Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

From our home to yours, Merry Christmas! We have had an incredible, busy, fun, crazy holiday season! We will have more posts and updates, but for now...have a very blessed season of love and joy as we celebrate and thank God for His presence, and the gift of life He has given us all!

Friday, December 12, 2008


This is freedom. The most amazing stroller invention ever! It is a Phil & Ted's Sport stroller with the doubles attachment. It fits through all doctor's office doors, the school entrance/classroom doors, turns on a dime, folds up like a dream, and I can lift it into the back of the Suburban. What more can a mom of 2 babies ask for in life?

Thank you Grandma and Grandpa, Anna, and my loving husband for contributing to this ridiculously expensive piece of freedom. I will never take it for granted!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It's snowing!!!

We're off to wake the kids up :o)


It was 80 degrees today...and now it is sleeting with snow in the forecast! Gotta love Texas. Out running errands all day with the boys in t-shirts, and bundled up this evening with fleece jammies and hot cocoa. We have court in the morning for the smallest, soon-to-be Johnston at 8:30 in downtown Austin. No salt for the roads, and not-used-to-snow-and-ice TX drivers...should make for an interesting drive in rush hour traffic!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend this year! Grandma and Grandpa came down from MN on Monday and stayed until Friday, so we had a nice long visit. The girls did a wee bit o' shopping, we had new photos taken of the 3 little ones, and installed a new kitchen faucet (thanks Grandpa).

On Saturday we attended the Blue Santa Parade downtown with some friends and that is what the pictures here are from. We are missing the girls and one little one, due to other people being in the picture and not sure if they can be on the blog. Had a great time and kids love giving a gift to kids who need it. Blue Santa represents the police department, and their gift drive every year.

Eli was given a puppy by a fireman and was very pleased with it! He seemed very intrigued this year with all the sights and sounds. The highlight for us original "small towners" is always the big balloon type friends. They are so huge!

When your hands aren't big enough...

Use your chin!
This is Eli's solution to too many little people, not enough hand to carry them all...slide one in under the double chin :-)

Saturday, November 1, 2008


I think this is the most beautiful picture. There is something so special about the bond a dad and his daughter share. Isabelle has always been a daddy's girl, but this day was just so precious to both of them. Ben took Isabelle to the Austin Ballet as a daddy & daughter date. This princess is going to knock someone's socks straight off someday...then the handsome king (whose mine!) will knock his off for him ;o)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Why is that?

"It’s extraordinary to me that the United States can find $700 billion to save Wall Street and the entire G8 can’t find $25 billion dollars to save 25,000 children who die every day from preventable diseases."- Bono

This was copied from a friend's blog. It just struck me.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Proud of Uncle Jordan!

This summer while in Minnesota we had a great visit with Uncle Jordan. We are so proud of him for all he's doing in college and life! Gotta love this photo of all the kids crammed into a booth so they could sit together :o) We love and miss Jordan!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tryin' to get back

As you can see and hear (Ben added music, more songs to come) we are trying to get back to bloggin'. Had too much fun this summer to spend much time on the computer, and back to school has been too busy. Will post some photos soon!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hot Investment Tip!

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)

There is no greater return on an investment than knowing that you have invested your heart in someone that needs you...that you have given any part of yourself to save a life...that you have been HIS hands and feet....I say REVOLT against WORRY about the economy...GIVE MORE, LOVE MORE...BE MORE....this is NOT a time for fear.........PROVE where your treasure is....Go ahead...

Now that is an investment tip!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Feeling older...

One week before my 31st birthday, and Christian comes into the room excitedly describing a scene in a movie...he tells me about this "phone box thing that has a spring coming out of it!". Are you kidding me? Has technology come so far, so fast that my six year old does not know what a regular ol' phone is! I think it's time to get a land line again ;-)

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Two years ago we found a new hobby here in Austin, TX. I was reading my Family Fun magazine and they had an article about letterboxing. It is a "sport" of sorts that we do as a family. It starts out on with clues that we look up and print for area letterboxes, then we pack a picnic lunch and head out with journals, a stamp, and an ink pad. We follow the directions all over Austin until we find the letterbox hidden (could be anywhere...under a rock, in a tree, on top of a post, etc.) and then we mark our journals so that we know we've been there. We also have a family stamp that we use to mark the letterbox's journal and that way the person who set up that particular letterbox is able to see who has visited and when. This has become a super fun, free, favorite family pasttime on the weekends. Here are some pictures from Spring break letterboxing at a the Colorado River State Park...

