Potential Doll Camp?

As I’m sure many of you know, Camp Doll Diaries isn’t happening this year — and maybe never again. I always looked forward to camp starting in June, despite the fact that I never made many of the crafts. But I know a lot of you guys are avid crafters, and that with the loss of CDD, you’re maybe unsure of what to craft for your dolls this summer.

While I was writing the fourth entry for Mary-Jane’s Journal, my mom suggested a really great idea.

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Why don’t we start our own camp?

And by “we,” I don’t just mean me, Loren — I wouldn’t be able to come up with enough crafts for even a month (Honestly, I don’t know how the Doll Diaries team was able to invent enough crafts to last the whole summer). I mean other doll bloggers. 

Think of this: for one month this summer, multiple American Girl bloggers would help host a doll camp. Every blogger that assisted would run one week, picking a theme and posting crafts or photostories inspired by it.

Sound fun?

Five days. Every blogger would only have to come up with enough content for five days. Then, on Saturday, everyone that made the blogger’s camp crafts could send in pictures and have them posted on the site.

I think this is a great idea. True, it won’t be nearly as grand as Camp Doll Diaries always was, but I think it’s worth a shot.

If you’re interested in hosting a week, please email me at happyhouseofag@gmail.com. But I might not be able to let everyone who wanted a week have one. And if you have ideas for themes, leave those in the comments. I’m guessing that, if I have enough support, we’ll be doing this camp in August. That would give everyone enough time to come up with crafts to post. And if I get more interest than expected, we might be able to extend this camp, starting it in mid July!

I really only need four bloggers to sign up — I’ll be doing the first week of camp. But, like I said before, the more people who sign up, the longer this doll camp will be!

-Loren

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Life at Camp ~ Aphrodite

It’s that time again . . . I have to apologize for something . . .

I really don’t like apologizing. Apologizing is admitting that you’re wrong, and I dislike being wrong more than apologizing. But, here goes . . .

I’m sorry that I disappeared from the internet for, like, a week (actually, it’s been exactly a week since I’ve posted), but I’m back now 🙂 Back from my unofficial break . . . Unofficial breaks are kind of relaxing and kind of make you feel guilty.

Well, I’ve got last week’s Life at Camp. Two days late . . . Better late than never, right?

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Caroline dressed up as the Greek goddess Aphrodite and asked for a photoshoot. The poor thing needs more attention . . .

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Make sure you vote TODAY, because whoever has the most votes tomorrow (Wednesday) morning when I wake up (about 10:30-ish) will be the winner.

~Loren

Life at Camp ~ Fourth of July Parade

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I waited for the Fourth of July Parade to start, fiddling nervously with my American Heritage Girls vest. As Miss American Girl (I’d been voted that for being most patriotic), I was going to lead the parade. And I was shaking in my shiny black Mary Jane’s just thinking about it.

Be like Emily, I told myself. She’d love to lead a parade!

But I couldn’t convince myself to be like Emily, and I couldn’t convince myself that nothing bad would happen.

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Saige, who was putting her horse, Hermosa Luna’s, bridle on, called me over. “Molly!”

“Yes, Saige?”

“I can tell that you’re, like, totally nervous, ’cause you’re leading the parade. Well, I led a parade, too, once, back in New Mexico,” she told me. She lowered her voice. “I was super scared that I would mess up. I was riding Picasso — Mimi’s horse, remember? — and I was supposed to do this scarf trick. And you know what? I did it! And nothing bad happened. Molly, everything will be OK.” Saige smiled reassuringly at me.

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I took a deep breath and tightened my grip on the flagpole. “Thanks, Saige. And good luck!”

She ran a brush through her horse’s already perfect mane. “I’ll need it!” she replied. “Luna’s never been in a parade before.” Saige tossed the brush aside and swung into Hermosa Luna’s saddle.

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I took my place at the front of the procession and the parade began.

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Kids gasped in delight when Saige and Hermosa Luna pranced by. They were a great team, the confident cowgirl astride her dazzling white horse.

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The parade started in the old section of town where MJ, on the last float, played her violin (which she was calling her fiddle) and sang The Star Spangled Banner and other patriotic songs.

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I didn’t really know why Emily was up on a float at a Fourth of July parade — she wasn’t even American!

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We reached downtown, the halfway point. I stood straighter and smiled brighter. I hadn’t dropped the flag or done anything else that would ruin the parade!

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MJ put her fiddle away and let loose a very energetic version of Katy Perry’s Firework.

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Back at camp, an American flag had been set up as a backdrop at the photobooth.

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~Molly~

P.S. MJ’s birthday was July 3rd.

