Summertime blues

By Tara Zandra | July 5, 2016

I’ve been enjoying being productive with the girls in regards to lessons. We spend so much time during the fall and spring months going to classes, celebrating holidays, and going on trips, that we don’t always get a lot of traditional lesson work done. Since their outside academic classes ended at the end of May, we’ve been working really hard- though we still took time out for a quick trip.

But tonight it hit me that my girls aren’t really having a “summer” experience. Do they need to? Probably not. We do so much fun stuff all the time and have never limited ourselves to summer before. But when Tabitha was very young, she went to day camps every single summer. From about age 3 through 11. Then dance took over our lives including summer and Daisy never wanted to be dropped off at camps anyway, so summer was just hot and me lamenting still having to go to dance and desperately trying to squeeze some form of lessons in.

While I still hold tons of bitterness over the way dance ended, I would be lying if I didn’t say the gift of time hasn’t made me extremely happy. We’re playing games as a family, taking more quick trips, planning more future trips- and frankly, I am much more relaxed and happy with all this time. Only at night do I wallow in the rage of what one person did to my girls’ lives with one phone call.

But now I’m wishing Daisy was going to a day camp and that we were doing “summer” things. I don’t know why, I guess because I need to find and create a problem for myself so I can solve it? I like puzzles :) I did research splash parks and found that 3 have opened near me in the last 2 years. Of course, we’re in the middle of the worst drought ever so they may not be on all the time, but I figure it’s worth it to try since they are so close. We should go to the beach, but that is such a hassle that it’s hard for me to enjoy it. Instead I’m just inviting ourselves over to people’s houses with pools. We really need to go to the beach though.

Zoos seem like a good summer activity. We have two nearby- the large Los Angeles Zoo and then a smaller Santa Ana Zoo. Maybe the aquarium too, that seems like a summer thing. There’s Disneyland, of course, but it is amazing how crowded it is nowadays. Not always enjoyable, that’s for sure.

Not sure I figured anything out here, more thinking is probably in my future- hopefully not while I’m trying to sleep.

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By Tara Zandra | June 14, 2016

I’ve always loved crafts. I can remember back when I was 7 or so, reading my Sesame Street Library books and following along with the crafts. Pinwheels and Twiddlebugs were a given, but I also made a model of Sesame Street itself out of milk cartons.

My mom sewed and did embroidery so it’s really no surprise that we worked on crafts like latch hook rugs together. As a teen I bought instruction books and taught myself plastic canvas and cross stitch. Eventually that gave way to rubber stamping and scrapbooking and of course, we know that I started to sew in my 30s and crochet in my 40s.

Food is also the recipient of my desire to create. I rarely do cutesy bento boxes anymore, but I still enjoy arranging and photographing good food.

Our current life is more laid back than the past few years and weekends have been our own, for the most part. We’ve been able to organize and clean, much to the children’s chagrin, but on a personal note I’ve also been able to spend more time being creative. On the one hand it means we’re eating really well on weekends and I’m making good use of my ice cream maker and Pinterest recipe boards.

The first weekend of June, we all went to Phoenix for their Comicon. Tabitha, of course, always cosplays at these events, but she and I decided fairly last minute to dress Daisy as well. Since Dee is a girly-girl who loves dress-up she was more than game to let us dress her. Star Wars is such a big thing to all of us right now that Rey was a natural fit.

She looked adorable, if I do say so myself :)

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There was a lot of children’t programming available and one class Daisy chose to attend was Jedi training. It was put on by the Jedi Academy of Phoenix and made me wish we lived in AZ! It was clearly based in martial arts and Daisy really took to it. In order to not harm each other, their lightsabers were pool noodles. A quick search of the internet yielded instructions from Disney Family so I knew I had to make them.

This past weekend I gathered my supplies and went to work! Took me about 30 minutes to make 6 lightsabers and we’ll take them to park this week to put them to good use.


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Sunday Eats

By Tara Zandra | May 22, 2016

It’s been such a good weekend, I’m sorry to see it end. Yesterday we headed down to San Juan Capistrano to visit Zoomars Petting Zoo. The girls and I have been there twice before and they love it, but this was Chris’s first visit. We fed goats, a cow, pigs, llamas, guinea pigs, and rabbits. We all held the guinea pigs for a very long time, too. I’ve been wanting one for a long time and yesterday just made me want one that much more! So cuddly and chill. *sigh*

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Side note- I wanted to change the pic in the side bar because it’s 2 years old, but I can’t get into my ftp software so it’s proving to be a challenge. Not sure I’m up the task of figuring it out- I’m definitely not right now.

