5-minute bullet points

By Tara Zandra | May 19, 2015

  • I’ve got 5-minutes before I wake the girls for the day, might as well say hi.
  • Hi!
  • It’s been months and months but we’re all still here and doing fine.
  • Tabitha just finished a [school] year of Latin and British Lit. She had 100% throughout all of Latin and was one of only 3 to earn a certificate of merit for her score on the National Latin Exam
  • British Lit caused her grade anxiety (she has a 97% but wanted higher) and that is not something I thought I’d ever see in my strictly homeschooled kid.
  • Dee’s journal class was tons of fun (no grade) and she can’t wait to it again next year with a Medieval theme.
  • They both still dance
  • A lot.
  • Daisy started a circus aerial class last night to help achieve her dream of flying.
  • She loved it.
  • Tabs is 16 now [gasp!]- she does not drive.
  • Daisy is in double digits [double gasp] and she is perfectly fine with her sister not driving.
  • My 5-minutes are up. Off to a good day!
  • Topics: Life | No Comments »

    October time!

    By Tara Zandra | October 3, 2014

    Man I love fall! I mean, it’s still going to be a 100 through Monday, but I love what fall represents. The start of ALL THE FUN TIMES! Except the overwhelming stress I feel about getting Halloween costumes done. That part really, really sucks. But costume parties! And pumpkins! Trick or Treating!


    Mid-Sept through February are my favorite months. The rest of them (except May) often kind of suck so I’ll take my 5 1/2 months and enjoy the hell out of them.

    But seriously, not sure how these costumes are going to get done.

    Topics: Life | No Comments »


    By Tara Zandra | September 15, 2014

    So today I was working on (paid) crochet work while lesson planning. Meanwhile, one child was reading The Wizard of Oz and the other child was practicing violin. I felt like the baddest mother multi-tasker, let me tell you. Usually I would follow up with how that peaceful picture was shattered by reality, but in all honesty it kept going today which was nice.

    I’ve not only made two sales in my etsy shop, I’ve got two largish custom orders lined up. But I also have two Halloween costumes to sew as well as a Halloween dress. And we’re going out of town so an entire weekend will be gone. I’ll probably have to have Chris take care of all the dance runs for a while so I can sew in the evenings. It’s not entirely fair to him, but thankfully the dance schedule this year is perfectly manageable for one person as we found out when I was sick.

    And tomorrow we take our main Christmas card photo. Yeah, I know, but it’s tomorrow or not at all. Should be fun what with it being eleventy-million degrees right now. I like heat, but extreme heat is bad for many reasons- fires, constant a/c (shiver), b00b sweat.

    Seems like a good way to end.

    Topics: Life | 1 Comment »

    time off

    By Tara Zandra | September 11, 2014

    All I do is sew, plan my sewing, crochet, plan my crocheting, homeschool, lesson plan, cook, meal plan. I stopped reading buzzfeed, playing facebook games, posting on facebook, instagramming; in other words- goofing off. My mind needed a break so last night I sat in bed for 3 hours and watched tv, and reruns at that.

    The girls started classes this week. This is a first in that they are in regular academic classes not taught by friends in our homeschool group (though they are still homeschool classes). Daisy is taking the world’s most fun journaling class. The kids in the class create their own town with jobs, paychecks, businesses, houses, a mayor and so forth. The goings on in the town will fuel the newspaper articles, hence the journaling aspect. Daisy left class yesterday and immediately said “I wish it was next week, I can’t wait to go back!” So yay on that.

    Tabitha is taking Latin and British Lit. She will have a paper due essentially every week in her Lit class which was pretty much the entire reason I wanted her in the class. I need her to be graded on her writing as that is my weak point. Since she’s facing college in a few years, we needed to make sure she would be up to par on that. She’s a naturally gifted writer, but tends to the creative writing. She did two years of public speaking and had to do research for her topics and always excelled at it. She also has confidence in her writing abilities and British Literature is a high-interest subject so I’m sure she’ll do just fine. It’s odd that she has homework and will get grades though! New territory for us but it’s certainly starting off as a positive experience all around.

    I’ll end here as my earlier headache has returned with a vengeance and the white screen is hurting my eyes.

    Topics: Life | 1 Comment »

    check it

    By Tara Zandra | September 4, 2014

    Just a quick check in. I’ve been wanting to blog but haven’t made time for it so figured a quicky would have to do.

    The mornings are teasing us and acting like June Gloom, except it’s September. I love fall and all it means so I get a little excited when the morning is overcast. But only in fall and winter is it acceptable. Come spring and summer, I don’t want a cloud unless it’s raining. I get too depressed and unmotivated.

    Actually feeling a bit unmotivated right now too, but I think that’s more because the dog woke me at 5:45am. This is highly unusual as I have the laziest dog on the planet. She likes her beauty sleep. We open her kennel about 9am, she comes out, stretches, and goes right back to sleep on the couch for a couple hours. So to have to take her outside before 6am was jarring. She’s cute, but that does nothing to cure my tiredness.

    I’ve been sick since Monday of last week and though it is mostly just a cough now, it’s a deep cough that can throw me into fits where my eyes start watering and my nose runs. Sexy.

    Apparently the above is all I have in me right now. But a short post is better than nothing.

    Topics: Life | No Comments »

    smile through the tears

    By Tara Zandra | August 12, 2014

    Comedians aren’t supposed to die. They are the ones who help us get through the times of pain.

    Laughter is the best medicine, after all.

