Buy Nothing Challenge *Edited

Buy Nothing Challenge - August 2009

Matt and I have decided to participate in Crunchy Chickens Buy Nothing Challenge for the month of August.  Recently we realized our spending had gotten a little out of hand (I am blaming it on the exhaustion, I give in more easily when tired) and had a discussion of reeling it in , and this challenged popped up in my google reader the very next day. Basically we will be buying nothing but the essentials for the month of August.

*Quick disclaimer. Matt’s parents are here next week and we are hoping to sneak out on a date night just the two of us. More than likely we will go out to dinner which is not technically essential, but free baby sitters are free baby sitters. 😉

Making Laundry Soap

Recently I ventured into laundry soap making.  Stacie posted this recipe on a yahoo board a while back and I finally gave it a try.  The cost is significantly less than what I was using before and it was super easy to make.  Matt helped me and I think it took the two of us less than 5 minutes.  (It might actually take longer if you actually had to heat the water, the water is practically boiling out of our tap right now, it is summer and the pipes run through our attic.) I did some rough calculations on what it cost me to make.  I rounded up my calculations to an even $5 for the whole batch, I also use about 3 ounces with each load instead of the 4 ounces she said to use (I have a front load washer and always use a little less soap), the cost came out to about $.03 per load.  I was using method before and it was about $.19 per load.  A savings of $.16 per load!  Considering how much the laundry has increased with the boys home, it is a much appreciated savings.  I think it works just as well as any soap I have used in the past.  🙂

Here is the recipe for those of you interested:

Laundry Soap


  • 3.1 oz bar Ivory soap (I used Dr. Bronners all natural/organic and it worked great)
  • 1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
  • ½ cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
  • Water


  • 5 Gallon container
  • Knife (we used the cheese grater)
  • Pot large enough to hold 5 cups of water
  • Long stirring stick/spoon (for 5 gallon container)


Shave the soap into small strips and place in the pot with 5 cups of water. Bring the water just shy of a boil and stir until the soap is completely melted. When the soap is just about melted, pour 3 gallons of hot water into the 5-gallon container and let it sit until the soap in the pot is totally melted. Once all of the soap shavings are melted, pour the mixture into the 5-gallon container and stir.

Once the soap and water are thoroughly stirred, add the ½ cup pf washing soda and stir until dissolved. Once the washing soda is dissolved, pour in the cup of borax and stir again until dissolved.

Optional: Essential Oils for fragrance. If you like fragrant detergent, now is when you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oils.

Now you’ve got a huge container of hot soapy looking water. Cover the container, place it somewhere out of the way and let it sit overnight. Once it’s cooled it will gel. It will not gel uniformly so it will be lumpy and watery. It may not be very attractive, but it works. It’s best find smaller storage containers for convenience.

Usage: ½ cup per laundry load is adequate to clean your clothes. This homemade laundry detergent works well in high efficiency washing machines since it is low sudsing.

One word of caution, if using a high efficiency machines: Before pouring the lumpy gel into the detergent receptacle, stir it to break up the lumps. Very large lumps may not fully dissolve, stirring the detergent with a spoon, pencil, or whatever you have available (or your finger), works fine.


This recipe yields 442 oz of laundry detergent, of which 4 oz are required per laundry load. With this recipe you should be able to wash 110 ½ loads of laundry.

driving in ethiopia

driving in ethiopia is pretty rough. Its a contact sport thats for sure. I would say if you combined rugby, with tetris, and then while driving a car.


This was a light traffic day. other days were more intense. Too bad there isn’t “smell-o-vision“. You really need to be taking in diesel fumes to really get the full experience. 

driving in addis ababa from matt adams on Vimeo.

Making myself smile

Yesterday as I was waiting for the news and needed a distraction, I found this site.  It was a big hit on facebook and it kept me occupied for quite a while.

Today as I am waiting again, I decided to look up how to fix something in wordpress for Meg, I stumbled across another fun find.  From now on if you don’t have a gravatar picture, you will be a randomly selected monster.  Hey its the little things that entertain me.

The Weekend

Matt and I had a very busy, but fun weekend.  On Friday his Ergo had arrived, so we tried it out.

Matt with his new Ergo Baby Carrier
Matt with his new Ergo Baby Carrier
Carter helping him try it out
Carter helping him try it out

Can’t wait to use it with the boys!

On Saturday we went to the Botanical Gardens to see the butterflies and the wildflowers.  The butterflies were great, but unfortunately with the lack of spring rain the wildflowers were not very plentiful.  

