Monday, September 30, 2013

Thomas & Friends®: Animals Aboard {DVD Giveaway - Ends 10/11}

The Thomas & Friends®: Animals Aboard DVD is now available exclusively at Target stores for a limited time, and will be available for Digital Download and Video On Demand starting October 8th from HIT Entertainment and Lionsgate.

I received a Thomas & Friends®: Animals Aboard DVD for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own.

Buddy has seen a couple of these episodes prior to seeing this DVD, but of course he could still watch them hundred times in a row! He can't get enough Thomas and he's showing no signs of stopping anytime soon. In this episode, Thomas and his friends learn lessons about being kind to animals, doing good deeds and helping friends of all shapes and sizes. Featuring animals along the way, it's a warm and fuzzy DVD that's kid-friendly and perfect for little ones. Another fabulous Thomas DVD! 

All aboard as Thomas and his engine friends embark on exciting adventures with some new furry friends! Percy learns to be gentle when meeting some small forest friends and Thomas goes hog-wild trying to be Really Useful for Farmer Trotter. Henry performs a sweet deed in returning Sodor’s special songbird and Thomas must fulfill a tall order when he is asked to deliver the newest animal to Sodor’s Wildlife Center. The engines are busy as bees being Really Useful and helping animals big and small.

· “Percy's New Friends”
· “Thomas and the Pigs”
· “Henry's Good Deeds”
· “Thomas' Tall Friend” 
· “Buzzy Bees”

· “Hear the Engines Coming” Karaoke Music Video 
·  “Determination Song” Karaoke Music Video
Thomas & Friends®: Animals Aboard is available on DVD with a SRP of $14.98.
Win It!
One winner will receive a copy of the Thomas & Friends®: Animals Aboard DVD courtesy of HIT Entertainment!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

McCain Grocery Goodness Giveaway on Facebook {Weekly Winners!}

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for McCain Foods. I received a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.

I clearly remember growing up and always having dinner together as a family every night - times that I cherish and remember well. I'll admit that my little family is not good at getting around the dinner table together on a consistent basis. We do spend a lot of quality time together doing other activities we enjoy like mall walking during the week in the evenings, and grocery shopping together as a family, but meal time is something I'm working on. Sometimes increasing the amount of meals we eat together is as simple as just eating simpler, natural, easy-to-prepare foods like those from McCain Potatoes. 
McCain Potatoes is currently running an awesome giveaway from now through November 4, 2013! Enter the McCain Grocery Goodness Giveaway for a chance to win a $500 grocery store gift card (1 winner each week, 8 winners total). Entrants will also receive a $1 off coupon off any 1 bag of McCain Potato products. I know I could get a lot of organic groceries with a $500 gift card! Good luck!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure :: Coming SOON to Sacramento!

I will receive complimentary event tickets for our local show. All opinions are 100% my own.

Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure will be coming to Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento from Wednesday, October 9th through Sunday, October 13th! 

Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure features an international team of award-winning figure skaters, high-energy choreography and a colorful set that captures four enchanting worlds of Disney’s The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan and Lilo & Stitch. Audiences will be entranced as they experience this exciting excursion — one that will fill the arena with magic, music, and best of all, Mickey and Minnie!

I'm a huge ice skating fan, and love watching competitions and the Winter Olympics just for the ice skating. Watching a Disney On Ice production for the first time will surely be a thrilling, magical experience for my family and me!

**Ticket Information**

WHERE: Sleep Train Arena – One Sports Parkway, Sacramento CA 95834

WHEN: Wednesday, October 9 – Sunday, October 13, 2013

Wednesday, October 9 - 7:00 PM
Thursday, October 10 - 7:00 PM
Friday, October 11 - 7:00 PM
Saturday, October 12 - 11:30 AM, 3:30 PM & 7:30 PM
Sunday, October 13 - 12:00 PM & 4:00 PM

TICKETS: Ticket prices range from $17, $23, $40 (VIP) and $65 (Rinkside)

Kids tickets available for only $10* each (available for select performances only – all shows except Wed 7PM, Saturday 3:30PM and Sunday 12PM, and not valid on VIP/premium seating levels)

Special Opening Night discount tickets available for $11 each (not valid on VIP/premium seating levels)
Purchase tickets online at, Ticketmaster retail locations, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or at Sleep Train Arena Box Office. Visit for more show tour information.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Give A Minute, Help Make-A-Wish #StraightTalkWish

I participated in this sponsored campaign for One2One Network. All opinions are 100% my own.
Making a difference for someone else can be as simple as offering a smile to a stranger. Today I'd like to encourage you to go a step further and visit your local Walmart this Saturday, September 28th for the "Give A Minute, Help Make-A-Wish" program. Take just one minute to learn about Straight Talk, America’s largest no-contract cell phone provider in the U.S., and Straight Talk Wireless will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish for your time. Straight Talk will donate a minimum of $500,000 to Make-A-Wish and up to $1,000,000, which they achieved during last year's program!

