edamomie

An Exploration of Parenting by the Vowel

An American Girl Birthday Whirl July 18, 2013

Filed under: Outings — edamomie @ 10:17 am
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O: Outings

BD Girls and Grandma

BD Girls and Grandma

What better way to ring in your tenth birthday than at the American Girl Cafe? My 10 year-old daughter and I had often times thought about going – – just the two of us — but never had. It had to be for a special occasion. Goodness knows we’re at the Mall of America quite a bit. So when grandma Susie brought up the idea for us girls to go, we jumped at the opportunity.

 

Mia and Piper, Ava’s American Girl dolls, were pretty stoked too. Ava’s cousin Amy, who’s a year older, has a birthday the day prior to hers. In total we were three grown-ups, two birthday girls and three American Girls. We had reservations on a Thursday in June for the seven of us.

 

AG Two-Layer BD Cake

AG Two-Layer BD Cake

When grandma booked, the AG Cafe sent her AG invites to send out to her granddaughters. She mailed them to the girls to make it official. Ava planned out the morning of the luncheon and made sure Mia and Piper were in their party dresses, hair loosely curled for one and a sock bun (new technique we learned) for the other, and on their best behavior.

 

We met our party at the AG Cafe. We had strolled by it many times, but could appreciate first-hand the decked out pink decor this time around. You really can’t get more girly. Our server greeted us and the birthday girls by name. The AG girls had their own chairs at the table too. We ordered a round of pink lemonade because it just seemed fitting.

 

Cake & Fake (Flower)

Cake & Fake (Flower)

We ordered off of the Birthday Bistro Celebration menu with pricing set for one appetizer, one entree and one dessert per person. The warm-artichoke spinach dip was a serious favorite, followed by the avocado chicken sandwich. I thought there might be more tea party like options, but they were clearly going for classed up comfort food (mac n cheese, chicken nuggets) that kids and moms (I would say parents, but I didn’t spot a single dad in the place) could enjoy.

 

The AG girls got some cool fake balloons form-fitted for their little hands out of the deal. We were served a yummy two layer white and chocolate cake on a cake stand and my personal favorite — ice cream in mini flower pots with fake yellow flowers on top. The birthday song might as well be continuously played there. Our server joined us in the tune, then cut and served the cake.

 

All of us girls had a special, fancy luncheon with two gift bags to boot that contained an AG t-shirt and scrapbook. Good swag considering a retail purchase of these items would run up to $25 total. It was a birthday celebration for the books no doubt. If you’re looking to celebrate with a special young lady in your life, I’d definitely recommend giving the cafe (and spa, if you have time) a whirl!

 

—  Happy Birthday to Ava (10) and Amy (11)!
check out the video below on YouTube or VINE at jengilhoi : https://vine.co/v/bltAKww9Wmx



 

American Girls Learn the Hard Way: Beauty Hurts May 28, 2013

Filed under: Activities — edamomie @ 11:50 am
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A: Activities

American Girls Dressed in Yellow

American Girls Dressed in Yellow

It was another rainy Memorial Day Weekend with cousins – ages 7, 9, and 9 – in constant search of something to do. My 7-year-old son, Calvin, kicked off the weekend with an early birthday gift to his soon-to-be 10-year-old sister, Ava. It was an American Girl school desk with all the school box essentials.

 

He knew going in to the weekend he would be out-numbered as the cousin in the middle was Ravelle, age 9. Typical of each cousin camp weekend, he started out optimistic that he would be included in their play and ended up a bit burned out, frustrated by their undying interest in all things girly.

 

The complaints started to roll in around 7:00p.m. on Sunday eve of the long weekend, “what’s there to do?” We had already seen Epic, the movie, and went mini-golfing at Pirate’s Cove. They were on a fun roll. As we surveyed their slew of American Girl clothes, shoes and accessories, a bright idea popped into Ava’s head. “Let’s make dresses!” she insisted. Now was the how. What was on hand, what materials could we use? ….ah tissue paper from her early birthday gifts – in bright yellow, vibrant stripes and white.

 

American Girls with their Designers

American Girls with their Designers

They enlisted Aunt Katie and began cutting, twisting and creating fashionable looks with the paper. The four models – Kit, Kerstin, Piper and Mia (AG girls) – were fitted and styled from head to toe with the right shoes and accessories. An audience of 14 was called to the catwalk and required to sit in their assigned seats. Ava made the opening announcements and the Summer Fun Catwalk was underway.

 

The models emerged, via Ravelle’s hand, from under the pool table catwalk. For the grand finale, they all took one last turn and paused for the photos. Given the tight context of Ravelle’s space, she eventually bumped her head to which front-row Calvin pronounced, “Beauty Hurts.” Ensuing laughter prevailed as all the ladies agreed – yes it does! Here’s a little clip from the show, American Girl: Summer Fun Catwalk:

 

Happy Birthday, Doll February 28, 2012

Filed under: Eats — edamomie @ 9:30 pm
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E: Eats

All About the Frosting

All About the Frosting

It was time to throw a party. Mia, my 8-year old daughter Ava’s American Girl Doll, was turning 4. Ava had been obsessing about this party since Christmas – even more so than her own birthday party, although that wasn’t until June. On ventures to the Mall of America, she’d beg, just one more visit to the the American Girl store?  Mia really needs some new shoes. I pressed her, Really?

