Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Reason...

Happy Birthday, little one.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Big News

I just found out about ten minutes ago that I'm pregnant with baby #3!!! I think I'm just shy of a month along but YEAH!!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Nifty Knitting Needles

I made the top scarf using five different yarns and a new stitch I learned: the drop stitch.
The bottom scarf was made with two yarns and it is soooo soft! It is an adapted version of the top scarf to make a longer, more narrow scarf. These were both made for a friend of mine.

I love gloves!!! This was the bulk of my Christmas knitting (which is now done!!!). The following gloves were made using yarn I got at Goodwill. I gave them as "thank you" gifts this year. I made more but these were the only ones where the pictures turned out well.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Real Mastercard Commercial

Cost per year to achieve basic health and nutrition for the entire world: $13 billion

Amount spent on perfumes each year: $12 billion

Clean water for all the world: $9 billion

Amount spent on cosmetics in the US: $8 billion

Basic education for the world’s children: $6 billion

Total amount the US spends on Christmas each year: $450 billion (or 16 years worth of food, water, and education for the world)

Initial cost of the US Government bailout of failing financial institutions: $700 billion (or 25 years worth of food, water, and education for the world)

Coming to grips with the alarming disconnects of our consumerist society: Priceless

By Jim Moss

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rolo Pretzels

A friend was gracious enough to let me post on her recipe blog even though I am probably the farthest thing away from a cook (unless its for my pumpkin party). If you like salt, chocolate, and caramel then you should check out Connecting Kitchens. In fact, you should check out the other recipes on the site...I believe it is cookie week. Tasty!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Composting Toilet

I am always trying to find the next thing I want to "green" in our house. So far we've done everything from insulating the house to adding a toilet tank sink (I'll save the last one for a future post). I think I have found my next "green" item: a composting toilet.

Okay, okay...I know what you're thinking: GROSS!

Let me lay out my plan for you...

Eventually we want to take our master bathroom and cut it in half. We want to keep a very small bathroom connected to our room but make the other half a laundry/mud room that you access through the living room. Sounds great, right? Wrong...we would have to re-plumb the entire space just to move the toilet. That's where the composter is genius: no pipes, you just plug it in.

As I understand it, 90% of what goes in the toilet, leaves as water vapors and gasses. You're probably thinking about how stinky that sounds...but it gets better. Composting toilets rely on micro organisms and a heater to quickly deal with material. And as a bonus, it has a fan to propel all of those vapors and gases out the vent. Apparently, if your composting toilet stinks, something is wrong.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Liam: the 25 pound baby explained this is what I've been doing wrong with Liam...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Homemade laundry soap results

I have now done several loads using my homemade laundry soap....and I love it!!! I decided to go with the dry mix (didn't have to worry about a two gallon bucket) and made a double batch. Grating the soap was the hardest part but when all was said and done, it only took five minutes to throw together (that counts the grating of the soap).

My clothes come out as clean as when I used commercial soap but they are much softer (and we don't even use dryer sheets...more on that later). Isaiah tends to have sensitive skin but he has been fine (we even did some of his blankets and sheets). I'm still going to buy commercial soap for the cloth diapers but I am doing some research on diaper friendly homemade soap. I would love to hear if you made any laundry soap and any tips/tricks/comments you might have.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Stranger

"A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our small Tennessee town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer, and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.

As I grew up I never questioned his place in our family. In my young mind, each member had a special niche. My brother, Bill, five years my senior, was my example. Fran, my younger sister, gave me an opportunity to play 'big brother' and develop the art of teasing. My parents were complementary instructors-- Mom taught me to love the word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it.

But the stranger was our storyteller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventures, mysteries and comedies were daily conversations. He could hold our whole family spell-bound for hours each evening.

If I wanted to know about politics, history, or science, he knew it all. He knew about the past, understood the present, and seemingly could predict the future. The pictures he could draw were so life like that I: would often laugh or cry as I watched.

He was Iike a friend to the whole family. He took Dad, Bill and me to our first major league baseball game. He was always encouraging us to see the movies and he even made arrangements to introduce us to several movie stars. My brother and I were deeply impressed by John Wayne in particular.

