Category Archives: Maryellen

Maryellen’s New Friends

Maryellen was looking forward to some quiet time around the house on Sunday when most of the girls would be doing homework at friends’ houses or at sports practice. ¬†She grabbed a snack, a good book, and joined Tutu in bed.

Not long after, Addy came in.

“Hey Maryellen, I was just looking for my Algebra book. . . .” Addy’s voice trailed off as her eyes realized the situation before her.


“Are you eating tortilla chips in Isabelle’s bed?! And those are Julie’s slippers!”

Crunch Crunch. ¬†“Don’t worry about it Addy. ¬†The fairies will take care of it.”


Maryellen brushed all the shards of tortilla chips right onto the floor.


“What are you talking about Maryellen?! You’re making a huge mess and Isabelle will kill you if her sheets smell like Taco Bell!”

“My book. ¬†It says I’m helping fairies.”

Addy didn’t know whether to bite and ask what Maryellen was reading or whether to walk away and pretend she never saw any of it.

“You’re reading about fairies?” Addy couldn’t resist.

“I’m reading Betty Bib’s Fairy Handbook. ¬†She is THE expert on all things fairy.” ¬†Addy’s simple question had opened the fairy floodgates and Maryellen kept on talking.


“It says here that it is important to support fairy populations. ¬†In fact, ‘thank-you-note fairies’ and ‘handkerchief fairies’ are almost extinct! ¬†Let me read this to you:

Foraging fairies are very useful to have around. ¬†It’s their job to sweep up forgotten crumbs, which are just the right size for a fairy snack and make a good base for a fairy trifle. ¬†So don’t worry if you drop a few morsels here and there, because you are actually helping to keep up fairy numbers.

“Here, I’ll show you a domestic fairy. ¬†She’s so sweet, Addy!”


“Yeah, I hope there is some kind of ‘Angry Sister Protector Fairy’ because you are sure going to need one when Isabelle gets home!” ¬†Addy grabbed her book and left.

Maryellen shrugged her shoulders. ¬†Anyone doing Algebra on a Sunday couldn’t possibly understand the importance of fairies. ¬†She went back to reading her book.





Ellie’s Christmas Dress

By Maryellen

I am so lucky!  This year Jen’s Mother-in-Law gave me a new dress to wear to church on Christmas Eve.  We have a special connection because she also grew up with many siblings and understands what life is like when you get hand-me-downs and have to take care of annoying younger siblings.

img_8221Everything about my outfit is really special, from the fuzzy “angora” sweater . . .


to my red patent leather shoes.  I do have to be careful not to put my thumbs through the sweater when I put in on.  This might be a sweater for older girls.


We have many headbands for dolls, but this one actually fits my head!  It has a piece of elastic connecting the ends of the ribbon so I can put it on without messing up my hair.

This dress is almost exactly the same color as the paint I used to make our front door “the one and only” red door on the block!

Julie and I are ready to leave for church.  I hope your Christmas was merry!


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.


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


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!



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.


Maryellen’s Extraordinary Christmas

Maryellen’s Christmas short film was released today on Amazon (free for those with Amazon Prime) and follows on the heels of Melody’s short film which was released last month.

We watched the film in two sittings during Thanksgiving, to the chagrin of Mr. Jen who was trying to watch the Detroit Lions’ game. ¬†Sorry, but holidays and American Girl just go together so well!

I thought the movie reflected the charm of Maryellen’s personality as shown in the books by Valerie¬†Tripp… only one terrific character is missing, and that is Scooter! The movie more heavily develops the polio/Jonas Salk storyline. ¬†Davey Fenstermacher, Maryellen’s best neighborhood friend who happens to be a boy, is a major character in the movie, which is a refreshing change of pace for AG films.

Those who sew or enjoy vintage fashions will want to see the movie. ¬†A number of the American Girl Maryellen outfits are shown, including the meet outfit, school outfit, pajamas and cherries play outfit. ¬†Other dresses, which aren’t part of her collection, are great candidates to show up on Etsy.

The movie is appropriate for all ages… and a fun choice if you have family staying with you this weekend.

Now if only my Christmas catalog would arrive!

Maryellen Larkin



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.




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”!