It’s Time for Choctoberfest 2016 + Giveaway


Today is one of my favorite days of the year… because it is the first day of #Choctoberfest 2016!

#Choctoberfest is a virtual event put together by The PinterTest Kitchen. Bloggers from around the world will be posting their favorite chocolate recipes, and you’ll get a chance to win some awesome prizes. What’s not to love?

Thank you to the sponsors who make #Choctoberfest possible! This year, Imperial Sugar is back as our Gold Sponsor. They have been a trusted name in kitchens since 1843, and their website is home to thousands of sweet recipes tested in the Imperial Sugar Kitchen. You can find Imperial Sugar on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube, or join their Sweet Community so you can share your own recipes, save recipes to a virtual inbox, print Imperial Sugar coupons, and connect with other sugar lovers.

Imperial Sugar and our silver sponsors have banded together to offer a huge #Choctoberfest prize pack, which you can enter to win below! One lucky winner will be chosen at random to receive the following:

  • From our Gold Sponsor Imperial Sugar: 1 case of granulated sugar (40 pounds), 1 case of brown sugar (24 pounds), 1 case of dark brown sugar (24 pounds), 1 case of powdered sugar (24 pounds bags), and an Imperial Sugar red ruffle apron
  • From our Silver Sponsor Nature Nate’s: 32 oz. Raw & Unfiltered Honey bottle, Honey Syrup, Honey Packets, a Nature Nate’s T-shirt, various kitchen supplies, and $50 Amazon gift card
  • From our Silver Sponsor Barlean’s:16 oz Barlean’s Butter-Flavored Coconut Oil, 9.52 oz canister of Chocolate Silk Greens, and 8oz bottle of Essential Women Omega-Swirl Chocolate Mint
  • From our Silver Sponsor Caveman Coffee: 1 Bag of Coffee (you choice of blacklisted or sabertooth), 1 coconut MCT oil, and 1 Cacao Butter
  • From #Choctoberfest blog hosts The PinterTest Kitchen: 1 specialty chocolate gift pack (your choice of dark or milk chocolate), 1 tin (14 ounces) drinking chocolate, and Divine’s Fair Trade Gift Set

Enter now to win our #Choctoberfest 2016 prize pack! We’ll be picking a winner at random winner on Saturday, Oct. 22, so enter by next Friday to make sure your name is in the drawing:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here’s a list of all of the bloggers participating in #Choctoberfest 2016. Visit any of their blogs to get delicious chocolate recipes throughout the week:

The PinterTest Kitchen2 Cookin’ MamasA Kitchen Hoor’s Adventuresaddicted 2 recipesAmy’s Cooking AdventuresAn Affair From The HeartBalancing MotherhoodBody RebootedBottom Left of the MittenBy the PoundsCanning and Cooking at HomeCoconut & LimeCook with 5 KidsCook’s HideoutCookaholic WifeCooking with CarleeCopyKat RecipesCricket’s ConfectionsCrumbs in my MustachioElisabeth JeanFairyburgerFaith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered AccompliceFamily Around the TableFantastical Sharing of RecipesFeed Your Soul TooFeeding BigFrankly EntertainingFull Belly SistersGet the Good StuffGrumpy’s HoneybunchHezzi-D’s Books and CooksHostess At HeartInk and SugarJane’s Adventures in DinnerJoin Us, Pull Up a ChairKaren’s Kitchen AdventuresKate’s Recipe BoxKudos Kitchen by ReneeKylee CooksLetz EatLife CurrentsLife on Food Making MiraclesMonica’s TableMoore or Less Cooking Food BlogMy Catholic KitchenMy Gluten Free MiamiOur Good LifePalatable PastimeRestless ChipotleSeduction in The KitchenSew You Think You Can CookSimple Food 365Southern With A TwistSumptuous SpoonfulsTake Two TapasTampa Cake GirlTeaspoon of GoodnessThat RecipeThe Crumby CupcakeThe FlavouristaThe Food Hunter’s Guide To CuisineThe Freshman CookThe Pajama ChefThe Redhead BakerThe Spiffy CookieTramplingroseWildflour’s Cottage KitchenZesty South Indian Kitchen

I’m looking forward to seeing all of the yummy recipes posted on these blogs. Check them out throughout the week and don’t forget to follow our sponsors and bloggers using the Rafflecopter giveaway widget above for your chance to win our sweet prize pack.

Are you a fellow food blogger who wants to get involved with events like #Choctoberfest? Sign up here to get notifications when they happen from The PinterTest Kitchen.

