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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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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By Tara Zandra | February 2, 2014

Title of the post comes from the picture I was going to share. It’s two scoops of ice cream side by side and Daisy topped each one with a cherry so naturally, b00bs was the first thing that came to my mind. From the looks of Chris giggling, he clearly thought the same. But my picture does not do it justice and it’s kind of weird and well, no picture today- just a story on how I’m apparently still 12 (except at 12 I would have been far too embarrassed to use the word b00bs or any word referencing any sort of body part. Because preteen bodies= gross).

Last night Tabitha attended a masquerade ball thrown by a semi-local homeschool teen group. It’s the first event of theirs she has attended and it went pretty well. She definitely looks forward to future events. Though she attended dances previously with a different program, this one was more formal so it was fun to shop for a dress and heels and such. Okay, I overcame my laziness and took the pics off my camera. I still won’t share the ice cream one, but here’s my Tabi ready to go to the dance.


Life tends to be a series of ups and downs, of course. I understand it’s a yin and yang and we need one to balance the other. None of my downs the week have been bad, but I also foresee more consistent downs than ups in the coming week. I’m also experiencing some frustrations with current projects that are time sensitive and important to others. I feel a lot of pressure not to screw them up which is leading to fantastic levels of procrastination in order to avoid possibly screwing them up.

Now, picture a spinner from a game and each sector is something that needs to be done. In my current case, each sector is equal in size if we use size as a correlation to importance. But the spinner is just spinning around and around and won’t stop anywhere and if it won’t stop, nothing will get done.

That’s how I feel all the time right now. I worry about all the new worry lines I’m putting in my forehead and frankly, after last year’s illness-palooza, I don’t think I can afford more lines.

None of this is to say I feel unique and oh poor me. I’m merely explaining why a lot of my posts these days may seem like I’m not even trying. I’d rather half-ass the posts instead of disappearing though.

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just one of those days

By Tara Zandra | January 31, 2014

Overslept, ran around and around for errands, forgot silly things, was late (twice), felt off my game as the resident “dance mom” (I kid!), power was out- just lots of things that added up. There’s more, but I gotta stop sometime.

I did take care of a few projects so that makes me happy. We got fabric for a skirt I need to sew, I mounted a picture for the laundry nook, and made a dance accessory box purtiful. I tried to do the other child’s box, but found out the lid is broken so I’ll need to return it first. Oh I also went to purchase heavy ceramic bowls for the bunnies and they are in the shape of cabbage. Cute! Made my day, as silly as it is.

The children had a good day at their friends’ house though. They got to go exploring on a nature walk. It’s nice when their friends are sisters too, especially when the ages line up so beautifully. Though we’re losing these friends soon to a move so that’s kind of sad. We’ve known them forever it seems, we’ll miss them.

These pictures are from our day at Animal Kingdom two weeks ago. The first is a giant hippo. The second is to prove that hippos look like naked mole rats.



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day 2 of this week

By Tara Zandra | January 28, 2014

Things have not been going as planned around here due to an illness. A party has been postponed, classes canceled, and general laying around by the ill one.

But it’s not me and I was productive as hell today. I literally got down and scrubbed the floor of the hallway bathroom on my hands and knees. Took me an hour and you know what? Linoleum from the 70s just can’t look good in 2014 no matter how hard you scrub. I mop it pretty regular but it never looks really clean so I figured a superty-duperty scrubbing was in order. Since it looks roughly the same as when I started, I’m a little cheesed that I wasted my time and also my knees have not forgiven me yet. I think it’s finally time to update that room and I need to look into finding a tile person.

Oh I know, I was going to write about sensory memory.

When I was a kid, my paternal grandparents lived on a farm in the state of Washington. When I was 3 years old, my great-grandmother took me to visit them during the summer. Eventually this changed into me flying to WA by myself every summer to visit my grandparents. That occurred practically every year through age 16.

It wasn’t a large farm in that it was just for them. A few heads of cattle, a dozen chickens and a couple ducks, and decent size vegetable garden made up the acreage. The neighbors next door had a couple horses and pigs as well and it was a fairly rural area at the time.