If you don't live near a Walmart, you can still participate in this wonderful program. Also through this Saturday, September 28th, when you share the video on on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, Straight Talk will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $100,000 (one donation per viewer, per day) towards their $1,000,000 goal. It's fast, easy and worth every second!

We've actually looking into ways to reduce our cell phone bill recently. With Straight Talk, there are plans starting as low as $30, but still with all the bells and whistles that today's society sort of expects you have i.e. texting, data plans, and plenty of talking minutes. This would actually cut our cell phone bill in HALF! I was worried about cell coverage, but it appears that Straight Talk actually partners with existing wireless networks nationwide, and apparently provides more service for more zip codes than any other carrier. Ummmm, time to switch because our current "great service" is actually quite spotty in our own home! They also have all the same phone brands as everyone else like Samsung, Apple, Windows and LG which is perfect. Even better, Straight Talk is partnering with an awesome organization to grant wishes to sick kids.

I love finding opportunities to help people. Today for instance, I helped an elderly woman bag her groceries at a local grocery store that doesn't have baggers. It was a chance to serve, make someone's day a bit brighter and to be an example to my son (while we played hooky from real school work for a couple hours - homeschool is not always about academics!). With an opportunity to help a worthy organization change the lives of sick kids, count me in. I'm sure there are a few things we need to pick up at Walmart anyway! So go to your local Walmart this Saturday, and take just one minute of your time to learn about Straight Talk.

Monday, September 23, 2013

VTech 2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset™ Review & Giveaway - Ends 9/26

I received complimentary product from VTech for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own.
VTech has one of the largest lines of infant and preschool electronic learning products with over 40 new products introduced just this year. We have a few VTech products already that Buddy really enjoys, so I was delighted to have the opportunity to review the VTech 2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset. 

The VTech 2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset is a grocery cart and play kitchen in one. With a quick and easy assembly, play time is just a few minutes away after opening the box. Kids can push the grocery cart around, collecting play food along the way from their "shopping list". Once assembled, switching from the grocery cart to kitchen involves just lowering the three sides of the cart. It's so simple, and an easy process that even your youngest can accomplish with ease! And let the "cooking" begin with a stove burner, oven, cutting board, and sink. A place setting is ready on the side too.
This new VTech playset encourages pretend play and exploration while teaching about food, colors, numbers, music, following directions and more. There are three play modes: Pretend & Play, Learning Fun, and Music Time for plenty of different playtime experiences. This playset has lots of audio responses and sounds, and really interacts well with what your child does. For example, the sink sounds like running water when pressed, and the stove "turns on" after sliding the button. I love that it even reminds you to use soap every time you wash your hands too! As a 2-in-1 toy, this playset goes beyond my expectations and has so many neat functions to engage young children.
With my niece's second birthday quickly approaching, I just knew the this playset would be the perfect birthday present for her! But when the VTech 2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset showed up on our doorstep, Buddy just wouldn't part with it. So, he's been previewing it for his cousin but I have a feeling it will be staying at our house permanently instead.

Initially I thought that the 2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset would be best for the younger end of the recommend 2-5 age range because the themes and learning opportunities just seem a bit young to me. However, Buddy is almost 5 and he just loves to play kitchen, and is always "cooking" me food and thoroughly enjoys his friend's play kitchen when we visit. This playset has encouraged Buddy to listen and follow the directions he's given, and also given him a creative outlet. He might be a bit tall for it, but he loves it!

Electronic toys play a large part in the learning process of kids these days. It's easy to have screen time overload, so I love the switcheroo of the VTech 2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset. It's interactive, encourages the imagination, and let's kiddos pretend like there's no tomorrow. VTech will always be welcome in our home.

Connect with VTech on Facebook and Twitter

Price:  $49.99 MSRP
Buy It: Check out to order!
Win It!
One winner will receive a VTech 2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bob Books for Young Readers {Giveaway - Ends 10/3}

I received complimentary product for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own.

