American Girl Exceeds Expectations With Expanded Bitty Baby Line!

American Girl Exceeds Expectations With Expanded Bitty Baby Line!


Well, American Girl has done it again! Introduced a new line of dolls that exceeds expectations! Actually, it’s not a new line, per se, but an expanded one: Bitty Baby®. American Girl has come out with 11 different Bitty Baby dolls with various skin tones and hair- and eye-color combinations. Now your youngest child can have a look alike doll of her own!


Last month, I was invited to a party hosted by Jenny Ingram & Danielle Smith at the flagship store, American Girl Place, in Chicago. The party was held after hours in the café and, as an added bonus, attendees were invited to shop. Realizing that Lulu’s 10th birthday is coming up this month, I decided to pick up a few things for her collection. (By the way, so did Adam!) We may have actually gone a bit overboard with the shopping.

Party Goers Unite: Adam, Jenny, Danielle & Me!

Party Goers Unite: Adam, Jenny, Danielle & Me!

What I bought Lulu:


What Adam bought her:

Saige's Hot Air Balloon!

Saige’s Hot Air Balloon!















What Windy City Momma bought Me:

mollyFine, fine, I’ll admit it! I bought the Molly McIntyre doll. But I have a good reason! The Molly line will be archived at the end of the year. Look, I understand that I am an adult and have NO NEED for American Girl dolls but to my defense, I am still a little heartbroken that I didn’t buy the Samantha doll when I had the chance.



Little did I know that the express purpose of the party was to unveil the updated line of Bitty Babies!

So after I got the shopping spree under control and felt that I could focus on the party, I was immediately distracted by the impressive collection of bitty babies lining the table. “That’s funny,” I thought, “when we bought Lulu’s Bitty Baby few years ago, there weren’t so many choices of dolls.” Seven years ago, we selected the dark haired doll with a light complexion and brown eyes  because that was the doll that most closely resembled our daughter.   Now look at them!

As of TODAY (!) August 27th, 2013, families will have more choices for their younger children (recommended for ages 3 and up). With so many new options to choose from, children can experience that very special moment when he or she selects a Bitty Baby doll that’s just right—no settling for one that’s almost perfect. (I know that the dolls are marketed to girls but, to be quite honest, I don’t see a reason that a little boy can’t love a Bitty Baby as much or more than little girls, can you?) Also, the Bitty Baby doll comes dressed in a signature sleeper and has a special “wishing star” keepsake toy. As an added bonus, the Bitty Baby package also contains a book, “Bitty Baby and Me” the first in a series of five hardcover picture books that inspire fun ways to play.


If you are familiar with the previous line of Bitty Baby books, you may remember that they were really small (perfect for little hands) but not so easy to manage by Moms and Dads. It’s hard to read a story to a toddler when you can barely turn the page! Now, the Bitty Baby line of books has been revamped and includes beautiful illustrations. These larger picture books are filled with heartwarming adventures and are the perfect addition to any young child’s library.


So, did I get a new Bitty Baby? Yes, I did. This one has light brown hair, green eyes and is fair skinned. He looks remarkably like what I imagined Adam looked like when he was a baby. As soon as I saw that doll, I couldn’t help but fall in love with it. Wouldn’t you?

For more information, on the awesome things going on this summer and fall, please visit the American Girl website:

I was not paid for this post. But, I did receive one of the new Bitty Babies as a gift from attending the event.


Could the 2013 Kia Soul Be Our New Mate?

Could the 2013 Kia Soul Be Our New Mate?

Sad news on the car front.  My beloved Hyundai Santa Fe is falling apart. First it was the rust on the undercarriage.  Now it’s the seats: they’re shredding. Has the time come to trade in Betsy and get a new family car?  Well, I hoped that driving  2013 Kia Soul, aka “The Hamster Car,” would help me make up my mind.


Kickn' it back like a hamster?

Kicken back like a hamster?

My buddies at Drive STI loaned me the 2013 KIA Soul to try out.  First impressions?  It was a “hard” ride and felt “boxy.”  It has a mini SUV feel that definitely differed from the Mazda a3 and the Mitsubishi Outlander  I tried out earlier this spring. It has what is referred to as a “Tiger Nose” front grill, projection headlights (which are pretty cool when you are driving down a dark street late at night) and oversized rear tail lamps.  But I couldn’t help feeling that I was driving a large box.


A boxy car with a lot of room!

A boxy car with a lot of room!


While the seats do adjust for height, I just didn’t feel the same level of support that I have with the Santa Fe.  According to a few of my passengers, the car felt “stiff” and Lulu claimed that there must be “something wrong with the roads.”  What I think she was actually feeling was the difference in shock absorbers; she’s not used to the true feel of the road.  The layout is fairly simple for the latest iteration of SUVs: the Kia Soul has average steering wheel controls, power windows and door locks, a straight-forward center console, remote keyless entry and UVO Powered by Microsoft with Rear Camera Display.











Purple!  My favorite color!

Purple! My favorite color!








I really enjoyed the heated front seats (it was a chilly spring in Chicago) and the speakers that, should the driver choose to activate, change colors either randomly or to the beat of the music.



The best feature?  The ability to dart in and out of traffic.  City driving was so much easier with the Kia Soul!  Because we spend a lot of time in the city, particularly in the summer, I was impressed with the safety features that include air bags galore.  Once one recovered from the hardiness of the ride, it was comforting to know that KIA has taken the extra step to ensure consumer safety.  For the compact size of the car, we were impressed with the storage space.  Seats fold down and we were able to accommodate the significant summer of basil, petunia, tomato and cucumber plants I purchased in preparation for our summer garden, despite having to also haul Lulu and her three best buds to the farmer’s market with me.  Somehow, everything fit in the car!

Is the Kia Soul the next Keats Family Car?

We will not be buying a Kia Soul but it’s not due to its lack of coolness.  If this car is one thing, it’s cool.  From the running lights, the colored coordinated speaker lights and the trippin’ sound system, my four tween testers LOVED this car. I recommend this car if (a) you live in a city and parking is at a premium and (b) you don’t need to drive long distances.  While the fuel economy is above average for a small sized SUV (27 MPG/Combined), my family just didn’t find the car offered a comfortable ride for driving long distances.  And although the price of a fully loaded Kia Soul is less than $25,000, the reasonable price still isn’t enough to sway my family into considering the youthful car.



I guess Adam and I are beginning to show our age after all.


Disclosure: I am not a car person; I don’t review cars for a living.  But I am a mom who is concerned about the safety of her family, is budget conscience and also takes pride in have a cool “mom-mobile. ”  All opinions and views with regard to this car review, the company that loaned it to me or the vehicle manufacturer are entirely mine and were not influenced, edited or even reviewed by the companies prior to posting.