I started my days gathering eggs for breakfast and ended with picking vegetables for dinner. Idyllic in many ways. There were always dogs and barn cats as well and when I visited sometimes I would get a pet for the summer. One year I had ducklings and a couple years I had a rabbit. Never did get that pony that I begged for every single year :)

I spent my days out in the woods at the end of the pasture or up in the hayloft of the barn. Sometimes I hung out in the attic poking around or I would wander the greenhouse in awe. They were good summers and as I always looked forward to them, I like to think I knew enough to appreciate them in the moment.

After dinner it was feeding time for the cows which consisted of my grandfather calling the cows home (that’s a thing!) and hoisting a couple bales of hay into their feeder.

This brings us to my sensory memory. As I’ve shared here, we currently have two bunnies whom I dote on and adore. We make sure they have an abundance of fresh hay every day. When I got out to feed them or when the sweet smell of hay wafts through an open window on a breeze, I’m taken back to my summers on the farm. They are such pleasant memories and I cherish the times they are brought back to me. I love getting that little reminder of my childhood on a daily basis.

I don’t have a picture of me on the farm in my possession, but here I am around 6 months old being held by my grandfather. Notice his coffee cup on the side table. Coffee is another scent that I will forever associate with my grandparents- though I am not nearly as fond of it as I am hay :)


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checked off

By Tara Zandra | January 24, 2014

Had an abundance of things I put on my to-do list today and though I did not finish, I think it’s because I was too ambitious. Also, one item took about 2 hours and I anticipated 20-minutes tops.

I also got a tad distracted trying to figure out how to redo my laundry, um, lets go with nook- sounds better than “corner of garage.” First I scrubbed the area down, which was on my to-do list, then I decided to quickly look up “laundry art” and then I decided I needed a poster here, and a magnet there and next thing you know, an hour on the internet and time for lunch. And if I’m already eating lunch, might as well check facebook and crush some candy, right?

I’m going back to I was just too ambitious for the day, it makes me feel better about the unchecked items :)

But I also got my desk completely cleaned out and I took care of regular chores and then the 2 hours task so I really did get a decent amount of stuff done before doing the dance class run.

I had a terrific headache before dinner so I took a hot bath to help ease it, but dinner also made me nauseas so I’m currently waiting for the Tums to kick in. That appears to be a lost cause.

Today’s picture is from our first night in Disney World. We explored Downtown Disney and one stop was Goofy’s Candy Co. So this photo is appropriately titled “Kid in a Candy Store.”


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By Tara Zandra | January 22, 2014

Just got back from 11 days in Disney World. Tomorrow we return you to your regularly scheduled irregular blogging :)

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Me and my girl

By Tara Zandra | January 10, 2014

Dee and I had some time just the two of us yesterday. We went to the bookstore, which is always a fun endeavor, then made an impromptu stop in a bakery for some morning goodies. Eventually we had to stop wandering the shopping center and go to Target for real stuff, but it was lovely while it lasted.

Then today I had neither child. Which is good as I had boring errands with the bank and the post office. Throw in the DMV and it would have been the boring errand trifecta!

Actually I went to Target again too. Yesterday Daisy and I tried to exchange her new bathing suit, but we were at a different Target than the one where it was purchased. They had swim suits in the misses section but none in the girls. Can’t imagine why. So back to yet a different Target today and they had them out, as they should. The cashier said to me how odd it was they were selling bathing suits in January. So I pointed out that I was buying one because we needed it so I was glad they were selling them. “Oh yeah,” she said. I mean, it’s expected to be 81 on Tuesday here, why wouldn’t they sell swim suits year round?

Not that 81 means much to me, somehow I’ll still manage to be cold.

Here’s a picture I took yesterday of my Dee watching the fountain. Yes she’s in a sweater and fuzzy boots. Yesterday was a cool 68. Up until about 20 minutes after I took this and then she was sweating.


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By Tara Zandra | January 9, 2014

I was going to share a Daisy story and then I abandoned ship. I don’t even know if I can do it justice now.

When last we left my blog, I mentioned we had spent two of the longest hours ever at Disneyland. If you follow me on Instagram or are a facebook friend, you might have seen a picture of Daisy with the Dapper Dans.