Today was filled with good food all around. Chris started us off with what I assume was yummy French toast made from a blueberry pound cake. He and the girls sure enjoyed it! Tabitha spent a good portion of the day working on Orange Chocolate Truffles from a Hershey’s recipe. She’s having a potluck in her Latin class tomorrow and she always likes to bring some decadent. These sure fit the bill! Lastly, I contributed dinner. I sautéd cauliflower bits in oil and garlic, heaped that on a grilled portobello mushroom, and topped the whole thing off with seitan in a lovely orange sauce.

Oh my.

I wasn’t particularly up for cooking this evening but it came out so good. Definitely need to add grilled mushrooms to another meal soon.

Other than cooking and eating, I spent the day sewing, reading, and crocheting plus did a little housework and got a run in. Probably the most productive Sunday I’ve ever had in my life.

And we get to finish it off with Game of Thrones!

Topics: Life, Food | 1 Comment »

It’s the perfect blendship

By Tara Zandra | May 17, 2016

So last night I had an intimate dream about someone who is and always has been just a friend. And honesty, it was a fairly PG dream, it mainly stood out that this was a friend. And I woke with simply warm and fuzzy thoughts for my friend and that’s not a bad thing.
I think it was triggered by my feeling a bit set apart from my friends lately. I’ve always been the type with just a few close friends in my circle and that’s it. I’m not big on parties and I don’t like to be around a lot of people at once. Facebook has been wonderful for me as it allows me to keep in touch with a lot of people at once. I can then just meet up with one friend at a time without feeling like I’m neglecting anyone. I can touch bases by message with those I don’t see so often and this works for me.

But I still have a few friends, very few, that I see a bit more often and lately I’m feeling alienated from many of my friends. I know one part of that is I’m really tired of being asked about Tabitha’s future and being given advice I did not ask for. There are definitely more than a few people who feel it necessary to give me their opinion on why our plan for her can and should be different. Here’s the thing about me- I rarely ask for advice because I’m the type that makes a decision and that’s it. That’s the decision. And I go with that decision and see no need to analyze it and think of a hundred different scenarios or things I could be doing differently.
This trait of mine has worked out really well my whole life.

If I am in fact unsure on a given situation, first I try to figure it out on my own by imagining what people would most likely tell me in that situation. If I really need help, I’ve got Chris. He’s pretty darn good at listening to me ramble which sometimes just leads to me figuring it out and other times he offers his opinion.

Because I ask him for it.

In general the theme of friendship has been weighing on me lately. I think the dream was there to remind me to feel good about my friends. I suppose it would also be a good time to check myself and see what kind of friend I am being to others.

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If the [running] shoe fits

By Tara Zandra | May 11, 2016

Or in this case, running clothes.

Dee has a 2+ hour class on Wednesdays but with traffic it’s not worth my time going home so I just hang out in the area. I figured I go running on that bike trail we used last week. This necessitated the excavation of my running clothes.

First I visited 2016 and removed the top layer of size 16 jeans. These are my current jeans and there were no surprises here as I wear jeans pretty regularly.

We then went back to the early part of 2015 and removed the size 14 layer. In truth, these would also represent the denial part of late 2015. This layer also included my “flowy pants” stage which was what I convinced myself would be a good idea instead of admitting I needed to buy those 16s.

One more layer down to the size 12s of 2014 and late 2013. Ah, the good ol’ days. Back when I cared and actually worked out and/or ran on a fairly regular basis. Found some cute PJs in this layer too. But also found what I was actually looking for- one sports bra to strap the ladies in, one shirt to gently “wick” away the moisture that women can’t call sweat, and one pair of, well, I known once upon a time they were spandex shorts but now I wasn’t so sure. So I threw everything in the washer and went to bed smug in my knowledge that I was going to get out there and actually be active for once in the last 3 years.

Except this morning dawned overcast and cold. I really do get rather depressed with this weather. Rain I can handle- clouds with no point just depress me and my anxiety was high.

Very high.

But I’m nothing if not determined so I grabbed those running clothes from the dryer and put them on my body.

That was my mistake.