Celebrating 3 Months & a Liebster Award

Last week I celebrated 3 months since I started my blog. Who would have thought that this little thing started in a little town in the Bottom Left of the Mitten could give me so much joy? Not me certainly but I am more than ecstatic about what I’ve accomplished thus far.

Not only was I nominated for the Liebster Award I was also accepted to the Top Mommy Blogs!

Vote For Me @ The Top Mommy Blogs Directory

If you are a Mom Blogger I highly recommend joining. It’s a great community. Now onto the Awards!

Liebster Blogging Awards

The Liebster is an award given by bloggers from bloggers.  It’s a way for the community to grow and give recognition.  If you are nominated and accepted your Liebster you then:

1) Thank you nominators.
2) Accept your nomination.
3) Go and nominate 5-11 more blogs of your choosing.
4) In order to get to know a little more background we also do a little fun Q&A.  I answer 11 questions from my nominator.  I then ask 11 questions of my nominees.
5) I’m going to tell you 11 random fact about me.
6) I will pass the baton onto 5 other well deserving bloggers who will then nominate blogs of their own.

For full details on the Liebster I went back to the post that my nominator referred to here.

I am so pleased to accept the nomination for the Liebster Award. I was so kindly nominated by a really cool blog, Realweegiemidget.  Thank you!  Learn more about Realweegiemidget and her blog in her acceptance speech.

Here are my answers to her 10 Questions of me: (find my answers in italics)

  1. How did you choose the name for your blog? I am proud to be a Michigander and I knew that I wanted to blog about our special little area, SW Michigan…..therein lies Bottom Left of the Mitten
  2. How did you decide on the subject of your blog? I actually thought that it would be more of a mashup of parenting, some food & crafts.  It quickly became a food blog when I realized that this was my true passion. Cooking food & sharing it with others. But I still do blog a little about other subjects.
  3. If you could choose a film to be reviewed in this blog which one would you choose? Untamed Heart with Marissa Tomei  
  4. Why?   It is my all-time favorite movie.
  5. Which of my film reviews would you pass onto a friend if you wanted them to see the film with you? Terms of Endearment
  6. Why? Such a sweet and sad movie. A must watch for any woman.
  7. Which of my TV  reviews would you pass onto a friend if you wanted them to watch the programme with you? The Outlander Series
  8. Why? It’s all anyone is talking about recently so those who aren’t ‘in the know’ can brush up.
  9. If you could move anywhere as an expat where would you move?   Sweden
  10. Why?  That is where my family is from.
  11. Final question… What 3 tips would you give for a first time blogger?   1) Blog consistently 2) Join Instagram, it’s engaging and so much fun! 3) Join a blogging group. It’s helped out so much!

And then 11 Random things about me. Say it’s a ‘Getting to know you’ corner of the blog.

  1. I love 30 Rock. I’ve watched the entire series at least 10 times.
  2. I had my youngest at 37….I’m tired.
  3. My brother & I only have 2 letters different between our first, middle & last name.
  4. My blog originally was intended for ‘some’ recipes but it quickly turned me into a food blogger. You can find me now on Yummly.
  5. I’ve been to Disney World 22 times….and counting.
  6. I still get carded sometimes, at almost 40.
  7. My index fingers are double jointed.
  8. I’ve lived in the same part of Michigan my whole life.
  9. I’ve quickly become obsessed with Instagram.
  10. I’m new to the whole Stay at home mom thing.
  11. I have been a virtual assistant on and off for 9 years.

And now drumroll……..Here are my nominees. These wonderful blogs are awesome and I know you will love them as much as I do.


Yilbis Brooks is the brains & Personal Finance Blogger behind My Dollar Has Cents.  She has accepted my nomination and lets us know a little bit about herself when she answers my 11 questions: (find nominees answers in italics)

  1. ‘One song dance party’. What song are you playing? Rock with you Michael Jackson. 
  2. If you could be a character in a book, who would you be? Michonne from Walking Dead 
  3. Why? I would be her because she has a strong personality, she is a fighter, yet also has a softer side. I can relate to her because in the midst of her lifestyle she is trying to find her place in this big world. 
  4. Who are you hoping to reach with your blogging? I am hoping to reach the younger audience from 16 and over because I have witnessed the poor decisions people have made with their finances due to the lack of knowledge. From maxing out credit cards to letting it destroy marriages, I wanted to help break the cycle.
  5. What’s your favorite part of being a blogger? My favorite part of being a blogger is the ability to share my  knowledge with those who are seeking a change in their financial structure. I love the fact that my blog can potentially keep someone from entering a world of debt. 
  6. Morning Person or Night Owl? Such a Night Owl. 
  7. Have you ever been to Michigan? I have never been to Michigan.
  8. What’s your favorite TV Show? Martin
  9. Why? Its just one of those shows that you can watch repeatedly and still laugh as hard as you did the first time you watched it.
  10. Furthest you’ve traveled? Honduras 
  11. Date night–what are you doing? A perfect date night for me would be going out to a restaurant and topping it off with a comedy show.


