Christmas surprises galore!

As I mentioned earlier, Kanani and her mom came to visit a few weeks ago with plans to stay until the New Year with the Brown’s.  Kanani’s dad arrived 2 days before Christmas so that he could celebrate with them.  Kanani’s dad and Fiona’s mom are first cousins, their mom’s are sisters.  They are all part of a very close knit Hawaiian family and they love when they can get together.  Because it was a very special Christmas, the girls decided to get dressed up!

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Earlier in the morning, they each got to see what was in their Christmas stockings.  They each got some candy and a video–Fiona got “Minions” and Kanani got “Shaun The Sheep”.  It is a tradition in both of their families to not open the rest of the Christmas presents until after Christmas dinner (which is more like late lunch, they eat at 2!)  Both Kanani and Fiona were bouncing off the walls with excitement to see what they had received, but their parents told them that they at least had to eat something.  After I saw what they had, I can’t imagine NOT eating it, it looked delicious!

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Turkey, cranberries, mashed potatoes with gravy and stuffing. Kanani passed on the coleslaw (ewww!) but Fiona made sure she got some since she had requested it. No Christmas dinner would be complete without a slice of pumpkin pie either!

A few weeks before Christmas Fiona’s dad got a new camera, and he was driving her crazy with it, making her pose for pictures. Every time he took a picture, Fiona made sure she slumped in the chair because she knew it would drive him crazy. She’s so funny!
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The girls are sharing a chair because the Brown’s don’t have a very big dining room and only room for six chairs, so it was either that, or eat in the kitchen. Neither of them wanted to do that!
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After the dinner dishes were cleared, it was time to open presents.  The girls both headed to the living room to wait.

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First they decided to open the gifts they bought for each other:

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Kanani bought Fiona a book of Tolkien stories and her very own ukulele.  She told her that she would teach her how to play it before she left.  Fiona bought Kanani a cute backpack and a Hello Kitty book.

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Now it was time for presents from Santa!

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Kanani got a really cute seal figure that looked kind of like the one she and her friends helped rescue.  She also got a Shopkins toy.  Fiona got a new messenger bag and a Minions toy.

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Of course, they couldn’t wait to open the blind bags up and see what was inside!!

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Then they opened the next gift bags and found that they each got a Build A Bear animal–Fiona got a reindeer and Kanani a teddy bear.

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The gifts started getting bigger now–Fiona got a Minions beach towel and Kanani got some adorable pajamas and a pair of slippers.  But in her mind she was thinking “what am I going to do with long pants and long sleeves in Hawaii?”

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Next they both got some outerwear, Kanani a pretty blue coat and Fiona a vest with a hat and mitts.  Again Kanani was thinking “isn’t this a bit heavy for Hawaii?”  She was really confused.

The last gifts were presents from mom and dad.

Kanani’s parents brought out a plaid bag:

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“Oh my gosh, it’s a laptop!!!  I’ve been wanting one of these for a while, thank you so much!!!”

Next it was Fiona’s turn.

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Her parents handed her a BIG plaid bag that looked like a tote bag, except it had a hole in the top.  She was really confused; but only for a few seconds.

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Then they brought out the rest of the gift-a dog!  “He’s a Scottish terrier” Fiona’s mom told her.  “He’s a rescue, his family had to move and they couldn’t keep him.  He’s 2 years old and his name is Benson.”

“Oh my gosh, he is adorable!  I’m so happy, I’ve been wanting a pet!  But what about Steven and his allergies?”

“Well, since he is off at college, he isn’t here much and he’s going to be doing an internship for the summer.  We figured it was a good time for a dog for you,” replied Fiona’s dad.

“This is so awesome.”

Both Kanani’s parents and Fiona’s parents told them they had one more great big surprise for the two of them.

“You know how Kanani’s school burned down and they were trying to figure out what to do?” asked Mrs. Akina.

Both girls nodded.

“Well, they are having a very hard time finding places for all of the students to go.  After we did some talking about it, we thought maybe it would be nice if Kanani could stay here and go to Kennedy to finish up the school year.”

Both girls squealed!

“That would be so awesome!!” shrieked Fiona. “I’m so excited!!!” yelled Kanani.  Fiona then remembered seeing Kanani’s mom at Kennedy one day, now she knew why.

