Category Archives: Uncategorized

Kira Down Under – Book Review

Happy New Year! I thought I should kick 2021 off by reading the new American Girl book “Kira Down Under” since we are mostly staying at home these days. A fictional trip to Australia sounded pretty good! Of course there will be no spoilers in this blog post.

Kira’s first book is set after the Australian wildfires that occurred at the beginning of 2020. The book also acknowledges COVID. I would say it imagines Kira being able to travel to Australia this past summer, even though I doubt that was possible. Wearing masks is mentioned and I think this is a great way for kids to see their current world reflected in fiction.

The book has glossy paper and includes color illustrations of the main characters as well as a map of the wildlife rescue center. I was glad to see this back in the AG books because illustrations are a great way for young (and older!) readers to better understand what they are reading.

Kira’s personality is “be prepared” — maybe a little too prepared because she is fearful about bad things happening. Other characters help to remind her that she can’t stop some bad things from happening, and in life we need to practice strategies for seeing the good all around us. A great message for anyone.

At the end of the book there is a non-fiction article with photos about a girl in Australia whose family has a koala rehabilitation facility. Additionally, Erin Teagan, the book’s author, has an article about her trip to Australia to gather material for the book. I was impressed she spent time at a wildlife sanctuary to really capture the work that goes on there.

I hope if you are spending some time on the couch this winter you’ll consider this book. It offers a lot for kids and adults!


Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July to my US friends! I hope you have time today to do some simple, joyful things. Decorating a bike, like Josefina, is pretty awesome. I enjoy parades and definitely glo-necklaces to wear to the fireworks! How about you?

Josefina is wearing a skirt and vest sewed by my mom (aka Grandma) and Saige’s t-shirt while she decorates her scooter.

American Girl Benefit Sale Prices 2019

Some preliminary prices for dolls at the upcoming Madison Children’s Museum Benefit Sale were released today, and they are crazy good!

Addy $30.00 limit 10!!!!

Gabriela $85.00

Isabelle $85.00…. how many of these do they still have???

Kit in the Costco package set $85.00

Melody $30.00 limit 10

Tenney $40.00 limit 10

Truly Me assortment $25.00 and up

Wellies $20.00

No word yet on Grace, Luciana, or Samantha and Julie. The complete price list is usually posted the week of the sale, which is July 20-21, 2019.

I recommend following American Girl Benefit Sale on Facebook to keep up with current information. We don’t have tickets this year, but if we did I would choose Melody. It’s very tempting!! You can read about our past adventures at the dolls sale here.

TBT: Addy’s Birthday

It’s Throw-Back Thursday!  Time to share a retired outfit that doesn’t see the light of day nearly enough.  All are welcome to participate.

Today I am featuring Addy’s birthday pinafore.  It was introduced in 1994 and retired in 2013.  I purchased mine that the Oshkosh Outlet Store (no longer in existence).  The outfit appears on the cover of Addy’s 4th book, “Happy Birthday Addy!”


The blouse and pinafore are separate garments.  The puffy sleeves, while not becoming on Jerry Seinfeld, are to die for on Addy.

The pinafore has tiny pockets with rick-rack trim.


It comes with a brown snood decorated with two yellow bird feathers, to remind Addy “to always let her spirit sing out.”  I have never had luck getting the snood on Addy’s head!


Addy is enjoying a rest in the summer shade, allowing you to see the lovely stockings that come with the outfit.  No shoes are included; she would wear her “meet” boots.


Looking good Addy!

P.S. Addy is my first AG (pre-BeForever).  I got her for my 40-something birthday from my mom.  Best gift ever!  Brianna and I read most of the AG books together when she was in 1st-2nd grade.  I thought Addy’s story could be a little disturbing for a 1st grader, but Brianna was Ok with historical drama.

American Girl Parody

You all know I work in an elementary school library, and I try to keep up with new releases especially in the graphic novel genre because it is so popular with our students.

