Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Fun AG Surprise...

Okay, so earlier I mentioned that I might have some fun doll news to share with you...and here it is!  Today my mom saw a Craigslist ad for an American Girl Chrissa doll (the Girl of the Year from 2009) with some extra clothes for $85.  We went and checked her out and she was in excellent condition, so my mom bought her. :)  And here she is:

Beautiful Chrissa :)

I've never seen Chrissa in person, so it was really fun to get the chance to see her and photograph her. :)  We're not sure where Chrissa will live yet, but she was so adorable we couldn't pass her up (and thankfully Mom has a more flexible budget than mine). :D

She came dressed in a Battat shirt and vest with American Girl stretch pants.

She also came with boots, a jacket, a charm, and one mitten.  According to the box, this is the My AG "Snow Flurry" outfit from 2010.  (You can see it HERE, but you'll have to scroll down a bit.)  It's just missing the hat and one mitten.

The boots are ADORABLE! :)

The mitten is really cute.  It's a shame there's only one.  I left a message with the lady we bought it from, letting her know that there was no pressure, but if she happened to find the other one we'd be interested. :)

The jacket is pretty and very soft.

As you can see, blue is a great color for Chrissa.  It really brings out the blue of her eyes. :)

She's such a lovely doll. :)

A closer look at her jacket...

...and her boots.

Her mitten...

...and another look without the jacket over it.

It was really fun to compare Chrissa with Rachel (Julie) and Jenna (Rebecca).  I love how unique each of them looks even though they share the same face mold.

At the last minute, I remembered that Oldest Gal had an Elizabeth doll.  I thought it would be nice to add her to the comparison shot since she and Chrissa both had blue eyes.  (Side note here:  Oldest Gal wanted me to share that Elizabeth insisted on dressing up in a special outfit for the photos.) ;)

Rachel and Elizabeth

Elizabeth and Chrissa.  It's difficult to tell in the photos, but in person Chrissa's eyes seemed to be just a touch darker blue.  It was such a slight difference that Mom and I kept second-guessing ourselves, wondering if they were really different at all. :}

A closer shot of their eyes.

Chrissa and Jenna  

I'll be sure to keep you guys posted about where Chrissa ends up. :)  If she ended up here (not hinting, Mom...just working out the puzzle pieces) ;) she would probably be another sister for Rachel and Jenna.  But she'd also make a great sister for Mom's Nellie or some of her other dolls (and Mom paid for her, so having her live at Mom's would make the most sense). ;)  And as I said earlier, I don't really need another doll right now, especially since Chrissa wasn't necessarily at the top of my wishlist... :}

No matter what, I had a great "doll adventure" with Mom and the girls today. :)  Here's wishing all of you some great local finds, too! 


Hey guys!  Nothing exciting...just thought I'd stop in to say "hi" and let you know I'm still alive. ;)  I spent most of yesterday doing laundry and sorting paperwork.  Ugh.  It wasn't a fun job, but I got a lot accomplished.  I can't tell you what a relief it is to get something done that you've been putting off for way too long. :}

I have more blogging scheduled for this evening, but first I'll be doing some running around with my mom this afternoon.  We may have some fun doll goodies to share with you after today, so I'll be sure to keep you posted. :)

I also wanted to officially mention, for those of you who don't already know, that I won one of the $35 gift cards from The Doll Wardrobe's photo contest.  I'm very happy for the gal who won.  Her "Surreal" photo was lovely and well worth first place.  I hope she enjoys her new doll. :)

While I was just a wee bit disappointed at first about not winning a doll (I am only human, after all), ;) I can honestly say that I am happy with the results.  It will be great to have $35 to spend next year if we end up at an AG Place for my daughters' birthday trip.  I really didn't need a new doll right now anyway (when do we ever need a new doll, right?).  I'm happy with the way my photo turned out and honored that I ended up in the top four.  Thank you so much for all of you who left such lovely comments about my entry. :)

This will be my last time entering a Doll Wardrobe photo contest...or any of their contests, for that matter.  As many of you know, my Emma doll was a result of one of the random drawing giveaways from the Doll Wardrobe blog (my husband's name was chosen).  I have not entered any of the drawing giveaways since, but I have participated in the photo contests.  I felt that it was acceptable to enter when it was something I was winning by my own merit.  I also enjoyed the challenge of the contests. :)  But now that I've placed in a photo contest, I feel it's only right to move on and let others enjoy the benefits.  In some ways, it's better that I won the gift card anyway.  I wouldn't want anyone to feel like I was hogging the dolls. :}

I'd like to thank Nora and the whole Doll Wardrobe team for providing us with such delightful activities, and for the many generous giveaways they've done through the years.  I know there are many others out there who have also benefited from their kindness.  I've also appreciated learning more about photography through  the challenges of their photo contests.

