I’m a New Cheer Mom

I’m a New Cheer Mom

cheer, cheer mom, i'm a new cheer momLet’s start by saying “I’m a New Cheer Mom” is something that I never thought would come from my mouth. But here we are …

This road started last fall when Piper started junior high. Our school is huge and unless you are in a club, it’s a hard road to connect and fit in. Piper had asked several times to be on pep squad. With her dance schedule, it’s nearly impossible to do anything that meets in the evenings. But after reviewing the qualifications, we decided that Piper could use her absences allowed for dance and meet the number of games that she needed to attend for the season.

I took Piper to the first game and decided to come inside to watch. After her description, I felt pretty good about what Pep Squad involved, but I was anxious to see for myself. I sat over by a friend and chatted while keeping Piper in the corner of my eye. She cozied right up with her friends & chanted & cheered – she was in heaven. Toward the end of the game, the Pep Squad got to join the cheerleaders on the track to do some chants together. She was in heaven!

cheer, cheerleading, cheer mom, New Cheer MomI think I knew that night that she was going to ask to try out for cheer. (My friend, also the mom of a serious dancer, even teased me about it. It was that obvious that Piper was having a ball.) Our junior high is double the size of the high school that I graduated from. Everyone needs a group to call home, and I was seeing Piper spending more time with the girls in pep squad.

Football season ended almost as quickly as it came and then basketball season arrived. I should preface by saying that we are basketball people. We watch college basketball on a weekly basis, so it was much more fun to be in Pep Squad for a game that you actually understood!

We once again used our absences and hit up exactly the number of required basketball games. Cheerleaders aren’t allowed on the court during the games, only during time out and halftime. So, it was a very different atmosphere then football, but still fun nonetheless.

As time for cheer tryouts came closer, Piper became more and more excited about the possibility of this new step. She started taking a weekly class that taught the girls how to tryout for cheer. To be honest, I had no idea that there was so much to know – or remember! How to spirit, tips for jumps, voice projection, wrist angles … it was a whole new world for us.

When the week of official tryout clinics actually arrived, Piper was well-prepared. There was a large group her age that were trying out – 27 girls. We knew from our informational meeting that they could only take 12 members max. We also realized that a handful of these 27 girls had been doing cheer as seriously in their life as Piper has been doing dance.

All of our district junior highs tryout on the same day. This allows the district to use judges that aren’t local (a very good thing). Every student must wear the same thing – white shirt, black shorts, no logos anywhere. The parents were not even allowed to come inside the building – a fact that I agreed with 100% until I had to use the restroom as badly I was about to bust!

Once the tryouts concluded, the girls were given a sealed letter containing their fate. The instructions were that your car needed to be off campus before you opened the letter, so we quickly drove to a business right across from the school.

Piper put together a vlog about the day. Watch and see how it went for her. (If you just want to see her reaction to the tryout, skip to the 8 minute mark!)

Needless to say, it was an emotional day for both of us. I was a nervous wreck and honestly, I have no idea why. I guess because I knew that she really wanted to have the experience and try something new. And, also, because I know that this year has had some significant low moments and it would be so great to see her light up. Boy, did she ever! I don’t think either of us will ever forget the joy that came with opening the envelope.

So, without further adieu, Piper went straight into the fitting for her uniform and all accessories. It was exciting and fun. The check will be written next week and practices start immediately. What seems real now will be VERY real this time next week.

The best part of this story is that Piper will be able to continue to train at a high level in dance. Every school has a different schedule and way that they do things, but our school is pretty compact with their practice and tumbling schedule. (Actually, much better than other schools by comparison.) Cheer was never meant to replace dance for Piper. It will be a different way to add conditioning into her routine, be involved in her school, dance and continue to compete! Thank you, Lord, for hearing our prayers and helping us through this semester of “new”!

I’m so excited for our next chapter. Fingers crossed that it’s a fun one!


cheer, cheerleading, cheer mom

Project Life App

Project Life App

I’m absolutely in love with Project Life, a product that was developed by Becky Higgins. I began Project Life in 2010 and I’ve never looked back. Although there are several ways to use Project Life, I have always used it to capture one-photo-a-day. In 2016, I switched to the Project Life app and it has made life even easier.

Becky Higgins Project Life App

When Becky says that the Project Life app puts scrapbooking in the palm of your hand, she is telling the truth. The app has the functionality of so many things that you would find in a traditional paper kit. Everything is at the touch of a fingertip.

Here are the steps:

  • Pick a collage
  • Import your photos
  • Choose a kit within the app for additional cards and journaling (there are some free options for kits)
  • Add journaling
  • Save/Export

It really is that easy! There are so many collage options and fun kits to choose from!

Project Life App

This is a layout that I did for a week in January. I use the same collage layout for every week during the year. The kits that you can buy within the app all have cards that coordinate, but I tend to mix and match them depending on the topic.

Tip: While I use the app to capture one photo a day for our large family album, some (probably the majority of users, actually) use Project Life layouts to capture a snapshot of each week or month of the year. It’s much less to think about and still gives a good glimpse at what’s happening in your family.

When I do specific layouts on kids or family events, I tend to vary the collages. I always stick with a 12×12 so that all of my albums are the same size.

Project Life App

While I still love traditional paper scrapbooking, I have really grown to love the Project Life App. If you are in a busy season of life and you are already so behind on memory-keeping that you are thinking of giving up, I hereby give you permission to use the app. It IS NOT a cop-out. It is not cheating.

Here’s a quick video from Becky Higgins herself to show you how easy the app is to use:


Finally, let’s talk about what’s next. You’ve made your pages, it’s time to print. You can order prints directly from the Project Life app. The “order prints” bar is at the bottom of the opening screen of the app. You can order in four sizes: 4×6, 6×8, 8×8, 12×12. (My second choice for printing is Persnickety Prints.)

Tip: If you are going to use square collages, always save/export as a 12×12 because the resolution will be suitable for an 8×8 print. But, it doesn’t necessarily work the other way around.

More questions? I’m happy to help. I might not be an expert, but I am an active user! Here’s where you can download (iOS and Android).


Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Review

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Review

2017 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Review

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is one of our favorite family activities each year. We are lucky that the rodeo always falls during our spring break, so you can count on us to take one day and make it a rodeo day.

This year, I needed to work through spring break, so my husband loaded up the kids and took them for the day. They had a fantastic time.

2017 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Review

2017 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Review

2017 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Review

The rodeo with young teens is a lot of fun. They love everything that there is to offer. One of the biggest tips that I have is find a rodeo committee member that is near you to buy half-price carnival tickets when they are available. Most of the bigger rides cost 10-ish tickets, so you can run through tickets quickly. Buying the ticket booklets beforehand can save you a ton of cash.

From the animal pavilion, to the shopping, to the midway and the carnival rides — oh, and the food — the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a must do for every Texan. It matters not if you have children, there really is something for everyone. So, mark your calendars for February 27 – March 18, 2018.

This post is sponsored by Rodeo Houston and US Family Guide. I received rodeo tickets in exchange for my honest opinion.

Stella & Dot Stylist Opportunity

Stella & Dot Stylist Opportunity

As an independent Stella & Dot stylist, you can set a flexible, manageable schedule while earning extra income.

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!!!