Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Day Outdoors

Okay, so much for my theory that being at home would make blogging easier. ;)  The girls are supposed to stay home from school until the lice is completely gone, so I'm continuing the seemingly never-ending cycle of hair treatments and laundry.  Middle Gal ended up with lice Sunday night, and both Oldest Gal and Little Gal still have some in their hair even after treatment, so we're not clear yet. :{

Today, my mom came over and helped me treat all of the mattresses, the couch, the loveseat, and the carpet with the RID lice spray.  She also helped me give the girls a second olive oil treatment and brought combs, a vacuum, and another type of lice treatment to try.  (I have the best mom EVER!)

The spray we used can't be inhaled or touched, and you're supposed to wait until it dries to use the room you spray it in, so we spent most of the morning outside.  Thankfully, the weather was much cooler than it's been lately, so the day was pretty pleasant.

I snapped a few photos while we were out there.  Here are a few of my favorites. :)

Elfa enjoying the outdoors:

The girls had fun playing a game with their Barbie and Disney dolls.  The dolls were lost, so they had to camp out in the wilderness (hence the beds of leaves):




The girls had a great time playing and getting some fresh air (they've been feeling rather cooped up with the whole head lice thing).  I gave them another olive oil treatment today, and put them in shower caps while I let the olive oil sit.  I just had to share this pic because they looked so adorable. ;)

I do hope to get things together enough to get one of my planned review posts up by the end of the week, but I can't make any promises at this point.  The laundry and combing have been quite time consuming. :}

Talk to all of you again soon!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Surviving Saturday's Mayhem ;)

Hey everyone!  Thank you so much for all of your kind comments, suggestions, and prayers from yesterday's post.  I made it through today by the grace of God and with lots of help from my sweet Hubby.  

I only had one meltdown, which happened when I was in the middle of doing Oldest Gal's RID treatment and getting overwhelmed by all of the steps and instructions.  It also might have had to do with the fact that I had two hours until I had to be at the memorial service, and all of us were still in our pajamas, needing to get ready to go. :}  It was completely nuts!

But Hubby saved the day, bringing us lunch and helping me get kiddos ready.  The memorial was a beautiful tribute to Hubby's grandma, and both of my songs went really well and seemed to bless the hearers, which was what I had hoped for.

We did allow the girls to attend the memorial and a dinner afterwards since I had treated their hair (and gotten an "okay" from Hubby's mom and aunt), and it was a huge blessing to get to visit with family and friends, some whom I hadn't seen for years.  One of the highlights of the day was reconnecting with my art teacher from 3rd grade.  Mr. "B" was always a huge encouragement to me and taught me a lot.  It was great to get to catch up with him a bit. :)

Tomorrow, we'll be staying home from church.  I want to make sure we've got this stuff under control before we go mingle freely again (I feel guilty enough about today).  I still have to contact the girls' teacher to see what the school policy is on attendance, and see if the girls will be allowed to go to school this week.  

The good news is, we should have some time to work on a post since we'll be having a family day at home. ;)

Thanks again for all of your prayers.  I know they helped carry me through the day and my special music. :)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Best Laid Plans and Itchy Interruptions

So, my oh-so-efficient plan to work with the girls on a review tonight went completely out the window due to a surprising and unwelcome discovery: Oldest Gal and Little Gal have head lice.

Ugh.  My head itches just from reading that last sentence.  To be honest, my head...and my whole body...have been itching ever since I realized the truth.  I think it's mostly hypochondriacal, though.  (I'm pretty sure you can't get head lice on your ankles, one of my current itchy spots.) ;)

So instead of sitting leisurely at the computer, typing my girls' opinions about our latest review, I spent my evening giving two girls an olive oil and fine tooth comb treatment, pausing occasionally to pick little critters out of their hair.  Oh, the joys of motherhood! :}

Middle Gal seems to be in the clear, at least at this point.  I'm supposed to check her head every two days.  I've started washing all of the bedding, but I still have to soak all of the combs and brushes in hot water, vacuum the couch and rug, and email the girls' teachers to alert them of the possible start of a head lice epidemic.  I'm sure that will be their favorite email of the week. (Sarcasm alert.) ;)

The timing could have been a bit better.  Tomorrow is Hubby's grandmother's memorial service, and it was supposed to be kind of an all-day family thing.  Plus, I'm singing two songs for the actual service.  At this point, the plan is to send Hubby to the graveside service in the morning and the family lunch (while I stay home and treat two girls with "RID"-recommended by our family doctor), and then I'll most likely bring the girls and join him at the church service.  We'll just have them sit in the back, and we won't hug anyone.

