A surprise for Allie and Christine

This week “school” was at Mimi’s house.  The three houses are all side by side on the same street, so it’s super convenient for the kids to get from house to house (and will be an ever bigger plus once we get snow).  They start at 8AM and work until around 2.  Since everyone is doing virtual learning, the teachers have worked it out so it’s more intensive but they get done a little bit earlier.  Before they left for Mimi’s house, Allie and Christine’s mom told them to get home immediately because there was going to be a BIG surprise for them.  They had no idea what it might be, but they were both excited.

Once they walked in the front door, their mom said “go look in the family room”.  They were really surprised when they saw this:

“OH MY GOSH, A GRAND PIANO!!!!”

The girls immediately ran over.  “Is it really ours?”

“Yes girls, it’s for the whole family but since you are both learning to play, we thought it would be nice to have.  This nice man your dad knows is getting ready to move to Virginia and he can’t take it with him.  He was happy to find a good home for it.  He used to be a music teacher and he’s moving in with his son and his family and there just wasn’t going to be enough room for it.”

“I’ll put the lid up, wow, it’s heavy!”

“Let me put the music stand up on it.  This is awesome!”

“Hang on, I’ll go grab some of our lesson books!”

“I grabbed one for you too Christine.  I can hardly wait to try it!”

Allie sat down and started to play “Ode To Joy” out of her lesson book.

“WOW!  It sounds great!  Okay Christine, your turn to try it out!”

“Let’s see, I know what I’ll play!  Something easy to start.”

“That sounds really good too! It sounds a whole lot different standing here beside the strings.”

“This is going to be so much fun!”

The girls insisted that their mom take a photo of them with their new piano!

Now they are looking forward to having school at their house so that Wendy, Alex and Mimi can try it out too!

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This piano has been on my wish list for some time.  I already have Melody’s electric piano, but I always thought if I ever came across a good deal on the grand piano, I’d add it to my collection.  Thank heavens for Facebook Market place!  I found it literally in the “back yard” of where my sister-in-law lives–and only $40!  This version of the grand piano retailed for $150 and was discontinued several years ago.  When I went to pick it up I asked why they were getting rid of it, another case of kids outgrowing their toys and space at a premium.  Hey, I’m fine with that!

It has three songs it plays and I was so excited that one of the three is “Fur Elise” by Beethoven, that has been my go to song when trying out a piano for years.  The keys also work just like a real piano.  On the side is the on/off switch and volume control buttons.  

The lid comes off of the bench for storage.  It included both books and a certificate, everything that would have been included in the original package.  I was thrilled with the condition and the price, I think I got a really great deal on this and I can cross another item off my “wish” list!

I think I need to stay off Facebook Marketplace now LOL! 

 

Review of Melody’s Table and Chairs from American Girl

In 2016, American Girl pulled the ultimate “gotcha” on fans who were hung up on trying to find things out ahead of time by doing a preview early on of Melody and her accessories.  Two items in particular caught my eye–her keyboard (which I did get) and a table and chairs set.  The table and chairs were supposed to be like a folding set from the 60’s.  However, there was one little problem…they didn’t fold!  For $85 I decided I didn’t need them that bad, I wanted them more to go with my camper set than anything.  And I really wanted them to fold just like the real thing.

Right after the new year, they did a large scale sale on a number of items, and this was one of them.  Because I had amassed a large number of rewards points over the holiday season (especially thanks to purchasing Jamie and a few other things when they did the 5x points bonus), right after the sale hit the website, I received a $50 rewards certificate.  I decided it was time to get this set!  I purchased it along with two other items I wanted and with shipping and sales tax, my purchase of this, a set of pj’s and the sled set was…(drumroll here)  $16.96!  SCORE!

Now that I have this set, I have to say that it was definitely a very good use of my rewards point monies, even if it doesn’t fold.

The chairs are very cute, and very sturdy.  The fabric on the seats is a vinyl, very soft.  I love the print on these!

Here is a shot from the underside.  I still haven’t figured out why they didn’t just go ahead and make them into little folding chairs?!

The table is VERY solid.  The green is very bright, and very 60’s!  I suspect the table was made off the same basic patterns/ideas as Molly’s table.

