Facs4fun's Blog

Enriching the Lives of our FACS students

EXTRA CREDIT – Letterboxing – A not so new sport…

I don’t know that you would call letterboxing a sport- there is no physical “boxing” involved, but there are boxes involved in this fun family activity, and it requires you to get outdoors and hike, bike, climb and find hidden treasures!  We talk about global travel in our classroom, reading maps, and planning trips – This takes that module to a whole new level of fun!  I am offering this activity as an extra credit assignment – please read all of the information below, and then print out the participation signature form and return to class no later than March 30, 2011

So what is letterboxing you ask???  The information below is taken from www.letterboxing.org

Letterboxing is an intriguing mix of treasure hunting, art, navigation, and exploring interesting, scenic, and sometimes remote places. It takes the ancient custom of placing a rock on a cairn upon reaching the summit of a mountain to an artform. It started when a gentleman simply left his calling card in a bottle by a remote pool on the moors of Dartmoor, in England.

Here’s the basic idea: Someone hides a waterproof box somewhere (in a beautiful, interesting, or remote location) containing at least a logbook and a carved rubber stamp, and perhaps other goodies. The hider then usually writes directions to the box (called “clues” or “the map”), which can be straightforward, cryptic, or any degree in between. Often the clues involve map coordinates or compass bearings from landmarks, but they don’t have to. Selecting a location and writing the clues is one aspect of the art.

Once the clues are written, hunters in possession of the clues attempt to find the box. In addition to the clue and any maps or tools needed to solve it, the hunter should carry at least a pencil, his personal rubber stamp, an inkpad, and his personal logbook. When the hunter successfully deciphers the clue and finds the box, he stamps the logbook in the box with his personal stamp, and stamps his personal logbook with the box’s stamp. The box’s logbook keeps a record of all its visitors, and the hunters keep a record of all the boxes they have found, in their personal logbooks.


You will need a few things to get started on your journey.

1.  Rubber stamp that represents you – for example – are you a dog lover?  Then choose a dog stamp…  Love to ride skateboards – then get a skateboarding stamp.  You can get rubber stamps at many craft stores (ie.. Michael’s, JoAnn Fabrics, Ben Franklin)   The personal stamp is your personal mark that you leave in the logbook of each box you find. It is a rubber stamp that you either carve yourself or have custom made. Creating your personal stamp is of course part of the art; it’s your signature in the letterboxing world. You would not typically buy an off-the-shelf rubber stamp to use as your personal stamp unless you were really anxious to get started, or saw something that was “you”. Almost all personal stamps these days are hand-carved. (I do not require a custome made stamp for this project, but you can choose to make on if you desire – I can get you directions on how to make your own.)


button jar rubber stamp


2.  Ink pad – some letterboxes require you to stamp their imagein a certain color – be sure to read your directions ahead of time so that you know what color to use…  Otherwise, a dye-based acid free ink works well (these can also be found in craft stores). I prefer the dye-based as it dries faster and seems less messy, but this is all up to personal preference.


ink pad


3.  an Unlined personal log book for you to log your trips and excursions that you set out on.  A book with a hard cover works best so that you have a hard surface to stamp on.

4.  Compass, or other items requested in the letterbox clues that are given to you…  Some require other items, so be sure to read all the clues and be sure you have the required items before setting out.

5.  Pencil or pen to write in the letterbox journal.  You will stamp their stamp in your journal and will stamp your stamp in their book, then sign your “signature” or “code name” in their book so that they know you were there.

You can find more FAQ’s about Letterboxing on the FAQ’s page

So – are you ready to get started?  Go to www.Letterboxing.org and click on the BIG BOOK that says Letterboxing USA, then click on your state, and your region.  Scroll through the list until you see your county, and view some of the clues that are available to you – There are many in the town of Leesburg area to do, so you don’t have to travel far.    Be sure to complete each of the following.

Download the Participation form from my school website.

fill in all the required information on the form, and stamp the image from the letterbox that you found on your excursion – Be sure to stamp your image in their book as well.

***Most importantly (from the letterboxing.org website….see below)***


Letterboxing, like any outdoor sport, carries the risk of unforeseen hazards.  “Letterboxing North America” supports a policy of not knowingly placing letterboxes in areas that will create undue risk to the letterbox hunter.  However, as conditions may vary, it is the responsibility of the letterbox searcher to become thoroughly familiar with the conditions in the area to be searched, to adequately prepare for those conditions, and to conduct oneself safely and responsibly with respect to those conditions and with respect to his or her personal abilities and limitations.  “Letterboxing North America” and the individual letterbox sponsors assume no liability for events which may occur related directly or indirectly to one’s searching for a letterbox. 

Do not let children hunt for letterboxes unsupervised.

By reading and utilizing the letterbox clues posted on this web site, you acknowledge the above conditions, and accept responsibility for your own actions, and agree to hold non-liable the clue writers, website authors, and letterboxing organizations and further, agree to provide this disclaimer to any person with whom you share these letterbox clues. 

