Friday, December 19, 2008

Mrs. Green's Peanut-Butter-Chocolate-Chip Cookies

Here is the recipe for Stephanie's mom's peanut-butter-chocolate-chip cookies. Becky, let me know if you decide to make these! They sound really good and I want to make them myself. These recipes can all be found in the Super Sleepover Guide. It's a fun book! There's recipes and tips for throwing your own sleepover.

Mrs. Green's Peanut-Butter-Chocolate-Chip Cookies

1/2 cup margarine or butter, left out to get soft
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter or margarine. Add the peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar, egg and vanilla. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ones until everything is mixed together. Add the chocolate chips and mix them in with a spoon. Wash your hands. Then split the dough in two, and on a clean surface, roll each half with clean hands until it is a tube 1 1/2 inches in diameter. (It will look like a peanut-butter-chocolate-chip snake! Lauren) Wrap in waxed paper and chill in the refrigerator for at least three hours. Unwrap and cut into slices 1/4 inch thick. Place on a slightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Makes about 5 dozen medium-sized cookies.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

#27 Where's Patti?

This recap is for Nikki ( who mentioned on one of my posts awhile ago that this is her favorite Sleepover Friends book. At the time, I didn't know which book she was talking about. Since I got this one recently and finally figured it out, I thought I'd do the recap now.

Lauren, Kate, Stephanie and Patti are going to Maine to visit Stephanie's grandma, Nana. Not to ruin the surprise, but Nana remarried in book #25.

The girls are flying to Crab Island on a seaplane, and Lauren is freaked out. The girls land safely and Nana is there to greet them. Patti brought along a book, Birds of the Northeast, and is all excited about seeing birds. According to Nana, there are several kids on the island who are around their age--twin boys and a girl named Mindy Sue. Nana and the girls head to see Dan (Nana's new husband) and his friend compete in a sloop race. She tells the girls about all the fun activities going on, like a sand castle contest and kite flying contest. The girls are all excited to participate. There's also a clambake and a dance.

After the race, the girls meet the Tyler twins, John and Fred. They don't look anything alike and Lauren describes them as "two short twerps with freckles and too much energy." The twins say they are hoping to win the most points in the contest so they can win a Sunfish, which is a boat. They already won a race earlier in the day, and are hoping to win both the kite-flying and sandcastle contests. The twins are not happy to find out that the Sleepover Friends, who are "off-islanders," are entered in those contests as well.

Just then, Mindy Sue shows up. She's about Lauren's height, with long straight hair parted in the middle and bangs. Lauren observes that she must take ballet because she has incredibly perfect posture. She's wearing a great-looking yellow wool cape with a hood and bright green sweats. As Mindy Sue introduces herself, they notice Patti has disappeared!

The girls meet the older Tyler brother, Robert, who is in high school. Stephanie thinks he is much better looking than the twins. He's tall, with reddish-brown hair brushed to one side, big brown eyes, a golden-brown tan and no freckles.

Nana, Stephanie, Kate and Lauren head back to the car, where Patti is sitting on the hood, looking at her bird book. When they ask her where she went, Patti makes up a lame story about seeing a fulmar and wanting to check in the book to make sure. They all head to the house, where the girls get to stay in the attic--apparently Nana and Dan had it remodeled just for them! As the girls are looking out the window, they see the Tyler twins, who smirk and give them a V for victory. The girls eat lunch--beef stew and Nana's homemade Boston brown bread. Then they get out their kite. It's a huge red box kite.

They head to the beach for the kite flying contest. Lauren is in charge of holding the spool of string and running, Patti will hold the kite up in the air, Stephanie will help Patti, and Kate will give directions. As they get the kite up in the air, Mindy Sue shows up and Patti disappears again. The girls are doing pretty well with their kite but it's really windy and next thing they know, their kite crashes into the Tyler twins' kite. They all watch as the kites land in the water. The Tyler boys are furious. The girls end up winning a trophy for having the largest kite.

