Unremarkable things.

(Linking up with Rosie, for My Sunday Best! Side note: It looks like Rosie is on a fun beachy vacation right now!)

As far as Sunday dress goes; don’t worry ye citizens who love a good predictable uniform, I wore the same thing again today!


Here’s an areal photo of my coffee and the giant marshmallow I gave Eli to keep him quiet during nap time. He responds very well to marshmallows. (My skirt is not the marshmallow, Eli is holding the marshmallow in his hand.)

On Saturday, Gianna (the oldest) asked if she could bake and decorate cookies. I love her, so I said yes. BUT, if you have read this blog before, you may already know that cooking alongside children is not my favorite. I don’t know if I’m just terrible with children or missing a piece of my heart, but in the end, I’m always left wanting to hogtie them and put them to bed for the night.

So yesterday I thought, “Mary, just buck up, lay down some rules, and make the *!%$# cookies.”. After some consideration I decided my rules were going to be “no talking, no touching ANYTHING, and no crying”; now don’t tell me that doesn’t sound like the first line in a book called “A Good Time”.


Eli was trying to pose like Ann. He is not the most detail oriented copycat.

In the end, the cookies were made and the kids had fun, but as you may have guessed, they broke all the rules and had to be hogtied and put to bed. The cookies were delicious though! We used this recipe. And the kids had such a good time watching me lose my mind that they requested baking cookies again today!


No kids. My kitchen patience was obliterated yesterday.

In other non-related kitchen news, I recently bought the most worthless pack of bacon. It would have been perfect if I was buying bacon solely for the purpose of making soap from lard, but sadly, we actually wanted to eat it.

Warning: if you are offended by pictures of naked, fatty, uncooked bacon, then scroll past quickly.


It think it was about 97% fat. We could have greased all the door hinges, clogged our arteries, AND made soap!

When I picked the bacon out at the store, I swear it looked fine…… though the tiny window on the package that only showed the meaty edges. That was so misleading. I demand a larger bacon viewing window!!!

Anyway, on to greener pastures. I think I have complained enough for one blog post, so I will try and leave off on a positive note.

Sometimes after the kids are all tucked into bed at night and the house is quiet, I am *deeply amused* by what I find laying around. I find these half finished “projects” that are like a little window into their minds. The window often leaves me more confused than anything else, but it’s amusing none the less. For example, the night I found some impromptu potato art. The kids were supposed to be packing their snack for school the next day, but apparently someone was struck with the undeniable compulsion to bring the potatoes to life.


Potato art; When you are packing a bag a pretzels but just can’t seem to shake that feeling that those straws and potatoes were made for something more. (I think I spy a very graceful looking potato giraffe in the back there.)

Well, I’ll leave off on that potato note and hope it inspires someone…. it probably won’t, but you never know.


Do you tape socks to your walls?

Its Friday! 7 Quick Takes day! Where would I be without 7 QT? Its so much easier to put my useless dribble into bullet point form. Kelly’s Quick Takes are much better than mine, so if you need to cleanse your brain palette after reading Mary Big Hair, head on over to hers.

Off we go!

1~ Breakfast is the most important meal of the day…


….Unless your children make it for you. Then its the weirdest meal of the day.

For some reason, my thoughtful child (Gabriel) decided I was in need of breakfast in bed recently. I don’t question his intentions, but I do question his breakfast choices. Everything in the above breakfast basket is legit breakfast food, except for the chips. Gabe was so excited, jumping up and down yelling “The spicy chips were my idea!!!!” that I couldn’t refuse to eat them. So I tried to enjoy some spicy chips first thing in the morning. It wasn’t too bad, and it definitely wasn’t as weird as drinking soy sauce.

2~ I’ve been curious to try the oven cleaning method I keep seeing on Pinterest. (And by curious, I mean avoiding it until I absolutely had to). I’m referring to the method that uses baking soda and vinegar. So I did it, and sadly it required actual effort.


