Thursday, May 31, 2012

Energizer Ultimate Lithium Batteries {Review & Giveaway}

It is a testament to how many things in our house run on batteries (and how often they are forever needing changing) when my girls see a flower drooped over and say something like Oh, looks like that plant needs new batteries!

Considering it only takes one glance around our house to find a long list of toys, electronics, gadgets and more that are powered by batteries of all shapes and sizes, oftentimes I don't blame them for thinking that the rest of the world is run by these small, magic cylinders as well.

However, my chuckling at their childlike innocence only goes so far... because the hassle of picking up a remote control, camera or toy car and finding that it doesn't work yet again often has me gritting my teeth. Who wants to spend their time, energy and far too much money having to constantly change batteries?

Fortunately, Energizer has eliminated much of the chore of replacing batteries with their newly improved, long-lasting Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries.

Energizer Lithium Batteries

After receiving an upgrade this spring, Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA batteries now last up to 9x longer in digital cameras (previously 8x longer), when compared to Energizer MAX AA batteries. These improvements also translate to extended performance in other high tech devices like photo flashes, video recorders, GPS units, game console controllers, flashlights and headlights.

Even better? 9x longer translates to 9x less waste. So you're not only saving time and money, but you're helping reduce the number of batteries that your home discards each year. You just can't go wrong!

Energizer batteries

When it came time to put our Ultimate Lithium batteries to the test to see if they really would last longer, I immediately knew where they would go. First, for the kids:

kids video game

The girls have a variety of handheld games, but this one in particular seems to be forever needing new batteries. Whether they are playing separately or together, the call of Mama! This game doesn't work anymore! is heard at least once a month. The worst is when we've brought the game with us to help pass the time waiting at swim lessons or for an appointment and it won't turn on!

handheld game

Now that we have replaced the previous batteries with Energizer Ultimate Lithium, we haven't had an issue since! The game still shows that it has full power and I love knowing that we can grab this and go and not worry that it won't work or will run out of juice after a few minutes.

Along with the kids' game, I had my sights set on a device of my own to try out these new batteries:

cordless mouse

After having made the switch to a cordless mouse a few years ago, I'm hooked. I just can't go back to the restrictions of having a cord in the way all the time after having been freed from it! However, one of my biggest pet peeves is when I'm in the middle of typing and go to move the mouse... and the cursor stays still. Argh!

cordless mouse battery

After switching to an Ultimate Lithium battery, I have yet to experience a dead mouse since — the first battery is still going strong!

Energizer has been a leader in battery innovation for more than half a century and continues to deliver the performance improvements consumers have come to expect. By re-tooling the formula of the Ultimate Lithium batteries (including improved materials and construction), Energizer has once again proven that they are committed to providing only the very best.

If you are looking for the world's longest lasting AA and AAA batteries for your high-tech devices, these are lightweight, perform well in extreme temperatures and last up to 9x longer in gadgets such as your digital camera. Retailing for $9.99 for a 4-pack, the Ultimate Lithium batteries do cost a few dollars more than the original, but are worth it for the superior quality and longer amount of time that they last.

And, thanks to the generosity of Energizer, one person will be able to find out for themselves just how powerful these batteries truly are, because...

One lucky person will win two 4-packs of
Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA batteries!

(Enter with the Rafflecopter form below. If you have any questions or problems entering, there is a video tutorial found here that can help.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A big thank you to Energizer for providing two packs of Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA batteries for me as well as for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.

Kiddie Academy Franchising: Elkton, Maryland

After having been introduced to Kiddie Academy recently and learning about their educationally focused daycare and the work that they put in to providing only the highest quality care for the children that attend, it has been clear that I was impressed with the business as a whole. There isn't a mom out there that doesn't want the very best care for her children!

At the same time, I have found that the franchising opportunities with Kiddie Academy are very intriguing. Whether individually or as a couple, people are able to not only want to know their son or daughter's childcare location and staff inside and out, but make it their business as well!

