to come enjoy and leave inspired.

I'm am not a master cook or an expert seamstress. I'm not even some "supermom" who "does it all". Those don't really exist. I'm just a mom who finds great pleasure in cooking, crafting, and creating for and with my family. I also enjoy sitting down with you and sharing all of that. I know my posting can be a bit inconsistent with lapses in between posts. In fact this post was supposed to go live two days ago, but between one of my boys turning five, a church cookout, and the family dog going missing (he's been found now), I just couldn't get it out on time. I'm excited to sit down with you today though. And I'm honored when you stop by to spend time with me, read about a family recipe, comment on a craft, or e-mail me about your own creative endeavors. Thanks you, sweet friends, for following along.

Today I've complied a list of the TOP 24 POSTS that have gone live over the last eight years. They are your favorite recipes, crafts, and kids' activities (at least according to stats). I'm also sharing a little "inside information" about each one. Pour yourself a glass of sweet tea (or any beverage you prefer), take a seat, and enjoy taking a little trip down memory lane with me...