Monthly Archives: August 2016

Maryellen Sees America

By “The One and Only” Maryellen

My Dad brought the Airstream trailer home!  He told Mom, “All the magazines say it’s our patriotic duty as Americans to see as much as we can of this great country.”  Mom thought that cooking, cleaning, and laundering for a big family in an Airstream sounded like a lot of work, but even she enjoyed our first stop.

We visited Cantigny Park in the outskirts of Chicago, Illinois.  It’s not a park like you might see in your neighborhood… it is actually the estate of a patriotic American named Robert McCormick.  McCormick owned the famous Chicago Tribune, and WGN TV and radio.  He also fought in World War I.

Here I am in front of a mural highlighting Robert McCormick's life.

Here I am in front of a mural highlighting Robert McCormick’s life.

His house was huge!  He had lots of fancy dinner parties where he would invite celebrities, business tycoons, and farmers from the area, all at the same time.  McCormick was always looking for more information from any source to report in his paper.  If guests couldn’t hold up their end of a conversation, he would end the party and send people home.  He had an art deco movie theater right in his house.

This art deco theater feels right at home to me.

This art deco theater feels right at home to me.

This house is bigger than the Airstream, that's for sure!

This house is bigger than the Airstream, that’s for sure!

McCormick also served in World War I in the Battle of Cantigny (that’s where the name of the estate comes from).  Serving in the military affected him greatly.  After the war he never allowed smoking in his home, even though it was fashionable at the time, because he had experienced the poison gas used in WWI.

He created a huge military museum on his estate, and it includes a tank park, where you can climb on tanks used in every period of US History.


At the museum I saw a display about the “doughnut girls” in WW I.  Women served in the Salvation Army and were dispatched to the front lines where eventually they served between 2,500 – 9,000 doughnuts a day as a tangible way to give comfort to the men in the trenches.

IMG_7826If you are a fan of The Queen’s Treasures, you know about their doll clothing commemorating the “doughnut girls.”

Soon it was time to head back to the Airstream before Scooter started howling for his family.  I hope you find some places near you to learn more about famous Americans!

Quote from Maryellen’s Dad taken from book by Valerie Tripp.





American Girl Melody Reveal

Hi Friends,

Did you watch the Melody reveal today on American Girl’s Facebook page?  I thought it was interesting to see the inspirations for her wardrobe and how they tweak some of the colors in existing fabric samples.

At the moment we don’t have plans to get Melody because we are reaching maximum capacity (though I’d make an exception for Truly Me 41).  My favorite item is the pajamas.  Always need pajamas 😉

What did you think of her collection?  How about the winter coat? ! 

On Trend for Fall – It’s Julie Again!

Julie has been getting a lot of pixels lately on the blog… and now I know why.  Julie is very “on-trend” for fall!

I saw these jeans for women at the Gap:

IMG_7700Chicken or the egg… Did Julie inspire these jeans or did jeans like these inspire Julie’s character?  I bet on the former.  Probably a millennial in the Gap design department whose sister had a Julie doll.

This is an ad at the MAC cosmetics store:


Troll dolls are a part of Julie’s story too.  Ivy is afraid of a street person in San Francisco whose orange hair resembles a “troll doll.”  He turns out to be Hank, a friendly Vietnam vet who periodically stops into Julie’s Mom’s store.  There is a Troll movie being released in November by Dreamworks.

If you have any “Julie” fashion sightings, let me know!


Julie: “Let Girls Play, Too!”

Words are taken from Chapter 5 “Let Girls Play, Too” of Meet Julie by Megan McDonald.  “Dakota” is standing in for Julie’s best friend, Ivy.

“Saturday morning Julie was reading her horoscope — “Don’t hesitate; today’s the day to jump in” — when she heard Ivy’s knock.

IMG_7693“You’re here!” Julie said, leading her friend into the living room.  The two girls pushed boxes into the corner so that Ivy could show Julie her latest floor routine.

IMG_7696“Did you know Olga Korbut was the first person to do a backwards aerial somersault on the balance beam?” Ivy asked as she turned her handstand into a back limber.

