Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions 2016 features Final Five


Kelloggs tour of gymnastics champions

Do you wish you could have gone to the Rio 2016 Olympics and seen the Final Five compete? Gymnastics fans all around the US will get their wish, because gymnasts Simone Biles, Gabby Dougls, Laurie Hernandez, Aly Raisman, and Madison Kocian will be performing all around the country with Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions! They will be at SAP Center this weekend and I can't wait to see them.

The Final Five won hearts all over the world this summer when they won a treasure trove of medals: gold in team, gold in women's all-around (Biles), gold in vault (Biles), gold and silver in floor (Biles & Raisman), silver in uneven parallel bars (Kocian), and silver and bronze in balance beam (Hernandez & Biles).

Other gymnasts on the tour include Nastia Liukin (2008 all-around women's gymnastics Olympic gold medalist), Shawn Johnson (2008 all-around silver medalist), Jordyn Wieber (2012 US gymnastics team member and gold team medalist), the 2016 US men's gymnastics team, and more. I'm really keeping my fingers crossed that we get to see all these athletes, especially the Final Five, because the cast varies from stop to stop.

There are still tickets available for this weekend's show, so head on over to the SAP Center website to purchase! If you're not from the Bay Area, check out the tour website for locations and dates.


Disclosure: I received tickets to attend the event with my family. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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The most durable name labels ever: Kidecals



Labor Day has come and gone and the kids are back in school! So, have your kids lost any lunch boxes yet? I work at an elementary school so I see first hand how many lunch boxes, jackets, and caps are left outside every single day! My kids have lost more than their fair share of stuff, so I've learned my lesson, and I now slap labels on anything and everything that my kids own. I can't tell you how many times the parent volunteer in charge of our lost-and-found closet has called me to say one of my kids has left an item behind, just before it gets sorted into a donation bin!

Labeling works -- but the labels have to be durable enough to withstand the sun, multiple trips to the dishwasher/washing machine, and everyday wear (i.e. getting scuffed on the playground, getting spilled on, etc...).  I recently tried out Kidecals labels, and I have to say, they are probably the most durable labels out there! They feel almost like heavy duty car bumper stickers that can withstand grease, mud, and the elements.

kidecals labels bonggamom review

My Kidecals label value pack was super easy to order and customize. They have over 300 designs to choose from -- not just cutesy kiddie designs, but modern and chic designs that teens and adults would be proud to display.

The basic labels come in 2 sizes, 2"x5" and 1"x 0.25"; combo packs also include round labels (1" and 2" diameter) as well as rectangular labels in different sizes. The labels are printed on large sheets, which I'm not crazy about -- I wish they were in little booklets or packs to make them easier to store, and they are somewhat difficult to remove from the backing, but once the labels are on, they STAY PUT.  They're waterproof, dishwasher safe, microwave safe, and laundry safe. They're also BPA free!

kidecals labels bonggamom review


If you think you don't need Kidecals because you don't have kids, think again. Think about all those phones, car keys, ipads, sunglasses cases, and work coffee mugs you've lost!  Kidecals also makes chalkboard labels, luggage tags, keyboard stickers, gift labels, canning labels, and allergy alert labels. Their usefulness goes far beyond school stuff!

kidecals labels bonggamom review

Check out Kidecals online, and save 15% with discount code: summersavings


Disclosure: I received samples to facilitate my review. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey: This circus show is Out Of This World!


Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Out Of This World circus

A few weeks ago I wrote about all the things I was looking forward to seeing at Out Of This World, the new show from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. Out Of This World is the first circus show to have a storyline; it also does away with the traditional 3-ring format, and several acts are performed on ice! Those are just a few of the fresh and exciting new things about Out Of This World -- to fully understand just how enjoyable the show is, you absolutely have to watch it.


