Double Giveaway *winners chosen*


As a homeschooling parent of a child who is both sensitive to bright light and has the need to fidget in order to focus, I’ve spoken to many teachers, parents, and therapists about how common these issues are and what we can do to help our children thrive. It seems there are many, many, many of us looking for easy, affordable solutions.

For all types of quirks and disorders, there little tricks and items so simple that you wouldn’t think of them as anything beyond games and toys….until you’re the educator and/or parent looking for ways to help your child you don’t realize the value of even the simplest, most “duh!” ideas.

In an effort to help my son with his light sensitivity, fidgets, and hand strength, I did a lot of searching online. Reading. Researching. Learning. Shopping. And I found Therapy Shoppe.


It’s a wonderland of books and tools to help children with anything from a mean case of the fidgets to dyslexia, sensory processing disorders, autism spectrum disorders, to anything in between. There’s so much to look at that I spent an entire day of my life just exploring the many helpful things they have to offer. The best part? All of their stuff is extremely affordable and makes investing in your child’s success painless! So cool.

Even cooler than that? Therapy Shoppe was kind enough to send me a few things to try out and share with you guys!

I got a few things from them to review and then I get to give away two prizes!

First up is the black spiral notebook and white chalk pencils.


This. Notebook. Rules.

For a light-sensitive kid, looking at a bright white sheet of paper in a bright room can feel like staring straight into the sun. The sensation is uncomfortable and can become overwhelming. Solution? Black paper. This was a big DUH moment for me because it just never crossed my mind that black notebook paper existed….but why wouldn’t it? The light doesn’t reflect off of it, so writing on it with these chalk pencils (or gel pens!) is a real joy. As soon as I put the chalk to the paper, I was in love and knew it would be a great fit for my kiddo!


Sure enough, he loved it, too! He tells me it was much easier for him to focus on his work and the difference was “amazing”.


Next up is the Focusing Fidget Kit.

When I opened up the box, the whole family had to get their hands on all the fun things in there!


Fun, right? Each order of the Focusing Fidget Kit might be slightly different, but ours came with:

  • Squeezy Globe Ball
  • Squeezy Giraffe
  • Giant Nut and Bolt
  • Thinking Putty
  • Playfoam
  • Mini Eye-Poppin’ Creature
  • 2 Silly Face Grip Fidgets
  • Spiky Pickle Fidget
  • 2 Starburst Linkers
  • 3 Fuzzy Tye Dye Fidgets

At first, Alex was most excited to try the globe and the pickle. I had him do some algebra, some writing (which is his nightmare), and some reading comprehension while he tried out each fidget. Turns out the globe was his least favorite. “Too firm”, he says. So, that will become his hand strengthening exercise!

The pickle? He likes to fidget with it while listening, but not while reading or writing.

The others he loved, but his three very favorites were the Fuzzy Tye Dye Fidgets, the Playfoam, and the Thinking Putty. He wrote out a seriously hilarious story in no time while using the putty. He read and answered questions on a (quite frankly, boring) passage from a summertime workbook and did it efficiently while trying out the Playfoam and fuzzy fidgets.


These items will certainly get a lot of use by all three of our kids throughout the homes because, let’s face it, sometimes we all need a little something to keep us going while we learn and work!

So, you want to know how to enter? It’s simple.

The only mandatory thing is to comment on the blog telling me two things:

  • Whether you want to win Prize 1: Black Notebook and Chalk Pencils or Prize 2: Focusing Fidget Kit
  • After taking a look around, tell me what product/products you would like to try in the future.

There are ways to earn extra entries. Rafflecopter will guide you through it.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

WINNER!! Giveaway! 4-pack of Lou Malnati’s Deep Dish Pizzas

We have a winner!

David S., you were the lucky winner with entry #116! Keep an eye on your inbox and room in your stomach. Congratulations!


How about another awesome giveaway to celebrate TGW’s new look??

That’s what I thought. Let’s get to it….

The last time Shayne and I were in the Chicago area, we arrived late in the day. It was dark and just about everything in Evanston was closed. We threw our bags in the hotel room and were heading downstairs to grab a cab to find some food. Fortunately for us we met a hotel employee in the elevator on the way down and he told us that if we just walked around the block, we’d find excellent pizza at Lou Malnati’s.


It’s like the guy was psychic! Sure enough there was a Lou Malnati’s around the corner that did serve excellent pizza.

Imagine that!

We were worn out from spending time in San Francisco and then flying to Chicago before returning home to Texas. We sat down and I think we were talking in our sleep when we ordered. I ordered the Lou which is a deep dish pizza covered in cheese and veggies. I was in heaven! Chicago deep dish pizza was all it was cracked up to be…and more. Shayne isn’t a big veggie person and likes only meaty pizza. He got a pepperoni one and devoured it.