Life at Camp — Baking with MJ

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For Bakery Battles week at Camp Doll Diaries, we decided to do something a little different. Since I was the only baker at camp, there wouldn’t be any competition for me. And nobody except Caroline really knew how to bake, so I offered to teach everyone.

We gathered at a table in the kitchen, where the supplies were already laid out. I counted my students — one, two, three, four, five — and frowned. Saige, Isabelle, and Savannah were missing. Shrugging, I flipped through my cookbook. They’d turn up eventually.

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Holding the batter-stained book up for everyone to see, I told them, “We’re going to make the Peanut Butter and Chocolate Dome Cake.”

My students leaned in and gazed at the picture, licking their lips.

Molly looked up at me and said, “I’m allergic to peanuts, Counselor MJ.”

“Oh . . .” I glanced at the recipe. There was no way we could make it without peanut butter. “You can help us cook it, right?” A nod. “You and I can make brownies later,” I promised.

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Handing the cookbook to Molly, who started reading aloud, I showed Ivy how much peanut butter to put in the red mixing bowl.

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After Tracy had added the chocolate syrup to the concoction and Caroline had spooned in coco powder, the missing pupils dashed into the room. I found it odd that they were all wearing gray bottoms and ponytails. Not to mention that they were eying all of us suspiciously.

“Sorry we’re late.” Saige and her friends took a spot at the end of the table. “We were, uh, using the bathroom.” Savannah and Isabelle nodded.

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Emily plopped a spoonful of Nutella into the mix, then licked the spoon clean. “Here.” She slid the bowl across the table to Isabelle. “You can stir,” she offered.

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Isabelle wrapped her fingers around the spoon and stirred. Stirring was one of my favorite things about baking. Watching all the ingredients blend together to create a dough or filling or something else . . .

“We’re making Peanut Butter and Chocolate Dome Cake,” Caroline whispered to Izzy. The ballerina, still stirring, relayed the information to Saige and Savannah.

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Once the batter was ready and Saige had smoothed it out with the back of the spoon, I demonstrated how to arrange Nilla Wafers into a dome, the bottoms of the cookies stuck into the dough. Savannah understood immediately and, in the less than a minute, was done.

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 Before I put the food in the oven, I added the finishing touch: chocolate syrup drizzled over the cookies. Then I carefully picked the bowl up, making sure not to knock over the dome, and set it in the oven.

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While everyone chatted and sniffed the air, which was beginning to smell like chocolate and peanut butter, I chewed on my lip and reread the recipe. I’d never made a Peanut Butter and Chocolate Dome Cake before, but my friends didn’t know that. What if  it didn’t taste good? What if the cookies burned? Everyone would think I was a horrible baker, and while I’d hardly done any of the cooking, I’d helped each camper add an ingredient, which meant that if the treat was disgusting, it would be mostly my fault . . .

The timer dinged: “Miss Valdez, come check your food!” I raced over to the oven, but before I threw open the door, I squeezed my eyes shut. I didn’t want to see what the dome cake looked like. Slipping my hands into oven mitts, I pulled the cake out and walked back to the table. A round of gasps reached my ears as I set it down. But what kind of gasp is it? I wondered. It could be one of delight or one of horror.

Nervous, I opened one eye, then the other, fixed them on the food, and gasped.

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It was a gasp of delight. For in the bowl before me was a tower of beautiful, giant cookies.

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“Are they supposed to look like that?” asked Emily, a line of drool making its way down her chin.

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I snatched my cookbook up from the table and stared at the page. The picture showed a Peanut Butter and Chocolate Dome Cake, the Nilla Wafers coated in dark syrup, chocolate peanut butter filling peeking out from between the cookies. I shot a look at the treats in the bowl, comparing them with the picture. Nope. They definitely weren’t supposed to look like that. I shook my head.

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The bowl was passed around the table and each girl took one cookie from it.

“On three,” I said, scooping my cookie off the tabletop.

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And then I happened to glance to my right and saw that Ivy had taken her cookie apart.

“Wow!” I exclaimed, leaning over it. This was a great opportunity to study the food. “It looks like the chocolate syrup completely covered the Nilla Wafers, turning them that dark brown color, and the reason it’s not wet is because the syrup hardened in the oven. And the filling . . . half is peanut butter, the other half is Nutella and coco powder.

“Alright, on three.” And I began the countdown, the voices of the other girls joining mine. “One . . . Two . . . Three!”

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 I, along with everyone else (except for Molly, who remembered that she had a peanut allergy), raised a cookie to my lips and took a bite. And it was wonderful.

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“That was amazing!” Caroline wiped some crumbs off her chin. “Will you cook with us some other time, MJ?”