From the moment the show started, we knew this was not the usual compilation of circus acts that everyone comes to expect. Instead of a tightrope walker we were treated to moonwalkers balancing, walking, and biking on a rotating wheel (the Simet Wheel).
Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Out Of This World circus


The entire show was based on the story of ringmaster Jonathan and his sidekick Starseeker, traveling through space, trying to gather all the best circus acts in the galaxy before the evil Queen Tatiana does. Will they manage to save the circus?  Obviously the grownups know the answer, but the little ones will enjoy the battle of good versus evil (especially since the forces of evil come in the guise of a troupe of bumbling clowns)!
Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Out Of This World circus


A special video projection screen changes with each act; a variety of images like stars and snowflakes and terrain are also projected onto the ice to really make the scenery look great.
Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Out Of This World circus


Yes, you heard that right, I said "ice"!  Out Of This World features quite a few performers on ice skates! They turned the entire stage into an ice rink and covered up the center part, so that the skaters can glide in and out, but all the other performers can enter and exit and perform safely.
Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Out Of This World circus

There were so so so many amazing acts! I was delighted to see my favorite motorcycle act, where 7 or 8 bikers ride inside a small metal cage. I cannot believe how skilled these riders are, riding around and around and upside down without crashing into anyone.
Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Out Of This World circus


No elephants this time, but there were many other animal acts, including dogs, pigs, llamas, alpacas, and a kangaroo! The dogs looked like they were having so much fun, and they were so cute.
Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Out Of This World circus


I love how affectionate the tiger trainer is with his cats, and their tricks are impressive, but to be honest I would prefer to see these tigers running wild in their natural habitat. All the other animal acts featured domesticated animals.
Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Out Of This World circus


I was happy to see that the focus of this horse performance was actually the humans, not the horses; it was more about showcasing their skills as acrobats as opposed to horse trainers.  This was actually one of my favorite acts. Just seeing a horse galloping is a majestic sight, and when you add people running and tumbling on the horses, that just adds to the excitement.
Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Out Of This World circus


More ice skating acrobatics; this one included trampolines, aerial flips, and fire jugglers on Segway scooters!
Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Out Of This World circus


Here are a few more photos from our Out Of This World experience! They are performing in many more cities, so make sure you check out their schedule, because this is one circus not to be missed!
Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Out Of This World circus

Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Out Of This World circus

Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Out Of This World circus

Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Out Of This World circus

Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Out Of This World circus

Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Out Of This World circus

Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Out Of This World circus

Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Out Of This World circus

Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Out Of This World circus

Out Of This World Dates and Locations


Out Of This World will be in 4 California cities through mid-September. For more dates and locations, check out the Ringling Bros tickets and schedules page.


  • Oakland, CA August 18, 2016 - August 22, 2016
  • San Jose, CA August 25, 2016 - September 05, 2016
  • Bakersfield, CA September 09, 2016 - September 11, 2016
  • Sacramento, CA September 15, 2016 - September 18, 2016



Disclosure: I did not receive a sample or monetary compensation for this post. I received a product sample to facilitate my review, but have not been paid to review the product or give my opinions. Product information (in italics) is provided by the featured company/product. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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A Day of Fun at Great Mall



Feeling sad that summer is ending? Don't worry, you can still plan a great weekend staycation! And there's no better way to spend the day than at  Great Mall in Milpitas, CA. It's within a short driving distance from practically any city in the Bay Area, and it has everything you need to spend the day out with the family -- great stores (with great bargains!), fun things to do for the kids and for grownups, and delicious places to grab a snack or a meal. There's something for everyone!

The Great Mall was the first outlet center I visited when I came the US in 1994 as a graduate student, and I was blown away by the size of the mall (it's like a giant football field with over 200 stores!) and the variety of shops. I've loved it ever since, and my kids have grown up shopping at Great Mall!

A few weeks ago I took the boys out for a day of fun at Great Mall (courtesy of Great Mall and Simon Malls). It was just before school started, so it was the perfect opportunity to go back to school shopping and have one last hurrah before summer vacation ended. Here are all the things we did that day at Great Mall:

Shopping
Great Mall is the perfect place to find a bargain! They have great outlet stores and retail stores for men, women, teens, kids, and home.  Whether you need to stock up on back to school supplies and outfits or buy a holiday present for everyone on your list, you don't have to go any further than Great Mall.


Food
Great Mall offers plenty of delicious ways to refuel. Their food court has all kinds of fast food cuisine, from Indian to Japanese to Mediterranean, and more. There are snack carts and kiosks scattered all around the mall, featuring favorites like Wetzels Pretzels, Dippin Dots, Starbucks, Mrs. Fields, Cold Stone Creamery, and more. Yum!
Food Court at Great Mall


Entertainment
You don't have to be a shopaholic to enjoy the Great Mall. There are entertainment options for everyone!