After highlighting the successful franchises in Bradenton, FloridaLeague City, Texas, and North Wales, Pennsylvania, I wanted to hear about more people that had turned Kiddie Academy into a part of their lives. This week's featured franchisee is...

Kiddie Academy

Wendy Barry opened her Kiddie Academy franchise on March 15, 1993 at 100 Kiddie Lane, Elkton, MD, at the age of 35. Wendy’s tenure with the company is a true testament to her dedication to superior child care and success within the local community. Her focus on education has proven that the Kiddie Academy’s child care model is not a typical day care.

Background: As its first franchisee, Wendy Barry has a long, rich history with Kiddie Academy. Prior to becoming a franchisee, she spent 10 years as a special education teacher at Elkton High School in Elkton, MD. Wendy began looking into a child care franchise after the birth of her daughter, Taylor.

After reading an article in her local paper about the Millers, who were looking to begin franchising their child care company, Wendy arranged a meeting to discuss the possibility of becoming a franchisee. The Millers’ educational philosophy matched hers, and she was impressed by the overall business. She automatically knew Kiddie Academy was the right fit for her -- both professionally and personally.

Goals: With a strong background in education, Wendy is continually focused on achieving the highest educational standards. She has just become MSDE approved for her four-year-old program and is currently working to achieve the MSDE (Maryland State Department of Education) Early Childhood Accreditation. As a successful franchisee, Wendy also looks to continually build her enrollment and rapport with her current families and the local community.

Challenges: Being the first Kiddie Academy franchisee has its advantages, but it also presented a challenge for Wendy when opening her location. With no other academies in the area, she was faced with a lack of brand awareness and peer support that future franchisees would benefit from. However, her status as the only franchisee offered her the ability to have the corporate staff’s undivided attention and assistance. With that, and her hard work and dedication, she was able to overcome all challenges.

Results: Wendy is thrilled at how her business has grown and progressed. For the last 17 years, she has provided a safe environment for children to learn and a place that parents can rely on for the care of their children. She receives positive feedback from her families and enjoys a terrific reputation within the community.

Wendy and her academy have won numerous awards and accolades, including: Brand Champion Award, #1 Child Care in Cecil County for 2009 and 2010, and the 2010 Director of the Year Award. She also takes pride in knowing she has offered her employees a work place that has helped achieve their career goals.

Stay tuned for future posts on more franchisees to see how Kiddie Academy has changes their lives as well! To find out more and see if this opportunity might be right for you, visit the Kiddie Academy Franchise website.

I am partnering with Kiddie Academy Franchising to write a series of posts, however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and my own.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

PROBAR Gluten-Free Fruition Bars {Review, Giveaway & Coupon Code}

When it comes to snacking, I'm always on the lookout for products that combine three important factors: healthy, tasty and portable. After all, between school, sports, lessons, activities, friends, appointments and more, being able to pull something out of my bag for the kids and I to munch on can often be a lifesaver.

Although I would like to say that those items that I pull out meet my three criteria... that's not always the case. Even if I mean well, I find that what constitutes an on-the-go snack can sometimes cross the line over into unhealthy treats that are better off left at home.

Therefore, when I was introduced to PROBAR and the way that their meal bars are made from whole, organic, 100% vegan, raw foods, my interest was peaked. Then, after hearing that PROBAR had taken their commitment to convenient, natural, high-performance nutrition and went one step further by creating gluten-free products, I knew it was time to try these for ourselves.


A natural alternative with easy to pronounce ingredients and a variety of flavors, PROBAR's new Fruition bars are the first certified gluten-free product in their lineup. These fruit-dense, superfood snack bars deliver one serving of fruit in every bar, are built from a 100% vegan, organic, non-GMO, gluten-free medley of dates, oats, chia seeds, and cashews, and contain only around 160 calories.

When a selection of the seven flavors of Fruition arrived, the hardest decision was figuring out which to sink my teeth into first!