Janelle gives great exercise tips & life advice over at My Life After Forty.  She too has accepted my nomination.  Get to know her through these 11 questions:

  1. ‘One song dance party’. What song are you playing? Probably Crazy in Love, that’s the song I liked best when playing Just Dance on Wii! 
  2. If you could be a character in a book, who would you be? Hard question!! I’m going to say Molly Weasley from Harry Potter.
  3. Why? I’m not as crafty as her, but I’ve always tried to make my kids and their friends feel welcome in my home (mostly through food lol). 
  4. Who are you hoping to reach with your blogging? Even though my blog is geared to women in their 40s, I really hope to reach anyone that is facing changes in their life or to encourage them in their goals.
  5. What’s your favorite part of being a blogger?  At this point in the game, I am just learning something new every day and that’s always fun to me! Learning something and putting it into action! I can say- I did that!
  6. Morning Person or Night Owl? I have only become a morning person over the last 2-3 years. 
  7. Have you ever been to Michigan? I have, many times. It is very beautiful. I’m in Indiana, so it takes about 30ish minutes to get to Michigan.
  8. What’s your favorite TV Show? I love Big Bang Theory, but also Expedition Unknown (on Travel Channel with Josh Gates! Check it out! I think it’s on Netflix now too). 
  9. Why? Big Bang is so funny and makes me laugh regardless of how many times I see an episode. Expedition Unknown is a Travel Channel show and you get to see different locations, different cultures, different myths. The scenery is always beautiful. And Josh the host is like Indiana Jones for me. He’s cute, funny, but also smart and inquisitive.
  10. Furthest you’ve traveled? Several years ago, I got to go to Boston for a work trip and it was amazing! I would love to go back! 
  11. Date night–what are you doing? Most likely, dinner and/or a movie. We also like to bowl sometimes. 

Practical, By Default

Jen from Practical By Default make Homeschooling look like a breeze!  Thank you Jen for accepting my nomination.  Learn more about her now:

  1. ‘One song dance party’. What song are you playing? Hall of Fame
  2. If you could be a character in a book, who would you be? Tris from Divergent
  3. Why? Tris in the book is a smaller girl but she is strong where it counts. She stands up for what is right and takes action when needed. That is what I strive to be. 
  4. Who are you hoping to reach with your blogging?  I hope to reach parents that are homeschooling, to help them realize that they don’t have to do it alone. That there is a place you can ask questions and get answers. I want to encourage parents stay connected to their family, reduce stress and save time and money by providing informative, inspiring and encouraging information. When I started homeschooling there wasn’t the resources available as there are now, even so, it can still feel like you are alone. I wanted a place to share, encourage and inspire. I hope to reach those that want that too. 
  5. What’s your favorite part of being a blogger?  Connections. For example, I had a reader message me on Facebook. She said, “I saw that book you recommended and I got it. My daughter loved it, she reads it and applies it. She is showering without me nagging her to death. I am amazed.” Those are the things that make me happy to be a blogger. When you can help someone, it makes the hours of work, research and effort pay off. 
  6. Morning Person or Night Owl? More of a morning person if I have to pick, at least after coffee.
  7. Have you ever been to Michigan? No
  8. What’s your favorite TV Show? ( I don’t have “TV “, as in cable, Netflix etc. Sorry!) 
  9. Why? We never watched it so when we were cutting bills that was one of the first steps we took. We have a television but use it for the Xbox and Wii.
  10. Furthest you’ve traveled? Toronto
  11. Date night–what are you doing? Going out for supper. Hair done, makeup done, heels, jeans and a “dressy” Shirt.

Thoughts on Books

Theresa Jones of Thoughts On Books immediately grabbed my attention with her book reviews.  They are thoughtful, in depth and make me want to hit the bookstore.  Oh, and there are giveaways!  She has accepted the nomination.  Here is more about Theresa:

  1. ‘One song dance party’. What song are you playing? No Rain by Blind Melon (total 90’s alternative nut) 
  2. If you could be a character in a book, who would you be? Dr. John Watson
  3. Why? So I could help Sherlock Holmes, and be a writer as well. 
  4. Who are you hoping to reach with your blogging? Folks that are looking for ways to put into practice all the things that they are learning about in their self-help readings. I’m especially hoping to reach people in the middle of their life, looking for ways to change and do the things they put on hold while raising children.
  5. What’s your favorite part of being a blogger? I love the writing the most. 
  6. Morning Person or Night Owl? Night Owl who has turned into a Morning Person.
  7. Have you ever been to Michigan? Nope, never been there.
  8. What’s your favorite TV Show? Sherlock Holmes on BBC of course.
  9. Why? I think the way they have made Sherlock into a contemporary character, but staying true to the original mysteries is great. And just 2 words: Benedict Cumberbatch. LOL!
  10. Furthest you’ve traveled? Las Vegas, Nevada
  11. Date night–what are you doing? Eating out with hubby.