As the girls head back to the car, they spot Patti sitting by a rock, bird watching again. However, Lauren observes that Patti doesn't really seem to be bird watching, she seems to be hiding. Patti claims that she saw a petrel and wanted to look in her book, which is why she ran off again. She also says she got sand in her eyes and that is why she left. Stephanie thinks Patti cares more about the birds than them, and acts all pissy about it.

For dinner, Nana makes chicken and dumplings and apple pandowdy. (I have no idea what apple pandowdy is and I'm too lazy to look it up). After dinner they all head upstairs and go to sleep. During the night, Lauren wakes up from a dream and notices Patti leaning out the window into the cold wind, which she thinks is odd.

The next morning, they have scrambled eggs and fresh cinnamon rolls. Then they talk strategy for their sand castle. They decide to build a big sandcastle and find all sorts of buckets and tools to use. They head to the beach and get started. As they are working on the sandcastle, Mindy Sue and her friend Jane show up, and Patti disappears again. The girls figure Patti is off chasing birds. However, Jane tells the girls that Patti can't possibly be looking for petrels or other shore birds, because it's the wrong time of year and the birds are all out at sea.

The girls have no idea what is up with Patti. Then Dan shows up. Nana drove Patti back to the house because she wasn't feeling well. They all drink some hot chocolate. When they go home for lunch, Patti is taking a nap. Nana says she has a bad headache and not to bother her. After lunch, the girls head back to the beach to work on their sandcastle some more.

That night is the dance, and they all talk about what they are going to wear. Kate: denim skirt and purple tights. Lauren: new turquoise sweatshirt with pink & yellow splotches on it. Stephanie: red and black striped wool pants. Mindy Sue asks if Patti will be going since she hasn't even met her yet, but they don't know if she'll be feeling up to it. However, Patti ends up going because if she stayed home, Nana would have to stay home with her, and she doesn't want to ruin her fun.

They head inside and there's lots going on. There's a refreshment table in the corner with two types of punch, and all kinds of cake, cookies and other snacks. There's a band and everyone is dancing. An old guy asks Kate to dance, a 7th grade boy asks Stephanie to dance, and a short 5th grader named Josh asks Lauren to dance. She recognizes him from the kite flying contest, where he won first place along with his sister. He points out his sister, Becky, who is dancing with Robert Tyler, the older Tyler boy who Stephanie thought was cute. Becky is a small, dainty girl with pink cheeks and curly dark hair. She had on a hot pink blazer, black jeans and black sneakers with lime green laces. Josh tells Lauren that his sister and Robert are going steady.

Lauren decides to go talk to Stephanie about Patti disappearing again. They get Kate and all head outside, where they find Patti waiting in the car again. They tell Patti they know why she keeps running off--it's because of the Tyler twins. Patti says no, she isn't upset about them... it's Mindy Sue. The girls are confused since Patti never even met Mindy Sue. Turns out, Patti and Mindy Sue were in the same 3rd grade class together. Mindy Sue used to make fun of Patti . She said Patti was too tall and too skinny, a bookworm and a baby, and that no one would like her because she's such a geek. Patti says she was afraid to tell them because she was worried they'd think it over and agree with Mindy Sue!

Didn't we just go over this in the last book?! Patti was all nervous about telling her friends that she was in the Quarks Club, because she thought they'd think she was a geek and not want to be her friend. And of course they don't care, and are still friends. Hasn't Patti learned anything?

Stephanie thinks maybe Mindy Sue was jealous of Patti and that is why she made fun of her. They assure Patti that 3rd grade was a long time ago (it was only 2 years ago--they are in 5th grade now!) and that Mindy Sue has changed. They all head back into the dance. However, Patti still refuses to see Mindy Sue.