Easter Sunday

Since the year we moved to Texas, our Easter bunny has been having a little fun with the baskets. We had moved twice that year before Easter and we were worried that the kids wouldn't know any of the new hiding spots, so our "bunny" tied a string to the bed posts and ran all over the house with them until placing the other end on the handle of the basket. Each kid has their own color string and it's so fun to see them running all over trying to figure out where the string goes next. The tradition has stuck with us and now it happens each year!

Christian found his

Isabelle found hers

Eli found his

Eli is not sure about the Easter grass

Braeden found his too, but too fast for the camera

Mmmmmm, sugared up before chuch

Easter dinner after church

Late posts...but not forgotten...

Decorating Eggs

Here are the pictures of the kiddos decorating their Easter eggs :-)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Johnston Science Experiment

Hey all!

I just wanted to let you all in on a new laundry adventure the Johnston family is taking...we have started making our own laundry detergent. Isabelle has VERY sensitive skin and breaks out easily in a rash from perfumes to foods. We had found that Melaleuca detergent (unscented) worked well for us, but it was expensive and had to be ordered specifically through company. I found that many store brands were also expensive and full of perfumes and additives that were unhealthy and bothered her skin. Through my research I found out that the enzymes added to nearly ALL big brands, Tide, Purex, etc...and that it takes around 16 showers to wash the enzymes off our skin. Enzymes are necessary and helpful for stain removal but do not need to be in the whole wash. They are harmful to our mucus membranes and mess with our immune system.

The results of googling laundry enzymes:

A) The main enzymes used are protease and amylase, but a cocktail is preferred to attack all kinds of proteins, they must be grown in a lab, and sometimes they are genetically engineered.

B) Yes enzymes are very effective, but perhaps way too effective, they also attack the proteins in your skin and mucus membranes in such a way that it takes 16 rinses to get them off your skin.

C) if you really need enzymes these people sell a natural papaya enzyme for laundry Not exactly cost effective. Also its liquid, but powdered is also available, for a price.

So, to get my enzymes I use Shout gel on any of the kids food, grass, and mud stains, but do not have them in all the wash now.

Here is the recipe that we are using:

1 Bar of Zote = 6 cups shredded (I freeze after shredding, or leave on counter for a week to dry out) cost $.76 per bar at Wal-Mart

3 Cups Borax $2.99 at the grocery store or Wal-Mart

4 Cups Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda $2.29 at the grocery store or Wal-Mart

1/2 Cup Vinegar in the rinse cycle HUGE bottle (much bigger than Downy!) for $1.79

I then mix all together in my Kitchen Aid or food processor and store in a plastic tub. I use 1/4 cup per load (remember I do huge loads for 6 people) when washing, and add the vinegar to my softener dispenser in the middle of my washing machine. The vinegar helps rinse any remaining detergents off the clothes, helps set the colors, and softens the clothes.

--Zote Soap has varied uses, including the following:

Hand washing: Moist Zote Soap is rubbed onto the wet garment and rinsed clear.
Stain removal: Zote Soap can be used to pre-treat stains
Delicates: Because Zote Soap has non abrasive ingredients and no salts that could massively deposit in the clothes, it can be used for delicates.
Brightening: Zote Soap contains optical brighteners chemically designed for hand washing. Zote Soap has no chlorine, and thus bleaches without fading color.
Clothes softener: A piece of Zote Soap can be placed in a sock at the end of the wash cycle for soft fragrant towels.