Those of you who are my sisters and brothers in Christ, please pray that this won't spread any farther and that tomorrow will go smoothly.  The songs I'm singing are a little more challenging, and the day will be a full one.  I was also really looking forward to spending time with Hubby's visiting family members.  We haven't seen many of them for several years, so having the lice thing thrown into the mix is a bit disappointing.

Anyway, I hope to get back on track with bloggy stuff at the beginning of next week...if I survive. ;)  Thanks for your patience!

AG Stuff for sale on Zulily.com

Hey everyone!  I only have a moment to spare, but I wanted to let you know that there are some Bitty Baby and My AG items on Zulily.com today for a reduced price, as well as several of the historical mystery books and some other AG and Bitty Baby books.  You'll want to check these out quickly, because things sell out fast!!  I just found out about the sale about fifteen minutes ago, and the Bitty Baby dolls are already all sold out!

You can see all of the AG items on Zulily.com HERE.

Happy shopping! :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Great Soccer Saga Begins...

Oldest Gal has her first game tomorrow, and until mid-October, soccer is going to be our life in the afternoons. :}  I'm super excited to be able to be there and cheer her on, but it will also make things a little more hectic.  As a result, my posting may be a bit sporadic for a while.  Aside from the draft posts I'm slowly sifting through, I have a couple of posts I'm working on with the girls.  We're just having a bit of a problem finding enough time to get their parts of the reviews finished. :}

So basically, I just wanted to let you know that I'm still alive and you will hear something more substantial from me soon. ;)

In other news, I spoke about blogging last night at our writers meeting, and it went really well! :)  I'll share more about that in a later post.  Right now, I'm on reading homework with girl #3 (they each have to read out loud to me for twenty minutes), and then it's bath and shower time just before bed.  Phew!!  I think we can squeeze it all in. ;)

Talk to all of you soon!

P.S. Hooray!  I've finally reached 400 followers, thanks to one of my dear writer friends! :D  I'm blown away.  I always thought that reaching 100 would be my ultimate goal.  This has far surpassed it. :)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Jun Planning J-Doll Robson Street Review

Now that the kiddos are back in school, I really hope to get on top of the scads of draft posts I have sitting around, just waiting to be published. ;)  Here is the first of many.

While going through my draft posts to figure out which I should use for this week, I realized that I never got this post published, even though I talked about doing at the beginning of the year!  I've been wanting to share my second J-Doll with you guys for a while.  Thanks for being so patient. :)

Back in January, I did a review of the J-Doll I found at Tuesday Morning, the "Magnificent Mile" doll (now renamed Millie).  While I really loved Millie's eyes and facial detail, I didn't care for her articulation as much.  Shortly after I found her, I started doing research on J-Dolls and which ones had the Type 4 body articulation I preferred.  One of them was the "Robson Street" doll, which happened to be a great price on Amazon.com at the time.  I used some of my Christmas money and purchased her. :)  I decided to call her Robyn. :)

Here she is in her box.


Side of the box.

Back of the box.

Box details:

The other side of the box.

Instructions in Japanese.

Thankfully, there are also English translations. ;)

The inner part of the box slides easily out of the outer box.

The box insert.

Robyn and her accessories in the packaging:

She's held in place with an assortment of twist ties, plastic ties, and tape. 

Her shoes had protective plastic around them.

Check out those pigtails! ;)

That's better! ;)

Robyn's pretty face.

Her accessories include this leather-look purse...

...which opens and closes with Velcro.

She also has this denim jumper, which fits over her pink dress she came in.

It also has Velcro closure.

Then she has these rainbow-colored leg warmers.

Her last accessory is this bright pink visor (that looks like a beanie in these pics).

Here she is with all of her extras. :)

And here she is, back to the basics.

The denim jumper actually looks really cute over the puffy pink dress.  It's a bit of an odd style, but it works. ;)

I love her leg warmers and Converse-style shoes.

Her shoes are really hard to get off because of her posable ankles.  I was really afraid I was going to break her the first time I took them off.  In the future, I'll probably just leave them on as much as possible.