Mr. Akina told them that if at the end of the year, Kanani really liked Kennedy, perhaps she could come back for the next school year, but they would wait and see how it went before deciding.

The girls were both thrilled, and now Kanani realized why she got some heavy pj’s and a coat!  Plus she would need the laptop for school.

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I think there were two happy girls in the neighborhood for Christmas, don’t you?  “I guess we don’t need to hurry on those ukulele lessons!” giggled Fiona.

I just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a Happy New Year!  I’m going to be on a break for the next week to 10 days, my husband is going to be off and we have some plans to do some things that aren’t doll related.  (**GASP!!**)  I’ll be back soon though with lots of reviews, stories and other fun things. 

Anyhow, have a happy and safe New Year and I’ll “talk” to all of you soon!

Merry Christmas!!!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas full of fun, food and family!

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So, let’s see, did anyone figure out what was so special about the Weird Al video I posted?  If you figured out that all of the sayings were palindromes, you got it right!  What is a palindrome?  It’s a word or phrase that reads the same forwards and backwards.  Pretty cool, huh?  I watched this video a couple of times before I realized what was so special about it.  I think what makes it even more amazing is that he managed to make them rhyme.  Love Al Yankovic, and as far as I’m concerned, this is truly one of his masterpieces.  Sharry figured it out first and e-mailed me with the answer, followed by Maggie from If Dolls Could Dream.  Thanks to those who figured it out and didn’t give it away so that those still trying to figure it out could do so without the surprise being spoiled.

One last thing.  It wouldn’t be a Christmas message from me without a little help from my favorite yellow friends–the Minions!  Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Festivus for the rest of us!!

Christmas is just around the corner!  However, today is a very special day.  It’s Festivus!  What, you’ve never heard of Festivus?  Well, the girls and I will just have to tell you about it.

Several weeks ago, the girls here were discussing holiday plans.  All of the girls in the dollhouse will be spending Christmas break with their families.  Shivan will head to Pittsburgh.  She’s excited because one of the things she’s going to do while she is home is go see the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre perform “The Nutcracker”.  Not just because it’s a great show, but Trudy, one of Evil Twin’s gang, will be in it!  Last year she was in it, but was part of the crowd,  this year she actually has a named part.  Rebecca will be off to New York, she has already made plans with her family to go into downtown Manhattan to watch the ball drop on New Years Eve.  Kit is off to Cincinnati, she’s excited to see her brother.  Cassandra and Alya are off to Washington DC.  Alya is looking very forward to it as her dad’s assignment in Italy has finished and her parents will be there too.  They just found out that his next assignment will be in Galway, Ireland, so she’s had a million questions about Ireland for me since we’ve been there several times.  Marie-Grace will also be riding to Washington DC with Cass and Alya, her dad is going to meet her there like he did this summer and then they will continue on to New Orleans.  She really missed having Christmas with her dad last year, so she is looking forward to it.  Even Zara and Abby won’t be around as they are all heading to New Mexico (including their grandma that lives here) to spend the break with Grandma Davis.  The only ones that will still be here in the neighborhood will be Louisa (and she will be spending several days with her dad), Fiona and Kanani.  It’s going to be really quiet around here!

The six girls here in the house decided that they wanted to have a small celebration before they all left.  But they wanted something different.  No one was coming up with any ideas though, so they came and asked me if I had any.  “Well, you could always celebrate Festivus.”  None of them acted like they knew what I was talking about, then Rebecca started laughing and said “Oh, I know what you are talking about.  That was on an episode of Seinfeld.”  I told her that she was right and suggested that they go and find the episode called “The Strike”.

After they watched it, they thought it was a fantastic idea.  We did make some changes though because some of it seemed a bit harsh or rough, and they just wanted it to be fun.  I helped them with some of their ideas and we were all ready to go.

Traditionally Festivus is celebrated on December 23rd.  Because of schedules, we celebrated it on December 20th, it is a flexible holiday.  If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a faux holiday that was created by the father of one of the Seinfeld writers when he was a kid.  While he was a writer for the show, he happened to mention the whole thing and before he knew it, they had written an entire Seinfeld episode that revolved around it!  There were a few changes from the “original” Festivus, but still lots of fun.

First we needed a pole.  No Christmas tree, no decorations, “tinsel is distracting”.  I got busy and made the girls a pole that we could use as a centerpiece for the snack table.

