Friday, August 31, 2012

Food on Friday: Summer Squash Pasta

If you saw my recipe for the best zucchini bread ever, you'll know that we had a lot of zucchini grow in our garden this year. And with all the house-sitting and out-of-town trips we've taken (and still have yet to take), our poor garden has been slightly neglected this summer.

That meant we ended up with some baseball bat sized zucchini.

A while ago I came across an amazing looking recipe for zucchini and squash. I finally bought some pine nuts so I could make it.

And oh my goodness. It is as amazing as it looks and sounds. Plus, it's completely raw! Extra healthy, plus it's a refreshingly cool meal for a hot summer day.


Summer Squash Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Pesto
Makes 4 servings.
4 medium summer squash
2 cups basil leaves
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Using a julienne peeler, julienne each squash from top to bottom. Place julienned squash in a large bowl and set aside. Prepare the pesto: combine the basil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic and sea salt in a food processor. Pulse until a coarse pesto forms. Toss the zucchini and yellow squash with the pesto. Divide zucchini "pasta" into four equal servings. Top with feta cheese and cherry tomatoes.
I had two medium squash and a ginormous one too (the latter isn't pictured). I used both medium and half of the huge one. It made about the right amount. The flavor and texture was still great with the huge ones too.

I don't have a julienne peeler. But I do have a cheese grater (or whatever you want to call it--I don't know the fancy names for most of my cooking utensils).

I don't have a food processor either (Seriously, who doesn't have a food processor these days? I really should get one with all the cooking I love to do...) but I do have a Blendtec.

Ahhh, my Blendtec... My husband can have a love affair with his car as long as he lets me keep up mine with the Blendtec he bought me for our anniversary last year. It can do amazing things--far more amazing than a regular ol' food processor can (Okay, maybe I don't need a food processor after all.).

My only change to the original recipe was instead of using 1/4 cup of olive oil, I used closer to 1/3 of a cup. It made the pesto blend better for me without being too oily.

Bob walked through to kitchen as I was pulsing the basil, pine nuts, parmesan, olive oil, and garlic mixture in the Blendtec. He took one look and in a dreamy tone said, "Ohhhh. I know what that is..." and immediately got excited about dinner. I forget how classy he can be. Sure, he'll eat hot dogs and mac & cheese every day if I let him, but when he sees quality ingredients and gourmet cooking, he turns into quite the dapper fellow.

So if you find that you have too much zucchini, or too large zucchini, and you've had about enough bread and cookies made with zucchini, give this a go. It's bursting with fresh and zesty deliciousness. You won't regret it.

I'm also 100% sure you could hold off on the cheeses to make it a completely vegan dish.

But I'm a fool for feta. 
I cannot do without it's savory zing in my life.


I also can't do without this cutie pie.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thursday's Thoughts: Energy

I'm tired.

I'm not simply sleepy and I haven't just run a half marathon. This is different than pulling an all-nighter to finish a project due in one of my college classes. This isn't like staying up late at a party over the weekend or getting up early to catch a flight somewhere.

No, this is drained zombie of a woman I've become is from having a baby.

I do still sleep. Every night. On Sunday afternoons. Once or twice during the day each week. But the sleep I'm not getting is the nice, deep REM cycle sleep. I could sleep for 12 hours each night, but because it's always broken up into three hour increments, it's never enough. I haven't deeply slept for over a month straight. Within that time the longest period of sleep I've gotten at once is four uninterrupted hours.

I expected it to be like this for a little while. There's no way around those bleary-eyed feedings every two hours for the first few weeks. But then Graham gave me hope. At just under two-months of age, he began sleeping eight hours a night! I was thrilled. And it went on like that for a couple of months.

Then he hit a growth spurt a little before he turned four-months-old. He was back to eating every two hours. I expected that to happen too, so I was ready to get little-to-no sleep again. But I wasn't ready for him not to get back into his usual sleeping habits. After he stopped eating that often all day long, I knew the growth spurt had ended. When he went four hours between feedings during the day, I was excited to finally get some sleep at night once again. But it never happened. He kept waking up every two or three hours needing to eat. So instead of waking up all night long for two weeks during that expected growth spurt most babies have, I've been doing this for over six weeks straight.