Let me tell you, though, devouring even a personal-sized pizza at this place is a feat. They are so filling!

As our eyes were rolling back in our heads from all the deliciousness, our server realized we’d never been there before. He insisted that we try the Chocolate Chip Pizza. As tempted as we were, we were so stuffed that we didn’t dare order it.

He brought us a complimentary one out for us because he was so excited that we were first-timers and he was determined to win us over (as if the pizza hadn’t already done that). Oh. My. Goodness. It was amazing and we somehow made room for it and scraped the dish clean.

When we flew back home, we vowed to go back soon and visit Lou Malnati’s ASAP. Well, we’ve made a number of trips around the country since then but haven’t managed to get back there. So, this past Father’s Day, I ordered some pizzas for the incredibly-difficult-to-buy-for father of my children.

Yep. Lou Malnati’s ships!

Let me repeat that.


Go to Tastes of Chicago and check it out!

I wondered if some quality would be lost from the freezing/shipping process, but we were delighted to discover that they bake up just as delicious as if we were sitting right there in Chicago!


Dat crust!

So…story told. Let’s get down to business.

You want some of this magic. You do. Whether you’ve had it before or need to try it for the first time, you’ll want to enter this contest!

Lou Malnati’s and I are giving away a 4-pack of their pizzas! And the winner gets to choose the four kinds that they want!


You can choose from:

  • Cheese
  • Sausage
  • Pepperoni
  • Veggie
  • Spinach
  • Crustless (gluten free with a lean sausage base)

Each pizza is 9″ and is so thick and filling that it feeds 2 adults. Four pizzas? Easy, delicious mealtime(s)!

If you eat or know someone who does, use Rafflecopter to enter this delicious giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest ends at 12pm CST on 7/11/14 and the winner will be announced soon after. I’m sorry, but pizzas can only be shipped within the US (excluding Alaska and Hawaii).

Thanks for sticking around!

Try your hand at hand lettering


In the last two or three weeks, I’ve been playing around with hand lettering. I mean, it’s all the rage, right? It’s everywhere you look and it’s only gaining popularity along with typography. Most artsy-craftsy fads come and go and by the time they’ve run their course, we’re sick and tired of it (puff-painted sweatshirts, anyone?). Good riddance, right?!

However, I feel like hand lettering is an art that deserves all the time it can get. It’s one that has been around for ages. We’ve all become so used to the convenience and pixel-perfect products that are spit out of printers that we tend to forget what a beautiful, lost art hand lettering is. I’m so glad to see people everywhere taking interest in it. I know I’ve really enjoyed spending time  playing around with it.



(Come on, you know you love Napoleon, too.)


In fact, out of my ridiculous number of hobbies, it’s without a doubt the most relaxing one I’ve ever had. I can get lost in it and really enjoy it without a lot of prep work. I can sit at the dining table and carry on a conversation with the kids as I work (can’t say that for a lot of hobbies I have), with the added benefit that the kids never fail to grab pencil and paper and start lettering on their own.



(This says “Love for birth”. No idea where she came up with that, so I asked and she just said she thought it was nice.)



Here’s my first try:




I was so eager to try that I couldn’t wait another 24 hours for the delivery of the supplies I had ordered based on these recommendations. I grabbed a plain ol’ mechanical pencil along with a sheet of paper from the printer and I gave it a go. Not so hot! I was really stressing over it (because I’m neurotic as hell–not really but yeah–and have a tendency to stress over the strangest stuff) and unsteady hands just couldn’t make it  happen.

The next day I yanked the package from the delivery driver’s hands with rabid-animal intensity just knowing I was about to turn out some seriously beautiful and perfect hand lettered brilliance (Mmhmm. Right.)




Nerves. Shaky hands. Why do I get all antsy in the pantsy when I start something new? I mean, SHEESH, it’s pencil and paper. I can erase. I have more paper. BUT. Then there’s pens. OMGWHATIFIMESSUP? Deep breath. It’s only pens, pencil, and paper. Time to relax and have fun. No need to be perfect. If I wanted perfection, I’ve got Photoshop and a laser printer, right?! That’s the whole freaking point of this! Chill, Abbie, chill.

I drew off some guidelines, looked at fonts online and in books, and started to play.












Once I let go of the idea of achieving perfection (or that I will ever have steady hands), I really got into it. I remind myself that it’s just for fun and no hand lettering police will come beating down my door. So yeah. I LOVE THIS STUFF. I want to do it all day every day, but I wait for that glorious time right after the kids are in bed. That’s my play time.

