Friday, December 11, 2009

Quick Update

I know it's been a MEGA long time since I've blogged. Not only have we been busy with vacations, holidays and sickness - I've been just plain slacking too.

Here are some pics from our Utah trip. It snowed a little bit while we were there. There was enough snow for the girls to make a snowman and for Josie to tromp around happily in her boots.

Today Rich had the day off so we went to lunch at Jay Berry's and then to Snoqualmie Falls. I LOVE the falls. I like to go when it's sunny, or when there's been a lot of rain and they're really full, or like today, when it's been so cold there's ice everywhere! It's so beautiful.

And this last pic is a paper craft I did for my daughter's friend. I had this plain brown sack that needed to wrap a b-day present so I dressed it up. On my sis's blog she linked this really great paper craft christmas decor pic (click here) and I fell in love with it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


We had a great Halloween!!!!! Here are some pictures of our costumes:
Josie LOVES Scooby-Doo. She saw this costume in the store somewhere around Oct. 1 and loved it then. Then as Halloween grew closer, she refused to ever put it on. I was worried she wouldn't wear it at all! Then, when she realized, Scooby got candy, she happily put it on and went trick-or-treating.
Reese went as Sharpay from High School Musical. The dress and purse we got at goodwill, the sweater was from storage and I bought the sparkly leggings at walmart. I also bought some rhinestones and a $1 headband and we glued them on so it reads - SHARPAY.

Ashlynn went as a mad doctor/crazy old person -one of those throw together costumes that can be a few different things. We borrowed an old lab coat from my sister - bloodied it up along with some pants and sprayed her hair. Hanging above her you see the new Halloween decoration we bought this year, a body encased in webbing....some spider has a tasty treat waiting for it ;)

I had decided I wanted to be Medusa, and when I mentioned it to a friend it turned out she had a costume I could borrow - PERFECT!

Dad ended up throwing together a wig, hat and glasses to take the girls trick-or-treating and looked a lot like Slash. But we didn't get any pictures :(
All in all it was a great Halloween and there is a TON of candy just waiting to cause tummy aches. Come over and I'll give you some ;)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

District Diversity Meeting

For those wondering -
I did attend the diversity meeting at the school district.

I went because I wanted to know what the school's taught about same-gender families and let them know I didn't want assignments or books about same-gender relationships being given to my children. I believe marriage is absolutely sacred and should be between a man and a woman. (Interesting how my view is supported by thousands of years of humanity - yet now I feel afraid to stand up for my beliefs.)

In the school's definition of diversity listed among ethnicity, religion, and financial status were gender-identity and sexual orientation. But this was at the forum - I don't know what is taught to students regarding it.

I know that bullying of any type for any reason is wrong. I was shocked to hear the Jr High and High School students talk about the teasing, fights, and violence that occurs. It became obvious that more needs to be done to punish/counsel the kids involved in it.

The forum wasn't really an open mic type situation - which I was somewhat grateful for, I'm not big on confrontations. But we divided up into groups to discuss the issues the students talked about. I let the facilitator know the reason for my attendance and that I didn't think homosexuality should be taught in school. I told her that tolerance and acceptance are two very different things. I also asked that parents should be made aware when controversial issues like this are going to be talked about in class BEFORE hand so they can approve of it or make other arrangements. She took notes on what the group said and it was all going back to the district. I also filled out a comment card, repeating my thoughts, with my e-mail address and notation that I was interested in being involved.

Part of America's greatness is the FREEDOM OF RELIGION. Once same-gender marriages are approved and schools start teaching it as natural and normal, that freedom begins to erode.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Food and Fashion

The truth is - I always forget about goodwill. And, I don't think the prices are low enough for used stuff. That being said, there's a time of year I love to go there - Halloween. I love making my own costumes.

Reese had decided she wanted to be Sharpay from High School Musical. The ready to wear costume you can buy is between $20-$30 and not that great. So off to goodwill we went. I found the perfect dress for her! It was an adult's really small size, so It works without hardly any alterations.