    The world will be a little dimmer without Robin William’s manic genius. I ache for the man who did nothing but bring joy to millions yet felt he could no longer face his own dark demons.

    I’ve met more than a few celebrities in my life. He is the one that is my favorite memory. It was brief but I’ll never forget it. I was working at Disneyland at the bottom of the stairs of what was then the Disney Gallery. There was a balcony there that provided viewing of Fantasmic and it became a place to allow celebrities to watch the show. The night he was to be there, I was giddy. Then I saw him walking towards me and he had a grin on his face, put out his hand to shake mine and said, “Hi, I’m Robin. They said I should go to the stairs to watch the show?” I tripped over my words, but managed to convey that he was in the right place and where to go. I’m sure he said thank you and then that was it, but oh how fortunate I felt!

    I grew up with Robin Williams from “Nanu-Nanu,” to “Bangarang,” to last season’s show The Crazy Ones and so, so many in between. And goodness bless youtube which makes watching his antics on talk shows, and awards shows, and benefits that much easier. I feel it will be a while before I can watch them now.

    Good bye, Robin Williams. May you finally find peace as you bring laughter to the angels.

    Topics: Life | 3 Comments »

    the week has passed

    By Tara Zandra | August 8, 2014

    This was just one of those weeks where I wasn’t feeling it. Didn’t feel like doing lessons, or cooking, or crocheting or watching TV. Just kind of wished I was napping, but I hate naps. Guess I was bored? Whatever, at least it is done. I’ll talk about something from last month instead.

    I don’t have nieces or nephews and while it is certainly a possibility in the future, my kids will never have cousins their age. As someone who grew up with something like 16 cousins plus second cousins that I saw regularly, it makes me sad for my kids. But as life doesn’t always give you want you think you want, sometimes you gotta improvise. I have a friend who has 3 girls whose ages are compatible with my kids and as it so happens, I really like her kids and all the kids really like each other and in fact, the younger kids are besties. Surrogate nieces it is!

    In July I decided I wanted to take all 5 kids out for a day of fun. For the record the ages are 15, 13, 9, 9, and 6 and they’ve known each other for 8 years.

    Off to Downtown Disney!

    Everything we were doing was a surprise so when we walked up to Rainforest Café for lunch, I loved listening to their exclamations. It was a first visit for the 3 younger ones and the older ones had each only done it once or twice in their memories so it was just perfect. We had 20-minutes to wait and they eagerly explored the shop. The older 2 went off on their own and I followed the younger set who were completely entranced by the giant aquariums.


    Eventually we got seated upstairs and it was just wonderful! The waitress was attentive, the food was pretty good, it was fun when the storm went off and the kids basically loved being there. It made me really, really happy to be there with all of them and see them enjoying each others company.

    Our next stop was Build-a-Bear! Now that was pretty darn fun. Again, not something the kids had done in ages or they didn’t remember and just one of those places kids always want to go and we say “sure, soon.” I’ve probably said that to Daisy for the last 5 years. “Soon” finally came. All three younger kids picked the exact same tie-dye bear, Tabitha chose a very soft bunny, and the 13 year old chose a bulldog. They did the stuffing and heart ceremony and then I set them loose to find the right outfits. That took some time, but eventually all the animals were looking spiffy.

    After forcing them to pose for the obligatory pictures with their boxes, we hit Haagen Daaz for some cooling down. Eventually we made our way to World of Disney for window shopping and then the tram to get back to the car. All in all, it was a very successful day.

    My last pic is what was staring at me the whole time I ate lunch at Rainforest Café.


    Topics: Life, The Kiddies | 1 Comment »

    there was a time I liked San Diego

    By Tara Zandra | August 3, 2014

    So we headed out to a Weezer concert at the Del Mar Racetrack. We wanted to go last year but Daisy’s illness kept us home, so we were determined to do it this year. It’s a fantastic deal. If you arrive before the last race starts, you get in for just six bucks and parking is only ten. If you arrived after the last race the tix and parking go up to twenty each. So for $22 we were going to see one of Chris’s favorite bands.

    Thinking this would happen was our first mistake.

    The venue is 90 miles away, we left an amazing amount of time early and were in solid traffic after we had driven about 20-minutes from home. It was ridiculous. No construction, no accidents. Basically just Saturday afternoon rush hour except we had a really long way to go. It got to a point where Siri said we were 30-minutes but then we’d drive for 10 more minutes and she’d still say we were 30-minutes away.

    Oh and you know that drought? Yeah, it started raining. Sure I want it to rain, but not in August when we’re headed to an outdoor concert!!

    Friends, I won’t lie. Our spirits were low and things got testy.

    After our 3+ hour tour of the 5, we made it to our off-ramp and pulled into a gas station to assess the situation. As we could see the lines to get into the parking lot piling up and it was still raining (not a lot, but enough to not make me want to stand in it for another 2 hours), we decided to cut our losses.

    At this point there will be no more concerts for us in the San Diego area. Let me run down our list of bad luck there:

    Pearl Jam (1995)- Arrive and find out the concert has been postponed.

    Pearl Jam (1995)- Okay, this is the one exception. The rescheduled concert went just fine.

    Weezer (2011?)- Actually had a person smoking cigars in the crowd and no matter where we moved, there he was.

    Mumford and Sons (2013)- Surrounded by people so drunk they were throwing up in the pit area. At Mumford, for goodness sakes! This isn’t a hard core band! And this was multiple people who weren’t even together. I’ve never seen that many people lose there shit and clearly they all need to get out more. This one also had the added bonus of just one road to get in and the traffic on the road was so bad we actually missed 2 of the 3 openers.

