By Tara Zandra | December 20, 2013
I’m participating in a virtual Holiday House Tour put on by Jen on the Edge. It was a natural fit since I usually share photos of our decorations. To see the other houses on the tour you can go to this page.
We’ll start with the front door area.
To the right of the door are our received Christmas cards. I know it’s a dying act, but I do so love to send and receive cards every year.
Still in the entry way, this is my display on top of the divider looking into the living room. The gingerbread house plays the Nutcracker Suite. Originally I had envisioned 3 candy dishes and searched thrift stores for what I wanted. I found the one candy dish and then liked how it looked without being a grouping. Unfortunately, I still haven’t made it to the candy store this year to fill it with ribbon candy. Definitely on the list for next year!
Off the entryway is the living room.
The paper chains were made by the girls at the beginning of the month. I really love how they add to the room. As this is a functional room, on the floor you can see our Christmas puzzle we’ve been working on. Also, there’s a tray that holds Tabitha’s bead work for bracelets she’s making for friends.
Same view of just the lights.
Close ups of the fireplace area with a basket of Christmas books and another of stuffed animals. This is where we keep a few Christmas toys like a wooden Santa’s Workshop and a bucket of indoor snowballs. Also is a close up of Tabitha’s tree.
A close up of the real tree and also the top of one of the bookcases.
At the other end of the living room we have our Little People display. Tabitha sets it all up perfectly and Daisy spends the rest of the month playing with it however she wants. It’s a good system.
Next we’ll move into the dining room. This is where Daisy has her tinsel tree and also her Playmobil set from last year’s advent calendar.
In the kitchen I have lovely gingerbread displays and a welcome mat.
Even the bathroom is not immune from my decorating.
And that completes the tour. Thanks for looking
By Tara Zandra | December 12, 2013
Yeah, I know today is Thursday, but I took pics on Monday and we did stuff. So here ya go.
So the thing about my Daisy is she has never mothered a doll. She doesn’t play house. She doesn’t particularly like babies and has more than once mentioned the only reason she will have a husband is so someone will keep the babies quiet and change their dirty diapers. This only applies to human babies. She mothers stuffed animals and her dollhouse is an orphanage for baby animals (Calico Critters to be exact). And yet, on Monday, this happened.
Those are crochet Doctor Who dolls (crochet by me, to be exact). They are human and named Tenny and Smithy (for David Tennant and Matt Smith). Daisy took them from Tabitha, decided they were 4 and 5 years of age and became their mother. She treated them like babies, despite their pre-school age, my guess is she was avoiding the diaper years. So at 8 years old, she finally played mother and baby.
Moving on! Picture of my cat for no reason at all.
Cookies were baked by Tabi.
We went tree shopping.
That’s the one!!
Gotta put on the important ornament.
And finish off with the star!
By Tara Zandra | December 8, 2013
Over the last two days I spent 6 1/2 hours driving my children to and from birthday parties. That is not what I call a good time.
Today Daisy kept saying it was Christmas and eventually also said that Santa left us each something. I didn’t really pay attention but later walked into the living room and noticed this.
Those are large, plastic animals in our stockings. A dinosaur, a shark, a whale, and a horse. Kind of funny, kind of odd.
After all the party madness and dinner, we had a sedate evening of watching Jack Frost while putting together a holiday puzzle. I thought we’d get it done in no time but we’ve barely finished the outside. Guess it’ll be sitting there for a few more days [weeks].
Today’s picture is Daisy with her tinsel tree complete with pickle ornament. It’s the only one on it because we haven’t trimmed the trees yet but she just bought the ornament last week.
By Tara Zandra | December 8, 2013
Too tired to write out a post, but didn’t want to go another day with a blank space. The girls made paper chains the other day, but Tabs told me only to post a photo of Daisy. So here.
By Tara Zandra | December 3, 2013
Realized I totally forgot to add a picture yesterday. I’ll add two today just to even it out.
Not much to report on the day. Daisy has a cold, but on the bright side, it seems like a more normal one for her. Not really severe and likely to be sooner rather than later. That’s how they used to be, up until this year, that is.
Tabitha had violin so we headed out and I packed blankets and pillows for Daisy to veg on while we waited. It was quite comfortable in the car and the hour pretty much flew by.
Once home some recent stresses caught up with me and I basically was useless until I made dinner. I guess I better spin would be to say that I took some time for me and relaxed.
Feeling dull right now so I’ll just get on with the photos and call it good.
First up is our new Star Wars sheets that I gave Chris for his birthday. He had a set when he was a kid, pretty much like every boy his age, I’m sure. He loved the sheets, I assume. Years later, we were over at his parents (or maybe he still lived with them and I was visiting) and we happened upon a rag bin in the garage. He’s beloved Star Wars sheets were in the rag bin and already cut so they were not salvageable. Two years ago I saw that Pottery Barn Kids sold SW sheets. I thought at the time that would be a great gift but promptly forgot. About a month ago I was thinking about those sheets and checked if they still sold them and lo and behold they did! As he was opening the gift he exclaimed, “No way!” so I’m going to assume they were a good choice.
This next picture is also from Chris’s birthday, but it’s just Daisy at a park for no reason other than I had my camera on me and I do so love taking pictures of anything and everything. Especially with the snazzy camera which I have lately been using manual mode almost exclusively. Go me!
By Tara Zandra | December 2, 2013
I used to tell people that the only time in my life that I came close to fainting was the day after I got my belly button pierced. I was in the shower and was cleaning it as instructed and then swayed a bit and felt like I might keel over from the pain. But I recognize now that I felt a bit woozy, shall we say, but definitely not faint.
When I was in Cabo San Lucas I had a panic attack brought on by a stressful situation, sea sickness and, I’m assuming, the heat. At the time I never really thought I would faint nor did I describe the feeling as such.
