Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring Break

The Journey Girls Spend Some TIme Hanging Out

Spring break is here and the weather is horrible.  Rain, rain, and then for some added fun, some snow.  Blah!  Well maybe some of the girls want to hang out, Kelsey thinks.  She texts everyone, “if u r bored come to my house and hang out.  TTFN.”

Instantly her phone begins vibrating.  Jordanna responded “Be over in a few”.  “I’m coming!” text Mikaella.  “OMG…awesome idea”, wrote Dana.  Kyla was so excited she just sent a smiley face!

Pretty soon the girls started to arrive.  For awhile they kind of did there own thing.  Dana and Kyla sat in the living room.  Dana is looking over a fashion magazine.  

Dana reads over a fashion magazine.
She shows Kyla some of the new outfits that she really likes.  Kyla is getting texts from Meredith.  She texts back “Wish you were here! J”.  Kyla tells Dana “Meredith says ‘Hi’.” 

Kyla texts Meredith
Dana and Kyla just relaxing as the other girls do their own thing.
Jordanna lays on the floor drawing on the Magna-Doodle.  She is just doodling around.  Scribble, scribble, scribble.  

Jordanna draws on the Magna Doodle
Then she gets a great idea…”I’m going to try to draw Elsa.”   Jordanna draws Elsa’s eyes, her nose, mouth, and then her hair.  Jordanna draws Elsa’s big braid. 

She shows the drawing to the other girls.

Jordanna is so proud of her creation!
“Look what I found!” Kelsey says to Mikaella.  She holds up a Slinky and smiles.  “I’ll go to the top of the stairs and push the slinky to you,” Mikaella says as she runs up the stairs.  

Here comes the slinky!
Mikaella sits down and pushes the slinky.  Kelsey waits and giggles as the slinky flips down the stairs. 

Down…down it goes!
She loves the sound it makes as it comes down the stairs.  The sound almost sounds like slinky.

Kelsey and Mikaella love this silly toy!
Jordanna hollers to everyone, “Hey…you guys want to play spoons?”   “Oh, yeah!” Dana exclaims.  “I have never played spoons before,” Mikaella explains. “You know, I’ll just watch.”  Mikaella goes sit in the beanbag and listens to her music. 

Mikaella just listen to some music.

The other four girls sit down at the table.  “I’ll deal first.” Kyla volunteers.   Kyla starts the game by passing out cards to Jordanna, Kelsey, and Dana.  

The Journey Girls decide to play a game of Spoons.
Then Kyla picks up a card…decides she doesn’t want it and passes it to Kelsey.  

Kelsey picks the card up; looks at it, then discarded it and passed it to Dana.  

Dana does the same and passes the card onto Jordanna.  

The game goes on this way for a while, with no one looking like they are going to win.  The girls smile, but don’t say anything as the pick cards up, discard cards, continuing to try to get four of a kind.

As the cards go around, Jordanna, quietly picks up a spoon, but continues to pick up cards and discard cards.  

Jordanna is the lucky winner today!
After a few more cards pass by her Dana, realizes that one of the spoons is missing and grabs one off the middle of the table. 

Kelsey dives for the last spoon, easily scooping it up, as Kyla continues to take cards from the deck. 

“Oh darn!  I totally missed that.” Kyla exclaims.  Kelsey, Jordanna and Dana all laugh.  

“I didn’t even see you take the spoon Jordanna.” Kelsey says.  Jordanna smiles a huge grin and explains, “That’s ‘cause I’m sneaky.”   They all laugh again.   “This is an awesome day!” Dana exclaims. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Journey Girls Outside Table Review

New Journey Girls Table: How Does it Stack Up?

Toys R Us is beginning to release new accessories for the Journey Girls.  This accessory has nothing to do with the traveling that the Journey Girls do.  The table is reasonably priced at $29.99.  Keep your eyes out and you may be able to get it for 20 or 30 percent off!  The question is, "Is it worth $30?"  Yes…if you get a complete one.

The table comes in a nice box that shows Kelsey and the new Kyla on the front and back.  The box is kind of strange.  There is the top flap that is being held shut by two pieces of tape, and a side flap that has tape and a small flap holding it together.  It looks like you could open the box either way…but the side is glued, the top is not.