    After that experience we swore off concerts in the more southern region of the state. Apparently we forgot that yesterday and paid for that lapse in memory.

    However, all was not lost. We had dinner, then started homeward on a less direct route along the ocean and found a craft beer store Chris heard about. He was giddy with all the choices and picked out a few for his fridge at home. Across the street was The Chocolate Bar -wine, coffee, and chocolate- oh my! I only cared about the chocolate but oh the choices!! I ended up with a chocolate covered orange peel, chocolate dipped Red Vine, chocolate covered graham cracker, sea salt caramel, chocolate covered cherry, and a 70% cocoa truffle. Plus they had a can of Diet Coke for sale so I was set!

    By this time the freeway north had cleared, the Dodgers were on the radio, the sunset was a beautiful pink- it was a good drive. Got home and even put Daisy to bed.

    But seriously, never going to SD for a concert again. Like really never.


    So this isn’t my favorite photo and you can’t even tell what they are holding, but I’ll share it anyway. Tabitha’s half birthday was Wednesday, Daisy’s half birthday is tomorrow. So yesterday, halfway between their half birthdays, we bought them a cupcake and gave them each half. Because I’m a dork and I like to do silly things like that.


    Topics: Life, The Kiddies | 2 Comments »

    Woe is me

    By Tara Zandra | August 1, 2014

    Well, not me, but Tabi. She’s actually been sick all week. It’s a cold, but it was slow burning so she had a very sore throat for 3 whole days before the stuffy nose and achy head came on. She missed a super-fun field trip and we won’t be going to park today. I think she could still go, but she entered the “everything is not awesome” stage and says she has no interest in seeing people. She’s worried about a personal relationship and dance as well- pretty much the exact stuff I was stressing about 3 months ago. But now I’ve seen the light and I think it will be just fine and she’s stuck in the part where it all looks bleak. Not much I can do but give love and attention.

    But having to cancel park, a field trip, and violin means boy were we productive in lessons! Daisy got so much done this week and is thoroughly enjoying her anatomy lessons. Other than the day none of us could find our pulses. As far as we can tell, we’re all dead. Zombie-Ancs!

    Tabitha has been working hard too. I gave her a pass on math and violin and told her to focus on geography, history, and literature. She did do one history art project, but mainly she’s been doing all of her literature which is currently To Kill a Mockingbird. She’s more than half way through and keeping up with all the assigned work for it. I told her after this I’ll give her a literature break for a month or two since she crammed it all into one week. Actually, I’m looking at doing Edgar Allan Poe next and started my research on that last night. Makes sense to put it in October, as is customary, I’m sure. I’m debating if I want to offer the study up to others or not, but then there’s the issues of having a place for everyone, working around others’ schedules, and then what to do with the youngers. Still thinking.

    Today will probably be pleasant (for me) and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve got one load in the washer and one in the dryer and breakfast started, so I’m doing my part to have a good day. But of course, moods of other people in house will vary.

    Topics: Life, Teriffic T, Homeschooling | 1 Comment »

    Just keep crafting

    By Tara Zandra | July 30, 2014

    I’ve been spending a fair amount of time crocheting lately. If you follow me on instagram you’ve likely seen the pictures. I have a baby project that’s ongoing as well as a request from Tabitha for something that I’m still working on. One I like, the other gives me fits. One night I just wanted to do anything that wasn’t an obligation so I asked Daisy to tell me what she wanted and that’s how I came to make the smiley ice cream cone. I also quickly whipped up a panda bear that was a request from a friend. That one garnered me another request for a panda :)

    But sometimes I remember that I sew too. I had wanted to make Daisy a simple sun dress using fabric I already have. So I found a pattern in my stash then immediately found out I didn’t have the instructions. I figured I’d be okay so I went about finding the fabric. Only, she’s grown since I last shopped for fabric regularly and the dress called for a yard and three-quarters and everything I had was a yard square.

    That was not going to work.

    The pattern also had a shorts and top combo so I searched among my fabrics for two that coordinated and low and behold I found the perfect ones that I bought to go together.

    Fabric hording has it’s advantages.

    I set out to sew it up, ran into a hitch because of the lack of instructions, but thankfully was able to overcome it. I needed elastic for the shorts so after finishing the top, I put it aside.

    Sunday Chris took me to the fabric store and I remarked that other than costumes and Disney, I think I’m kind of done sewing the everyday stuff. Tabitha’s too old, and I wasn’t sure I was enjoying it.

    And then, I saw the fabrics.

    Goodness I love fabrics! It’s like papers in a scrapbook store. Love all the patterns and possibilities!

    I went home that night and figured out two dresses based on fabrics I saw and will be going back this weekend to stock up. So yeah, I still sew.



    Topics: Life, Sew What's New | 1 Comment »

    picture less

    By Tara Zandra | July 28, 2014

    No picture again, just being lazy, no other reason.

    Up at 6am- good. Up at 6am and knowing I’ve already been up since 4am- not good. Woke at 4 for no reason at all. Just laid there for while. Listened to some rain outside (YAY! RAIN!). Listened to the living room clock tick. Like really, Really, REALLY LOUD! Can’t say I’ve ever hear it in my bedroom before. Then my stomach was gurgling and the dog was making noises (again, she’s in the living room so not sure what the sound traveled so easily). At 4:30 I gave in and just caught up. I foresee a nap in my future today. Though I suppose it’s not a guarantee, I did get 5 hours of sleep which is fine for one night.