If you have young children, you may be familiar with Bob Books. This award-winning reading program is the perfect start for emergent readers as they take their first steps towards confident reading.

Just three weeks ago we officially started our homeschool. But months ago we began teaching Buddy to read using Teaching Your Child To Read in 100 Lessons and we're about half way through right now. Buddy is thriving and already reading short sentences, but I realized that I didn't have appropriate books that could go hand-in-hand with the very early reading level he's currently at. I immediately did some researching which led me to Bob Books.

Upon contacting Bob Books, they graciously offered to let me review two of their book sets, Set 1 - Beginning Readers, and Rhyming Words. I was STOKED to say the least, and so was Buddy when I told him that these books were just for him.

Set 1 - Beginning Readers is the most popular set of Bob Books available. This set includes 12 books and introduces short vowels, each written in three-letter words and in short sentences. Each book is numbered which corresponds with the gradual progression of difficulty with each book as your child learns to master one at a time. 

The beginning of each of these books has a page that introduces the new sounds that your child will encounter. For example, in book 1 the letters m, a, t and s are introduced. It's a quick way for parents to see if their child is ready to move on to the next book, and to help their child with visual cues for these sounds like M is for moon, A is for apple etc. By the end of this set, readers will have read words utilizing all letters of the alphabet, except for Q.

Set 1 is appropriate for emergent readers that are just starting out. If your child already knows the alphabet, this is the set you'll want to start with. Set 1 has proven to be a wonderful first stepping stone for Buddy as he learns to read on his own.

Rhyming Words is perfect for moving on from Set 1 - Beginning Readers as it introduces the concept of rhyming and learning how to change the first letter of words that have the same ending. This set includes 10 books with consistent vowel sounds and short sentences, and also 40 rhyming word puzzle cards for some fun practice. The last page of these books describe the word family that the book is using, and also other words the book uses. Just like with the Set 1 books, this is a quick way for me to see if the book will possibly be too tough or frustrating for Buddy, or decide that he's ready to try it.

The Rhyming Words books are a little intimidating for Buddy so far (he's not quite there yet), but he's attempted the first couple books with lots of help and encouragement. I expect to use them a bit more in the coming months as we continue on our reading journey, and finish up with Set 1 first.

Buddy seems to be excelling with his reading ability so far, and read the first book in Set 1 all the way through on his first try! The approach of Bob books encourages children to sound out words, and not just memorize sight words right off the bat. Buddy has a firm foundation of understanding how to sound out words properly, and I was so excited to see this in action. He now tells me he's going to read his Bob Books, and he just does it! Even though that only means the first 3 books totally on his own so far, the small amount of independence and accomplishment he feels once he's read a few Bob Books is absolutely fantastic. I think this mama is a bit sad her son is growing up so fast, but to see the light bulbs go off left and right like this is just magical!

These books are small for little hands, and the illustrations are simple and witty. I love being able to see that Buddy is comprehending the short sentences he's reading - his laughs are a dead give away! He's not only learning to read, but he's also having fun at the same time. Bob Books not only foster a love of learning, but also help lay the foundational skills of literacy that will lead the way to a bright future ahead. So far I'm very impressed with Bob Books and I expect to continue to see more great results as we build on our collection and continue reading through the rest of the books from the sets we have. Supplementing with Bob Books is a must-do for early readers to get them reading with confidence and excitement. As Buddy's first real books that he can read to me on his own without frustration and with plenty of fun? Absolutely priceless.

Bob Books boxed sets are wonderful gifts, and are perfect for containing these little books. It's just three months away...can you say perfect Christmas gift?! Kiddos love these books and I love the consistency I see throughout the stories and illustrations. There are plenty of other Bob Books sets available, depending on your child's current reading ability. Be sure to use the bookfinder quiz to find what set is right for your child.

Price: Set 1 - Beginning Readers & Rhyming Words - $16.99 RV each
Buy It: Check out to shop now!
Win It!
One winner will receive the same two sets I received - Set 1, and Rhyming Words!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Living Healthy with the Jawbone UP from Best Buy {Review}

Disclosure: The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

As The Reynolds Dad, and as a self-proclaimed fitness guru, I begged The Reynolds Mom to let me review the Jawbone UP for her. I’ve been watching the ‘quantified self’ movement grow over the past few years, but I never saw the need to get an activity tracker. Boy was I wrong! Using the UP is fun and has some major benefits, and just minor drawbacks. 

