Archive for the 'Rilyn' Category


School awards!

End of the school year is always a fun time because you get to celebrate your children’s accomplishments.  My three worked so hard this past school year, and we are super proud of them!!

Asher got “A Honor Roll” for the whole year!

He also won a 4th place medal for Accelerated Reader points in all of first grade!

Ella won a 1st place medal for Accelerated Reader points in all of 3rd grade!

Ella also won the math and reading award in her class for getting a perfect score on STAAR reading and she missed one on STAAR math!!

Ella also got A Honor Roll all year and won the Presidents Award for Educational Excellence in her class

Ella’s teacher, Mrs. Griffin-Hamlin won best teacher in the district last year and this year won best teacher in Austin! Ella has a special bond with her and we love her too!

Rilyn won a 6th place medal for Accelerated Reader points in all of 5th grade, all A Honor Roll all year, the Presidents Award for Educational Excellence in her class, the reading and science award for her class for having commended scores in STAAR on math, reading, and science!

Rilyn also was presented a gavel for serving at Student Council president this past year! Praying big things for this girl! She is a true leader!

So proud of this girl! She was at Manor Elementary since preschool! Here she is on graduation day-7 years later!

A few days later, Rilyn was in the school talent show! She sang a duet with Eveany-A Thousand Years by Christina Perri and sang Style by Taylor Swift with a group of girls. 🙂


Rilyn’s 11th birthday celebration!

Rilyn had a sleepover to celebrate her 11th birthday!  She invited 5 girls over.

First up was karaoke!

Then a little jumping on the trampoline!

Craft time! Rilyn picked out little lock boxes to paint.

In true tween style, there were makeovers!

Makeovers complete!

Movie time! They watched Kiki’s Delivery Service. 🙂

The next morning we took the girls to Hawaiian Falls Water and Adventure park!

Look at Rilyn go!

Careful Ella!

Look at Asher!

I was so proud of the girls! Rilyn and Ella both went to the top of the five story tower and ziplined down! Here is Rilyn on the third story making her way up to the top! Look at that stretch!

Rilyn and Shaliya at the top of the tower!!


Time for cheesecake!


Rilyn’s Hip Hop Recital!

Rilyn had her hip hop recital the next day!  She did awesome!!



My girls love to sing, and they love Annie the movie, so I thought, why not give them this chance to try out for being in Annie Jr. at the Jewish Community Center in December?  The girls were excited about the idea, and so they auditioned in late August.  After three 2 hour auditions (closed door, no parents allowed), they got their roles in September!  The roles were e-mailed to me at 11:30 at night, so when I read them, I couldn’t sleep that night, because I couldn’t wait to tell them who they were going to be the next morning!  Keep in mind, they’ve never acted/sang on stage before, so we prepared them to be orphans or a smaller role like that.  Ella, in fact, prayed that she would get a small role.  Well, here is Rilyn’s reaction to hear that she got the role of Grace, Daddy Warbuck’s assistant!

What? YES!!!

Now, Ella…well, she got the role of ANNIE!!! We couldn’t believe it (in a good way), and it was even more fun to tell her! I wasn’t sure if she was going to cry when I told her, but she was just in happy shock.

What? Who me? Annie?!

We are so proud of our girls! Now, for the next few months, it’s all Annie all the time, memorizing songs and lines! Ella will be Annie December 18th at 7 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center! Rilyn will be Grace in both shows!


The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

For Rilyn’s 10th birthday, we gave her a special Mom, Dad, daughter trip to Universal Studios Orlando to see the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!  Her party was Harry Potter themed, she has read all 7 books, watched all 8 movies, and we knew this would be the perfect surprise gift for her!

Here she is on the morning of our trip…I made a special Gryffindor entrance to start her day!

We got a 3 day pass to Universal, and when we arrived at 6:45 a.m., there was a 2 hour wait to get on the Escape from Gringott’s ride! The ride and Diagon Alley just opened a week ago on July 8th, so the crowds were to be expected. But what was not expected was at 9 a.m., when we got off the ride, the line was 5 hours long!!

Rilyn’s first reaction entering Diagon Alley.

After you get through the outside line, you get to go in the Gringott’s bank and wait.

The ride was fun, but I liked Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey better, (which is the older ride in Hogsmeade.) After the ride, we got Butter beer. It tasted like butterscotch-super sweet and yummy, but I couldn’t handle the sweetness. James had butter beer, frozen butter beer, and 2 servings of Butter Beer ice cream, so I guess you could say he liked it. 🙂 (Pumpkin Juice tastes like apricot juice to us, fresh and yummy!)

We walked around Diagon Alley a little bit, making our way to Hogwart’s Express train.

