Addy Walker, American Girl Doll Giveaway Ends 3/31

American Girl lovers know that behind every American Girl doll is a wonderful story! With March being reading month, I’m happy to help One Michigan Mom find Addy Walker a new home! I am also excited to share this one because I know how much American Girl dolls have meant to many of my friends’ children. They are classics that are always loved and can be passed down through the generations.

Addy Walker represents the America of 1864, and a family’s escape from slavery to freedom.

I’ve escaped to a new life. My whole world is  opening wide, but I’m learning that freedom  doesn’t make everything easy. Through it all, family  is what keeps me going. Just the thought of us all  together gives me strength.

This giveaway is co-sponsored by This Mama’s Life, Beyond Attachment Parenting, and Stingy Thrifty Broke. This giveaway was originally announced on Link Me to Deals!

American Girl Giveaway for March 2016!

Up for giveaway is an original 1993 Pleasant Company Addy Doll, with items shown and her book #1.

American Girl Giveaway

Addy, American Girl giveaway for March 2016

Addy was a collector’s doll and has passed through some hands via collector’s sales, so she shows some age, but she is still wonderful, even with the beginning of silver eye (which is a free fix from American Girl).

When it comes to American Girl – know that these stories really can help us all learn to celebrate America, and the struggles seen through the ages.

When reading American Girl books, a realistic depiction of life is opened up to the reader. In Addy’s book, you’ll discover what it was like to grow up during America’s Civil War, your daughter can play with Addy and interact with her and become her best friend. Or, she can continue to be a display doll.

Enter to Win!

 

Disclaimer: U.S. residents who are 18 years and older at time of entry.

  • The giveaway will end at 11:59 p.m. EST on 3/31/16 and the winner will be notified via email by 4/2/16 after verification of entries. Winner will have 48 hours to reply with shipping address and prize will ship from Michigan within 72 business hours. If the winner does not reply to email within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen and verified.

What is your favorite American Girl doll?

National Margarita Day: Best margaritas in Rochester, NY

February 22nd is one of my favorite holidays. How can you go wrong with National Margarita Day? I have fond memories of bonding with friends over margaritas in Rochester, NY. When I was working nights as a hostess at Outback, my friend and I would often head across the street after we closed, to drink margaritas and play games with the boys. When friends come to town, we often seek out one of the fantastic local Mexican restaurants for fantastic food and, of course, margaritas. My birthday usually includes consumption of this titillating tequila beverage, as well, the bigger the better. Here is a picture of me at El Jimador in Farmington, New York a few years ago. They have the biggest margaritas I have ever seen!

birthday margarita

Don’t worry, I don’t drive when I’m consuming these. 🙂

We have a ton of great Mexican restaurants with great margaritas in Rochester, NY and surrounding areas. My favorite for their food is Monte Alban Mexican Grill. With three locations, I am never far from one. I have been known to nibble on their amazing food while drinking margaritas and reading books by my favorite authors. In fact, if you pay attention to books by Tawdra Kandle, you just may find a character named Andrea who loves to serve margaritas.

monte alban margarita reading

We have other places with great margaritas. The ones at Maria’s Mexican in Webster, NY are so strong that they only allow each customer to have two. I have decided that my favorites are at Itacate in Penfield, NY. They are best enjoyed during Happy Hour, for a mere $3 apiece, while grazing on the buffet, hanging out with friends, and getting ready to listen to your friends’ band perform for the evening. We tend to enjoy a lot of them. The highlight of the evening is always when the boys play “Tequila” and we all sing along.

itacate margaritas

What is it that I like the best about the margaritas in these last two places? They don’t use sour mix. I am one of those people who has always loved the taste of tequila. I find that sour mix detracts from the tequila taste. Every once in a while, I find that the mix has a bit of a soapy taste to it. If I ever buy those premade margaritas, like the ones by Jose Cuervo and Chi-Chi’s, I usually end up adding a lot more tequila to them for that true tequila flavor that I crave.

I know there are a lot of other places to get margaritas in Rochester, NY, but these are the ones I frequent the most. Where do you like to get margaritas where you live? What makes them so good?

