Monthly Archives: June 2015

Doll Travel – New Mexico

Josefina NewIn January 2013 we received the new AG catalog featuring the Girl of the Year – Saige.  I have always loved the Southwest and West, and had never considered visiting New Mexico.  Saige inspired me to consider the logistics of such a trip.  I found out that Santa Fe is only 24 hours from Chicago on AMTRAK – now I had a really unique vacation idea taking shape!

Sleeper room on AMTRAK.  Bed above flips down and couch pulls out like a futon.  Sleeping in here with three people is memorable... Notice I didn't say what kind of memories you will be left with!

Sleeper room on AMTRAK. Bed above flips down from above and couch pulls out like a futon.

Brianna was 8 when we took this trip, and we were already fans of Josefina and her books.  My mom (AKA Grandma) and I had made a Josefina-inspired dress for Brianna a year or two earlier, so of course that came on the trip along with the doll.

Santa Fe Train Station

Santa Fe Train Station

We stayed at The Old Santa Fe Inn.  I surprised Brianna by purchasing Josefina’s summer outfit and leaving that on her bed.  Josefina was all set to be back home in Santa Fe!

Old Santa Fe Inn

Old Santa Fe Inn

New Outfit!

New Outfit!

One of the great things we were able to do in Santa Fe was visit El Rancho de Las Golondrinas.  This rancho is a museum with buildings dating to Josefina’s time and before.  They offer a “Josefina” tour for a nominal amount.  We had a tour guide all to ourselves, and she was a former schoolteacher.  Wonderful lady!  Many of the authors who have written books for AG about Josefina have visited this rancho, including Kathleen Ernst who wrote the Josefina mystery “Secrets in the Hills.”

Courtyard of the Rancho

Courtyard of the Rancho

Grinding Corn

Grinding Corn – Brianna thought it was fun, but how about doing it all day long?

Carding Wool

Carding Wool

Sombrita and Florecita!

Sombrita and Florecita!

The most amazing thing to me was that the bed in one of the rooms in the rancho looked almost exactly like the bed American Girl sells for Josefina.  Can I find this picture?  Of course not.  You’ll have to take my word on that one.

In addition, you can see the horno, or oven, outside which was also used as inspiration for Josefina’s horno.  It’s really big!

Bread in the Horno

Bread in the Horno

We did not make it down to Saige’s neighborhood of Albuquerque on this particular trip, but we really loved Santa Fe and hope to return some day.   If you love Josefina, I recommend Santa Fe’s gorgeous weather, great food, unique history, and easy driving.

Happy to answer any questions about AMTRAK trips!







Last week Flo from Say Hello To My Little Friends tagged us in a doll-lovers discussion in honor of World Doll Day.  The first question:

1.  List 3 favorite dolls from the ones you bought last year.

You people bought more than 3 dolls in the past year?!  You are a very bad influence.  Was this question perpetrated by American Girl ;)?  My favorite purchases are:

Julie AG Doll

Julie!  I will always remember our crazy road trip to Oshkosh just to get her at the outlet store.  Bought her, turned around and drove home so Brianna could get to a birthday party.  Brianna is loving Julie too.

Isabelle RosesIsabelle!  She is Brianna’s doll, and she has a beautiful face, easy care hair, lovely eyes.  Isabelle’s movie was a missed opportunity in my opinion, but the doll is a home run!

Birthday Girl!

Addy!  I have had her more than a year, but she is my #1 and I love her as a historical or a modern girl.

2.  List 3 dolls currently on your wishlist

Again, a very bad influence!  That said, I don’t have any plans to buy another doll for myself, but… I would have a hard time passing up Emily. Brianna is interested in some of the earlier GOTYs like Lanie, Jess, & Kanani.  You might say, “If you have no plans to buy another doll, why are you going to the Madison Children’s Museum Benefit sale?”  Um, next question please.

Beyond dolls, we’re in the market for some more pajamas, probably from Etsy sellers.  Recommendations?

3.  Tag some other bloggers!

I tag Heather from Dollightful Dolls, Jennifer at MiniMad! , Samantha at AGDollAwesome and Loren at HappyHouseofAG.

Thanks Flo for tagging us in this soul-searching, truth-telling exercise.  Brianna says any AG purchase is a “NEED” not a “WANT.”  Enabler!



Awesome Summer Events at AG

Have you checked out the fun American Girl events this summer?  American Girl Panthers’ Stadium Tour in Charlotte?  American Girl Monuments Tour in DC?  Fireworks in Chicago with AG?  All sound great to me.

Brianna and I are just wrapping up a rummage sale this week.  On our way to have our sack of quarters counted at the bank we had some great success at another sale… no dolls – not that exciting — but special nevertheless.  Stay tuned for her post on this!

Our Generation Picnic Set

Our Generation Review While buying Brianna an end of the school year present, I came across a little end of the year present for myself.  Imagine that!  The Our Generation picnic set was calling me.  I am a big fan of the book The Wind in the Willows, and the luncheon basket is a lovely part of the story!