Cut the tape to open the top of the box (in the red circles).  There is a foam piece that is on top of all of the table pieces, take this out and then slide out all of the pieces.

Here are all of the pieces for the table (minus the purple cushions and placemats…Toys R Us forgot those for this package).  Each of the wood pieces is in a foam bag, protecting it from getting scratched.  That is nice.  It stinks when you get home and your new item is already scratched.

The table is really easy to put together.  Take the legs and screw them into the holes on the tabletop.  All of the legs are the same, so it doesn't matter where you put them.  The legs thread nicely into their holes and are very sturdy once they are twisted all of the way in.

It's surprising how big the table is…almost 12inches square!  Some of the doll tables are so small they can't really fit anyone at them.   This table is large enough for four.

Now the chairs.  There is a little bit more involved with the chairs.  You'll need a Philips screw driver to put these together.  The instructions are very good and easy to follow, but here are some tips. 

The first step is to connect the skinny flat piece (E) to the seat bottom (A) with two screws.  Do not over tighten these screws.  Just tighten them enough to keep the piece on the seat.  The screws are just a hair too long for the pilot holes in E and will go through the top of A if you tighten them too much.

If you tighten the stews to much they will crack through the wood.  Just enough to snag doll clothes!
Next  add the back of the seat.  There is one screw in the middle.  You can tighten this one as tight as you'd like.  I waited until I had the sides on to tighten it all the way.  I think it made it easier to connect the sides.

The next step involves attaching the sides (C and D) to the seat and back.  There are two stews on each side to attach, one at the back and one on the side.  Start with the one on the side make sure that the larger hole in the wood is on the outside of the chair.  Check to make sure that you don't have all the same sides. (One of the three sets that ended up coming home had all of the same sides).  Put the screw through the hole until it is poking out, then find the hole in part E and connect them.  Tighten this just until the part is held on.

Now go to the back of the bench.  Insert the screw into D or C (depending on which one you are doing first), then try to find the hole in B.  This can be tricky.  Before you put the screw in the hole look through it to find the little pilot hole in B.  Line them up, then put the screw in.  Tighten this one all the way, then go back and tighten the screw on the side.

Once both sides are on, tighten the bottom screw that goes from A to B.  Once everything is tight, this is a very sturdy seat.  The seat is nice and wide.  It could have a little taller back, but it's okay.

The set above is missing the purple cushions and placemats…because they weren't in the box.  So after taking everything apart, the set was returned to Toys R Us.  After exchanging for a new set and checking to make sure the set had all of the linens, I took it home to build it.  Once the pieces were out of the box it was clear that there were four C pieces, but no D.  So back to Toys R Us…for a third set.  This one was dumped out at the store to make sure that everything was in it.

The cushions have an elastic band at the back so that they stay on the chairs and don't slide off.  The band goes around the back of the chair easily and does a great job of preventing the cushion (and your doll) from sliding on to the floor.

The completed outdoor table set is great.  The table is sturdy and big!  It's easy to get two dolls at the table with plenty of room for food and things on the table.  The chairs are nice and sturdy.  They look nice, except for the screws on the sides.  Maybe they can be painted.  It's nice that the set comes with the cushions and place mats.  The cups and picnic basket feel goofy with the set.  The cups are perfect size for the Journey Girls doll's hands.  And the picnic basket is really cute…but it feels like it's missing some other pieces.  Apparently on this picnic the girls only get water.  It wouldn't be that big of a deal if Toys R Us had food accessories that could be purchased (like the Our Generation line does at Target).  But they don't…so the girls just get water.  The set would have been fine without the water cups and picnic basket.  It's nice that they are there though.

The bigger issues on this set are the screws that go through the seat and the missing pieces.  Both seat bottoms on the first set had issues with the screw cracking the surface.  That is going to disappoint a little girl when her new chair is already cracked.

It is understandable that sometimes things are going to be missing from a set of toys.  However, major things missing, is not a good sign.  After taking out all of the foam and looking through all the packaging, the cushions and place mats were no where to be found on the first set.  Although there was an extra screw.  Then to have the second set have all one side rather than two of each side for the chairs…not good.  If this set was given as a gift, that would have been horrible!  I have not run into this issue with any other company yet.  Bummer, because it is an awesome set!