First of all, I’ve had the shorts since 1999 as part of my tae-bo phase after having Tabitha. The waist was so damn high they could touch the ladies- who, let’s face it, hang lower than they did 17 years ago. But the sports bra fixed that and it was fine so I put my shirt over and was instantly reminded that I bought this during the active years of 2013-2014 and there was no way this side of hell I was going out like this.

Lumpy, thin shorts, and a sausage casing shirt. Nope!

A trip to Target was definitely in order so now that has been accomplished and tomorrow I take Daisy bike riding and I’m going to run.

For reals.

Topics: Life | 1 Comment »

Cinco Dias

By Tara Zandra | May 10, 2016

The last 5 days have been pretty good. Thursday night Tabitha and I went to see Captain America: Civil War. Loved it! It was my first Marvel movie in the theater, usually I stay home with Daisy and Chris gets to go but not this time! Not with Sebasstian Stan on the big screen! I enjoyed him so much as Jefferson/Mad Hatter on Once Upon a Time and was thrilled to find out he was in the Captain America movies when I started watching them. Turns out, I love these Marvel movies! Of course, I grew up with DC- Justice League, Christoper Reeve’s Superman and the amazing Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman. But as an adult, I didn’t watch the Batman movies (except the one with Val Kilmer) or Spider-Man or any super hero movies really. But Tabitha absolutely raves and adores these Marvel movies so I started watching them on Blu-Ray. So much fun! So my Mother’s Day weekend was kicked off with a bang!

Friday was spent being Mom. Tabitha had plans in LA for the Miku Expo (feel free to google it- the gist is they are holograms that sing in Japanese using electronic voice banks) so I took her down there very early so she could wait in line to be sure to get the exact spot she wanted inside since she had floor tickets. Normally she prefers seats and we never get pit tickets when we take her to a concert but she was adamant about being in one particular spot for the best view. Chris joined me after work and we hung out for a loooooong time.

Saturday I put my family to work! Housecleaning and whatnot.

Sunday Chris bought me breakfast, I received lovely cards from the Fam and we just spent the day together. The weather was overcast and crappy which makes me irritated soI didn’t want to go anywhere. But we made the best of it and I feel I had a really nice Mother’s Day.

The clouds have continued yesterday and today which wreaks havoc on my sinuses and my mood. Fighting both of them but managing to still be present for my girls.

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Hallmark Addiction

By Tara Zandra | May 5, 2016

Got my little Bluetooth keyboard! Typing this via the browser on my phone and in my room. Works like a charm. I’m not a laptop kind of gal though I’d one of like a new netbook or my own tablet, but I think I’d want one of the multi-purpose tablets where it can work like either a tablet or like a netbook. A keyboard is pretty much a must for me. This works in the meantime though. Wonder if I can upload photos via my phone?


What do you know? (Edited to add: sideways though, huh? Guess I’ll need to work on that)

Currently watching When Calls the Heart while I type and I’m very much enamored with this show. I became addicted to all the Hallmark Channel movies over Christmas. Watched so many of those movies day and night while I crocheted. I know they were cheesy as can be and formulaic, but man oh man did I fall for all of it. Once Christmas was over I started watching other movies and then we ordered the Hallmark Mystery channel which had versions of my favorite cozy mystery books turned into movies. Next thing you know I’m watching their series like Good Witch and When Call the Heart. True addiction at this point.

Daisy and I explored a bike trail today while Tabitha was in Modern Lit. She doesn’t get a lot of practice and when she takes her bike to park, she only rides for a little bit. Went for a mile and a half ride today and she was doing so wonderfully! I thought I’d just really power walk and being able to do a decent job keeping up- nope! Guess I’ll have to dig out my running shoes next time.

I spent time looking up local bike trails as ideally we’d all have bikes. There are many, though none super close as is common with pretty much anything we want to do :( But if we get a bike holder attached to my car, we can go anywhere with them. They even make little baskets so I can bring Biscuit.

Enough rambling- really loving this keyboard!

Topics: Life | 1 Comment »

Long month

By Tara Zandra | May 1, 2016

I’ve never been a fan of April, and even less so in years where Easter falls in March. Not sure what it is about that month, but it makes me unhappy. That’s not the reason for my silence though, there’s a much simpler explanation. I just can’t find time to type without disturbing others. I don’t want to blog when everyone is up and around in the time after dinner as that’s not a very private time to work. I thought I would do it when Chris and Tabs watch their shows some evenings but the sound of the keyboard is rather loud. Which is also the reason I can’t blog in the morning before the girls get up. Not to mention, it takes a while for the Diet Coke to kick in the in the mornings :)

But I think I have solved the problem! I ordered a bluetooth keyboard to use with my phone! This way I can be anywhere without bothering others and hopefully the keys won’t be too loud.