The opening of Diagon Alley

At King’s Cross station, they had a really neat illusion that you are walking through the brick wall to Platform 9 3/4. You will miss it if you’re not careful, so ask an attendant to show you where it is!

bye James!

We made it to Platform 9 3/4! Now waiting for the train!

Getting on the train!

In the train you see digital images out the window of Hogwarts, etc. There is no flash photography, so this was the best I could do. You can see Hagrid here. You are seated in your own train cabin with 6 other people.

On the way to Hogsmeade, a Dementor will be visiting you! Creepy!

We arrived at Hogsmeade!

In the background is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride! The line takes you through Hogwarts and is really cool!

We also went on the Dragon Challenge, which is a crazy roller coaster! When you go through the line, it has all sorts of cool things about the Tri-Wizard tournament! But the ride is 52″ height requirement, so no small kiddos on this scary ride! Seriously, James and I had vertigo and headaches after the ride and we LOVE roller coasters! We attribute it to our age! LOL Here is Rilyn before the ride…

You can tell she was nervous…(this was her first upside down roller coaster)

And here is her after the ride! LOL She cried, but she got over it and wanted to go again (which we did the next day). Rilyn went on all the crazy roller coasters, we were so proud of her! (We might of bribed her with a trip to Honeydukes if she went on them.)

(The other ride at Hogsmeade is called Flight of the Hippogriffs, and it is a very short kiddie coaster.)

More of Hogsmeade

The next day we started out at Diagon Alley again.

The Knight bus!

We went to Ollivander’s first to buy Rilyn her wand! In Ollivanders, they do a little “show” and then you can buy your wand. They have these wands that will “do spells” throughout Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. Beware, they are $50-gulp. They come with a cool map to find all the places to do the spells (mostly in storefront windows) and the experience was worth it for us to buy her one!

In Ollivanders

Rilyn getting her wand!

Using her new wand!

Our only picture of the three of us!

Hagrid, where are you?

another view of Diagon Alley

Using her wand to make something spin in the storefront of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes

About every 10 minutes the dragon on top of Gringott’s bank breathe’s fire! You can see Rilyn at the bottom of the picture doing a “spell” to calm the dragon! 😉

We then traveled back to Hogsmeade to do more spells with her wand!


Honeydukes again! She got a chocolate frog, but sadly got the Slytherin card in hers!

Me and my girl!

On day 2 and 3 we ate breakfast at The Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade and The Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley. I will say inside it looks like it did in the movies, however, I was disappointed there was not a show or some kind of entertainment while we were eating. The food was good, but like all amuesement parks-expensive!

The Leaky Cauldron

Rilyn picked the Tri-Wizard Tournament cup for her souvenir! It can go in the dishwasher! LOL

It lights up too!

We are truly grateful that we could take just Rilyn and have these special memories with her! I’m already looking forward to our special trip with Ella in 2016! 🙂


sparkles and feathers!

I took my girls and Anna on a photo shoot with their dance recital costumes, much like I did years ago, here, here, and here!

best friends!

Rilyn, the Swan Lake princess!


Harry Potter party games!

Click here to see all the Harry Potter decorations!

When the kids arrived we started with the sorting hat.  I bought school rings so after they heard their school, they had to wear their school ring.  We also made wands out of Totally Bamboo Twist Chopsticks, Set of 5 pairs
and hot glue and passed them out at this time.

We taped a phone into the hat and used the app Zello as a walkie talkie. My husband was in another room with a script (we sorted the kids into schools before the party). When I said loudly, “It’s Ella’s turn”, he read the script for her on his phone and the hat magically talked!

Ella is so excited to be in Ravenclaw!

Here is Bellatrix passing out the wands!

The next event was “Bean Boozled”. I bought each child Harry Potter Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans ~ 6 Pack
and they got points for swallowing the “fun” flavors.

I gave them each a dixie cup to spit if they needed. About half of the kids played and then half of those dropped out of the game mid-way! To watch them chew was hilarious though!

Next up was potion class outside!
The “new professor” at Hogwarts was a little ambitious with his potion making skills!

Then it was the kid’s turn to make a “cloud” potion!

I love seeing the “students” faces in this picture! Look at their green clouds!

The potion (baking soda, water, drops of dish soap, and vinegar dyed green) worked so well, that it actually started to rain and we had to run inside for cake! Darn! 😉

Singing to Rilyn!

Cake time!

During cake time, we dismissed the kids one at a time to go to Honeydukes and fill a bag with all the fun candy to take home!

The rain was short thankfully, and so after cake, we went back outside for the “Quidditch All-Star Tournament”. Basically, we had four stations set up in our backyard and the four schools had to travel to each one together and try to earn points and be the winning school! The four stations were, “Quaffle Shoot Out”, “Quick Feet, Dead Aim”, “Dragon Egg Toss”, and “Snatch the Sneaky Snitch”. All of these games were designed to assess the skills of a great Quidditch player!
For Quaffle Shoot Out, we used our trampoline and took the net down and made Quidditch hoops. We used Rilyn’s uncle, aka Death Eater to be the goalie and he tried to block the students from throwing balls into the hoops!