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I nodded, grinning. Teaching them to bake had been fun, despite my worrying and the food’s odd mutation. “Of course. Of course, I will.”

~MJ~

P.S. The theme at Camp Doll Diaries this week is Picnics, Parades and Patriotism! (Fourth of July stuff.) Vote for the doll that will tell this week’s Life at Camp!

P.P.S. The last What’s Up Wednesday is on July first!

P.P.P.S. The Peanut Butter and Chocolate Dome Cake incident was not the first food mutation . . . https://happyhouseofag.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/cooking-part-2-collab-post-with-josie/

P.P.P.P.S. This is the last P.S. Promise.

P.P.P.P.P.S. Oops. It appears my fingers were crossed.

Off to Camp Doll Diaries!

It’s June 1, and I bet that all of you know what that means: Camp Doll Diaries! My dolls have been talking nonstop about all the fun and adventures they’ve had in previous years, and everyone was ready to go to camp last month! Before I show you what the dolls’ first day of camp held, here’s the winner of Who Wore it Best . . .

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Savannah won by a landslide, with 27 votes total!

What do you think — should I do more Who Wore it Best posts?

OK, on to the photostory!

~Off to Camp Doll Diaries!~

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I sat forlornly on Ivy’s bed, watching as my adopted family rushed around, finishing their packing for Camp Doll Diaries. Stories about camp had been shared at dinnertime since April, and everyone was super-excited to go.

Everyone, that is, except me.

Sure, camp sounded great and all, but I was a little nervous. Who would my counselor be? Who would be in my cabin? What kind of activities would we do?

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I had finished packing first, so the only thing I could do was sit around. I’d offered to help my sisters, but I couldn’t really help them pack. I didn’t know what they wanted to bring or where the items were.

Emily was putting her scrapbook in the bag she and Molly were sharing; Molly was groping around in her bed, searching for her old doll; Caroline was on the floor, cuddling the little Siamese cat that didn’t have a name; Ivy was sorting out which books she was going to take.

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Ivy grabbed The Lightning Thief and placed it in her bag. With nothing else to do, I studied it. It was a white tote bag with the image of a smiling sun and the words “Camp Doll Diaries 2013” on it.

“That’s a cool bag, Ivy,” I commented, hoping to start a conversation.

“Thanks,” she replied, “but it’s not mine. It’s Tracy’s. She just let me borrow it for my books.” Ivy shoved the rest of her precious stories into the bag and zipped off.

Apparently talking to someone while they are packing is not really possible.

“Speaking of Tracy, has anyone seen her or MJ?” I asked the rest of my family.

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Saige ran up the stairs and stopped in front of me, the sounds of Isabelle shouting about jewelry drifting after her.

“They went to camp early, I think,” Saige told me. “Tracy wanted to give MJ a tour.”

Finally all the packing was done, and after some very touching good byes to pets, we all went to the bus stop.

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A special bus was waiting there: the Camp Doll Diaries Shuttle Bus. We all boarded and were on our way to camp.

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My stomach was already filled with nervous butterflies, and it didn’t help that the bus driver, who didn’t like kids, ran over every pothole and swerved back and forth and slammed on the brakes on purpose.

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An hour and a half of crazy driving later, we reached camp. The second the last girl got off the bus, the driver put all her weight on the gas peddle, shouting, “Not a pleasure to meet you!”

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We headed toward the registration desk, but stopped when we saw who was stationed behind it: Tracy and MJ.

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A sign beside the table proclaimed in brightly colored chalk, “Welcome to Camp Doll Diaries 2015!”

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“Uh, what are you doing?” Saige asked. “Where are the real workers, or did they trust you to check in campers or something?”

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“Something like that,” MJ said with a sly smile.

I wondered what they were up to. Nobody in their right mind would trust MJ and Tracy to do an important job.

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I walked up to the registration table. “So if you’re checking us in, what do we do?”

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“A better question is: why are you wearing a hat in June?” Tracy replied.

“Because I’d be a bit cold without it!”

“OK, OK,” Tracy said. “Do you have your registration forms?”

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Caroline stepped up and passed a stack of papers to Tracy, who handed them to MJ.

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MJ took the papers from her best friend and scanned them lightning fast. “Please make a line,” she called out.

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I was right next to the table, and Ivy was directly behind me, so the other girls stood single-file behind us.

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“Fill out one of these,” Tracy instructed, tapping a pile of papers titled “Camp Doll Diaries Camper Information.” I picked up a pencil and quickly dashed out some answers.

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I slid the paper across the table to Tracy and moved on to the next station, where I signed in. There were two lines for each camper — you wrote your name on one, and your cabin name on the other. But I didn’t know what cabin I was in, so after I’d written my name, I touched the second line and looked quizzically at Tracy.