I didn't get a full body pic, because she's still feeling a bit sick. But I cut the dress on a diagonal on the bottom and added some closures in the back. We also found this silver sparkly sling bag she'll use to put her candy in. "And after that just for anything I want!" she explained. With a pink fur jacket and pink heels from storage; we'll add some fancy leggings, and make a headband that says "Sharpay" in sparkles and she'll be good to go!

Now for the food-->

I finally tried a recipe for a stuffed squash I've been wanting to try. It was SUPER YUMMY. It's an acorn squash, cut and cooked for 30 minutes. Then stuffed with shredded zucchini, carrot and onion that had all been sauteed. Added to that were some bread crumbs, Tuscan spice mix and an egg. Once the filling is in the squash cook for another 15 minutes. It smelled like Thanksgiving and tasted delicious. Next time - I'll probably salt and pepper the inside of the squash before scooping in my filling.

I love banana bread. And I used to love zucchini bread, but have never made it. So this time as I made my banana bread I added a shredded zucchini to it. I used applesauce and a tiny bit of olive oil instead of butter and honey instead of sugar. The recipe called for Baking Soda but I also added a bit of Baking Powder because I've read that when using honey instead of sugar the food needs the extra umph of leavening agent. To get a good sweetness I sprinkled the pan very lightly with some brown sugar before pouring in the batter as well as sprinkled a little on top of the batter.
So this had 1 zucchini, 3 bananas, and 3/4 applesauce - a good amount of necessary fruits and veggies; as well as it was made with whole wheat flour. And you know what? The kids gobbled it up.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

So Excited :)

On October 15th at 12:01 am, I committed to doing another Triathlon. I was really nervous and those voices of self doubt were creeping in (BOOO!).

Then I remembered this:

The extraordinary feeling of doing something I never thought I would be able to.

I had planned all along to do the Wunderwoman Triathlon again in 2010. But for some reason this Valley Girl Triathlon seemed too intimidating. The distances are only a bit longer on the swim and bike, and quite doable, but the whole idea of trying something new was daunting.

So I reached back into my heart and grasped hold of the TRI-HIGH I got from my last triathlon - read about it here - And signed up.

Thanks Tiff for pushing me, and although I hesitated, I am so so excited for it. And the tri sold out on October 15th at 1:10 am!

Now it's time to kick up my training.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Catch and Release is for Sissies

Our kitchen seemed overrun with fruit flies this year. Even after storing bananas in the pantry and everything else in the fridge - we still had the little pests flying around.

I looked online and there were several different methods - including a catch and release. WTH? For fruit flies?? After reading my post, you'll see there's nothing humane about my method. But I guess if you prefer, you can skip the last couple steps and let the little buggers go live outside.

1. I got a glass, I used glass specifically so I could see how many I was trapping.
2. Put some bait in the bottom. I used pineapple. But I also noticed a cup of OJ my daughter left out had attracted a lot of fruit flies (FF's).
3. Make a funnel out of paper. The top needs to be wide enough to sit in the glass while leaving space at the bottom for your bait. The hole at the bottom is about 1/8" wide. The funnel shouldn't touch the bait, it may help the FF's crawl out.
4. Tape the funnel to keep it's shape and tape it all around the top of the glass so they can't crawl out of the glass.
5. Enjoy watching the FF's get trapped, for some reason once they get into the glass, they can't fly up out of the funnel hole.
6. To kill the FF's, you can put the cup in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
7. So that I didn't have to make new traps, and I was afraid of FF's getting out of the trap, and I know FF's don't like cold bait, once I took it out of the freezer, I microwaved my whole trap and set it out to catch more.

Other suggestions are:
1. Put apple cider vinegar in a bowl and mix with dish soap. The apple cider attracts them, and the dish soap helps disperse the surface tension and they drown. Or something like that.
2. At night, put a dish of bait in your dishwasher and leave the door slightly ajar. In the morning, gently, so as not disturb the FF's, close the dishwasher door. Turn on the dishwasher and wash those flies away. (you shouldn't open the door to see how many you caught - this could alert the FF's and they'll fly away. - see why I love the glass method.)

Happy Hunting!