As I’ve shared pictures of my practice lettering lately, I’ve had people tell me that they’re tempted to give hand lettering a shot. So I said to my self, “Self, why don’t we do a little giveaway and let somebody else venture out into the world of lettering along with us?”

So,whether you’re a total newbie like me or an old pro that would like a few new supplies, this giveaway is for you. My crafty friends, nerdy-techy-typograhy friends, artists…any and all of you anywhere. It’s for you.

The lucky winner will receive the following:




To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me what your first hand lettering project will be.

The following are accepted but not required:

For a second entry, share on Facebook and leave a second comment here.

For a third entry, tweet it and leave a comment here linking me to that tweet.

For a fourth entry, pin the image below and leave a comment linking me to the pin.



***Each entry MUST have a separate comment. If you combine them into a single comment, it will be considered a single entry. Thank you and good night!**

**Contest ends 10-17-13 at midnight CST. Entries made after that time will be disqualified. A winner will be chosen randomly on 10-18-13.**

(This giveaway is not sponsored by anyone. I just felt like sharing some goodies.)


Alright! I used to select a winner…


Kandice! Congrats! I can’t wait to see what you create with your new goodies. Just send me your address and I’ll get them on their way.

Thanks, everyone, for entering. Keep an eye out for future giveaways and go create beautiful things. If you feel like sharing, post them on Facebook. I’d love to see!

Milk Paint Giveaway Winner…

So, here we go! I’m back and I’ve got a winner! But first, can I ask you guys a favor? It includes the photos of the red coffee table that I promised. However, I didn’t get my side tables done. I’ll be sure and post photos of those as soon as I can.

So, here’s the coffee table after I took the doors off and sanded it a tad. Being as Abbie-like as you can imagine, I forgot to take photos before I began prepping it. Are you surprised? Uh-huh, that’s what I thought. So an in-process, crooked picture is what you get.

So there!



It’s that table. The one that it seems everyone had in their homes at some point. In fact, some of you mentioned on Facebook that you currently have it in your home. It’s a staple of our generation, I’d say.

I won’t give you the step-by-step this time, but here’s the gist of it:

I lightly sanded it.

I mixed a 1:1 ratio of Extra-Bond and Salem Red milk paint from The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company.

I painted the larger surfaces with a 3″ foam roller and the smaller parts with various sizes of foam brushes.

I beat it up with a putty knife and sandpaper.

Once you guys help me decide on something, I’ll give it 2-3 coats of Clear Coat and then wax it with some Daddy Vans Beeswax and Lavender Furniture Polish.

And that will be that.

So, here she is in all her Salem Red glory!



I kept the distressing fairly light.




And, without distressing the doors, I put them back on.



And this is where I need your help.

Doors or no doors…that is the question.


If I went doorless, I would patch screw holes and remove those two magnets, and touch up the paint on the inside back wall (the lighting in these pics made me notice a couple of spots I didn’t do well), of course. Maybe even add some narrow trim over those edges (where you currently see screw holes). What do you think of that?



See, here’s the deal. I’m having some hardware issues. Several of the screws broke off in the wood and some of the holes are stripped. It’s going to require more time, effort and supplies, but it can be fixed, for sure.

However, before I go to all that trouble, let’s think about the possibilities here.

With doors, it can be used for storage (hide clutter, right?) and stays truer to the original design.

Without doors, it could be used to store/display favorite books. Or, according to my kitty, you could a pretty pet bed and create the perfect kitty hideout.

Really, it’s just preference. I need to know what your opinions are on the matter since I’m having commitment issues.





Or no doors?


Editing to add: I’m considering/planning to sell this piece. If I decide to keep it, I’ll probably leave the doors off and use it as a Lego table for the kids. That way, we can easily slide tubs of Legos in and out of there. :)

Comment below and let me know what you’d do. Pretty please?

OH…right. The winner. How could I forget? ;)

I simply used to choose a number and it was….



Congratulations, Vicki! You lucky dog, you! Just send me an email and Anne and I will get you taken care of!

Now, for those of you that scrolled down to see if you won without reading (Oh, come on! It’s cool! We’re all guilty of it sometimes!), please scroll back up and then comment? I need your help, yo!


Let’s all say thanks to Anne at The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company for her kindness, generosity and knowledge. She’s been so wonderful and I, for one, am a customer for life. I hope you’ll all take a look around their incredibly informative website and use their product at some point. You won’t regret it…but if you’re just nutty enough to do that, guess what!  They have a “Love it or it’s free” 100% guarantee. Yeah, they’re that great!