The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didn' t seem to mind-but sometimes Mom would quietly get up-- while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places-- go to her room, read her Bible and pray. I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave.

You see, my dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions. But this stranger never felt obligation to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our house-- not from us, from our friends, or adults. Our longtime visitor, however, used occasional four letter words that burned my ears and made Dad squirm. To my knowledge the stranger was never confronted. My dad was a teetotaler who didn't permit alcohol in his home - not even for cooking. But the stranger felt 1ike we needed exposure and enlightened us to other ways of life. He offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages often.

He made cigarettes look tasty, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (probably too much too freely) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes sugestive, and generally embarrassing. I know now that my early concepts of the man-woman relationship were influenced by the stranger,

As I look back, I believe it was the grace of God that the stranger did not influence us more. Time after time he opposed the values of my parents. Yet he was seldom rebuked and never asked to leave.

More than thirty years have passed since the stranger moved in with the young family on Morningside Drive. He is not nearly so intriguing to my Dad as he was in those early years. But if I were to walk into my parents' den today, you would still see him sitting over in a corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.

His name? We always just called him TV."

-Told by Keith Currie

Monday, December 1, 2008

Make your own laundry soap

I had a friend over for breakfast the other morning and we got to talking. She told me that she makes her own laundry soap for about seventy-one cents and it lasts for sixty-four loads. That works out to a little over a penny a load! I am going to try the recipe this week...I'll update you on how it works but until then, here's the recipe:

1/3 bar of Ivory, Zote, or Fels Naptha soap, grated

1/2 cup washing soda

1/2 cup borax powder

1/2 to 1 ounce of essential oils for fragrance (optional)


~ small bucket, about 2 gallon size ~

Place grated soap in a saucepan. Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it dissolves. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel (not a solid gel, more of a watery gel). You use 1/2 cup per load.

**I am not planning on using my homemade laundry soap on my cloth diapers. I'm afraid that the borax might ruin the covers. Anyone have thoughts about this?

The Math

Fels Naptha: $1.12 for a 5.5 oz bar. The recipes says use a 1/3 of a bar. I calculated 2 oz. just to make the math a little easier. The cost of the Fels Naptha per batch is: .40 cents

Washing Soda: $2.23 for a 55 oz. box. This came to .17 cents per batch. I calculated how much per oz (2.23 divided by 55) and then weighed a half cup of washing soda (4.2oz.) and multiplied my per oz. price by 4.2

Borax: $3.27 for a 76 oz. box. This came to .14 cents per batch. Did the same calculations as above, however a 1/2 cup of borax weighs 3.5 oz.

For the final numbers I have .40 + .17 + .14 = .71 for 2 gallons of laundry detergent.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Good Search

Okay, maybe I'm behind the times but in case I'm not, let me tell you about GoodSearch. You simply enter in the charity you want to support and then use the website just like Google. Every time you search the internet, GoodSearch donates money to the charity of your choice. You can even add a GoodSearch to your internet toolbar. Awesome! I've set mine to benefit Living Water International. I encourage you to use Goodsearch from now on.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

How to Make a Chalkboard Book

When my mother visits, it is always with a bag of goodies in hand. Her latest visit included miscellaneous toys, a few hair clips....and some Chalkboard Wallies (they also come in lots of other colors and shapes). I have always wanted some Wallies but I've never gotten around to ordering them or remembering to look for them at the store but now I had two packages to use...YES!!!

We cut out the shape of a man and a thought bubble to put on the side of a bookcase...and then added some ocean waves to the end of his crib...but I had several sheets left over. I sat for awhile...thinking of what I should do and then my eye fell on Isaiah's collection of board books!

He has one particular board book I can't stand: it has animals wearing clothes and talking to each other. Ugh! It pained me whenever he grabbed that book for me to read. But I now had a way to make it cool in spite of itself.

