Wednesday, December 15, 2010

This post inspired by my full inbox.

Believe it or not, I didn't have a lot going on this week, so I figured it would be a fantastic time to answer some of the questions that have been piling up around here.  I absolutely love your questions. (I also love your comments and encouragements, and times when you come up to me and introduce yourself as a reader, too!  You gals make my day...every day!) I really do try to answer all of your questions as soon as y'all ask them, but somehow, I always get behind.  Go figure.  
I get asked all the time, about my camera, since so many of you have blogs of your own, and love to take as many photos as I do!  About a year ago, I converted from a little point and shoot, to a Canon Rebel XS.  I did some extensive research, (aka: asking every single blogger who took nice photos what type of camera she used) and when I compiled my "scientific research," it was overwhelmingly in favor of Canons.  Specifically, the nicely priced Rebel XS.  I've been incredibly happy with it. There is nothing I hate more than flash photography.  Well, I hate fruit flies more.  But only slightly more.  I shoot with my flash off, in Av mode, most often.  I've found the settings that work best, inside my house, and that's half the battle right there, since that's where most of our photos are taken! 
People write and ask me where to find the huge, magnetic-backed, stamps that I used to create our family manifesto, (Love is patient, love is kind...etc.) which is hanging in the hall between my childrens' rooms, now.  (Incidentally that is a perfect place to send certain little people for time outs when they act unlovingly toward each other.  I can say, "Go talk to the wall," and it actually "talks" back to them. My mama used to send me outside to talk to the tree whenever I'd get sassy.  Which, and prepare yourself for a shock, was a lot.)   You can order your own set of these stamps, here. 
Because I'm in love with my man first, then chalkboards second, (some people would say obsessed-don't pay any attention to those people) I get asked all kinds of questions about making them. You can literally spray paint a chalkboard onto almost anything.  I find my chalkboard spray paint at the craft store.  I've spray painted onto all different types of surfaces including thick cardboard, but thin, smooth, wood is probably the best. (I've had good luck finding sheets of it at Lowe's and they will often cut it to size for you right there.) I've also spray painted a chalkboard right onto the glass in a frame before, making sure to to give it several extra coats of the chalkboard paint. It works well, (just don't ever drop it) but I wouldn't recommend it if you can use wood instead.     You'll want to season your chalkboard before you use it, once it's been dry for a full 24 hours.  And what I mean by that, is take your chalk sideways, and rub it all over the entire chalkboard.  Then wipe it off, and it will be ready to use. 
 I get asked questions about my silk screening projects a lot.  I can't fully explain, how to create the projects like my numbered pillows, and these napkins, because we'd be here all day but I'll give you the basics.  (Besides, you probably need to go shopping for Aunt Sally's Christmas gift.) We originally purchased it for home school projects, and it has been an absolute blast using it.  My kids love it!  Everyone needs a pony silhouette on their backpack, don't they? That being said, here are the basics- I trace and cut our images onto contact paper using an x-acto knife, then I attach the cut-out directly onto the silk screen, and squeegie the paint through, onto the fabric.  (I know, it sounds so simple when I put it like that, doesn't it?)  I purchase our silk screen paints and squeegies at Michaels.  You can get your own silk screen box, here
I get asked about my white plates and these checked napkins frequently.  I found the napkins at Target, where incidentally, all the good things in life are kept.  As for the plates, you can order them here, but they are really expensive at this site!  I found them for less than half that price, at our local grocery store, (Fred Meyer) and have been purchasing them a little at a time.  I love them to death!  They are heavy and rather durable and we use them for every day.  They come in several other colors, have tons of serving pieces, and are lightly distressed around the rim. 
Another question that comes up quite a bit is, what kind of  home school curriculum do I use?  I've used a few different things, in hopes of finding a good fit for my son's learning disorders and issues.  I've been really happy with the reading program and history units from Sonlight in the past, but the language arts weren't a good fit for either child.  I am currently using a reading list from Sonlight for their independent reading times, Horizon Math, and a full curriculum (Lang Art, Science/Social Studies) from Moving Beyond the Page.  Honestly, I'm not overly impressed by the science, but it's alright for this year.  I don't like how weak the History feels, but it's lumped in with everything else, so it's difficult to say much about it, good or bad.  Adrain and I are supplementing History with a unit on our Presidents that has been really fun.  I really like the Lang. Arts portion, of Moving Beyond the Page, because the hoodlums are writing a ton, with little or no effort on my part.  That subject used to be like pulling teeth.  And if you've ever tried pulling a loose tooth out of a scared six year old's mouth, you totally get that.
Every time we go on one of our hikes, I get asked, "Where do you live?"  I live in the beautiful, and rainy Pacific Northwest.  We went to Turtle talk with Crush in Disneyland, and Crush, the Turtle asked my JJ where he was from.  JJ loudly rattled off our address, including zip code, for all to hear.  I'll spare you those details.  (wink.)
Lastly, I get asked so many questions about the laundry powder post, that I could make an entire post on that! I'll just throw out random answers to the many questions.