Well, back in February I actually fainted. And this past Saturday I almost did. Now that I know for sure what it feels like, I can definitely say I almost fainted in Cabo and apparently I’m a person who is prone to fainting.
It all started with Chris’s birthday plans. The LA Kings announced there would be a blood drive at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. It had been a year since Chris got his tattoo so he was eligible to donate and decided this was the perfect time- his birthday. Donating blood has always kind of been a small fear of mine but I suddenly realized I didn’t really feel afraid anymore so I figured I would join him.
Blood Drive sponsored by the Kings may have been a misnomer. There was a table with 2 of the ice crew who basically told us to go down the hall to our left and then went about their conversation. As far as we could tell, we were the only ones there for the Kings aspect of it. Many people were there to donate to a specific patient.
We got our paperwork done and went through the steps and all was well. Chris was done and partaking of his juice and cookies (they really do give you that, huh) and waiting for me. That’s pretty much when it started going south. Nausea, extreme desire to close my eyes, blackness surrounding my vision- oh the whole nine yards. They got me unhooked and slap two ice cold clothes on my head and tried to order me not to close my eyes and to stay with them.
So yeah, my wonderful good deed and I cause a problem. They also told me it happens all the time and not to let it deter me in the future. Considering I’ve been dizzy everyday since, it may be a while until I go back.
Oh, and I won the raffle for Kings tickets for tonight so I guess they did keep track somehow. I’m not there, you may notice, but my husband and friend were kind enough to take my tickets leaving me on kid duty.
By Tara Zandra | November 29, 2013
We had a really lovely Thanksgiving. I had done a decent amount of prep the night before to help speed the cooking along. I made the same butternut squash au gratin that I made for Faux-Thanksgiving earlier in the month. My squashes did not yield nearly the same amount of cubed squash this time though. I used actual gruyere instead of swiss and think I might have preferred the swiss. I also made jellied cranberries and drunken cranberries because though I don’t actually drink, I like the idea of boozy food. Guess I wish I drank alcohol more? Anyway, I also made a vegetarian gravy as it was insisted upon by my child who did not want me to stoop to gravy in a box (like I did before, was the unspoken add-on). Tabitha made pies, of course. Pumpkin and Decadent Pecan. We think next year we’ll go ahead and pass the pumpkin torch on to Daisy, there is really no reason she can’t make it by herself. I was supposed to make a fantastic appetizer too, but forgot to take the Phyllo dough out of the freezer in time. So now we have carmelized onions and mushrooms so I’ll just use them in omelets and probably top with the rest of the gruyere as well.
There are certain things that I need to eat for it to be a holiday, but we always end up with too many appetizers. So I solved my problem by just serving 3 appetizers at home for lunch. This is a workable solution in that now I get exactly what I want to eat and I don’t have to worry about transport or having too much.
We got to my in-laws’ around 1:30 and it was just the 6 of us this year due to illnesses and other commitments. Really a low key affair which definitely contributed to its loveliness. We ate, we talked, we took silly pics, we laughed. Eventually we sat down to the meal and said how thankful we all are for each other (we’re real Norman Rockwell around here) and then stuffed ourselves silly. Everything was delicious.
Eventually we had pie and then Chris and I packed up 2 care packages. One was for my mom who was sick at home. The other was for a friend who worked literally all day and did not get a Thanksgiving meal. After we packed them up, Chris and I left and took the one to our friend and enjoyed some time out together.
And that pretty much sums up the day. Today I went to two malls and a Target, but none of the crazy early stuff. Just because and it was all fun and no stress.
Here’s a picture of my Biscuit. Her shirt reads “I’m an Avenger.”
By Tara Zandra | November 27, 2013
If you’ve followed along on facebook, you know we’ve been busy. I want to get it all down but of course, tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I’m a bit beat.
I said earlier that I haven’t felt in a thankful mood but tonight my oldest child reminded me how unbelievably lucky I am. She is such a delight; smart, entertaining, and the best big sister, and a fantastic help to me in the kitchen. And despite her teen years, she is still as loving as she ever was and hugs from her are not half-hearted and the love she expresses is genuine.
Then there’s my Dee. My sensitive one. But a conundrum as well. She will cry over a lost piece of string (”But it was my special string!”) but accepts it when a pet fish dies. She has no interest in ever donating anything to anyone, but she’ll share without asking and wants to give things to people to make them happy. As a little sister, well, that’s a role she relishes- both to Tabi’s delight and disconcertion.
Of course neither of them would be possible without my hubby. God I love him so. All these years and we still prefer to spend time with each other over anyone else. He is truly the best man in the world for me. I hope I’m half as good to him as he is to me.
So, I came around and today I counted my blessings. There are many, and I know that.
My picture is completely unrelated. It’s also crappy since it was taken with my cell phone. This is Eddie Veddar at the Pearl Jam concert last Sunday night. I could listen to him sing all night, but had to settle for 3 hours.
By Tara Zandra | November 19, 2013
Daisy and I have been doing a study of animal habitats for over a year and finally finished. She has a lovely project notebook to look back on now and I think she had a good time with all the lessons and activities. We ended our habitats study with a trip to the zoo. I created a scavenger hunt of sorts for her. She had to find 3 animals for each biome. I lumped a few together, like oceans, rivers, and lakes, and should have left out arctic regions (there is not one animal at the LA Zoo that lives in the arctic). I took pictures of each animal she wrote down and will get them printed so they can go in her notebook as well. Next we’ll do anatomy though she’ll get a small break while I gather what I want to do.
The weather was very overcast and cool so the animals were fairly active. The tigers were especially playful and delighted my children for a long time. We were also fortunate in that there were only 2 school busses in the parking lot so the zoo was rather empty, it seemed.