I traced the outline of the book on the back of the Wallie sheet (I was able to make four pages from one sheet), cut them out and stuck them on the pages of the board book. It was so easy! The best part is that when he gets tired of his awesome chalkboard book, I can simply peel off the Wallies and stick them somewhere else. We know have a portable art station that will never run out of paper (and Scrap is a great place to pick up chalk for super cheap). Isaiah loves it! We take it in the car, to doctor appointments and to visit relatives.

It seems like you would be able to do the same thing with Chalkboard paint if you lightly sanded the board book pages before applying the paint. Let me know if you try it...I would love to hear how it turned out!

I knit my bit

Tragedy and famine have hit my house...and all because Andy brought home a knitting book. I know, I know...I should have stopped him right then and there but I didn't and now my family and household are suffering. Activities that once brought me joy (or at least got done) such as cleaning, cooking, and social outings have all taken a backseat while I discover new knitting patterns and stitches.

It wouldn't be all bad if I knit useful items such as socks, blankets or even toys but alas, I knit trinkets and doodads. There is no usefulness in the bits I knit (which is probably why I enjoy it so much). In a vain attempt to salvage some purpose from my two wasted days, I will post pictures and update my neglected blog.

The Bracelet
I discovered the Moss stitch in the first few pages. I had grand visions of a slender (but obscenely long) scarf made out of red pima cotton from Peru. Five minutes into it my vision had changed...into a rather cuff-like bracelet. The results satisfied but the labor intense.

Up in the Air
The Checker stitch beckoned next. I have no idea what I am making but I am contently enjoying the process.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Watermelon Brain!!!

I made this for my pumpkin carving party using a small, seedless watermelon. It was super time consuming but well worth the effort!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tell Toy Companies: Target Parents, Not Kids, With Holiday Ads

This is my latest letter although I cannot take credit for its came from "Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood."

"I am writing to urge you to suspend all advertising to children this holiday season. With the global economic crisis intensifying, many families will have to scale back their holiday shopping this year. It's wrong to create unrealistic expectations in children or to foment family stress by encouraging kids to lobby for gifts that their parents may not be able to afford.

I understand the need to create awareness of your products. I urge you to do that by advertising directly to parents instead of enlisting children as lobbyists for their holiday gifts. Since it's parents, not children, who can truly understand their family's financial situation in these difficult times, it is more important than ever that you respect their authority as gatekeepers. Please target parents instead of children with your holiday advertising."

Laura Monahan

The above letter was sent to the following companies:
~Mattel: CEO Robert Eckert
~V-Tech: CEO Allan Wong Chi Yun
~Leap Frog: President & CEO Jeffrey Katz
~Hasbro: President & CEO Brian Goldner
~Spin Master:
Co-CEOs Anton Rabie and Ronen Harary
~Jakks Pacific:
CEO Jack Friedman
President Richard Migatz
~MEGA Brands:
CEO Marc Bertrand
~MGA Entertainment:
CEO Isaac Larian
~LEGO: CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp
~Activision Blizzard:
CEO Robert Kotick
~Thinkway Toys:
CEO Albert Chan
CEO Bill Ritchie
~Electronic Arts:
CEO John Riccitiello
~Ganz: CEO Howard Ganz
~Oregon Scientific:
President Mike Prager
CEO Robert Iger
~Playmates Holdings LTD:
President Lou Novak
CEO Tatsumi Kimishima
~Take-Two Interactive:
CEO Ben Feder
CEO Steve Ballmer
CMO Mark Snyder
CEO Lee Scott
President & CEO Gregg Steinhafel
~Toys R' Us
: CEO Gerald Storch

Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Free from the Electronic Babysitter!!!

We have managed to free ourselves from the ever-present, power-using, life-draining babysitter known as:

I've toyed around with the idea of kicking the boob tube to the curb for quite some time but I was never able to get Andy on board. A quick mention of a close family who lives TV free (and is still considered "normal") was enough to get his help kicking it to the curb (or at least as far as the garage but no worries...the garage has no power!).

The reasons for ridding ourselves of the insane time-sucker were many but if I had to pick one, it would have to be my utter lack of self-control when it comes to anything broadcast over the airwaves. I was wasting away hours a day...hours I could have spent with my boys (even though they were sleeping), or knitting, or catching up on all the housework (okay, you're right...I would never do that anyway), or even reading a book that involved more than one sentence per page.