 

I decided that there should be no harm in letting her spend her hard-earned money (received by way of birthday and holiday cards, actually) on gifts for a doll. Super practical!  In looking for the larger meaning here, I agreed, Yes, Mia did need some new shoes. She also needs someone to stress about hosting the perfect birthday party – inviting the guests, making the food and drink, decorating and finding activities to keep the guests entertained. Don’t forget the party favors!

 

Perfectly Poised Party Guests

Perfectly Poised Party Guests

She will certainly appreciate my eight-years worth of effort in planning her birthday parties, all hosted at our house, when she’s through with Mia’s party. I got out a box of mish-mashed decor from the years and she set out on the task. She invited one special cousin, Ravelle, and two of her American Girls to join Mia and Ava’s other American Girl doll, Piper. That’s a tally of six. For this party, Ava chose to invite her cousin AND make her help with the cake prep and serving work. …hmmmm, I could take a lesson from this.

 

The two of them made a simple cake Ava picked out from a Hersey’s dessert book she had checked out from the library. Thanks to SaraLee’s pound cake, the cake part was a wrap. It was more about the filling between the 4 layers and the whipped chocolate topping.

 

Patience Pets, You'll Get Yours

Patience Pets, You'll Get Yours

 The girls added ingredients and I supervised the mixing. Then it was time to frost – patience, wrist movement and correct depth of frosting were attempted and averagely executed. Ravelle mentioned her previous sessions with her Grandma, an excellent cake baker and decorator. We all agreed, frosting was a skill to keep trying to perfect.

 

After the frosting, seemingly the glue for the cake layers, was to their liking, their eyes lit up at the prospect of what to do with the mixer beaters and spatulas with all that unused frosting.  Later, with that task licked, they were ready to serve cake to the party guests and guest of honor.  The AG dolls behaved themselves as they silently joined us in the H B D song.  The AG cats and dogs, although panting over the layer cake, also acted appropriately.

 

Mia glowed on her birthday, in her new birthday dress with those shoes her “mom” just had to have for her. I was surprised at how this simple gesture for a doll brought Ava so much pleasure. Reminded me of why I, and all of us parents, go to the trouble. Happy Birthday, Mia!

 

Playtime’s Over January 3, 2012

Filed under: Independence — edamomie @ 10:07 pm
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I: Independence

Ticket to Ride... For Hours and Hours

Ticket to Ride... For Hours and Hours

Every time the holidays are upon us, a pang of anxiousness sets in. I swear I will find the perfect blend of relaxation, activity, productivity, festivity and refocusing. Add a husband and a few kids to this equation with no where to be and zero routine – – it can actually create stress.

 

Seriously, time off from hectic schedules is the last thing I want to complain about. So a bit of reflection on how our family fared over nearly two weeks off is as follows.

 

Relaxation: four movies in one day for the kids (not a proud parenting moment); yoga, running and reading for me.

 

Activity: games! Ticket to Ride, Europe ate up nearly 3 hours of our New Year’s Eve. We played two more times throughout the week before Tweety Bird on the iPod won out. We also roller skated with hundreds on the 31st – the challenge of avoiding collisons the main focus.  And some swimming and basketball.

 

New AG Family

New AG Family

Productivity: shopping. Lots of it. Ikea for desk chairs for kids that took a few hours of assembly. A visit from a measurer for new blinds. Mass purging and organization of files with some help from Ikea. For my 6-yr-old son, building Legos; for my 8-yr-old daughter, taking care of an additional, high maintenance American Girl.

 

Festivity: gatherings. Entertaining at our home, a visit to our extended family for two more celebrations. The usual continuous stream of food.

 

Refocus: The 2011 Love Hate List. We could all agree we hate our school’s early start time. We talked about some household improvements for 2012. Things got negative so the conversation ended quickly.

 

Threatening Elf on the ShelfOver the course of our break, our normal routine got seriously out of whack. I tried not to feel guilty about sleeping in and taking a daily nap. I realized how unproductive and listless children (and adults!) can become when left to their own devices. From all the gifts at the onset of break, I could hardly believe it to hear they were bored. I found them bickering with each other often. The magic of The Elf of the Shelf had all but worn away.

 

My son assembled numerous Lego contraptions, one of which I barely captured on film – the Dinocopter, and a few Lego monster transformers from the Lego HERO collection. My daughter welcomed Piper (a brunette American Girl doll) and Honey (a golden retriever also by American Girl) to the family, along with clothing, suitcases, sleeping bags and pet carriers for them. Judging from some informal polling and lines at both stores, Lego and American Girl were the tops on boys and girls’ Christmas Lists this year.

 

Lego Dino Transporter

Lego Dino Transporter

Tradition is, the kids always get a board game from us parents. This year, Ticket to Ride, Europe, was the choice. Even though for players ages 8 and up, I decided to get it anyway for them. It’s a strategic game with a lot of options and choices. It took much patience to learn and time to play, but it held their attention for hours.

 

Now, this week, parents are happily back to work. Kids are off for yet another week and having a blast at their grandparents. I am relieved to have a plan for the week: work and work out. We do better in our household with a bit of routine. We know this about ourselves. It’s tough to get into total guilt-free relaxation mode.

 

I’m always curious to hear how others handle a week or more time off at home. How do you fare?

 

 
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