Hot Chocolate, Christmas Lights and Making a Difference

peppermint hot chocolate

FTC disclosure: This post is sponsored by McDonald’s of Central Arkansas. I am one of their brand ambassadors, hair but all opinions here are my own.

It’s December: my favorite time of the year. I’m not sure if it’s the holiday lights, approved the upcoming days off from school and work, stomach or the chill in the air, but everyone seems lighter, happier, jollier.

It’s cold nights like we’ve had recently when I feel like bundling up the kiddos and heading out to see all the Christmas lights and decorations around town, so that’s exactly what we did the other night. I surprised them all with a “Grab your heaviest coats, kids, and get in the car for a big surprise!” They obliged with only a few grumbles. Those grumbles soon turned into smiles as we drove through our neighborhood McDonald’s drive-thru for Peppermint Hot Chocolates for everyone. (A small one is only $2.) Then with warm “December in a cup”, we drove to the “Inflatables House” just a few miles away. hot chocolate and Christmas

The “Inflatables House” is a North Little Rock Christmas institution. I’m not sure how many years this family has done it, but it’s huge. Even Little Rockians (who think crossing the river to North Little Rock is worse than a trip to the dentist) will come to see this spectacle of Christmas blow-ups, decorations and lights. The owner of the house sits out at his curb dressed as Santa handing out candy canes to all who come. (Donations are welcome, but not required.) My kids and I sipped our Peppermint Hot Chocolate from McDonald’s as we wondered around the maze of inflatables taking in all the details that this family puts into their annual display. It’s really a sight to behold. peppermint hot chocolate

Another awesome tradition around this holiday season is how people are more willing to give back. McDonald’s does this, and not just in December. Through their Values in Action program, McDonald’s is on a journey towards good. They are committed to doing the right thing – from making quality food to being good stewards of our planet. It’s important to them, and as a parent, it really makes me feel better about being a loyal customer and feeding my children there.values in action

Here are just a few of the ways McDonald’s is making a difference:

Sustainability Priorities values in action

Nutritious Food Choices

Responsible Food Sourcing

Positive Impacts for the Planet

Investing in their Employees

Giving Back to the Community

I wish all my readers a glorious Christmas season. Take time to be present with your family – especially your children. They grow up so fast, and these memories you make now will hold a special place in their hearts for years to come. And find a way to give back to your community. There are many worthy organizations making a difference in your community. They need you.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Stacey

 

Success Story

McDonald's of yesteryear

FTC disclosure: This post is sponsored by McDonald’s of Central Arkansas. I am one of their brand ambassadors, decease but all opinions here are my own.

Everyone loves a good success story. The idea of making a name for yourself, clinic building a successful business, leaving a legacy for your children – that’s the American dream. It’s even the plot of memorable movies like Forrest Gump, Rocky, and Rudy.rocky-balboa

The history of McDonald’s is a success story worthy of a major motion picture:

In 1917, 15-year-old Ray Kroc lied about his age to join the Red Cross as an ambulance driver, but the war ended before he completed his training. He then worked as a piano player, a paper cup salesman and a Multimixer salesman.

In 1954, he visited a restaurant in San Bernardino, California that had purchased several Multimixers. There he found a small but successful restaurant run by brothers Dick and Mac McDonald, and was stunned by the effectiveness of their operation. They produced a limited menu, concentrating on just a few items – burgers, fries and beverages – which allowed them to focus on quality and quick service.

They were looking for a new agent and Kroc saw an opportunity. In 1955, he founded McDonald’s System, Inc., a predecessor of the McDonald’s Corporation, and six years later bought the exclusive rights to the McDonald’s name. By 1958, McDonald’s had sold its 100 millionth hamburger.

Ray Kroc wanted to build a restaurant system that would be famous for providing food of consistently high quality and uniform methods of preparation. He wanted to serve burgers, buns, fries and beverages that tasted just the same in Alaska as they did in Alabama.

To achieve this, he chose a unique path: persuading both franchisees and suppliers to buy into his vision, working not for McDonald’s but for themselves, together with McDonald’s. He promoted the slogan, “In business for yourself, but not by yourself.”

Today, I can see this philosophy in the owner-operators of the McDonald’s of Central Arkansas. Nicole DiMichele and her dad own six McDonald’s locations – including the one in my neighborhood. I talked to her at length over the summer when they were constructing the new McCain Blvd location. The pride she exuded for the new building and the love for her employees was palpable.

