4 reasons to visit American Girl Stores this summer

When my niece Sam was 8, I slept over her house on Christmas Eve.  When we got up Christmas morning, she was over the moon delighted to find that Santa had left her her very own Samantha Parkington American Girl® doll.  That was about 20 years ago, and my sweet little Sam will be marrying her best friend in the fall. She’s still got her Samantha doll, and every single accessory that went with her, tucked away at her dad’s house, saved for when she has a little girl of her own.
My niece Erica spent hundreds and hundreds of hours playing with all three of her American Girl dolls.  She played alone, she played with her friends…and even now, as a college junior, she still has those beloved friends in her closet, ready for playing at a moment’s notice.  It’s nice that my girls are so much younger than their cousins, because it lets the girls see what their older cousins played with when they were younger, but it also gives the older girls a chance to play with their beloved dolls again (and again, and again and again….)
american-girl-flower-girls
My oldest daughter’s first baby doll was a Bitty Baby.  The Bitty Twins were welcomed into our family not long after that.  My girls both got an American Girl doll (a Just like You doll and a Bitty Twin, respectively) when they were flower girls in my nephew’s wedding a few years ago. We’ve added a Molly and McKenna are both currently residing in this house now, too.  These dolls are loved.  They are played with, played with more, and played with more still.
One thing I have noticed about the entire American Girl® line of dolls, furniture, clothing and accessories is that they are made WELL.  American Girl® doesn’t skimp on quality, and that makes a big difference. They are more expensive than many other similar dolls and product lines, but the quality lasts and lasts and lasts. The dolls, the clothes, the accessories are made to be played with and used, over and over and over again.
And that’s not even all of what American Girl has to offer.  I love the books as much as the dolls and accessories. There’s historical books, fiction, arts, crafts, activities, and books about being a girl.  The books aren’t preachy, they aren’t full of inappropriate content or language.  The historical books do a really great job depicting what life was like in different times for 12 year old girls- something that helps kids to understand and relate- and engage even more with their dolls. My only complaint about the whole American Girl concept is that I wasn’t a kid when they were around, I was born too soon and missed out on the awesome. Thankfully for me, I have kids who love it so I can live vicariously through-and with them :)
abby and american girl with eyebrows
I don’t know how many of you remember our little friend Abby, who we sent a wigless American Girl® doll to.  Sweet Abby lost her battle with cancer earlier this year, sadly.  I know that having a doll that looked so much like her meant the world to Abby and her family. Not all companies make a doll without hair for girls and boys who don’t have hair.  Not all companies would allow a lady from Connecticut to be able to gift something like this to a perfect stranger, a thousand + miles away, to brighten a sick child’s day.  But American Girl® does, they did, and continue to do so. american-girls-bitty-twins
One thing that’s a MUST on our summer to-do list this year is visiting our local American Girl®store (local being relative, because we don’t live near the Boston area, but it’s just over an hour drive and worth the trip(S) we plan to take).
 

American Girl is your Summer Destination for exclusive events and summer-only opportunities that celebrate girls and help them make memories they’ll cherish. You’ll also find summer exclusives in the store, restaurant, and salon!

Top 4 Reasons to visit American Girl

4-reasons-visit-american-girl-summer

  1. Parties & Special Packages: Thrill her with a gourmet meal, signature desserts, goody bags, doll tiaras, games, crafts, and so much more. Choose the perfect way to celebrate—whether it’s her birthday or any day! (My lucky girls both have summer birthdays, just 2 1/2 weeks apart!)
  2. Exclusive Events: She can take a cooking class. Have a book signed by a favorite author. Spend time learning about one of the characters she loves. These are just a few of the unique events and workshops.


One of the exclusive events this summer at the Boston (Natick, MA) store was  American Girl at the Boston Duck Tour.  Last Friday, we met outside the store, boarded a beautiful coach bus, which of course had Kit’s movie playing for our viewing pleasure, water and snacks were passed out to all of us guests, and we were in downtown Boston in no time at all.  We got to enjoy the 80 minute Duck Boat Tour with Skipper the Skydiver. After a fun 80 minutes- during which some of the girls and boys decided they’d like to have a turn driving a Duck Boat, we headed back to shore, and back to the store.

driving-boston-duck-boat-tours

 

The store was a BIG DEAL to our little group. None of us had been before. We hadn’t any idea what was in store for us (well, we sort of did, but it was really exciting when we went in!)

