American Girl Pop Up Grand Opening

Last Saturday marked the grand opening of the Philadelphia area American Girl temporary store.  Located in King of Prussia mall, the store is just a short drive away from Center City.  This is the first American Girl store in the area with American Girl Place in New York City previously being the closest.  The King of Prussia American Girl store is slated to close on January 28th of next year, which gives you plenty of time to handle Christmas purchases and exchanges at a retail location.

We arrived at 9:00 am knowing that they were handing out tickets, but not exactly sure how that process would work.  I later found out that the tickets each had a group number on them and there were 50 tickets in each group.  They ran out of tickets after 26 groups, so they handed out 1,300 in total!  We ended up being in group 15, so there were approximately 750 people in front of us in line.  The first two groups were granted immediate access, while the others were encouraged to shop the rest of the mall.  We got our tickets at around 11:00 am, so we decided to walk around and then grab something to eat.  We were excited to see that our number was on the board when we returned.  We lined up in the standby area and anticipated a quick entry.  Here’s where things got a little tricky.  If your number was lower than what was on the board, you were to get into a different section to gain entry before the group that was in standby.  Based on the timing of everything and the size of the other section, it seems like the earlier numbers flew by because many people were at lunch or elsewhere.  We ended up spending an additional two hours in the standby line since they allowed the earlier numbers to go in first.  I feel as though it wouldn’t have been so bad if they had alternated the earlier numbers with the current standby.American Girl Philadelphia American Girl Philadelphia American Girl Philadelphia American Girl Philadelphia American Girl Philadelphia American Girl Philadelphia American Girl Philadelphia American Girl Philadelphia American Girl Philadelphia American Girl Philadelphia American Girl Philadelphia American Girl Philadelphia American Girl Philadelphia  Check back in a couple days to see more pictures from inside the store and see what the freebies were at the grand opening.

First Day of Dance Class 2015

After a two month break, Micah and Maeby are back to dance class.  Micah’s classes have been extended by half an hour, as he is picking up intro to jazz.  We are currently in the waiting room while Micah has class, and I have already heard him ask his teacher if they are doing jazz this week.  He is definitely excited about learning a new style of dance.  They will each be performing tap and ballet routines in this year’s recital, so we will have four songs to listen to nonstop starting in January.  I get asked if Abram will be taking dance soon, since he is now three years old.  He loves dancing and singing, but since he doesn’t always love listening we will be reevaluating in January (when the midyear class starts) or next September.  Last year I wrote about the skills my kids have been learning since they started dance classes.  You can read it here (and see how much they have grown compared to this year).


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The Incredibles Costume DIY

Halloween is only a week away, and I really should be spending my time putting together this year’s costumes.  Instead, I am procrastinating to share with you the costumes I made last year.

This is the fifth year I have made my kids’ costumes.  One of the reasons I had for starting involved a struggle between a toddler and a Brobee costume back in 2009 (the mass produced costumes tend to be itchy and unforgiving).  My second reason was the birth of my daughter.  Every year, I am disappointed by the limitations on costumes for girls.  For the most part, they consist of a character on a tee shirt paired with a tutu.  I figured I was going to have to make her costumes eventually down the line, so I might as well start with her first Halloween.

For Micah’s fifth birthday in the beginning of September of last year, he asked for the Violet and Dash figures for Disney Infinity.  He and Maeby loved playing as Dash and Violet and I felt like we watched The Incredibles a lot more than usual during that time.  I knew that they would love to dress as them for Halloween and the theme also provided a costume for Abram: baby Jack Jack.

The Incredibles DIY Halloween CostumeI went on the hunt for long sleeved red shirts and red pants for them.  It was really difficult to find red cotton pants, like I was originally looking for, but luckily H&M carried red skinny jeans in kids’ sizes.

I found a template for The Incredibles logo and printed out two copies.  On one copy I cut out the outside circle of the logo, and I cut out the “i” on the second.  I placed a cardboard beer caddy (a brown paper bag would have also sufficed) in between each of the shirts so that it could absorb any of the paint that bled through.  Using acrylic paint, I painted the “i” in yellow mixed with a little green (so it would look like it glowed), the circle in gold, and the center in black.

the incredibles diy halloween costumeFor Micah and Maeby’s costumes, I knew I wanted to use boys’ underwear and I was able to find a pack that had two pairs in solid black.  I painted the waistband gold on those (it took like three coats because the elastic sucked it up).  To mimic Violet’s boots, I cut the feet off of black knee high socks and put them over Maeby’s jeans.  Micah and Maeby started the night out wearing black gloves, but quickly gave up on them.  For Abram’s costume, I used a black cloth diaper (it is actually a pocket diaper that I didn’t put any inserts in).  I decided to go with face paint because I knew none of them would keep a mask on.  The kids wiped most of it off themselves, which was nice because having to scrub around little kids’ eyes is not fun.

The Incredibles DIY Costume

The Incredibles DIY Costume

The Incredibles DIY CostumeAs you can see, Micah and Maeby thought their costumes came with some superhero powers.  Luckily Abram didn’t try to demonstrate any powers because I can imagine Jack Jack’s powers must be terrifying to a mom.

Fingers crossed that I will have this year’s costumes ready in time, or I might have to dig out last year’s in hopes that they still fit.


Thrift Haul 2

Maeby had recently discovered the collection of tiny toys I have been hiding from her.  If you have a daughter, you probably know the toys I am talking about.  Barbie shoes, Lalaloopsy mini accessories, and basically any doll house miniature that could pose a choking hazard (and there are a ton of them).  She had gotten past her I wonder what this toy tastes like phase, but I was hesitant to give her the tiny toys since Abram might think putting them in his mouth was a good idea.  She climbed to the top of her wardrobe and spotted the floral bin they were stored in.  She pulled them down and asked if she could pretty please play with them.  I allowed her, despite still being skeptical of the small objects.  Since then she has played with them almost every day, and sometimes for hours on end.  It is so inspiring to catch her playing with toys in unique ways.  No toy in the house has been safe.  I recently rescued a basketful of her brothers’ toys that she had squirreled away in her room.  (Note: I encourage my kids to play with all toys despite the gender they are usually marketed to, but to keep my sanity I aim to store the boys’ toys in their room and her toys in her room.)  For Christmas, I know that I want to gift maeby a curated collection of tiny toys and that I need to start gathering them now.  That was my main objective in our thrift stop last week.

second thrift haul 1I found a Batman Imaginext playset that I knew Micah would love.  He has recently been getting into superheroes, thanks to the release of Disney Infinity 2.0.  I will pair this with some of the newer DC Imaginext figures.  The great thing about Imaginext toys is that the figures’ feet are all the same so he could also use his Toy Story and castle set figures with this.  The rest of the picture is pretty self-explanatory, except for the Mr Potato Head arm and nose.  We have six Mr Potato Head bases, and are constantly losing limbs and pieces, so I jumped at the opportunity to pick up extras.

second thrift haul 2The Gap sweater is a size medium, so it is still a little big for Maeby.  She does like wearing it with the sleeves rolled up, so it may make an appearance into her wardrobe before winter is over.  The Motherhood top is for me, but I am not pregnant.  I am still nursing Abram, though, so it makes a nice pajama shirt (and I don’t mind stretching the neck out since it was so cheap).second thrift haul 3The baby doll is from Pottery Barn.  I was excited to find it since their dolls are made really well.  Please imagine the Barbies are wearing clothes.  For some reason, clothed Barbies rarely make into thrift stores.  As you can see, I was able to find some tiny toys on my trip.  I found a couple tea pots, a mug, some cakes, a few skirts, and some tiny friends.

Total spent on this trip…