During the night, there is a really bad thunderstorm. The next morning it's beautiful out, but it's too late--because of the storm, the tide wiped out most of the sandcastles. They grab some cranberry muffins and then head to the beach. Their sandcastle is gone and the girls are pretty bummed.

Mindy Sue shows up. Patti is actually there--she decided to stay and help with the sandcastle. At first, Mindy Sue doesn't even remember Patti. But Patti reminds her that they were in 3rd grade together. Mindy Sue is all "I was so jealous of this girl! She was the smartest kid in the whole school, she was tall--I was a total shrimp--our teacher loved her. She had everything!" Mindy Sue seems genuinely excited to see Patti again, and Patti is pleased and surprised, and realizes she overreacted.

The girls, including Mindy Sue and Jane, decide to join forces with the Tyler twins and build one really big castle since they don't have much time. The girls know how badly the Tylers want to win the boat. They end up building a sandcastle on a planet in outer space. (huh?!) In case you are wondering what that might look like: It was about Lauren's height, and twice as long as it was tall. Ramps crisscrossed the castle from one arched doorway to another. It had 15 towers of all sizes, and lots of round windows. It even had a flat launching pad for spaceships, like the one in a movie called Altair Three. Fred and Patti made a flying saucer from the big pottery plate on which Nana had brought their lunch (ham sandwiches).

A real architect goes around to judge the sandcastles. They end up winning first place! They are praised for their imagination and originality.

That night is the clambake. I've never been to a clambake but it sounds fun! The grown-ups dug a big pit in the sand, and the kids lined it with rocks and collected driftwood. They let the fire burn for awhile and then piled in clams, potatoes, apples, chicken, hamburgers, mussels, crabs, lobsters, hot dogs and sausages. They they packed the seaweed over and around all the food to steam it. As they waited for the food to cook, they sang songs and told ghost stories (maybe the Sleepover Friends told the story about the big white hand!) They all eat dinner together.

The next morning, Mindy Sue and the Tyler boys come over to see the girls off. Nana and Dan decided to drive the girls to the Portland airport so they don't have to take the seaplane again. Mindy Sue and Patti agree to stay in touch, and the boys tell the Sleepover Friends they'll teach them how to sail next time they come.

"Nothing's quite as good as the Sleepover Friends!" - Lauren.

Next up: Should I do #14 Lauren Takes Charge, or should I go back and recap all the books I didn't have before? I still need to do #1 Patti's Luck, #3 Kate's Surprise, #8 Lauren's Treasure, and #9 No More Sleepovers, Patti? Let me know what you'd like!

Friday, November 28, 2008

#13 Patti's Secret Wish

I’ve never said much about the covers of the Sleepover Friends books, but I have to mention this one. If you look at the books on the shelf, there is a Sleepover Friends book! How is that possible? ha. There’s also The Gymnasts and The Babysitters Club. Nevermind that these books would never be found in a college bookstore. It’s pretty cool though.

Lauren, Kate, Patti and Stephanie are getting back some papers they wrote for class. They had to either write about being an insect or a kitchen appliance. Of course, Lauren writes about a refrigerator. Stephanie also writes about a refrigerator. Kate writes about a praying mantis and Patti writes about a ladybug. They all do pretty well on their papers but their teacher, Mrs. Mead, asks to see Karla and Patti after school. Karla got an A+ on her paper, but the girls are worried Patti didn’t do so well and is in trouble. They wait til Patti gets out, and she tells them she has to redo her paper. They all want to help her, but Patti says she’ll work on it by herself and heads home. Stephanie, Lauren and Kate head to Stephanie’s house.

There’s a lot of construction going on at Stephanie’s house. They are having an addition built onto their house for the baby. Plus, there is something being built in the backyard (hmm… wonder what that could be.) Stephanie’s parents told her it was an office for her dad (but we all know it’s the "apartment" they give Stephanie for her birthday! This is the book where she gets it).