I love mimosas

Free Mimosa with each breakfast

Oh, those words “Complimentary Mimosa” just make my heart sing. Mimosas are my favorite part about Sundays. My neighborhood bar and grill started up a Sunday brunch early in 2016, and one of the gimmicks is one free mimosa with every breakfast, starting at noon.

They are not anything that I make at home. I only find them every once in a while. Another local restaurant has a Sunday brunch to which you can add an unlimited drink package. This includes coffee, tea, soft drinks, mimosas, juices, and you can mix it up. My birthday last year was on a Sunday, so guess where my friend took me? I figured he was driving and I was going to treat myself, and I did.

Now I make sure that I walk down on a weekly basis, to get my beverage and tasty breakfast offering. Because I do the bar’s social media, I consider it an occupational necessity. I need the pictures, right? And how can I promote something if I don’t sample it?

 

The Standard Mimosa

orange mimosaThe complimentary mimosa is your standard orange juice over champagne. Merchants uses individual bottles of champagne, to ensure that every glass has a fresh taste to it. Your shelf life for an opened large bottle is about an hour. While this would work during your peak, what are you doing to do with that which is not quickly consumed? (Although, I have to say I would be very willing to help out with that problem.)

These stemless wine goblets are a great way to serve this size of mimosa. The approximate ratio of champagne to orange juice is about three parts alcohol to one part juice. Some people may prefer to make theirs more half and half. I like this ratio in my mimosas.

 

The Pomegranate Mimosa

pomegranate mimosaOne thing they are trying to do is to provide mimosas in different flavors. I’m not a huge fan of grapefruit juice, so I am not sure I want one of those. Cranberry juice isn’t bad, and would probably taste good with the fizziness of the champagne, kind of like a cranberry cocktail. But it was the pomegranate that caught my attention and won me over that first week.

Many of us were in agreement that this version almost tasted better than the traditional version. I did notice that the bottle said it was more of a blueberry-pomegranate blend, but it was just the right flavor, sweetness, and taste to perfectly accompany my breakfast. It’s also great just to sip on while you are doing something else.

The proportions for this one are approximately the same as the orange juice mimosa. One small bottle of champagne, or three parts alcohol to one part juice.

More flavors of mimosas?

I do know that several other variations do exist. I have made it my mission to scour the internet for other mimosa and champagne cocktail flavors. I hope to have those coming to you over the next few weeks. I can’t wait to try more!

For now, try these flavors:

How do you like your mimosas?

Saving Money $5 at a Time

Saving Money

We are always trying to find new ways of saving money. We cut corners, use coupons, and try all kinds of new techniques to pinch a few pennies. I am not sure from where this idea originally came, but it is a technique that I learned about from some friends who work at my local bar and grill. So far, it is working for me.

Saving money $5 at a time.

Because my friends work as bartenders and servers, they have a constant influx of cash on hand. They sometimes have to stock a purse for making change on the floor and often take home a lot of tips in cash. Constantly having cash coming in definitely makes this technique for saving money an easier feat for them, but I think anyone can do it.

When they are counting out their cash at the end of the night, after turning in their envelopes, they make sure that they set aside all of the $5 bills. The $5 bills then go into a separate envelope at home and are forgotten about. That is how the stash begins to grow. You don’t really notice if you set aside $5 here and there and it very quickly adds up. One of the keys is to not regularly count it, so that you can be truly surprised.

Pearl Jam beckons.

So what am I saving up for? I have been a devout Pearl Jam fan for the past 25 years, ever since the first time “Evenflow” graced my ears. I have traveled coast to coast to watch my boys play and have even been lucky enough to have met Eddie Vedder twice. My faithful friend and I make an effort to attend at least one show every tour. I think I have only missed one tour since I started going, back during the Yield tour. In fact, I try to make it to more than one.

We’ve been on pins and needles waiting for the 2016 Tour announcement. Both of us have changed jobs, so time off and extra money has been a bit of a concern. My friends had just told me about this money-saving technique, so I started using it as soon as the tour dates were announced. By the time the tickets for our chosen show went on sale, I already had saved up most of the cost of one ticket.