It has been a few days since we exorcised the telly and I have to say, it has been absolutely wonderful. Our pace of life has slowed down, I am able to be more present in the moment, and I actually enjoy more of the housework that I'm actually getting done!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Knitting Revisited

Okay...I'm on a knitting high right, seriously! Last night I taught myself how to purl and then this morning I finished my first non-scarf project: hand warmers!!! Okay, so I've only made one so far but the second one is not far behind. I'll post a picture once the set is done.

"The Heart of the Matter"

I got this info via email and wanted to pass it on...I wish I could go but it is the same night as Refuge.

Inviting all women to please join us for an unforgettable event…

Cross Cultural Study
The Heart of the Matter: Touching the Lives of Women and Children in Poverty
Date: 3 Monday evenings: Oct 27, Nov 3, and Nov 10
Time: 6:45 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Location: Sunset Presbyterian Church, 14986 NW Cornell Road in Portland
Cost: $5.00 for materials

For more information or to RSVP, contact Dorothy Hoover, CCS Co-Chair,
at 503-646-3074 or

The event is hosted by Women of Vision, a volunteer program of World
Vision, who advocates on behalf of the poor; generates funds and
resources to support World Vision projects; sponsors a speaker series
each year that educates the Portland metropolitan community about
global poverty issues; and provides volunteer service on behalf of
impoverished and oppressed women and children.

The Columbia-Willamette chapter of Women of Vision, founded in 1997,
is made up of women from throughout the Portland/Vancouver area. Women
of Vision is inviting all women to attend an unforgettable event -
Cross Cultural Study The Heart of the Matter: Touching the Lives of
Women and Children in Poverty. This study will explore the root causes
of poverty and what to do about it, using scripture, video,
discussion, simulation activities, and testimony from women who have
traveled to our projects.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


This picture sums up all the attitudes at my house right now....
Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 10, 2008

Social Involvement

I sent the following letter to Crest, Oral-B, Colgate, Mentadent and Philips...check it out!

"I recently found a company that offers toothbrushes made from recycled plastics and will also recycle the used toothbrush ( I will only be buying these toothbrushes in the future.

I would love to see your company offer a similar product. It makes sense for the environment, your bottom dollar, and our community.

If your company started to make a similar product, I would seriously consider purchasing the product and recommending it to all of my friends and family. Thank you for your time."

Laura Monahan
Portland, OR xxxxx

My hope is to encourage businesses to use environmentally friendly practices by not only "voting" with my dollars but to also clue them in to what I types of products I do want. My goal is to write one letter a week (to corporations, politicians, etc) in an attempt to be heard. I am not naive...I know the corporations get tons of letters/comments but it is still worth a try.

Let me know if there is a letter you want me to write or an issue you want me to write about. I'm going to need the inspiration. Oh...I'll also keep you posted on if I hear back from anyone.


Why is it:

There is no milk when you finally want cereal for breakfast?

You know exactly where everything is until you need it?

Your kids play by themselves until you want to have some personal time?

You hit all the red lights when you're in a hurry?

The pens in the house always have ink when someone wants to draw on the walls?

Your kids know just the right moment to give you a hug?

Monday, October 6, 2008


As some of you may know, I go to Refuge every Monday night. Before we broke into smaller groups, a woman shared her beautiful story of pain and redemption. I've interacted with this woman for awhile and I never had an idea of what she has been through and what God has done in her life.

It got me thinking: how often do I delve deeper with others? How often do I give someone enough space to really fill me in? How often do I pursue someone else?

It was amazing to hear her transformation and all of the raw emotion behind what God has done in her life. I want to know her better and feel slightly sad that I haven't already pursued a relationship with her.

I've given in...

You've done it. You've convinced me. I now have my own blog.

You wanted me to read yours while warning me not to have my own. No such luck, friends.

I've convinced you to join facebook, a yahoo group or two, and now this: my own blog.

This will be a place for me to share all of my random thoughts and hear all of your random comments. I will not check my voicemail but I will check my blog.

Read at your own risk.