McDonald's simpler approachOne of the things that I love about McDonald’s is their commitment to quality and their new focus on “Back to Basics”. You can be sure when you purchase an item at McDonald’s that you are getting real food. Real buttermilk is used in the Buttermilk Crispy Chicken. Real butter (hello!) is used on the breakfast items. Real chicken is used in the McNuggets that my kids love more than about anything else on the planet.

McDonald’s has made a commitment to only use cage-free eggs by 2015 in the US and Canada, and they already purchase more than 13 million cage-free eggs each year. Their biscuits, McGriddles and bagels have no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors. And there is so much more to their “Back to Basics” movement.recycle coffee grounds

This is another chapter to the Ray Kroc success story. He left a legacy of excellence. And it’s one that I can feel good about sharing with my family.

“If I had a brick for every time I’ve repeated the phrase Quality, Service, Cleanliness and Value, I think I’d probably be able to bridge the Atlantic Ocean with them.” – Ray Kroc

 

 

Archways to Opportunity

McDonald's employees

This post is brought to you by my friends at Raw Spice Bar. This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of my links, buy
I will make a small commission. Thank you!

This recipe uses Unpumkin Pie Spice from Raw Spice Bar. The perfect spice for fall inspired pumpkin recipes, unhealthy
this blend has versatility beyond traditional baked goods. Sprinkle over squash and roast, stir into yogurt or ice cream or brew into your morning coffee or add to cookies, pies or our healthy version of a pumpkin spice latte!

The spice is crafted with high quality, whole spices and freshly ground just before shipping.

Ingredients: Ginger, Allspice, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Black Peppercorns, Star Anise, Spices.
Each kit includes 2 tablespoons of freshly ground flavors.

Pumpkin Spice Maple Muffins

INGREDIENTS

? cup melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oilpumpkin pie spice
½ cup maple syrup or honey
2 eggs*, at room temperature
1 cup pumpkin purée
¼ cup milk of choice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon RawSpiceBar’s Unpumpkin Pie Spice
¼ teaspoon allspice or cloves
1¾ cups whole wheat pastry flour or regular whole wheat flour
? cup old-fashioned oats, plus more for sprinkling on top

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius). If necessary, grease ten cups of your muffin tin with butter or non-stick cooking spray (my pan is non-stick and didn’t require any grease).
    In a large bowl, beat the oil and maple syrup or honey together with a whisk. Add eggs, and beat well. Mix in the pumpkin purée and milk, followed by the baking soda, vanilla extract, salt, and RawSpiceBar’s Unpumpkin Pie Spice.
  2. Add the flour and oats to the bowl and mix with a large spoon, just until combined. If you’d like to add any additional mix-ins, like nuts, chocolate or dried fruit, fold them in now.
  3. Divide the batter evenly between the ten muffin cups. For these muffins, it’s ok to fill the cups a little higher than you normally would. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a small amount of oats, followed by a sprinkle of cinnamon. Bake muffins for 23 to 26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack. These muffins are delicate until they cool down (you have been warned!), so it’s best to wait until they have cooled down to remove them from the tin. You might need to run a butter knife along the outer edge of the muffins to loosen them from the pan. Enjoy muffins as is or with a spread of nut butter or regular butter.

This post is brought to you by my friends at Raw Spice Bar. This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of my links, youth health
I will make a small commission. Thank you!

This recipe uses Unpumkin Pie Spice from Raw Spice Bar. The perfect spice for fall inspired pumpkin recipes, website like this
this blend has versatility beyond traditional baked goods. Sprinkle over squash and roast, stir into yogurt or ice cream or brew into your morning coffee or add to cookies, pies or our healthy version of a pumpkin spice latte!

Spices from Raw Spice Bar are crafted with high quality, whole spices and freshly ground just before shipping.

Ingredients: Ginger, Allspice, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Black Peppercorns, Star Anise, Spices.
Each kit includes 2 tablespoons of freshly ground flavors.