So April kicked off with two trips to Las Vegas within one week for two concerts- The Killers and the newly reunited Guns N Roses with Axl, Slash, and Duff. They were some pretty spectacular concerts, let me tell you! The Killers went full Vegas style with showgirls, Wayne Newton, and Blue Man Group, to name a few. GN’R rocked pretty damn hard and let me feeling energetic and alive. Worth every penny and every hassle to see them again.

There was a minor mishap which resulted in my car living at the body shop for two weeks.

That made me sad as I loves my car. But I have it back now and it’s purty again.

Tabitha was sick for a week and Daisy has an infected finger so health wasn’t so great in the AncFam.

Other fun times, include seeing the Jungle Book at the Disney Studios and seeing Weezer at the Troubadour.

Then it was fundraising for Relay for Life! I started doing it in 2013 mainly as a favor to a friend. I enjoy walking and solitude so I took the midnight shift of walking the track during the 24-hour event so my friend could get some sleep. I did it in 2014 and actively did fundraising as well. Last year I had to sit out which made me sad but I was back this year! I raised $830 for the American Cancer Society and walked the midnight to 3am shift last night/this morning. I wasn’t alone as a spent most of the time catching up with a friend who came down from Oregon to help. Man oh man was it amazingly good to see her! She sat out a few laps though and I just reveled in the beauty of walking under the stars. The crescent moon rose about 2:30am and was big and gorgeous.

I got to bed after 4am and had to get up just after 9 so I’m definitely feeling it today. I even bowed out of seeing Pentatonix tonight with Tabitha which makes me sad and relieved at the same time. I wanted to see them in concert, but I did not want to be dressed, have to drive to the LA Live area, deal with crowds, get out of a crowded parking lot, drive home, and collapse at some point. If I had gone, I’m pretty sure the next two days would have been horrific. So Chris went in my place and I’m sure they are having a wonderful time. Daisy and I hung out and did our own thing. She tried to get me to play a game but I had to beg off and promise a raincheck for tomorrow or the next day.

Topics: Life | 2 Comments »

last minute plans

By Tara Zandra | April 3, 2016

Still not 100%, but it’s not use going over it again.

Friday Chris got an email about things going on this weekend via StubHub. One of the events was Adam Lambert at the Orpheum and someone was selling tix for six bucks! Sure they were third to the back row of the balcony, but they were dead center, and again, six bucks. We decided to go for it!

The thing is, we don’t actually own any Adam Lambert music. Never watched American Idol, either. But we do know that what little we’ve heard, he’s got an incredible voice. I really wish we had been able to see him tour with Queen but that never happened for us. We enjoy going to concerts, we enjoy good singers, it seemed like a good fit even if we knew exactly one song :)

We usually go to rock concerts so this was a bit different since it was a pop concert. I mean little differences, like he had dancers and choreography which we don’t usually see. Plus he had costume changes. Usually we just see Eddie Veddar or whomever take off there flannel and go with the next layer. Like I said, little things that we noted.

We were, unfortunately, also with people who didn’t seem to grasp the concept of standing for a concert. I’ve definitely seen this at even the most hardcore concerts so it’s not a reflection on Adam at all. He gave a high-energy performance. But we’re usually in the GA pit area so I’d forgotten that sometimes people sit. That’s no way to enjoy music, people! This wasn’t the symphony!

So, what did we think of this concert put on by someone we weren’t super familiar with? Adam Lambert was wonderful! So entertaining. Such an amazing singer. Really just a great time overall and we definitely need to not only buy his music, but start following him on social media so we’ll know when he tours again. We would absolutely go see him again in a heart beat.

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Out of commission

By Tara Zandra | March 31, 2016

The same night as my last posting, I started feeling like my chest was very congested and my throat was hurting in a way it hasn’t before. Basically, I’ve been sick. I was debating on making a doctor’s appt as I didn’t think it was just a virus, but then the concerning symptoms cleared, and it was just a cough, but as of today, I feel like some of the original symptoms are back so I may need to cave in case this is a case for antibiotics, which I haven’t had to take since I was a kid when they gave them to you for anything. At this point though, we’re coming up on two solid weeks of me not really being better, just exhibiting different symptoms.