    It was an extremely pleasant weekend which is pretty much my goal anymore. I used to want to get out and do things, but not so much lately. Friday we didn’t have the girls, so when Chris got home we just hung out together, then ran an errand and rented a movie for the night. We got The Wolf of Wallstreet which was excellent! We didn’t know it was a biography and we didn’t know it was 3 hours long. Made for a late night. But so, so good.

    Saturday we got the girls fairly early and they just kind of wanted to do nothing. They had a very long and tiring week at bootcamp, plus two afternoons of swimming and the sleepover. They were in a definite need of some downtime. We let them just relax but then we did go out to “lunner” with my in-laws to celebrate our anniversary. Home early enough to still do pretty much nothing for a few hours.

    Sunday was our 18th anniversary. This year has not been kind in the ability to celebrate anything so it was kind of just another day. We did go out to lunch just the two of us and it was lovely. In fact, we spent quite a few hours just the two of us because Tabitha was going to make us a dessert and one ingredient proved very elusive. I think we went to 6 stores looking for it? So between that and lunch, and regular grocery shopping, we were together for almost 6 hours so pretty good way to spend our day :)

    18 years.

    That’s a long time.

    But only a fraction of what I hope we end up with.

    Topics: Life | No Comments »

    What food group is mish-mash?

    By Tara Zandra | July 25, 2014

    You know what I had for lunch today? A hashbrown, a sixth of a watermelon, and a lime Oreo.

    You can tell I don’t have the kids. And I won’t have them until tomorrow morning when this week can finally come to an end.

    I love that they are having such a wonderful time at bootcamp (despite the red faces, limp bodies, and sweat from every pore on their bodies). I enjoyed my day of playing Candy Crush for 3 solid hours (no lie). I’m so very happy I got my two lunch dates in. I’m even glad I got my “productive” day in despite it not being as productive as I envisioned. I’ve gotten to play music as loud as I wanted, not have the a/c on if I didn’t want, and not get interrupted in anything.

    But I hate having to be out of the house at an exact time every morning and all that that entails. Keep in mind, even when I worked, it wasn’t exactly a traditional job with traditional hours and I was never responsible for 2 other people getting their shit together as well.

    I’m a homeschooler- we’re kinda lazy.

    But I know that my normal homeschooling schedule would be difficult for others. It’s all about what you know and are used to doing.

    Topics: Life | Comments Off

    lady who lunches

    By Tara Zandra | July 24, 2014

    This week without the girls my plan was to have 5 days of lunches out with friends. Monday and Friday fell through and I never managed to get one planned for Thursday. But Tuesday and Wednesday I got to have lunch with two people who are quite dear to me. I don’t see either of them often enough for my liking so lunch or dinner every few months has to suffice. Spent about 2 hours each day just chatting and it felt so good.

    Today though, I’ll be home getting my productivity going. I foresee fish tank cleaning, mopping, and stuff that gets ignored. Not exactly a fun day, per se, but a necessary one and I will feel good afterwards. I’ll get more done tomorrow I assume.

    Topics: Life | No Comments »

    back to basics

    By Tara Zandra | July 22, 2014

    It’s not secret I love cooking. It’s something I’ve been doing since I was 10 years old and frankly, I’m pretty good at it. I like every aspect of it from planning to menu to picking out the produce to actually cooking. But it’s been months since I’ve been able to go through the whole process and we’ve been eating simply. Which is fine, in that the food is still tasty and nourishing, but I’ve felt like a failure for not fully “cooking.”

    This week the kids are gone all day which means I’m not leading lessons nor do I have to serve dinner at 4pm in order to get someone to dance. It also means I have to pack a lunch everyday and give them a filling breakfast.

    Lots o’ cooking going on and I’m one happy Zandra.

    After I dropped them off today I came home for a couple hours before heading out to meet a friend. I put on the Lumineers, the windows were open, I was preparing dinner (crock pot cream of mushroom soup) and it was just a really pleasant time. Made me realize how much I’ve missed this simple task.

    Feeding others is one of the things in life that feeds my soul.

    Topics: Life, Food | No Comments »

    Just wandering

    By Tara Zandra | July 16, 2014

    The younger child stayed at a friend’s house last night so the rest of us rented The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I really enjoyed that story as a child and was very excited when the movie came out. But rarely do we make time to go to a movie theater so it was relegated to the “Redbox” list. I was disappointed that it didn’t do well but still wanted to see it for myself.

    Loved it.

    Chris and Tabitha really liked and enjoyed it too. I don’t know why it did so poorly. Let me tell you, all the gorgeous scenery certainly made me want to go somewhere. Specifically somewhere peaceful and/or beautiful. We’re driving up to Sacramento later this year, but that doesn’t count because that drive sucks. Guess it’ll have to do for now.

    Topics: Life | 1 Comment »

    the good

    By Tara Zandra | July 12, 2014

    Park was so lovely yesterday. There was a breeze that didn’t make me cold which is a minor miracle. My favorite friend was there to chat with whist the children ran about. My older and my younger had friends there. Very nice.

    We went out to dinner with my mom and sister which is rare treat. I had us go super early because of our long week at competition and it’s a good thing I did. Daisy was up and down and not in the mood to eat- you’d think she was 4. Not disruptive, as she’s too old to be like that, but definitely squirrely and not what one would expect from a child her age. So when we were home she still had a couple hours before bedtime to just be and that’s what I wanted.