The Duck Boat Tours were a lot of fun, we saw so much of Boston and so many cool landmarks and learned a lot of the history of the city.  Shopping after the tours was just the icing on an already awesome cake and we had a blast.
       3.  Dining: From scrumptious starters to delectable desserts, American Girl menus feature girls’ favorites—and dolls are welcome to                join the fun, too! You can make reservations at a Cafe or drop by a Bistro, each offering service throughout the day, from brunch                    through dinner. (Please note: Denver and Kansas City do not offer Dining.)

We enjoyed a lovely lunch before we started our shopping (we needed to refuel!) The chefs made a special batch of cookies just for those of us who’d gone on the Duck Boat Tour (aren’t they adorable??)

duck-boat-tour-american-girl-cookies

Everything was delicious- and I have to note that one of our party is on a gluten free diet and the folks at American Girl couldn’t have been more accommodating.  They had 3-4 options that were gluten free when something needed to be changed or substituted, not just one.  Just that ‘extra’ quality we love about American Girl so much.  The chef actually came out to speak with us personally when we arrived!

lunch-american-girl-natick
      4. American Girl Doll Hair Salon: Treat your girl’s doll to a new ’do, ear piercing, and pampering, too! Visit the Doll Hair Salon,                  and watch the American Girl® specialists work their magic. (My soon to be 5 year old is getting her ears pierced for her birthday,                  and while she cannot pierce her Bitty Twins’ ears, she did find some earring stickers for dolls  at the store- perfect for a 5 year old to              use).

american-girl-doll-salon

Free events

We were fortunate to head back up to the Boston store to enjoy a Bitty Baby Story Time- an ongoing story time in the Bitty section of the store.  An employee set out special rugs for the kids to sit on and read from an oversized Bitty Baby book.  My girls sat through the story four times, and thoroughly enjoyed coloring while listening. Absolutely worth a visit just for a free story!

bitty-baby-story-time

The Summer Reading Bookmark Craft has been ongoing Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at 2.  Kids can fill in American Girl themed reading logs, and then make fun Isabelle bookmarks.  I was actually really impressed by the bookmarks- not by the quality, but you can change them up with a simple fold change and have a very different bookmark from everyone else.  There are, of course, stickers to decorate.  My kids LOVE to read so they were happy to have fun new bookmarks. My little one is in LOVE with Isabelle so she really can’t stay away from anything related to her!

summer-bookmark-craft-american-girl

Have you visited your local American Girl store yet? 

 

This post is sponsored by American Girl. Opinions are my own.

Monster High Ghouls go to Hauntlywood in latest film

There are some new ghouls in town enrolling in Monster High. The ghouls are coming with the new movie set in Hauntlywood, called Frights, Camera, Action–  and if you have a Monster High fan, she’ll be shrieking (with delight) at these new ghoul-friends to play with.  Head over to Walmart’s Monster High area and check out the new ghouls, see exclusive trailers, take a quiz to see which leading ghoul you’d be if you were starring in Hauntlywood, and more!  There’s also a store locator that can let you know where the nearest Walmart is, so you can pick up the doll in person. There’s a black carpet set and a dressing room set so your ghouls can get ready to walk the black carpet in Hauntlywood. This Monster High post is brought to you by our friends at Lunchbox.
hauntlywood monster high movie operetta doll
Check out the fun new Operetta doll along with the rest of the new Monster High Dolls available. Operetta is the daughter of the Phantom of the Opera and she’s sure to be sharing her musical talents as well as her fab fashion sense with her new ghoul-friends!  Her wardrobe nods to her musical family and she is decked out in red, black and white. She’s a country girl, loves to sing, and promises to be a great friend once you get to know her.
new monster high doll operetta hauntlywood
“Frights, Camera, Action!” is the new boo-vie adventure the ghouls have in trying to find Elissabat, the missing vampire queen, and the Vampire Heart that is used to decide who is the true queen of the vampires. The adventure will have the ghouls visit Londoom, New Gorleans, and Hauntlywood as they follow Elissabat’s trail.  There’s also rumored to be a guest appearance from boovie star Veronica Von Vamp!

