An interesting challenge

I was recently nominated by Victoria over at The By Kids For Kids Blog for an unusual thing.  It’s called “Who Should GOTY 2017 Be?”  Thanks Victoria for nominating me, this sounds interesting!  And who knows, maybe someone will get their idea used by AG someday?  So, here goes:

What is the name of your GOTY?  Leanne O’Neill

What does she look like?
She has short dark brown hair and violet blue eyes.  Her mom tells her she reminds her of actress Elizabeth Taylor with those eyes.  Her face would be made with the Marie-Grace mold.

How old is she? 10 years old

Where does she live?  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Personality? She’s very outgoing and a little bit hyperactive.  She loves animals and helps her mom out as a volunteer at the local animal shelter.

Hobbies? she loves music and is learning to play the trombone.  She also takes Irish Step Dancing lessons and is learning about dog agility training

Siblings?  an older brother named Joe

Friends? her best friend is her neighbor Lori who is the same age as her.  Her other friends are Railey, Eva and Lexi

Main accessory/furniture pieces? a terrier mix dog named Chumley, an outdoor style kennel for him, a trombone, a dog set with a set of agility items.  Large item could be a block of kennels (shelter style) with a variety of pets.
What are the outfits in her collection?  a pair of jeans and a long sleeve shirt (her outfit for working at the shelter), an Irish step dancing outfit (with hairpiece), a practice dance outfit and a shorts/shirt/vest set for when she takes Chumley to compete at agility events and to the events at the animal shelter.

Anything else to add?  Leanne is of Irish descent which is why she takes step dancing classes, it’s a family tradition.  She didn’t like it at first, but now she’s very good at it and hopes to win a big upcoming competition.  Some of her story would also include a discussion about her hyperactivity and that she suffers from AD/HD.  That’s also why her parents encouraged her to take up dancing, hoping it would burn up some of that extra energy.

That was fun, I had to think a bit about what to include.  Hopefully I didn’t repeat too many things from other dolls.

So now I have to nominate someone…I nominate anyone who would like to do this that has a previous GOTY in their collection!  If you decide to do this on your blog, please leave a note in the comments so I can check it out and see what ideas others come up with.  You can use the same questions as I answered as I thought they were a great set of idea stimulators.

Review of the American Girl Adventure Pop Up Camper

It’s here!!! It’s here!!!!  I can’t believe it, but the camper has arrived!  It arrived yesterday, I only ordered it on Thursday, that was fast!  Talk about stalking the Fed Ex guy though.  Every time I heard a vehicle outside, I had my fingers crossed it was him.  Sneaky devil though, he was super quiet and I didn’t realize he was out there until he was heading back to his truck.  Warning in advance, this post is full of photos.

Here it is still in the box.  This is a large item, so it only comes in a standard shipping box, no special AG box:

camper 1

Out of the box, it has the camper with two bags of stuff.  The one you see in the boxed photo on the top is the outside of the tent part of the camper and a cushion.  Then you get a bag that holds all of this:

camper 2

Lots of little goodies! Let’s look at them first, they are so cute! (can you tell I’m excited, all these exclamation marks!!!)
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Some paper items, stickers, a loaf of bread.  LOVE the cooking utensils, the spatula is made out of metal.

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Here we have some food items and some green spatterware style dishes.  I am pleased to see that the dishes all come in 2’s, no more dining alone!  My complaints have been heard perhaps?  The sporks are also made out of metal.

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And lastly, a jar of grape jelly and decorations for the camper. I know this kind of seems like an odd pairing, and it is. I’ll be honest, the jar of jelly got buried under something else and I missed it. I didn’t feel like setting the other stuff up again, so just take it or leave it! (just kidding) 😉

Okay, so now that is out of the way, let’s get down to business! TADA!!!! The camper!!!

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I included pictures of all of the sides so you can see all of the details.  Love the signal reflectors as well as the mini propane tanks, very accurate details.  I included the shot of the underside so that you can see that the wheels are hollow.  They also do not turn.  That was only slightly disappointing, I suspect it was a sacrifice made to improve the stability of the whole piece for play, so I can live with it.

The top of the camper is in my opinion, engineering genius.  They turned something as mundane as a luggage rack into a very useful piece, and not something that you store out of the way that doesn’t get used.  More on that later though…

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Once removed, you have a flat area…

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You simply push on the latch and pull up on the side on the left like this:

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On the right side, you pull up on the post piece.  It fits into the camper hitch to add stability.  Mine doesn’t fit all that well just yet because it is still kind of tight, but I’m sure as it gets used, it will loosen up.

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Both sides open the same way to lie flat.

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See that white piece behind the stove?  That now flips up to add more stability to the tent frame:

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And on the other side:

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And that green piece???  That’s a bed that folds out!  I can’t believe AG didn’t show any photos of that in the product description.

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On to tour the interior!

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The interior space is decent and allows you the ability to store the tent part of the camper and accessories inside, making it all self contained.  LOVE that part since space is at a premium around here!

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The stove is really cute, the knobs turn and make a clicking noise like a real camp stove.  The little cupboards below are fake, but they look cute.  I love that they have dimension instead of just being stickers like on a Barbie piece.

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The bench on the other side opens for additional storage.  A good place to put plates, cups, etc.

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On one door we have a rack for magazines and a flashlight that the dolls can actually hold.  Very cute!  And a necessity when camping.  The flashlight does not work though.

