The Life of Jennifer Dawn: Top Crafts, Recipes, and Activities for Kids

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...

Top 24 Posts
1. Whipped Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting (2011)
This recipe was just a lucky accident. You can click on the post to read all about it. It's proof that veering from the original plan can be a great thing--a delicious thing even!
2. Melted Pony Bead Jewelry (2015)
I had so much fun with this post! It's not only been a favorite with all of you, sweet friends, but it was also my sister's favorite post from my blog. She was my crafting buddy. I haven't crafted much since she passed away. I just haven't had the heart to get into it much. The creative juices have been flowing, but my energy hasn't. I've been cooking and baking a lot though. The addition of 20 pounds in four months is proof of that. Maybe it's time to get those craft supplies out again.
3. Foam Dough for Kids (2014)
This play dough for kids has been the most popular out of all the dough recipes I've shared. It's also one the simplest too--requiring only two ingredients.
4. Sew a Bib, Blanket, and Burp Cloth (2012)
I started making these when my oldest son was a baby. The items in the picture were for my little Eli, and I've still held onto them. Does anyone else find it hard to part with baby blankets and bibs? I still have all of ours and my youngest is three. This baby bundle is perfect to sew for your own little one, but it also makes a fantastic baby shower gift!
5. Oatmeal Play Dough (2010)
How time flies! Lydia Grace was a tiny tot when I made this play dough recipe. I wanted a dough that was taste-safe since she was still in that phase of putting everything in her mouth. I went into the kitchen and just started putting some things together to come up with a simple oatmeal play dough that my kids still enjoying mixing up with me.
6. Baby Food Jar Pincushion (2010)
This was the first post to ever be featured on another site. I remember being so humbled and amazed that anyone would want to feature something I had made. Eventually it was even picked up and featured on a BIG quilting site. One thing I've witnessed through my years of blogging is that people love simple, inexpensive ideas. And this one fits that bill!
7. Edible Play Dough for Kids (2014)
This is a unique play dough recipe in that it can be used for play or baked into cookies. Since my youngest has a severe milk allergy, I also made sure to make it dairy-free. Looking for a fun, taste-safe play dough? This one's a keeper!
8. Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling  (2016)
I'm not sure how this one jumped up so high since I just published it in August, But here it is--proving how popular pumpkin treats are during the fall months!
9. Snap Clips (2011)
An oldie but a goodie! One of my favorite ways to "dress-up" plain metal snap clips is by wrapping them in ribbon and adding a fun button flower.
10. Onesie Dress Tutorial (2014)
I started making these when my daughter was a baby, but didn't create a tutorial until two years ago. It's fun to get creative with various fabrics and trims when making these dresses. The same concept can be used on t-shirts and one-piece infant bodysuits. Oh, and they make a beautiful, custom gift!
11. Egg Ornament Craft (2015)
My daughter and I had a blast making these for Easter last year. The paper pack I used is my absolute favorite from the embarrassingly large collection of cardstock and paper stashed away in my craft closet. Oh, and there are those awesome pony beads again! Paper and doesn't get much simpler than that!
12. Felt "Paper" Dolls (2012)
I originally started making these for my daughter Lydia Grace when she was a baby. I wanted paper dolls for her that she couldn't tear up. We were going through a flannel board phase at the time, so the idea just hit me to use felt to make dresses, shoes, and dolls for her to piece together.
13. Pinwheel Flowers (2010)
For years I was putting these knit flowers on everything for my daughter--dresses, skirts, bows, headbands... Back when I had an Etsy shop, I even sold them along with my handmade onesie dresses. Since they were so popular, I created an updated tutorial for Making the World Cuter in 2012. They weren't popular with everyone though. My sister loved how they looked, but hated sewing them since I stitch them by hand rather than on a sewing machine. For me there's something nostalgic and comforting about hand sewing. Not everyone likes it though.
14. Sewing Supply Guide (2014)
Maybe it's my OCD or maybe it's just that I like to stay organized, but here I'm sharing my list of basic sewing supplies every sewing box should have.
15. Fairy Village in a Hat Box (2011)
Even today my daughter still has this hatbox under her bed and pulls it out to play with along with all her favorite fairies. Anyone else love small play ideas?
16. Printable Chore Chart for Kids (2016)
This was such a fun printable to make! I intended for it to be a tool for my youngest (3 years old), but my middle child (who just turned 5 today) seems to like it better.
17. Kitchen Command Center (2013)
I still have this board on the refrigerator. It's been a great way for me to plan out our days and stay organized.
18. Salt Dough Leaves (2014)
Did you know that salt dough ornaments last for years? Yep! We made these two years ago, and they still look great! My favorite thing to do with them is to tie them around napkins for a fall tablescape.
19. DIY Pyramid Earrings (2015)
This was a post I did in collaboration with Darby Smart. It was a fun opportunity to take some basic supplies and turn them into something cute. I love it when I'm hit with inspiration and see craft materials through eyes of what they could be.
20. Fruity Frozen Yogurt Bark (2016)
I think this has become one my kids' favorite snacks. They beg for this healthy treat all the time now. It's great because it's simple enough for kids to make on their own. In fact, it's their little hands that you can see in the video for the post. We haven't made many videos because I'm still trying to figure the whole video thing out. But this was a time when we gave it a try.
21. Wood Slice Ornament (2015)
These were so fun to make and turned out great! We gave most of them away as Christmas gifts, but Lydia Grace sold a few at a craft fair we did with my mom and sister. I'm hoping to come up with a new wood slice ornament idea this year. Have any suggestions?
22. Peanut Butter Pinwheels (2016)
Recipes that have been in our family for years my favorite ones to share. It's my way of preserving those time-honored recipes for my own children to enjoy for years to come.
23. Necktie (2012) Appliques and Bow Tie (2013) Appliques
Adding a fabric applique to a plain onesie or t-shirt is one of these easiest ways to create a custom outfit for a child. Different shapes and fabrics can be used to fit the occasion, but the technique is the same. I've been making these for my kids for years!
24. Photo Booth Props (2015) and (2014)
The first time I made these was for my son's birthday party. I wanted a simple and fun idea to entertain guests. It was such a hit, that I made them again for pur New Year's Eve celebration. Regardless of the occasion, a DIY photo booth with props is a fun way to create and capture memories.
More "Behind the Scenes" Looks...
This post is part nine out of a twelve part series I'm doing with several other bloggers. Each month we'll be sharing what goes on behind the scenes of blogging. This month's theme was Top PostsBe sure to join us on the last Thursday in October when we'll be sharing Blogger Confessionals! For now, you can read more about the series and past posts here. You can also enjoy the TOP POSTS from these terrific bloggers...

Top Posts | The Speckled Palate
Top Crafts, Recipes, and Activities for Kids | The Life of Jennifer Dawn (You're here!)

Happy reading!
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