There are several meeting places where families can meet and rest their feet. My favorite one has a fountain where the little ones love to play.


You really don't have to worry about young kids getting antsy, because there are lots of rides spaced around the mall, including a mini railroad, carousel, and bungee jump.


Don't worry, there are games for grown-ups too. Dave & Buster's has a ton of arcade games and video games, along with a bar and restaurant with giant sports screens showing the live sports matches.


You can even go to the movies! Century Theatres has 20 screens including 3D and XD options, a game arcade, and the all-important concession stands with popcorn, sodas and other snacks.


One of the boys' favorite things to do is hang out at Game Stop and play video games.


That's a lot of stuff to do! If you're all tired out, look for the coin-operated massage chairs so you can give your aching body a break!


We had a great day out and can't wait to go back!

Here's a list of some of our favorite stores (I limited it to three per category, otherwise the list would go on and on!). You can find a complete list of Great Mall stores on their website.

Bonggamom:
Favorite place to shop: UGG, Victoria's Secret, The Body Shop
Favorite place to eat: Red Ribbon Bake Shop, Mrs. Field's
Favorite place to hang out: Century Cinema

Alfie:
Favorite place to shop: J. Crew Factory, Calvin Klein, Clark's
Favorite place to eat: Anderson's Bakery, Starbucks
Favorite place to hang out: Century Cinema, Dave & Buster's

The Pea:
Favorite place to shop: Uniqlo, Bath & Body Works, Forever 21
Favorite place to eat: Wetzel's Pretzels, Chipotle
Favorite place to hang out: Century Cinema

Jammy
Favorite place to shop: Adidas Outlet Store
Favorite place to eat: Dippin Dots, Jollibee
Favorite place to hang out: Dave & Buster's, Game Stop


3Po
Favorite place to shop: Nike Outlet Store
Favorite place to eat: Cinnabon, Subway
Favorite place to hang out: Dave & Buster's, Game Stop




Disclosure: I received a Simon Mall gift bag including gift cards to help us enjoy our day out at Great Mall. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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Today is $1 Short Stack Day at IHOP !



Today is $1 Short Stack Day at IHOP!  From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today, you can get a short stack of pancakes at IHOP for just $1.  Not only do you get a short stack of their yummy pancakes for a crazy price -- for every $1 short stack purchased, IHOP will donate $1 to the No Kid Hungry campaign! What a delicious way to help feed the kids who need it the most!  They're aiming to serve one million pancakes today, so get on over to IHOP, ASAP.

Find an IHOP near you.

Disclosure: I did not receive a sample or monetary compensation for this post. . The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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Back To School with Label Daddy



For those of you worried that Back To School means Back to Losing Kids' Stuff, I have 2 words for you: Label Daddy. Label Daddy is the first online label company that I ever worked with, and I have loved their cute, sturdy labels since 2009.




What's so special about Label Daddy? No ironing or sewing . . . just peel and stick. Their exclusive laminated coating gives labels an extra layer of protection and is a must for school! Remember to label all clothing, books, bags, sports equipment, electronics, and other personal belongings your kids bring to school, camp, sports leagues, day care, vacation, and other places Label Daddy labels keep them from getting lost or mixed up with others. These convenient labels are great for adults too! -- Put them on your sunglass/eyeglass case, phone, camera, sports equipment, tablet, e-reader, hats, clothing, and more.


These labels are super durable peel-and-stick washable labels -- they're washer/dryer safe, microwave safe, dishwasher safe and UV resistant! Label Daddy labels are also fun and attractive. You design your own labels! Pick from tons of colors, sizes and logos, including Disney characters, MLB, NBA, and NHL team logos, other sport and fun logos, and more. These labels are made in the USA and shipped directly to you worldwide.

Save 25% on your entire Label Daddy order - this is the best discount available anywhere. Use code USFG25 at checkout. http://www.USFG25.labeldaddy.com/




Disclosure: I am receiving a set of labels from Label Daddy via US Family Guide. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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Preserve summer memories in an AdoramaPix photo book


Adoramapix photo book


I can't believe summer is over! My 10th grader started school yesterday and my 7th graders started school today. The house is so quiet and it's almost like summer never happened. Can it really be just a few weeks ago that we were exploring Britain's Jurassic Coast, meeting Mickey Mouse in Disneyland Paris, and milking cows in Wiltshire county?