Worst of all, when I lay down to go to sleep early for a change, I can't. I physically can't fall asleep. And all I want to do is sleep.

It's been affecting everything I do. I haven't cleaned or tidied my bedroom for a while. I just don't care about it anymore. I don't cook as often as I want to because I'm too tired to even try most days. I want to comment on blogs and respond to emails right away, and I'm pretty good about it half the time. But I just don't have the energy to do it the other half of the time. I'm too exhausted to think or be sincere, and rather than be fake, I just don't write anything at all. Is that rude of me?

I guess I'd rather be a jerk than be a fake. And I have been a jerk, I'm afraid.

So I apologize if I've been mean to anyone. I'm sorry if I've been short on patience, lost my temper, been too sarcastic, made snide remarks, or neglected anyone or any of my responsibilities. Please don't think less of me for it, because in all truthfulness, I'm doing the best I can. This is all I have left to give.

I'm spending most of my energy on my husband and son. They are my highest priority, and once they have been cared for, my friends and then my acquaintances come next. I'm not even my top priority. Should I be? Well, I'm usually not. I have a hard time taking care of myself anyway. If you read that guest post I did recently you'll know why.

I hope you'll forgive me if I miss a post here and there, post late sometimes, have grammatical and spelling errors, or take a few days to reply to comments or emails. I can't do any better than my best, and I hate to give anything less to anyone I care about, you included.

But isn't he worth it? 

Isn't this amazing boy worth a few months of pure exhaustion so that he can grow up with love, good moral values, happy memories, and a life of balanced work and play time?

Maybe he's not to you, but he is worth every second of sleep I have given up and will continue to give up. 

I wouldn't trade it for anything--no amount of money, no amount of sleep, no other lifestyle. He's far better than any of that stuff.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Girls Camp Craft: Pendant Charm Bracelet

I was planning on posting about this a month ago. Then when I went in to put a final edit on here and schedule it to post, somehow my ancient laptop glitched out and I accidentally deleted the whole thing and couldn't get it back.


I've finally gotten over the frustration of that and decided to rewrite the post. So here we go again.


You may recall that I was the craft leader at our annual Girls Camp back in July. Here's another crafts the girls made.

Pendant Bracelets

These were fun and super easy to make. We already had embroidery floss from the headbands we made, so we used it in this craft as well.

I'd found these fun pendants at various craft stores and had this simple craft easily planned out.

A few tips and tricks with these bracelets:

We used lobster claw clasps so that the girls could take these bracelets off as they wanted/needed to. I put split rings on each clasp and used another as a closure. It made them easy to tie on (we just used square knots).

Put some simple little beads on the ends. It makes for a fun little fringe, plus you can hold the bracelet around your wrist with your fingers while putting it on yourself.

If there are small holes that are tricky to get the embroidery floss through, use a needle threader. Put the threader through the hole, slip the floss through the threader, and then pull the threader with the floss through the tiny hole. Just be sure to plan out if you need a single strand or doubly strand of embroidery floss through the hole and use the needle threader accordingly.

I love planning easy crafts so that no matter what skill set each young woman has, she can participate. I'm also always excited to see how creative some of the girls can get with such a basic idea.

And they did not disappoint this year!

Such a fun and simple craft! And it can be as colorful or monochromatic as you want it to be--completely customize-able to yourself.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Baby Blessing Bracelets

I love baby showers. Well, what I really love is making cute gifts for baby showers. Something unique I love making for baby girls are what I call Blessing Bracelets.

In my religion, we don't baptize infants. We do, however, pronounce a special blessing or prayer over them after they're born. It's something to officially put their names into the church records as well as offer spiritual guidance for their lives from the beginning. I love baby blessings and have always found them quite special.

Traditionally, when a baby is blessed, they're dressed in white. It's not required, and if they're not wearing white it truly doesn't make a difference. It's just something symbolic many people do.

For Graham, I partially made and partially bought a little white suit/tuxedo for him to wear when Bob blessed him. It was a really special day.

Baby Graham at 2 months old. I love that his hair is the same
color as Bob's tie, and also that it's blowing madly in the wind.

It has been a long morning for the poor boy and he was ready for a nap. But this was the first time he'd cried all day! We were proud of how well he'd behaved up until this point. Heck, even here you can see what proud parents we are!
(Also, I was looking dang good for just having a baby two months prior!)