Monday, September 21, 2009

A new love -

I've never been a huge fan of sewing. I liked it; but only if the pattern wasn't very complicated. Actually, I think I don't like patterns. Now that I look back - the projects I've really enjoyed, are those that I make up, like:
Ashlynn's 2008 Zombie Bride Halloween Costume

My Jane Austen Tea-party dress, refashioned from an old potato sack style dress
(I hate the way I look in the picture - my sister click here for her blog - looks AB/FAB! - but the only thing I like about me is the cool dress I made and the fact that I've lost 25 pounds since this pic was taken in February.)

Our Apron Extravaganza last Thanksgiving
Although we used a pattern, choosing fabrics and trims allowed for a lot of creativity.

But I just made this cute little apron - patterned after ideas in my head, cutting and trimming and measuring at whim. This apron is for an auction fundraiser my sister is involved in for her son's soccer team. But I plan on making a similar styled one for me with different fabrics.

I love the wide waistband, which I reinforced with fusible interfacing so that when it's washed it hopefully won't get all bunched up and twisted. I also made wide, long ties that can tie in front or back. You can't really tell from this picture but the ruffle on bottom curves up around and meets up with the waistband in back. I wanted a sort of bustle look to it.
Things I'll change when I make mine: the apron a little shorter and more narrow as well as making the ruffle bigger. I'll let you know how it turns out.

I find aprons fun to sew because you can piece together many different fabrics, shapes and ideas to come up with something that makes cooking more fun! I've even considered making a few of these, stockpiling up and getting in on the sassy mei action.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

She'll be comin' 'round the mountain

Mt. Rainier Hiking Expedition circa 1930s.

We made it to Rainier last Saturday and had a great time. We didn't go on the glaciers like the pic above, but I thought it was so cool I had to pass it along. I came across this GREAT site - and if you love old photographs, you should check it out. It's the National Park Service Historic Photograph Collection. And you can search by theme, park, year.

Saturday was a gorgeous sunny day. We started out late in the day, 1:00pm because Rich was out on a boy scout campout.

We saw this momma dear and her fawn. The fawn was too shy and kept hiding from my camera.

Usually when we go to Rainier we hike The Grove of the Patriarchs. Which I love. A beautiful hike that a one-year old who likes to walk can do. But this time we decided to venture out and try some new hikes. I'm so glad we did!

We did the Nisqually Vista trail. At about 1.5 miles, plus a little extra because the trail head wasn't where we thought it was, it was a perfect distance that we got some exercise without tiring out little Josie. There were some uphills, but it's paved the whole way, strollers would be doable, and maybe a wheelchair if you had someone really strong pushing it.
There were gorgeous flowers and meadows and then the path led down to the cliffs, where you could look out across the canyon and see the Nisqually Glacier and White River.

It was beautiful. - We're kinda covering up the view here, but we're cute too so that's okay.

We also did 0.7 mi at the Longmire, Trail of Shadows. There is a 1920s cabin and mineral springs bubbling up from the earth. I didn't have my camera :( and we didn't have time for the museum. So I plan to go again when I can browse the museum.

We ended it all with a picnic at Longmire and a peaceful drive home because the kids all fell asleep from the warm sunny hikes.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hi my name is Shannon....

And I'm a t.v. addict.

I luv t.v.! It's so fun to cuddle up with my hunny and watch some good shows once the kids go to bed. Here are some things I'm looking forward to:

8:00pm Heroes NBC - Premieres Sept 21

8:00pm SYTYCD FOX - Premieres Sept 9

8:00pm SYTYCD FOX - Premieres Sept 9
10:00pm Law and Order SVU NBC - Premieres Sept 23

8:30pm Parks and Recreation NBC - Premieres Sept 17
9:00pm The Office NBC - Premieres Sept 17
9:00pm Fringe FOX - Premieres Sept 17
9:30pm 30 Rock NBC - Premieres Sept 17

8:00pm Law and Order NBC - Premieres Sept 25
9:00pm Medium CBS (moved from NBC!) - Premieres Sept 25

(This list is taken from What We Watch to Escape Our Own Reality)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

School/Speech update

I am not really a get-involved-kinda-gal. But it was quite gratifying to get a call from the principal just now to discuss my concerns.

