Just Enough Info

Alicia (from Sweeping Up Joy) was recklessly generous and invited me to join a link up she’s part of called “Just Enough Info”. If I understand correctly, its kind of a “get to know you” type link up, to help build some community on the internet. And I love building community on the internet, because the people I “talk to” can’t hear my children disobeying my every command in the background. So, if you don’t want to know anything about me, this would be a good time to throw your technological device and run screaming.

Each week there will be three questions to answer. The three questions for this week are:

1~ What is your best school memory from your childhood?

2~ Do you have any back to school family traditions?

3~ Markers or Colored pencils?


1~ What’s your best school memory from your childhood?

I will title this story: THE Best Memory.

I went to the SAME *small* Catholic school for 9 years. NINE YEARS!!! (kindergarten through 8th grade). On the day of my 8th grade “graduation” everyone was called up to receive their “diploma” (or sentimental milestone paper). I waited with great anticipation. I was so excited to “graduate”. I had been at this school for NINE years! My dad went here as a child, my grandmother went here as a child. When it was finally my turn the Principal called my name, “Mary ANN MEL–NICK”. I paused, confused……my name was “Mary ELLEN MALENK”. NINE YEARS! SAME SCHOOL! They didn’t even get my name right.

So many years building to that anticlimactic moment. It was deeply amusing. Such an entertaining memory.

But I can’t really blame them. When I looked back in my 8th grade year book I didn’t exactly do *them* any favors with *my* sentiments.

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My “best” memory then; volleyball. So deep. So thoughtful. So……Memorable. BUT, look how I wrote my “M’s” back then! *Pretty* cool. (Also, my hair is in a banana clip. I would be remiss not to point that out.)


2~ Do you have any back to school traditions?

No. We are so. boring. The closest we have come to a tradition is “being on time”. We have never been late on the first day of school. So I guess you could say “not late” is our tradition.

3~ Markers or colored pencils?

If we are talking about me; I prefer colored pencils. Its so much easier to control the color (not that I do all that much coloring these days….I do none, to be exact).

If we are talking about my children; neither. The danger of finding graffiti from a rouge colored pencil or marker is too high. But if I have to pick one or the other, colored pencils would win.

If you care to fall down a rabbit hole and read more of these types of posts you can go here.

Well, I have to go and pick up my older children from school now. Oh the superficial memories they are probably making right now as we speak.



My Sunday Best

Top ‘O the Sunday to you! Just thought I would do a quick Sunday blog check-in. Joining Rosie with My Sunday Best.

I got a new skirt! Its white… so we all saw that one coming.


I always think my head looks rather large, elongated, and deformed in cell phone mirror photos. This perspective may be influenced by the fact that I have a large, elongated, and deformed head? Who knows. That will just have to remain one of life’s great mysteries. (In case you are wondering, my ankles are not made of lumpy play dough. Those are finger prints on the mirror.)

Last week I took pictures of “my Sunday best”, but never blogged them (Yay! The internet was spared for a week!). But I’m going to post them now. Ha! You didn’t escape after all; gotcha!

The outfit I wore last Sunday was bold and daring. And I am happy to report that after almost 2 years since having Mary Claire I have  sort of/almost/kind of /maybe  gotten rid of my baby gut.


If I just suck it in, say a prayer, and act casual. (Pardon the finger prints on the mirror…that were apparently there last week…)

I’m sure I’d be a lot better off if I watched what I ate on a regular basis, but its going to take a lot more than vanity to stop me from putting heavy whipping cream in my coffee every day…sometimes more than once a day….ok, ok, almost *always* more than once a day.


Mmmmmm. Creamy. And fatty. All fat to be exact. The carton says “45 calories. 45 from fat”. Its very worth it.

I have a lot of things that I would like to blog about, like the standard “birthday’s, vacations, etc.” BUT! Most importantly, I also have a blogging commitment to fulfill.