A few fun pics of Robyn:

It's always interesting to me how much a doll's face can change with or without bangs:
Here is Robyn with her bangs down...

...and here she is with them swept to one side.  I like having more of her eyebrows showing. 

What do you think?

Robyn is very posable:
Her hands look really large to me, but I think that's just because I'm used to seeing them on a Pullip with a super over-sized head. ;)

Here are Robyn and Millie together. :)  I thought it would be fun to compare the two of them in this post.

One of the things that really disappointed me about Millie was the fact that her head only turned from side to side and had no further articulation:
Straight ahead

Left side 

Right side

I was thrilled to discover that Robyn's head had much better articulation:
Straight ahead

Left tilt

Right tilt

Down (just slightly)

Up

Left side

Right side

While I prefer Robyn's Type 4 Pullip body with its better articulation (especially at the wrists and head), I adore both dolls and am thrilled to have them in my collection. :)

Robyn strikes me as more of a tomboyish type, while Millie is all prim and proper.  Still, I think they have the makings of a great friendship. ;)


So, what are my thoughts on the J-Dolls?  I'm so glad you asked! ;)  I thought I'd share about both dolls, even though I already reviewed Millie.  When I did her review, I hadn't yet incorporated my new rating system.  There are also some variances on the points I would give to Robyn and the points I would give to Millie.  Here's what I determined:

Pleasing Qualities:
    Millie (Magnificent Mile):  4 out of 5
    Robyn (Robson Street):  4.5 out of 5
      The J-doll line has officially become one of my new favorites.  I love their delicate faces and deep, detailed eyes.  Their hair is soft and comes in beautiful styles.  Their unique articulation and photogenic qualities make them a dream to photograph.  I would definitely recommend them to other doll lovers and collectors.  I'm docking a point for Millie because I personally did not care for her wardrobe at all.  This is merely a matter of preference.  Other than that, she is a lovely doll.  Robyn gets docked half a point for her shoes, which are darling but almost impossible to remove without feeling like I'm going to pull off her feet.

Posability:
    Millie:  4 out of 5
    Robyn:  5 out of 5
     I love dolls with extra posability, and these two do not disappoint.  I'm docking a point from Millie because I was disappointed in her rather clunky wrists and the limited mobility of her head.  Design-wise, I prefer Robyn's freer articulation.

Playability:
    Millie:  N/A
    Robyn:  N/A
      I didn't give these dolls a score in the "playability" category because they aren't really meant for play.  The box clearly states they are for ages fifteen and up.  I will say that they are delicate enough that I would not feel comfortable having my girls play with them yet (especially if the dolls belong to me).  I might let my ten-year-old hold one. ;)  

Price:
    Millie:  5 out of 5
    Robyn:  5 out of 5
      When I purchased these dolls back in January, I got them for $30 each, which is an excellent price, especially considering what they're going for now!  They originally retailed for around $50 each (according to my Tuesday Morning tag), and the dolls are no longer being made, so technically even $40 or $50 would be considered a good price (although out of my own personal price range). ;)

You can find Magnificent Mile on Amazon.com HERE and Robson Street on Amazon.com HERE.  Just to warn you, they've gone up in price quite a bit since I purchased them.  You can also sometimes find them on eBay for a good price.  Also, a few J-Dolls were recently spotted at my local Tuesday Morning, so you might check there first (they're only $19.99 there). :)   You might have to search for a bit, but they can be found. ;)

There are many other beautiful J-Dolls to choose from.  One thing I would definitely recommend is doing a little research before you purchase to help you decide which J-Doll is just right for you.  The site "Pullips and Junk" has some great information on the J-Dolls.  There's a basic overview HERE, which explains which dolls have the Type 3 body and which have the Type 4.  (That way, if you prefer one type over the other, you can make sure the doll you get has that body style.)  There is also a helpful visual guide to all of the J-Dolls that have been released HERE.
  
Another thing I found to be incredibly helpful was searching Flickr for pictures of J-Dolls in other people's collections.  Seeing all of the beautiful J-Doll photos there helped me decide which ones appealed to me the most. :)  You can either do a generic "j doll" search, or you can look up the ones you like by their specific names (after looking them up on Pullips and Junk). :)

Happy researching!  More bloggy fun to come soon!