Monday, January 12, 2015

PHOTO FEATURE: ChiIL Mama's Adventures With American Girl Chicago and Grace Thomas' Welcome Party #OriginalPhotos


It was our great pleasure to welcome Grace Thomas, American Girl of the Year 2015 with a party at American Girl Place Chicago 1/2/15. Check out our slide show right here and our favorite photos below. We're still waiting for our promised Grace Thomas doll to arrive and will have a full review and more photo filled features then. 

Check back with ChiIL Mama early and often. We'll be bringing you lots more info on American Girl events, activities, and new releases all year. We're thrilled that American Girl is partnering up with No Kid Hungry to help end childhood hunger and raise awareness and donations! Check out the full details below on how you can help out.

Click here for our past Grace Thomas coverage.

Check out our full set of 
Grace's Welcome Party photos 
in the slide show here:

— Partnership with No Kid Hungry® to Help End Childhood Hunger—     

Disclosure: ChiIL Mama has been pleased to partner up with American Girl since 2011. We've been given dolls, books, magazines and experiences for review purposes and for giveaways for our readers. As always, all opinions are our own.

Welcome Grace Thomas™, 2015 Girl of the Year! Grace, an avid baker with an entrepreneurial spirit, is motivated to follow her dream of starting a baking business after an inspiring trip to Paris. Available for only one year, the Grace collection includes a beautiful 18-inch Grace doll featuring long dark-brown hair and sparkling blue eyes, plus several French-inspired outfits, accessories, and toys that reflect her interests, such as the premium French Bakery Set with more than 60 pieces! 

ChiIL Mama's daughter, Sage, and her American Girl Doll, Saige, arrive at American Girl Place Chicago to welcome the new girl in town, Grace Thomas, Girl of the Year 2015!

Sage enjoyed making a FREE luggage tag at the Grace themed craft table. 

The 2015 Girl of the Year books—GraceGrace Stirs It Up, and Grace Makes It Great—written by Mary Casanova (*one of our favorite AG authors here at ChiIL Mama), introduce girls to an inventive, enthusiastic nine-year-old girl who is full of big ideas. A planner at heart, Grace finds the courage to step outside her comfort zone during a trip to Paris that broadens her perspective and challenges her to try new things. Back home, Grace uses her newfound courage and culinary skills to start her own French baking business with her two best friends. Learning to combine their talents, Grace and her friends mix together some great ideas that, ultimately, lead to many sweet rewards. To bring Grace’s story to life, a full-length movie will debut on DVD from Universal Studios Home Entertainment in summer 2015. 

Great photo op spots abound. La Patisserie is a favorite!

Grace's welcome party wouldn't be complete without the fun scavenger hunt with creative clues scattered throughout the top floor. This year features a sweet mini notebook to write the answers in. 

Chicago and New York are THE only American Girl Stores to get Grace's Sweet Shop. Ooooo La La. Come check it out. These Parisian treats are almost too cute to eat. 

For Goodness, Bake!
To further Grace’s message that working together is the best recipe for success, American Girl has created For Goodness, Bake!, a year-long fund-raising initiative in support of No Kid Hungry®, the campaign to end childhood hunger in America from Share Our Strength®. 

Because 1 in 5 children struggles with hunger in the United States, American Girl is helping ensure all children get the healthy food they need every day. For every $1 a girl raises, No Kid Hungry can connect a child with ten additional meals.

*To kick off the initiative, American Girl has donated $50,000 to No Kid Hungry, and it invites customers to also donate directly at and at American Girl retail stores.* 

Parents can visit to learn more about the initiative, to register for the Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry, and be entered into the For Goodness, Bake! sweepstakes for the chance to win one of 41 Grace prize packages.  

Here at ChiIL Mama we're ardent advocates of volunteer work and philanthropy and we teach our kids the value of helping others in a hands on way. We've partnered up with No Kid Hungry before and we're more than happy to spread the word.

American Girl is great about giving back to children in need. This Christmas they offered to donate an American Girl doll for every one purchased.

With your help, American Girl donated an impressive 25,000 dolls to the Children's Hospital Association!