So which of the ghouls would you want to play on the black carpet?

My Little Pony is growing up with Equestria Girls (2 winner #giveaway)

This is a sponsored post about the My Little Pony Equestria Girls line of dolls.  Opinions are my own. Growing up, I loved My Little Pony everything.  I think that they came in third only to my Annie wig and my Cabbage Patch Kid doll.  The ponies were different- I could do so much with them including brush their hair.  They were smaller in size than a doll, so I could bring them wherever I went much easier. A few ponies and some imagination and I could fill an afternoon.  My older daughter likes MLP but hasn’t fallen in love with them.  My little one, who just turned 4? She adores MLP.  Tshirts, underwear, mini ponies,  regular ponies, videos…and to her delight…the new Equestria Girls line.

Twilight Sparkle and Sunset Shimmer arrived at our house the other evening, packaged together in one box.  Each has her own sense of style and comes with a few accessories.  There’s only one girl who can be crowned Fall Formal Princess, and only one crown in the box…your little one gets to decide who wins the title and the crown. The kids have been enjoying Sunset Shimmer and Twilight Sparkle together- they were immediately “best friends” and have been marrying all of brother’s action figures (Iron Man is quite the catch, who knew?)

(Please note- when my 8 year old says something is creepy, it’s a GOOD thing!)
The MY LITTLE PONY You Know and Love Has a New Look!

my-little-pony-equestria-girls-dolls

Twilight Sparkle has been transformed into a teenage girl by walking through a magical mirror to a parallel universe where she makes some new friends who remind her of Ponyville’s Applejack, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy. Check them out as they explore Equestria!

Come Thru the Mirror to check out the Equestria Girls at Walmart

my-little-pony-equestria-girls-mirror

Come through the mirror on Walmart.com to get all of the info on the new MY LITTLE PONY Equestria Girls. Check out biographies on all of the MY LITTLE PONY Equestria Girls, and view all of our MY LITTLE PONY Equestria Girls product. As you move throughout the page, roll over hidden gems to discover fun activities and features for your MY LITTLE PONY fan to enjoy, like Magic Hair Chalk, MY LITTLE PONY nail art, MY LITTLE PONY Equestria Girls coloring pages, and more!

Twilight Sparkle- Only Available at Walmart

Buy your Equestria Girl products at Walmart so your daughter can experience MY LITTLE PONY and build memories of her own, while you get Walmart’s everyday low value. Give her an exclusive MY LITTLE PONY experience when you buy her Twilight Sparkle, only available at Walmart!

win-a-my-little-pony-equestria-girls-doll

Two readers will win a My Little Pony Equestria Girl (selection based on availability- they will try to accomodate your requests)

Nickelodeon’s Winx Club Deluxe Dolls & Accessories

This post brought to you by Winx Club Deluxe. All opinions are 100% mine.

 

Nickelodeon has a new toy doll line- Winx Club Deluxe, available at Walmart and Walmart.com.  My oldest recently turned 7 and has become obsessed with fairies- of all shapes, sizes, and colors.  I've been hearing so much about Nickelodeon's Winx Club Deluxe with the new DVD coming out in a few weeks , and the dolls, accessories and clothing, that I had to investigate further.  

Winx Club Deluxe is Nick's first animated series targeted for girls.  The show tells the stories of 6 friends- Stella, Flora, Bloom, Musa, Tecna and Aisha, and follows their journeys and adventures while attending fairy school at Alfia College.  I predict that we will be seeing a lot of Winx Club Halloween costumes this fall!

