Thursday, June 30, 2016

Encourage STEM Learning All Year Long with the Boys & Girls Club of America My.Future Website {#Learn365}

This post was sponsored by the Boys & Girls Club of America as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

As my kids literally counted down the final days of school earlier this month, I was filled with a mix of emotions. Happiness over getting to spend more time with them, excitement over embarking on new sports endeavors... and fear and dread over the knowledge that their boredom nearly always leads to bickering and fighting.

Fortunately, now that summer is in full swing, we have managed to stay occupied with swim team practices and meets, bike rides around town, visits to the library, taking care of our garden, playdates with friends, and more.

But can I help it if I want to incorporate some learning into our days as well? We've all heard of the "summer slide" (the tendency for kids to lose some of the achievement gains they made during the previous school year) so I'm always on the lookout for educational ways to encourage my girls to use their minds throughout the summer as well.

Which is why I'm happy to have been introduced to the Boys & Girls Club of America My.Future website!


It is no secret that Boys & Girls Clubs have been leaders in out-of-school time programming for more than 150 years. But now they have teamed up with Comcast NBCUniversal to create the My.Future program to specifically deliver programming that sparks kid's and teens' interests and passions in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) areas.

STEM jobs in the U.S. are expected to grow nearly twice as fast as other fields by 2018, but 3 million of them may go unfilled because of a lack of people with needed skills. Instead, by introducing youth to new technology skills early, they may be more likely to pursue a career in a STEM-related field and take on the global economy.


Pretty great, right? The My.Future program was created and designed to teach today's youth the skills needed to thrive in our current digital world. It enables kids and teens to select from over 40 hands-on activities to help them understand how to safely and productively engage online, and identify and develop digital interests.

I love that My.Future offers staff-facilitated projects that provide members of all ability levels with foundational technology skills so that those who are just beginners gain confidence and those with a great deal of previous knowledge are not bored. As members accumulate a certain number of outcomes, they qualify for certified digital badges that can then be showcased online and added to a member's resume to show their technical competency.

BCGA My.Future

All throughout the school year our children are challenged to learn and grow, so this summer be sure to keep encouraging them to continue! The My.Future program will help your kids/teens understand our media filled world while allowing them to identify and develop digital interests and delve into subjects such as robotics, game design, programming, and online journalism.

Instead of fretting over allowing your kids more time in front of a screen, My.Future will provide technological advancements that will help them this fall and beyond! Find out much more by visiting today.

Tasty Asian Fusion in Downtown Madison: FuGu Asian {#ReviewCrew}

Review Crew Blogger Badge
As with all parents, I love spending time with my children. However, also as with all parents, there are times that getting away from them and having a night out with just my husband is good for my soul.

So, having the opportunity to drop everything and have a dinner date just the two of us recently was the perfect way to take a break from the hustle and bustle of our chaotic summer (and everyday life) and relax.

Even better? Being able to save a bundle of money by using a certificate on our visit to FuGu Asian in downtown Madison!

FuGu Madison

Known for putting a modern interpretation on classic dishes, FuGu Asian offers outstanding Chinese cuisine, excellent service, and friendly staff. Whether stopping in for a quick business lunch, a large, informal family gathering or simply picking up takeout for a tasty meal at home, this is one restaurant that offers something for everyone.

Or, if you would rather stay home and let FuGu bring their delicious food to you, they'll deliver right to your door throughout Madison, WI!

FuGu Asian delivery
I've never seen a cuter delivery car!

Stepping inside FuGu's bright, open dining room, it was immediately clear that we had selected a location that was calm and comfortable. Just right for a quiet meal and conversation — although I could tell that this was a place that the kids would have been welcome as well!

FuGu restaurant

After being shown to our table, it was time to peruse the menu... which was not an easy feat.

Page after page of appetizers, rice, noodles, pork, chicken, seafood, pickled pepper dishes, and many more. For those of us who don't eat meat, I was especially happy to see that FuGu has a full selection of vegetarian options as well.

FuGu Madison menu

Although there were quite a few items that we wanted to try, we finally managed to narrow down the choices and place our order.

Only a short while later, my smoothie-loving husband's eyes lit up when his kiwi smoothie and Pan Fried Pork Dumplings were delivered to the table.

FuGu Asian Fusion

Although the dumplings were a bit dark, my husband said they were still very flavorful and the smoothie was one of the freshest that either of us had ever tasted (and let me tell you, with his smoothie obsession, we have tasted a lot of them). If you can imagine what it would taste like to fill a blender with chunks of ripe, sweet kiwis and a little bit of ice, then you'd have this thick, tasty concoction!