What does the UP do? The UP tracks all your movement and sleep to help you take a more holistic approach towards a healthier lifestyle. You can also add your food, mood, and a number of other things through connected apps. All the data is presented in an easy to read and understand dashboard that is presented on your smartphone. For a detailed look at the UP's features, here you go.

  • Tracks motion, distance, location and speed
  • For efficient monitoring of your workout
  • Measures steps taken and calories burned
  • Helps you keep track of your progress
  • Watch-style design
  • Keeps your information within easy reach
  • Up to 10-day battery life
  • Allows long-lasting use
  • Syncs with your iPhone
  • Organizes your long-term data (requires app download)
  • Water-resistant up to 3.3'
  • For use in most weather conditions

A couple of killer features on the UP really sets the product apart from other trackers. The first is an idle alert. As an office worker that sits for a good 8 to 10 hours a day, remembering to get up and move can be a challenge. I found the idle alert to be the perfect reminder. The band vibrates at intervals that you can set to remind you to move during the workday. I set mine to remind after 15 minutes of being idle from 8am to 5pm. It’s a little annoying for the band to vibrate twice during a long meeting, or while commuting on the bus, BUT THAT’s THE POINT! The vibration is similar to a quick alert on your cellphone. And, when I needed to, I could easily ignore the reminder. However, the reminder is persistent, and it really will motivate you to at least stand up and stretch while at your computer. 
What surprised me the most was how often the UP reminded me to move on the weekends. I thought I got plenty of movement playing with my son, shopping, and just doing house chores, but I was totally wrong. The UP kept buzzing me while I was watching my morning shows, sports, movies, surfing the net, eating at grandpa’s house… I quickly began to realize how idle my weekends were. I was moving more often while at work! That was an eye opener.

And, I always thought I took the recommended 10,000 steps per day. I only averaged 6,000 after the first 10 days wearing the UP. This really got me motivated. I started walking around in circles in my cubicle. Just kidding, I have started taking some walking breaks though. The UP app delivers some real life insights after monitoring your patterns for a while to help keep you moving forward.  

  Here's at look at my steps taken and calories burned, and also my sleep patterns.

The other feature that I loved is the ability for the UP to connect to other apps on my iPhone. I was previously using MyFitnessPal to track all my meals and calorie intake. The UP seamlessly connects to the app to import the data!  It was a lifesaver in terms of saving me from learning how to use another app, etc.  There are also a number of other apps you can connect to. I especially liked that it connected to RunKeeper, MapMyFitness and Lose It! These are some of the most popular apps in the Apple App store for health and fitness. 

I also loved not having to charge the device every day. Nuff said! The battery lasts a full 10 days Jawbone promised.  

As for a few of the drawbacks, they are mainly personal. Firstly, I hate wearing anything around my wrists or on my hands. I stopped wearing a wristwatch and any rings a while ago. Wearing the UP was a challenge for me, but nonetheless, it was incredibly comfortable. I used it while doing some heavy yard work one day, and the band got fairly sweaty and dirty. The band cleaned up very well. The band was also comfortable while sleeping. I only had to take it off once during a nap. I also couldn’t bring myself to wear the band while showering even though it’s water/soap resistant.  

The band looks cool enough to wear anywhere. So good in fact, I suggest Jawbone make UP earrings, necklaces and toe rings. Please add a belly button ring for my cool mother in-law. No, but I do wish there was a pocket setting just for the times that wearing the bracelet was unbearable. 

As a second drawback, the UP is personalized to you. I kept wanting to put this thing on my 4 ½ year old son or share it with other people. (My son would send all the graphs and charts into outer space! Steps taken? 25,000 per day at least.) I did despise having to check my progress throughout the day on my phone, I wish there was some sort of indicator on the band to tell me if I was at 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% of my step goal, etc. I did not always have my phone handy to check.

In short, the band is a lot of fun to wear and monitor you. You’ll get a kick out of watching your sleep patterns, steps taken, etc. Collecting data and watching trends develop over time is a slow and tedious process, but if you want lasting results… it’s the best way! As someone who was previously obese, I know how easy it is to fool yourself into thinking you move enough, eat correctly and sleep enough. Don’t fall into that trap, the UP band is a good way to keep yourself REAL. 

Live Better. Start Now. Jawbone UP. Track your sleep activity, steps, calorie intake and more with the Jawbone UP wrist sensor and free mobile app. UP gives you meaningful, personalized insights so you can make lasting improvements to your everyday life. You can purchase the Jawbone UP from Best Buy for $129.99.