Stephanie tells them she is worried her parents have forgotten her birthday. They haven’t said a single word about a party or a present. Well, she’s getting the "apartment" for her present, and the Sleepover Friends are in on the surprise party—Stephanie’s dad is renting out the Pizza Palace and inviting all her friends.

As the girls are heading to the mall, they pass by the university and see Patti’s bike. The girls are wondering what is going on, since Patti told them she was going straight home to work on her paper. Then they see Patti, talking to an older guy. He’s in his 20s, with straight reddish-brown hair combed to one side, dark eyes, and a light tan. He’s wearing a bright-green cable sweater, old khakis, and white sneakers.

Later, at the Pizza Palace, they talk about Patti and the guy they saw her with. They figure that Patti has a crush on the college guy and are too embarrassed to tell them.

The next day at school, they try to get Patti to talk about the college guy, but she doesn’t get their hints and acts all jumpy. They feel bad, so they suggest going to the mall that night. Kate says they saw "a blue-and-yellow plaid sweater with matching denim pegged pants" that would look great on Patti. Patti gets flustered again and says she has to watch her brother after school.

Lauren, Stephanie and Kate decide to follow Patti after school. They decide to go inside the Bookloft, the university bookstore, and spy on Patti. They have to check their backpacks at the door, and are each given a plastic number. They head to the window and sure enough, the Mystery Man shows up! This time he is wearing a navy-blue sweater, a pink shirt, gray pleated pants and brown moccasins. The girls think he is so cute.

However, a tall, lanky girl with blonde hair runs up to Mystery Man and calls out his name—Jeff. She is wearing a long, dark-purple paisley dress, tights and ankle boots. Stephanie says she is stunning and looks like a model. Jeff and the girl hug and kiss right there on the sidewalk. The girls are so upset for Patti, because it turns out her college crush has a girlfriend! Then they spot Patti. They quickly grab books and put them up to hide their faces. Patti walks by the bookstore and takes out a small mirror and comb, and begins to comb her hair.

That evening, Kate’s mom takes Lauren, Stephanie, Kate and Kate’s little sister to get Chinese take-out. They order spring rolls, egg rolls, spare ribs in black bean sauce, sweet and sour shrimp, pork-fried rice, steamed dumplings and more (Lauren can’t remember). They take all that food, plus two giant size Dr Peppers and a platter of Kate’s super fudge upstairs. The girls decide to play Truth or Dare once Patti gets there, so she’ll hopefully tell them about her crush. When Patti arrives, Lauren notices that she smells funny, like she’s been at a hospital. The other girls don’t notice. They eat the Chinese food and Stephanie complains about her birthday some more. Kate says they’ll make her a cake for the next sleepover, but Patti says she can’t help because she’s busy.

The girls think Patti doesn’t want to hang out with them because she’d rather go to the university and see her crush. They decide to listen to the radio to hear the requests. During a break in music, there’s some announcements about various activities in town, and one of them is that the meeting of the Quarks is postponed. The dj makes fun of the club, saying maybe it’s for ducks—"quark, quark, quark!" The girls wonder what that word means, but Patti just murmurs that she doesn’t know.

Then it’s time for Truth or Dare. Stephanie gets dared to call Donald Foster. She pretends to be Wendy Rodwin, a snobby 6th grader from the video club, but the call gets disconnected. Turns out Kate’s sister unplugged the phone. Then Patti picks truth. Stephanie asks her who she thinks is the cutest guy she knows—of any age. Patti says Donald Foster! Then as Lauren sits down, something in her pocket pokes her. It’s the plastic number she got at the bookstore when she had her backpack checked. She tries to hide it, but Patti sees it. They watch a movie and then go to bed.

There’s a subplot about how the girls have to pick which guys to invite to Stephanie’s party, and they keep changing their mind. They finalize the list on Monday. On Tuesday, they go to Charlie’s Soda Fountain and order their regulars. I could go for a Coke float right now. They decide to go to Russell’s after school to order an ice cream cake for Stephanie’s birthday. Patti says she can’t go, and Kate is sick of her excuses. They are all getting tired of Patti’s secret life.