Other Grace-related initiatives being held throughout the year include the following:

  • In the Mix with Grace Online Journal: Throughout the year, American Girl fans will get to know Grace through her weekly “In the Mix” online travel and baking journal, located on The journal will feature a variety of content, including written posts, videos, recipes, photos, polls, guest writers, and user-generated content to connect girls with Grace’s world. 
  • Sur La Table Cooking Classes: Starting in March 2015, girls can join American Girl and Sur La Table for Grace-themed French baking classes. The two-hour classes, offered at more than 50 Sur La Table locations nationwide, will give girls hands-on instruction on how to make French pastries. To learn more about the classes, please visit
  • Grace Retail Events: Girls can take part in free and paid Grace-related events throughout the year. For more details on the in-store events, visit
  • Grace Paid App and Online Play: Girls can unlock the secrets to making French pastries with Grace’s exclusive paid app, Grace Sweet Shop. To learn more, search “American Girl” at the Apple App Store. Girls can also visit for Grace book excerpts, movie-related content, games, e-cards, and much more.

The Grace collection is now available through American Girl’s catalogue; at; at all American Girl retail locations nationwide; and at American Girl specialty boutiques within Canada’s Indigo Books & Music stores in Toronto, Vancouver, and Ottawa. The Grace books can also be purchased through retail and online booksellers. 

To learn more about Grace and the Girl of the Year™ line, go to, Facebook at, Twitter at, Pinterest at, and American Girl’s Instagram page at To request a free American Girl catalogue, call 1-800-845-0005.

American Girl is a premium brand for girls and a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAT, The Mattel family of companies is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture, and marketing of toys and family products. Since its inception in 1986, American Girl has been devoted to celebrating girls ages 3 to 12 through high-quality dolls and accessories, books, clothes, movies, and unforgettable experiences. Best-selling lines include BeForever™, My American Girl™, Girl of the Year™, and Bitty Baby™. Headquartered in Middleton, WI, the company sells products exclusively through its award-winning catalogue, on, and in its experiential retail stores. By inspiring girls to be their best, American Girl has earned the loyalty of millions of girls and the praise and trust of parents and educators. 

No child should grow up hungry in America, but 1 in 5 children struggles with hunger. Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is ending childhood hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day. No Kid Hungry connects kids in need to effective nutrition programs like school breakfast and summer meals and teaches low-income families to cook healthy, affordable meals. This work is accomplished through the No Kid Hungry network, made up of private citizens, public officials, nonprofits, business leaders, and others providing innovative hunger solutions in their communities. Join us at

More of Our Favorite Photos:

This view of American Girl Place Chicago makes me want to build a fabulous library like this in my home... or move in and live here! 

Beyond the holidays: American Girl Magazine is the gift that keeps on surprising and delighting every month! We've enjoyed ours for years.

Sage saves her allowance to collect American Girl dogs. She has just about all of them so far and can't wait to add Grace's adorable pup to her collection!

It's fun to customize a tee shirt for your doll and/or your real life American Girl according to their interests! Sage picked I heart gymnastics. Anyone surprised?

Paris not in the budget this year? You can feel like you've traveled far and had an adventure without leaving Chicago, with a visit to Grace's cute Parisian themed Sweet Shop and the American Girl Cafe!



Check out the attention to detail in Grace's Baking Set!

 American Girl has super cute shop windows on Michigan Avenue's Mag Mile Shopping Mecca!

What we wish for all ChiIL Mama's readers 
in Chi, IL and beyond for 2015: 

And adventures!

Disclosure: Once again, ChiIL Mama has been pleased to partner up with American Girl since 2011. We've been given dolls, books, magazines and experiences for review purposes and for giveaways for our readers. As always, all opinions are our own.


  1. What an all-inclusive and amazing set of photos of this very special event!

  2. Oh I am loving your pictures & your adventures of the day! We are going to the AG Store in NYC next month as a surprise for my daughter. I can't wait! #TypeAParent

  3. Love your blog. Thank you for taking us to American Girl Doll Chicago with You in the photos. My Daughter is 4 with 33 American Girls Dolls after giving 5 away during the Holidays. We love Grace's cart. I wish they made a coat this year for the Girls to match Grace's? Seems like they missed out on not making more stuff for the Girls to match?