It wasn't long after that our Pan Fried Noodles...

FuGu noodles

 ...and Home Style Tofu arrived...

FuGu Home Style Tofu

...and we dug into both flavorful dishes.

By the time we were finished eating (and had two to-go boxes filled with leftovers to extend these tasty dishes even further), we were both full and content. Even better, we handed over our certificate when the check arrived and watched the total get cut in half — who doesn't love to save money on a yummy meal?

When it comes to fresh, Asian Fusion dishes that only use high quality ingredients, FuGu serves up a large selection in a friendly atmosphere. As it is conveniently located only blocks from the Capitol and surrounded by popular walking and shopping spots for the whole family, this is a great restaurant to be able to visit time and again!

For more information about FuGu Asian, visit their website. To find out about all of the money-saving options that has to offer in your area (or in an area that you are planning to visit), head over to as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Enjoy!

As a member of the Review Crew, I have been provided gift cards and compensation in order to facilitate my reviews. However, all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Stay Stocked Up and "Avoid the Oops" with P&G and! {#AvoidtheOops}

This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Walmart.

During the school year, I feel as though life is busy. Between homework, practices, errands, soccer games, volunteering, PTO events, and more, the kids and I hit the ground running in the morning and don't stop until dinner.

However, once summer arrives, it isn't long before I'm reminded on just how busy our days can actually get. Arriving for swim meets at 6:45am, loading and unloading bikes for triathlon training (for the kids, not me), making it on time to birthday parties, barbecues, play dates, and more... whose idea was it to schedule three different things all happening one right after another? Me? Oh. Right.

Needless to say, I've been slacking on some of my usual household duties, as let's be honest. A mom can only get so many things accomplished in the span of 24 hours.

Fortunately for all of us, I've been able to "Avoid the Oops" of running out of the essentials we need in just about every room of the house thanks to all of the great stock up options available from P&G and!

P&G Walmart Avoid the Oops

From tissues to cleaning supplies to soap to toothpaste, P&G has all of the items that my family depends on each and every day. I try to always keep extra Charmin in all of our bathroom cabinets, as we all know that sinking feeling when you reach for the toilet paper roll only to find that it is empty, right?

And don't even get me started on how I felt my heart skip a beat a few weeks ago when I went to wash yet another load of swimsuits and towels only to find my bottle of Tide detergent empty. It was a good thing that I was able to dig around on my laundry room shelves to find one lonely sample package stashed away!

That was the day that I went straight to my computer to stock up at Their convenient Avoid the Oops site is filled with page after page of P&G products in all categories, sizes, price ranges, and more — and, if your order is $50 or more, it automatically comes with FREE shipping (whatever the order total, there is always free store pickup as well)!

Avoid the Oops products

This really couldn't be much easier, which is why there is no reason to take time away from summer fun and drag my kids to store after store when just about every essential we need can be purchased at Walmart's everyday low prices and then delivered right to our door instead.

It only took me a matter of minutes before I had my cart filled and my order placed. All that was left to do was sit back and let Walmart and P&G take care of the rest!

Walmart order confirmation

After a few days of enjoying the summer sunshine, the first half of my order arrived safely and well packed. Another couple days later and the second half showed up, just as conveniently as the first!

Walmart online

Can we just talk about how much easier it is to have these items be delivered to me for free rather than dragging all of their bulk in and out of the cart, trunk and into my house? And what a time-saver!

P&G at Walmart #AvoidtheOops

We use Bounty paper towels for just about everything and these Puffs tissues have already been put to use due to the amount of sneezing and sniffling that my kids have been doing thanks to their summer colds.

As for the Cascade Platinum and Tide PODS? They are my lifesavers. The washing machine and the dishwasher are running constantly, so being able to grab one of these handy little packets to toss into the machine is a must!


When it comes to saving time and money, the everyday low prices at Walmart can't be beat and the convenience of having it all delivered right to your door is nothing short of magical.

Why spend more time indoors shopping when you could be outside enjoying summer instead? Head over to to see just what high quality P&G products are waiting for you today!

Do you have an "Oops" moment when you realized you were out of an essential?

Monday, June 27, 2016

Taking Charge of My Hunger with Meta Appetite Control {#MetaAppetiteControl}

Meta logo
This post was sponsored by Meta Appetite Control as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

In a previous lifetime of mine (meaning before I had children), I most likely would have considered myself fairly healthy. I ate well, drank plenty of water, exercised a bit... life just seemed to provide much more time to take care of myself.