Anyway, I managed to not do some stuff, and the girls were on spring break from their outside academic classes last week, but there was still some things that couldn’t be avoided. Like Easter.


It was a nice time at home, the girls enjoyed their baskets but tore through the hung. There were a total of 116 eggs and I think they were done in 15-minutes. Though I also think one egg is still missing. It has money in it so it’ll be a nice surprise one day.

After the egg festivities were done, I spent my morning in my kitchen making yummies to take to my in-laws’. There was another egg hunt there and then a delicious dinner and dessert. But at some point my holiday adrenaline ran out and I need to go home right then. Stupid illness took over again.

This week has once again been spent not doing more than I could help. Which means the laundry has really piled up :)

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busy bees

By Tara Zandra | March 20, 2016

I haven’t had time the last few evenings to jump on here. Thursday night was my last regular season Kings game with the hubby. They were down, then tied, then down, then really down, then tied, then won in overtime! Got to see my much loved favorite player Anze Kopitar score the winning goal. It was a fun and exciting game and a great way to end for me :)

Friday the girls and I headed to our regular park day. Very small turnout which has been happening more and more over the last two years. Makes me sad, but my efforts to revitalize have not worked. Kind of unsure what to do at this point. Not even sure there is anything I can do.

Saturday was a baby shower for us girls while the husband stayed home and got started on Daredevil. He also may have taken care of some outgrown and large toys whilst a certain 11-year-old was away, but you didn’t hear that from me! In the evening, he and I took another date night and went to California Adventure for one of the last Mad T Parties. I’ll save my thoughts on that for another day.

And today we all headed out to Whimsic Alley which is a Harry Potter themed store. Except, now it’s structure is themed, but they carry merchandise from lots of fandoms- Game of Thrones, Outlander, Sherlock, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, and I am possibly forgetting a few. They have a banquet hall they use for events and today was a craft faire. In theory it was a time travelers craft faire, but there was everything represented. We bought so many goodies! We had a ton of raffle tickets but sadly walked away with nothing :(

Lunch was definitely in order when we left so we headed to a new taco spot only to find out that it’s really new and really popular. Like valet parking and a line around the building kind of popular. We went to Denny’s, lol. The tacos can wait for another day, much as it pains my Mexican food-loving taste buds to say that.

So while I didn’t actually achieve the posting everyday, it wasn’t for forgetting or not being in the mood, just wasn’t here to do it. See ya tomorrow!

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down day

By Tara Zandra | March 16, 2016

Not a great day today. Just kind of down and thinking too much- way too much- about not-so-good stuff. I managed to do some lessons with Daisy though so it wasn’t a total loss. Also did a Starbucks run so the older child could get the Cherry Blossom Frappuccino. It was green and tasted like strawberry so not exactly what she, or I, expected. Daisy doesn’t do their drinks so she chose a lemon pound cake slice for a treat.

This afternoon was nice though. I had early dinner plans with a friend and it was good to talk for a couple hours. Plus I had chips and salsa for the second day in a row, tomorrow I’ll go for the trifecta!

Tonight I am going to buckle down and finish this last bit of crocheting that has been waiting for a week. I have so little left to do but the procrastination in me is oh-so strong.

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Marvel and Egg Hunt

By Tara Zandra | March 15, 2016

The girls had a violin lesson this morning but after they were done we headed to Disneyland! Innoventions in Tomorrowland is home to Super Heroes HQ upstairs and Star Wars downstairs. Very soon though, Marvel is packing their bags and leaving the building. Spider-Man will relocate to California Adventure, and Captain America will join him, but poor Thor and his relics from Asgard have no where to go. We wanted to get in a last visit with him and also see Spider-Man. We saw Thor first and he was quite imposing, but very friendly. Daisy was in her Darth Vader dress and he spent some time trying to get her to explain to him exactly who Darth was and in the end wanted to know if Daisy was evil. Tabitha told him she was “a little bit.” I couldn’t argue, lol.

On to Spider-Man! Long wait, short visit, but he was pretty fun. He also wanted to know if Daisy was evil, this time she admitted to a bit of evilness. Cannot wait to take her to see Kylo-Ren with her Darth dress! Anyway, Spidey was just having a good time and made us do the Spider-Man hands for the photo.