My brother-in-law, Joel, wants to start a “Catholic Cinema Society” and have people link up and do movie reviews. He kindly and generously invited me to participate and I kindly accepted…. and then left on vacation. Twice. Never to be heard from again.

Until now!

I hope Joel forgives me for my negligence. (Although he may need to save up some of his forgiveness. That way he will have plenty of forgiveness left in his heart, when he reads my terrible movie reviews). If you have any interest in participating in this super society, you can read about it here or here or here.

And now, in addition to all my posts about outfits that are black or white, or my outfits that are white and black, you can look forward to my movie reviews! Which will probably turn out to just be a description about the experience of watching movies on a heavily fingerprinted television (why do they have to touch everything?!?!?!?), rather than an actual movie review.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, and have a delightful dreaded Monday morning.





My Sunday Best.

Linking up with Rosie again! My Sunday Best!…on a Monday.

Well, I’m feeling like a broken clothing record….again. Today marks the 3rd Sunday in a row that I have worn this outfit. Let’s celebrate this accomplishment with a picture of me standing by my very striped fireplace.


This picture makes me look like a crazy, awkward, and poorly proportioned robot. But no one cares. And if they do, I’m sure this picture will only make them feel better about themselves and their life accomplishments. So win win!!

It should be noted that I *do* own other shoes, but I wear these ones every Sunday because they are the perfect height. I’ve only rolled my ankle in them twice.


(This picture is dedicated to my friend, Ashley, who dislikes pictures of feet. Thanks for being a great friend, Ashley. Cheers to you!)

I tried to capture a picture of my children in their Sunday best, but only 2 of the kids came when I called them. Maybe I got some of the kids names wrong? I knew I should have trained them to respond to a dog whistle.


Their eyes were watering from the brightness of the sun, but since they were the only children who loved me enough to pose for a picture I’ll let their poor modeling slide, and leave everything in the will to them. (That will show those other kids!….whatever their names are.)

In other non-clothing related news, I took 2 bites of my cereal the other day before realizing I had grabbed a *fork* instead of a spoon. It was a very weird sensory experience, “Why is there no milk on my spoon? Why is my spoon so sharp?”. I am also alarmed at how slowly my brain processed what was going on…


Gianna walked by when I snapped this picture and said “You’re taking that picture for your blog aren’t you. Do you really want people to know you tried to eat your cereal with a fork?”

Well, things haven’t been too exciting around here lately so I am going to leave off (abruptly) on that note, and go clean my kitchen. I probably should have cleaned the kitchen and *then* wrote a blog post, but I like to live on the edge….the edge of “hoping no one stops by to find me sitting on the couch with my computer when there is 2 meals worth of dirty dishes in the kitchen”.

Wishing all of you all the best on this Monday Fun-day! Or Monday Dooms-day, depending on your mood.



My Sunday Best

Good Sunday to all of you! I’m joining Rosie again for My Sunday Best! Rosie is trying for a “pants-free July” (meaning she’ll wear skirts, not be pantsless). In this hot humid weather, that sounds so nice and airy!

I don’t have anything too exciting to report on the Sunday clothing front. I wore the same thing that I wore that other Sunday. Surprise, surprise.


My outfit is probably at least a year old- 100% Target. Not that anyone cares. Michael is in the background knocking water off the canvas canopy in the back yard.

We got 5-ish inches of rain here yesterday in our neck of the woods, (or plains? I guess here in Kansas most of the necks are plains). We have had a LOT of rain lately. Which only makes Mark and I a tad nervous since our new house is IN A FLOOD PLAIN! We should probably get more serious about investing in pool inflatables as furniture. Oh well, if the house floats away it will make for good blogging material.

Let’s see, what other exciting things can I tell you? We went to a later mass this morning, so there were no donuts. The kids had a lot of trouble processing that reality. “No donuts? There are no (???) donuts?”. I am confident that they will heal in time.