Now to my favorite part, the kitchenette!! I thought this was very cute and well done.  Unfortunately, employees at the stores apparently either A) didn’t understand it or B) didn’t read directions.  I can’t tell you how many photos I’ve seen of this part at various stores not put in it’s proper place for display! ARGH!!!!  When you open up the camper, it is in the down position.  You simple pull up on it to snap it in to place.  It’s not difficult at all, it moves easily.

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Once you snap it in to place, the faucet assembly flips up and you are ready to go!  The drawer on it does not work, but the refrigerator does open.

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Assembly of the tent part of the camper is super easy and very well thought out.  The cross bars of the luggage rack pop out…

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The top of each piece has a notched key type design.  You attach two pieces together to make a long pole by inserting one into the other and then twisting so they lock.  The nice part is all of these pieces are uniform, so you don’t have to worry about which one you pair up.  Once you get all four poles assembled, they hook into the luggage rack frame.

Once you get that all put together, the frame then rests on these white posts that you will find in each of the four corners of the camper.

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Now it’s time to add the tent.  This too is very well thought out.  It fits the frame nicely and has Velcro to help hold things in place.  There are Velcro straps that attach to the posts and then this:

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Once you get it in place, you need to attach the back flap via the buttonholes, they fit over the two little posts that stick out.  One last thing to do…Rebecca!!!

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She couldn’t wait to try this out, so I thought I’d have her help me.  As you can see from this photo, there is plenty of room for a doll to stand.

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There are two elastic pieces on the front that flip around and hook on the pieces that stick out from the luggage rack.  The hooks are also a nice place to hang decorations.

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Rebecca wanted me to show you how the bed looks with someone in it.  First you have to push down the faucet into the sink and move the kitchenette so it is flush with the top edge of the camper:

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Plenty of room for a doll to sleep!

Now it’s time to get things put away.

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Rebecca thinks it’s time to sit and have something to drink!

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Overall, I think this is a terrific set and is very well thought out.  Kudos to designer Matt Wahmhoff for the wonderful job he did on this, it’s doll engineering at it’s best.  I love all the little details in it and how it is designed with play and storage both in mind.  FYI, the window at the back is open, it has no covering, I’m sure that is so more than one child can play at a time.

I especially like the way the tent portion attaches.  The seamstress in me not only appreciates it, but it also gives me lots of ideas on how I could personalize this tent or even make a completely different one if I wanted to.  It is very stable too.

I give this set an A+!  I do think at $185 it is a bit on the expensive side though.  This is the first super pricey item I’ve purchased from AG, I usually either pass on them, or wait for a good sale, but this was something I just HAD to have.  It didn’t hurt that after I posted about it before, Evil Twin called and told me she would give me money towards part of it as my birthday gift.  How could I say no?!?!

That’s all folks!  I hope you have enjoyed this review, and if you have any questions about it, please feel free to ask in the comments section.  See ya! (wave goodbye Rebecca!!)

 camper 49


I had a request to see what it looked like with a doll beside it folded up as a size comparison.  Excuse the poor photo, I took it with my iPod and it is lousy for photos indoors.


An E-mail From Kit

The girls were very excited to get an e-mail from Kit this week.  They have been wondering how her surgery went, and they were happy to hear from her.

Hi guys!  I’m home from the hospital now, so I wanted to be sure to let you know how I am doing.  I am happy to report that everything went well and my vision is back to normal!  Here is a picture of me at the hospital:

kit hospital 1In case you are wondering about the bow in my hair, that wasn’t my idea.  The nurses at the hospital thought I would look cute with that in.  I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I’m not a big hair bow fan, oh well.  Otherwise they were all very nice and I got to eat lots of ice cream. 

And check it out, my eyes actually close again!

kit hospital 2

I have to go, Charlie wants to go play ball. I just wanted to make sure that I let you know that I am fine. Miss all of you and looking forward to coming back in August!



Just in case you haven’t figured it out, I sent Kit to the AG hospital to get her eyes fixed.  I was a bit nervous about this.  First, the idea of mailing her anywhere made me nervous, but she had tracking on her both directions.  The main reason I was nervous though is I wanted to be sure they just replaced her eyes and not her head.  My Kit is what is known as a “transitional” Kit.  In other words, she is a Kit that came out right about the time Pleasant Company was purchased by Mattel and she is marked “Pleasant Company” on the back of her head.  Plus, I picked out this specific Kit because of her hair texture and freckles.

I am happy to report that I got my Kit back, the first thing I did was check her neck!  I was impressed with how quick the turnaround time was, from the day I mailed her to the day I got her back was only two weeks.  I thought that was incredibly fast in comparison to things I’ve read from other people.  I definitely think that sending her back over the summer was a smart move, I imagine it gets busier in the fall months.

Kit came back dressed in a hospital gown and the cutest little socks.  She also had a Get Well card, a Certificate of Good Health and an ID band.  I thought all of these details were very cute, a nice added touch to just getting a naked doll back.  She was also packaged in an all white AG doll box with a bandaid sticker on it.

kit hospital 3

I contemplated on taking her to someone in Pittsburgh to be repaired, but since I wasn’t sure exactly what was broken in her eye, I had some reservations.  I also factored in the fact that it was on the south side of Pittsburgh which is farther away, so after thinking about gas used and time, I decided just to send her to AG.  I’m glad I did, I am very pleased with how everything went and the turnaround time.

I’m still contemplating on sending Abby (Saige) in, hers will be for a whole new head since it’s her hair that is the issue.  Now that I’ve done Kit though, I feel much more confident in doing it.