The evening has been routine- dinner, dance, a little TV. I’m just decompressing on the computer for a smidge and then I need some sleep as I haven’t been getting enough good quality shut eye lately.
Here’s one of the gorgeous tigers on the move.
By Tara Zandra | November 18, 2013
Aaaand I just ordered this year’s Christmas cards.
I got to make all the decisions myself, because the husband? Struck down with food poisoning. That would be the second time this year, I might add. Our life must look so fun.
But hey, at least those germs were polite enough to wait until after we took the family photo, right? We had a lovely time last night at California Adventure. First we took pics with Santa in their department store, then in front of the tree, and then in front of Carthay Circle. We figured after all that there had to be at least one good one so we stopped being careful of our hair and went to eat. After that we dropped the girls off at the swings while Chris and I got in line for Toy Story, then the girls joined us about halfway through. The ride was fun, as always. We then split up so Chris and Tabs could ride Tower of Terror while Daisy and I oohed and aahed over Carsland for a bit. Then it was a churro bite break then a couple more rides, then a fruitless trip to the Lego store before coming home.
Chris hopped into bed and I stayed up for awhile doing nothing of interest. I’ve had a pretty bad headache for the last 4 days so I just wanted a little quiet time. Eventually I slept only to be awoken at some point by my ailing husband, poor thing. I felt bad, but I also instructed him not to touch me in case it was a virus instead. Thankfully, it does not appear to be.
Today he stayed in bed for basically the entire day, the girls and I went to violin and then Girl Scouts for Tabitha. I took Daisy with me as Chris is in no condition to take care of her. He’ll be home tomorrow too as he’s still not right.
So I’ve had another quiet evening, basically alone. I got the cards done, crushed some candy, and took a hot bath. I know at this point I should be going to bed, but whatever. I need to create a scavenger hunt for tomorrow’s outing and probably crush a bit more candy. But then I really should sleep. I’m not particularly tired, but I will be come alarm time
This picture is all I got and I can’t even explain what made me take it. Yesterday’s smoothies, before they were smooth.
By Tara Zandra | November 14, 2013
I got it into my head that I need to preserve my past in the form of photos. I asked my mom for the first 3 photo albums of my life with the idea that I’ll be scanning them into the computer and making digital copies. I was born in the mid-seventies and it’s amazing how poor the quality of the pictures are today. Here’s an example of an untouched photo.
This one isn’t even that bad compared to some of them. Makes me weep. I was, however, pleasantly surprised that even crappy photo software can make it decent. This is the same photo that I fixed in order to share on facebook.
The color is much closer to natural, except my face, which is washed out. But not sure if that’s just me since I’m so pale I tend to be washed out in a lot of pictures anyway. It’s going to be a tedious process, scanning 20 some years, but at least as time wears on, I’m in a lot less pictures. I think eventually I’ll have photo books made, but that’s pretty far into the future.
I found it interesting that as I flipped through the albums, I remembered all the photos. I’m fairly narcissistic (anyone with a blog would have to be), so I know I looked through them often, but it still felt a little odd to me how familiar all of them were. Except one. I found one photo of me that I swear I’ve never seen before in my life. And I don’t recognize the house it was taken it either. I’m thinking maybe it was a relative’s house in Washington and the photo was sent to my mother sometime after both my grandparents died.
I’m sad my mom didn’t take more pictures though. I know film was different than our current digital age. But honestly, the amount of photos of me from May 1974- November 1976 equal about a month or less of photos in either of my girls lives.
By Tara Zandra | November 11, 2013
Saturday was my family’s annual early Thanksgiving get together. It seemed every other person had a cold or something so I didn’t need to feel too bad about my own sniffly kid. I made a new recipe of butternut squash gratin that we thought was pretty good. My only suggestion would be to use a little less cheese (blasphemy, I know!) because it made it a little tough to break through to the to squashy goodness.
My other dish was just a crock pot stuffing, but let me tell you, people raved. I used both French bread and wheat French bread, maybe that was what made it so good? It came from this vegetarian crock pot cookbook and every recipe has been really tasty so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.
I enjoy this gathering every year, I get to see aunts and uncles and various cousins. Missing this year was my sister which was a shame as I really don’t see her that much. I didn’t get too many pictures, though I did get one of my mom and one of my aunts with their grandchildren- should have put me and my cousin in it too for a 3 generation pic, but didn’t think of it until afterwards.
After the family togetherness, I finally got to go to a Kings game! Yay for me! And they won in a spectacular manner, 5-1. Chris and I had a great time together and enjoyed each other’s company. Oh, and I shopped before the game and finally found the sticker I’ve been looking for to put on my car next to my LA (for the Dodgers). Except, it’s a cling not a true sticker so I’m hoping it will stay on. I haven’t put it on yet as I’m in need of a car wash first.
Sunday was the usual errands and then I also took Tabitha jeans shopping. While we were out we also picked up a top for our holiday picture this year. I’m really on top of it in regards to Christmas cards. Already have them picked out, just need to add photo which we are taking next weekend. Probably the earliest ever that I’ve thought of it. But see last year we took gorgeous family photos- I mean, I actually love how I look in them and we all know how much moms dislike pics of themselves. Anyway, these gorgeous photos were not taken in time to be our Christmas cards because I procrastinate (as has been established). But not this year! I even have a holiday return address stamp that was ordered 2 weeks ago.
Just don’t ask me about shopping, because in that respect I’ve done zip, zilch, nada and am not really planning on it for a little while yet.
Today’s pic is from Saturday night at the Kings game- it’s the opening face off.
PS- Totally wasn’t frazzled on Saturday! Timeline worked- even when faced with a couple of unexpected happenings.