Overall, the set is worth the $30…as long as everything is there.  Hopefully you don't run into any problems with your set, but it may be worth a peek in the box to make sure everything is there.   I can't wait to use this set outside.  I know that there will be lots of fun parties had at it!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Callie and Kyla Out In the Snow

Callie and Kyla Enjoy Some Time in the Snow

Callie went outside to model and enjoy some decent winter weather.  If it's above freezing, it's a good day in the north.  Callie takes advantage of the "nice" day and goes for a walk, modeling her new jacket as she goes.

Callie wearing an Our Generation coat. 

This jacket is awesome.  It is made of "wool" and has a satin inside.  It's got heavy butting up the front to keep Callie nice and warm.  It came with some not so great boots…so I switched them out for some Journey Girl boots, that are a little better.

The knit mittens are very cute.  They fit great.  They aren't too big or too long.  They are just perfect.  They had a string attaching them.  Reminds me of being a kid.  My mom always had a clip or string to try and make it so that we didn't loose one of our mittens.  I would have had a lot less single mittens if I had this string connector.

The scarf is nice and long so that you can do different things with it.  I do wish that the outfit had a hat or some earmuffs.  Callie's poor ears are getting cold.  Over all this is a wonderful outfit.  I really love the colors….bright and different.

Kyla wanted to go out also, but her outfit is much more practical and fun.  She has an outfit from the Queen's Treasures.  The Panda hat is from Walmart.

The jacket is very well made.  It is nice and puffy!  It also comes with a hood that can be taken off.  The mittens are a little big, but still fit well.  They look bigger then the Our Generation mittens.  They work well with the jacket though.

The boots are made of the same materiel as the jacket.  They are very cute and are functional, but they don't feel as real as the rest of the outfit.  I love the little bit of "fur" on the boots.  When the hood is on the fur matches fur that is on the hood.

Just like all of the other Queen's Treasure outfits, this is a very well made outfit.  The pants are big (because they are designed for American Girl dolls) but everything else fits great.  If you need a nice little winter play outfit, this is a great option.

Callie and Kyla had a great time outside, but they were glad to go inside and warm up by the fireplace. Hope that the winter is treating you well.  And I hope spring comes soon!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Queen's Treasures Dress

Kyla Tries on a Queen's Treasures Sundress

Kyla is modeling a retired outfit from the Queen’s Treasures.  This pink checked gingham, ankle length dress comes with a beautiful straw sunhat with pink fabric flowers on it.  The dress is very simple with a fitted top portion and longer skirt.  The dress has a lace hem along the bottom.  An inch up from the bottom it has a glossy white ribbon that runs around the entire dress.  The Queen’s Treasures outfits feel high quality.  They are made of better quality material than most Our Generation or Journey Girl outfits.  The Queen’s Treasures outfits, including this dress, are made of a similar quality as American Girl outfits are.

The dress fits very nicely.  It is loose, but not big.  Plus This style of dress should be loose.  Kyla would not be able to garden if the dress was so tight she could not bend.  I love the simplicity of the dress.  It is definitely in the same vein as American Girl's historical collections.  The dress is purposely made to not be super dressy…which makes it perfect!

The hat is big on Kyla’s head, but still fits well.  It has a glossy ribbon to tie around her chin.  This hat is really cute!   I like the flowers on it.  I also like the way that is made.  The straw is very well woven, very tight.  Compared to the Our Generation hat that comes with the sundress, this hat is made a hundred times better.

Be aware that there are no shoes with this outfit.  The shoes that Kyla has on are from a Our Generation outfit.  Most of the Queen’s Treasures outfits do not come with shoes.  I don’t think that not having shoes makes the value of the outfit any less.  I think depending on what you want to use this dress for, the shoes that go with it can vary drastically.  If Kyla was out in the garden, she would have boots on, if she was out for a walk maybe she would have sandals on.  Because the dress is versatile, different shoes are appropriate at different times.  So I think it is okay to not have shoes with the outfit.

All ratings are out of 10

Value 9 –  The Queen's Treasures has great quality products, and this dress is no exception.  The stitching is very good.  There are no loose ends, no frays.  The hat is a high quality straw hat.  The outfit doesn't get a full 10 because of the lack of shoes.  

Fitment 8 –  The waist is a little big, but because of the style of the dress it does not look as baggy or big as some of the Our Generation dresses.  The hat is big.  It fits okay…just make sure that you tie it on.