LbNA Home

Additional Letterboxes can be found at this site —-> Letterboxing

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Cake Pops – Sweets on a stick

Yesterday after school we had a wonderful group of students stay after and create cake pops.  The recipe was given to me by a friend who had found it at allrecipes.com – you can see the Cake pop recipe here

Ms. Duhring and I had the kids up to their elbows in chocolate dipping, and we forgot to take pictures because we were having such a great time!  So next time we do this activity (on March 22nd) we will have to be sure to take pictures and post them for everyone to see.  While this is not the most nuttritious recipe – It is a fun treat to make with all age groups – Here are a few pointers that I took from those who had made them already, as well as variations on them with different cake mixes to use and icings to add to them.  Check them out and enjoy! (I did find some other great cake pop ideas at bakearella.com – you can see those HERE)  The pictures below are from there…. ENJOY!


#1) Bake cake as directed

#2) Let the cake COOL for at least a half hour! Don’t mix in the frosting while HOT! You will get a gooey mess!

 #3) I used a hand mixer to mix the cake and frosting. I used a dark chocolate cake and cream cheese frosting.

 #4) Put this mixture in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 3 hours but I did it overnight and it was perfect.

 #5) Using your hands, roll the balls bite size. Cover cookie sheet with waxed paper

#6) Stick the balls in the freezer for an hour.

#7) Melt up whatever chocolate you prefer

#8) Using a toothpick, pick up the balls and dip in the chocolate. Using a second toothpick in the other hand help the ball slid off the toothpick.

NOTE:If your balls fall off the toothpick into the chocolate they are not frozen enough. 9) Place in refrigerator to set.

Here’s some of the variations I have used: Variations/flavors:

• White cake mix and mint chocolate chip icing – Dipped in chocolate confectioners coating.

• French vanilla cake with white chocolate almond icing. – Dipped in chocolate confectioners coating.

• Red velvet with cream cheese icing and vanilla confectioners coating.

• Red velvet with cream cheese icing dipped into milk chocolate coating.

• Chocolate cake, milk chocolate icing, dipped into chocolate bark.

• Lemon cake with lemon frosting and dip them in white chocolate.

• Lemon cake mixed in white chocolate chips and lemon frosting, dipped in white chocolate.

• Spice cake with cream cheese frosting and coated them with white chocolate coating.

• Cherry chip cake mix and cream cheese frosting dipped in white chocolate.

• Fudge cake, mixed in peppermint chips and fudge frosting. Dip in dark chocolate.

• Chocolate fudge cake mix and coconut pecan frosting dipped into chocolate.

• Chocolate cake, butter cream icing, and dark chocolate coating.

• Chocolate cake/chocolate icing and dipped into raspberry/chocolate chips are melted with a bit of oil.

• German chocolate cake mix with coconut pecan frosting & dipped in melted semi sweet chocolate chips.

• Strawberry with vanilla frosting, dipped in chocolate.

• Carrot cake with cream cheese frost

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Tie-Dye…. Enter a world of color!

Every year, the 8th graders make tie-dye t-shirts in Teen Living (the 8th grade program)  This is a project that we do at the end of the year, and the kids then have a shirt to take home with them…  I have done several dye projects with my daughter at home over the past few weeks – most recently, making t0-shirts for all of the cousins to wear when they are on vacation together.  There are several different kits that you can purchase, some better than others… and there are many tips and tricks that can help you to better create these beautiful shirts – Here are a few pointers if you decide that these are something that you would like to complete…


1.  Wear rubber gloves when tie-dying your shirt – You do not want to have hands stained with dye (it takes a few days for it to all wash out… turst me on this – It never fails that when I help with this project I get dye all over me)

2.  Wear old clothes, or an apron to protect your clothing – The sye will stain your clothes if it comes in contact with them, and no matter how hard you try, it will not come out.

3.  Have plenty of rubber bands on hand that stretch large – small rubber bands are not good for wrapping the shirts – They need to be large enough to stretch about 6 inches or so

4.  NEVER use items used for dying to later prepare food – All dying materials should only be used for that purpose later, even after they have been washed.


I get all of our dye from Pro Chemical and Dye and I use their color recommendations for the seasons, so if you are wanting to match the “in” colors for the year you can do that.  You will need to have the following materials…

1.  Soda Ash

2.  Urea

3. Dye bottle (squirt bottles with a small end to squirt the dye)

4.  Dye colors of your choice

I DO NOT use the following recommended items

*Metaphos (optional, but use if you have hard water)
*PRO Chem Flakes (optional, but use if you are in a smoggy environment)

There are many different ways to tie your shirt to be dyed – Below are a few of those examples.

You can see how to tie these shirts by following the directions HERE – there are also many videos on youtube.com that you can view to show you how to tie your shirts, and you can purchase instructional videos like the one we have in class that shows you how to tie the shirts as well as mixing dye and all the steps to dye them successfully!

Here are a few tips to dyeing your shirt. 

1. Squirt your dye with the reds, blues and purples at the neck area – yellow next to your face does not look good!

2.  Squirt from the outside edge of the shirt to the inside, to help prevent splatters across the shirt

3.  Dab your shirt with a paper towel before flipping over

4.  Squirt the same colors on the back side, in the same areas so that they match when you open your shirt.

5.  Squirting black dye is not a good choice – use other colors and try to avoid black.

6.  Do not squeeze too much dye into the shirt, or it will become a muddy brown color as the dye absorbs into other areas.  You want a nice bright shirt – More is not necessarily better in this case.

Feel free to post questions about how to dye or email your pictures for us to post on the blog.  we look forward to seeing what you have done!

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