Thanks Ramona, for the tip on e-mailing the district. I didn't know who to e-mail so I copied everyone, from the superintendent to the entire board of directors. Thank heavens for e-mail! If this had been a phone or even worse, letter writing with stamp, campaign I'm not sure I would have gotten involved.

This was what I e-mailed:
I would appreciate any information you have in regards to Obama’s speech to school children, taking place on Tuesday, September 8th. I don’t feel comfortable having my children watch the speech without me. If I trusted that it would stick to back-to-school messages than it wouldn't bother me, but I don't trust that. And the classroom, especially k-6 grades, is not a proper forum for a political message.

I feel teachers who are participating in viewing the speech should offer alternative activities. Families should be notified that these are available. I know there are some, including myself, who would prefer to watch the message with their children. If there are not at-school alternatives available, my children will be staying home that day.

Here's the info I received:

My kids' school, will have alternate activities going on in the library. Every parent should be getting a call from the school, explaining what's happening on Sept. 8th - speech day. Then a form should be coming home in which they can opt out of the speech viewing and subsequent assignments regarding the speech.

So there we go. ;)

A Parent's Right

Do you know about Obama day at school?
Is it happening in your school?
Are you fine with it?
Perhaps it is not a big deal. It might not strike me as bad at all, if it were not for the fact that some schools will not allow the parents to attend. Wierd? A little off?

I think so.

I e-mailed my daughters' principal and their teachers to see if they will be participating. Just something short and simple to find out what's going on:
I am curious if our school will be viewing the message President Obama will be giving to school children on Tuesday, September 8th? If so, can I attend the viewing with my children? Also, what type of work assignments will be given to the children pertaining to the speech and can I view them first?
Shannon Miller

Maybe, if you believe it is a PARENT'S RIGHT to know what schools are teaching your children, you should do something similar.

In response to a friend who asked, "would you care if George W. Bush was doing it?" I said this:

I would be opposed to any president who has, in the months leading up to such a speech, reached his hands in and tried to manipulate so much of my life. Stimulus taxes, cap and trade, healthcare - if these things become law I lose control over my own life. I'm not going to approve of anyone circumventing me to teach my children whatever he/she wants. Parents can watch the puberty videos, or even sit in a reading class if a child is having a hard time - why should a president's speech be any different?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

More Fun

Here's some more summer fun :)

We finally made it to a blueberry farm. It was great. Josie ate blueberries the whole time. Then found she could have a lot of fun feeding them to the chickens.

My new fav snack. Forget microwave popcorn. Stove top is just as easy and healthier for you too considering there's no fake butters and chemicals to consume. Put some olive oil in the pan just a Tablespoon or two. Add 3 kernels of corn. PUT ON THE LID. When those kernels pop - add the other kernels 1/3 to 1/2 a cup. PUT ON THE LID! Shake until the popping stops. (just like microwave popcorn:) Top with melted butter and salt if desired. YUM.

I'm still making bread for my family. It's so delicious and is made with honey instead of High Fructose Corn Syrup and other crazy additives. I use this Gold Medal recipe except I use ALL whole wheat flour and there are a few differences so if you try that recipe and it doesn't work lemme know, I'll tell ya what I do. I usually use the Stone Burh whole wheat flour because it works well and I can sometimes find it in the bigger bags.

Now this here makes me laugh. Josie found these wrist warmers and for some reason when she wears them - she thinks she's a robot. So she'll start doing robot arms and hands and saying, "I beebot. I beebot."

Summer's been a ton of fun. But I'm really looking forward to school starting!

Monday, August 17, 2009

I TRI'd it and I loved it!

It was SO FUN!!!
I was doing this triathlon with my sisters, Tiffany and Cami, and my niece Sara. The night before the race we chatted too long and only got about 4 1/2 to 5 hrs of sleep.
When we got to Waterfront park we were all jittery - not knowing what to expect. We took our bikes down to the racks and tried to prepare ourselves.

This is my transition area. My towel right next to my bike. Yes, that is a cute skateboard helmet and not a bike helmet. I may invest in a new helmet so I look like a real cyclist. My socks are rolled down so they'd be easy to slip on over wet feet. My number is pinned to my shirt so it'll be ready for my run.