    She and Tabs played a brutal few rounds of Slap Jack. Apparently they flick each other if there is a false slap and they argue over every jack- a fingernail was broken, red marks were left- crazy! But they laughed their butts off so I guess it was fun?

    Daisy wanted to play hide and go seek but no one else was in the mood until she pathetically played it by herself. So I gave in and told her to hide while I counted. Came to find Tabitha hiding. She then not only joined in every round, she initiated one because she had a good spot. I hid once while Tabitha was seeking and she almost didn’t find me, but then I laughed :)

    It was good.


    Picture from the July 4th parade. Because why wouldn’t you wear this if you were going to be in a parade?


    Topics: Life, The Kiddies | No Comments »

    meaning of life

    By Tara Zandra | July 11, 2014

    This morning I was dealing with an annoying issue and found myself thinking how I’m tired of things being annoying. Then it hit me how often I’m thinking that and I realize, apparently that’s what life is. Life isn’t the smooth ride I want it to be. Instead it’s a serious of bumps interrupting my smooth ride and it’s up to me and all adults to pull on the big girl panties and deal.

    Well that’s just great.

    I want to make plans for a day and not have them go awry the moment a child wakes up in a grumpy mood.

    I want appliances and gadgets and cars to never break so I only have to buy new because I want to.

    I want services which I pay for, to not impose ridiculous rules.

    I want commitments to be spaced out so they seem like fun instead of obligations.

    I don’t want to be sick, or have anyone in my family sick.

    And man oh man do I want all the miles of construction surrounding my house to cease to exist.

    So if the rest of the world could comply, that would be swell, because I’m too tired to search for the big girl panties.


    Goofball photo of my two favorite Ds. They both always bring a smile to my face.


    Topics: Life, Delightful D | 1 Comment »

    2080 weeks

    By Tara Zandra | June 4, 2014

    So I celebrated the day of my birth which makes me 40 now.

    Not the best thing going on in my life. The thing is, I’ve been fine the last 2 years knowing 40 was coming. Then just after midnight Chris wished me a happy birthday and I thought, “Damn.”

    Took me a couple days to adjust but now I just want to get to 41 and be fine for the next 9 years again.

    Oh well, still maintain it’s better than the alternative. And I don’t mind growing older per se, guess I don’t always want to put a number to it though.

    In other news we spent a couple days at Disneyland and that was fun. Saturday was for my birthday and Monday was to meet up with friends. Except Daisy and I were worn out (Sunday was a very, very long day) so Tabitha met her friends and Daisy and I kicked back and just enjoyed being in Disneyland.

    Specifically we sat in the shade, ate treats, and played on our ipads/iphones. Frankly, it was a fabulous day.

    Tuesday we had violin and today we were supposed to rest. Daisy rested up the wazoo as her foot is injured so she spent the day on my bed with her foot in an ace bandage and propped up. I didn’t even want her to walk a little so I didn’t have her go to dance to watch. Not ideal with recital a week away, but it couldn’t be helped.

    Going back to my last post, I have most of Tabitha’s US History materials now so I hope to spend tomorrow happily lesson planning. I’ve also been researching my options for her science.

    Going to have to cut this short. Guess I’m tired as all these words are kind of swimming before my eyes. Maybe my eyes just remembered how old they are.

    Topics: Life | 1 Comment »

    not quite ocd

    By Tara Zandra | May 29, 2014

    I wouldn’t classify myself as ocd, but once an idea pops into my head, I cannot let it go. I will practically drive myself insane trying to do something, or fix something, or figure something out and it all has to happen RIGHT.NOW.!

    Anyway, I’ve spent the last two days working on lesson planning. I’ve been severely lacking in that lately and well, it’s kinda important and all.

    Yesterday I tackled Dee’s science curriculum. We’re going to do the human body and I’ve had all my resources for about 2 weeks but hadn’t done much with them. Wow did it take me a lifetime! All day I was working on it and when I thought I needed an hour or two. Part of it was getting them down in the right format for me. I spent a bit too much time rewriting everything trying to get it just right. Now I’ve got a glorious 10-page outline that will make each day a complete breeze (at least in science). Words may have been swimming before my eyes by the end of the day, but man I think it’s totally going to be worth it. Sometime in the not too distant future, I’ll actually upload the outline here and make it available to anyone who might be looking for a good elementary human body unit study. Might as well save someone else the time and trouble it took me.

    Today I turned my attention to Tabitha’s US History lessons. Boy are they a mess. She uses a great geography program so she’s still getting social studies, but so far her entire knowledge on US History comes from a quick unit we did when she was 10 and American Girl books. To be honest, those AG books actually gave her a pretty good background though. I mean, I ran a club for 2 or 3 years, then she switched to a class taught by someone else and she knows more than we thought. Ancient will always be her strong point though, because that’s her passion. Anyway, I’m trying to piece something together and turned to a trusty resource that I love. They are called Learning Through History Magazines. One thing I like about them is each issue has a suggested reading list broken down by age and we have always supplemented with historical fiction and biographies. Of course, two issues I need (Westward Ho and Great Depression) are out of stock and this company doesn’t really publish anymore so the chances of them putting them out as reprints or CD-ROMS are slim to none. I mean, they don’t even offer any of the issues as digital downloads.