They go to Russell’s and order a red, black and white ice cream cake (strawberry, chocolate fudge and vanilla ice cream, with white frosting and chocolate sprinkles). Then Stephanie treats them all to raspberry turnovers, and they buy Dr Peppers at a deli across the street. They decide to go to the Wildlife Refuge to eat. While they’re there, they spot Patti and Jeff! Patti sees them and runs off, so the girls leave because they are pissed off at how secretive Patti is acting.

The next day, Patti doesn’t show up to ride bikes to school with them. Turns out she is sick. After school, Lauren and Kate go to Stephanie’s house. They see Stephanie’s annoying neighbor Walter. He tells them he saw them yesterday at the Refuge. They ask him why he was there, and it turns out Jeff is actually Mr. Murdock, a teacher for the Quarks Club. It’s a science club and it just started last week. They’ve been having a bunch of meetings to get organized. He lists off the people in the group—including Patti.

The girls head right to Patti’s house. They tell her they know about the Quarks Club. Patti admits that she didn’t tell them about it because she was worried they’d think she was a total geek, and not right for a Sleepover Friend. The girls tell her they know she is one of the smartest kids in school, and it doesn’t have anything to do with being a geek. Stephanie, Kate and Lauren admit that because Patti didn’t tell them about the Quarks, they thought Patti had a crush on Jeff/Mr. Murdock, and would rather chase him around than spend time with them. Patti starts laughing. I mean really, do they not know Patti very well?!

Everything is back to normal on Friday. They go to Stephanie’s house that night and have a little party. They eat the ice cream cake and give Stephanie her gift—a red-and-black corduroy jumper. Then they watch some scary movies and go to bed. The next morning, Stephanie’s parents make them blueberry pancakes for breakfast. There’s a tiny silver package tied with red ribbon sitting next to Stephanie’s plate. She opens it and inside is a key. Her parents tell her it’s a key to the little house in the backyard—it’s not her father’s office after all, it’s a playhouse for Stephanie! Her parents felt that with the baby coming, she’d like a place to get away from it all once in awhile. She’s not allowed to live out there, but she can hang out and have sleepovers there. Stephanie calls it her apartment and is already thinking of ways to decorate it in red, black and white. That afternoon is Stephanie’s surprise party at the Pizza Palace and Stephanie is definitely surprised.

Sleepover Friends forever!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

#12 Kate's Sleepover Disaster

My computer sucks, so I wasn’t able to post this last night.

It’s Wednesday after school, and the Sleepover Friends are at Stephanie’s house, discussing their upcoming trip to Walden. It’s time for the Riverhurst students to go visit the kids in Walden. The girls are eating peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and trying to decide what to pack. Stephanie is bringing lots of red, white and black clothes of course, including a black and white sweatshirt and red stretchpants. Kate complains that she tried packing the night before, but her little sister Melissa (aka Melissa the Monster) messed up everything and put on her clothes. Stephanie thinks Kate is too hard on Melissa, and that she should be flattered.

Molly Jones, who stayed with Stephanie when the Walden kids visited, calls to tell Stephanie where they’ll each be staying in Walden. Stephanie is staying with Annette, Lauren is staying with Rebecca, Patti is staying with Molly, and Kate is staying with a girl named Wanda. Wanda didn’t go to Riverhurst because it was during lambing time—her family raises sheep. Unfortunately for Kate, Wanda has 4 siblings. She is not thrilled about this, since she can barely put up with her own sister. Stephanie claims to have some great child-managing ideas but Kate is not impressed.