PROBAR Fruition

Available in Blueberry, Cherry, Cran-Raspberry, Peach, Lemon, Strawberry and Chocolate Orange, I unwrapped a Peach and was impressed with the thick texture and the way that I could see the amount of fruit, dates, seeds and more right inside.

PROBAR Fruition review

As each bite results in a dense, slightly sticky, extremely tasty result, it didn't take long before I felt as though I was a little hooked on Fruition. After all, the texture is balanced, the flavors are delicious, and I felt satisfied at the end of the bar knowing that I wouldn't be immediately hungry 10 minutes later!

PROBAR Fruition review

While the Fruition bars immediately met my criteria for a go-to snack (on-the-go or at home), I knew that the true test would be with my kids and if they were as excited to find the PROBAR packaging awaiting them as I was.

Even though they seemed somewhat skeptical at first, the initial taste test (and those that followed) was a success!

kids love probar

Considering that we are all new PROBAR fans around here, I'm looking forward to adding Fruition to our regular rotation of snacks and knowing that they will provide my family with the healthy goodness that they need and the delicious taste that they desire. Instead of feeling guilty pulling out a food that is packed with processed ingredients that I can't pronounce, I'll know that these are simply natural!

Retailing for around $1.79 per bar or $18 per box of 12, Fruition are available in store near you or online directly from PROBAR. Even better, right now if you enter the coupon code BLOGGER at checkout from the PROBAR Shop, you'll receive 40% off of your first order! Considering a box of 12 is currently on sale for $16.63, that discount will bring it down to less than $10!

Plus, thanks to their generosity, one person will soon be able to enjoy the fruity flavor and wholesome goodness of Fruition bars, because...

One lucky person will win a box of 12 Fruition bars from PROBAR!

PROBAR Fruition giveaway

(Enter with the Rafflecopter form below. If you have any questions or problems entering, there is a video tutorial found here that can help.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A big thank you to PROBAR for providing Fruition bars for me to review as well as for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.

Be Travel Ready with Bags by eBags {eBags Mother Lode TLS Weekender Convertible Review}

eBags logo
Although I wouldn't consider myself an expert traveler by any means, I'm proud of myself for how far I've come in the past few years.

Having dealt with motion sickness and a considerable fear of all things airport-related, five years ago I would have laughed at the absurdity of traveling on my own. How am I going to know where to go in the airport? What if I do something wrong at a security checkpoint and the TSA arrests me? Whose hand could I grip tightly during takeoff, landing and at every bump of turbulence?

However, thanks to an increase in trips, both for leisure as well as blog-related, I just might call myself a pretty competent traveler. And, among the other things that I've learned along the way, one aspect that makes everything easier is the importance of having high quality luggage that works for your situation.

As soon as I was introduced to the Bags by eBags collection, it was clear that, as world's largest online retailer of bags and accessories for all lifestyles, they were the experts when it comes to all things bags.

eBags luggage

Offering every type of suitcase, bag or travel accessory that I could think of, as I browsed the eBags website I was more and more impressed. Instead of having to grab the first suitcase you can find or make a purchase based on the lowest price available, eBags has quality, adaptability, variety and affordability all wrapped up into each of their categories of bags.

Considering that my ideal bag would be lightweight, include organization capabilities, and be versatile and roomy enough to come along for trips of varying lengths, the eBags Mother Lode TLS Weekender Convertible arrived and was the answer all in one.

eBags review

Unsure of even where to start, it seemed that every time I turned this bag over I found a different smart feature that eBags had thought to include. This unstructured suitcase converts into a backpack in seconds, meets carry-on size requirements, weighs less than four pounds, and has a pocket for absolutely everything. All I needed it to do was pack my clothes for me and it would have been my dream come true!