While we were watching them sing, they approached the boy next to us to see if he would volunteer. He declined and they took Daisy up instead. The fact that she willingly went is amazing enough. Afterwards she told me she was hoping the boy wouldn’t do it so she would get picked.

That is pretty much a miracle.

This is the child who has sat on a bench in the front row while every other child joined in some pre-show fun at California Adventure. When they asked her to join in she said, “I’m good.”

This is the child who one year ago was chosen by a hand bell choir member to ring some jingle bells. She looked pained the entire time and was mad about it afterwards.


But this year, finally! She was picked, she smiled, they dressed her like a snowman and she looked happy! They said dance- she danced. They said dance faster- she tap danced. They said take a bow- she curtsied.

I mean come on! If I told anyone who knows her that a child got up and did those things, they would guess a hundred other children before my Daisy. At the end she told me she is getting over her “Disney stage fright.”

So here’s to many more opportunities to see her participate in Disney shows and stuff :)

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By Tara Zandra | January 2, 2014

So today the girls and I went to Disneyland.

During winter break.

It sucked. We couldn’t even walk but glued ourselves together and could only shuffle along and pray we’d make it.

We lasted less than 2 hours.

But there was good! The whole reason we went was for Tabitha to get a case for her iphone. I had told her she could get any one she wanted and for her that meant one from Disneyland. That accomplished we went off in search of fun, adventure, and Daniel Radcliffe!

True story.

Tabitha saw him and it was definitely him as not only did it look just like him, but she heard him talking and it was him. So Daisy and I sat on a bench while Tabitha ran all over Adventureland and New Orleans to see him just one more time. She wasn’t successful but once was enough to fill her fangirl heart.

While she was gone, Daisy was eating a giant pickle and I snapped pictures, as I tend to do.

She started cracking up and asking me why I would take pictures of her wiping her face off and I got one that is so natural and pure. When she poses for pictures she tends to put up a guard and her expression doesn’t radiate joy. This one does, I think.


Tomorrow I’ll tell you a story about Daisy. I already typed it up once tonight and it erased itself before I could publish. I don’t feel like repeating myself yet.

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By Tara Zandra | January 1, 2014

I am so happy to usher in this year.

14 is double 7 so it must be extra lucky. Not to mention not only will both Chris and I turn 40 this year, but come May, we’ll celebrate 20 years together and I will have officially been with Chris for half my life.

Very cool :)

Last night was wonderfully fun, as always. We danced, we sang, we ate. Man did we eat! I wanted to make so many things and there was so much food I eventually had to decide not to cook two dishes just so we wouldn’t be up until 3am eating! As it was, Tabitha went to bed feeling less than wonderful, but we’re not sure what it was. She did not get sick, but apparently she feels that was a miracle. But she’s fine today and has been eating semi-cautiously to be extra sure.

Chris and continued getting stuff done in the organization process of the home. We finally broke down and bought a portable closet for the garage to house all the dance costumes as well as Daisy’s off-season clothes. Her closet is small and her wardrobe is large. I just love to dress this kid :)

Not much else for to report for today. We’ve gotten through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Chris’s birthday, Christmas, and New Years. Next up is a big thing and then immediately into both girls’ birthdays. At that point, we can relax for awhile (though we’ll then start competition season which is anything but relaxing).

Today’s picture is of various foods I made for last night put together in a handy-dandy collage, thanks to my handy-dandy iPhone.


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By Tara Zandra | December 29, 2013

Some kind of home bug hit.

We set up a an easier recycling system in the garage.
We had new mattresses delivered today.
We put a TV in the bedroom (haven’t had one in there since Dee was born).
We put together a new DVD/Blu-Ray rack.
Chris got a mini-fridge for the garage to keep his craft beer.
I bought a colorful rug for the dining room.
There’s the TARDIS in the living room, of course.


