Random Stuff List

November 29, 2015


Well, howdy there, friends.

Did you all have a good Thanksgiving? Are you still eating leftovers? Can I come over to your house and eat everything that’s left of the sweet potato casserole, pleeeaase?

Anyway, let’s get this random stuff list started, shall we?

1. So speaking of Thanksgiving foods, remember last week when I said I was having my blogger friend, Priya, who’s a vegetarian, over for Thanksgiving and I was going to make a big turkey-less Turkey Day feast?


Instead I made dip, and then we went to Alamo Drafthouse for a movie.


My Thanksgiving dinner… or, umm, “dipner.”

In my defense, it was my famous spinach artichoke dip.

And in my defense’s defense, Alamo Drafthouse is my favorite place on earth. It’s basically like my own personal Disneyland. I mean, they have movies and food and a drink list longer than my arm. I’m pretty sure this is the kind of place that the Pilgrims dreamed off when they set sail for America.

2. And then on Black Friday, we skipped the sales, and went to my second favorite place on earth: Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. Every year at Christmas time, they do this display with trees decorated with symbols and souvenirs from different countries.

I always like to do this thing where I look at the tree first before the explanatory sign and try to guess what country it’s “from.”

Some of them are obvious.

2015-11-27 13.16.45

Australia… duh.

Some of them… not so much.

Ukraine... because apparently it's famous for giant sparkly spiderwebs?

Ukraine… because apparently it’s famous for giant sparkly spiderwebs?

They also do this model train village with all these miniature replicas of buildings in Grand Rapids and other parts of the world. And you think it’s just like any model train village until you get up close and you realize all the buildings are made out of leaves and acorn and other crap you find on the forest floor and you’re like, “HOLY WHAT NOW? THAT BUILDING IS MADE OUT OF BARK!”


100% bark… and acorns… and possibly pine cones.

3. If you’ve been reading my blog closely at all over the past two and a half years that I’ve been in Michigan, you may have noticed that Michigan is famous for two things: beer and lighthouses.

Okay, so it’s possible it’s famous for a few other things. Like, I think they make cars here or something? But, whatever, the two important things in my book are beer and lighthouses.

But, seeing as my recent house guest did not drink beer (I KNOW! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?), I was determined to show her a lighthouse. So we headed to South Haven after our day of gallivanting around Grand Rapids to check out the famous South Beach lighthouse.

And that’s when I learned a very important lesson about Michigan lighthouses and possibly all lighthouses everywhere.

If you’re going to visit one, you should really visit it during the day, so you can actually see it.

If you visit it at night, this is what you will see.


Somewhere in this picture there is a lighthouse. But I’m not exactly sure where.

Honestly, I thought it would be more, I dunno, lit up? I think in this case the term “lighthouse” is really misleading.

4. So, I know in honor of Thanksgiving I wrote a super snarky post about all the super sucky things that I’m grateful for this year, but there are some really great things that I am also thankful for.

Like this super un-Novembery weather that we’re having at the moment. I’m writing this right now in my living room with my windows cracked. Granted I’m also wearing three shirts, fleece pajama pants, fluffy socks and fluffy slippers, but I’m such a fresh air freak that I love any chance I can get to open the window even if it means wearing two layers of fluffy.

Plus, my cat is a big fan of the open window thing because to her my window is basically cat TV. And when the window is open that means cat TV is on full volume.


Waiting for her shows to come on.

Another thing I’m super grateful for: this card from one of my former students. You guys, is this not the sweetest? Plus, since she’s my former student, I know she’s not just saying nice things to butter me up for a grade.



5. Can we talk about the ridiculousness that is muffin recipes?

Not that I don’t love a good muffin recipe.

In fact, I’d consider myself something of a muffin pro. I even whipped up a batch of these banana streusel muffins on Friday morning for my house guest while she was still sleeping and then when she got up, I was like, “Oh, freshly made muffins. NBD. I do this all the time.”

But, here’s the thing. Why does every muffin recipe ever written make exactly enough batter for one full tin of muffins and then two random other muffins in another tin? WHHHYYYY???



6. Speaking of muffins, these crunchy-top chocolate chip orange muffins??? GAH!

Can you come stay with me for a weekend, and I’ll whip these up in the morning while you’re sleeping, so I can impress you? Pretty please???

7. Speaking of recipes, I just invented this new drink.



You mix cheapo bottled sangria with Leinenkugel’s cranberry ginger shandy (which is the best thing ever and if they don’t sell it in your state you need to move to a state where they do sell it). Add some orange slices and cranberries for garnish.

And then sit on your couch in your pajamas in the middle of the day and think about how you should go to bartending school so you can become a mixologist in some fancy-pants bar because it’s obvious you’re a natural at this kind of thing.

But then decide that sounds like too much hard work, and just watch Lifetime holiday movies and day-drink instead.

8. Have you seen this list this man made of all the reasons his wife cried?

I can totally relate as someone who cries about EVERYTHING EVER. I’m such a crier that I will start crying when I see someone else crying. Even if that someone else is a character on television. ON TELEVISION FOR FREAK’S SAKE!

9. I’m always on the look out for fun, new blogs to read. I’ve especially been into lifestyle blogs lately… but specifically ones that are funny and honest and don’t make me want to spend a million dollars on a new pair of boots. Not that I don’t want to already spend a million dollars on a new pair of boots. But I’d rather that desire stay curbed.

One blog that I’ve really been enjoying lately is Living in Yellow. I particularly like her take on winter in the Midwest: “It’s like us Midwesterner’s are given a six month excuse to do nothing but wear slippers, drink coffee and lay on the couch.” A-men, sister!

10. Worried about what you’re going to buy people for Christmas? This Dr. Seuss Online Holiday Catalog has got you covered. I mean, who doesn’t need a thneed?


I hope you had a fabulous week! Feel free to share your muffin recipe woes/drink creations/suggestions for lifestyle blogs that won’t make me buy million-dollar boots!


I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On November 29, 2015 at 4:03 pm Priya said:

    Thanks for having me over! And I was totally impressed by banana muffins magically appearing when I woke up.
    Priya recently posted..Holiday Weekend In Kalamazoo, Michigan

  2. On February 20, 2016 at 10:23 pm Matthew said:

    Oh, Mary… love that lighthouse! What a speaicl place. We used to have a door on our downstairs bath in St. Augustine that came from the light tender’s boat in St. Augustine. It was his hatch door. The light keeper was responsible for keeping the oil filled in the harbor lights during the 1800’s. The door was quite old when it came our way through a local antiques dealer, and we enjoyed it in our St. Augustine house for many years. I took it out when we decided to list the house because I didn’t want someone throwing it out should they decide it was too primitive to use. Instead, I had one copied by our carpenter for that same bath. So, as you can see, I love lighthouses and all things involving nautical travel, too. And would you believe that I’ve never before eaten rhubarb??? I know that sounds provincial of me that I’ve never tried it, but it is not something that is regularly eaten in the South. Not quite sure why, but this bread sounds OH, so tempting! Thanks for sharing the recipe and the lovely pictures…XO,Sheila 🙂

    • On March 10, 2016 at 5:42 pm Sally said:

      I’ve only ever had rhubarb in pie. I’ve heard it’s eaten in other ways… but why would you want to eat anything not in pie form when you could eat it in pie form???


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