And my Last Nominee is……

Raising Mom

Erin, yes there are many of us, at Raising Mom has the best book reviews for kiddos.  She has accepted my nomination.  Here’s more about her:

  1. ‘One song dance party’. What song are you playing? Yikes!  I always feel a bit behind the times here.  I love music, but am fickle.  I care less about the group and more about the sound, lyrics, and musicality (this after many years training in piano and voice).  I am quite the folk music lover, so a rousing folk-rock song will get my toes tapping.  A current favourite (pardon the lyrics) is S.O.B. by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats.  The foot-stomping music and easy lyrics beg to be sung along with, wouldn’t you agree?  Everyone has their own form of demons that they battle, so it is, in a way, a universal lament.
  2. If you could be a character in a book, who would you be?  Elizabeth Bennet
  3. Why? After she has married Mr. D’Arcy at the end of Pride and Prejudice.  Swoon!  I’d love to be rich, mistress of my own household and married to that man.  Life in those times was hard, and money and prestige made it a lot cushier!  I would have had trouble living with Elizabeth’s mother and pesky younger sisters, so that’s why I say after she marries.
  4. Who are you hoping to reach with your blogging?  Other moms (and some Dads 🙂 of toddlers, twins/multiples, adoptees… parents and grandparents in general and lovers of great literature for kids.  I’m passionate about literacy for kids – starting strong to become lifelong learners and literate individuals.  The whole “knowledge is power”!  I am a teacher-librarian in my career (on pause at the moment) and find that literacy is the cornerstone to learning and moving on to numeracy and other forms of literacy and critical thinking.  Getting kids hooked on good books early and instilling a love of reading opens worlds and doors…
  5. What’s your favorite part of being a blogger?  The chance to be creative and express myself.  Writing and talking has always helped me find clarity.  I need to get things out of my head to stop them from endlessly swirling.  My blog has two parts – the part that explores my less-than-normal path to motherhood, and the second part that has the book reviews.  The motherhood/parenting part is me sharing/figuring out the journey, and the reviews is a chance for me to combine my expertise in and passion for children’s literature.  Best of both worlds, and I hope to make it work!  I didn’t want the blog to be all personal or all professional.  
  6. Morning Person or Night Owl?  Whoo whoo….TOTAL Night Owl!  My whole family is, so that is how I grew up.  My poor husband and kids!  My best time for sleep seems to be from about 3 am to 9 am, which is NOT possible as a mom.  Ha!  I struggle with insomnia a lot, and often have my most creative moments at about midnight.  I always know I can call my parents after 11 and they will be awake!  I have wished to be a morning person, but alas, it is not to be.  I do wake up with a smile, however, and can get going most mornings.  My hubby is a bear in the mornings and can’t understand his perky, but sleepy wife.  
  7. Have you ever been to Michigan? I have never been to Michigan, but would love to go sometime! The closest I’ve been is the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. I’ve heard that Mackinac Island is a very cool place to visit.
  8. What’s your favorite TV Show?  Yikes!  Currently, I’d have to say Outlander. 
  9. Why? I am a HUGE fan of the books by Diana Gabaldon, and am loving their conversion to TV, for the most part.  I think the love story between Jamie and Claire is so romantic.  I was scared about watching the show, as I am often disappointed with book to TV/movie translations, but this has been done quite well, overall.  It helps having the author so involved in the TV show.  One book to TV transition that started well and ended quite disappointingly for me was the True Blood series.  Other than that, I’ve followed Grey’s Anatomy for the whole journey.  I was sad when Parenthood ended – Loved that show!  I’m really looking forward to the Gilmore Girls reboot!  I was/am a Downton Abbey fan and am excited to see Julian Fellowes’ new American series.
  10. Furthest you’ve traveled? On our honeymoon, my husband and I took a European cruise that had stops in England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Belgium, Germany, and Holland.  It was wonderful.  We had several days in London at the start.  I am of Irish heritage, so need to go and spend more time there.  Scotland also captured our hearts.  We would love to travel to Norway, Greece, and Australia, too, someday.
  11. Date night–what are you doing? Getting out of the house!  Lately, we have stuck to dinner and movie nights.  Not very adventuresome, I know!  We are always so grateful for time together, but are often tired and lacking energy for much more.  Ha!  We do love to get out to the mountains on the weekends with the kids for small hikes, walks, and bike rides.  