By Tara Zandra | November 8, 2013
I’m not even going to tell you who, because at this point it doesn’t matter.
Park today then dance for the kid who wasn’t lethargic, home to bed for the one who was.
My forced organization is keeping me sane (well, sanity is both relative and overrated, so we’ll say sane for me). Life isn’t all neat and orderly but I’m finding it easier to keep on top of the stuff that would normally have me scrambling around at the last minute. Tomorrow we’ve got an event that requires a decent amount of cooking by Tabs and I in the morning. This evening I sat down with all the recipes and figured out a timeline for what goes in the oven when and what time stuff needs to be prepared and wrote it out. Now, it should all go smoothly and maybe, for once, I won’t be frazzled as we walk out the door. I can dream.
Today’s pic showcases what is normal for Miss Daisy, who never met a wall she didn’t want to climb.
By Tara Zandra | November 7, 2013
Last night I bought Daisy the absolute perfect Christmas dress. This one, actually. I fell in love with it on the spot and bought it. When I got home and put it on Daisy, we could not even zip it up. So tonight we took her with us to exchange it. I put a 10 on her- it barely zipped. I put a 12 on her- it zipped but she could not breathe. I put a 14 on her- it zipped, she could kind of breathe. I compared the 10, 12, and 14 and the difference in the waist size was about a quarter of an inch from the 10 to the 14. Each larger size elongated the bodice but the waist never got any wider. Insane! It was with a heavy heart that I had to just return it as I did not like a single other dress they had.
Daisy was pretty sad too as she liked all the sparkly dresses because girl has never met a sequin she didn’t like.
Complete change of topic. Today I was on facebook and I got a little notification telling me someone liked a status. Except the someone was an old boyfriend I haven’t spoken to in almost 20 years and the status was from March 2012 that I had apparently marked friends of friends as opposed to just friends.
I’m pretty sure he saw that I had commented on a mutual friend’s status yesterday and for whatever reason he clicked my name. But to scroll back through how many public posts to get to March of last year? Kinda weird.
Honestly, I wouldn’t even care if we were friends on facebook. I wouldn’t send him a request but I would approve one if he sent it to me. I mean, it really has been almost 20 years and we’re both married with kids and it’s not like we parted on terrible terms and it’s not like it even a teeny-tiny bit matters at all now. I think the randomness surprised me more than anything.
There’s another person whose friendship request I did not approve because my general rule is I have to be able to envision myself going out for a drink with someone before I approve the request. I’ve made minor exceptions but I really do stick to that for the most part. Anyway, this other person then decided to become a follower of mine on facebook (I’ve got a whopping 6- 1 is Chris, 1 is a teen daughter of a friend and I do not approve kids as my friends, 3 are people who sent me a friend request that I denied and the sixth is a complete mystery, as in, facebook won’t tell me who it is). So my non-friend approved follower likes my cover photos whenever I change them because of course cover photos are public. Why? First of all, why bother following someone who denied your friendship request and second of all, why then like things if they clearly aren’t really interested in interacting with you?
And now I’ve spent more time analyzing the ways of facebook than is good for anyone.
I was bringing in the trash cans today and the gorgeous pink sunset caught my eye. By the time I was done and got out there with my camera, it was gone. But I still shot a couple pics. They aren’t that great, but they are what I have for today. Iffin’ you look real hard, you can see Venus as a small speck. I go out and look at it every night because I like knowing that I can see another planet, even if it does look like a star.
By Tara Zandra | November 6, 2013
So I have this problem. I get cold. Unreasonably cold at temperatures most people think are on the cusp of entering the range of a slight chill. I figure all the Diet Coke I drink acts as some type of coolant for my innards. I’ve been known to be teeth chattering cold in 70° weather. My husband and I have a deal where I scoop the cat box every night and he warms my side of the bed before I get in.
To sum up, cold is my enemy.
This morning, the thermostat read 67° and I totally get in a rational way that that is not cold. So I put on my sweatshirt and was determined to suck it up and not turn on the heater.
Then my feet touched my carpeted floor and they recoiled from the coldness. Oh this would not do at all! I put on a pair of socks. Ten minutes later I knew that was not enough. I went and got a pair of my husband’s socks and put them over my socks. That made it bearable but really I knew something would need to be done so off I went to that magical store called Target.
They fix everything.
I wanted cute, but functional. Ideally with a hard sole as I like to wear them when I need to go outside to the garage or to the trash. I found not one, but two different pairs of Sock Monkey slippers. One pair even had a hard sole. Alas, they were slide on like clogs so I knew they would have to be worn with socks. The other pair were like ballet slippers so my ankles would be cold (trust me, they would) and they had a soft sole that would never stand up to pavement.
I decided the most important part was going to be the warmth factor. And oh do my gray beauties deliver! They go up to my calves and have a super-thick (albeit not hard) sole and are lined and cozy and they make me happy
Here they are being modeled in front of the other thing that makes me happy this week- my tiny trash can. I don’t know why, but it makes me smile. Behind is my apple picking basket repurposed to hold my writing supplies- envelopes, thank you cards, note cards and the like. That also makes me smile because I’ve wanted to find a use for that basket for years.
By Tara Zandra | November 5, 2013
Dee and I had a lengthy talk today about violin. She has been playing since was 6, but her heart’s not in it. She dislikes practicing and claims it’s “hard.” I went through this with Tabitha, but when I would ask Tabitha if she just wanted to quit, she’d say no. Daisy says yes. So we did some soul searching today and it was decided that she’ll take a break until January.
Kind of set the day off all wonky. Hearing Tabs attempt to expel a lung from her body didn’t really help either.