I kept getting my hair caught in the heating coils. And wow do I have bags under my eyes. I need to get some eye cream…or sleep…or stop using cookies to cleanse my palate after eating Sour Patch Kids candy

The picture on Pinterest made it look like you effortlessly spray it on, let it set, and then wave your hand over it like a princess dismissing her servants, and it is CLEAN! But no. So much no. It did get the oven clean, eventually, but it was not graceful.

3~Mary Claire


A baby wearing a baby. Adorable. Much cuter than an adult Mark, wearing his Teddy Ruxpin backpack.

She loves toting around her baby in that baby carrier. Sadly, the same cannot be said for me. Once my babies are able to control their hands, our baby carrier situation is not so cute anymore. If the toy makers could make a doll that simulates hair pulling and screaming, Mary Claire would be giving her baby a ride in a stroller instead.

4~If my children ever learn to cook, it will not be because they learned from me. Nothing makes me crazier than cooking with children. The questions, the fighting over who gets to pour something, the questions…


I distracted them from “helping” me by giving them food. Food seems to solve a lot of problems with children. On an unrelated note, where on earth do people learn to eat their feelings?…

5~I eat my feelings. And boredom is the most delicious feeling of all. My metabolism is still decent at the moment, but it won’t last forever, so I need to get things together before my metabolism totally fails me. I tried giving up eating my feelings for Lent this year, but that was before I realized how many feelings I had. I just need to come up with an alternative…maybe smoking? (I am completely joking.)

6~Remember that First World Problems video? I’m sure you do. Well, I think of that video (the part where the guy is kneeling by the trunk of his car crying because “I bought too many groceries and now I have to make TWO trips!”) every time I carry in my groceries using these bags…


I like these bags because I can sometimes get all the groceries inside in one really painful trip. I hang one bag from each arm and make a run for it, like I’m doing some obstacle on The Biggest Loser. Wouldn’t want to have to make 2 trips. (A big thank you to Erika who bought these bags for me. Now people can blame her for perpetuating my laziness ;)). Also, I’m glad Erika didn’t get me three bags, because I would look silly using these two, with the third around my ostrich neck.

7~Ann used her own money to buy some duct tape at the store. I tried to gently persuade her to buy something else, by asking “What are you going to do with duct tape?!” but she insisted…


…and I guess she showed me.  She used her duct tape to lay out her clothes for the next day… socks included. She was a little disappointed when I told her she couldn’t put duct tape on the walls anymore.

And on that note, I wish you the finest of weekends filled only with the cleanest ovens, the most carefully planned outfits, and the spiciest of chips.

Five mediocre mentions.

If you are a Blog Aficionado you perhaps know that there used to be a link-up called “Five Favorites.”  I believe Hallie Lord started it, then passed it off to someone else, and then I lost track of it.  I actually don’t know where it’s gone on the interwebs; it is probably dead. (When I can’t find things, I always presume they are dead, even if “they” are inanimate objects).

Well, I actually really liked reading about people’s”5 favorite,” things.  Don’t get me wrong, for my leisure time I enjoy a myriad of interesting, and very, very, fine things. Those things go by the names TV…and internet…and food, and TV, internet and food at the same time. I know, I know, typical American over here. I do have other interests of course, but at this particular moment in time, any interest that requires added work is dead to me. (Apparently “dead” is my go-to label for just about anything.) So, that leaves me with my good ol’ American staples.

Sooooooo, since I really liked reading about people’s”5 favorites,” AND it is a easy blogging idea, AND since “5 favorites” doesn’t exist anymore, AND since the things I like aren’t really cool enough to be “favorites,” I present to you:

5 Mediocre Mentions!

(I know that was kind of a long lead in; but would you expect anything else from a Mediocre blog post? Also, a disclaimer: I am *pretty* sure anyone who reads this blog will have their definitive proof that I am unimpressive, after they find out how I spend my free time)


  1. Salted Caramel Biscotti. Yum. So I actually came I up with a pretty clever use for these: I dip them in my coffee. (I can’t take all the credit for what I think is a pretty ingenious idea, I think there is some subliminal images at work on the cover of the the box below.) Seriously though, if you are gonna try these (which I recommend) you are gonna have to dip them in something. (As everyone knows, “biscotti” is Italian for “stale cookies”…or so I’ve heard).  If you are not a coffee drinker, you could dip them in cappuccino, hot chocolate, or even hot water…just kidding, please don’t dip them in water, that would be a terrible idea. Or if you are a healthy person, you probably just want to skip these sugary-carb sticks.