Starting on the front, I found a slim zippered pocket that is easily accessible and perfect for items such as boarding passes or paperwork. Instead of having to dig around into a purse or traditional backpack, this pocket makes it easy to reach your items quickly.

eBags Weekender review

On the top of the bag, there is a double-zippered "forehead" pocket that also provides quick access for convenience. This is a great place to store small apparel pieces such as gloves, a hat or an extra pair of socks (I carry them when I'm wearing sandals because I often find my toes cold on an airplane).

This pocket is also completely perfect for stashing your 1-quart bag of miniature bottles of liquids that you are carrying on the plane (shampoo, hair gel, etc). There is no need to worry when you reach a security checkpoint, as you can simply unzip this pocket and pull the bag right out.

airplane backpack

Finally, the front of the Mother Lode TLS Weekender Convertible features a strong double-zipper that allows you access into the main front packing compartment. Inside the front flap, I has happy to find a great little organizer for quick access to items that would typically be found in a briefcase, such as a pen, your phone and other small items.

backpack organization

The packing compartment has enough room for multiple items or clothing or pairs of shoes, and also includes a key ring attachment... for people like me who return from a trip and can't remember which pocket the car keys were dropped into when I left.

best travel backpack

The main compartment of this bag is secured with four external compression straps and double zippers for easy open and close.

Once open, the interior features an upper section with a zippered mesh compartment and a lower section that has a shelf in the middle to help keep your items from shifting around and sliding into one another.

Mother Lode TLS Weekender Convertible Review
Or, if you prefer to not use the shelf, simply unsnap it and it lays down flat out of the way on the bottom.

I love the amount of space available in this bag! This is definitely not a backpack that provides only enough room for one sweatshirt, the Mother Lode TLS Weekender Convertible allows for nearly as much as a typical roller bag that would be carried on an airplane.

But space isn't all, eBags wisely included many more great features that make this a one-of-a-kind piece of luggage that users love. For instance, I would never toss my laptop into my suitcase along with my clothes, but this bag has a hidden adjustable laptop compartment that is accessible from the top.

laptop travel bag

While giving your laptop a place to stay safely tucked away, this bag also includes a sling system that allows you to adjust it to fit to the size of your laptop. No worrying that your computer will be sliding around when it has its own custom holder!

Turning this bag around, the contoured, padded shoulder straps can be quickly unsnapped and stowed if you would rather not use it as a backpack (there is also a removable, adjustable, contoured shoulder strap that comes with it if you prefer to sling the bag over one shoulder).

convertible backpack

When in use, however, the shoulder straps (and waist and chest straps) are very well padded and extremely comfortable, helping make this bag feel light no matter how much you have weighing it down inside.

large backpack

Along the side of the Mother Lode TLS Weekender Convertible, eBags included two features that I consider nice bonuses: a tuckaway ID pocket and a hideaway water bottle pocket.

The ID pocket allows the user to slip their info in there (e.g. a slip of paper, a business card, etc) and not have a luggage tag hanging off and potentially getting in the way or getting lost...

luggage tag

...while, at the same time, the water bottle pocket (which, as far as I'm concerned, is complete genius) can be quickly pulled in and out when needed so that you always have your water handy and within reach.

backpack water bottle pocket

Finally, this bag features three grab handles well-placed on the top, bottom and side so that you can easily pick it up to load it into your trunk, up into an overhead bin of an airplane, or more. No matter where you are going, this is one piece of luggage that is the perfect size and is extremely easy to transport!

bag for travel

Whether you are headed on a weekend trip and don't want to pull out a massive suitcase or you are flying for a 3-day business trip and don't want to deal with broken wheels or the idea of checking (or gate checking) any luggage, the Mother Lode TLS Weekender Convertible is the epitome of convenience.

Retailing for $79.99, this bag is available in five different colors and is your soon-to-be favorite travel companion. Every piece of it is durable, high quality, easy to use, simple to adjust, and designed with convenience and versatility in mind. No matter where your next adventure is taking you, this bag by eBags will effortlessly come along for the journey!

