Family Fun and Value at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Family Fun and Value at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

2016 family** We have been attending the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo since we moved to Houston in 2006. Today’s sponsored post is brought with a full heart as this is a “must-do” event for our family every year! **

Navigate the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Arrive early to make the most of your day at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo! Family-friendly carnival rides, exhibits, attractions and tasty treats are available throughout the NRG Park grounds, starting at 9 a.m. daily during the Show.

Download the RODEOHOUSTON mobile app available for iPhone and Android to ensure your family outing to the Show goes off without a hitch! Jam-packed with an interactive scheduling tool, and parking and map information, the mobile app is a must for busy parents who like to plan ahead. Pre-plan and create an agenda personalized to your family’s interests using the “My Schedule” function within the app.

You won’t want to miss a trip to the Stars Over Texas Stage in The Junction! Enjoy animal acts, sing-alongs and talent shows hourly from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. while snacking on funnel cakes, candy apples and turkey legs! The Stars Over Texas Stage is located under a shady outdoor canopy and includes picnic tables.

See all of this and more at the Show, March 7 – 26. Grounds passes are available for adults 13 years of age and older for $10; for children ages 3 to 12, $5; and for children ages 2 and under, grounds admission is free! Visit rodeohouston.com to learn more.

Fun for the Entire Family in OXY AGventure

houston livestock show and rodeo - poultryGrab your kiddos and head over to OXY AGventure, located in in Hall A of NRG Center, to see chicks hatch in the poultry exhibit and baby lambs take their first steps in the birthing center. Watch as wide-eyed children hear farm sounds come to life, right before their eyes!

Allow your kids to get their hands dirty in the horticulture exhibit while digging for worms and learning about the importance of soil composition, vegetation and water conservation in urban and rural agriculture. Before you leave, plant a sunflower seed to take home!

Interact with traditional farm animals, and some exotic ones, too, in the OXY AGventure petting zoo! A fan favorite, the petting zoo is stocked with friendly pygmy goats, pot-bellied pigs and llamas intermingling with excited kiddos with handfuls of yummy, animal-approved treats.

OXY AGventure is equipped with a fully-functioning milking parlor for you to see where milk comes from and learn how it is transported to your local grocery store. Demonstrations begin at 9:30 a.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. on weekends and are given by real-life dairy farmers!

Home to 12 interactive and educational exhibits, OXY AGventure provides both children and adults with a one-of-a-kind learning experience, and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Visit rodeohouston.com to learn more.

Kid-Friendly Entertainment in The Junction

Houston livestock show and rodeo carnival

Let your kids run free and catch some vitamin D outside at The Junction! This kid-friendly area of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is located directly behind Rodeo Plaza, near the carnival, and features rides and games designed for the Show’s youngest visitors.

Are your little tikes the competitive type? If so, sign them up for the Pedal Tractor Pull where children ages 4 to 12 years old compete in a pedal-driven tractor driving contest. These little drivers pull sleds behind miniature tractors down the raceway in hopes of out-pedaling their opponents! Competitions begin daily at 11 a.m. with the last performance at 6 p.m. on weekdays and 6:30 p.m. on weekends. The Pedal Tractor Pull is just one of nine attractions in The Junction sure to keep your children engaged throughout the day.

The Junction Carnival is packed with kiddie rides and games around every corner and is open 11 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and 10 a.m. to midnight on weekends. Admission to The Junction Carnival is free with the purchase of an NRG Park grounds pass – ride and game tickets are sold separately. Visit rodeohouston.com to purchase pre-sale carnival tickets today!

Mutton Bustin’ and Pig Races in The Junction

houston livestock show and rodeoMutton bustin’ in The Junction is the perfect event for your aspiring cowboy or cowgirl. In mutton bustin’, riders grab on to the back of a full-grown sheep for a wild ride! Donning protective vests and helmets, mutton busters are some of the toughest, and certainly the most adventurous, young cowboys and cowgirls at the Show.

Youngsters must be between the ages of 5 and 6 years old and not weigh more than 55 pounds to be eligible to participate. Entries open at 10 a.m., with rides starting at 11 a.m. and continuing every hour until 7 p.m. – cost is $15 per ride.

Celebrate your mutton bustin’ victory with a trip to the pig races, just a few steps away in The Junction. Your child is sure to squeal as these energetic piglets race around a 150-foot track, all in a matter of seconds! Arrive early to find a seat right in the middle of the action. Pig races start at 10:30 a.m. and continue every hour on the half hour until 6:30 p.m., daily.

Meal Options for Kids Across NRG Park

With more than 15 dining vendors offering kid-friendly and affordable meal options, lunchtime is a breeze at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo! From corn dogs, chicken nuggets, and hamburgers to cookies, funnel cakes, and ice cream, there is something on the menu for even the pickiest eater in your bunch.