But Daisy and I spent a lovely time together doing lessons at which point I realized, we may actually be done with habitats after this week. And I am completely unprepared to move forward to a new topic- whoops! I want to do anatomy and I’m sure I can get a lapbook download to start us off, but still didn’t mean to have nothing. We still need to go to the zoo for her habitat scavenger hunt so that kind of buys me an extra week’s time. I really wish my netbook hadn’t been abused by the eldest child as I’m chained to the desktop to get any work of that nature done. Everyone in the family has a handheld device except me- Tabitha has a laptop, Chris has an ipad, and Daisy has an ipad mini. I got a rock. I’ll get something for Christmas, and then I’ll be able to lock myself in a quiet room to get stuff done.
I took a picture of the fairy house that resides in the dining room. It was originally given to Tabitha by Santa when she was 8ish, over time it’s become Daisy’s, but to be honest, it’s probably more for me than anyone else. There are dolls and accessories for each season. We have fall and spring, my goal is to eventually have all the seasons.
By Tara Zandra | November 4, 2013
Today Tabitha was still holed up in bed. As this is day 3 and she’s going a little stir-crazy, I bought her Warm Bodies on Blu-ray to pass the time. Daisy and I did lessons and a small craft project and spent time together. By the time dinner rolled around I wasn’t feeling it so I ditched the menu item and went with something really easy (baked potatoes). I still was in a mood after dinner so we hit the mall since I needed to go to Clinique anyway. We wandered around but honestly, our mall just isn’t that great anymore. It goes through ups and downs but it’s been in decline for a while it seems. One really good thing is a used book store. Not just used, but also overstock. You won’t find old books like at a thrift store, but I still came away with a pretty nice haul for Daisy. Chris grabbed a Thor and Loki comic book for Tabitha and she was most appreciative when she received it.
After the mall we went to the actual bookstore, Barnes and Noble. Again, the one near us is very small and not that great. But I enjoyed looking around and they even had the book I was looking for so it was all good. I got back in the car in a much better mood than when I left the house.
Now it’s a bit of downtime and then I guess we’ll watch a couple shows.
The picture is from early October when we went to the Spider Pavilion at the Natural History Museum. This particular one would be about the size of a small child’s hand, if you include the leg span.
Bonus pic- this was as close as we could get Daisy to any spider. Although she has a pretty severe bug phobia, she’s gotten better about spiders and has been to the pavilion in the past so I didn’t think it would be a problem. And it wasn’t really a big deal other than she didn’t particularly want to be there and never did feel comfortable.
By Tara Zandra | November 3, 2013
Well, Tabitha had to cancel her plans today so she basically spent the whole time wallowing in self pity. I don’t blame her. The rest of us took advantage of suddenly having an open day and got stuff done. For Daisy that would mean having fun on a new website. But Chris and I got all of Halloween put away, put up Thanksgiving and took care of some errands that I no longer have to squeeze into the week.
Darned if I don’t feel a stuffy nose coming on. I’m hoping it’s just sinus though as I don’t have even a hint of a sore throat (gotta find some wood to knock on, stat!).
I took Daisy to Toys R Us to work on her Christmas/Birthday list- she did not hold back! It’s really, really long. Apparently she’s making up for her sister no longer receiving toys. As always, it will be fun trying to figure out how to fit them all in the playroom- especially as we have a new goal for that room and the toys will need to be downsized.
Today’s picture is of our mantle decked out for Thanksgiving.
By Tara Zandra | November 2, 2013
Of course, I meant 28 weeks as the oldest child is now sick. Everyone is doing 30 days of thankful but you know what? I’m not feeling it. I can give the regular laundry list- my husband, my girls, my friends, that we have what we need- blah blah. The fall back in the down times of life is always “At least we have our health!”
So now that the other 3 members of the family have been sick more times this year than any other time in the history of our family, I have to consider them all getting the flu shot which is not something we’ve ever done but clearly their immunity systems are effin crap this year. For the record, I’ve been sick the least, thank the almighty virus gods, but I’ve had stupid bad luck and I’m not really sure I can escape this cold since the stresses keep piling on.
October pretty much flew by though we had lovely Halloween celebrations at the end. Wednesday night we went to Disneyland for Mickey’s Trick or Treat; Thursday we carved pumpkins and the girls went trick or treating; Friday wasn’t Halloween but we had a really nice time at park in basically as perfect weather as one could ask for. Today is what? Saturday? I’ve lost track, but I guess it must be. We’ve got plans tomorrow, well actually, Tabitha has plans tomorrow, but she says she’s 80% sure they won’t happen because of this stupid cold. So perhaps our plans will include comforting a miserable and sad child.
I’m currently supposed to be at a Kings game but I sent Chris on without me. I didn’t want Tabitha to feel abandoned. She doesn’t really need me exactly, but I do think she was happy I stayed home with her. Moms don’t get time off, but that’s okay as I know it’s not forever.
So this downer of a post needs to come to an end. Here’s a couple pictures of my undead children from Halloween. And despite what every other person at Disneyland called her, Tabitha is not Carrie- she’s a Zombie Prom Queen. Dee is just a vampiress and is wearing a costume that Tabitha wore when she was 7. I know I shared on facebook, but not everyone who reads here is on facebook so I feel compelled to show them again.
By Tara Zandra | October 29, 2013
Yesterday the younger child and I walked to the store. She scootered and I followed giving her the limits of how far she could go (third tree, second light pole, etc.). It occurred to me that I used to do the same with the older child at this same age, though when T was 8 I had 2 year old D in a stroller. So I was feeling a little of the nostalgia.
While in the store itself, the song Suddenly, Last Summer by The Motels came on which was released when I was just a year older than D is now. I loved that song and hearing it brought up warm, fuzzy feelings.
The good feelings ended today when it became apparent that Dee is sick again. Because, of course she is.
