Category Archives: Fiction

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. . .

 

Over The Hills And Through The Woods To Grandma’s House We Go Part 1

By Saige Copeland

“Guys, get all your stuff together we’re leaving in a few minutes,” called my sister Isabelle from the living room. I got my suitcase and pulled it outside in the cold snowy air. My sisters and I were going to visit our grandma in Washington D.C over the weekend.

noexif_IMG_6512_privateI was so excited to leave Marlow’s cold snowy atmosphere and head down south to 70 degree weather for a weekend. I put all of my stuff in the trunk and hopped in the car. Since there were 8 of us, we had a big van.

noexif_IMG_6516_privateIsabelle was the driver and Caroline was her guide, so they sat in the front. Behind them, Grace and I sat, behind us was Josefina and Kit, and at the rear end was Addy and Julie.

I hopped in the car. I got out my book and started to read. It took awhile since Caroline had to find away to put her “too big” suitcase in the trunk. As Caroline got in the car, I noticed she was wearing a mid-summer dress that was meant for 80 degree weather not below 32 degree weather.

noexif_IMG_6514_private I was about to say something about it but before I could, Grace elbowed me in the ribs. I sat back and sighed… it was impossible to state your opinion when “Miss No Fighting” was around. Finally, we were off and on our way to D.C.

Kit and Josefina were probably the only very enthusiastic ones about this vacation, since it gave them time to play with their dolls.

noexif_IMG_6518_privateGrace and I used our phones but we forgot to charge them before we left and they died pretty quickly. Julie and Addy get car sick very easily, and Isabelle and Caroline just drove and navigated.

noexif_IMG_6519_private It was pretty silent in the car except for the slight squeaking of the driving wheel and the murmur of Josefina and Kit’s voices as they played with their dolls.

Isabelle broke the silence by saying, “WE will be in Boston soon and we can get dinner there.” “Yay!” shouted everybody. “Caroline, can you look up The Top 10 Restaurants In Boston on Trip Advisor?” asked Isabelle. “Sure” responded Caroline. “How about Italian Express Pizzeria . . . it’s Number #2 and has great reviews.” “Sounds good to me” approved Isabelle.

“Pizza saves lives,” I said to Grace. Grace nodded in response. We pulled into the Italian Express Pizzeria parking lot. We entered the Pizzeria, it was pretty busy, so we decided to get takeout. “Oh the Eggplant Parmesan Pizza sounds good, ” commented Isabelle. “Ya, that sounds delicious,” added Caroline. The rest of us stared in awe, that sounded disgusting! Caroline and Isabelle loved eggplant but they knew the rest of us hated it. “Can we please just cheese?” asked Kit sweetly. “How about we order 4 pizzas. . . ” answered Isabelle. “Ok” responded Kit. We all murmured among ourselves. Kit and Josefina got a Small Cheese Pizza, Addy and Julie got a Small BBQ Chicken, Grace and I got a Small Hawaiian, and Isabelle and Caroline got a Small Eggplant Parmesan Pizza. We ate in the car, which all of us loved to do.

noexif_IMG_6522_privateWe finished and got back on the road. Soon we all got on our PJ’s. We all fell asleep except for Isabelle who stayed awake driving the van until midnight when she pulled us over and fell asleep herself.

noexif_IMG_6523_privateIn the morning when we woke up, we were surprised to learn that we were already in Connecticut. We got some breakfast at First & Last Bakery Cafe, then we got back on the road. As we drove along, I  got out my Doodle backpack and opened my binder which contained all of my folders and papers inside. Eighth Grade had been assigned a crazy amount of homework over the weekend. Grace decided to do her homework too.

As we drove along Caroline asked if we would like any music on. I knew instantly that was a mistake on her part because whenever we played music in the car Grace and Julie always ended up getting in a big fight because they never liked the same music. Grace liked modern and Julie liked 70’s. Back when Grace and I were in 6th Grade, we took a family road trip all the way to Arkansas. Grace and Julie started fighting over music then all of a sudden we joined sides. Grace, Kit, and I were the Modern Side and Julie, Josefina, and Addy were the 70’s side. The fight lasted the whole way there and back again. That was a quite a car trip. So, when Caroline asked we wanted music, she realized suddenly what would happen, so she stopped the fight before either Grace or Julie could say a word. Her solution was: Play music from the 19th century. Josefina and Addy liked that.. but the rest of us couldn’t stand the sound of squeaky 19th century violins.

We got lunch in Trenton, New Jersey and by then we could say we were half way through our trip. We only had 2 more states to go through Delaware and Maryland. Josefina and Kit were very excited to go through Delaware because in their 5th Grade Social Studies class they were learning about Lord De La Warr. If you look at the spelling you can see it looks pretty much like Delaware. That’s how Delaware got it’s name, after Lord De La Warr.

As we drove through Maryland I made a list of  things I wanted to do in Washington D.C:

1. National Air and Space Museum 

2. National Zoo

3. Museum of National History

4. Washington Monument 

5. National Archives

6. The Capitol

7. The Library of National Congress

8. Lincoln Memorial

9. Arlington National Cemetery

10. Vietnam Veterans Memorial

We arrived in Washington D.C at 6:30 PM. We passed the Washington Monument and The Capitol. I was so excited to go exploring in Washington D.C, tomorrow morning. We pulled up in front of my Grandma’s apartment building. We entered the lobby with our luggage. It was very fancy. We got in the huge elevator and rode up to the 5th floor. “Room 511,” said Isabelle. We stopped in front of a wood door, and rang the doorbell.

The door creaked open slowly and…..and you will have to wait for our next post to find out what happens.

Bye for now everyone! – Brianna

 

Tutu Makes Trouble

(Words taken from ‘Isabelle’ by Laurence Yep)

“Tutu had been such a cute little white cotton ball in the shelter, but she turned out to be a real furry handful.

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Normally a kitten might wake you with loud meowing.  But Tutu preferred to hop on top of you and stroll up and down your spine.

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IMG_6500When Jade or I would finally sit up, Tutu would jump off and twitch her whiskers in surprise, as if to say, Oh, was that your back?  I thought you were the hallway rug.”

IMG_6503–Brianna recommended “Isabelle” to me and I hope to bring you a few more photo stories from the book.  I always enjoy reading the background behind some of the items in the doll’s collection.  Now I know that Tutu has a naughty personality just like our former cat, who used to steal my husband’s chair when he got up, and then curl up and pretend to be asleep so no one would move him!