Then we ran a whole bunch of errands including a trip to Babies R Us.  I keep thinking we have everything and then realize we do not, but we are getting close to ready to travel.  (I think)  The nursery is now a mess again.  Time for more organizing.

We also went to Lowes and Home Depot.  I needed some plants for the garden.  Thanks to the wacky spring weather (60s one day, 90s the next) not one of my seeds took.

Matt also made me some self-watering containers for my tomatoes.  (I uploaded some other garden pics to the photo gallery.)

Yesterday we went to church then hung out with our neighbors.  We went swimming for the first time this season.  Their pool was at a very nice 83°!

We then went home and did yard work.  The grass was in serious need of a mow and I had plants to plant!

Please vote for my niece Abby in a local baby idol contest!

And this just because the cats are silly.  Carter was actually trying to sleep squished in there, I guess it is better than where Matt found him this morning, curled up in the bathtub.

How I found the cats this morning when I came home from my run
How I found the cats this morning when I came home from my run

6 days

wow Stephanie had to bring her A-game on the last post. how can i compete with that. 

6 ways stephanie is going to be a great mom

  1. she is already in loving mom mode over these boys. its only going to get better
  2. she will spend a lot of quality time with them
  3. I think she is pretty creative when it comes to things kids like to do. She is always finding crafts, and activity books that she and the boys will do together.
  4. those boys will hang out in the garden and play in the dirt learning all the good things home grown gardens have.
  5. Stephanie will worry about the boys. In a good way. Nothing will get by her, and she will always be thinking of them in anything she does. 
  6. Stephanie has such a huge heart. She can foster 6 kittens, have 4 pets of her own, and be sick, and still make sure everyone is taken care of. 2 little boys should be a piece of cake. (okay they are probably harder than 6 kittens + 4 pets)

18 days, 33 days

18 days until our court date!  33 days until we potentially travel, wow that is coming up quick.  Please pray that we pass court on May 8 and that our travel dates stay the same.  Right now we tentatively have an Embassy Appointment on May 28, if it doesn’t happen that day it could be June 11, and I don’t want to wait that long to hold my boys.  (please, please pray that we get the May 28 appointment)  I have already waited long enough, in my opinion.  😉

We received new pictures and this update from Hollie this morning:

Here are the pictures of the twins.  I saw them twice while I was in Ethiopia.  The first time they were in their room and the second time they were getting their sunbath outside with all the babies.  It was so cute!  One of your little guys was peeing as he was sun bathing.:)

That’s my boy, pee freely!

Also, last week while chatting with Autumn over email, she realized she had met our boys at the orphanage and had this to share:

I told Dan that I was in contact with you about your little ones and he reminded me that one of them was sooooo smiley at him.  Dan called me over to see how smiley he was.  They were so cute…really.

Awwwww, don’t they sound just precious?

new blog theme

im growing bored of these themes. so I made a new one today (yes, while multitasking at work). 

Click on the “burlap” tab to the right to see it in action. I’m sure i will be updating the others here soon as well. 

Wear a helmet

One of my biggest frustrations is seeing cyclist not wearing helmets, or wearing them while unfastened, or my favorite hooked on the handlebars. Helmets are not that expensive, easy to use, and not that hot. My helmet doesn’t actually mess up my hair all that much and is really no bother at all. But I was not all that surprised when Matt sent me this article today. The article states that more than half of cyclist don’t wear helmets. When you know the facts I just cannot see how you cannot wear a helmet or make your children wear a helmet.

The risks of cycling without a helmet are even higher — the group cited the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as saying 92 percent of bicyclists killed in 2007 were not wearing helmets. Helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent.

Matt has actually broken a helmet while riding. Thank goodness he was wearing it or a severe head injury was likely. (By the way if you crack your helmet you do have to replace it.)

To sum it up WEAR A HELMET!

Tagged: Five Addictions/Passions

I was recently tagged by Tegan to list 5 of my addictions/passions.


1.  Coffee.  I have to start my day with at least one cup of coffee.  You might not want to know me if I don’t get my morning coffee.  😉

2.  My Blackberry.  I actually used to think it was crazy that people were addicted to their blackberries.  Then Matt got me one and I am now ADDICTED.  I can facebook, email, or blog from wherever I am.

3.  Blogging.  Not necessarily the writing of my own blog, even though I do write more then I ever thought I would, but reading other peoples’ blogs is how I start my day (with the above cup of coffee).  Blogging has opened me up to a wonderful world online and I treasure the many friends I have met through blogging.