I added it up and for this year there have been 27 weeks where at least one person was sick with something.
That’s a week shy of 7 freaking months of illness and we’re only in month 10.
I didn’t take any pictures today so I’ll end with one from the other night when my girls were off to the Halloween party at dance.
By Tara Zandra | October 27, 2013
I’m currently alone for a few hours and my first thought was “Sit and play Candy Crush or eat candy without sharing?”
Believe it or not, I actually played and still haven’t had any candy- though I’m guessing I will as soon as I post this
Did I post Thursday night? I think so but am too lazy to go back and look. I’ve been trying to post in the evenings but I get very self conscious when family members are hanging out near me. Or sometimes I sit down but get interrupted every few minutes because someone (not naming names, but they may or may not been the teen of the household) needs to share something interesting from the internet, or someone else needs to give me the umpteenth hug to stall before bed, or whatever and then I lose my train of thought and my interest.
Friday was our park group’s Halloween party. Went off pretty well I think so that made me happy. T went as Rosie the Riveter and D wore her actual costume but she wouldn’t let me put make-up on her. The turnout was good enough that the girls got a nice little pile of candy to kick off the trick or treating this year. Tabitha made scrumptious mini-cupcakes that were pumpkin spice with toffee bits topped with cream cheese frosting. A few even made it home (maybe I’ll eat one of those instead of hitting the Halloween candy stash). I got in some excellent chatting time with a friend and was finally able to talk to her about something that’s been bothering my heart for awhile. But that meant I completely ignored 2 other friends, neither of which have I seen much of lately and I felt really bad afterwards when I thought about it. As long as neither of them noticed, then I guess it’s all good.
After park we went to my friend’s house so my kids and hers could change for dance. This time Tabitha dressed as Tigger (orange shirt with duct tape stripes and Tigger ears headband) and Daisy was Batgirl (pic on facebook as of an hour ago). I then took all the kids to dance and hung out there for awhile. Chatted with Chris, tried to fix issues my phone has been having but ultimately made it much, much worse.
That night it was quite apparent that Chris has a cold. We watched a little TV and then I sent him to bed. Then I proceeded to stay up far too late, but sometimes that’s a good thing.
Saturday was a Kids’ Night Out event at the dance studio so more costume time for the girls. Daisy wore her vampiress costume again, Tabs threw on her pointe costume from the last recital. Afterwards I picked up them and brought three more kids home with me for a sleepover. One thing I’ve learned, if I actually had 5 girls, we’d need another bathroom.
We set them all up to watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” then the girls split into older and younger. The big kids retreated to a bedroom, the littles played toys in the living room for awhile before lights out. I think it was 1:15 before everyone was quiet and asleep.
Today kind of flew by. I fixed Star Wars pancakes for everyone, then it was cleanup, then play with bunnies time, then just play time, then the extra kids were picked up. After awhile I served a very early dinner and Chris left with the girls to a Kings game.
Which brings me to now, about to eat a cupcake.
First, a grasshopper we found on a flower on the bush outside our front door. It’s not as sharp as I would like. I need more lessons and practice apparently.
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By Tara Zandra | October 24, 2013
Busy, busy day. Of course it started with me oversleeping, still recovering from not enough sleep Tuesday night, I guess. Tomorrow I cannot afford to sleep in- maybe I’ll set my phone in the bathroom so that I have to get up to turn it off. And I have grown to hate the sound of my alarm so that might actually work.
From today through next Wednesday it’s wear your costume to dance class week. However, neither of my children can dance in their actual costume and of course, they are there all of the days so we’ve put together a lot of homemade costumes. I’m not allowed to post Tabitha’s picture, but she went with a cat. My Daisy was a butterfly fairy. We only had to buy the mask and I think she turned out pretty cute.
I also had to make Daisy’s costume for tomorrow’s dance class as well as make food for our Halloween potluck at park tomorrow. Lessons with the kids, Tabitha’s packed dinner for dance, muffins for tomorrow’s breakfast, and regular laundry, dishes and bunny care- so I’m done for the day. Except my mind is going a mile a minute and I’m not able to relax right now.
Had to take a 30-minute break in writing there and I’ve lost my train of thought. I’ll end with another picture because I was informed I could share Tabi’s pic as long as I didn’t tell her that I did so that’s a weird way of saying I have her permission.
By Tara Zandra | October 23, 2013
So yesterday while I was driving home from dance, a tire tread hit my car. I was concerned for the undercarriage but it all felt fine so I kind of forgot about it. Today in the daylight it occurred to me to actually look at my car. Yeah it’s pretty damaged. As far as I can tell, just cosmetic but the whole front bumper will need to be replaced and until it is, well, I have a huge, ugly dent on my car. You know, the car I’ve only had since January?
Last night I also got news that is good on one level, but on another very selfish level, made me sad. Why is it so hard for me to focus on the good aspect of the news and so easy to only pay attention to that little voice that makes it all about me?
Couple both of those with about 5 hours of non-quality sleep and it’s been a pretty shitty day emotionally. Which was not helped by spending 45-minutes in Joann’s and only 10 of those minutes did not involve being in a line and dealing with incompetence. One lady couldn’t cut or fold fabric, then they over-charged me by almost $30, then couldn’t figure out how to work the coupon. Just a huge annoyance and that was only 1 of 3 stops. By the time the girls and I got home we were D.O.N.E. for the day.
Hmm, a picture. I know, it was our bright spot of the day. We started off the ill-fated errands with a trip to Krispy Kreme. As always, I was coerced into taking a picture of Daisy’s food.
By Tara Zandra | October 21, 2013
If I could have one hour of silence every night, I think I would be a calmer person. I enjoy my time in the morning, but at that time I’m gearing up for the day. My mind is cluttered with what I’m making for breakfast, how long until I wake the girls, if I have to prep dinner, where we have to be and when- pretty much what I’m sure many, many people the world over can relate to.