1) I love it and just made a second batch this week, so it's lasted me over six months!
2) I don't see why you couldn't use any type of bar soap.  Dove would probably work well.
3) Yes, it seems to clean our clothing just as well as Tide did.  I've only had about two loads that seemed in need of a little extra scrub, and they were heavily soiled from hiking trips.
4) Yes, you can use it in HE washing machines, because it is low-suds.
5) No, it doesn't smell the same as Tide, however you're not adding a lot of chemicals to get that "clean smell" that we all know isn't really "clean" so much as it's perfume chemicals to make you think it's clean. KnowwhatImean? I add bleech to the whites and you could throw a bounce sheet in the dryer and it would smell great. I just smells fresh. 
6) The Arm and Hammer product is called "Super Washing Soda" (detergent booster and household cleaner) and is pictured above so you can spot it in your laundry detergent aisle. 
7) The only thing I don't love about this detergent, is that sometimes my little pieces of soap don't fully dissolve in cold washes. (They dissolve in the dryer somewhere, which isn't the best for your clothing) I attribute this to the fact that I grated it, instead of pulsing it in a food processor.  The more finely you grind your soap, the less likely this will happen. 

So... did I get them all?  Let me know if I missed any questions! 


  1. Hmm. I could do a lot of damage with a silk screen box. Thanks for the inspiration! We also use the Sonlight reading lists.

  2. Thank you for this email. It's kind of a "catch all" loaded with a ton of great information!! Thanks- Happy Holidays.

  3. Lovely JJ. I've been reading for a while but only just read your post about him. We've just had sensory seeking added to the list of Mikey's diagnoses. Tough to get another thing BUT it seems like one that makes so much sense and explains so many of the mysteries!

    Will pray for you when I'm praying for us!


  4. girl.friend.

    I am ALL about your homemade laundry detergent for 2011. I'm SO excited about it! I may even have a party and have friends come over and we have a make-your-own soap par-tay! I'm so excited.

    I also clicked over to your salted caramel chocolate cupcake. BE.STILL.MY.HEART. hopefully not literally...but that wouldn't be a too bad way to go..... ;)

    I'm just so excited that I've connected to you - I give full credit to Lissa!


  5. Great post girl. Lots of info here. I really think an entire tutorial needs to go up for that silkscreening thing. I adore anything with words and numbers on it. I know I would love this. Maybe we can do it together. Now wouldn't that be fun!!!!

  6. Now you've done it! Now I want a silk screen box! I think I need to try the homemade laundry soap.
    I am trying to keep myself in check with chalkboard paint. I have BIG plans for the new little house. I am thinking the wall in my kitchen will be painted with chalkboard paint, although the hubs doesn't know it yet. ( :
    Have a pretty day!

  7. You are amazing! :) I had to bookmark those stamps and silk screen box. Thanks for sharing! Hope you have a lovely Christmas!

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  9. It's real funny that you posted about these things today! I was just loading clothes in the washer and wanted to ask if you added any smelly stuff because I am sad that my clothes have no smell now. : ) But I do love the detergent and it has lasted a really long time, for sure! Also, I would totally buy a family sign from you if you were interested, but otherwise, sadly, I'll have to order my own stamps and make an attempt myself. But I'd love to buy one already made. You know, if you're interested. : )

  10. How did I not realize that you are in the NW?? I am in Portland. :)

  11. I love chalk board paint too... only I have never used the spray paint?!! hm... I am currently chalk board painting all the jars I bought a few years ago... yes it takes me that long sometimes to start projects! ha ha!

    I am using a lot mostly... alright... pretty much ALL Evan Moore workbooks this year for my little man's education! LOVE them! it is a bit more work b/c you have to pull together a comprehensive education yourself... but they have all subjects! laid out easy to use... my son loves them! and... We are about to dive into the Presidents too... well we have learned about a couple already! I have some wonderful books waiting for January to arrive! I am never as organized as I wish I was... I need winter break! he he =)