This was Daisy’s Christmas gift to Tabitha. It’s about 5-feet tall (Tabi must be slouching in the pic since she’s 5′ 7″) and pretty wide. I had intended for it to go in the corner of the living room for the next few days, but man is it big! Especially when it’s opened up. When I was done putting it together, the girls immediately grabbed pillows and watched a Doctor Who episode inside. Eventually the shifted to playing Mario Kart together as Daisy now has a 3DS. It was some good sister time, though loud and screechy because- girls.

Chris also took down all of Christmas today. We haven’t even come close to finishing putting away the new stuff, but we’ll make it happen over the next week. We need to reevaluate a lot of the toys in the playroom (much to Daisy’s dismay).

Chris has been home since 11am on Christmas Eve- I’ll be sad to have him gone tomorrow.

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Or not a relaxing day

By Tara Zandra | December 28, 2013

Just reread my Christmas post and it says that tomorrow (which is now two days ago) would be a relaxing day- ha! Chris and I were running all over the place and relaxing definitely did not happen. We had two returns, bought a new mattress, a stop at my mom’s, another stop, my in-laws’, and Target. That isn’t a super ton, but this was spread out over a giant circle which had us driving all over the place so when we got home I was D-O-N-E.

Yesterday we headed out to Hollywood to watch Frozen at the El Capitan. The last time we saw a movie there I said “Never again!” But I drive to Hollywood at least twice a month now and it’s fine. Plus Tabitha really wanted to go to the Disney Soda Shop. First of all, the soda shop is now Ghiradelli which is fine except we already have access to a Ghriadelli inside California Adventure so it’s not really a novelty to us. Also, there is a huge difference in driving to Hollywood and driving on Hollywood Blvd. Dear lord it was horrible and of course once you are out of the car it’s even worse. Between the crushing crowds and the ridiculous people dressed as characters, and let’s not forget the zealots chanting with bullhorns, well we’re back to “never again!”

But at least the movie was really wonderful. I had a few very minor issues with the storyline because it wasn’t logical, but I guess they blew their budget on the animation as opposed to the script. Plus I know this movie has had problems over the years. I will say though that sitting there watching a movie about two sisters with my two girls who are amazing sisters, it was a little emotional. I’m definitely getting Daisy an Anna costume and Tabs is willing for an Elsa costume (guess I’ll have to make it) but we’re unsure when it would be of use except maybe at the Disneyland Halloween party. But she usually wears her regular costume for that so we’ll see.

Anyway, the movie was 3D and the drive home was bad and the headache that ensued was not pleasant. I was nauseous, every sound was excruciating, and it felt like all my innards were doing their best to push their way out. Eventually the meds did their job but it all left me exhausted and I was falling asleep on the couch at 10:15 so gave up and went to bed. I feel good this morning though so let’s hope tonight I’ll be better company.

This winter scene was on both sides of the theatre. We were sitting in the balcony so it was easily seen.


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’twas a good one

By Tara Zandra | December 25, 2013

We had a perfectly lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We were at my in-laws’ last night for the annual party. We finally tore ourselves away at 11:30pm and that was only because we knew we had quite a bit of wrapping ahead of us. Chris was very, very tired so I decided to do it all myself; it was after 2am before I fell into bed.

But the children slept past 8am and the big one was actually the one up first! Guess she was excited. That excitement did not abate when she saw that Santa left her the 7 season Blu-Ray set of Doctor Who. Her high mood really hit a fever pitch when she unwrapped her iphone :)

Daisy received the Monster High doll she had asked Santa to bring her. It hasn’t been sold since 2011 so Santa (who may have resorted to ebay) was her last hope. Her other big thing was a 3DS XL.

Eventually we made our way back to my in-laws’ for family time. We stayed a few hours and at one point I was laying on the floor playing a new game with Daisy and everyone else was looking over gifts and generally relaxing and my piano Christmas playlist was on and really, it was probably the most perfect moment. I associate music with everything and I’m always trying to get the Christmas playlists just right. This moment was it. Now if I could just get the party music like I envision.

Once home it was just playing and some cleanup and Tabitha did watch the Doctor Who regeneration episode. We had a very late dinner and Daisy went to bed late. I think the rest of us have about another hour in us before we need to crash. I will not be setting an alarm tomorrow and we have zero plans so it should be a relaxing day.






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