How am I doing this? Well, I do not work in a field that pays in cash. From time to time, I will take out cash before going out or to pay bills. I do occasionally babysit, which allows for cash. I am also likely to take cash from my friends and use my debit card to pay when we go out to dinner or for drinks. I then set aside the $5 bills that I get. Any time I am out and break a larger bill when purchasing food or whatnot, I again set aside the $5 when I get home.

So, that is the method that works best for me. How you get your cash and break it up is going to be completely personal. Don’t give it too much thought. Just do it and be pleasantly surprised when it adds up.

What are you going to save for?

abe-1512028-1279x622

10 Valentine’s Day Cocktail Recipes

10 Quick and Easy Valentine's Day Cocktails

Nothing says loving like a good cocktail. Whether you are celebrating the holiday with a loved one, with friends, or celebrating as Single’s Awareness Day, a great adult beverage can make the evening a bit more relaxing and fun. I have collected a variety of Valentine’s Day cocktail recipes to try this holiday season, including some of my favorites and ones that I am aching to try. What’s your poison? 

First Crush Cocktail – Have you tried moonshine, yet? What used to be made only in the home, with a hillbilly reputation, is now becoming a staple in cocktail favorites all over the place. My first taste was a Christmas gift froim a friend. Now I can get it in the stores. I came across this cherry-flavored drink from Robyn’s Online World and can’t wait to try it!

I Heart You Valentine’s Day DrinkOh My Creative has this clever twist on the classic vodka and tonic drink. She freezes cranberry juice in a heart-shaped mold. As the ice melts, the flavor spreads and gives the drink more color. There’s even a nonalcoholic version for kids!

Valentine’s Day MocktailOh My Creative also has this Strawberry Kiwi-flavored mocktail for the holiday. She calls it a mock margarita. It looks fabulous as it is, but I will definitely be adding tequila to mine!

Strawberries and Champagne Margarita – Speaking of strawberries and tequila, Pizzazzerie has put together two of my favorite things: champagne and margaritas. I never would have thought of adding champagne to a margarita, but this recipe looks fabulous.

Strawberry Sunburst Cocktail – This one, by Pink Heels Pink Truck, includes the necessary requirement of black cherry and strawberry flavors, even though it also makes you think of summer. She made her own lemonade from scratch, which sounds fabulous and something I have always been meaning to try.

Love Martini – Picture the Recipe came up with their own version of the Love Martini at The Melting Pot. I admit when I first read the ingredients, I was transported back to my days of drinking Sex on the Beach in college. But this one still looks like a tasty treat on occasion.

Red Velvet Cake Martini – Red Velvet cake is one of my favorites, so why not try it in liquid form? Wicked Good Kitchen has an amazing blend of chocolatey, nutty, and cherry flavors in this cocktail. I would be more likely to do the Frangelico version, as I know I always have some on hand.

Cherry Vodka Cocktail and Shooter – Growing Up Gabel has a sweet shooter that can also be created as a Valentine’s Day cocktail. Made of cherry vodka, amaretto, and grenadine, it does elicit thoughts of being super sweet, but diluted with 7-Up, I think it could be very tasty. It is definitely one that I would try for after dinner.

Raspberry Moscato Cocktail – A light and airy romantic Valentine’s Day cocktail comes from Tonya Staab. She takes a blend of moscato and gingerale with raspberries and heart-shaped ice cubes. This would also be tasty with breakfast and perfect for the summer, too.

Hugs and Kisses Martini – Last, but not least, is the one that is probably my favorite on this list. I adore chocolate martinis. They are definitely my preferred version of this classic drink. Home Is Where the Boat Is has created a version with chocolate liquers and vodka, plus some half-and-half. (I have to admit, though, that I usually substitute half-and-half with straight up Bailey’s.) Dip the rim in sugar and garnish with a Hershey’s Hug. There are also a couple of other suggested variations.

Need more ideas? I have 12 more for you right here!