If you aren't yet familiar with this new toy doll line, check out the page on Walmart. com for Winx Club Deluxe- there are even videos so you can see the dolls in action.  These fairies are fun, they are hip, and they are rockin.'  They are also not geared toward the "baby sister" age, as my daughter refers to her 3 year old sister- they are for older girls, with themes and activities meant for the 6-11 crowd.  The fairies are dressed in bright, vibrant colors, with just a touch of sass (in a good way) and so much FUN!   You'll want to bookmark this site, too, because there are going to be even more products coming soon (apparel and accessories- perhaps in time for back to school?) and some free coloring sheets for your Winx Club fan. 

Check out your local Walmart store for these fun new Winx Club Deluxe dolls from Nickelodeon!  

 

Moxie Girlz™ Magic Swim Mermaid™ Doll Review and #Giveaway

Moxie Girlz™ Magic Swim Mermaid™ is an adorable doll who can swim when she’s in the water.  No on and off switch, she just swims, as if by magic.  She’s a ton of fun in the bathtub but the kids and I are quite anxious to see how she swims in our pool in a month or so!!  One of our favorite things about the Moxie Girlz is their positive message- something that I love to see in a toy line.

We also love the hair that each Moxie Girlz doll has.  They each have hair that’s brushable and easy to style- something that is done over, and over and then over again in my house.  Now we have a Kellan to play with on land and one to play with in the pool!  I have a feeling that someone will be asking for Avery’s Mermaid doll for her birthday coming up…

A mermaid doll that swims on her own! Little girls will love the magic and whimsy of this swimming doll. Just place her in water and her arms and tail begin to move! The ribbons, sparkles and beautiful hair add to the charm.

The Moxie Girlz™ are imagining themselves as sparkling, magical mermaids!  Product Features: First Moxie Girlz mermaid doll; Only doll that magically swims like a mermaid when placed in water. No on/off switch needed – she automatically swims on her own when she’s in water; Since she swims with her tail, she gracefully swims on her stomach, her back and even sitting down; Sparkling tail; Beautiful hair and fashion; Two characters: Avery and Kellan; Age Grade: 3+ Price: $24.99


The Moxie Girlz Magic Swim Mermaid is a hit- in my house, and my guess is, it will be in your house too.  A mermaid doll with colors and sparkles and it swims as if by magic.  Plus, you can style her hair!

One reader will win a Moxie Girlz Magic Swim Mermaid!  To enter, simply follow the instructions on the rafflecopter form below.

[click to continue…]

Lalaloopsy™ Sew Magical Coral Sea Shells Mermaid™ Doll #Giveaway

Lalaloopsy™ Sew Magical Mermaid™ Doll
Coral Sea Shell
Sewn from a swimmers bathing suit, Coral Sea Shells™ loves to imagine she’s a mermaid.  When she does, she changes from her bathing suit into a mermaid tail and her hair changes color under water! Ages: 4+ Price $29.99.

I love Lalaloopsy dolls.  Probably more than my kids do.  I just think they are beyond adorable and I love the whole idea of their creation, with the personalized stories and outfits each of the dolls wear.  I think they are fun, quirky and adorable- which is exactly how most kids are- so they are a perfect, whimsical addition to any kids’ toy collection!

Coral Sea Shells

Coral Sea Shells is no exception- she’s “stitched” on World Water Day (how cool is that) which is March 22nd, and she comes with both a mermaid tail and an adorable pink polka dot bathing suit (which feels like it is made from the same suit material as my own!) plus a little blowfish pal to play with her, or as my kids like to do, squirt mom in the face with water!

Cute as she is, I think my favorite part of Coral is that her hair changes color when it is under the water.  You don’t need a temperature change in the water to get the hair change- something that really just hasn’t ever worked well with toys that promise color changes due to temperature fluctuations and I find this to be so much less frustrating.  I also don’t like doing hot water for my kids, for fear of burns or drying their skin, so the fact that her hair changes just by being in the water makes me one happy mama.  The kids love this feature, although they don’t always notice because Blowy the Blowfish, as they call him, is the big draw for playtime around here.

Lalaloopsy Sew Magical! Sew Cute!

Lalaloopsy Coral Sea Shells was once a rag doll who magically came to life when her very last stitch was sewn. Coral Sea Shells was made from pieces of  a swimmers bathing suit. She’s super- imaginative and she loves to pretend she’s a real mermaid. Her favorite hobbies are swimming with the fish and eating seaweed salad. She has a pet blowfish.

