Category Archives: Fiction

New Names for Cute Bunnies

Kit and Maryellen were anxiously waiting for the Easter egg hunt to begin.  Kit had on a brand new dress and Maryellen was reluctantly making do with her sundress and mint green sweater.  It was the first time it was warm enough to even wear a sleeveless dress on Easter!

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The older girls weren’t ready yet, but Isabelle gave her phone to Kit to help them pass the time.

“Maryellen, here is a chart to help you determine your ‘Easter Bunny Name’!  Guess what, my name would be Kindheart Carrot Top!” said Kit.

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“Oh neat!  What would my name be?” inquired Maryellen, studying the chart.

“Ummm… Mighty Carrot Top!  That fits you Maryellen because of your red hair!”

“It’s cute, but I wish we had different last names,” said Maryellen.

Kit rolled her eyes and changed the subject. “Jen’s name would be Jumpy Jelly Bean!”

“Oh, I like that name a lot,” said Maryellen.

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“After the egg hunt let’s go home and make a list of the whole family’s names,”  said Kit.  “Maybe we could even print them in a special Easter edition of our newspaper!”

Maryellen and Kit were thrilled that they had a great idea for play time once the Easter excitement dwindled down.  Until then, there were plenty of eggs to hunt for.

What is your Easter Bunny Name?  We wish all who celebrate a blessed Easter!

Lanie and Maryellen ‘Hop to It’

It was a warm spring day, really the first day it was nice enough to be outside without a jacket.  Lanie and Maryellen got outside to clear the dead leaves from around the hens and chicks plants and sedum.  

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It felt so good to be outside again and see the plants come back to life after a snowy winter.  Lanie was doing most of the working and Maryellen was doing most of the talking.

“Lanie, did you see that?  The Easter bunny just ran under that bush!”

“Maryellen, what are you talking about now?!” said Lanie, wiping her brow.

“I SAID the Easter bunny ran under the bush.  Look!”

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Lanie humored Maryellen and turned around.

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A small, scared-looking brown rabbit was indeed hiding under an evergreen.

“Maryellen, I doubt that is an Easter bunny, but it does look like someone’s pet.  It doesn’t look like the grey rabbits that live in our area.  Maybe it is tame and lost?  Why don’t you quietly go into the house and bring some carrots out.  We can see if he’s hungry.”

Maryellen came back with the carrots and laid them peacefully a few feet away from the bunny.

“Look!” said Maryellen.  “He’s hungry!”

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The girls knew this was definitely a tame rabbit that wouldn’t be likely to survive on its own.  They cleared out their gardening basket, and sat down, unmoving, on their blanket.

“Stay real still, Maryellen, and he may hop over to us.”

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“He’s coming!” whispered Maryellen, trying talk without moving her lips.

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“I just know this is going to be the best Easter ever,” said Maryellen.  “We have our very own Easter bunny!”

21st Century disclaimer… you know not to try to capture animals outside, right?  Luckily Lanie and Maryellen can’t get rabies.  Julie was not available to be in this story with “Nutmeg” because she doesn’t want to take off her basketball uniform.  I am grateful for the warm weather.  It’s generating so many blog post ideas.  I really have missed being able to do photo stories outside.  The lighting is never right inside!

Over It

We got the new American Girl catalog the other day…as always Brianna and I honored our pact to look at it together first.  No peeking!  Somewhere between then and now I got over my frustration with American Girl’s changes to the dolls, clothing, packaging, and PermaPanties.

Not that I embrace those changes.  Not at all.

I think what I realized is that I’m not a collector.  Now, some may say that anyone who has received/bought three dolls since turning 40 is most definitely a collector, but the prospect of buying AG items in the years to come isn’t really where my fun comes from.

Where my interests fit in to the AG world is in the stories – both the ones written by AG authors, and especially the ones I dream up for the blog.  If I’ve got my Julie, Kit and Addy (Ok, and Brianna’s Maryellen whom I have sort of stolen from her), I have what I need to create stories.  I cherish the outfits I do have, especially some of the Christmas and historical outfits from my mom and my mother-in-law, and I hope that there will be some other quality items to add in the future (Julie’s basketball outfit, I’m talkin’ to you!)

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A favorite story from the past “Save the Eagles, Maybe?”

The other thing I appreciate about my “un-collection” is my friendship with all of you.  Whether you are a tween, teen, or way grown-up, we are bucking the idea that dolls are only for little girls.  We all deserve play time!

Whatever Mattel does with American Girl I won’t let it steal my joy.

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Fat Tuesday Strikes Again

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“Lanie, you have been so generous letting me and Nellie stay with you this winter.  We would love to make everyone dinner Tuesday night.”

“That would be great, Samantha–help yourselves to the kitchen!”

Samantha and Nellie got together to plan.  Nellie, being Irish, was well aware of the Lenten season beginning.  “Samantha, let’s plan a Fat Tuesday meal!”