Fast-forward quite a few years and I often cringe knowing that I'm not always making the best choices for my health. Sure, I would love to eat only the most nutritious foods and proper portions and cut out snacking, but let's be honest. I spend my days packing bags, chauffeuring from lessons to camps to appointments, refereeing pointless sibling arguments, and more.

Is it any wonder that, combined with my lack of willpower, I often find myself stuffing food into my mouth simply based on what is convenient? I know that I shouldn't, but my hunger takes over, the kitchen cupboards call my name, and, more often than not, it isn't long before the guilt sets in. Gah!

Therefore, if I find a product that can help me ward off temptations, take control over my never-ending hunger, and provide a boost in my energy and self-confidence, there's no doubt that I want to give it a try. It's time for Meta Appetite Control to help me take back my life!

Meta appetite control

Clinically proven to help users feel less hungry between meals (reducing appetite for up to four hours), Meta Appetite Control is the #1 doctor recommended fiber brand that contains 100% natural psyllium fiber. How it works is that with every serving that psyllium fiber in the powder thickens to form a gel, which aids in the sensation of fullness. More full = less eating, right?

And the result? Less hunger between meals and the ability to make it through the day without feelings of starvation or being famished that lead me to reach for far too many extra calories. I find that once I start snacking it's difficult to stop, so Meta Appetite Control would be just what I needed!

I was ready to head to Walgreens to find this great new product and put it to work helping me make better decisions for my overall well-being.

Walgreens Meta Appetite Control

Although I spent a little time searching in the diet section at Walgreens, it was only a few minutes later that I made my way over to the digestive wellness aisle and discovered a great little display of Meta products for a healthy lifestyle (and more on the shelf only a few feet away). As an added plus to bringing home Meta Appetite Control, I also received 5,000 Bonus Balance Rewards just for buying it!

Once home, it was time to see just how well I would be able to incorporate this new product into my life.

Meta Appetite Control

Easy peasy!

Without having to count calories or struggle through a strenuous workout schedule, Meta Appetite Control has already been a simple, straightforward addition to my wellness plan.

All that is required is to place two rounded teaspoons into an empty glass and mix briskly with eight or more ounces of water (I have found that a little more water lessens the Orange Zest flavor, but I actually like it at full strength!), and drink with a meal. While new users are encouraged to begin with only one serving daily before slowly increasing their intake, Meta Appetite Control can be taken up to three times each day.

Meta Appetite Control review

So far, so good! I'm looking forward to having Meta Appetite Control add some extra fiber to my life while helping me feel full longer each day. It's the perfect kick-start to getting myself back on track with losing weight and getting healthy!

Want to give Meta Appetite Control a try with me? It is available now at your local Walgreens, where you can save $5 on it by filling out the form below. Even better, the first 100 people to receive their $5 digital coupon will also receive a Meta Appetite Control product sample FREE*!

fill out this online form!

(*Influence Central will select and handle all product and coupon fulfillment.)

Find out more about Meta Appetite Control (which is available in Sugar-Free Orange Zest, Sugar-Free Pink Lemonade Quench and Unflavored Smoothie Enhancer) and all of the other innovative Meta products by heading over to Be sure to also connect with all things Walgreens at as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Mediterranean Made Fast and Tasty at Gyros Express {#ReviewCrew} Review Crew
Typically when we talk about fast food, we think of the classic standards... and, even if our consciences say that we shouldn't be eating them, the convenience (and taste) ends up winning out. Life is often a crazy, hectic, busy rush from one location to the next, so being able to grab a quick meal to keep us going can be a necessity.

Fortunately though, there are options other than fast food chains and the same old, same old that we're used to.

Thanks to, our most recent discovery that provides affordability, flavor and speed is available right in West Towne Mall in Madison, WI. Skip the greasy burgers and head to Gyros Express instead!

West Towne Mall Madison

Offering delicious dining, takeout and delivery, Gyros Express is located only steps inside the mall food court. It's the perfect option whether you're just driving by or want to have a bite of tasty Mediterranean cuisine while doing some shopping!

Gyros Express Madison

While I had taken a look at the Gyros Express menu online prior to our arrival, I still couldn't help but browse the various photos posted to see what their various items (made only with high quality fresh ingredients) looked like.

Not to mention that there is something for just about everyone at Gyros Express. Fried chicken, beef, grilled chicken, hot dogs, fish, kabobs, salads, onion rings — the list goes on and on!

Gyros Express menu

After a quick chat with the friendly staff, it wasn't long before they were working on making our orders fresh for lunch.

Just a few minutes later, Little Sister B was thrilled to sit down with her Chicken Nuggets...

Gyros Express chicken nuggets

...and I couldn't wait to dig in to my Falafel.