The Reynolds Dad

Monday, September 16, 2013

Savers Thrift Stores :: Back-To-School Thrifting {$50 Giveaway - Ends 9/29}

School is back in session and I'm sure I'm not the only one walking around with an somewhat empty wallet. Not only does returning to school require a ridiculously long list of school supplies, but with growing kids and the change in seasons, new clothes are needed too. It's this time of year that I'm thankful I have only one child to manage with back-to-school season!

We're homeschooling this year, but I've said it before and I'll say it again. Homeschooling does not mean parents get off cheaper when it comes to back-to-school shopping. In fact, the expenses may be more when considering the cost of curriculum materials, a few new clothing items (they still grow out clothes!), educational outings, and tutoring programs like we have Buddy enrolled in. It adds up QUICK! Finding ways to save money is a necessity to help stretch every dollar.

Disclosure: I received gift certificates for review purposes as part of the Savers Back-To-School Ambassador Program. All opinions are 100% my own.

About a year ago I discovered how fun thrift store shopping really is. Thrifting is a frugal way to get necessities at great prices, it's a green way to shop, and the thrill of scoring a fantastic find at an incredible deal is almost as fun as Saturday garage sales! About four months ago, a new Savers Thrift Store opened in Vacaville, California. Although this new store is about an hour away from me, last week I was able to make a special trip as a Savers Back-To-School Ambassador to see what I could score.

Savers is a thrift store chain that was founded in 1954. When it comes to back-to-school shopping, at Savers you can save 70-90% on back-to-school basics compared to other retailers. And check this out, a full wardrobe (10 T-shirts, 3 sweatshirts, 3 pairs of jeans, 1 skirt or dress, 2 pairs of shoes, 1 pair of boots and 3 jackets) can be found at Savers for $90 or less. Considering what I found on our shopping trip, this is absolutely doable!
 One of the first things I noticed about Savers is the spacious, clean aisles, and the uncluttered shelving. You can actually see what they have unlike other thrift stores I normally frequent. The racks of clothing are full though, as they should be. Small items and toys are in bags, priced clearly, and hanging in appropriate sections on the wall to see. It's all so organized, and easy to find the section you're looking for. And this store is huge. Not even kidding, it's like the size of a large grocery store, and then some!

I walked into Savers with a rough list of items I was hoping to score. Rule number one of thrifting, know what you need before you go. For one, I really, really wanted to find a nice globe for our schoolroom. Some sort of cork board, educational games, books and science materials would also be great. For Buddy's Fall clothes, I hoped to find a pair of jeans or two, a few casual long-sleeve tops, some button-down shirts, and cold-weather clothing. Let me show you the best items we found on our trip to Savers.

The book selection is what you could describe as off the hook. The children's book section is particularly large with a wonderful selection of very good to like-new quality books. I was in book heaven for sure! All the children's books are just a whopping .69 cents, and on top of that they are buy five, get one free at the Vacaville location.

I found a few classics including Stone Soup, plenty of DK Eyewitness Books, and lots of well-known series like The Berenstain Bears, Clifford, and the Step Into Reading books by Random House. I think we ended up with over 40 books by the end of our trip. Talk about a great way to build up a book collection for a young reader!

In the framed art section I found this neat cork board with a black wood frame that I'm planning on painting and hanging in the school room. The toy bag section had a ton to look through, but since we were looking for toys with educational value we opted for this ocean-themed puzzle ($1.99), a Brain Quest set ($2.99), and a brand new marbles set ($1.99). In the games and puzzles area we found this awesome United States floor puzzle ($2.99), a brand new wooden chess set ($2.99), and a brand new chess/checkers set ($1.99). The used items are seriously barely used, and an incredible value.

Buddy's favorite find was this air guitar that plays rock music. It needed new batteries but that's to be expected. At just $2.99, this has been an excellent way for Buddy to take a school break and let out some energy. He's even put on a couple shows for hubby and me which is great practice for the weekly presentations he's supposed to give each week when he has his homeschool program.

My favorite part of thrifting is going through clothes. I go through every single piece because I'm on a serious mission to save! I went through all size 5 clothes which is Buddy's current size, and up to size 6 for growing room. The result was a pile of clothes at the register. I found some really hot deals from brands like GAP, OshKosh, Levi's, Quicksilver, and Ralph Lauren! You simply cannot beat the $1.99 prices on high-quality clothing that's barely worn! The Levi's Jeans were a bit more expensive at $7.99, but they look brand new. The Quicksilver jacket was $6.99 with tons of wear left. I also found a few sweaters, a cute vest jacket, three pairs of denim shorts, and plenty of long-sleeve and short-sleeve tops too that all ranged from $1.49 to $3.99.