    They do have most of the issues I do want though but I need to wait for them to arrive, of course. Which means I can’t compile the reading list and go over reviews until they do. Which means I will then have to wait for those books to be ordered and arrive at which point I can finally, finally, do the full lesson planning.

    And that is why I’ve worked myself into a tizzy- lack of patience for things to arrive.

    In all honesty, that really is all I’ve done the last 2 days. I fed kids and drove them to dance, but I haven’t done anything else beyond the bare minimum. I foresee more of the same next week as I’m also really behind on Dee’s geography. And Tabitha currently doesn’t do any science, which will have to change pretty darn quick.

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    We need more power

    By Tara Zandra | May 27, 2014

    Sunday morning as I was sitting here at the computer while the family slept, there was a loud noise and then the power went out. But it came back on within maybe 2 minutes. Eventually I woke the family and cooked breakfast and just as the last pancake came off the griddle, out went the power. This time it did not come back on.

    Tabitha had been saying she wanted to go to Disneyland, so we figured this was a great idea in light of our situation so we got ready and headed out. We went to California Adventure and rode the Litter Mermaid ride and then grabbed frozen treats before getting into the hour line for Toy Story. We never wait in lines like that, but we made the best of it. After our treats were done we played Heads Up on Tabitha’s phone which is a fun game. Bonus because we entertain the people around us in line too. They could play along, in a way, and we were asked multiple times the name of the game. Once we tired of that, we amused ourselves with a Disney trivia game that we made up and before we knew it- front of the line!

    The girls then road the roller coaster twice in a row while Chris and I sat and chatted and kept up with the no-hitter going on with the Dodgers. By then it was past one and we were wilting in the humidity so it felt like a good time to head out. We made a stop for groceries, get home-

    No power. Still.

    At this point the electric company was saying it would be out until midnight. Thankfully it wasn’t sweltering, just humid. So we opened up the whole house and did our things as best we could. But the thing about our house is it’s dark. We get very little outside light so even though it won’t get dark until after 8pm, our house is pretty much dark all day. And I had no way of cooking dinner.

    Eventually we packed up all our chargers, then grabbed some fast food and went to my in-laws’ for awhile. We plugged everything in and ate, then hung out for another hour. A movie seemed in order and there was a dollar house nearby showing The Lego Movie which we had never seen. Off we went!

    The movie was fun for all of us (thank goodness). Daisy isn’t a theater fan so just convincing her to go took some doing. Then we get there and she looks absolutely miserable and the previews were really loud which she hates. The movie itself though had a reasonable audio level and she thought it was rather funny. I caught her laughing out loud on more than one occasion so it was a success!

    It was after 9pm when the movie ended and the electric company was now saying it could be on by 10pm. So we hit Target, bought some lanterns (in case it went off again in the middle of the night) and went home to find the power had returned!

    So it was a weird Sunday and not what I planned at all but it was full of lovely family things so I can’t complain too much :)


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    Yay for Friday!

    By Tara Zandra | May 23, 2014

    It was a good one too. Sat outside at park chatting with 2 very good friends, surrounded by more friends; hatched a secret plan with one friend that has me very excited; watched my kids have a great time with friends. Then I took 5 kids to dance which is all kinds of fun. I don’t have nieces or nephews so I like to steal my friend’s 3 girls every now and then. I like having that many for a few hours. I wouldn’t want 5 kids for myself all the time so this is just perfect. Anyway, it wasn’t a regular dance class, it was a party celebrating one of the dances that is beach themed so it was a beach party! They wore swimsuits and had water balloons and squirt gun fights. So much fun my girls had!

    Once home we’ve all had a fairly relaxing time with a simple dinner of tostadas. Eventually the girls used their new shaved ice machine to make, well, shaved ice! It’s like the old Snoopy Sno-Cone machines from when we were all kids. I never had that though so when the girls were pining for the Jelly Belly one at Michaels yesterday, I surprised them with a “yes!” Every now and then you gotta give in to the ridiculous request. So we all had shaved ice and it was pretty darn good. We bought the manual one so they had to work for it. I put a photo on instagram of the machine but couldn’t get a good one of the finished product with color. I’ll try again next time.

    I also did a lot of crocheting today both at park and here at home which always pleases me. I like my little creations. At park I worked on turtle parts, but at home I made a little mushroom.

    DSC_5451 (430x640).jpg

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    laundry room makeover

    By Tara Zandra | May 21, 2014

    I mentioned a few months ago that I was redoing my laundry area in the garage. My washer and dryer are squeezed in between ladders and the water heater, so it’s not exactly an ideal place to try to be cutesy. But frankly, the area was rather depressing so I had to do something. Daisy and I painted the cabinet inside and out, added some funky shelf paper, hung a vintage ad for Ivory Snow, a black and white photo of a laundry, put up a laundry themed clock, added a wash tub and wash board, and also a mat, a decorative magnet, and a poster for the door. On the whole I’m rather pleased with it now- even if it did take me a month to remember the ticking sound was a clock.





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    not a habit yet

    By Tara Zandra | May 20, 2014

    They say it takes 3 weeks for something to become a habit- therefore I won’t feel bad that on day 2 I really have nothing to say :P

    We went out to the girls’ violin lesson today and I spent the time crocheting turtles. If you follow me on facebook you may remember I asked for donations for an American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event. In the end I needed to crochet 20 turtles (some people forewent the turtle and just donated, which is nice for my hands). I’ve delivered 6 and have 4 finished in my possession. The other 10 I’m doing assembly line style so I’ve finished crocheting 10 striped shells and have started on the heads then I’ll move on to feet and tails, then finally sewing them all together. I’m pleased with my progress and should be finished pretty soon then I can get to delivering the rest.