My children consistently ask me for coffee and they want to eat my biscotti. I tell them no, because I am not a fool.

2. The TV show “Last Man on Earth”. I like it because I think its funny AND because its NOT another spin-off of CSI. (Am I the only one who thinks we have a few too many murder shows on TV? My children give me enough nightmares as it is, I don’t need murder autopsies floating around in my subconscious while trying to sleep). And I like Will Forte.  (As an actor of course. We’re not real-life friends or anything.  However, if you are friends with him, and you think he would appreciate a semi-talented biscotti reviewer, please give him my contact info).


3. Fine wine…with Sprite!!! I know this makes all of the wine drinkers out there want to come and cork my ears right now. I am so sorry, really I am. But wine without pop (or soda-pop, or soda depending on where you live) just tastes so…wine-ish. I can fake being a wine drinker for a few sips.  But then I start to question whether or not someone is playing a prank on the entire world: “Hey, let’s see if we can get people to drink this grape flavored botulism that I mixed with vinegar!”


A little ice and a LOT of Sprite and the rancid juice becomes drinkable! (Please don’t hate me for not being a wine drinker…I’m trying. I’m sure my palate will begin to refine in the coming years, until then, I beg that you tolerate me.)

4. This Sunday Night Stew, by The Pioneer Woman. One of my sister-in-laws (was it you Patty?) highly recommended this, and she was not wrong. Its a little more labor intensive than I like, since I am generally forced to cook AND CHOP using one hand, (I’m eye rolling in your direction Mary Claire!), but it is well worth it!!! My only complaint with the Pioneer Woman is that she provides WAY too many pictures of her recipes being made. Her page takes so long to load, I feel like I’m using dial-up internet again. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate visuals to help me be less of a doofus, but ONE picture of dicing a carrot is sufficient.

5. Lastly, this post by Mama Needs Coffee. Its called “Working the Konmari Method with Kids Underfoot”. I haven’t read the *actual* Konmari method book (probably because I’ve read so many reviews of the Konmari Method I feel like, well, it feels like I’ve practically read the entire Konmari Method.)

But I get it: Have less stuff. And its fantastic. Especially with the kids stuff. I used to have 8 bushel baskets full of baby toys, until I realized babies only like to dump the toys out and step on them. Their real joy comes in tearing paper, unrolling toilet paper, digging through Tupperware, and licking windows. (At least that’s how I’ve come to understand it from observing my own children, and from those clinical studies of children I’ve watched which are entiteled “Americas funniest Home Videos.”) At any rate, I got rid of all those baby toys, and now those 8 bushel baskets are filled with torn up paper, toilet paper and Tupperware, and broken window glass. See? No need to read the actual method.  I don’t want to brag, but I am pretty sure Marie Kondo would be proud.

The alien turd in the room.

Because I have freakishly chapped lips during the winter, (see clown picture here)  I enjoy sampling a variety of overpriced chapsticks. I had tried every kind…except one. That weird one. The one made by the EOS company that looks like an alien turd.


(I know what you are thinking: how do I know what alien turds look like?  Before you start jumping to conclusions that explain the origins of my hair, let me be clear I am ONLY making an educated guess regarding alien fecal matter.)

Anywhoo, the other day, while in the check out line at the store, Eli kept yelling “ball, ball, ball, ball,….” I saw the alien turd and thought, “Oh, what the heck. Maybe there is something wonderful about these that I just haven’t figured out yet”.

Aaaaaaaaannnnd… there isn’t anything wonderful about it.

It’s just chapstick in the shape of a ball. I just can’t seem to figure out how this is a superior design. Have you tried putting one in your pocket? Of course not. Because it would make people uncomfortable.

How did these become popular? This is like the story The Emperor’s New Clothes. No one will speak up and say “No! It looks like an alien turd. I’m not rubbing my lips with an alien turd.”

