For the logging question...
There are a couple of great tools for searching the logs if you are interested in rolling your own:
Logparser 2.2 is a very useful tool that you can use to filter the SQL Error Log, the SQL Agent Log and the Windows event log. It's available from Microsoft download, has help files, and usage examples are pretty readily available with a little searching.
You can also write scripts to read all of these logs with Powershell! Use the SMO interface and the Server.ReadErrorLog method to get to the SQL Error Log: http://forums.iis.net/p/1145912/1855025.aspx#1855025
For the replication issue...
It sounds like you are saying you took the subscriber offline. Is this transactional replication? You should be able to just stop the distribution agent to tell it to stop sending transactions to the subscriber, which should stop the errors. Just start it back up when you bring your subscriber back. Be careful to look at how long commands will hang out on the distributor before they are deleted, if you elapse that you will have to reinitialize.
For the larger issue...
It sounds like you may be managing a SQL Server environment without a local DBA. If this is the case, invest in training, training, training! I would also advise looking at free trials of more comprehensive tools, check out SQL Server magazines to see a lot of listings for what's out there. I believe you can get free evaluations of most.