    Right now I’m currently alone for an extended time while the girls are at dance. I’m being productive, but also spending time relaxing on the computer. Let me tell you, the Black Keys album “Turn Blue” is excellent background music. It’s smooth, has that sexy vibe like “Brothers” and flows nicely from song 1 through song 10. But not song 11- it’s kind of not good.

    Apparently I forgot how to blog.

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    Sometime in May

    By Tara Zandra | May 19, 2014

    Hey look, a pic of me and my kiddos taken on Mother’s Day. The fact that the one on the left is 15 is the source of many sad feelings right now. I adore her so, and things in her dance and personal life aren’t so great right now and frankly I’m not sure that’s going to change anytime soon. And like a good mother, I suffer the guilt. Mind you, she doesn’t make me feel guilty and is frankly a pretty fantastic teen (iffin’ I do say so myself), but I want everything to be rainbows and unicorns for her. And it hurts that I can’t make it so.


    The one on the right, ooh the 9 year old. Things are pretty darn good for her right now so I’m saved from feeling guilt times 2.

    I’ve had some very down times this year for whatever reason- nothing specific, just is. Can’t say I’ve been much fun to be around at all this year, by anyone’s standards. Which considering this is May, that’s a long time.

    So I’ll try going back to blathering on here again. And I’m going to play a little less Candy Crush and spend some time trying to catch up on the blogs I enjoy reading.

    Topics: Life | 1 Comment »

    really breathe this time

    By Tara Zandra | February 18, 2014

    When last I left the blog, I had ranted about Friday. I had intended to talk about my lovely weekend. Guess I needed to get the bad off my chest first.

    For most of the weekend it was just me and the Wee Miss. Hmm, she’s 9 now, she might need a new nickname. But she’s still more wee than the big kid so we’ll stick with it.

    So we spent the weekend hanging out together. The first thing we did was work on her sewing. Daisy has been expressing an interest in hand sewing for a while now and we found some kits at Michaels. She ended up going with a cupcake- we’re all aware of her fondness for stuffed “animal” food. It’s precut felt, plastic needles, and holes already in the felt- perfect for a first timer! Other than tying knots she did it all herself and was quite pleased.

    We then got dressed and went to Target so she could spend some gift cards. When we were home, of course we opened the new toys. We spent time apart while she played and ate and then we worked on her new Goldieblox dunk tank kit. Other people then came home so it was no longer just us.

    But Sunday morning was back to Mommy and Me time! We went to Toys R Us and the mall, then Krispy Kreme and Lowes. When we came home it was time to paint! We worked on the cabinet in the laundry nook in the garage. It was ghastly, but now it’s yellow and gray. I didn’t really take before pics because that is not an area anyone needs to see. I’ll share after pics once the whole area is done- maybe another month. It will still look like a corner of a garage, but at least it’ll look like a slightly nicer corner of a garage.

    After painting we hung out in the playroom. I built Legos for her (she’s not interested in building, just playing with the finished product), we had dinner together and eventually it was bedtime.

    The loveliness carried over into Monday, which was also heavenly, though I had two kids once again (even nicer!).

    It felt so good to have these past three days of zero obligations. Everything I did was my own choice with no chance of disappointing anyone if I didn’t do something. I really needed that. It was like hitting the reset button.

    Here’s a picture of my cutie-patootie getting ready to paint. She had to kneel on the washer and dryer to do it.


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    By Tara Zandra | February 16, 2014

    Friday sucked- not in a Valentine’s way, but in a we had full makeup and dress rehearsal that lasted an hour longer than I was told, I felt berated for something that was not my fault, my kids were cranky, one of them could not breathe and had to drop out of rehearsal which also made me feel like I was being looked down on, the child who could breathe was snippy to me more than once, I got the makeup wrong on my kids, the hair wasn’t quite right and not only was I not on my A game, I think it was more my G game. Two kids, 7 dances, 9 costumes= 1 beat mama.

    I don’t like to complain about dance. I mean, I do in a joking way in that we are there for hours every week, but I am joking because we choose to do this so clearly we can’t complain about it. And in general, I am very thankful for our studio. The good far outweighs the less than good. My kids really love it and the teachers are all very nurturing while also challenging. It’s a great fit for us.

    But Friday, dance sucked, and I was not feeling warm fuzzy feelings about upcoming classes and competitions I can tell you that.

    Then I go home and Chris met me with a serving platter and a cut out heart and he was dressed in a coat and tie. Why? To mimic what is possibly my most favorite card ever.


    It’s not even a real card! It was just a graphic he sent me on Valentine’s 2013, but I so love it. It gets even creepier the more you stare at it. He freaks the kids out so of course I printed it and cut it out and it is prominently displayed on my craft table.

    So yeah, Chris dressed up and gave me a heart on a tray and I promptly burst into tears (burst may be a bit strong, but tears did flow). I was so done and knew I still had a couple hours of sewing ahead of me. Oh, and for good measure, we had an extra child for the weekend.

    You know, this post wasn’t supposed to be about all that. But it’s out there and I think I’ll leave it. I’ll get to the good stuff next time.

    Topics: Life | 1 Comment »


    By Tara Zandra | February 12, 2014

    Our annual Valentine party hostess let us know that she could not put it together this year. I’m always swamped with birthdays and this year I’ve also got more dance obligations and let’s throw in sewing a costume- there was no way I was hosting the party.