The Rat brought the boat alongside the bank, made her fast, helped the still awkward Mole safely ashore, and swung out the luncheon-basket. The Mole begged as a favour to be allowed to unpack it all by himself; and the Rat was very pleased to indulge him, and to sprawl at full length on the grass and rest, while his excited friend shook out the table-cloth and spread it, took out all the mysterious packets one by one and arranged their contents in due order, still gasping, ‘O my! O my!’ at each fresh revelation. When all was ready, the Rat said, ‘Now, pitch in, old fellow!’ and the Mole was indeed very glad to obey, for he had started his spring-cleaning at a very early hour that morning, as people WILL do, and had not paused for bite or sup; and he had been through a very great deal since that distant time which now seemed so many days ago.

To start your picnic you need a doll in an English garden.

Isabelle AG RosesAdd a fringed blanket and luncheon basket.  The yellow circle is a Frisbee.

American Girl picnic basketUnpack your picnic, and delight in each item just like Mole in Wind in the Willows.

OG picnic

8 out of 10 dolls prefer ‘Casa OG’ brand tortilla chips…

AG picnicOnce you set the food on the blanket, there isn’t really room for any girls to sit, so you might need to call in additional blankets, such as Saige’s picnic blanket.  If you don’t have enough room on the blanket you may end up inadvertently sitting on your mustard pot like dear old Mole!

This set has a lot of charm for a pretty reasonable price, generally well under $20.00.



Grace Stirs Up Success Movie Review

Grace MovieHello! It’s Brianna and today I have a movie review on ‘Grace: Stirs Up Success’ the movie for GOTY 2015, Grace Thomas. I hope you enjoy the review!

Pro’s of this movie:

  1. It had lots of humor that the other AG movies don’t have. For example, Grace accidentally presses a button that launches a pie into Uncle Bernard’s face!
  2. The characters do a really good job of acting out their feelings.  Grace shows her tension when Joe Bastianich, [one of the judges for MasterChef Junior Baking Edition] is announcing the winner of MasterChef Junior Baking Edition.
  3. The scenery in Grace Stirs Up Success is amazing and beautiful. The New England portion is filmed in Budapest Hungary and the Paris portion is of course filmed in Paris. It’s fun seeing the Eiffel Tower and all the famous landmarks in Paris as well.
  4. The storyline in very good, it has tension, humor, and the storyline is very well set up.

Con’s of this movie

  1. You can’t understand everything the actors are saying. When Sylvie is speaking French it says what she is saying in English. Only, when Uncle Bernard is speaking in English it’s kind of hard to understand because he has such a thick French accent and AG doesn’t translate it.
  2. I do wish AG would add the part where Grace gets lost in France. They show a little of it at the end when all the actors names are appearing, but I thought that was a good part in the book and it would be very good in the movie.

This movie was, all in all, very, very good and it is a great family movie to watch! Perfect for a Friday or Saturday Night! I really hope you watch this fabulous movie! Thanks for reading!

(Right now the movie is only available on iTunes or Amazon as an instant download, and you need to buy it not rent it.  Available on DVD June 23rd)

Instead of Wilmot

We really deliberated about going to the Wilmot AG sale this year.  We couldn’t go until Saturday, and the reports on Thursday showed a lot of items that we saw at the Oshkosh Outlet weeks ago, some with higher prices.  Photos from the Friday sale date looked pretty skimpy compared to what we are used to (thanks FunWithAGFan!), so we stayed home.

We headed out rummaging this morning instead, because what we were really after was some fun together to kick off the end of the school year.

Grace came along ready to shop...

Grace came along ready to shop…


We first found pre-BeForever Mini Kit for $1.00.

Mini Kit American Girl

At that same sale we found some Fisher Price Zoo toys (.25 for a bag) to donate to Operation Christmas Child. Our church’s goal is over 1,600 boxes!!

We had heart palpitations when we saw a stack of AG boxes at one sale.  The items turned out to be display stands for AG dolls.  We passed on those.

Our other find was the desk portion of this Pottery Barn set designed for their 18″ dolls.  We’ll have to work on finding a chair!  For .25 cents, it was worth grabbing.  Leg needs a little wood glue.


Pottery Barn photo –

So, all told we spent $1.50 (except for a trip to Dunkin Donuts!), and our American Girl budget category is intact for future adventures.

– Jen


70s Week at Camp Green Willow

It’s 1970s week at Camp Green Willow (aka Camp Doll Diaries), but for Julie, every day is 1975.

When Julie arrived at camp, she tossed her fringed denim bag and sunglasses on the bed, and unpacked her special pillow.  Some people just have to have their own pillow to sleep on, and for Julie, nothing beats her tie-dye pillow.  She looked around and wondered when she would get to meet her cabin mate.

Julie Camp Pillow American Girl

Brianna spotted a pre-printed tie-dye felt square at Michaels and knew that Julie could use it for something.  We simply folded it in half, sewed the corners, and filled it with sheets of bubble wrap.  Voila!  Pillow in 5 minutes.  Dy-No-MITE!