Thursday, April 10, 2014

DIY Nail Monogram Ornaments

I've been making some new Easter decor this year, and these nail monogram ornaments are one of my favorite additions. I used them to mark our hanging Easter baskets, but they would look great on an Easter tree as well.

These ornaments are so easy to make they hardly need a tutorial, but just in case, here it is anyway.

DIY Nail Monogram Ornaments

  • Nails
  • Wire (I used green florist wire, because it is what I had on hand, but I imagine wire that matched your nails would look even better)
  • Pliers and/or wire cutter
  • Thread, string, twine, leather, or more wire to hang ornament
  1. Arrange your nails to look like desired letter. 
  2. Cut short lengths of wire and twist around points where the mails meet.
  3. Create a loop to hang your ornament and attach.
Hang up, enjoy, and reflect on the reason for celebrating Easter.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mandarin Mondays: Crazybomb (The Chinglish Files)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Homemade Easter Treats: Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows

Another homemade Easter treat that I like to make is chocolate dipped marshmallows. They are quick and easy, fun and festive. Our boys think these are a huge treat.

Start with either homemade or store bought marshmallows. You can even even use the animal shaped ones. Maybe this year I'll try cutting out my own marshmallow shapes.

Melt some chocolate using your preferred method. (Here is how to and how not to melt chocolate.)

Dip in colored sugar or sprinkles and place on a cookie sheet to harden before packaging.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Easter Preschool Craft: Simple Pop-up Crosses

This simple project is an easy way for a preschooler to make a beautiful cross for Easter. We made our crosses quite large, about half a sheet of posterboard size to use for decorations. However, you could make these pretty crosses much smaller and cover them with another paper, to turn them into a lovely pop-up Easter card.

DIY Pop-up Cross

  • Posterboard, cardstock, construction paper, or other sturdy solid color paper (I think that a dark brown, blue, gray, or black would all give this craft a stained glass feel to it, but other colors would be pretty as well)
  • Small pieces of contrasting papers cut into small shapes and letters if you like (I used the scraps from these two cross projects, because colored paper is expensive here and I like to make use of all of it, and I think this is a fun project to make use of paper scraps. But you can just as easily use new paper and have you or your child cut all of the pieces out fresh. )
  • Gluestick or glue
  • Any other embellishments you like
  1. Fold you larger solid color piece of paper in half.
  2. Draw an outlitline of half of the cross.
  3. Cut (or have your child who can safely use scissors cut) out the main portion of the cross, leaving only the ends of the cross-beam attached.
  4. Cut out any pieces you want to decorate your cross with. We mostly used scraps that were already cut into pieces from these two other cross projects, so I only had to cut out the Alleluia and the flower at this time. You could also use pre-made letter stickers to spell out something instead of cutting your own letters.
  5. Glue the colored shapes and/or onto the cross and frame of the picture, being careful to not glue pieces over the edges of the cross. Allow glue to dry
  6. Once the glue has dried completely, fold the cross in from the center, opposite the original fold, to make the cross "pop-up."
Now your cross is ready to display or make into a card.

Friday, March 28, 2014

DIY Sand Art Sugar Cookie Cake

These giant cookies turned out so pretty decorated with colorful sanding sugar. Edible sand art, these cookie cake are fun to make and eat. My two older boys loved sprinkling and spreading colored sugar all over their own cookie cake.

You can use any sugar cookie recipe you like. I actually ended up using 1 1/2 batch of my yellow cake mix cookies, spread out between two 9 inch cake pans. This sugar cookie recipe made with real butter, would probably be even tastier, or use your own favorite sugar cookie recipe.

After you have mixed up your sugar cookie dough, spread evenly in cake pan(s). Then sprinkle with lots of colorful sugar to decorate however you like. Pastel colors are great for Easter,but by changing up the sanding sugar pallate you could customize these for any other holiday. You could even use stencils to make more distinct designs or letters if you wanted.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

DIY Easter Decorations: Simple Cross Tree

This is another super simple Easter decoration, very similar to our Cross Garland.

My boys love decorating a "tree" for any and every holiday they can, and I thought this was another fun way to point to the reason we celebrate Easter.

I love finding ways to involve my boys in holiday preparations and they love all kinds of crafts and projects, so we had fun making the paper crosses together.

I cut out and hole punched the crosses, and the boys decorated the crosses with stamps and markers, just as we did here. You could also paint, add glitter, add stickers, or decorate paper trees in many other ways.

Once the colorful paper crosses were complete, I threaded a loop of white thread through the top hole and tied it to make it easy for my boys to hang. The boys then hung the crosses and some small fake gems on the bouquet of sticks we arranged in the vase.