Fortunately, there are always photos and photo books so we can look back on our trip and relive all those amazing memories. I make photo books out of all our big trips because sometimes it's nice to relive the highlights without having to sift through thousands of digital photos!  If you like photo books as much as I do, check out  custom photo books by Adoramapix. I've ordered photo books from them before and they are great! You can choose from gorgeous linen, hardcover and leather covers as well as 6 stunning paper finishes, great layout options, and easy to use software so you can create a photo book in record time.

Adoramapix photo book


Your memories deserve more than a lifeless screen! Breathe life into your photos and turn them into beautiful keepsake photo books that will last for generations.

Shop Now: http://www.adoramapix.com/app/customize-book/

15% off photo books. Use code: PhotoBook15. Sale ends 11/05/2016 11:59 PM EST


Disclosure: I received a credit from AdoramaPix via USFamilyGuide.com so I could experience the AdoramaPix creation process and review the final product. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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7 New Experiences at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®'s Out Of This World


Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey circus - Out Of This World

Our family used to go to the circus at least once a year for many years, but it has been a couple of years since we last went. Part of that is our kids growing older and having busier schedules, but if I'm being honest, another part is the sense that we're seeing essentially the same show. Now, mind you, the circus we always watch, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, always puts on a good show, and they do a wonderful job of making each show unique. Each show has different acts and different themes, but none have been different in a radical way -- until now. I've been invited to attend their new Out Of This World show, and I can truly say it looks like no other show we've been to before! Here are 7 ways that Out Of This World is completely different from any other circus we've been to before:

No More Elephants

Feld Entertainment has really brought the circus into the 21st century by retiring its traditional elephant performances. Other circus classics like clowns and a few animal acts will remain, but the elephants will no longer be a part of the show. I will miss the elephants but I commend Feld for giving their elephants a much-needed permanent break!

Character-Driven Storyline

Although circus performances sometimes follow specific themes, Out Of This World will feature a plot and characters, with heroes on a mission, traveling to planets around the galaxy, battling the forces of evil. This is the first time a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® circus show to feature a character-driven storyline, and it's going to make the experience even more exciting!

One act at a time

I have never enjoyed the traditional three-ring circus format, because it has always seemed too distracting to me. There are so many cool acts, I want to be able to focus on and enjoy each and every one of them. Now that the acts will be performing one at a time, the audience won't ever have to miss a thing!
Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey circus - Out Of This World

Video projections

Out Of This World is going ultra high-tech, with a video projection screen that will make audiences feel like they're traveling through space. Thanks to the video screen and other lighting technology, the entire arena will be transformed into a sci-fi galaxy, which will help guests immerse themselves even more into the story.

Simet Wheel

A new act is coming into town: the Simet Wheel. It's a rotating wheel combined with a tightrope walk -- how crazy is that -- and it's making its U.S. debut in out Of This World!  Performers are going to be wearing suits in keeping with the Outer Space theme of the show. I can't wait to see it!

Performers on ice

A circus on ice? How cool (pun intended) is that? Out Of This World will feature freestyle skaters combining acrobatics and speed skating, as well as stilt walking (or should I say skating) and hoop diving.  This is another Can't-Wait moment!
Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey circus - Out Of This World

Mobile App

Your family is going to be entertained even before the show, with the free, all-new Ringling Bros. mobile app. App users will be able to take Circus Selfies with some funny filters and share their photos on social media. They'll be able to see what's in store for them with sneak peeks into the show. They can play trivia games and unlock exclusive content right before the show -- so you can come early and get settled without worried about your kids constantly asking when the show is going to start!
Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey circus - Out Of This World

Out Of This World Dates and Locations

Out Of This World will be in 4 California cities through mid-September. For more dates and locations, check out the Ringling Bros tickets and schedules page.

  • Oakland, CA August 18, 2016 - August 22, 2016
  • San Jose, CA August 25, 2016 - September 05, 2016
  • Bakersfield, CA September 09, 2016 - September 11, 2016
  • Sacramento, CA September 15, 2016 - September 18, 2016



Disclosure: I am receiving tickets to attend this event with my family. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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