Next it was on to an Easter Egg hunt! There are 12 giant character Easter Eggs around Disneyland and you buy a map to help you find them. Each time you find one, you put a sticker on the map and at the end you redeem for an actual Disney character Easter Egg. You don’t actually have to complete the map, you buy it, you can redeem it. But what fun is that? Of course we got stumped on the very first egg and had to Google the answer! But all the others we found easily and Daisy redeemed hers for a Cheshire Cat egg and Tabitha chose Minnie Mouse. There’s another hunt in California Adventure and another in Downtown Disney so we think we’ll do one more, probably Downtown Disney.

We left there at the same time Chris was getting off work so we decided to rendezvous at Chilis. Chips and salsa and the Kings game was on so it was a very good dinner. In fact, it was a very good day :)

Topics: Life | 1 Comment »

two in a row

By Tara Zandra | March 14, 2016

Ordinary Monday for us. Tabitha has Latin in the morning so Daisy and I hang out a Carl’s Jr. and do lessons. Today I got asked if she’s homeschooled. I guess going there twice a week since September and doing spelling gave it away. The conversation didn’t go any further than that, but she seemed surprised when I mention I also homeschool the 17 year old.

We came home and did more lessons before Tabitha went back to Girl Scouts. She hasn’t been at all this year due to her previous schedule but decided to go back and finish out this year. It does appear it will be her last year though. Her experience was never what I had envisioned, but she has some great memories in there over the years. She has been in two troops since she was a Brownie (she switched troops when she became a Cadette because of scheduling conflicts) and both provided her with different experiences so I think she’s a well-rounded Girl Scout. But she’ll be glad to never sell cookies again.

Bear with me while I get my writing mojo back :)

Topics: Life | 1 Comment »

new normal

By Tara Zandra | March 13, 2016

Barely over a week ago our lives were turned upside down as our girls are no longer dancing. I won’t go into details as it’s not exactly hard to find my blog and I also am tired of being angry, tired of being upset, and desperately trying to move on. In our world, this happening was and is a very big deal and the way it happened was devastating, unexpected, and downright cruel. I have a lot of feelings of betrayal from people I thought were friends, and that is one thing I don’t get over easily, if at all.

So life is different now and we’re adjusting. It’s odd to go from never having time for anything to having time for everything. I’m trying to look at it as being given the gift of time. But it feels more like someone giving you a new car by running you over with it first. You gotta heal before you can drive it.

I’m going to set a goal to be here more often. I’ll try for everyday this week and that ought to put me back on track.

Topics: Life, The Kiddies | 1 Comment »

5-minute bullet points

By Tara Zandra | May 19, 2015

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

    By Tara Zandra | October 3, 2014

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


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

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

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    By Tara Zandra | September 15, 2014

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

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

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

    Seems like a good way to end.

    Topics: Life | 1 Comment »

    time off

    By Tara Zandra | September 11, 2014

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

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

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

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

    Topics: Life | 1 Comment »

    check it

    By Tara Zandra | September 4, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

    Topics: Life | No Comments »

    smile through the tears

    By Tara Zandra | August 12, 2014

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

    Laughter is the best medicine, after all.

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

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

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

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

    Topics: Life | 3 Comments »

    the week has passed

    By Tara Zandra | August 8, 2014

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

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

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

    Off to Downtown Disney!

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


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

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

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

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


    Topics: Life, The Kiddies | 1 Comment »

    there was a time I liked San Diego

    By Tara Zandra | August 3, 2014

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

    Thinking this would happen was our first mistake.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


    Topics: Life, The Kiddies | 2 Comments »

    Woe is me

    By Tara Zandra | August 1, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

    Just keep crafting

    By Tara Zandra | July 30, 2014

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

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

    That was not going to work.

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

    Fabric hording has it’s advantages.

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

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

    And then, I saw the fabrics.

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

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



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

    picture less

    By Tara Zandra | July 28, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

    18 years.

    That’s a long time.

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

    Topics: Life | No Comments »

    What food group is mish-mash?

    By Tara Zandra | July 25, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Topics: Life | Comments Off

    lady who lunches

    By Tara Zandra | July 24, 2014

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

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

    Topics: Life | No Comments »

    back to basics

    By Tara Zandra | July 22, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

    Topics: Life, Food | No Comments »

    Just wandering

    By Tara Zandra | July 16, 2014

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

    Loved it.

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

    Topics: Life | 1 Comment »