Look at my handsome boy!! Would you ever guess that he's wearing second-hand clothing? NOPE! These are both GAP tops, the Arizona jeans and my favorite Quicksilver jacket.
By the time we went to the register, we had spent two hours turning over every item in the store. It was too awesome to not take the extra time to search through everything! After realizing we were way under budget, we actually back through a couple sections to pick up a few more tops, books, and a medieval knight Halloween costume that is correlating perfectly with our study of that time period right now! Buying second-hand never felt so good! I'm a bargain hunter at heart, and loved my time searching the racks and shelves at Savers. So, I didn't find a globe that I was hoping to score, but I did cross off everything else on my list and them some.

Since I'm familiar with shopping second-hand, I knew if would be totally hit or miss at Savers. Not expecting much, I was shocked to find so many high quality second-hand items, and some incredible prices. We definitely got a lot of back-to-school goodies on our special trip to Savers! When you need to stretch your budget, I suggest you go thrifting at Savers first.

Use the Store Finder for a Savers Thrift Store near you!

Win It!
One winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to any Savers location!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Our Family Night Out at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus in Sacramento!

I received complimentary event tickets for our local show. All opinions are 100% my own.

Last night my family and I had the pleasure of attending the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus Presents Built To Amaze!, the 143rd edition of The Greatest Show On Earth®. Our evening was certainly full of magical splendor, jaw-dropping moments, and utter amazement that we won't soon forget.

Starting off our night of fun we enjoyed the All Access Pre-Show on the circus floor. Some of the action included a majestic Asian elephant painting a picture, aerialist performances, singing and dancing, a jump house for kids, and plenty of clowning around from the clowns of Clown Alley!

During the show there was a constant flow of performances to keep the audience captivated. One of Buddy's favorite acts was the display of 16 Bengal tigers by Tabayara Maluenda, Ringling Bros. tiger trainer. His intense energy and obvious connection with these tigers was incredible to see! The tigers performed tricks, and even allowed their trainer to get up close to several of them and kiss them on their faces! It was truly a memorable presentation and Taba certainly commands the stage with his presence.

You simply cannot have a circus without a high-wire act! The Danguir Troupe amazed us all with a jaw-dropping performance as they danced, flipped, and even leapfrogged across the high wire. We held our breath as one member jumped from the shoulders of one guy to another, all while on the high wire with no safety cables!

The Human Cannonball was fun to watch as Elliana Grace flew through the air at a G-force of 7 and landed a perfectly calculated finish. It was nail-biting for sure, because this sort of dangerous stunt has to be precise!

The Trampoline Tower Tumblers showed off their impressive acrobatic skills as they tumbled in and out of a 12-foot tower. As they tumbled, flipped and dazzled the audience, their synchronization was proof of the great amount of time and effort put into their routine.

The beloved circus elephants! Just as majestic as ever, these beautiful Asian elephants danced around and has plenty of tricks to show off. Dedicated to saving the endangered Asian elephant species, Ringling Bros. has one of the largest herds of Asian elephants in the Western Hemisphere. Through it's breeding program, 25 calves have been born into the program since the early 1990s. As further evidence of the great care of their animals, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation was established in 1995 as a facility for research, reproduction, and retirement for Asian elephants.

And the grand finale, complete with confetti! This circus is certainly a fun, family-friendly show for audiences of all ages, just as it's always been. My photos represent just a handful of the dozens of performances that went on. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus is a spectacular show featuring more than 110 of the world’s best artists and athletes representing 17 countries, along with 95 exotic and domestic animals. From the King Charles Troupe that portrayed amazing balance and skill as they performed a choreographed basketball routine while riding unicycles, to the two married couples that performed an incredible hand-balancing act of strength and balance, the circus is must-see for viewing a level of talent and performance excellence that is unsurpassed.

Buddy woke up early this morning and put on his clown nose as he proceeded to talk about the circus and ask a billion questions. We all had so much fun!

Don't forget, the circus will be in the area through next weekend! 

Sleep Train Arena (Sacramento) - September 13 -16, 2013
Stockton Arena - September 20 -22, 2013 

**View Show Times & Ticket Information HERE**