Meal pricing varies among vendors, but the average kid’s meal costs around $5. Certain vendors offer sweet treats, such as soft-serve ice cream and popsicles, ranging from $2 to $3, and complete meals, including a protein, side, and drink, ranging from $4.75 to $8.75. Look for these meal deals at select vendors scattered throughout Rodeo Plaza and NRG Center – you must inquire about kid-friendly meal deals before ordering.

Visit rodeohouston.com for a complete list of dining options.

Value Wednesday Deals

houston livestock show and rodeoThe Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo provides its guests with world-class entertainment at an incredible value. If you’re on a budget, you won’t want to miss out on the Show’s Value Wednesday deals. Every Wednesday during the Show, adults will only pay $5 to enter NRG Park and seniors, 60 years of age and older, and children, 12 and younger, get in free!

In addition to discounted admission fees, visitors have access to shopping discounts, dining meal deals, and $5 off the purchase of $25 or more at the Official Rodeo Merchandise booths. Value Wednesday discounts vary among vendors and are available at select locations in NRG Center, NRG Arena and NRG Park.

Bring the family out to The Junction Carnival on Value Wednesdays between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to enjoy $2 rides and games. Save at the carnival every day during Show by purchasing half-priced carnival packs, on sale now through Saturday, March 4. The purchase of a half-priced carnival pack provides you with a bundle of ride tickets and refreshment coupons at an incredible value. Plus, each carnival pack includes a $5 off voucher (when you spend $25 or more) valid for use at any of the Official Rodeo Merchandise booths. Visit rodeohouston.com for more information.

Stella & Dot Stylist Opportunity

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Stella & Dot consultants represent a line of jewelry and accessories that is fashion-forward, high quality and adored by fashion editors and celebrities.

Each stylist provides one-on-one style consulting through trunk shows, helping guests find exactly what they’re looking for. Have a busy week? You decide when to host style parties and can even take them online, hosting from the comfort of home.

You’ll earn a 25-35% commission on any sales you make, and get up to 50% off for yourself. Plus, you’ll receive up to $350 in free products.

Whether you’re looking for a second part-time job, or something that can be done on the side while the kids are at school, Stella & Dot can provide you with the flexibility to be your own Style Boss.

Affiliate links are used in this post.

Products I Love – Shutterfly Freebies

Products I Love – Shutterfly Freebies

Spring2017x2 HeaderI’ve long been a fan of Shutterfly, so it’s no surprise that I always take advantage of Shutterfly freebies!

Shutterfly helps you make the most out of life’s most memorable moments. As a leader in personalized photos and services, they allow you create lasting keepsakes; award-winning photo books; custom stationery, including cards, announcements, and invitations; as well as unique home decor and photo gifts.

Shutterfly is very generous with their discount codes. It’s a great way to try products that you might not normally try, and also a way to stockpile gifts for special occasions.

This week – through 3/1 – you can pick TWO gifts! This is valid on the Shutterfly site or the app! Click on the link below to choose your products – then use the code FREE4ME at checkout.

Pick Two Gifts! Get One Mouse Pad, One Laminated Placemat, One Set of Coasters, One 16×20 Collage Poster, or One 16×20 Print! Use code FREE4ME at check out. Valid 2/28-3/1

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Mouse Pad – a teacher gift with a picture of the class
  • Placemat for a toddler – use a photo of the extended family to identify names/faces
  • Coasters – with vacation photos
  • 16×20 collage poster – filled with action shots from a sports, dance, or band season
  • 16×20 print – favorite shot from your holiday photoshoot

Enjoy and share with your friends!!!

Beauty & the Beast Final Trailer

Beauty & the Beast Final Trailer

beauty and the beast

I have been so excited to see the new Beauty and the Beast movie! I didn’t think anything could beat the animated version until I saw the first trailer that was leaked months ago, and then — wow!!! I was instantly hooked! Now that the Beauty and the Beast final trailer is out, I literally can’t wait another second to see this film!

Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is a live-action re-telling of the studio’s animated classic which refashions the classic characters from the tale as old as time for a contemporary audience, staying true to the original music while updating the score with several new songs.

Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is a live-action re-telling of the studio’s animated classic which refashions the classic characters from the tale as old as time for a contemporary audience, staying true to the original music while updating the score with several new songs. “Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within. The film stars: Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Oscar® winner Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s eccentric, but lovable father; Josh Gad as Lefou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Golden Globe® nominee Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, the candelabra; Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Oscar nominee Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and two-time Academy Award® winner Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.