4.  Sleep.  This is one of my biggest addictions and the one I will probably miss the most come June 😉  I can function on 7 hours of sleep, no less, and really need between 8 and 9.  Yes I know I am in big trouble.

5.  Being outside.  I love being outside, doing almost anything outside (well July and August I don’t love it too much, but I miss it oh so much).  Being outside almost instantly cheers me up on my grumpiest of days.  Matt and I love to be outside together, we cannot wait to share this passion with the boys.


I am going to be lame and not tag anyone, but if you would like to do it please do, I would love to read about your passions.

Spring Time

I know for a lot of you spring is still a few weeks off, so I thought I would share our spring with you.  🙂


Interesting bugs are starting to show up.  This one is the whole reason I even got the camera out, I had never seen one like it before.


My cactus is in bloom, pretty pink flowers!


Taffi enjoying the lovely afternoon

Swiss Chard and Kale


Peach tree is in bloom


She is actually trying to pick her own snow pea in this shot, the dogs are addicted!

This is a big no, no!  


Carter decided he needed to hang with us, so he let himself out

The dogs and I had a great time enjoying our spring weather this afternoon.  I think we all have a touch of spring fever now and will be spending a ton of time outside.

25 things about matt

since stephanie did it. I assume I needed to as well. 

  1. According to some people I have too many shirts, yes 84 is a lot of t shirts. The funny thing is I still find shirts I want to buy all the time. 
  2. I really love my wife. I think she is fun, smart, giving, loving and lets not forget hot. I enjoy hanging out with her a lot. 
  3. I am probably addicted to biking, and bikes. I may have 4 in the garage at any given moment.
  4. I wake up pretty early almost every day, sans-alarm. Its kind of odd. Even on days I dont need to get up. 
  5. I love my job. I mean really, how cool is it that I make web sites for clients across the US and now Canada and London. 
  6. im a super mac geek. i really cant stand using PCs. but I grew up on a mac since i was a kid.
  7. although number 6 is true. I dont own an iphone (at&t = booo). I have a blackberry and dig it.
  8. I grew up playing ice hockey. A lot. I mean i dont think i figured out that i liked girls till 17 or so. I played hockey that much. 
  9. I grew up in a small town in the mountains outside of colorado springs. Population 3k, Elevation 9k.
  10. I enjoy reading business and religious books, but not much in the fiction realm.
  11. i, like stephanie, enjoy projects at the last minute. 
  12. i love to work out, and take on big tasks, but I have a hard time finishing things. like say… the 100 push ups deal. lets hope my duathlon training doesnt follow trend.
  13. I enjoy video games, but rarely play by myself.
  14. I am nice guy so often it gets me burned, walked on, or over committed sometimes. Its annoying. 
  15.  Shiny things distract me
  16. i talk. a lot. i mean a lot. I dont know why. I have to make a conscious effort to shut up.
  17. I have always wanted a really cool tattoo, but I have a hard time committing to anything longer than a few weeks, and I would rather spend the money on bike parts. So it will never happen. And my grandma may disown me. 
  18. i think guys that wear v-neck shirts are weird. 
  19. i really like cars. All kinds. I have some deep appreciation for the beauty of a nice car. Not even fancy ones sometimes. 
  20. i think god truly loves us more than we can understand, yet we get in our own way constantly, and screw everything up on a daily basis. I do at least. 
  21. i hear there is some sort of big football shindig on tv this weekend. but i only kind of care. I just like the junk food, and the commercials. Football, basketball, and baseball are kind of boring. Especially baseball.
  22. moose drool is by far my favorite beer. 
  23. i enjoy Brinner often (breakfast for dinner if you didnt know – all the cool kids are trying it)
  24. i really like being outside. unless its 134° like it is here in the summer, even then I just go biking at 5 am, since I am up anyway. 
  25. i enjoy photography. Stephanie lets me be a geek with my dSLR, and buy camera toys every now and then.
btw this list took me about 15 minutes. I could probably do 50 if I had to, but it would get pretty random. 

and the winner is


Since I am married to a geek who has millions of t-shirts I am going to guess 84.
We hang everything over here. I think hanging takes so much less time than folding and you can see everything. I hang everything.

Matt actually has 83 t-shirts! Yes he does hang most of them, but he also has some in a dresser drawer. (I am like Sandi, I prefer to hang over folding.) We had a good laugh the other night when he counted them up!

BTW Kendall in this house I believe the boy clothes out number the girl clothes.

In all honesty he did not buy the majority of his shirts, quite a few are ones he has designed for clients and other miscellaneous freebies.