Gyros Express falafel

Yum and yum!

The veggies (onions, lettuce and tomatoes) were fresh, the tzatziki sauce was smooth and delicious, the pita was warm and soft, and the falafels themselves were crisp and delectable. Aside from the fact that this was a little difficult to eat without dropping pieces left and right, my Gyros Express lunch was just about perfect!

In fact, had I not been stuffed from my Falafel, I have no doubt that Little Sister B would have happily agreed to try out the restaurant's dessert hit, Sweet Baklava.


Although we don't spend as much time at the mall as we did in years past, I will definitely keep Gyros Express in mind the next time we are stopping in or driving by. The staff was friendly, the location is convenient, and the Mediterranean food was great. What more could we ask for?

In fact, for those especially big fans, I love that Gyros Express even offers a punch card for a FREE lunch entree!

Gyros Express free lunch

When it comes to helping customers discover the unique restaurants local to their area, is the site to visit to not only find a location, but get a great deal. This single site offers savings at tens of thousands of restaurants nationwide with more than 45,000 gift certificate options!

For more information about Gyros Express, visit their website. To find out about all of the money-saving options that has to offer in your area (or in an area that you are planning to visit), head over to as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

Where will you eat next?

As a member of the Review Crew, I have been provided gift cards and compensation in order to facilitate my reviews. However, all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Celebrate Your Best Friend with the $3 Bestie Sale!

While there will forever be holidays that, in my opinion, don't exactly need to exist (I'm looking at you, Toothache Day on February 9th and Lumpy Rug Day on May 3rd), knowing that today is National Best Friends Day only brings a smile to my face. Who doesn't want to have an excuse to celebrate their best buds?

That's right, June 8 has been designated as a day to honor that one special person (or people) you call your best friend. Today is a time to show them how much you appreciate them, how special and important they are to you, and how you cherish their friendship.

So, since it has been said that the best way to one's heart is through their stomach, it makes sense to celebrate Best Friend's Day by treating your bestie to a dinner out thanks to!

Best Friend's Day

But your best friend knows you're smart and save money whenever you can, right? That's why has made it even easier and more affordable to head out to eat tonight (or anytime) by serving up a special!

Simply head over to their website and pick up $25 certificates for only $3 by using the promo code HEART! sale

Remember that you can always search by location, cuisine, price range and more, to find exactly what you want, where you want it.

So go ahead and fill up your cart with $3 gift certificates so that you can not only treat your bestie, but so that you'll be prepared for future teacher gifts, housewarming surprises, or simply a tasty meal out for your friends, family, coworkers or YOU! We're talking a $25 gift certificate for only $3! But don't wait because this offer ends tonight, June 8th, at 11:59 pm CST.

Your favorite restaurant might be waiting for you to discover it right in your own neighborhood (they provide savings at more than 20,000 restaurants across America!), so let not only introduce you, but save you a great deal of money at the same time.

As a member of the Review Crew, I have been provided gift cards and compensation in order to facilitate my reviews and for sharing this information. However, all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Fall in Love with Zootopia on Digital HD, Blu-ray and Disney Movies Anywhere {Available Now!}

Zootopia logo
I'll admit that I typically don't expect much when I sit down to watch a movie with my children (which is why I actually don't agree to it all that often). What can I say? My kids don't always have the most discerning taste when it comes to the movies, television shows and characters that they like.

However, when a film manages to include much more than simply entertainment, it's difficult to not take notice. An epic adventure? A heartwarming tale of an unlikely friendship? An underlying message about following your dreams, believing in yourself, and discovering what you are truly capable of?

The combination of all of that (plus more) is exactly why Walt Disney Animation Studios' comedy-adventure, Zootopia, has broken records worldwide earning more than $900 million at the global box office to date... and can now be enjoyed at home anytime thanks to its release on Digital HD, Blu-ray, Disney Movies Anywhere, DVD and On-Demand!

Zootopia Blu ray Combo

The best reviewed movie of 2016, critics and audiences around the world have fallen in love with the wonderfully innovative animal metropolis of Zootopia and the comedic chemistry of rookie rabbit officer Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) and scam-artist fox Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman).

If you haven't yet seen this film, it is set in the mammal city of Zootopia, where animals from the largest elephant to the smallest shrew live and thrive. When Judy Hopps, a rabbit from rural Bunnyburrow, becomes the first rabbit to join the city's police force, she quickly learns how tough it is to enforce the law.