Michael invited himself into the picture from the *other side* of the double sided fire place.

Mark and I left the house today (!!!) and spent the afternoon at Panera. We met up with his brother and sister-in-law for coffee. (We weren’t just loitering aimlessly, in case that is what you were thinking.  We save up all our loitering time for the candy store on free sample day.). I ended up drinking too much coffee without eating substantial food.  This always leaves me feeling the same way I assume jack hammer operators must feel at the end of a long day. I never learn my lesson.

We finished off the day by going to the park where Eli and Mary Claire found markers (???) on the ground. I thought they were pretending to draw with rocks. (And no, I have never seen skinny, cylinder shaped-rocks labeled “Crayola” but I thought these might be a first.)  Anyways, I was wrong. They were not rocks, and unfortunately I only started paying close attention to what they were doing, *after* MC Hammer had drawn on her dress.

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Whomever left those markers at the playground deserves a spanking. Mary Claire looks suspiciously guilty; lucky for her she’s too cute for spankings.

At any rate, its late. I should go to sleep. Happy almost 4th of July (or actual 4th of July if you are reading this tomorrow)! Y’all be careful now, and leave a generous amount of space between your sparkler and the person next to you.

“I’m Bored”

That’s the current trending statement in our house. And I can’t say that I disagree…which is why I’m linking up with Kelly again! Blog away the boredom I always say! (Which always prompts my children to point out they don’t know how to type…or have blogs.)

1~Gabe needs to start a support group for “Bored-aholics Anonymous”.  (Of course by posting this information on the internet, I might have made the anonymity part harder for him.) Of all my children, he is the most bored. He just came over and sat down and said “I’m bored”. So I took a picture of him, which made him mad. But hey! It cured the boredom for a minute! The first step, in the 12 step process for Bored-aholics; have your mother take a leggy picture of you in your gym shorts.


Each time I see a picture of our stairs with the picture hanging on the wall, I like to recall how Mark and I risked our lives to hang that picture. Hanging it involved multiple ladders, awkwardly placed at angles on the stairs.  I would hope that if we had indeed died in the process, that someone would have had the decency to make that picture into our headstone, with the words “Death by Decor” on it.

2~I would love to say that *I* am immune to boredom because “I’m just so busy raising 6 kids that I have NO TIME to be bored!”, but the truth is, I get bored a lot too. Sure. there’s no shortage of things to do, but those things are usually boring. Waking up? Boring. Mundane kitchen cleaning? Boring. Any game my children want me to play (which I do with plenty of enthusiasm because I love them)? Boring. I could name other obvious household chores (laundry?), but that would be BORING. It just serves as further proof that you can have a lot of crap…I mean things, but they won’t make you happy. Or in this case, they won’t cure your boredom.

3~Whenever the kids tell me “I’m bored! Nobody wants to play with me!”, I tell them “Nobody wants to play with you!!?? That’s a weak argument for being bored. I was an only child; I never had anyone to play with. I played alone all the time.” The kids never have any sympathy for me though. Which is why when I am helping Gabe come up with things to do by himself he says “Oh! I bet you did this a lot in your lonely life as a kid!”.


Gabe really doesn’t like having his picture taken. He was so mad when I wanted a picture of him after he fell on his face into a puddle of mud.  I am such a caring mother, “yah, yah, you’re mad. Now hold still so I can get this picture; you look hilarious.”  (I *only* demonstrated that last part with my actions, I probably did not say those words out loud.)

3~Good gracious! I’m getting bored-er (a word?) just reading about boredom. Let’s move on…

4~Kelly’s 7 Quick takes post today was really amusing. I know I already linked to it above, but I always enjoy beating a dead horse. Sometimes if you hit it just right, you can get one more good neighhhh out of it. (Too morbid? For the record, I only actually enjoy the neighing of a live horse.) Kelly’s dedication to taking pictures as visual aids is unmatched; I highly encourage you to take a moment to appreciate her work.  (See, neighhh!)