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They headed to the kitchen looking for ingredients and dishes to use up before Lent.

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“Grace must have been making macarons again… they’re everywhere!”

“Nellie, let’s see what we can find in the refrigerator,” Samantha said.

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“Umm, French tarts, garlic bread, strawberry lemonade…”

“There are more tarts in a bakery box, too!  Better add those to the pile!”

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“It seems like most of the food in the house is rich and indulgent.  Is there anything left in the refrigerator?” Nellie asked.

Samantha looked. “Well… some grapes… and a blueberry bran muffin.  A leftover sandwich….”

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“Well, my work here is done,” said Nellie proudly.  “I can’t wait until everyone gets home!”

Samantha and Nellie carried the food to the dining room and waited.  Nellie said, “Do you know some people call today Pancake Day?  That always sounds funny to me.”

Samantha added, “And have you heard the word Carnivale?  In Latin that means meat going away!”

Just then Grace and Lanie came in.  The look on their face was a mixture of surprise and confusion.

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“Happy Fat Tuesday!”  Nellie and Samantha exclaimed. “We helped prepare your house for Lent by making a meal of all the rich and indulgent foods, and there were a lot of them!”

Lanie shot Grace a look which said, ‘I can’t believe they cleaned out the fridge!’ Grace quickly recovered from her speechlessness and said, diplomatically, “That was so kind of you to think of us.  Let’s dig in!”

Have you ever had a guest stay with you who has different traditions than your own?  Fat Tuesday and Lent seem to have lots of variations depending on geographic location and type of Christianity.  At our house we have pancakes at church the night of Fat Tuesday and games and beads for the kids.  And nothing goes with pancakes like some King Cake!  I once hosted a recruiting event on a Friday during Lent and guess who had a bunch of chicken salad sandwiches on the menu.  D’oh!  Maybe I wrote this post to relive that faux pas.

Thanksgiving: The Day After

Twas the day after Thanksgiving, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except for Maryellen . . . who was on her second draft of a Christmas wish list.

img_8083All the big girls had gone out for 50% off on jeggings at Old Navy, so it was just Maryellen, Tutu, and some Christmas music on the the ol’ record player.

Christmas lists were something Maryellen took very seriously.  In such a big family, Christmas  was a rare opportunity to get something new.

The back door slammed shut and in walked Josefina.

img_8084“Josie, I thought you went to the mall.  What’s in the paper bag?”

“I went to the grocery store.  It was really quiet there!  I’m just in the mood for something different to eat.  I’ve had all the turkey I can take!”

“Come join me in the kitchen if you want to help.”

img_8085Maryellen jumped at the opportunity to spend time alone with Josefina.

She called out, “Hey!  wait for me!”

Josefina was unpacking the groceries.

img_8090“Looks like Grace went a little overboard on the pastries,” Josefina said.  “There’s barely any room for food!”

img_8091“What are we making, Josefina?  I want to help!  Why is there a tomato on the counter?  Are you making salads?”

Maryellen’s questions made Josefina a bit annoyed, but she let it slide.

“I’m making something Italian that serves a crowd – lasagna!  You can help by chopping some tomatoes while I finish unpacking groceries,” said Josefina.

img_8089Maryellen was in awe of the way Josefina knew how to make lasagna without even using a recipe.  She vowed to try to spend more time in the kitchen so she could be as good as Josie some day.

Josefina showed Maryellen how to layer the noodles, sauce, and cheese.  While it baked in the oven, Maryellen set the table as fancy as she could for her special meal with Josefina.

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Josefina was famous for her garlic bread, which was more butter than bread.

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Finally the golden, cheesy lasagna came out of the oven, and it was just Maryellen and Josefina enjoying the quiet in the house and eating something that was definitely not turkey!

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How was your Thanksgiving?  Josefina appears in the story for my Mother-in-Law, who is a Josefina fan.  The lasagna set was my purchase from the Toys r Us AG launch a few weeks ago.  It was kind of a frivolous purchase, but look at it!  No regrets.

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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.

 

 

A Letter from Cousin Nellie

noexif_IMG_6711_privateMaryellen was excited to receive a letter in the mail.  Usually her older sisters got all the interesting mail and postcards from friends who traveled and went to camp.

noexif_IMG_6710_privateThe letter contained some good news and some bad news.  The good news was that her cousin Nellie was coming for a winter visit! Nellie’s family travels in the winter to escape the cold temperatures while she stays at home.  The bad news was that Nellie’s sore leg was becoming difficult to manage on her own, and she needed medical help.

Nellie would be here . . . tomorrow!?  The last time Nellie visited she went on the very first doll expedition to the senior living center.  Some of the girls, like Dakota, had never even met Nellie.  It was going to be an exciting day for sure.

Come back tomorrow. . .