“Be Prepared” is a terrific new graphic novel about a Russian immigrant girl trying to fit in with the kids at school.


In the first few pages she attends a birthday party which has a fun parody of American Girl dolls.



Of course, all the “cool” kids give the birthday girl American Girl presents.


Vera didn’t bring an 18″ doll to the party (because she doesn’t have one!), so while the girls play, she has to borrow a lowly Barbie doll.  Sigh.


Aw, Vera… we have all been there!  It can be hard to fit in.

We bought Brianna’s first doll (Josefina) from my sister-in-law at about 50% off.  It still felt like a big deal even at half-price.  When Saige came out about 8 months later, that was the start of the slippery slide into fandom!

How did you acquire your first AG?  Did the price require you to convince yourself or your parents?


Goodbye, Tenney

Yesterday American Girl announced they are retiring Tenney and Logan at the end of the year.

Caroline enjoying Tenney’s pajamas. Thanks, Kohls’ cash!

I saw that the Madison Children’s Museum sale is selling Tenney on the last day of the sale for $50.00 (no limit!) in a sealed box… and I wonder whether she will be sold without the “X” on her bottom identifying her as an MCM purchase.

In other news, I noticed when checking my Amazon WishList that the book for the new contemporary character was never released this summer.


The book (and doll, presumably) had a release date of June 26, 2018.  This seems to have been scrapped, for now, just like the re-release of Molly.

I feel like I come bearing bad news on this Sunday morning.  Maybe it is the humid rainy weather!  I hope American Girl can hang on in the tough times they seem to be facing.

Update: Z Yang and Gabriela are going at the of year, too.

Hello and Happy New Year!

Dropping in to wish all my AG friends a terrific 2018!

We have had a lovely Christmas holiday, though not quite the quantity of American Girl items under the tree as in years past. I will always have happy memories of the excitement of giving a new doll for Christmas.

A few items still managed to find their way to us from Santa, including Josefina’s holiday outfit, Tenney’s performance outfit, and…



Z’s Sightseeing Outfit – Gift for me!




Cool shoes!


Gabriela’s Sparkling Sequins outfit on Dakota – Gift for Brianna

Some readers may recall that we bought an Isabelle doll at the Madison’s Children’s Museum Benefit sale to turn around and auction at our church’s holiday boutique. All proceeds provide scholarships for African men and women to attend university, as well as other outreach efforts. Isabelle and her accompanying swag were a popular item and the auction had a record profit of $18,000! Thanks to Flo for crafting some items for dear Isabelle!



Though our posts have become less frequent, Brianna and I have committed to continuing our famous “new release review” posts coming to you direct from our local coffee shop!

What are your thoughts on Luciana?  I think it is a great theme, but one that doesn’t particularly pull at my wallet.  I do have her book on the way from Amazon, and if you know me, I might change my tune after I read her book.

We wish you a new year filled with many opportunities to play!




Amazon AG Sales Return

Amazon once again has a sale on some American Girl items. For example, Julie’s holiday outfit is $25.50 on Amazon and $34.00 on AG site. They even have Julie’s original pet bunny for $17.98! Felicity’s meet dress is $27.00 on Amazon and $36.00 on AG.
If you have Amazon Prime (free shipping), these are nice deals! I believe the prices are on Beforever items specifically.

Sunshine Blogger 2017

sunshine-bloggerFlo at Say Hello to My Little Friends recently took part in the Sunshine Blogger award and nominated fellow bloggers inspired to participate.  I know I must be behind on a few of these nominations, so I decided to jump in!

Here are my responses to the eleven questions that help to get to know your bloggers better:

What’s your favorite post you’ve ever done on your blog?  

Ooh, that is a tough one to answer.  Maybe my three-part story about Isabelle’s mystery in the closet.  Maybe it’s asking a lot of a blog reader follow a three-part story, but I had fun with it!

Isabelle October Mystery

What’s your favorite photography tip?