Directed by Oscar® winner Bill Condon based on the 1991 animated film, “Beauty and the Beast” is produced by Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman with eight-time Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards® (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the 1991 animated film, providing the score, which will include new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as several new songs written by Menken and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice. “Beauty and the Beast” will be released in U.S. theaters on March 17, 2017

Are you planning to see this film in the theater? Our family CANNOT wait!!!


First Time at YAGP

First Time at YAGP

first time at YAGPWe embarked on a new adventure in dance land this weekend: our first time at YAGP (Youth America Grand Prix). A truly international competition, they pride themselves as being the world’s largest global network of dance. They fulfill their mission through scholarship auditions, master classes, alumni services, educational and outreach activities, performances, and films.

You might have heard of YAGP through the film “First Position“. It’s available on Netflix and even if you aren’t a dancer, it worth watching. Kids from all over the world train solely for YAGP and the accolades that it brings.

first time at YAGPFor our family, we knew about YAGP only because of the film. Being in a large, metropolitan city, we tend to classify dance studios. Studio A, B, and C are where you go if you want to do serious ballet. Studio D, E, and F are good for competition. Studio G & H are for the kids who only want to dip their toes into dance. So, when we showed up this weekend to YAGP, we saw a whole lot of Studio A, B, and C.

Our studio does many competitions and conventions. It’s a different world then YAGP – by far. Our kids most definitely held their own and were choreographed appropriately for YAGP, but we don’t see a lot of ballet intensive pieces on a weekly basis. It is such an art. These kids are true athletes and the mere concentration that it takes to pull off their pieces is just astronomical.

I’m sure every weekend is different, but for us, Piper started off on Friday with her solo. We arrived about 2 hours prior, found a dressing room and let her begin stretching. At her appointed time, she found her way to the stage. She literally had to find it on her own, because I wasn’t allowed to go with her. Different then what we are used to with competitions and conventions, the stage is cleared between blocks of soloists and the dancers are allotted 30 minutes to share the stage and get a feel for how they might need to adjust their staging, etc. Piper dances her contemporary solo in bare feet, so she was happy to get a feel of the stage prior to “the real thing”.

Once we were done with solo, we were done for the day. It felt so odd to just leave, but at YAGP all awards are held until the final day of competition.

first time at YAGPThe following day, Piper had a group dance compete. This is a piece that she was so honored to be cast in, and as her mom – it’s one of my absolute favorites of not just the season, but of her time as a dancer. The group pieces run much the same way. The stage is cleared before each block so dancers can come on stage to get a feel of it. The difference with the groups is that each gets 1 minute of stage time on their own. So, the girls had to go on stage with a plan or their 1 minute would quickly slip through their hands.

On the final day of the weekend, Piper took 4.5 hours of master classes from some of the fabulous YAGP faculty. She had a contemporary, ballet, and variation workshop. Only 24 dancers in her session, so she really enjoyed it and took away some tidbits that she will (hopefully) carry over to her daily classes at her home studio. Our Houston workshops took place at the beautiful Houston Ballet facility. If you can’t get inspired in a professional facility, I don’t know where you could!

When the workshop classes ended, a fellow dance mom gathered up all of our company girls and brought them back to the site of the competition and awards. I love that YAGP has a dressy awards ceremony. Getting one foot on the stage this weekend was reason to be celebrated. I’m not being cliche in saying that either, it was truly awe-inspiring to see the dancers! So, our sweet dancers donned their best and off they went to see their fate.

All of our soloists and our group performed the strongest that they have all season. I feel like one of the reasons they did so well is because they had absolutely no pressure. They didn’t have a great understanding of what they were about to see throughout the weekend nor did they feel the pressure of qualifying for any further events. It was really a great feeling for all of them, truthfully.

first time at YAGPWhen it was all said and done, we had one senior girl in our studio that finished in the Top 12. We are so proud of her. Piper finished with a score significantly higher than what she ever expected and is over the moon!

Oh, and I’d be remiss to leave out the highlight of the weekend. Tate McRae. I’m not even kidding when I say that I gave the girl 80% of my votes each week on SYTYCD – Next Generation. She is an amazing dancer. And, she was in Piper’s age division – isn’t that just great luck LOL?!? The highlight of everyone’s weekend was seeing her. I swear I felt like the paparazzi, I was taking so many photos of this girl. And, I wasn’t the only mom – all of our girls had us on a mission. At the end of the awards ceremony, Piper finally got up the nerve to ask her for a photo. Tate was absolutely lovely in taking a photo with each of us. I know how proud I am of Piper and her talent, I can only imagine how Tate’s mom must feel — all of these girls knowing your daughter and asking for her photo. She must be bursting.

We are ready to take 2018 YAGP by storm. It truly is an amazing experience.