Meet Melody Ellison - American Girl's New BeForever Character

American Girl's New BeForever Character

American Girl is excited to announce the official debut of its newest BeForever character, Melody Ellison, TODAY, Thursday, August 25. In her stories, Melody, a 9-year old girl growing up in Detroit, Michigan, during the civil rights movement of the 1960s, lifts her voice for equality and helps bring this significant time in America's history to life for girls today.

Meet Melody Ellison - American Girl's New BeForever Character

Melody Ellison

Melody Ellison, the newest character to join American Girl’s popular BeForever line, is a hopeful and positive 9 year-old girl growing up during a time that is completely different from what my daughters experience in society today. But Melody is so relatable to young girls in this generation because young girls face so many different types of discrimination today.

Meet Melody Ellison - American Girl's New BeForever Character

Like my daughters, Melody loves to sing and blend her voice with others in harmony. My daughters, who are young violinists, really have a connection to music, just like Melody. After Melody saw some of her family members face racial discrimination and after experiencing it herself, Melody decides to add her voice to those who are speaking up about inequality.

Meet Melody Ellison - American Girl's New BeForever Character

This lesson is so important to teach our children today, just like it was during the civil rights movement. It is vital to teach our young children that they need to maintain and protect civil rights just as much as adults do. Civil rights protect every one of us, not just some of us.

Melody Ellison

Melody Ellison is a beautiful 18-inch doll with dark brown eyes and black hair. Melody comes in a bright blue-and-green fun houndstooth dress, a blue ribbon headband, and shiny blue patent shoes. Also included is No Ordinary Sound, the first volume in Melody’s classic series, by Denise Lewis Patrick.

Meet Melody Ellison - American Girl's New BeForever Character

Starting TODAY, August 25, the Melody doll and all her related products are available at; at all American Girl retail locations nationwide; through American Girl’s catalogue; and at American Girl specialty boutiques at select Indigo™ and Chapters™ in Canada. The Melody books can also be purchased through retail and online booksellers.

Melody joins her other historical American Girl doll friends that have been made in the last 30 years. Ensuring the historical accuracy and cultural authenticity of Melody's story and product collection was imperative to American Girl. They worked for two years with a six-member advisory board that included Gloria House, Juanita Moore, Rebecca de Schweinitz, Thomas J. Sugrue, the late civil rights activist Julian Bond and JoAnn Watson. This advisory team reviewed and provided input on all aspects of Melody's development—from the doll, books, outfits, accessories, issues, and story setting.

Here is a video of me surprising my daughters with the NEW BeForever American Girl Doll Melody Ellison:

Also available to enjoy with the Melody doll is her Bed & Bedding and bedroom accessories, a Motown inspired Recording Studio that plays and records music and a Microphone Set, her Table & Chairs and a Block Party Set, Melody's Terrier Dog, Bo, a historically authentic Fancy Dress, Holiday Outfit, and Fancy Coat, Play Outfit, Pajamas and a Hairstyling Set and Accessories, and a fancy dress.

Meet Melody Ellison - American Girl's New BeForever Character

Lift Your Voice with Melody Campaign

To coincide with Melody's debut, American Girl is launching the Lift Your Voice with Melody campaign. Last Saturday, August 20, fans were able to watch the Lift Your Voice with Melody video at American Girl (DOT) com here. Any fans who visited were then able to share their own inspiring videos and photos on how they are making difference, using #LiftYourVoice.

Be sure to visit American Girl (DOT) com and share your inspiring videos and photos with American Girl and don't forget to use the hashtag #LiftYourVoice.

American Girl Melody Retail Stores Events

Beginning Friday, August 26, American Girl retail stores are hosting free Melody-inspired events geared for girls ages 8 and up that include a free craft, 1960s music, food, and a free gift. More details are available here. If you live near an American Girl retail store, I encourage you to visit with your daughter(s).

We have been fortunate to visit a number of times when a new doll is introduced and the Chicago American Girl Place location always has the most amazing events planned. Melody’s Summer Block Party will be held at select store locations on August 26th, 27th and 28th. Girls will get to meet Melody and take home a special Melody inspired doll tee (while supplies last) and enjoy some fun crafts.

Melody Learning Materials


There are free Melody learning material downloads for parents and teachers. As well as Melody Learning and Reader Discussion Guides, which explore themes and issues from the 1960s. These are all available here.

Meet Melody Ellison - American Girl's New BeForever Character

Melody Ellison American Girl Doll Giveaway

Now, I have ONE Melody Ellison American Girl Doll to giveaway to one lucky reader! The Melody doll, which sells for $115, comes with a hound's-tooth tri-colored dress, matching headband, patent blue shoes, white socks and underwear, and a paperback book, "No Ordinary Sound". This is the perfect giveaway for that special little girl in your life or maybe you’re an American Girl Doll collector

Please enter using the Giveaway Tools form below. You must be a U.S. resident and at least 18-years-old to enter and win. Winner will be contacted via email after the close of the giveaway. Please allow 3-6 weeks for prize delivery. The winner will have 24hrs. to get back to me with mailing info. All entries will be verified. All items will be mailed from the Sponsor. US ONLY!!!

Do you have an unforgettable American Girl Doll moment to share with me?

Thank you to American Girl Doll for gifting us with Melody. We can't wait to share our images ad videos for the #LiftYourVoice campaign.  All opinions are my own. All images courtesy of American Girl Doll Place and used with permission.