Sewn on Date: March 22nd (World Water Day)

Features:

  • Coral Sea Shells hair changes color from pink to purple under water!
  • Includes two fashions: bathing suit and mermaid outfit
  • Adorable pet blowfish squirts water
  • Totally collectable!

One reader will win a Coral Sea Shells mermaid doll!

[click to continue…]

Hearts for Hearts Dolls #Giveaway

Dolls have been around a very, very long time.  Big, small, realistic, non-realistic, well made, not so well made, themed dolls, look alike dolls, dolls that pee, dolls that eat, dolls that have eyes which can close…the  list is kind of endless.  Once in a while, though, a doll comes along that stands out a bit from the rest….like the Hearts for Hearts Girls.

These dolls are gorgeous- very well made, beautiful features and stylishly dressed…which is all well and good but the reason these dolls stand out is that they give back.  You see, for each of the Hearts for Hearts dolls that is purchased, a portion of the proceeds is given back to one of the countries that the dolls represent.    As a mom, I love to support brands that give back.  As a former kid who loved dressing dolls, I love the awesomeness of these dolls.  They are fun, appealing and seem to be ready to withstand countless hours of play, dress up, and who knows what else.

You can read more about these dolls below:

Hearts For Hearts Girls is a charitable doll line and fashion collection from Playmates Toys, which seeks to empower girls to become agents of change in their communities, their countries and around the world. The line features six dolls inspired by real girls from real places allover the world. Each authentically dressed and lifelike doll has her own story to share and is working to change her community in ways unique to her home country. A portion of each doll sale is donated to a non-profit organization that helps children from that doll’s country. Playmates Toys is working with non-profit partner World Vision to make this possible.
The Hearts For Hearts Girls dolls come to life with a fully interactive website that lets girls discover different cultures, read about girls who have overcome challenges, and engage with the dolls through a range of activities. Each doll comes with a special code that lets girls unlock a free membership to the kid-safe website at www.hearts4heartsgirls.com. All girls are welcome to visit the website, but the special code that comes with purchase provides access to a larger array of games and also lets girls create their own “myHeart” page. This special page displays things that girls care about, ways in which they want to help girls or their community, and words to help express how they feel as a Hearts For Hearts Girl. They can change the page as often as they like!
One reader will win a Hearts for Hearts girl!! [click to continue…]

American Girl Holiday Dresses

Trying to get a photo of three small children is no easy feat.

Do you know what’s more fun to my girls than having fancy Christmas dresses? Having fancy Christmas dresses that match their beloved Holly and Annabelle dolls!! American Girl sent us a dress for each of the girls plus the matching dress for their dolls. To say the girls were smitten is, to say the least, an understatement.

For my older daughter, we got the Merry & Bright Outfit for Girls and for Dolls. It’s pretty, it’s shimmery, flowy, and, key for my daughter, is twirly. All the key features in a dress my child looks for, and for me? Well, it’s pretty, modest, and very well made. I know that my girls will both wear this dress, and we’ll then pass it along to another family to enjoy, with no worry of it fading nor falling apart. American Girl is not an inexpensive brand by any means but it is definitely all good quality.   There is even a beautiful capelet that you can get with this (to my daughter’s disappointment, we do not have this.  Perhaps Santa may drop it off?) to complete the holiday look.  This dress is absolutely gorgeous.  I’m a little jealous.  [click to continue…]

Moxie Girlz Horse Riding Club “Cricket” (Giveaway)

A few months ago, we were introduced to the world of be you. be true. and Moxie Girlz. I fell in love and my daughter fell in love. Fashion dolls who send a positive message to girls, with fun and funky clothing and accessories- and changeable feet instead of struggling and fighting with tiny shoes!! Cricket, the Moxie Girlz Horse Riding Club horse we received, is a gorgeous blonde colored horse and as with the Moxie Girlz, her mane hair is easy to comb, brush and style- with no tangles (why do so many doll and toy animals have hair that is forever a tangly mess?). [click to continue…]