IMG_7698Julie tried to copy the move, but as soon as she got into a handstand, her feet clomped to the floor.

IMG_7694“Girls!” called Mom. “What’s going on?  Sounds like a stampede of elephants in there.  Julie, please tell me you’re not bouncing that basketball inside.”

Olga Korbut was a former Soviet gymnast who won 4 Olympic gold medals and 2 silver medals.  Today she is 61 years old and a US citizen living in Scottsdale, AZ.  I don’t think Olga would approve of Ivy doing handstands in Dr. Scholl’s sandals!

New American Girl Books in September

American Girl Visual GuideToday when I was checking my pre-order for the “American Girl: Ultimate Visual Guide” book, I noticed another new book to be released in early September: “Ultimate Sticker Collection: American Girl” by DK Publishing.

American Girl Sticker BookI think both look like fun!  The Visual Guide looks like it will include information on retired historicals and the Pleasant Company era. I am checking prices every now and again and I will let you know if I see them drop.  If you pre-order on Amazon you are guaranteed the lowest price.  Right now the Visual Guide is about 19.00 and the sticker book is 12.99.  Since DK books are available everywhere, you may be able to save money my pairing them with an in-store Barnes and Noble coupon!

DK will also be releasing “American Girl: The Story of America” in February 2017.  I am speculating this will replace the history section at the back of the historical books that has been sorely missing since Beforever.



Welcome to Rio – 2016

Greetings sports fans!  We cut in to your regularly scheduled program to show you the Olympic Athletes beginning to line up for the Parade of Nations.  Lea Clark will be carrying the Olympic flag this evening, representing independent athletes and bringing awareness to the plight of refugees.

IMG_7703In a break from tradition, the athletes tonight are lining up in the Brazilian forest, currently home to 20,000 species of plants, and 8% of the plants on Earth!

IMG_7705We’re sending you back to the studio now.  Should be a terrific show tonight!

Lea is temporarily bunking down at our house while her owner is at summer camp.  She is wearing McKenna’s warm up outfit, but I think it fits the spirit of Brazil. We are excited to watch the opening ceremony tonight!  The real flagbearer for the refugee Olympic team will be a woman who is a refugee from South Sudan.  Will you be watching tonight?

This post is dedicated to blog reader Jennifer who is hoping to have Lea join her doll family this year.

American Girl Benefit Sale 2017

I just ordered my academic year calendar for 2016-17 so now is a good time to share the Madison Children’s Museum AG Benefit Sale dates for next year.  They announced on Facebook that the 30th anniversary of the sale will be July 22-23, 2017. 

Looks like they have moved the sale to be one weekend later than it has been.  I’d like to go next year since we missed it this year.  Also (ssshhhh) I’m finding myself pinning images of TrulyMe #41.  Could be trouble.

The Facebook post indicated they did about $900,000 in sales at the 2016 sale… Which is roughly what they reported in 2015.

If you have thoughts on this year’s sale, please share!

Postcard from Julie

Julie Beach

“Maryellen, did you see the postcard from Julie?”

“Yep, she goes on a trip and sends a postcard to remind us to take care of her responsibility!” protested Maryellen.

“At least the chore is cute and furry!” said Addy.

The girls packed up Nutmeg and took her out for fresh air and green grass.

IMG_7668Nutmeg usually stayed at Julie’s Dad’s house, but this summer she relocated to live with all of the girls — there was always someone around to give her attention.  If Nutmeg got bored, no lamp cords or computer cables were safe!

IMG_7669IMG_7672Nutmeg always preferred to nestle in a laundry basket.  Julie’s Dad made sure the laundry basket went where Nutmeg went.

IMG_7671And, just to make sure no other bunnies claimed her bed, her cushion was embroidered with her name.


I got Julie’s bunny and basket quite a long time ago and am just now sharing it with you.  The basket has real ribbon interwoven around the outside and Nutmeg’s cushion is embroidered on a denim cushion.  Nutmeg herself leaves a bit to be desired.  Maybe her “velvet brown” color makes it hard to tell what kind of animal she is.  Hey, at least she isn’t a “pet rock”!