Simple, easy, beautiful.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Announcing Greenfield Reading Cards! {And Our Heart Behind Teaching Reading Early}

Today, my husband and I are pleased to announce the birth of our technological and paper “baby twins,” Greenfield Reading Cards and Guidebook to Early Reading: How We Taught Our Babies to Read! These projects have had a long, six-year gestation, starting even before the birth of our first child, and we are so happy to tell you all about them.

{Our Heart Behind Teaching Reading Early}

First, I want to tell you a little bit about our heart behind why we have chosen to teach our children to read very early, and why we want to help others do so as well. I have mentioned briefly on this blog that we teach our babies to read but haven’t covered it in depth. This is mainly because it is truly difficult to talk about how glad you are that your children have learned how to read at an incredibly young age without sounding arrogant and judgmental, or perhaps like a delusional lunatic.

This is hard to do even “in real life” when people actually know us (and we apologize if we’ve ever offended any of our family and friends in our utter excitement), but it’s even harder to do on the internet when you can only see a small two-dimensional snippet of our lives.

But here is my long-winded and stumbling attempt to clearly articulate our passion for early learning and our love for you all regardless if you agree with us, dismiss this idea immediately, or even adamantly disagree with us (and think we’re a bit crazy for trying it).

Basically (like any parent) we want what we feel is best for our children, and early reading is a small piece in that puzzle for us. We want to help our children achieve the fullest possible potential for their lives, for them to have the most abundant life possible. By learning to read so young, their whole world opens up early and they have a firm foundation for learning for the rest of their lives.

Our Guidebook to Early Reading goes into great depth about why we started to teach our children to read early (and why you might want to consider it), but it boils down to the fact we could only see potential benefits and no downsides. So we decided to give it a try. We figured the worst that could happen was that he wouldn’t learn to read any earlier and that we would just be spending intentional time together with our son.

Today, our five-and-a-half-year-old can read college level material, our four-year-old can read fourth-sixth grade books, and our one-and-a-half-year-old can read more than one hundred words.

Want to see him read? Watch Aaron go from 11 months old and just learning to talk/read to five and a half and reading college level material in six minutes of video.

This process worked out beautifully for our family, and we see the benefits of early reading in many aspects of our sons’ lives. Now with our three early readers, we can still only see benefits to teaching reading early. Our boys are still little boys. They play. They make up nonsense. They watch videos (audible gasp). They fight, both play fighting and real fighting. They make mistake just like their parents. They have great imaginations and are incredibly creative. And they can also read! The older two can read for hours on their own. They can read instructions and directions all on their own so they can already do a little a schoolwork on their own without our help. They can already pursue their interests by reading about subjects they love on their own, which typically involve knights fighting dragons.

Do we think teaching reading early is the best option? Well, obviously, or we would have chosen differently for our own children, and I wouldn’t be excitedly rattling on to you about it. Do we think that teaching reading early could help any child unlock their fullest potential? Yes, we believe all children are extraordinary and this concept could literally revolutionize learning.

But at the end of the day, teaching reading early is not an issue of right or wrong. Parents are entrusted with the great responsibility of training up their child, but many of the specifics are left up to personal preference.

We love you regardless. We love you, even if you think we’re a bit mad for trying this approach. We love you even if you don’t like our products.
Want to learn more about early reading?

In our Guidebook to Early Reading we share why you should consider teaching reading early, explain the most common early reading theories, and illustrate how to practically incorporate early reading into your everyday life. This week only, you can get the PDF ebook completely free with the coupon code: GUIDEBOOKFREE

Greenfield Reading Cards is a powerful tool to help you teach your children to read. We’ve created over 1,000 cards (with more than 500 high quality beautiful photos) along with interactive games to help make teaching reading easier.

Also in celebration of our launch this week we are offering 50% off  of Reading Cards (which automatically includes our ebook free) with the coupon code: READINGCARDS50

Offers end at the end of the week (March 29).

We’ve done the research and the prep work for you.

Are you ready to unlock your child’s potential?

We’d love to hear from you if you have any questions.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Homemade Easter Treats: DIY Cross Brownies

Our wonderful parents usually fill the kids Easter baskets with plenty of store bought goodies, so I like to put a few homemade treats in their baskets from us. These cross brownies are quick and easy and point to the purpose of celebrating this holiday.

Make a batch of brownies, Better Than Boxed Brownies, Cake Mix Brownies, Black Bean Brownies or Peanut Butter Black Bean Brownies for gluten free versions, or your own favorite recipe.

After they have cooled, either use a cookie cutter or knife to cut out cross shapes. I used a knife and made these crosses 3 inches wide and 4 inches tall. That way the remaining pieces were 1 inch squares (or could be cut in half to make 1 inch squares).

If serving for dessert you can frost with regular frosting, but if you want to package these, I suggest spreading melted chocolate over the top. (Here is how to and how not to melt chocolate.)

Sprinkle with colored sugar or sprinkles while topping is still soft. Allow chocolate to harden before packaging.

What are your favorite Easter treats to give?


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