For girls, I like to make these Blessing Bracelets for them to wear when they are blessed. For my friends I tend to make two--one that is just white freshwater pearls and one that has some color in it as well.

So for my friend Michelle, who is having a baby girl this winter, I made her a set of these bracelets. One was all white freshwater pearls, and the other was white freshwater pearls and rose colored Swarovsky crystals.

I love these so much, and they are so sweet and adorable. Little girls are so fun to dress up, and these bracelets are the perfect little accent to many outfits, not only for baby blessings.

If you like these, please go check out the ones I have for sale in my Etsy store!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Food on Friday: Salsa Chicken

I love to cook. I really do. But when I've had a busy week, the last thing I want to do is stand in front of the stove, walk back and forth from fridge to counter to cabinet and drawer, slice vegetables, carefully cook a cut of meat, while timing everything to finish at the same time so that we can eat a hot, well-balanced meal each night. Sometimes I'm just too tired to even just think about doing all of that.

When I suspect I might have a day like that, the crock pot is my favorite friend. 

And here is one of the easiest recipes for it.

(I can't take all the credit for this. My sister-in-law makes this pretty regularly and she introduced the concept to me. Thank you, thank you, Ashley!)

Salsa Chicken

4 chicken breasts
1 jar of your favorite salsa

Put the chicken in first, then dump the salsa over it. Cover and let it cook on low for 6 hours, or high for 3-4 hours. 

That's it.

Once the chicken is cooked, I usually shred it. I use a couple of forks in a large casserole dish or plate and just go to town on it. It doesn't take more than 6 or 7 minutes to shred it all. 

I like to return it to the crock pot for 30 more minutes to get it nice and hot and juicy.

You can eat it just like that. It's almost soupy, so tortilla chips are great with it as a soup. You can strain it and have just the chicken and salsa chunks. 

My favorite way to eat it is burrito style. 
Here's how.

While it's back in the crock pot after being shredded, prepare any other toppings you may want to go in your salsa chicken burrito. Here are the ingredients that I use:

flour tortillas
fresh, rinsed spinach
cooked rice
lightly steamed corn
cooked black or garbanzo beans 
grated cheddar cheese

It's an entire balanced meal, full of colors, textures, and flavors. 
It is so tasty and flavorful.

Definitely give this one a try. It's so simple and oh-so worth it.

Linked up at:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thursday's Thoughts: The Importance of Planning

Maybe I should more accurately title this: A Lengthy Rant Story About the Importance of Planning.
You've been warned. (I promise it's a good story, even if it is ridiculously long. It's full of sarcasm too.)

My husband and I bought a new used car.
It's a VW Jetta Wagon TDI.
That means it's a diesel.
Which means it averages 40 miles per gallon.

Since I've been busier than usual, I decided to turn 90% of this purchase over to my husband to research, find, and plan out. I was basically his sounding board. Anytime he found something he liked, he'd talk to me about it, I would give him my two cents on it, and he'd continue searching and learning all about a few select cars we've been interested in. Then he got really stuck on these Jetta Wagons.

He found one and called it his "white unicorn," because it was exactly what he wanted, down to being painted white. But it was for sale in Georgia. We live in San Diego. California. He even found one in my home town in Tennessee. But again. We live in California.

So he kept looking. On Sunday he found one for sale about 2 and a half hours north from where we live. It was silver though, not white. It didn't matter. He couldn't sleep because he wanted it so badly. He would go back to the website it was listed on and look at it over and over during the day. He looked up the Carfax on it. He called the dealership that it had been exclusively serviced at ever since the previous (and only) owner had bought it. He even forgot to eat a couple of times. I began to wonder if he was falling deeper in love with it than with me.

By the next day (Monday) he'd talked to the guy selling it. He told me he wanted to go up and see it. I realize that having a 4-month-old means we'd need a little extra time to plan and prepare for a short trip up. I mentioned that, suggesting to my smitten husband that he devise a plan.

Silly me. Planning is my strength. Not his. I should have known better than to leave it entirely up to him.

Shortly after I suggested making a plan, Bob walked in the living room and said to me, "Let's just go."