Pumpkin Spice Maple Muffins

INGREDIENTS

? cup melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oilpumpkin pie spice
½ cup maple syrup or honey
2 eggs*, at room temperature
1 cup pumpkin purée
¼ cup milk of choice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon RawSpiceBar’s Unpumpkin Pie Spice
¼ teaspoon allspice or cloves
1¾ cups whole wheat pastry flour or regular whole wheat flour
? cup old-fashioned oats, plus more for sprinkling on top

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius). If necessary, grease ten cups of your muffin tin with butter or non-stick cooking spray (my pan is non-stick and didn’t require any grease).
    In a large bowl, beat the oil and maple syrup or honey together with a whisk. Add eggs, and beat well. Mix in the pumpkin purée and milk, followed by the baking soda, vanilla extract, salt, and RawSpiceBar’s Unpumpkin Pie Spice.
  2. Add the flour and oats to the bowl and mix with a large spoon, just until combined. If you’d like to add any additional mix-ins, like nuts, chocolate or dried fruit, fold them in now.
  3. Divide the batter evenly between the ten muffin cups. For these muffins, it’s ok to fill the cups a little higher than you normally would. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a small amount of oats, followed by a sprinkle of cinnamon. Bake muffins for 23 to 26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack. These muffins are delicate until they cool down (you have been warned!), so it’s best to wait until they have cooled down to remove them from the tin. You might need to run a butter knife along the outer edge of the muffins to loosen them from the pan. Enjoy muffins as is or with a spread of nut butter or regular butter.

FTC disclosure: This post is sponsored by McDonald’s of Central Arkansas. I am one of their brand ambassadors, pills but all opinions here are my own.

This past weekend I spent in my hometown in south Arkansas for my class reunion. It was fun driving around my old stomping grounds and showing it off to my husband and kids. Things around town have changed a lot over the past 30 years. Downtown has many new shops and restaurants, search but far to few patrons.

Yocum and Main lot
lot where my childhood home once stood

Some places are completely gone like the house I lived in during elementary school and the Baskin Robbins where two of my best friends worked and I frequented way too often. It made me think of first jobs and career opportunities for high school graduates and the limited options in some small towns.

But one thing almost every small town has is a McDonald’s. And jobs at McDonald’s aren’t just for high school kids. McDonald’s is changing the game through training and education. McDonald’s created Archways to Opportunity, a comprehensive education strategy that meets people where they are on their education journey – whether that’s finishing high school, earning a college degree, or even learning English.

Here are some of the opportunities available through the Archways to Opportunity program:

  • High school completion assistance
  • College tuition assistance
  • Management training curriculum
  • Scholarships
  • Education advising services
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) program

Whether that means helping them finish high school, earn an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree or even learn English, our approach is to provide programs that meet people where they are today so they can achieve their goals tomorrow.”

Amy KimesHamburger University Graduate

Meet Amy Kimes, the general manager of the Hwy 107/Brockington Road location in Sherwood. She started as a crew person in 2008. More recently, she went through the McDonald’s management training curriculum including Hamburger University in Chicago, a one-week management intensive for McDonald’s employees from around the world. Hamburger University has classes covering a variety of topics such as how to manage your crew, local store marketing and community engagement. Sylvan Hills is Amy’s local community, and she if very involved. She goes to all the home games for Sylvan Hills High School, and she gives all the high school seniors 10% off for off-campus lunch at her McDonald’s. You can tell that her crew loves her.

img_7261

To find out more about careers at McDonald’s, visit their website or just stop by your neighborhood location.

 

 

Quinn’s Birthday Party at McDonald’s

Ronald McDonald

FTC disclosure: This post is sponsored by McDonald’s of Central Arkansas. I am one of their brand ambassadors, this site
but all opinions here are my own.

Birthday parties are so much fun for kids. They really lose their minds over bounce houses, dosage
presents and cupcakes. But it’s a whole different kind of crazy for mommas…especially now in the world of Pinterest-inspired birthday parties. My good friend Carol creates the most enviable birthday parties ever. I would love to throw my daughters beautifully-themed princess parties complete with homemade tiaras and a horse drawn carriage ride around the neighborhood, but I honestly do not have the time, the money, nor the inclination.

birthday girlFor Quinn’s 2nd birthday party this year, I outsourced it all to my friends at McDonald’s in North Little Rock. The Indian Hills McDonald’s has a separate playroom for the kids, and we reserved the whole thing for a couple of hours. The wonderful McDonald’s staff decorated the room for us and provided the cake and goodie bags. All I had to do was invite a few friends and family, show up with my brood and order lunch for everyone (because McDonald’s fries and nuggets are so incredibly yummy AND is was lunchtime).