Thanks for sticking with me through this, everyone. You are all so appreciated!





Adventures in Milk Paint….Part2

Welcome back! It’s time for the second installment of Adventures in Milk Paint and I gotta tell ya…this one is full of success and ends in an opportunity to win supplies for a milk paint project of your own. That’s right!  A giveway full of goodness. Aw yeah.

Let’s see. Where shall we start? First, if you haven’t already, skim through Part 1 and get caught up.

So, we left off with my dresser stripped of its first milk paint makeover and waiting patiently for another makeover.



I gave it a couple of days, talked myself through the steps I would need to take to be more successful the second time around and then…I had an idea.  I sent an email to the good people at Old Fashioned Milk Paint to pick their brains and to see if by any chance they’d like to sponsor this post by supplying product for me to use and by hosting a giveaway with me. Guess what! They did! Man, can I tell you how awesome they are?  Anne and I exchanged a lot of emails (Sorry about being quite the Chatty Cathy, Anne!) and she was so kind, so knowledgeable and so very generous!  Before I knew it, I had these goodies delivered to my door and ready to make things beautiful.

After she read the first post about the dresser and I told her about some other pieces I’m ready to paint, she sent me 2 quarts of Marigold Yellow, one quart of Salem Red, and one quart of Oyster White. Plus, she included some Extra-Bond, some Clear Coat and some awesome furniture polish samples. I think the UPS delivery guy that I had finally lost my mind as I snatched the box out of his hands, grinning like a goon.  Can you blame me?



See, the thing about milk paint is that besides looking fabulous, it’s green as can be! It’s free of VOCs, lead, mercury, plastics, etc.  It’s so safe that you can use it on children’s toys. Pregnant and wanting to paint your nursery? Check out their Safe Paint for walls! This is stuff you can bring into your home and feel good about having it around your family.  You can paint indoors and not worry about passing out from fumes!

Now, I want to take this opportunity to compare using Old Fashioned Milk Paint to the process of making milk paint from scratch.

When you make your own milk paint using lime powder, you’re looking at spending a good chunk of time getting it all ready. I won’t go in to great detail, but here is a little rundown:

  • Go purchase hydrate lime powder. It’s not expensive, but it’s still something you spend time going to get.
  • Find and purchase pigment in the color of your choice.
  • Get a gallon of skim milk and let it come to room temperature. This takes most of a day.
  • Mix milk and vinegar and let it set overnight to produce quark.
  • Strain quark.
  • Mix lime and water, add that mixture to the quark. Add pigment. Stir.
  • Strain again.
  • Paint.

When you use Old Fashioned Milk Paint powder, a lot of the work (and time!) has been done for you and the process is quite simple.

  • Purchase paint (powder).
  • Mix with water.
  • Paint.

If you’ve spent any time looking around my site or have been a reader over the last few years, you’ve probably noticed that in pretty much any area of my life I prefer to try making something myself before purchasing a ready-to-go product. I think that habit stems largely from the fact that I grew up way out in the country. Going to a small town with little to offer took 30 minutes one way. Driving into a larger town with a little more variety–and an hour away–was something we didn’t do all that often and never without good reason. You can imagine that Mom and Dad didn’t exactly rush me to the store on my every crafting or shopping whim, so I got creative and learned to work with what I had. I love that  piece of my life for that reason.

However, with my  hands pretty full these days, I will freely admit that I love anything that can save me a little precious time. When it comes to prep time for a milk paint project, Old Fashioned Milk Paint wins my vote!

So…..back to the dresser and my new shipment of goodies. I decided to change the color completely and go with Marigold Yellow for the main color. Boy, am I glad I did. It’s gorgeous! This is what the powder looks like fresh out of the bag.



So pretty! When you get a quart of milk paint, it’s roughly 2 cups of powder. Mix that with an equal amount of water and stir well to work the biggest lumps out. Take a few minutes and really work on the lumps. Then, strain it from one container to another. You can use a few layers of cheesecloth like I did in Part 1, but I had far better luck straining through pantyhose this time around.

Now, let me address the main issue I had in Part 1: the bubbling/chipping/flaking. My number one reason for that failure was the plain and simple fact that we didn’t prep the wood well enough. It was sanded but not nearly sanded enough to let the milk paint do its magic. Hence, the paint getting the heck out of Dodge once it dried. User error without a doubt.

This time I didn’t mess around. I sanded the you-know-what out of that dresser first and then made sure to really dust off and clean the surface up when I was done. Most importantly, I added one part Extra-Bond to two parts already-mixed milk paint (after straining…not sure if that matters). If I hadn’t sanded the dresser further and had left it less-porous, I would have mixed it 1:1 instead.