I said okay, slightly concerned because I had a feeling that he hadn't actually planned or packed or prepared in any way to leave. So we threw a day's worth of clothes in a duffle bag, grabbed a few toiletries and diapers, filled our water bottles, then loaded all of it and our pack-n-play in the back of my car. And away we went.

The "plan" was to stay with Bob's sister that night (who lives about 45 minutes from the guy selling the car), and get up on Tuesday morning to go and see/buy the car. (I already knew we'd buy it before we even saw it.) We'd get to see it by 11am, test drive it, and then head home by 1pm at the latest.

We arrived at his sister's, had a nice evening, and went to bed. We got up the following morning and Bob found out that the guy (actually the car itself) wouldn't be available until about 1pm, and he would call us to let us know his address. So we sat around until then. No phone call. We finally got a call from him around 3:30pm. So we loaded up to go see it. We arrived at about 5pm, and find this guy working on something in the driver's side door. The inside panel was removed and he was trying to fix the sensor that 'dings' when the key is in the ignition and the door is open. Apparently it didn't work. And he wanted to fix it. I'm not sure why that was such a big deal to fix, but apparently it was. So the car wasn't ready.

Bob and I and Graham went to eat dinner. We went back around 6:30pm to find the car up on jacks. Bob was losing his patience (mine was gone since I was trying to take care of my sleepy infant son and be Bob's secretary for the day while he drove us and had me take care of whatever his ADD mind thought of while he was behind the wheel and I had his phone). Bob offered to help with whatever it was that needed to get done. I finally got Graham to sleep in his carseat, and then I curled up with a pillow next to him in the back of my car and dozed. By about 8pm the car was off its jacks and we were getting in to test drive it.

Did I mention that this guy was kind of a total back-yard mechanic? I mean, he does decent work, and he's an honest guy, but he doesn't really have the 'salesman' side of things down. Or the 'keeping the interior clean' part. There were greasy handprints all over the back seats, the driver's side door, the windows, the steering wheel. I don't mind if it's not detailed--that takes a hundred or so off the price of the car. But come on--now we have to shampoo and spot clean grease out of the seats and door panel.

Anyway, we got back and I went to feed Graham in my car and try to get him back to sleep. Meanwhile, my talkative husband and this rambling back-yard mechanic talk and talk. Bob finally comes to talk with me about the price, then he goes to pay for it and fill out the paperwork. And they talk some more. By the time we left, it was nearly 10pm.

I was anxious to get home, so we start driving in that direction, me in my car and Bob in his new used love affair car. Then I get overwhelmed by just how exhausted I am and realize that I wouldn't be a safe driver for the next 2+ hours. So we stayed at Bob's sister's house. Again.

By this time we're way out of any breastmilk that we had brought with us for Bob to bottle feed Graham, so I had to get up and nurse Graham at night and in the morning when Bob usually feeds him. The next morning I felt like I didn't get any sleep at all. We got back on the road by 8am Wednesday morning. I had to get things ready for a church activity that night with the girls I'm a leader for. I also needed to clean my house desperately, and shower, and read my blogroll for the past day and a half (there are 56 posts and counting), and write a few more posts to stay ahead, and finish some jewelry for my Etsy shop (because it's embarrassingly bare), among a few other things (like take a nap).

As we're driving, not only am I still groggy and exhausted, but we're dealing with the Los Angeles morning traffic.
I took this with Instagram. Ugh.

I think we averaged 20 miles per hour for the entire 30 miles we drove until suddenly a light turned on next to my speedometer. "A/T OIL TEMP." I called Bob and asked what that meant. My transmission was overheating. Oh, naturally. Naturally my transmission would start to have problems right then.

So around 9am we stop at a gas station and look under the hood. My transmission is dripping like a leaky faucet. Awesome! Bob finds a mechanic and we drive over just to get it looked at and top off the fluid. While sitting in the back of Bob's new car playing with my adorable, happy, red-headed son, I realized that I was starving because I hadn't eaten breakfast. I was just so anxious to get home that I hadn't even thought about it. So when Bob came back from pulling my car into the shop, I said, "I'm hungry and I want a huge breakfast. I deserve it." And I did deserve it. I'd been as patient and gentle and loving as I could be, and I needed something to take care of myself and fill my more than empty belly.