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She met my eyes and then looked at MJ, who was reading the registration forms again. She whispered something in Tracy’s ear, then asked, “That OK?”

Tracy nodded and turned back to me.

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“You’re going to be in the Fire Frogs cabin,” she told me.

I wrote the information down and moved on.

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Markers and blank name tags were set up at the last station. Each name tag was strung on a different color of thread, and I picked a light blue one. There were three lines on the tag, but nothing told me what to write on each one, so I asked MJ.

“The first line is for your name, the second your cabin, and on the last one, you write how many years you’ve been to camp.”

“So . . . I write zero on the last line?”

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“Nope!” Tracy exclaimed, dashing out from behind the table and putting an arm around Saige and Caroline. “You see, us three have been to camp every year it’s been around. This is our third year, so we’re third year campers. You’re a first year camper.”

A tiny wistful sigh escaped me as I watched those three. They were so relaxed around each other.

They’re the original trio, I reminded myself. They’d been around each other for a very long time.

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I finished my name tag, making sure to write that I was a first year camper, and waited for everyone else to finish registering.

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After Molly and Emily, the last in line, had joined the group of campers walking around in a slow circle because they had nothing else to do, MJ and Tracy skipped out from behind their desk, wearing name tags. Name tags that had the word counselor on them.

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“Counselor?! Explain yourselves!” Emily demanded.

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“Oh, yeah, that’s right . . .” they murmured. Then, with broad smiles, they exclaimed, “We’re your counselors!”

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We stared in shock as MJ and Tracy continued to act like counselors, reading off of Camp Doll Diaries Rosters.

“My cabin is the Lil’ Rainbows,” MJ said. “If your hear your name, please gather on the right. Caroline, Isabelle, Saige, Ivy.”

Tracy read from her paper: “The girls in the Fire Frogs cabin are Savannah, Molly, and Emily.”

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The Lil’ Rainbows girls on the right, the Fire Frogs on the left, our counselors lead us on a tour of camp.

It had just started to rain when we arrived at the cabin area.

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MJ’s group rushed into their cabin and picked beds.

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The rest of us followed Tracy into the Fire Frogs cabin. While our cabin didn’t have bunk beds and the bedding didn’t match, there was an open space that would be perfect for mini performances a turning cartwheels.

We were going to have a campfire, but our counselors canceled it because of the rain. The promised that we would have one tomorrow if the weather was nice, and MJ offered to play her violin for us.

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A purple sign on the wall had the name of our cabin written on it, and a banner beneath read “Welcome Campers.”

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We all picked beds and unpacked some personal items.

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Everyone was beat from the exciting day, so we went to bed early. We didn’t even bother to change into our pjs. (When MJ texted Tracy with the message that “MJ doesn’t want to wear her pjs,” I couldn’t help but make a connection with the words “MJ” and “pj.” In my mind, I called the other counselor PJ MJ.)

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As I started to fall asleep, I reflected on my day. At first I had been nervous about going to camp, but now, even though I’d only had one day at Camp Doll Diaries, I was sure I’d be looking forward to going next year. Only one thing annoyed me: that fact that Tracy could tell me to go to bed and I’d have to.

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I thought about my best friend Cass. Perhaps she would be living with us by next summer, and I, a seasoned second year camper, would be able to tell her all about camp and give her a tour.

I fell asleep, dreaming about all the fun I’d have at Camp Doll Diaries.

Randomness

Hi!

I’ve had a bunch of pictures floating around on my mom’s computer, and I just wanted to do something with them, so here they are!

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Saige’s Christmas picture from 2013.

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Molly’s

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Caroline’s

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Emily’s

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Tracy’s (The thing wrapped around her arm is supposed to be a cast; she broke her arm.)

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Doll-sized Christmas cookies and milk for Santa! 😉

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Saige posing with some fake flowers at my church.

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Caroline as Elsa!

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A picture from an unfinished follow-up to *this* Camp Doll Diaries photostory.

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Emily! ❤

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Emily trying to get Chocolate Chip down from a tree 😀

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My mom gave me a tiny doll-sized snowman-building thingy! Caroline decided to build it. All the pieces it came with are spread out on the table.

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Two body parts and the arms, done!

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This is when she gave up. The nose and buttons/eyes wouldn’t stick 😛

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Ivy’s Fourth of July outfit.

Here are a few of my favorites from a photoshoot of Jillian (Hearts 4 Hearts Dell):

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Here’s a picture of Caroline I really like 🙂

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I played around with it on Picasa a bit.

B&W.

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Focal B&W.

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Soft focus.

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And now, to wrap this post up, a mini-photoshoot of Caroline!

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~Loren