Determined to prove herself, Judy jumps at the opportunity to crack an unsolved case of missing mammals even if it means working with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde, to solve the mystery. But the case leads these two unlikely partners to an uneasy conclusion that Zootopia's "evolved" society is being pulled apart by unseen forces determined to use fear to take control of the city by turning predators and prey against each other.

Through the ups and downs and surprise twists, viewers of all ages will enjoy the vibrant world of Zootopia and the cast of adorable and humorous characters!

Zootopia characters

As well as being thrilled to be able to watch Zootopia time and time again, my family has been excited to discover more about the evolution of this extraordinary tale through the various in-depth bonus features included via Digital HD, Blu-ray, DVD, On-Demand, and Disney Movies Anywhere.

These new bonus offerings including candid conversations with filmmakers and artists behind Zootopia, an alternate opening, never-before-seen characters and deleted scenes, and a sneak peek at some of the hidden Easter Eggs that make reference to Disney Animation's most beloved films and characters.

Just check out some of these fun and innovative Easter Eggs that you're not going to want to miss!

Complete bonus features for Zootopia on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and Digital HD include:
  • Zoology: The Roundtables – Ginnifer Goodwin hosts an in-depth look at the movie’s characters, animation, environments and more. The artists at Disney Animation give a rare and in-depth look at the complexities of bringing an all-animal world to life from the ground-breaking technology behind the characters’ fur and clothing to the varied and vast environments of Tundratown, Sahara Square and the Rainforest District as well as the deep thought and research given to bringing 64 unique animal species to life through animation.
  • The Origin of an Animal Tale – Follow the story’s development from its origins to a big story shift that turned the film upside down. In this feature-length documentary, filmmakers give a candid look into the difficulties of creating the story of Zootopia and the bold decision to switch the main character late in the production process, putting one resolute rabbit center stage.
  • Research: A True-Life Adventure – The filmmakers traveled the globe to find inspiration for the diverse characters and amazing city of Zootopia. They reflect on the importance of research and how a deep dive into animal behavior at Disney Animal Kingdom theme park and a deep immersion into animal society on the African savanna shaped and inspired the characters of Zootopia and changed the filmmakers’ lives forever.
  • Z.P.D. Forensic Files – Find the movie's hidden Easter Eggs. Every city has its hidden gems, especially when it has been created by the filmmakers of Disney Animation who love nothing more than sprinkling hidden references to some of Disney’s greatest animated features throughout the story. 
  • Scoretopia – Academy Award-winning composer, Michael Giacchino spotlights five of cinema’s greatest percussionists and how they brought an organic, animalistic sound to his powerful and emotional music score.
  • Deleted Characters – Directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore introduce citizens of Zootopia who did not make the final cut.
  • Deleted Scenes:
    • Alternate Opening – Young Judy Hopps rescues a fellow classmate and realizes she can reach beyond a life in carrot farming to a future in law enforcement.
    • Wild Times! Pitch – Nick desperately pitches the bankers of Zootopia on funding Wild Times!, an amusement park made exclusively for the predators of Zootopia and a sure-fire, money-making scheme for Nick and his friends.
    • Alternate Homesick Hopps – After a frustrating first day on the force, Judy has a conversation with her parents. See how this scene changed from a heartfelt conversation with her parents to tough love when her parents discover their daughter is only a meter maid and not a “real cop.”
    • Detective Work – Judy borrows a fellow police officer’s computer to conduct research, which turns out to be no small task.
    • Alternate Jumbo Pop – In this early version of the story where Nick was the main character, the filmmakers and Jason Bateman were able to take hustling to a new level.
    • Hopps’ Apartment – When Judy’s entire family pays her a surprise visit they are shocked to discover the company she’s keeping.
    • The Taming Party – In this emotional clip from an early version of Zootopia, Judy attends her first "taming party" and gains a deeper understanding of the plight of the predator.
  • "Try Everything" Music Video by Shakira.

There is no doubt that Disney has done it again when it comes to turning what could have been a simple children's tale into a completely original story full of humor, heart, action, and imagination that is perfect for the whole family.

Young and old will surely cheer on Zootopia's brave duo, and, if kids can walk away having learned an important lesson about self-confidence, never giving up, and acceptance, then it's surely a win-win!

Zootopia Judy Hopps

Filled with laughter, heart, adventure and thrills, Zootopia has a running time of 108 minutes and is available now. Be sure to keep an eye out for this magical film at your local retailers as well as from Amazon (where the Blu-ray Combo Pack currently retails for $22.99).

You can also find out much more about this great movie from Disney as well as on Facebook.

Other than a copy of Zootopia that I was provided in order to facilitate my review, I was not compensated or enticed to do this post in any way. This review is solely my honest opinion about this product.