This is a letter I found online:

I actually work at the factory where the Zote soap is manufactured. ( understand the existance of this soap, we need to understand it origin. This soap was used in the past (no washing machines yet) in México, when people used to go to the river and wash their clothes. They simple rub the clothes on a rugged surface (like a rock), and hand wash the clothes. Then consumers started to use a machine called "palangana" that is like the Belly of a turtle (rugged) to wash in home. That´s why no instructions are needed (at least in Mexico) Nowadays, with more washing machines around this technique trends to desapear, but consumers are still finding a way to keep using the Zote soap. We are developing a new Liquid Zote (like a liquid detergent) that you can pour directly to the machine. Since there are a lot of Mexicans in the USA (Texas), they are demanding this product and that´s the reason you can find it on the shelves in Wal-Mart and other stores.It is funny, but there are some many alternate uses for this bar, like Mosquito repelent, hair treatment,fishing bite, fabric softener, YOU NAME IT!!With a 36,000,000 million bars sold last year you can bet we´ll have Zote bar soap for a while.If you need more information, I´ll be glad to help you!

Ingredients: Pink Zote Soap is made with coconut oil and tallow. It contains sodium chloride, glycerin, perfume, an optical brightener and dye. Zote Soap is scented with citronella oil, making the soap fragrance long lasting.


20 Mule Team® Borax is made of 100% Borax, a naturally occurring mineral composed of sodium, boron, oxygen and water. 20 Mule Team® Borax is not harmful to washing machines, plumbing or septic tanks and does not contain phosphates or chlorine.

--Super Washing Soda

-- ARM & HAMMER Super Washing Soda is 100% sodium carbonate. It does not contain fragrance, surfactants or other additives.

ARM & HAMMER Super Washing Soda is 100% sodium carbonate and it is used as a laundry booster and general household cleaner. ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda is 100% sodium bicarbonate and has a myriad of household cleaning, personal care, and deodorizing uses, as well as being a leavening agent. IT is important to note that these two are two distinctly different products and cannot be substituted for one another.

In conclusion, this may not be something any of you are interested in, but we have found it a fun family science experiment and love the results! Our clothes smell awesome, no more rash for Isabelle, everyone likes to grate the Zote, and it is super cheap to make!

Friday, March 7, 2008

My boys running?

Here are some super cute pictures of something that probably won't happen again until Nathan comes to visit again. Our cousin Nathan likes to run. He's got all the right gear, and to give him some credit, the right body for running. My family, with Christian being the exception, makes running look awkward and in most cases somewhat painful (Ben has shin splints). But, for the love of Nathan they all wanted to participate and, Ben has been saying that it is time to get in better shape...

Notice one person stretching:

Now, I'm not one to spread rumors...but rumor has it that Ben rode Christian's bike home ;-)

Happy 4th Birthday Princess!!!

This year our baby girl turned 4. Isabelle chose a Hello Kitty theme with pink and yellow decorations. We had lots of fun picking out the flavor of, and decorating her cake. It was extra fun because she still had cousins here to celebrate with. She was so excited to be one year closer to five! In our house five is an amazing number...because you get to go to school with Daddy!
At the ripe ol' age of 4 Isabelle has decided that she would like to be a singer when she grows up. American Idol is her favorite TV show, and if you have ridden in the car with her you know that she has all the commercials (that are songs), all the radio station jingles, and all cd's memorized. This girl CAN sing in tune, on key, with the beat, whatever you ask!
Happy birthday beautiful girl...may all your dreams come true!

Saturday, February 2, 2008


This year we had some family come to us for the holiday's! Our cousins, Nathan, Lisa & Ean Hagman. They arrived on our Anniversary (the 30th of December) and stayed for 5 days. We had a blast meeting their little boy for the first time, and it was fun to see Ean and Eli play together! We took them to see all the sights of Austin, including a New Year's Eve parade in downtown Austin, letterboxing by the Arboretum Cows, and we visited a few fun restaraunts. For those of you who don't know Angie's cousin Nathan, he always acts this goofy (which is part of what we love about him ;-)

Eli's First Christmas!

Eli was so fun this Christmas! All the "big" kids loved helping him open his gifts, and watching his reactions to his new toys. What a gift he is...