Thank you to everyone for all of the super sweet comments - especially those offering advice for me as a first time mom & compulsive shopper... and to those offering condolences as I make my way through a sober football season.
I wanted to quickly answer all of the questions I have received about my chalkboard. I made it a few years ago, here is the *updated* TUTORIAL. I am in the process of making another one for my kitchen too so I will post that once it is finished. I miss drawing on it for all of the seasons & holidays!
I use regular Crayola chalk, I find that it works the best of all brands. I even use sidewalk chalk too sometimes because it has more color options :) I have never used chalk pens or markers - although I suppose that might be a little less messy. To deal with the dust & erase marks, I use a regular dry dish towel to erase the board and then a damp one to clear it off before drawing on it again. My best advice for keeping the chalkboard looking good is to slap on a new coat of chalkboard paint every few weeks, that will keep the board black & looking great. Also, regular paint seems to work much better than spray paint if you want a durable chalkboard. I originally made the board with spray paint & you can tell in the pictures above how much harder it was to keep it looking nice.
Hope that is helpful & answers all of your questions! :)