But the pièce de résistance was Ronald McDonald himself there for the entire party! Quinn met Ronald at the grand opening of the new McDonald’s location on McCain Boulevard back in July, and she was completely enamored. At her party, Ronald greeted the kids as they entered the playroom and interacted with them all. Then he put on a 30 minute magic show that even boggled the mind of my 17-year-old who is a wanna-be magician herself. I have to hand it to Ronald McDonald; the clown knows how to keep the attention of kids of all ages. His show was fantastic — even the adults enjoyed it.Ronald McDonald

Ronald McDonald show

Ronald McDonald

I couldn’t have asked for an easier birthday party set up. Life has been super busy lately, so this really did take a huge burden off my shoulders, and I am so appreciative of the McDonald’s crew. Quinn and the other children laughed and played and ate cake. I mean, what more could you want? Plus I didn’t have to clean up my house afterwards!birthday cake

McDonald’s has their parties down to a science. If you want to have a stress-free birthday party for your child, just talk to the manager of your neighborhood McDonald’s. You can use this handy-dandy Restaurant Locator to find one near you with a PlayPlace.Ronald McDonald

 

Working Remotely at McDonald’s

FTC disclosure: This post is sponsored by McDonald’s of Central Arkansas. I am one of their brand ambassadors, side effects but all opinions here are my own.

My husband and I both work remotely at least one day a week, viagra 100mg and we both love it. It’s nice to have lunch together and catch up sans kids between phone calls, reports and emails.

According to Gallup, the average worker telecommutes (works remotely) two days per month. And although telecommuting is on the rise, it “remains much more the exception than the rule.”

That will probably change in the near future as millennials value FLEXIBILITY as the number one reason they’re attracted to a workplace.

With younger workers being fully aware that you can email or call someone from anywhere, the idea of working differently becomes “a criterion that people are expressly looking for before they’ll sign on the dotted line,” says Adam Kingl, director or learning solutions at the London Business School.

“I believe that 50% of the workforce will be working remotely half the time,” says Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs.

remote work at McDonald's

My work-from-home day is my favorite day of the workweek. But sometimes I just want to get out of the house and work from another location for a bit. The newly-opened McDonald’s on McCain Boulevard in North Little Rock is my new go-to spot. Not only is it new, modern and clean, they have free wifi and excellent coffee! I can take my laptop or iPad and get right to work.

McDonald's

This new McDonald’s is really nice. I love the design and lighting. I had the opportunity to tour the whole place the day before it opened. It was really neat to see the equipment behind the scenes. Plus I got to make my own McFlurry with Oreo Cookies and McCafe Mango Pineapple Smoothie.  It was so much fun!

My seven year old, Maya, was with me, and she has already decided that she wants to work here when she is turns 16. (She probably thinks that McDonald’s employees get free ice cream all day long.)

ice cream at McDonald's
My toddler enjoying a McFlurry

The McCain McDonald’s also has two drive-thru lanes that speed up service tremendously. But you really do need to see the inside of this location for yourself. And if you see me sitting in the corner with my face stuck in a stack of papers or on the computer, please stop by and say hello.

McDonald's

Gluten-Free at McDonald’s

FTC disclosure: This post is sponsored by McDonald’s of Central Arkansas. I am one of their brand ambassadors, disinfection but all opinions here are my own.

Southwest saladCurrently, McDonald’s doesn’t offer a designated gluten-free menu. However, there are lots of gluten-free options if you just know what to order. I personally love a big juicy burger wrapped in lettuce with BACON! Here are some other gluten-free menu items you can try:

Meats / Proteins

  • Beef Patty with no bun
  • Breakfast Beef Steak
  • Canadian Bacon
  • Sausage Patty
  • Scrambled Eggs

You can order the quarter pounder with cheese, bacon quarter pounder, cheeseburger and hamburgers without a bun! Just avoid the Big Mac sauce.