    But I felt bad and really wanted to do something at least for the little kids. Tabitha gave me her blessing.

    And so I found myself playing hostess to six kids ages 5-9 today and I pulled it together in 4 days time. Because that makes perfect sense in my brain somehow.

    I love planning so that was all good. Pinterest helped as did a handy mailbox kit in the dollar aisle at Target. Friends also lent their support so it wasn’t solely on me.

    First we painted salt dough heart ornaments (those were provided by a friend). Next we constructed our mailboxes and had great fun learning how to use tape properly. I didn’t think it was a skill until I had to help this many kids at once. They partnered up though and were able to help each other.

    Next we played a bean bag toss game for a bit and then I took them one by one to deliver their Valentines to the mailboxes. I had made a mailbox for Tabitha so each of the kids gave her a Valentine too. She really likes these kids so I figured she’d appreciate it. They enjoyed sharing the cards with each other after they were all delivered. Our emphasis was on simple and not treat bags. I was happy to see completely homemade cards (even if my kid’s were from a kit- she still made them!).

    Tabitha then took the kids outside for a heart scavenger hunt she had set up earlier in the day. Meanwhile, I put lunch together. Once they were back and washed up, it was time to eat.


    Heart shaped quesadillas, strawberries cut into hearts, pretzels, raspberry lemonade, and heart cookies (provided by a friend). I also couldn’t resist the large paper straws and there was more than one child who mentioned liking them. They oohed over the various shapes and decorations and frankly, it made me feel good like it was all worth the trouble I went to.

    After lunch they made a Valentine’s card for their mom and dad and then we made owls out of toilet paper rolls. Lastly they played Hot Valentine (hot potato but with heart bean bags I whipped up). They enjoyed the heck out of the bean bag games and it’s too bad we didn’t even get to the other two I had planned.

    All in all it was a great day. I gave them a wand party favor that Daisy and I made yesterday and ended the party.

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    By Tara Zandra | February 10, 2014

    Birthday season is done for another year! We had Daisy’s party on Saturday and it was A-dorable! We went to a party place and they do a rockstar theme. The girls dressed up, had their hair and makeup done, did a fashion show and sang karaoke. Very fun! One thing I thought was wonderful is no two hairstyles were alike- and we had 10 girls! Here’s Daisy’s style, which I thought was lovely.


    Sunday it was off to Six Flags for Tabi’s party (it was postponed from 2 weeks ago due to her illness). She took 4 friends with her and as best as I can tell, they had a blast. She had one friend who rode everything with her, one friend who rode most of the stuff, and then the 2 friends who never met before but bonded over their shared fear of roller coasters. Chris and I spent the day there as well with Miss Daisy who is intent on facing her fears and rode stuff that I won’t ride. I don’t know how she does it, but kudos to her.

    Today I rhinestoned dance costumes, prepared crafts for a Valentine’s party, ran errands, ran more errands, squeezed in dinner out with the hubby, made a prototype of a prop for dance, cleaned a bit of the garage, oversaw Daisy’s thank you cards and Valentine’s cards and made 6 bean bags. I filled them with actual beans because I didn’t know what else to use and I needed them to have heft and not just be stuffed with fluff. It seems less than it felt like now that I’ve typed it out, but I think it’s because I still did regular household and child-related stuff as well.

    Anyway, I feel good about what I have accomplished and am on track for finishing the rest. Come Saturday I will be able to breathe. I have the whole weekend to pretty much do whatever I want as it will just be Daisy and I are on own for most of it. Maybe I’ll actually manage to pick up some crocheting (pipe dream!).

    One more pic of Dee, this is her pose for the fashion show at her party.


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    By Tara Zandra | February 6, 2014

    Today I was behind a work truck that had its company name, logo, and phone number on the back. It was faded rather badly on the left so it wasn’t easy to make out but it struck me as beautiful for some reason. I want to find things and places in disrepair and take pictures of them. That would be an odd thing to search out on weekends, and goodness knows we have zero free-as-a-bird time, but I can dream.

    Today was a bit about regrouping. I didn’t work on my projects, but I worked a bit on the disaster that is known as the living room.

    I also helped Daisy more with her roller skating because I do happen to have my priorities straight. Fun fact (that many probably know): I took a roller dancing class when I was about 8 years old. Alas, it was not helpful in my trying to teach Daisy how to skate because I don’t remember learning that part. I remembered how to stop so taught her that first thing the other day. But I couldn’t even remember how to start off.

    Youtube to the rescue!

    We watched a basics video and then she did real well before she got tired of it. One thing about her, she’s got perseverance so she’ll keep working until she succeeds.

    It rained this afternoon and continued into the evening so I guess we’re not going to park tomorrow. Though I feel bad for Tabitha and I’ll miss my friends, it feels like a gift of an extra day.

    Today’s picture was taken on our vacation last month. It’s from the day we went to Islands of Adventure and is, of course, Hogwarts.


    Topics: Life | 1 Comment »

    Short and sweet (like my Dee)

    By Tara Zandra | February 4, 2014

    Daisy turned 9 today. When Tabitha was on the verge of turning 9 I had a mom-crisis of her getting too old for so much. And perhaps she was as she has always been a bit mature. But Daisy doesn’t seem that old.

    Baby of the family syndrome I guess.

    Here she is this morning after opening her Kit doll from American Girl.


    And just because, here’s when she was born- I think this is actually the next morning so about 12 hours old.


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