I decided we needed to put stuff on the table so everyone can get an idea of just how much it holds.  I was doing a bunch of photos all in the same day, so I grabbed the nearest thing I had handy which was the birthday set.  Kind of appropriate–I know I went to many a birthday party when I was a kid that involved a card table and folding chairs!

As you can see, it’s plenty big enough and very proportionate!  (Wendy couldn’t resist a sip of the lemonade)

 

Part of Melody’s story is about her community, so the table comes with a banner.  It attaches easily with special clips.

I also wanted to show the amount of room under the table for doll legs.  You’d have to be kind of careful when seating them, but they would fit with some planning ahead.

Despite being skeptical about this set initially, I have to say it’s of very good quality and I give it an A+.  Still wish it folded, but it’s not a huge issue, especially given the price I paid!  I think this is a set that will get a lot of use in my different stories, especially paired up with the camper.  I think it would even make a cute table and chairs in a retro style kitchen, or if you didn’t want retro, easy enough to put a table cloth on it to cover up the green.

Review of Maryellen’s Seaside Diner Bakery Case set

Last year American Girl decided to revamp Maryellen’s Diner.  In the process of that change, they also came out with this set to go with it, and I think it’s such a great addition, even if you have the original diner set.

I ordered this at the beginning of December when they were running a 20% off sale, so I only paid $76 instead of the regular price of $95.  I also had to wait for it to come for several weeks as it was backordered.  My original notification told me it wouldn’t be here until sometime in January, so you can imagine how excited when it arrived just days before Christmas!  Merry Christmas to me! 🙂

The main pieces are awesome and very well made.  The only parts that are plastic are the “glass” and the trim pieces.  I didn’t uncover the posts, they still have the protective wrap on them in this (and all subsequent photos) as this set is being stored until I’m ready to use it.

This little “island” is my favorite part of the whole set!  It is so perfect for the era, and I have all kinds of ideas of ways to use this.  The details on this piece are so awesome, I love the speckle countertop with metal trim.  I have flashbacks to my neighbors house when I was a kid.

The case is very nicely done, made mostly of wood.  The shelf is removable too.  The only thing that puzzled me is why that bottom panel is solid, I think it would have been a nice place for a drawer or open space for storage.

I love the cash register, it reminds me of the ones they had at my first job!

And a can to collect coins for the cause:

When I opened this piece, I thought “It needs coins!”  And there were…but…there’s a bit of a problem!

I don’t know what they were thinking, but these are full sized dimes!  I’m so confused as to why they did this.  It can’t be because they worry about someone swallowing them, I’ve had plenty of smaller pieces in AG stuff and a dime is still easily swallowed anyhow.  This really makes NO sense at all.

The set comes with two trays for displaying baked goods on.

DONUTS!!!!

Boxes for the donuts.  I didn’t open these because I’m storing some of the more 50’s era stuff.

Two METAL pie pans.  Yes, metal.  I am loving this…

Pies for in the pans!  And slices cut out for serving.

Cinnamon rolls.  (Don’t they look yummy?)

Two plates.  Actual stoneware!  They have a nice weight to them too.  Clever 50’s style design on them too.

A metal pie server!  Very nice.

Some odds and ends with the 50’s theme that I’m not likely to use, so I left them in the plastic.  I was impressed that the money was 50’s era as well!  Stickers, a hat, money, a menu and a newspaper, complete with a headline about polio.

Set up, it’s totally adorable!  Along with the Thanksgiving pie set I have and other baked goods in my collection, there can be a constantly changing assortment of stuff in that case.

 

One more thing that isn’t an accessory, but a document with a statement that really impressed me:

I hope this is a sign of things to come and that all of our complaints about quality have been heard.  American Girl has been known for years for it’s attention to detail and quality and I know that many of us have been concerned.  Recent releases have signs that maybe they are actually listening.  Fingers crossed!

Overall I give this set an A.  I’d give it an A+++ but those coins–what in the world were they thinking?  However, that doesn’t take away from the play value of this set, and even at the full price of $95, I think it’s worth it.  Well made and thought out with so much you can do with it, with or without pieces added.  I have so many ideas of things I’d like to do with this set!!