To find out more about this and all of eBags' great collection, visit their website and see their drool-worthy photos on Pinterest. You'll also want to connect with this innovative company on Facebook and Twitter so that you never miss a new product release, coupon, travel talk and more.

This review was made possible by Mom Spark Media but all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Celebrate What Makes You Refreshingly Different with Tropicana Trop50 Juice with Tea {Review & Giveaway - 3 winners!}

When it comes to trying new foods, my husband is often the one who is more likely to want to stick with what we know and has been a proven success. In his mind, why purchase a new type of cracker or a different brand of butter if our current one has tasted fine up until this point?

Now, I'm not claiming that I'm the most adventurous person out there when it comes to my food, but I'm typically willing to give new things a try. In fact, that sense of adventure and curiosity lends itself to other areas of my life as well and I've been told that it's a unique quality!

Something else refreshingly different? Tropicana Trop50 and its newly expanded collection of juice beverages, now that they have introduced Trop50 Juice with Tea.

Trop50 Juice with Tea

Trop50 Juice with Tea is a new line of juice beverages that offers fruit juice goodness with 50% fewer calories — now with tea. The refreshingly different juice with tea combinations are made with delicious fruit juices and white and green teas to deliver a great-tasting and nutritious juice beverage.

Found in the chilled aisle of your grocery store, the line includes Trop50 Peach with White Tea, Trop50 Raspberry with Green Tea, and Trop50 Pear Lychee with White Tea. With 35-40 calories in each 8-ounce glass, these juice beverages with tea provide a full day's supply of vitamin C and good source of antioxidant vitamin E.

As for the taste, each of the Trop50 Juice with Tea varieties manage to deliver the refreshment of the crisp, sweet taste without any artificial sweeteners — something that I can appreciate for my whole family.

Tropicana Trop50 Juice with Tea

Although I might not have initially thought of my 3-year-old and 5-year-old enjoying anything that had to do with tea, they both proved to be big fans of the Trop50 Juice with Teas and love that they have a non-overpowering taste to them.

They'll often ask for a glass...

Trop50 Juice with Tea

...and then happily drink them down with a content look on their faces. Who knew my kids would be such fans of white and green tea?

Trop50 Juice with Tea

If you like the flavor of tea, Trop50 Juice with Tea is a great way to infuse it with the light sweetness of the raspberry, peach or pear lychee. Even better, Tropicana has listed a few recipes on their Trop50 Facebook page that include these new juice beverages and they all sound quite tasty, so the enjoyment can go further than simply pouring a glass to drink.

Available in grocery stores now, Tropicana's product locator can help find each of the Trop50 Juice with Teas near you, where it retails for $3.96 for a 59-ounce bottle or $1.69 for a 12-ounce bottle. Plus, thanks to their generosity, three people will soon be able to sample and decide on their favorite flavor, because...

Three lucky people will each win three free sample coupons to try out Trop50 Juice with Tea!

(Enter with the Rafflecopter form below. If you have any questions or problems entering, there is a video tutorial found here that can help.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A big thank you to Tropicana for providing a gift card and Trop50 Juice with Tea coupons for me as well as three coupons for three lucky giveaway winners. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.

Where Does Your Food Come From? Find Out with a ConAgra Backyard Bash!

With the arrival of warmer weather all across the country, it is time to dust off the grills and picnic tables and head outdoors for some beloved outdoor activities — barbeques and outdoor parties!

These intimate or large gatherings not only have the ability to connect us with friends and family, but also with the familiar foods brought to the table. But... do you know about where your food comes from? I have to admit that other than naming the grocery store a few blocks away, I wouldn't be able to list many more locations than that.

Fortunately for me, this season ConAgra Foods wants families to have fun learning more about where their food comes from. Whether it's the fresh veggies in your backyard garden or everyday foods in your pantry like Hunt's, Egg Beaters and Chef Boyardee, there's a lot that I was able to learn. Just take a look at the informative infographic below!

where does your food come from

After finding out about where our foods came from, it was time to head to Ready, Set, Eat for a whole list of recipes, tips, shortcuts, coupons and more to plan for our upcoming ConAgra Backyard Bash. I love that this site lets you customize exactly what you're looking for in order to cook for your next meal.