And speaking of eggs

Did you know that McDonald’s uses freshly cracked eggs? The reason its round on the McMuffin is that they use an “egg ring” when they cook it. Check out all the different ways McDonald’s can prepare eggs for you.eggs

Sides

  • Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait (without granola)
  • Apple Dippers and Low Fat Caramel Dip

mcdonalds-Side-SaladMcDonald’s Salads

  • McDonalds Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with grilled Chicken
  • Caesar Salad w/o Chicken
  • Premium Southwest Salad (without tortilla strips)
  • Side Salad (without croutons)

McDonald’s Dressings

  • Newman’s Own Creamy Caesar Dressing
  • Newman’s Own Cobb Dressing
  • Newman’s Own Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Newman’s Own Ranch Dressing
  • Newman’s Own Salsa

Drinks and Beverages

  • Apple Juice
  • Coffee
  • Ice Coffee
  • Hot Chocolate
  • 1% Low Fat Milk, White or Chocolate
  • Orange Juice
  • Soft Drinks
  • Sweet Tea
  • Frappe Caramel
  • Frappe Mocha
  • Frappe Chocolate Chip
  • Blueberry Pomegranate Smoothie
  • Strawberry Banana Smoothie
  • Mango Pineapple Smoothie
  • Vanilla McCafe Shake
  • Chocolate McCafe Shake
  • Strawberry McCafe Shake

hot Caramel SundaeDesserts

  • Hot Fudge or Caramel Ice Cream Sundaes with nuts
  • McFlurry with M&M’S Candies
  • Vanilla Ice Cream (served in a cup)

Sauces and Condiments 

  • Butter
  • Chicken McNugget Honey
  • Chicken McNugget Hot Mustard Sauce
  • Hotcake Syrup
  • Jam
  • Ketchup
  • Lettuce
  • Margarine
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard
  • Onions
  • Pickles
  • Tartar Sauce
  • Tomato
  • American Cheese

Unfortunately the delicious McDonald’s french fries are NOT guaranteed to be gluten-free because of possible cross-contamination. On very rare occasions, the french fry frier (try saying that three times really fast) is used for other products in emergencies such as when a back fryer goes down. Sad face.

What are your favorite gluten-free items
at McDonald’s?

 

Disclaimer from McDonald’s website: Currently, we don’t offer a gluten-free menu. That said, we encourage our customers with special dietary needs to visit our Menu Explorer for full lists of ingredients. Because food sensitivities are so different from person to person, we would recommend you follow up with your physician to make your best health decision. We also want you to know that despite taking precautions, normal kitchen operations may involve some shared cooking and preparation equipment, areas and utensils, and the possibility for your food items to come in contact with other food products, including other allergens.

 

Powerpuff Girls in a Happy Meal Near You

FTC disclosure: This post is sponsored by McDonald’s of Central Arkansas. I am one of their brand ambassadors, more about but all opinions here are my own.

The kick-butt-and-take-names Powerpuff Girls (as well as Skylanders Superchargers) are now in McDonald’s of Central Arkansas Happy Meals through July 3, this and I for one am super excited. Even though I missed the Powerpuff Girls craze of the 1990s, viagra here I’m totally on board now that I’m a mom of FOUR GIRLS. Let’s hear it for GIRL POWER!Powerpuff Girls

I did some research on the Powerpuff Girls from the all-knowing Wikipedia:

The Powerpuff Girls is an American animated television series created by animator Craig McCracken for Cartoon Network. The show centers on Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup, three girls with superpowers, as well as their father, the brainy scientist Professor Utonium, who all live in the fictional city of Townsville, USA. The girls are frequently called upon by the town’s childlike and naive mayor to help fight nearby criminals using their powers.

As depicted in the opening sequence of each episode, the Powerpuff Girls were created by Professor Utonium in an attempt “to create the perfect little girls” using a mixture of “sugar, spice, and everything nice“. However, he accidentally spilled a mysterious substance called “Chemical X” into the mixture, creating, instead of the “perfect little girl”, three girls (each possessing one of the above elements dominating her personality), and granting all three superpowers including flight, super strength, super speed, near invulnerability, x-ray vision, super senses, heat vision, and energy projection.

Blossom is the tactician and self-proclaimed leader of the Powerpuff Girls. Her personality ingredient is “everything nice”, her signature color is pink, and she has long red hair with a red bow. She is often seen as the most level-headed and composed member of the group and also strong and determined. Her unique power is freezing objects with her breath as seen in the episode “Ice Sore”.

Bubbles is the cute and sensitive one. Her personality ingredient is sugar, her signature color is blue, and she has short blonde hair in two pigtails. Bubbles is seen as kind and very sweet but she is also capable of extreme rage and can fight monsters just as well as her sisters can. Her best friend is a stuffed octopus doll she calls “Octi”, and she also loves animals. She exhibits the ability to both understand multiple languages and communicate with various animals (squirrels, cats, monsters), and her unique power is emitting supersonic waves with her voice.