Right now Chris and Tabi are at a hockey game and Daisy is in bed. So it’s just me and my tea- Lemon Balm to be exact. I’m not even watching the hockey game myself and am reveling in the aforementioned silence. I’ve got a clean kitchen and all but one item crossed off my to-do list. Of course that one item is a biggie that I really should have done. I thought I would do it after Daisy went to bed, but I had other stuff I wanted done and as soon as I’m done blogging I’m hopping in the shower. Then the other family members will be home so yeah, certain planning I was supposed to do didn’t so much happen.
But my planner did help keep me on task for all the little things I put off and never do. Just stuff like sending specific emails in a timely manner, researching something a child asked me to do, remembering to mail things and whatnot. Really I need it for that kind of stuff more than anything. For instance, I plan our park group’s Halloween party every year. The only thing I have to do is choose a date and let the group know. So I chose the date like in August but decided to email the group on October 1st. But then forgot so decided to email 2 weeks ahead of time. But on that day I left for Utah so I sorta promised myself I’d do it as soon as I got back, but didn’t. And so on. By the time I emailed the group it was a measly 10 days before the date which isn’t really good planning. But now I have it written down to email the reminder on a specific date and that will take care of that. I also owed someone field trip money and kept forgetting to bring it to him. That shouldn’t happen now. Or anyway, that’s the goal. Lifelong forgetfulness crossed with procrastination probably can’t be undone that easily.
We got more accomplished today in the way of Halloween costume pieces for Tabitha. But we still need to go to another Goodwill and I have to go to the fabric store during dance. Then she has to pull it all together for a couple of costume events. With dance every evening she really only has day time to do it which means probably just Algebra for lessons this week. This is why we don’t take the summer off or two weeks at Christmas. When we have to have light weeks sprinkled in through the year, I try not to stress about them (try would be the operative word).
Today’s pictures were taken today. Daisy looked into the back yard and told me she saw a big bird. I’ll say.
This beautiful hawk is only the second one who has visited our backyard that I’ve seen. We don’t live too close to hills or any fields so not sure why he thought he’d get lunch here. I snapped the above picture without adjusting my camera so it’s a bit washed out. This second one is richer in color, but he looked away. I wasn’t able to get any others before he flew away.
By Tara Zandra | October 20, 2013
Today Tabi and I made the rounds at a few Goodwill stores looking for a prom dress for her Halloween costume. The seventh dress tried was the winner, but we’re still out of luck with shoes so I guess that’s tomorrow. We did manage to get the makeup she needed as well, but we’re still missing a few key ingredients to pull off her “look.” She looks beautiful in the dress, too bad she’s going to zombie-fy it.
All in all it was a fairly standard Sunday, didn’t feel like a vacation day as we had grocery shopping to take care of. Amazing how I can carefully arrange my items on the conveyor belt and the cashier will still pull from the middle and put frozen items in the canvas bags and canned goods in the insulated bags. Today’s cashier was also eleventy so nothing to do but smile, have patience, thank him, and repack the bags myself back in the car. At Sprouts we must have gotten a new guy- or he hates vegetables. He had to keep asking what the produce items were. I get mixing up cilantro and parsley, but he didn’t know what the beets were either. Or rather, he had to ask to make sure that’s what they were. It was only funny because it happened on about 5 or 6 items. We also got carded for buying cooking wine which doesn’t do as much for the ego as it would if they would card us at California Adventure.
We also went to Staples and found my calendar pages so now it’s a true planner. I also ordered address pages because I’m tired of keeping all my addresses in a spreadsheet on the computer. I have multiple spreadsheets, plus a few addresses tucked away in facebook messages and come Christmas time, I have no idea if I have the right addresses or not. I’ve had more than one Christmas card returned to me in the past. I go through the same issues during birthday invitation time. But not this year, people! Not. This. Year.
Tonight I served “Beef” stroganoff- a recipe I’ve been making for years. I love it. Chris loves it. Daisy loves it. I find out tonight that Tabitha doesn’t like it. Did I mention I’ve been making it for years? I reminded her she needs to let us know if there’s something she doesn’t like, otherwise, I’ll just keep serving it to her. In the future she’ll have grilled cheese on the side instead, much like Daisy gets rice on mashed potato night.
I think I’ll add a picture to every post, just because. I didn’t take any today, but this is from last night when Dee got home from the Kings game. She was a bit tuckered out.
By Tara Zandra | October 19, 2013
Yesterday I was fortunate to get a lunch out with a friend. It felt so good to sit and chat with her and the two hours flew by. We haven’t talked in awhile due to vacations and illnesses so we barely scratched the surface of topics. I feel there are 3 layers to real conversation and we hit all of layer one and touched on layer 2, but no time for the deep 3rd layer. Not sure Chili’s would have been the right venue for those topics anyway.
Last night Chris and spent some time with people that we really enjoy and it was just a fun evening and exactly what I needed. We weren’t even out super late so we were still able to cozy up together on the couch and watch some telly.
And finally today, I am alone and have been for the last 4 hours. I’ve taken care of mundane tasks like dishes and laundry, but I’ve also started working on my new planner for that forced organization I was talking about. As I did not choose a common system, I’m finding it difficult to get all the pages that I desire, but it’s slowly coming together. The easiest part was the meal planning section because that is a duty I enjoy most of the time. The hardest part is the calendar, which is kind of the backbone to the whole darn thing. But as it is currently October, I cannot find any 2013 pages. I’ve been to countless Staples in the last 3 days and tomorrow will hit 2 more. But even without a calendar, I can find away to incorporate a to-do list and that shall be my next step.