Choose from ingredients to include, how much prep and total time you have, or even if the items needed for a particular recipe are on sale if you insert your zip code and select your local store. I really like that feature, as it can not only help in planning meals but can save you money at the same time!

For our Bash, I was excited to try three new recipes with our family and friends: Taco-roni from Chef Boyardee, Peach-Blueberry Bread Pudding from Egg Beaters, and Bruschetta Chicken Grill from Hunts. Yum!

barbeque recipes


2 cans (15 oz each) Chef Boyardee Beefaroni Pasta
1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt's Diced Tomatoes, drained
1 can (15 oz each) Rosarita Premium Whole Black Beans, drained, rinsed
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese blend
1/2 cup broken yellow tortilla chips

Place Beefaroni, drained tomatoes, beans, corn and cumin in large saucepan; stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and broken chips just before serving.


We changed this recipe only slightly by adding in fresh tomatoes and omitting the cumin to be sure that the kids would eat it, but otherwise it was a hit!

Peach-Blueberry Bread Pudding

PAM Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
5 cups day-old French bread (1-inch cubes)
1 can (15.25 oz each) sliced peaches in heavy syrup, drained, cut in bite-size pieces
2/3 cup frozen unsweetened blueberries (Do not thaw)
2 cups fat free milk
1 cup Egg Beaters Original (1 cup = 8 oz)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Reddi-wip Fat Free Dairy Whipped Topping, optional

Preheat oven 350°F. Spray 8x8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Add bread cubes, peaches and blueberries; toss lightly. Beat milk, Egg Beaters, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg with wire whisk until well blended; pour evenly over bread mixture. Bake 1 hour, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool slightly. Cut into 9 squares to serve. Top each serving with Reddi-wip, if desired.

peach berry bread pudding

I don't think that my kids had ever tried bread pudding before, so they were hesitant for the first few bites but then loved it! We used a frozen fruit mix instead of only blueberries, so the results were even more fruity and delicious!

Bruschetta Chicken Grill

1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing, divided
1/4 cup Hunt's Tomato Paste, divided
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (5 oz each)
1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt's Diced Tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup sliced green onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 thick slices Italian bread

Stir together 1/4 cup dressing and 2 tablespoons tomato paste in small dish. Pour over chicken in small glass dish; cover. Refrigerate 30 minutes or up to 8 hours. Meanwhile, stir together drained tomatoes, remaining 1/4 cup dressing, remaining 2 tablespoons tomato paste, onions, basil and garlic. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat grill to medium. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Grill chicken 10 to 12 minutes or until no longer pink in centers (165°F), turning once. Just before chicken is done, grill bread 2 minutes on each side or until toasted. To serve, place bread on serving plates; top with chicken and tomato mixture.


This was the recipe that we customized the most, as we left out the green onions and decided to serve the bruschetta in a more traditional route (just over small pieces of toasted bread) due to the number of vegetarians attending our party. However, that didn't stop it from being delicious!

Once we had our food going and our guests happily eating, it was time to move on to the next steps of our party. First up, planting our thyme and tomato seeds so that in the future we would truly have food that came from our own yard.

planting seeds

As we prepared our cans, all of the kids loved talking about the tiny seeds and how they would grow into food that we would then get to eat. Whether it was getting to "play" in the dirt or the excitement over the actual knowledge of how food is grown, we had a great time getting each can planted and ready to sprout.

planting vegetables

After our planting was completed, we moved on to our next aspect of talking about the future: a time capsule. As each party attendee had brought something meaningful to them to be included, we took a moment to share the items (and why they had been chosen) and placed them into the box.

time capsule

Unfortunately, a downpour of rain (and some hail!) put a sudden stop to our Backyard Bash as well as the possibility of burying our time capsule. However, that just means that we will wait until our tomato and thyme seeds get a little bigger, at which time we will bury the time capsule and mark the placement with the plants themselves.