Buttercup is the toughest of the three. Her personality ingredient is spice, her signature color is green, and she has short black hair in a flip. She is a tomboy who loves to get dirty, fights hard and plays rough; she does not plan and is all action. Buttercup is the only Powerpuff Girl without a unique super power (aside from being able to curl her tongue as shown in the episode “Nuthin’ Special”).

Which Powerpuff Girl are you?

I’m probably Blossom since I can be bossy and was once called “Ice Princess” behind my back by some coworkers who I’m sure were jealous of my super powers. Ha!

whoopassgirlsSo here’s an interesting fact that I learned in my research: The Powerpuff Girls were originally known as the Whoopass Girls. When the series was picked up by Cartoon Network, the creator had to change the name, and the “can of whoop ass” became “Chemical X”. Now, I think I love these girls even more!

McDonald’s Happy Meals come with chicken nuggets, hamburger or cheeseburger plus their world famous fries and your choice of cuties, apple slices, or Yoplait Go-GURT Low Fat Strawberry Yogurt. Then pick your favorite drink: fat free chocolate milk, low fat white milk or apple juice.

Comment below on your Powerpuff soul sister and/or your favorite Happy Meal food. And go GIRL POWER!

State of the Art McDonald’s Coming to North Little Rock

FTC disclosure: This post is sponsored by McDonald’s of Central Arkansas. I am one of their brand ambassadors, erectile but all opinions here are my own.

If you are around the McCain Mall area of North Little Rock, buy information pills you might have noticed that the McDonald’s at 4008 McCain Boulevard is closed for construction. Last week, look I had a chance to visit with Nicole DiMichele, owner/operator of this location, about plans for the new store. Nicole and her dad own the McCain location and five other McDonald’s in the area, and she is super excited about what’s coming in July.

McDonald's on McCain

“It’s going to be beautiful with an upscale interior décor; a comfortable ambiance. There will be TVs in the lobby and digital menu boards. I can’t wait for the customers to see it,” exclaims Nicole.

McDonald's on McCain

The new store will open in mid-July, and it’ll be the biggest McDonald’s restaurant in the Little Rock area. It will have a dual lane drive thru and three drive thru windows. That will increase the per hour drive thru capacity by about 30 percent. Two new signs will be installed with LED lights. The parking lot will also be bigger since they took over some grass space from the bank next door.

Inside the restaurant, the front counter will have two interactive computers. The inside color scheme will be pretty earth tones of greens and browns with a few splashes of red.

McDonald's on McCain

“The customers that have been coming to the store for years are going to be so happy. They are used to visiting this restaurant which is 41 years old – and now to this brand new, state of the art, latest and greatest! I can’t wait to hear what the customers have to say.”

Nicole told me that corporate McDonald’s gives her a few different choices, themes and styles to choose from, and she can customize it from there following corporate guidelines.

“This one is going to be special,” beams Nicole.

During the construction, the McCain store employees were transferred to other locations. When this store reopens, those employees can stay where they are or come back to the McCain location.

mcdonalds_on_mccain_2

McDonald’s on McCain Blvd is HIRING!

DiMichele said that they will have a huge hiring day on June 9 at the JFK McDonald’s (7101 JFK Blvd, NLR). All smiling faces can apply! The hiring event will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with open interviews: come in and fill out an application, with on the spot hiring. They will hire for all positions.

Nicole says that they have big things planned for the grand opening party – stay tuned!

Coffee Fix for Less

FTC disclosure: This post is sponsored by McDonald’s of Central Arkansas. I am one of their brand ambassadors, health but all opinions here are my own.

I once tried to give up coffee. Silly, I know. My coffee abstinence didn’t last more than a week. I really love coffee. In fact, this love is so well known by my close family and friends that I received coffee gift packages from at least two different people this past Christmas.

Also, I am always looking for a deal. I wouldn’t say I’m cheap because I don’t mind paying a bit more for quality. So when my friend Diane recently told me that she thinks that McDonald’s has the best coffee, I decided to set up my own non-scientific taste test: McDonald’s coffee drinks versus Starbucks. Plus I wanted to compare the costs.

