Monthly Archives: July 2016

The Land of Waterfalls and “Yoopers”

By Julie

What is this amazing place, so far north?  We are in Munising, Michigan–the “Upper Peninsula” of Michigan, and our house is right on Lake Superior!  I snapped a quick selfie on our beach… Can you see Lake Superior behind me?

This area was once the home of the Anishinaabe people (or Ojibwa).  I read all about their culture in “The Birchbark House” by Louise Erdrich.  Many French traders also came here, so there is a French influence in the names of cities like Grand Marais.  

The first night I slept so soundly in my log cabin room with Lake Superior’s waves lapping outside the window.

I woke to a beautiful sunrise.  I couldn’t wait to see everything!

The area is famous for waterfalls… There are even some as you drive along the highway.  Here is a waterfall we saw that flows into Lake Superior.

The water in Lake Superior is so clear and very cold.  You can see shipwrecks in the water right from the side of a boat!

This is the hull of a ship about 10 feet below the surface of the water.

Everywhere you go you hear about “Yoopers.”  I thought it sounded like the name of a candy bar!  “Yooper” is a term for a person who lives in the Upper Peninsula …”U.P.”

Marquette is a university town nearby, and it has its own history between fur trading, Native Americans, iron ore, and shipping.  We went to a museum in Marquette and saw a trunk that could have belonged to American Girl Kirsten.

This belonged to Sofia Larsson who came to Negaunee, Michigan from Sweden.

At nighttime we had a campfire and enjoyed the amazing sunset over Lake Superior.

This city slicker is ready to head home to some sushi, the public library, and all my sisters at home.  Lanie would love this place!

IMG_7658Bye for now!


P.S. You can rent a Lake Superior House too!


GOTY 2017 Books

Have you been talking about the American Girl of the Year-2017 while I was busy painting Brianna’s room and reading books for the coming school year?  The GOTY books for 2017 are posted on Amazon (no links below) with an accompanying author named Teresa Harris.  Book #1 is released on Dec 27, 2016.

GOTY2017 Book

I have never read any of Ms. Harris’ other books, but she seems to write about African American female characters, so here’s hoping we might see a 2017 doll of color yet!  If you would like to learn more about the author, head on over to the blog The Brown Bookshelf.


Other books by the author

What are your thoughts on GOTY2017?

Northern Stowaway

By Julie

Have you noticed that Jen and Brianna have been nowhere to be found this summer?  Brianna’s been at Girl Scout camp and Jen busy reading and painting Brianna’s room.  Would you believe that for a while Grace and Isabelle were in the…. gulp….basement?!  It’s serious, guys!

I saw bags being packed and I took matters into my own hands…slipped on my summer dress, grabbed a swimsuit, and jumped in a backpack!  I crossed my fingers that we were going somewhere good!

We drove north, north and more north.

We stopped to stretch in a city called Peshtigo, Wisconsin. It has a sad history of having the entire city burn down on the same day as the Great Chicago Fire in October, 1871.  It had been a year of drought, and swirling winds picked up a fire and made something like a fire tornado.  People and animals had to seek shelter in a river, but a river in Wisconsin in October is very cold, and many people who survived the fire died from hypothermia.


We stopped at the museum commemorating this sad event.


By this time the cat… Er… Doll was out of the bag, literally, so I got my picture taken.

We kept driving north and I started to wonder whether we were going to see Santa and Elves! Just then we turned down a forested gravel path called Reindeer Road  (so we were at the North Pole!) and  look what was waiting for us!  I’ll tell you more about this amazing place in my next post.



The End O’ the Outlet Store….


Brianna and I had one final farewell to the American Girl Outlet Store in Oshkosh, WI.  We were a little surprised to find that there really was just about nothing in the store!  We managed to come up with a purchase of two pairs of Rebecca’s stage shoes, a red doll AG store logo tee, and two fuzzy, rib knit “Believe” Christmas stockings for girls, which were .70 cents each.

Reader Annaliese wrote a comment that she had visited the outlet recently and talked to employees about options being considered for reselling retired and refurbished items once the outlet store closes.  She said, “They didn’t say if any of them are truly confirmed, but each interesting:
1. Going to 2 sales a year in Wilmot, WI
2. Having a larger sale section online
3. Having the merchandise at the Mattel Outlet” (open in Wilmot WI every day)

Annaliese, I appreciate your writing in and getting some “scoop!”

My guess is that all three option could come to pass.  We have already heard from Wilmot sale staff that there could be a sale in fall.  We have also seen random items for sale a la carte on the American Girl web site, such at Kit’s brown shoes.

The Mattel Outlet has several locations.  The one we have visited in Wilmot had a lot of Barbie dolls, as well as all the other Mattel products, such as toy cars, baby toys, and outdoor play items.  It is open every day just like any other store.

Outlet store…. You were fun while you lasted!  We made a lot of memories stopping there with Grandma, and let us not forgot the time I drove 60 miles to the outlet to get pre-BeForever Julie and then drove right back home!!