The Dragon Egg Toss was a water balloon toss! Every great Quidditch player needs good hand eye coordination!

Quick Feet Dead Aim tested their speed in various obstacles, and then their aim to knock down as many Valdemort faces as they could!

Snatch the Sneaky Snitch was a fishing bob we spray painted gold and threw on the roof. We let it roll down and each student had to catch it! It was tricky because fishing bobs bounce around everywhere as they are rolling down the roof!
As James was tabulating the points, we went back inside for edible potion making! The kids LOVED this! They got to mix various sodas, pop rocks, fruit gushers, Kool-Aid, Tang, etc. We gave them each lots of straws so they could taste each others! Some of them named their potions and wrote recipe cards! LOL

Then it was present time!

James came in with the scores, and Gryffindor won the Quidditch tournament, which happened to be the birthday girl’s team! Can you tell she was excited?!

After the party was over, we presented Rilyn with a ticket on the Hogwarts Express as her gift. What could it mean?!

That’s right! A trip- just me, daddy, and Rilyn- to Universal Studios Orlando Harry Potter land in July!!

The sweetest thing happened during this moment. We told Ella beforehand about the gift (we are going to take all the kids on a special alone trip when they turn 10 years old.) Ella was so happy for Rilyn that she cried “happy tears” for her! She kept saying, “I’m just so happy for her!” Here is a picture of Ella crying happy tears for her sister!


Harry Potter 10th birthday!

Rilyn has read all of the Harry Potter books, and she really wanted a Harry Potter birthday for her 10th.  I have only read the first book, and watched the first movie, so I relied on Pinterest to help plan this party!  We started off by sending “White Owl invitations” to her neighborhood friends.

Rilyn drew all the owls herself!

Rilyn running from house to house delivering the invites!

The decorations!

The wall of crepe paper represents the 4 school colors!

I made the floating candles by spray painting cardboard paper towel holders white and putting a Instapark® LCL-24 Battery-powered Flameless LED Tealight Candles, 2-Dozen Pack
in each one. I hung each candle with fishing line to appear floating!

In the dining hall, I replaced most of our pictures with pictures of characters from the movies.

Photo booth op!

the bathroom!

This is Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes joke shop! We let each child pick one joke as a party favor when they were leaving. We found all of these at the dollar store!

Potion class outdoors

Honeydukes table with Cybrtrayd A126 Frog Chocolate Candy Mold with Exclusive Cybrtrayd Copyrighted Chocolate Molding Instructions,
 and acid pops (dum dums rolled in pop rocks!), gummy worms, chocolate wands, and cake!

Rilyn dressed as Hermoine for Halloween, so we just used this picture for her cake! Easy!

The front of our house I hung a sheet that I painted to look like Platform 9 3/4!

Walk through and let the party begin!

When you walk through the wall, you might meet Hagrid! (Rilyn’s Papaw dressed up and looks AMAZING!)

You also might meet Mrs. Weasley, Bellatrix, a Death Eater, and the “new professor-cousin of Snape”

Click here for what we did at the party!


Jazz and Ballet!

The girls were in the same jazz and ballet classes this year at Westlake’s Alisa’s Dance Academy.  They enjoyed it, but next year Rilyn wants to take hip hop, and Ella just wants to take ballet.  🙂  Rilyn loves performing on stage anytime, anywhere.  Ella gets nervous on stage, so slower movements in ballet suit her well.

Ella and Anna doing their thing!

The girls did their ballet to a song from Swan Lake!

Rilyn in the middle

Ella in the middle

Rilyn flapping her wings so elegantly!

After the recital, Asher got to give them flowers! It was so sweet to watch!

These girls love their daddy!

my beauties!

proud auntie

After the recital, we celebrated my mom’s birthday at Cheesecake Factory!

me, my sister, mom, and brother!


Rockwall climbing!

We went to Main Event that night to have Ella’s birthday dinner celebration!

(cell phone pic) I forgot my camera! ugh.

The highlight of the evening was rock climbing!


Go Ella go!

Can you see Ella in the middle dressed in pink! She is so high!

Asher almost made it to the top!

Rilyn made us so proud through with her rockwall climbing skills! She made it past an overhang with great skill! James even made a video because it was so impressive to watch her!

Get it girl!

Rilyn made it to the top several times! She was on fire!

Ella had a great birthday week which ended with a school celebration!

cell phone pic-Rilyn got to come in the class to join!

Her best friend completed her elephant family collection for her birthday! Thanks Anna!

My photography business!

May 2023