5~I veered from my normally mundane rotation of the same 7 meals, and made stromboli the other night. Its always delicious, and I think it is the kids favorite meal.  I don’t make it often….because it requires me to make bread…and because not only do I make bad jokes about dead horses, I can sometimes be lazy.  (Basically, I’m a terrible human being.)

Anyway, one of my favorite things to do when cooking is to find ways to cut corners (work smarter, not harder!) and I have found that when making bread, a person can cut corners like CRAZY! Unless you have invited an artisan bread maker from Italy over for dinner, your dinner guests probably won’t notice you cut corners…or at least they won’t tell you they noticed.

I always follow the standard recipe of warm water, yeast, blah blah blah, but then I leave the safe world of following directions, and become a bread-y rebel! I stab it with a spoon for a minute (or 2!), kneed it for a minute (or 2!), and then… I DON”T LET IT RISE! I just put the toppings on and bake it! (All of the seasoned bread makers are tearing their garments, lamenting my faux pas). But honestly, the lack of rising doesn’t make enough of a difference in the bread for me to care.


The spoon stabbing. A technical process.

6~ This picture makes it look like Mary Claire has a special gift.  Like, if we went to baseball game, we would not have to buy her one of those giant foam, “We’re #1” hands.


7~That’s all I’ve got for now (thank goodness)! Fairest of Fridays to you fine folk!

I’m starting to loose my resolve. My Sunday Best.

Linking up with Rose again! Or is it Rosie? Do you have a preference Rose-ie?

Well, would it surprise any of you fine readers to know that I wore the same thing to mass today, that I wore last week…and the week before?! No? I didn’t think so. I am just as bored of this outfit as you are.


We call this the tree of shame in our backyard.  Unrepentant fashionista-failures are sent here to think things over. (Full disclosure, this is obviously the first time the tree has been used.)

Though I am bored of my outfit, I am clearly not bored enough to do anything about it! Rose is probably going to add another ground rule to the link-up called “Mary, go buy another shirt.”

I’m going to try and reclaim a little bit of my dignity by pointing out that after church I did change into a pair of shorts and different shoes. Now you can sleep better knowing that I own at least 5 items of clothing…


Why am I looking suspiciously out of the corner of my eye? I don’t know. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

By the way, I suppose I should take a moment to point out the elephant in the room, also called “the golf ball sized bump on my left arm”.

I normally forget the old elephants there…until the light shines on it  *just right* (like in the picture above) illuminating it in all of its golf ball-ish grandeur. So, in the event that anyone noticed it (and if you didn’t before, you are now!), there is nothing to be concerned about. Its just a lipoma, also endearingly known as “a lump of fat cells”.

Its weird, I know. I didn’t always have it. It started growing when I had my first child and it just keeps growing a *little* more during each pregnancy because of the pregnancy hormones.  A lipoma can be surgically removed, but it is not covered by insurance…so, I’m just going to have a golf ball sized bump on my arm until we want to spring for that vanity surgery!!! Yay!

Now that I’m done talking about my sparse clothing selection and over sharing about my arm bump, I will leave you with one last Sunday detail. 12 years ago when we had our first child, (and I started incubating an elephant on my arm,) I swore I would never let any toddler of mine bring any of those unholy cheerios into church to keep them quiet. And up until this year I held strong. But desperation struck, and she goes by the name of Mary Claire, and I have crumbled under pressure. I am now one of those parents who lets their 18 month old baby eat their rambunctious feelings during mass. But! I’m not giving her cheerios…its Captain Crunch. Captain Crunch is square shaped, so it can’t roll away from me when it falls. My thoughtfulness is a little bit redeeming, right? Maybe?

Well, its getting late, and I am tired after making a meal that wasn’t waffles.

A glorious Sunday to all, and to all a goodnight!!!