I don’t consider myself an expert by any means.  Don’t let perfectionism stop you from jumping in and having fun.  That said, pictures outdoors are always a good place to start.

What season is your favorite? (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall)

Fall is pretty terrific, but I am off work in summer, and what’s not to like about that!

Do you play an instrument? Which one?

I took guitar as a kid, but didn’t practice very much.

Do you like to cook or bake? What’s your favorite thing to make?

Definitely bake!  I am known for my Irish soda bread and cut-out cookies.

What’s your dream doll? (Custom, retired, available, leaked are options)

Kirstin “new in box” with as many original outfits as possible.  Love the Scandinavian culture.

Where would you like to go if you could go anywhere?

England, Wales and Scotland!  I’m saving my money right now hopefully for summer 2018.

What do you want to do when you grow up?

Apparently I am grown up already, but I love my work in an elementary library.  A bigger dream job would be to write kids’ books.

Do you prefer things you craft or things you save up to buy?

Save up to buy.  I am not crafty or patient with crafts.  My mom is a talented artist who can build anything.  I leave this up to her and reap the benefits.

What’s your favorite bible verse? 1 John 3:1


What’s your favorite school subject? Honestly, I loved college but didn’t enjoy elementary and secondary school that much.  I think subjects are taught in a more interesting way today, and the books taught are more relevant.  In 10th grade we read “The Scarlet Letter” and “The Red Badge of Courage.”  Ugh.

If you are a blogger and would like to participate in the Sunshine Blogger Award, here are my 10 questions.  Please tag me back should you jump in!

  1. What’s your favorite post you’ve ever done on your blog?
  2. What is a book you want everyone to read and love as much as you do?
  3. What season is your favorite? (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall)
  4. What is your favorite type of exercise or physical activity?
  5. Do you like to cook or bake? What’s your favorite thing to make?
  6. What’s your dream doll? (Custom, retired, available, leaked are options)
  7. Where would you like to go if you could go anywhere?
  8. What do you want to do when you grow up?
  9. Do you prefer things you craft or things you save up to buy?
  10. What’s your favorite Bible verse or inspiring quotation?

Good luck!  If you participate leave a link in my comments section.

What I Did This Summer

by Molly McIntire

This summer I went to Camp Gowonagin with my friends Linda and Susan.  My mother said it would be unpatriotic to take a family vacation during wartime, but being at Camp Gonwonagin was as much fun as being on vacation!

Every day we did crafts, sewed sit-upons, swam, and learned outdoor skills like first aid and cooking over a fire.  At camp, you don’t eat your meals in a cafeteria, it’s called a mess hall, which is the same thing they call it in the US Army!

I was pretty nervous that I might have to swim underwater.  I can swim OK on the surface but feel nervous going under the water.  My mom sent me off to camp with a new swimsuit that made me feel like a movie star!  I could swim much better in it than in my sister Jill’s hand-me-down suits.

Molly Swim

Molly AG Swimsuit

I got a few care packages at camp, including one from my English friend Emily and her Aunt Primrose.  They sewed a pillow for me that looks just like my Jack Russell terrier, Bennett!

Every night at Camp Gowonagin Miss Butternut, the camp director, would play taps on her bugle and we sang “Day is Done, Gone the Sun” in our bunks.  Sometimes I fell asleep before the end of the song.

In conclusion, I had a swell summer at Camp and also learned how to be a better citizen.

Jen says… parts of Molly’s school composition follow her book, and parts I made up.  Her swimsuit, for example, plays no role in her books.  The pillow, which does have a 40s vibe, was purchased in England by my mom.

Cath Kidston

It’s a pin cushion!  Molly’s camp bed is Addy’s bed, and her camp blanket was knit by my neighbor.  The backdrop Brianna and I painted for Camp Doll Diaries two or three years ago, and probably to my husband’s chagrin, it is still stored in his office closet! I think there is something kind of magical about being so tired from a day at camp that you fall almost instantly asleep.