So now it’s up to my nominees to pass the Liebster Award onto their deserving nominees.  Follow us on Social Media so that you can discover new & exciting blogs just like ours.

From our home in the Bottom Left of the Mitten to yours ~ Enjoy Your Award!

Vote For Me @ The Top Mommy Blogs Directory

7 Summer Must Have’s for Kids

*Affiliate links are included in this post. Please read my Discloser Policy.

I cannot believe how fast summer got here.  This will be my 3rd summer as a stay-at-home mom and while I do enjoy it, they can be long.  That is why it’s essential to have the right toys to get through it.  These are 7 of my boys very favorite ones.

I will also be sharing these at 7pm every night this week on Facebook so ‘Like’ our page in case you aren’t able to refer back to this post.  So let’s get started!

7 Must Have Toys to Survive Summer with kids

This is Radio Flyer Ziggle is just one of the fun things we got the boys to enjoy over the summer. Little A has gotten so fast on it I have to run away so he doesn’t mow me down.

This Little Tikes Deluxe Ride and Relax Wagon with Umbrella has ALL the bells & whistles. When not in use it can be used as a bench. We take ours to the park with a packed lunch and enjoy the afternoon.

We just got Little A one of these KaZAM v2e No Pedal Balance Bike, 12-Inch, Blue. I like that he doesn’t get his feet caught up in the wheels. It’s also teaching him the fundamentals of balancing which is the hardest part of learning to ride a bike.

Little A plays in his Step2 WaterWheel Activity Play Table all the time. This is the same exact one we have. It’s simple without a lot of parts so it’s easy to put up when he’s done playing for the day.  Here he is playing in it while I wrote this post.  Fun!
Kids Water Table Play

Skip the store brought pops & get creative making your own with the Reusable DIY Frozen Ice Cream Pop Molds Ice Lolly Makers-011. The boys LOVE Mango & Strawberry, their favorite.

Hitting the beach with your little ones? Toys Icon Sand Bucket Baby Beach Toys Set, Small, 16 Piece are a classic toy for all ages. Ours get lots of use over the summer at Lake Michigan.

We started Little A out on this Chillafish Quadie Grow-with-Me 4-Wheel Ride On, Lime at Christmas. He recently upgraded but he still whips around the house on it. Check out our Instagram to see how fast he gets around the table.

From our home in the Bottom Left of the Mitten to yours ~ Enjoy Your Summer!

*Affiliate links are included in this post. Please read my Discloser Policy.

Crazy 8 Sale On Now!

5 YouTube Channels for Toddlers

Tired of the same cartoons? What if I told you there was a place that you could go to where your kids could be entertained & learn? I’m talking about YouTube!

Days at home with little ones can be long and finding something to entertain them can sometimes be hard. That is why I was so excited when we started streaming YouTube through our TV and discovered these kids channels. Not only are they entertaining but educational too. Little A at not even 2-1/2 already knows phonics to every letter of the alphabet and I am almost positive these videos are what got him there.

I really should have called this ‘Little A’s Top 5 YouTube Channels’ because these are the ones he loves the most. So sit down Mom or Dad, put one of these channels on and scroll through your Facebook feed without guilt as your kid romps around and interacts with these fun videos.


Super Simple Songs

Mother Goose Club



Now get those kids moving & give yourself a much deserved break!

*Affiliate links are included in this post. Please read my Discloser Policy.

Crazy 8

Welcome to Bottom Left of the Mitten

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My name is Erin, welcome to my blog ‘Bottom Left of the Mitten’.  I am so excited that you can join me.  A little bit about me: I was born and raised in beautiful Southwest Michigan, which is the inspiration for the name of my blog.  I am a mom to silly boys and a wife to a funny guy.  When my youngest was born I was given the opportunity to become a stay-at-home mom.  Having this time at home has been so awesome and I am reminded every day how lucky I am.

This blog started as an extension of the things that I loved to post on my personal Facebook page.  Recipes that I tried and loved, crafts that I made, fun activities and travel with my kids & hubby, deals that I find.  I felt that I had so much more I wanted to share and that is when ‘Bottom Left of the Mitten’ came to life….well like a year later.  Procrastination is really not in my personality but life gets busy!

I hope that you enjoy my blog.  I am very excited to share with you my adventures from……



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