Okay, now it feels like I made this into an Oscar speech or something, which was not my intention at all. :{

Anyway, I hope you all have a great week.  I am going to have posts ready for you even if it means I have to duct tape myself to my chair. ;)  This lack of organization thing is really getting ridiculous. :}

Talk to you again soon!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

I know you've all already seen this photo, but I thought it would be fun to use it one last time. :)  I hope all of my friends in the US have a wonderful Memorial Day with your loved ones.  My hope is that in the middle of the barbecues and the family fun, we'd all remember the true reason for this holiday.  I'm so thankful for all of our military men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The End of the School Year and a Special Tour :)

Whew, what a week!  There are always so many activities crammed into the last month of the school year, especially when you have more than one kiddo enrolled.  I'm not sure what I'll do next year at this time when I have all three girls in school and a Kindergarten graduation thrown in to boot. :}

In addition to all of the regular end of the year parties and such, we had a few unexpected surprises this week.  First, Middle Gal participated in a county-wide writing contest and won first place for her age group. :)  There was a ceremony at 6:30 last night at one of the local schools.  Her story was entitled: "A Girl Can Become a Princess" and was hilariously adorable (not that I'm biased or anything). ;)  She won a $50 gift card to Barnes and Noble, so we'll be going on a shopping spree sometime next week. :)

The other unexpected blessing of the week was a visit from one of my dear friends from Southern California (the same friend I stayed with last summer).  She and her two children came to visit us today.  We had a wonderful time catching up while the kiddos played.  

Of course, having company usually requires a clean house, and ours was...well...not.  Most of you who have followed me for a while have probably realized by now that I'm not the most organized person in the world.  And that could be considered the understatement of the year. ;)  Between my natural aversion to housework (and my skillful ability to avoid it), the back and forth schedule of the school year, and just the fact that I have 3 children and a busy husband, our house is not normally a clean place.  I do like having a calm, clean environment, but pulling it off is easier said than done.  This week, though, I actually managed to welcome my friend into a mostly clean and organized home, aside from a few piles and a rather large desk in the middle of our living room (more on that later).  I couldn't have done it without my daughters.  They all did a great job pitching in and helping above and beyond what I expected. :)  

And this evening, as I thought about getting a blog post up, I realized that I should seize this opportunity to take you on a tour of my home.  That, and to capture the lovely cleanliness while it was still here. ;)

So, without further ado, welcome to my home. :)

I know you've already seen my "photo studio", but I'll share it with you again anyway.  I also use it for cooking, dishes, and laundry when I must. ;)

My sink, cabinet, and kitchen appliances.  I tried hanging my horse Christmas lights on the curtains, but it didn't work out the way I'd hoped. :}

The other side of the kitchen.

Next we have the dining room, which leads out to the carport and the backyard.   

My paperwork/purse holder/place that keeps me as organized as I get. ;)  The drawers are used for craft supplies and movies.

Our table.  I found the world map at Target when all of the "back to school" stuff was on sale and thought it would be fun to hang in the dining room. :)

The corner has Hubby's Lego desk.  He still had a lot of his Legos from his childhood, and I really wanted him to have a place to use them.  We found the desk at Goodwill for a decent price and set up his "Lego station". :)  The girls have really enjoyed playing with Daddy's toys with him.

Here's our living room.  All framed portraits have been pixelated to protect the innocent. ;)  The desk you see in the middle of the floor was originally in Middle Gal and Little Gal's room for their dolls but was not working out for them.  It will eventually become my new computer desk after a lot of rearranging. ;)

Our couch, CD tower, and front door.  I love the fact that our living room wall has a cutout connecting to the kitchen.  It's great for those times when I have to cook but still want to be a part of the conversation going on in the living room. :)

Another view of the middle of the room.  Since I don't have a laundry room, the loveseat usually holds the sock baskets. :)  You might also notice the pile in the corner.  Those are our records that we need to go through...whenever Hubby and I both have a few days free at the same time and feel like doing that instead of something fun. ;)

A view from the front window.  Some of you might recognize Belle's "Wedding Tree".  Our hedge also serves as the backdrop for many of my doll photos. :)

Our piano, trampoline (great for energetic girls on days that are too hot or too cold), crates of school work that need to be sorted and organized (sigh), and our Furreal Butterscotch Pony.  Butterscotch was a Goodwill find from several months ago.  She was just $15, an incredible deal considering that she was originally $200 or so.  I bought her thinking of reselling her locally, but no one wanted her.  Then the girls got attached.  And to be honest, I think she's pretty cute too. ;)  Her right ear falls off every few minutes, and her neck doesn't have its full range of motion anymore, but the girls still love her.  I consider her a cheap pet that doesn't require food or manure clean-up.  Works for me. ;)

And here's where all the magic happens, folks: my computer desk. ;)  This is the very spot where I dream up blog posts for your entertainment. :)

I have some fan mail taped to one side of the desk so I can enjoy it, some office supplies within reach, and a few pictures of my family (sorry you can't see them).  