Ad Back to School Lunches for Picky Eaters

If you are like me, you are dreading the thought of the 5:30 am blaring alarm waking you up after sleeping late all summer long. I will have to get up and get my three kids off to school, all three with lunches in hand.

It's almost back-to-school time, which means, I'm gearing up for back-to-school lunches. None of my children have ever attended a school that offered hot lunch, so I have always needed to pack a lunch for them. This year my son will be attending a school that offers hot lunch and this will be our first experience with school lunches.

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Tomato, Cucumber, Avocado Salad

Yesterday I posted about all the snacks we eat while streaming, but I don't think I have ever posted this oh-so-easy and oh-so-delicious recipe for the salad.

It's the end of summer and my garden is overflowing with the long waited for tomatoes and cucumbers that take for-ever to grow here in the midwest. (plus, I had a late start on my garden this year because we were on vacation for half of June).

Here in the midwest, August tends to be pretty steamy and hot and very humid. Too hot and humid to turn the oven on and cook. Which I usually do not do anyway, because in the summer months, I'm outdoor grilling everyday.

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Coming Together Over Food, Music & #Netflix

The best moments happen when my family comes together. My little family, the extended family and the whole gang of us. Great moments occur and I can say that usually food, music and entertainment play a huge parts of these momentous occasions.

For instance whenever I catch a whiff of lavender, I always think of my grandmother. Or when I hear an old song on the radio, I instantly think

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Pronto Penne Pasta with Kale & Mushrooms

I don't know about you, but my menu planning shifts and changes a bit once school begins. I have been gearing up for back to school meals and Barilla pasta and sauces work great for my busy family. This delicious Pronto Penne Pasta with Kale & Mushrooms recipe is made with kale and mushrooms that my family simply loves. The Barilla Pronto Penne Pasta and Barilla sauces are perfect for busy families like mine.

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WellieWishers from American Girl

What does every little girl want? A best friend, of course! A new friend is all a little girl could ever hope for. America Girl Doll delivers five new friends with their new WellieWishers line of dolls.

We are so fortunate that we live near the city and can pop right downtown to the American Girl Doll Store in Chicago. We regularly have tea there and were so excited to be invited to view the new WellieWishers and have lunch with a bunch of our friends in the area.

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Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes

Last week I took my children out for a late breakfast as we had just seen a play, The Velveteen Rabbit, and we were near one of our favorite breakfast locations . . . that is actually not anywhere near, where we live . . . so it was a special treat to see a play AND to get to eat breakfast at one of our favorite restaurants.

My kids are pretty predictable at restaurants and basically order the same exact thing every single time. And, I could say the same for myself. I don't usually try anything new, but stick to what I know I like.

However, this time around I saw something new and was intrigued. Intrigued and hungry, so I changed up from what I usually order and picked this something new. Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes.

I am pretty picky about my pancakes in that I don't like them to be large and flat. Do you know what kind of shape I am speaking about? I prefer my pancakes to be small and fluffy. really, really fluffy!

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Schleich Horse Club

Ever since my youngest daughter was a toddler, she has been in awe of horses. We live near a couple of horse farms and each day we would take a walk and feed the horses some apples and flowers. If I didn't take her to the visit horses, she would cry.

When she turned four years old, the only thing she requested was a real horse. I did the next best thing and signed her up for horse riding lessons. At four years old (and a few days), she got up on her first pony and was in heaven. She took to riding perfectly, even though she had to be led around by the reins and her instructor, she loved riding and the pony.

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Strawberry Jalapeno No Churn Ice Cream

We are in the height of summer here in Chicago and all that is on our minds this week is ice cream. During the steaming July months, the freezer should be loaded with ice cream. My freezer was getting low on ice cream, so I decided to make all the ice cream I could with some amazing fresh fruits from the markets.

Do you know you don't need an ice cream maker to make ice cream?? This recipe is all about strawberries, jalapenos and cooling off. This Strawberry Jalapeno No Churn Ice Cream will cure all your summer cravings. Sweet, cold and spicy - all in one lick.

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Life is a Bold Adventure

“Freedom lies in being bold.” Robert Frost

I think I look to summertime the most of all the seasons. A relaxed routine and a slower pace of the day. I am not focused on time, a calendar or appointments and schedules. I like to think of summer as a stress-free zone and I fully take advantage of the summer season. I have quotes from my favorites readings that I like to think about during the day to keep my life as one big bold adventure. 

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The 5 Best Summer TV Shows

I have been on a bit of a British binge of late with Netflix. My son told me the other day I need to be grounded from all things British. I don't know what the draw is for me, perhaps my love of history. But I do love all these period shows that Netflix is currently streaming. My summer nights have been filled with British and Irish accents.

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Watkins Glen State Park: Little Known Facts You Wish You Knew

When we were planning our family vacation to the east of our nation this year, we were including major cities . . . Washington, DC, Philadelphia, New York and Niagara Falls. There would be long, boring drives between the cities and I knew we would need a respite from skyscapers and museums at some point.

Whilst perusing maps of routes we would be driving I scoured for state parks and discovered Watkins Glen State Park. Right in between New York and Niagara and right along our driving route. This was a last minute add-in and I changed our schedule around a bit, taking a day away from New York City and Philadelphia, but it was totally worth it.

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