We found a Coco's Bakery Restaurant. I love Coco's. It easily beats to socks off Denny's and Ihop and Cracker Barrel. Combined.

I got my Cinnamon Roll French Toast combo (yes, yes it does exist; see the photo above) and was in heaven... For about 30 seconds until Graham started fussing because it was his nap time.

The mechanic just topped off the transmission fluid for us so we could make it home. We got back on the road by 11:30am. By 12:30 I was struggling to stay awake. Luckily, the well known and beautiful Aliso Creek rest area was two miles away, so we stopped there. I fed Graham, handed him off to Bob, and dozed off in the shady grass under a bunch of trees for almost an hour. I woke up feeling surprisingly refreshed, and we continued on. We finally made it a few miles from home, when I called Bob and asked if we could just go ahead and take my car to the transmission specialist before even going home. So we did. And then we ran an errand for the church activity that night. We finally made it home around 3pm.

And then I was busy doing one thing after another until writing this post at 10pm.
How do I just keep going some days?
I must be getting those super powers all moms have.

So, a few good things about this entire experience. (And things I truly and grateful for!)

1. My husband has been apologizing profusely to me about the whole ordeal and has gone above and beyond to help me get what I needed done with the rest of the day after getting home. He did the laundry, started cleaning our bedroom, made me dinner, took care of Graham so I could focus on my other responsibilities, and even drove me up to church. He also promised to try and plan things out better so that this kind of thing won't happen again. (I'm more blessed than I deserve to have found/befriended/dated/married this man!)

2. I'm so glad we decided to stop for that second night. Can you imagine if my transmission had overheated and leaked out completely at midnight-o-clock on the side of the freeway in the middle of far-from-home Los Angeles? Thank goodness I put my son's safety first and took my potentially sleepy driving into consideration.

3. Bob was looking over the receipts and expenses just now and said, "Janae..... Look at this." He showed me the invoice for the shop that topped off the transmission fluid:
Parts:       $22.75
Labor:      $98.00
Discount:  $96.11
Tax:         $0.36
Total:      $25.00
Holy--wait, what??! Yep. The mechanic up there discounted us nearly $100 for no reason other than the fact that he's that awesome. Bob didn't even see it when he first looked at it. Now he feels silly for giving the guy a $5 tip.

4. We got that second car just in the nick-of-time! We still have a vehicle even though Charlene is in the shop getting fixed. The poor girl. She's 14 years old. What? Oh come on. You know your car has a gender and a name too. We're still figuring out Bob's new used car's name. We think it's a boy. I want to name him Jack, but Bob thinks it should be La Volpe. (Yes, we're Assassin's Creed nerds.)

And now, to sleep..........

Linked up on:
The Fontenot Four

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wedding Gifts

I really enjoy weddings. Whether I'm in the wedding party or just a plus-one, I love to see how different and personalized they are to each couple.

Bob's friends (who are now my friends too) Tim and Danielle got married recently. They're a bit of an unorthodox couple, and like them, their wedding was nothing short of unconventional.

When Bob and I got married, we loved getting wedding gifts. But I hated all the wrapping paper and gift bags we were left with. There was so much garbage because of it. So I like to try to get gifts that can be put together in such a way that I don't have to actually wrap it.

Another thing I appreciated when we got married was when we were given gifts from our registry. If we registered for it, we wanted it! What I hated was when we were given whatever kind of random gift someone wanted to give us. I hope that doesn't sound selfish. But I hate for someone to waste their money on something that will never get used. It's practically like throwing that amount of money in the garbage can.

In light of those two experiences, as well as considering our budget, Bob and I decided to get Tim and Danielle a few things from their registry that could basically be wrapped with itself.

Here's what we bought.
Place mats. Kitchen towels. A matching serving spoon and slotted spoon.

Here's how I wrapped it up.

I love that I can see my upside down reflection in the serving spoon.

Do you feel the same way about gifts and registries? Have you ever "wrapped" a gift in itself like this before?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Paying It Forward

There’s a pay-it-forward crafty plan underway, and lots of bloggers appear to be joining in!
So, here’s how this pay-it-forward thing works:
I will send a surprise gift to the first three commenters on this post (and if there are more I might just send out more). The gift will be a handmade surprise by me and I will send it to you sometime in the next 365 days. All you need to do is the following:
  • Leave me a comment and include your email address (if you profile doesn’t link back) so I can get in touch with you about your mailing address and some other information about yourself.
  • To complete signing up, you MUST play along too by blogging a similar post and pledging to make a surprise for the first 3 people who comment on it.