Au Natural…

Inviting myself to Kelly’s Seven Quick Takes party again!

1~ I will start out by saying that it has been very hot and sweaty here in this sauna we call Kansas.  Unfortunately, this means some days require more than one shower a day for me, depending on how poorly I plan my activities. A typical, poorly-planned shower day, goes as follows…

Wake up


Yell at children (lovingly)

Go to Mass/Go out in public

Yard work (to add a first layer of sweat)

Give children food

Tranquilize children with naps/television

Work out (to add a second, deadly layer of sweat)

Shower again

2~ Why do I bother showering in the morning when I have just showered in the evening, you may be wondering? Well, because…vanity.

I know a lot of lucky people who can go long amounts of time without washing their hair, but not this lady. Without water and copious amounts of conditioner and gel, I cannot take my frazzled noggin out in public (Well, I could, but my hair in its au natural state would make people uncomfortable).

My hair does not look good after being slept on and I don’t like to waste hair gel on my hair in the evening, so I wake up with…


…Volume for daaayyyyyyyys. And the subtle appearance of a psychiatric patient.

3~ Perhaps a collage would be fun…

big hair

You can change the face, but it doesn’t change the hair. I’m pretty sure even if Locks of Love was DESPERATE for hair, they would still turn me down, “Uhhhhh mam, we’re here to help people, not humiliate them”. And just to clarify, that *is* my naturally long neck, no Photoshop there!

4~ This is why I buy bottles of hair gel the size of my head.


Just a bit (a lot) of hair gel, and I look like I can be trusted to drive a car again. Also, I’m not trying to intimidate you, by leaning in for this photograph. I am just forcibly showing you my hair gel.

4~ On another note, as I mentioned above, I have been “working out” as part of my poorly planned sweaty day. And just to be clear, I use the expression “working out” very loosely. Please do not be under the impression that I do anything amazing. I am just a normal person flailing their limbs around to raise their heart rate… and I normally eat some Twizzlers when I’m done (I could probably stand to cut out the twizzlers).

I would be curious what more proficient worker-outers would have to say or recommend. I have been alternating doing these workouts from this youtube channel and running. I only do the workouts that are body-weight only. I don’t have any equipment (because ain’t nobody got storage for that!…especially people who have 6 children. I have enough trouble storing the children).

The youtube workouts are a pretty good mix of “I may be flailing, but I can do this”, and “I am probably dying”.  But when I want to come as close to a cardiac death as possible, I do this stairs exercise. I’m really trying to improve my abdominal area (thanks kids), so if anyone has any other bright ideas to offer, please do. My midsection would thank you.

5~Side note: While trying to write this post today I have been holding Mary Claire because she has a little bit of a fever.  I find it amusing that she likes to cover her nose with the corner of her blanket. She does this all the time, not just when she is not feeling well. I just can’t seem to understand how breathing all of that hot recycled air is comforting…

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She will probably grow up to be that person on the airplane breathing into a paper bag.

6~ Due to my excessive showering, I feel like my summer dinner creativity has ceased to exist. All summer we have basically just been eating tacos, hamburgers, hot dogs, spaghetti, and waffles.  (I know what you’re thinking, and yes, that is a lot of food items for one meal.  However, if you ever tried one of Mark’s maple syrup covered taco-dog-burger-waffle-spaghetti, you would know why his restaurants keep going out of business. Kidding of course. Since I am a lazy cook, I would never make all those items the same night; probably much to Mark’s disappointment.)

7~ And while I am making the same repetitive meals, the kids pull all of the pots and pans out, fight over them for 5 minutes, and then leave them for me to clean up.


Maybe the kids think that the sight of all my cooking supplies will trigger a memory of something besides taco-dog-burger-waffle-spaghetti.

Oh well, we’re not starving over here. So life goes repetitively on!

I hope your Saturday is spent doing something more exciting than this blog post! Bon Voyage!!!