McCafe vanilla latte

On day one of my taste test, I purchased a Starbucks tall vanilla latte for $3.83 and a McDonald’s small vanilla latte for $3.10. Both drinks were 12 ounces and contained brewed espresso, milk and vanilla syrup. The Starbucks latte tasted more “milky”; the McDonald’s latte had a stronger coffee taste. Both were delicious – can’t really pick a favorite. But the McDonald’s latte was $0.73 cheaper. So if you buy a coffee every morning on the way to work, you can save $190 in a year just by going to McDonald’s over Starbucks. (You’ll probably get through the drive-thru faster too.)

McCafe iced vanilla latte

On day two of my taste test, I purchased a Starbucks tall iced coffee with caramel and milk for $2.51 and a McDonald’s small iced caramel coffee for $2.09. The biggest difference was the size. For the iced coffee drinks at McDonald’s, the small is 16 ounces instead of 12 ounces, probably to account for the ice. So not only was my drink bigger at McDonald’s, it was $0.42 cheaper. Bonus! Taste-wise, the McDonald’s iced coffee was a bit too sweet for me, so I’ll know to ask for only “one pump” next time. I remembered to say “one pump” at Starbucks, so it was the right amount of sweet for me.

McDonald's app

If you download the McDonald’s app, you will have an electronic punchcard where you buy five of any size McCafe drinks and get the sixth for free. At Starbucks, you get one free after 12 drinks.

So overall, if you don’t require a fancy order a la Venti Iced Skinny Hazelnut Macchiato, Sugar-Free Syrup, Extra Shot, Light Ice, No Whip, you should just stick to McDonald’s McCafe menu. They have lots of yummy choices that can keep even this coffee aficionado happy.

McCafe

P.S. You can also enjoy the McCafe experience at home with their new bags of coffee beans and K-cups.

Breakfast for Dinner

FTC disclosure: This post is sponsored by McDonald’s of Central Arkansas. I am one of their brand ambassadors, approved but all opinions are my own.

The other night, price Anthony was asked to play piano at an event so the kids and I were on our own for dinner. I had worked all day and still needed to go to the grocery store, pancreatitis so I decided to treat the girls to dinner out. When I mentioned the idea of “breakfast for dinner”, in unison the three oldest proclaimed in sounds of delight and agreement, so we loaded up the car and drove a few blocks away to our neighborhood McDonald’s. To be honest here, I had been fantasizing about the new McDonald’s All Day Breakfast menu for a few days. Their All Day Breakfast TV commercial is pure food porn. OMG — give me all the pancakes and butter and syrup now!

Ordering with my crew can be kind of a hot mess, so I sent Kennedy (the oldest) to find a table and get a high chair for Quinn (the youngest) while Madison, Maya and I placed the order and filled our drink cups with ice and water. (We are a water-drinking family.) All Day Breakfast

I ordered just about one of everything, plus an extra order of pancakes because sharing those can be hard. Here is what we ordered:

  • Two orders of hotcakes (McDonald’s terminology for pancakes)
  • One bacon, egg & cheese biscuit
  • One fruit ‘n yogurt parfait
  • One sausage burrito
  • One fruit & maple oatmeal
  • One hash browns
  • One chocolate milk (because Maya rebels against the water drinking thing)

I figured that would get us started at least.All Day Breakfast

One interesting factoid: McDonald’s has a different All Day Breakfast menu depending on where you live in the U.S. The “deep South” has the biscuit menu and everywhere else has the McMuffin menu.All Day Breakfast map

ALSO… starting March 28th McGriddles will be added to the All Day Breakfast menu at McDonald’s!!!

It wasn’t soon after we sat down that my four usually-loud-talking girls were quiet and stuffing their faces with the McDonald’s breakfast goodness that laid before them. I personally had the sausage burrito (my favorite of their breakfast items) and stole a few bites of Maya’s pancakes until her protests started attracting stares from nearby diners.All Day Breakfast Everyone was happy with their “breakfast for dinner” selection. Kennedy and Maya each had the pancakes. Madison had the bacon, egg & cheese biscuit.All Day Breakfast Baby Quinn had the hash browns and some of her sister’s pancakes too. All Day BreakfastWe ended up taking the yogurt parfait and oatmeal home and someone ate them the next morning.All Day Breakfast

Our neighborhood McDonald’s has recently closed for renovations. I can’t wait to see what they do with the place! Hopefully they will put in a big, fun playground for the kiddos. It opens back up in June.

What is your favorite breakfast item at McDonald’s?All Day Breakfast