On the other side of my computer desk is our flat screen TV (purchased on an excellent Black Friday sale two years ago) and the cedar chest my dad made for me...with more piles to go through...mostly paperwork. :}

And here is our hallway.  Exciting, I know. ;)

To the left, we have Oldest Gal's room.  

Her book and doll shelf is in the corner.

She has a loft bed with another bed underneath it.  

The top of the loft bed is her doll room.  All three girls love climbing up and playing together. :)

This dresser is one we painted when I was pregnant with Oldest Gal.  It's always reminded me of Buttered Popcorn Jelly Bellies. :)

Oldest Gal's desk.

Directly across the hall we have our little bathroom.  Not the most exciting room in the world, but definitely necessary. ;)  Please excuse the stuff on the floor and the clothing on the plastic drawer unit...we were in the middle of bath time prep. :)

Our bathroom sink.  I'm really looking forward to having a medicine cabinet so our counter can be a little less cluttered. :}

I think I mentioned Oldest Gal's Open House project in an earlier post.  Her class put on a living wax museum.  They all had to dress up like historical figures and paint a backdrop to set up behind them.  Oldest Gal was Sacajawea, and this is the backdrop she painted all by herself.  It seemed like a shame to toss it after all the work she put into it, so we hung it in the hallway.  All three girls have enjoyed making up scripts and performing them in front of the backdrop. ;)  

And here's Hubby and my room, the one you're probably the most familiar with.  It's the last room on the right.

In the corner is our closet.  None of our closets came with doors, so we hung curtains up instead.  This beautiful one is a shower curtain I purchased shortly after we moved to our house. :)

My Beauty and the Beast curio.  Sigh.  Just looking at it makes me happy. :)

And here's the rest of that side of the room.

As you can see, I've once again tried a new arrangement with my shelves.  I really wanted to make a backdrop for Belle and company to use for my Belle's Bulletins posts.  I'm not sure if it's going to work out, but I thought I'd try it just for fun.  I basically just decorated a piece of white foam core board and taped it to the shelf unit. :)  I may add a bit more to it if I like the way it works.

My nightstand/shelf. :)  You'll notice that I started hanging my boxed mini Lalaloopsies on the wall, leaving room for the other Target exclusives, of course. ;)

Our bed.

The other side of the room.

You've already seen my doll rooms, but I thought I'd share them again. :)  Sorry the picture's a bit blurry.  (P.S.  There's a bit of a spoiler in this picture.) ;)

I love my new shelf! (It's the one on top of the dresser.)  My parents had this stored away and let me use it.  It's wonderful having a special spot for all of my 80s and 90s toys and my Boyd's Bears. :)

Across the hallway is Middle Gal and Little Gal's room, just recently rearranged.

They have a shoe holder over the door to store their Barbie and Disney fashion dolls.  The Snow White framed poster is one that was given to me when I was six and we stayed with a friend of my parents' who worked at Disneyland.  This poster was only available to Disneyland employees. :)

The shelf is one I just found at Goodwill for $11.99.  I'd been looking for something to hold the girls' dolls and doll accessories since we were moving the desk out of the room, and this worked just perfectly. :)

I had to laugh at this picture.  The things dolls go through when they're owned by a 5 year old and a 7 year old!  Wouldn't this make a great "caption that photo" entry? ;)

One corner of the room.

Shelves and tubs.  I'm not thrilled with all of the stacked tubs, and I'm hoping we can condense a bit.  The plastic tubs and drawer unit fit perfectly under the desk that was in here before, but they're not exactly convenient stacked on top of one another.

The girls' dresser.  And I apologize to all sensitive moms out there about the extension cord lying on the floor.  I'm trying to work on a better solution for Little Gal's nightlight. :{  We've talked about the importance of using cords wisely, and she's been pretty good about it.  It is temporary, though.

The girls' "bunk bed".  It's actually another loft bed with a mattress underneath (thanks for giving it to us, Aunt C!). :)  As you can see, Middle Gal really enjoys decorating her wall. ;)  That's what I love about having an older house, though.  I can let the girls hang things without stressing about them ruining the paint job or anything. :)

That concludes our tour for the time being.  I hope you all enjoyed it. :)  I wish I could personally invite all of you over to chat about doll stuff and enjoy a snack.  Since that's not possible, I thought I'd try for a "virtual visit".  Come back anytime and stay a while!  And just think, when you visit me here, my house will always be clean.  I couldn't guarantee the same thing for a live visit. ;)

My weekend will be pretty busy, so I may not have posts up for a bit.  I'll have something for you by next week for sure. :)

Hmm, it sounds pretty quiet down the hall...I think I have three sleeping munchkins! :)  Time to curl up with a good book or watch a movie and wait for hubby to get home. :D