After mixing, let it sit for 10-15 minutes while the ingredients mix and do their magic.


Time to paint! You can use a bristle brush, foam brush, foam roller or a sprayer. This time, I chose to use a foam brush to apply the paint. Milk paint doesn’t glide on like other paints. You really kind of drag the paint across the surface as it kind of grabs on to the wood. If you’re using Extra-Bond, you can do this in a thin coat and it acts as a primer as well as your first coat of paint. Right on!



It will be dry to the touch after about 30 minutes and ready for a second coat after a couple of hours. You don’t need to use Extra-Bond in your second coat. Confession: I did because I still had plenty of paint mixed up with the Extra-Bond in it. After my second coat, I had more coverage and I was really liking the way it looked. Not too perfect, not too shabby. Just my style.



Sneaks (SneakAway the kitty cat) approves.



With the second coat dry, I put the drawers in and I was loving the overall look. There’s something about milk paint and photos just don’t do it justice. It gives such a lovely finish. Now I won’t lie and say I didn’t consider a 3rd coat, but ultimately I’m really glad I stopped at two. I just love imperfection on pieces like this.



I stenciled on my design without too much concern for getting it “just so”.



Once I was sure I liked it, I lightened my pencil markings with an eraser.  Erasing works quite well on milk paint, so don’t fret too much if you need to redo some of your work.



Painting on the design made me a little more nervous. I will free admit to having very unsteady hands, so I kindly allowed myself room for squiggles and bobbles and oopses.  Again, I’m embracing imperfection. Using a nice flat brush like this one definitely helped keep my crazy under control, though.



There we go! I’m liking it. How about you?



The white looked too stark and freshly painted, so I tried going carefully over it with small scraps of fine sandpaper. I was sanding my fingers more than the dresser, so I wrapped the sandpaper around the eraser end of a pencil and went to town.



Apparently it was so easy that it looked fun to my 5-year-old daughter, so she joined in with a pencil sander of her own.



Getting so close to done! Now to age and distress this dresser-beast and get that awesome worn, beaten-up look I love so much. I started out with some medium sandpaper and after about 30 seconds I realized that’s not the approach I wanted to take. Instead, I grabbed a putty knife and went to town on this sucker.

I chipped.



I scraped.



I abused.



And then I loved. Once it was satisfactorily beat the hell up, I gave it two coats of Clear Coat.

I poked the old drawer pulls through some poster board to keep them upright…



…and gave them a quick spray with this stuff.



When the dresser was completely dry, I put the pulls back on and fell completely in love with my new-old dresser! After a rub down with the Sweet Orange Oil furniture polish and a good buffing….wowza!  Not only did it look stunning, but it smelled amazing!




If only these were scratch n’ sniff photos!



It’s just so purty!



And it adds a lovely spot of color to our bedroom.



I couldn’t be happier with the ease and beauty that comes along with using Old Fashioned Milk Paint.  Add to that the fact that this company is run by Good People (That’s a huge honor and in Texas, I believe when we say it, we say it with capital G, capital P.) and I’m 100% sold on the stuff.

AND NOW! Now it’s all about you!  From me as a thanks for sticking with me through this insanely long post and from the Good People at Old Fashioned Milk Paint because they’re just that nice, we have a giveaway!

Up for grabs is one shipment of milk paint supplies including:

  • Milk paint: one quart OR one pint each of two colors
  • A pint of Extra-Bond
  • A quart of Clear Coat
  • Just added!! 3 (1 oz) samples of Daddy Van’s Furniture Polish. One each of Unscented Beeswax, Sweet Orange Oil, and Beeswax & Lavender. Sweet!
To enter the giveaway:
Like The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company on Facebook
Like The Green Wife (that’s me!) on Facebook
Leave me a comment on this blog post telling me which of their 20 beautiful colors you’d choose and what kind of project you’d like to use your supplies for if you win.

For extra entries:

Follow The Green Wife (still me!) on Twitter and leave a separate comment here on the blog post.

Tweet about this giveaway and leave a separate comment here on the blog post.

Share this giveaway on Facebook and leave a separate comment here on the blog post.

Pin it on Pinterest and leave a separate comment here on the blog post.


Entries will be received beginning at the time this post is published and ending at 12pm CST on Monday, October 1, 2012. Any entries received after that time will be ineligible to win the OFMP goodies.


While you guys are busy doing that, I’m going to start on a coffee table and some side tables! Hello, Salem Red and Oyster White! I’ll be sharing pictures when the winner of the giveaway is announced. Good luck!