With its awkward shape, I can’t seem to decide on the optimal way to carry it around.

I don’t know. It seems cumbersome.

But I could be wrong, maybe I’m just missing something. I’m sure there are loyal EOS users out there somewhere who I have deeply offended with this post. That’s one of the greatest things about the internet, you can always offend someone.

Oh well. Since I paid $3.00 for this extra terrestrial poo I’m going to use it till its gone…

It could potentially last forever.

I will just categorize this post as a “product review”.

p.s.  I actually googled “EOS meaning” after I wrote this, and it turns out that EOS stands for Extraterrestrial’s Old S***…. okay just kidding, but that would make this blog post even funnier if it was true…



I just have to get this off my chest.  There are currently 2 things that I find ridiculously overpriced.  The first is frozen yogurt and the second is homemade art by my children.  It has taken me a few years, but I am learning to not get caught up in the hype, or fall for a sales pitch by a child under the age of 9.

We recently had the opportunity to go to “Orange Leaf,”a frozen yogurt bonanza!  If you have never been to one before, and you are like me, this is what your experience will be like:

You, a sugar addict, will walk in for the first time grabbing the largest cup, putting a small amount of yogurt in it, and then ferociously filling the rest of the cup with toppings.  It will not be until you go to pay that you tragically realize the prices are determined by weight.  I will let you guess what weighs more, yogurt… or millions of snickers, butterfinger bars, gummy bears, twix, etc. You get the idea.  Suffice it to say, when the lady at the register asked me to place my large, heavy cup on the scale, I hesitated for many seconds.  I actually thought about trying to replace toppings.  Unfortunately though, the toppings were already covered in hot fudge.  After having the sugar pile weighed, I think I heard the check out lady say, “That will be lot’s of dollars, ma’am”.

july-aug 134

When all was said and done, I am not certain if Gabe got more yogurt in his mouth or on his shirt.

Ann had no idea what her yogurt cost.

Ann had no idea what her yogurt cost.

Orange Leaf did have one redeeming factor…

Dividers!  For all those people who don't like their various foods to touch.

Dividers! For all those people who don’t like their various foods to touch…Oh, and they had cool spoons.  Its like eating with a tiny, expensive garden shovel.


Why hello Michael’s new smile.

One last word of caution (after you have used part of your retirement to pay for the yogurt), watch out for the chairs in this place.  They are very sleek and may have been stolen from Captain Kirk.

Frozen Yogurt is not the only expensive food with low nutrional value though.  Welcome to the Arnold Kid Bistro. The children (especially Gianna) will try to sell you just about anything to make a quick buck.  I am regularly presented with opportunities to take advantage of this “one time deal”, to buy…

Blue Raspberry popcorn...now there's a predictable combination!

Blue Raspberry popcorn…now there’s a predictable combination!

Or perhaps you have a hankering to grab some pancakes.  Just $1.00 a piece….for paper…

I will give the little entrepreneurs points for that cool electric skillet!

I will give the little entrepreneurs points for that cool electric skillet!

Are you sure you don’t want any paper pancakes?…They come with personalized bottles of syrup…

The smallest syrup bottle was for Eli...obviously.

The smallest syrup bottle was for Eli…obviously.

No, on those last options?  Well consider coming to this show, its just $1.00 a person!

Here's the program.  How could you resist.

Here’s the program. How could you resist?!!!  Please note: that in addition to the clowns, magic, fairies, and hero’s, there will be fireworks (as pictured on the right hand side of the program).

Still no?  Would you come if you knew that for just $1.00 more you could have some “Coke with a hint of mint”?

That's quality labeling right there.

That’s quality labeling right there.

You can pick a prize out of the prize box for, you guessed it, $1.00.  Just follow Gianna into that small tent back there to get your turn at picking a prize out of the “prize bucket”.

Eli is giving me the "you are not seriously going to do this" face.

Eli is giving me the “you are not seriously going to do this” face.

But don’t worry.  We’re mean, and we make our kids do actual work to earn money. We are not total suckers….unless we are in place named after fruity foliage.