Versatility 7 –  The outfit is two pieces, so there are not that many things to use for different things.  That being said, the two items have decent versatility.  The dress is a plain dress, but paired with a sweater, scarf, or even a ribbon around the middle, the dress could become much fancier.  And the straw hat is a great outdoor hat.

Cuteness 10 – I love simple.  This dress is very simple, but the check pattern just makes this dress so cute.  The little bit of ribbon and lace is perfect.  The puffed princess arms are awesome.  Together with the hat this is a very cute outfit.

Overall 9 –  What a great outfit.  The perfect dress to work in the garden, go for a walk in the spring breeze, or maybe go for a picnic in.  I do wish it had some sort of shoes included, but I can understand why The Queen's Treasures decided not to.  If you or your little darling like to garden, this is a great dress for you.

Kyla in The Queen's Treasures pink checked dress.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dana Tries Out Snowshoeing

Journey Girl Dana's Snowshoe Adventure

Dana is huge animal lover.  It doesn't matter the animal, they are all special to her.  Winter is her least favorite season because there are so few animals out.  She sees squirrels and some birds, but everything else is hibernating or has gone south.  Dana decided that she wanted to explore the winter wonderland, searching for animals.  She put on her new snowshoes and off she went.

Dana followed a trail running beside a creek.  The creek looked like it was completely frozen.  She ventured down onto it, moving slowly.  Putting one foot slowly in front of the other.  She wasn't really that nervous though.  The creek was maybe a foot deep.  It was very pretty with the snow covered rocks lining the banks.  She was glad she had snowshoes to help her stay on top of the snow.

She followed the stream all the way to the lake.  There was a tree that had fallen across the banks.  She thought "That will make a nice bridge in the summer, but right now…I can go under it."

She walked out onto the lake.  The stream had a cut a path through the lake and made a small ravine.  Dana could tell this was from the water thawing and then refreezing, because she could see chunks of ice sticking up out of the snow.  She thought she might find some animal tracks…but there were only footprints and dog paw prints.

She did find some awesome ice formations as she walked.  She found some chunks of ice that she shoved into the ground to make an ice castle.  Dana backed up and took a look at her castle.  It reminded her of Elsa's castle in Frozen.  She took a photo and then continued walking.

Dana was a little bummed she didn't find any animal tracks so far, but she was excited to see the ice poking out of the snow.  It made little caves.  She thought how neat it would be if she found one that was big enough to fit in. It could be her secret hideout!

And then…she found it.  I beautiful cave!  It looked like it was formed by one huge sheet of ice.  As she got closer to it Dana peered in and saw water at the bottom of the cave.  At that moment there was a loud "crack!"  Dana ran towards the shore!  Oh that scared her.  She knew it was just the ice settling, but it was still scary sounding.  Dana decided she'd stay on land for the rest of her hike.

Dana walked into a forested area.  There were all sorts of aspen and birch trees as well as some maples.  She thought this area has to have some animals in it.

Then from up in one of the trees, she heard a beautiful song.  A yellow finch was sitting in the tree.  Dana pointed at the finch, "Ohhh.  She is so pretty!"

Dana slowly raised her camera and took some pictures, making sure she was quite.  She didn't want to scare the finch away.  The little yellow bird let out another tweeting song.

The finch just stayed there on it's branch, singing away.  She must have been able to sense how much Dana loves animals.  After a little while longer Dana started to walk home.

Just for fun she took a few photos as she was on her way back home.  Dana had really hoped to see some more animals…but it was cold.  She was lucky to see the yellow finch.  And she was excited that she got to see the beautiful ice caves on the lake.  It was time to go home though.  Her little nose was getting cold.

Dana is wearing an Our Generation Outfit.  It came with a doll, Cooper, and was her extra outfit.  I did switch out the outfits boots for some other Our Generation boots.  The snow pants are big on Dana and bunched up in the back as she walked.  They stayed on okay though.  The jacket and shirt fit great though, as did the snowshoes.  The panda hat is from Walmart's My Life As… line.  It's really cute!  It's hard to get on her head, but once it's on it stays on.  Dana's gloves are from a Queen's Treasures outfit.  Dana was very happy with the outfit, and she was toasty warm.  :)