Including a couple pictures as I know I have a friend or two who will actually care. I went with a discbound system and got a canvas Martha Stewart book. That’s my phone case/wallet next to it to make the photo more visually appealing.
Here’s the section that’s complete, my menu planning. The only problem with my menu sheets is they got Monday through Sunday and I plan Sunday through Saturday breakfast. So I put tomorrow’s meals at the bottom, but then Saturday is kind of blank. I’ll need to rethink how I write them out for future weeks. Our grocery shopping trips include 3 different stores so my lists reflect that. The large sheet is Target stuff and the small to-do list sheet has my Sprouts list on the front and Mothers on the back. I also like that I have a zipper pouch for my Target coupons because I am forever forgetting them at home. I wasn’t in the mood to meal plan this evening so it’s not the most inspired menu this week.
Right now I’ve got the bunnies hanging out in the kitchen and every now and then one of them hits the baby-gate and the reverberation makes me and the other bunny jump and then the dog has to come running to see what’s up. Even the most unstylish and hideous kitchen is made better with cute bunnies romping.
By Tara Zandra | October 17, 2013
This evening has been pleasant and has led me to some times of reflection.
This year has really sucked- I find that to be my mantra. I hate to equate it to the number 13 because I like that number, but it has certainly been a year of bad luck.
So much good has occurred this year too but there definitely came a point where I could no longer hold onto the threads of goodness and found myself only thinking of the negative. Much of the time I feel lost and without any direction. I have little interest in productivity of any kind. At this point I don’t see myself changing back miraculously on my own so I’m turning to forced organization. I’m a procrastinator on my very best days- as I’ve had so few of those this year basically nothing has been getting done on hardly any level.
Except laundry because we don’t currently live in a nudist colony.
So weekly and daily planning it is. I’m already hyper organized when it comes to menu planning, so I got the basics down. I just need to channel that into a ginormous to-do list.
The problem, of course, will be keeping it up. I know it takes 3 weeks for anything to become a habit, so that will be my goal. Once achieved then it’s just routine and I do love me some routine (with a lot of spontaneity thrown in because I don’t like ruts).
By Tara Zandra | October 14, 2013
Today our goal was to clean the garage, which was a tall order and we instantly realized that it wasn’t going to be finished today. We divided it into sections and got one section done. Not as much as I would have liked, but better than before we did anything. We took two trips to Goodwill to donate toys and clothes and put a decent amount of stuff in the trash. We also came home with stuff from Goodwill including an end table but overall, more went out than came in. We also scored and American Girl bed for Daisy’s doll in incredible condition. She was quite pleased to get it.
We spent the late afternoon and evening watching the Dodgers triumph over the Cardinals so that pretty much made my day. Otherwise, pretty low-key today though I felt like we were gone more than we were here. Tomorrow is a fun day
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By Tara Zandra | October 9, 2013
We had an unexpected rain storm today accompanied by rather cold temps. I also had a very stressful drive to and from dance so when I got home it was time for PJs- but not just any pajamas, no no- footie pajamas! With owls on the feet Because, you know, I’m special, or something like that. No picture that’s for darn sure. Just picture an overgrown toddler- very overgrown.
Aside from footie season, today also marks the first day of Chris’s vacation. Yippee! Originally we were going on a family trip, but we decided earlier this year to put it off. But he still gets the time off so we’re just enjoying having him home and we’ll do some fun family stuff in the coming week. The girls are not doing lessons while he’s home and we’ll only go to team dance classes.
Today wasn’t really much of anything. Tabitha had a friend spend the night last night and she stayed for a good portion of the day. The three girls pretty much entertained themselves while Chris and I took care of some things as well as spending quality “sitting around on our arses” time.
We decorated for Halloween this past weekend and I’m very pleased with how it all looks. Our main focus is on the fireplace area with a few touches here and there elsewhere in the living room and dining room. We’re happy with all we have now and think next year we’ll start turning our focus to the outside of the house as we really don’t have much. A few tombstones and a skeleton are pretty much it.
By Tara Zandra | September 24, 2013
Daisy’s not quite healthy today so we felt it best if she skipped her violin lesson. But Tabitha didn’t want to skip hers so off we went. While Tabitha had her lesson I took Daisy for a walk in the sun hoping that Vitamin D would help her along.
Other than that, not much today. Housework, dance for Tabitha, workout for me. It’s nice right now this time of year with not too much on the agendas. Oh, that’ll change soon enough and in fact we have a busy few days coming up through the weekend. But right now we’re mostly the masters of our schedules and that’s a very nice feeling. Check back with me in spring- that’s when all scheduling hell breaks loose.
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By Tara Zandra | September 23, 2013
Back in July when Daisy first got sick, I had to stop working out as she was sleeping on the couch. Even when we were able to eventually move her into our room, I not only didn’t want to wake her with my alarm, but I couldn’t have left her alone so I could shower. Of course, she’s been better (though truth be told, she still coughs some) for about a month now but the habit of working out was gone. Not only that, but it’s been a very stressful year, especially health-wise, so my eating habits have not been great. Now it’s fall and my jeans do not quite fit the way I’d like.
So this morning I set my alarm for the proper time and forced myself out of bed and into my workout clothes. After I was fully awake and ready to begin, Daisy had a coughing fit and was up for the day.
Cannot catch a break (neither of us).
When Chris took Tabs to Girl Scouts this evening, I plopped Dee in front of the computer and finally got my workout in.
Damn it felt good. Can’t believe I mean that, but I do. My mood instantly improved too, who knew? So I told Daisy that from now on if she gets up in the morning and I’m working out, just grab her milk and jump on the computer. She liked that plan as she never gets the computer in the morning. Hopefully she won’t try to get up early just for computer time!