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The girls had exchanged names for gifts, so we started off with the gift exchange.  Exchanging of gifts is optional with Festivus, but the girls really wanted to do this.  I had taken them to the mall the week before so they could shop, I think they all did a good job picking out gifts and it’s obvious they know each other well.

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Cassandra received a Dr. Who Tardis–it even lights up!

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Alya received a book of Irish Blessings and Shivan received Star Wars models–the Millenium Falcon and two Tie Fighters.  If you look at the one on the table, it’s made to look like it’s been hit!

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Kit got a Downton Abbey snowglobe and book, cool!  Marie-Grace got a bell with her birth month flower on it and a Harry Potter sticker book.

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Rebecca received a bear from Build A Bear, isn’t it cute?!

In the Seinfeld version of Festivus, the first thing would have been the “airing of grievances”.  It’s supposed to be when each person has the opportunity to say something about someone else that has let them down.  We decided that might not be so nice, so we decided that they could say something that had nothing to do with anyone in the house, just something that irritated them.

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Alya:  “Mrs. Thompson gives too much homework!”

Shivan:  “I wish they would quit serving spinach in the school lunch, it’s gross.”

Marie-Grace:  “If I have to hear Donald Trump on TV one more time, I’m going to scream!”

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Rebecca:  “The guy in the KFC ad doesn’t look anything like the pictures of Colonel Sanders I’ve seen!”

Kit:  “I wish people would get their noses out of their cell phones and pay attention, drives me nuts!”

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Cassandra:  “I’m not a fan of pink clothing.  Enough already!”

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I thought they did pretty well with their grievances.  After that we ate snacks as we had already eaten lunch.  Rebecca made a gorgeous torte cake for everyone to enjoy, plus there were cookies and other snack foods.

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Then it was time for the “Feats of Strength”.  In the Seinfeld version, that was a wrestling type match that didn’t end until the host/head of household had been pinned.  No one seemed to think that was a very good idea (me included!) so I suggested to them we do “Feats of Mental Strength”.  The girls liked that idea, so I came up with 10 questions for them to answer, and whoever got the most right was determined the winner.

  1.  Who is buried in Grant’s tomb?  (would you believe I had a friend who said “how am I supposed to know the answer to that?”)
  2. What is the symbol for gold in the Periodic Table of the Elements?
  3. In 1973, which company produced the first successful computer arcade game, Pong?
  4. This fictional character had an accident – he lost his seating on a lofty perch, and despite efforts by representatives of the local government, he could not be relieved of his injuries. Who was he?
  5. Which two people signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and later became U.S. Presidents?
  6. Who wrote “A Christmas Carol”?
  7. Which country has the largest per-capita chocolate consumption ?
  8. These two words differ in spelling by one letter: one means to influence, the other means to cause. What are the two words?
  9. Which two states form the entire western border of Minnesota?
  10. Around two hundred years ago, King George IV of England ordered a special pair of boots, which included what innovative feature, never before seen in a pair of shoes?

After the questions were finished, I gave them the answers and Rebecca was determined the winner with 8 right answers.  Good job Rebecca!!  Her prize was she didn’t have to help clean up after the party!

I told the girls I had one last feat of mental strength for them, and that the winner of this particular one got a prize too–they also didn’t have to help clean up the mess after the party!  I had a special video I wanted them to watch.  At the end, they had to figure out what was so unique about it.  After it was over, they all had a blank look on their face.  Except Alya.  “I think I know what it is!”  I told her to come over and whisper it into my ear.  And you know what?  THE GIRL WAS RIGHT!  “It’s a Festivus Miracle!”  Great job Alya, I will admit that I had to watch this several times to figure it out.  When I finally did, I thought it was one of the most genius things I have ever seen or heard.  Can you figure it out?  I’ll tell you the answer on Christmas day and if anyone else got it right (and no cheating by reading the comments!):



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Want to learn more about Festivus?  Check out Festivus Web, the official Festivus Website!



And the answers to the questions, in case you were curious!   1.Ulysses S. Grant    2.AU  3. Atari   4.  Humpty Dumpty  5.  John Adams & Thomas Jefferson  6. Charles Dickens  7. Switzerland  8.  Affect/Effect  9. North & South Dakota  10. ONE FOR EACH FOOT – before that, shoes were all the same and worn on either foot