So, do you want to play along?
Comment below, and I’ll send a thoughtful gift to the first three people who do.
Let's pay it forward to one another!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Matching Bulletin & Chalk Boards

I've been in desperate need of a bulletin board. Two bulletin boards, actually. But the one I'm showing here on is for my craft area. I also need something to write goals on and update each day or week, like a chalk board. So I got to work.

My mother-in-law has tons of picture frames. She even has a couple of bulletin boards that she isn't using. And she kindly let me have what I needed for my project.

I found the fabric that I'd originally used to upholster our headboard. I ended up hating it on the headboard because there was just too much surface area for the print to look nice. So I reupholstered the headboard last year (which I'll post about later) and kept the printed fabric for something like this. I had planned on making throw pillows with it (and I have plenty left so I probably still will). But then I needed fabric for this project. It's perfect for it.

Here's my supplies.

ancient bulletin board (check out that beat up metal frame around it!)
large picture frame
masonite (or other type of thin plywood type of stuff)
chalkboard paint
paint brush (use a roller for a perfectly smooth finish)
frame hanging hardware
a pen
staple gun (but I should have used a hot glue gun... you'll see why...)
masking tape (to hold things in place when you need it to)

Now, the bulletin board was a breeze!

I cut the fabric a few inches larger than the bulletin board.

I tacked in the corners.

Then I marked every half inch and pushed thumbtacks into each marking, pulling the fabric tight as I went.

I wrapped the fabric around to the back or the board, folded the raw edges under, and tacked it in place.

I put the hanging hardware on.
This bulletin board was tricky, though. The back of it is corkboard as well and wouldn't hold the hardware on very well. Problem solved: E6000 glue and a paint stir stick.

And I was done. It took me about an hour to do all of that (excluding 24 hours for the E6000 glue to dry). So fast and easy!

Do you like how my husband put himself on my chalkboard 'To Do' list (and left check-off boxes for every day of the week)?
How I love him. 

Then came the chalk board. It started out easy, but it got difficult and frustrating. That chalkboard itself was a cinch to paint, but the frame is the part that wasn't so easy. Looking back now, I know what I should have done instead. So if you want to make one of these yourself, please please take my advice and save yourself from the frustration that I put myself through!

I found this tintable chalkboard paint.

I had planned on a black board, but when I saw that I could color it, I just couldn't resist. I spent the extra $4 and got it in "coffee" because I love browns, and it would perfectly match the fabric I was using.

A roller is recommended for painting this stuff, but I like the slightly textured look a brush gives, so I decided to make it look more vintage and risk using a brush, hoping it wouldn't compromise being able to write clearly on it.

As it was drying I got to work covering the frame with the fabric. Here's where all of my mistakes happened.

What I did was use four long fabric strips to wrap around each side of the frame.
What I should have done is cut a rectangular piece a couple of inches bigger than the frame, like I did with the bulletin board, and then cut the center out.

And then the frame itself... I should not have used a rock-hard old oak frame.
And when I realized it was a rock-hard, old oak frame, I should have resorted to hot glue instead of a staple gun.

However, since I'm stubborn and my head is apparently much harder than that frame is, I got a hammer to finish driving in those staples. What actually happened was I squished and bent the staples into the frame instead of driving them in any farther.

One thing I did right was use Fray Check to keep the corners and raw edges from fraying.

So, when you want to wrap a frame in fabric, use a whole rectangle of fabric.
Cut out the center, leaving a couple of inches of width to wrap around the frame.
Lay the frame over the fabric. Make angled cuts in the fabric toward the corners.
Hot glue the fabric into place.
Fray Check the corners.
Install hanging hardware, secure chalkboard in frame, and hang up.

It's recommended to rub chalk all over the board and then erase it before the first use. This coats the chalkboard with a nice layer of chalk dust and helps it erase more evenly.

The next one I make will be so much simpler and I will follow those instructions. It'll probably look better too. Just you wait and see.

Linked up to: Polkadot Pretties