In the meantime, we'll just hang onto our treasured collection of items!

family time capsule

Then, five years from now, we'll dig up our capsule and see just how drastically things have changed... hopefully the future will find us happy, healthy and spending just as much time with our family, friends and good food from ConAgra!

I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of ConAgra and received products to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Monday, May 28, 2012

LEGO KidsFest is coming to Milwaukee, WI {Free Ticket Giveaway!}

LEGO KidsFest
While there are certain toys that appeal to only a select group of kids, there are also toys that are universally loved and adored by children (and adults) of all ages. And that list wouldn't be complete without the name LEGO!

Is there a child out there that doesn't enjoy building and creating with LEGO bricks? If so, I haven't met them yet. Both of my girls love the open-ended creativity that comes along with these colorful little bricks, people and accessories and have yet to tire of constructing, destructing, and rebuilding over and over again.

Therefore, when I heard that there was a LEGO KidsFest national tour, I could only begin to imagine the fun that would be had when over 150,000 square feet of space are filled with LEGO bricks!

LEGO Creation Nation
Only a small section of Creation Nation, a collaborative effort created by tour attendees.

The LEGO KidsFest 2012 tour stops include Cincinnati (March 23 – 25), Denver (April 27 – 29), Milwaukee (June 15 – 17), Austin (August 31 – September 2), Detroit (October 12 – 14) and Pittsburg (November 30 – December 2).

While I often feel that Wisconsin is left out of some of the fun events and tours that take place across the country, I'm thrilled that LEGO is stopping at Milwaukee's Frontier Airlines Center from June 15 – 17, 2012. With it will bring all of the creative hands-on, minds-on fun of LEGO building and experiences together in this three acre activity- and entertainment-packed family event for children of all ages and builders of all skills and interests.

Among the many LEGO attractions, families will find:
  • LEGO Model Gallery: dozens of life-sized models made entirely from LEGO bricks

  • LEGO Master Builders: live demonstrations and activities from the crew who get paid to play 

  • Creation Nation: build your own creation to add to a custom map of the U.S.

  • Race Ramps: build your own custom car, then race it down the ramp against friends and family 

  • LEGO Games Arena: roll the dice to play LEGO board games

  • Construction Zones: creative free build, play and display areas

  • LEGO DUPLO: younger visitors can explore imagination through building

  • LEGO Retail and KidsFest Marketplace: purchase LEGO merchandise and official KidsFest goods and gear

  • Brick Pile: a gigantic pile full of LEGO bricks for creative play and enjoyment

  • Monochromatic Builds: bricks of a single color to foster group creativity

  • Brickscapes: fantastic displays that combine lots of LEGO and DUPLO sets

  • And more! Check out just a portion of the fun from the LEGO KidsFest tour stop in Denver:
LEGO KidsFest

"Any family who likes to be inspired, get hands-on and have fun together won’t want to miss LEGO KidsFest," said Vince Rubino, LEGO events manager. "We're bringing so many activities for Milwaukee-area families to test and showcase their creativity and building skills in what is sure to be a family event to remember."

Five sessions – all identical – are available for the Milwaukee June 15 – 17 tour stop. LEGO KidsFest tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for children and can be purchased online at Based on sell-out attendance in previous markets, advance ticket purchase is strongly encouraged!

But, wait! Why buy tickets when you can WIN them? One lucky person will win two tickets to the opening night session (4-8:30pm) on Friday, June 15, 2012! Simply CLICK HERE and submit your information and you'll be entered. LEGO KidsFest will random draw the winner on Tuesday, June 5, so if you live or will be in the Milwaukee area on June 15, go enter today!

LEGO characters

I am receiving passes for my family to attend LEGO KidsFest in exchange for sharing this information and writing a review, but all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.