Here we are before the race, showing off our numbers. With numbers on the arm you REALLY feel like a triathlete. They told me too look mean but I couldn't stop laughing. I just wanted to get started already!!!!

This is the 1st wave heading into the water. Here, your heart starts pounding, goosebumps are forming, and you begin doubting you'll remember how to swim.
But I did - and I loved it. I have to say swimming was my favorite part of the triathlon. The water felt so good once I started going. If I felt any panic I just did what helps me keep my rhythm in the water - go through multiplication tables in my head. (I know, totally nerdy.) One thing I did not expect is how dizzy I was when I came out of the water! I couldn't run a straight line up the hill to the transition area!
Swim 1/4 mile - 11 min 20 sec
I took longer than I needed in my 1st transition I started washing my feet with my water, then realized it didn't really matter so I put on my shoes with bits of sand and grass in my socks. Also, I walked through my transitions. I didn't run like others - I was too nervous of falling or going the wrong way. Plus I needed to catch my breath.
Transition 1 - 3 min 27 sec
The bike was super fun too. This is when you first start hearing the other people say things like: good job! keep it up! you're doing great! as they pass you. Which seems a little weird maybe, but to a first timer is so encouraging. Sometimes I got a little sidetracked, like when the geese flew in a HUGE V-formation overhead and I almost wrecked watching them instead of the road. I was most grateful to the woman who passed me with a bike computer and told me we were half way there. I want a bike computer:) I was most scared when the volunteer pointed out the gravel to my right, right when I was trying to make a left turn down a steep hill. In fact, I said aloud, "I'm scared." as I rode past her.
Bike 10 miles - 43 min 57 sec
I was slow during my second transition also. In fact I remember at one point, just standing and staring at my transition towel thinking, huh, shouldn't I be doing something?
Transition 2 - 2 min 3 sec
The run was what I was dreading the most because I'm not a great runner anyways. I only average about 12 minute miles. And that's WITHOUT having just swam or rode a bike. So I trudged along, stopping to stretch out my cramping calf/hobbit foot a few times. I was grateful for the water stations, teary-eyed at the kids holding posters for their mom and laughing at the lady talking on her cell phone, "Ya, I'm running right now..."
Run 3 miles - 39 min 32 sec
But it felt SO AMAZING to come in across the finish line and see I had achieved my cushy goal of under 2 hours.
Total time - 1 hr 40 min 22 sec
And I can't wait to beat it next year!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

TRI it!

My sprint triathlon is this Sunday. That's only 3 days away! I have to admit I am getting really nervous, but OH, SO, excited. It's the "wunderwoman triathlon" in Spokane. I'm doing it with 2 other sisters. I have another sister and niece who signed up for it but may not be going. So I'll have some support there, although none of us will be in the same wave.
Swim 1/4 mile
Bike 10 miles
Run 3 miles
My hope is to keep it all under 2 hours. (Yes, I am pretty slow so that is a good goal for me.)
Wish me luck and pray for me on Sunday!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

A few summer highlights...

So far so fun! We travelled to Utah to visit with family and then some of them followed us home :) All in all we're having a great time hanging out. Here are some of the highlight pics from my camera. I need to get pics from others' cameras as I didn't always have mine with me. :)
We tried to get in plenty of sun/water time. With days at pools, lakes, ocean shores, and this shot of Josie at Golden Gardens in Ballard.

Here's my sis, Kris and my niece Katelynn on some sort of whirly-gig at a metal park. Fun but REALLY hot in the 100 degree weather!

We went to Utah to help send my nephew off on his mission. He's in the MTC getting ready for Paraguay. Here he is with my sis Melanie. Thomas you rock!

Melanie and her family :)

Reese and her cousin 'twin' Taylor.

We went to the Oquirrh Temple open house. My girls were so excited to see the bride's room.

My sis Ramona (at this blog) in her Wicked Witch costume. Although the play doesn't open until end of August we got to see her in costume for a parade. Luckily I'll get to go back without the kids for a "ME" weekend and see her in action .

At the parade. Reese waving at the princesses.

Seafair - BLUE ANGELS - so fun!

Josie and her Beenpaw (aka grandpa)

At Golden Gardens, watching the sailboats go in and out.