Stephanie gets a call from a stable, where their donkey, Sleepover, has been staying. Remember how Lauren entered all those contests when they thought Stephanie’s dad was going to lose his job, and they ended up with a burro instead? Well, they were able to find a stable to keep him at, but it turns out the donkey escaped and caused all kinds of damage to the owner’s house. He wants the burro out—now. The girls are worried, but luckily Rebecca calls and says her family can take the donkey since they live on a farm. Then she invites the girls to come a day earlier for a big sleepover.

The girls leave for Walden on Saturday morning. Kate wears a blue and yellow striped shirt, denim overalls and her blue leather sneakers. Lauren wears her favorite jeans, a blue-and-green rugby shirt, and silver hightops. I love Lauren’s silver hightops! Stephanie is wearing a red-and-black checked jumpsuit and short black boots. Stephanie’s dad is driving them to Walden, with Sleepover the donkey in a trailer. Donald, the kid who lives in the house between Kate and Lauren, jokes that the girls are joining a traveling circus.

The drive to Walden is 217 miles and should take at least 5 ½ hours. Lauren is hungry already, of course. Luckily, Stephanie brought along some snacks: caramel popcorn, mixed nuts and chocolate covered raisins, plus Patti brought some sugar cookies. It’s 9:10 in the morning! Lauren ends up falling asleep in the car for awhile, and dreams that she eats a huge farm dinner all by herself and gets fatter & fatter with each bite, so she ends up looking like the Goodyear blimp. (warning: there is a lot of food in this book!)

They decide to make a stop since Kate is feeling carsick (I would guess it’s more from eating all that junk food at 9am, but whatever). They stop at a gas station and go inside to get Dr Peppers and a double-dip fudge ripple ice cream cone for Patti. While they are in the store, Sleepover gets out. Patti uses her ice cream cone to get him back into the trailer, but they end up locking her in the trailer with him.

The rest of the drive is uneventful. They get to Rebecca’s house and take Sleepover to a barn. They meet Rebecca’s family, including her cute cousin Reggie, aka The Hunk.

Reggie has spiky blond hair, pale blue eyes, and a great smile. He’s the kind of guy everybody agrees is terrific-looking. That day he was wearing an electric-blue sweater, faded jeans, and work boots.

Wanda and her family show up, and the bratty kids cause all kinds of trouble. Unfortunately, Wanda’s mom is at the hospital with Wanda’s sick grandmother. Wanda’s mom is the one who usually keeps the family in line.

That night, they all sit down to dinner. There’s ham, a pot roast, a huge platter of fried chicken, 4 kinds of vegetables, fresh French fries, and 3 kinds of home-baked bread. Plus, coconut cake and lemon pie for dessert. After dinner, Rebecca’s family says the girls don’t have to help clean up, so they can get started on their slumber party. Oops, it’s a sleepover. Get it right!

The girls head to the house for their sleepover. Remember when the Walden girls visited and Rebecca told the scary story about the big white hand? Kate brings that up, and Rebecca tells them that the house burned down, but the shed is still standing on the property nearby. The girls know they have to be quiet at their sleepover because they are on a farm. Rebecca’s family has to go to bed early and wake up early. The girls head to the kitchen to get some snacks: Dr Pepper, Cheetos, Cheese Doodles and sour-cream potato chips. Then Lauren asks if she can raid the fridge! Lauren takes a little of everything: barbecued spare ribs, stuffed sweet potatoes, macaroni salad and more. Seriously, how does this girl eat so much?!

They head upstairs to eat, play Mad Libs and play Truth or Dare. Stephanie dares Lauren to go to the spooky old shed. They all go and are scared. They hear a tapping noise. Turns out—it’s Sleepover! As they are heading back to the barn, Stephanie thinks she sees wolves, freaks out, and runs away. It was actually Rebecca’s dogs. Stephanie falls into a pond and screams, waking everyone up.

The next morning, they have a big pancake breakfast. They discuss the problem with Sleepover and decide he’s bored.

The next morning, they all go to school together. Kate complains that Wanda’s father is too busy with the sheep and lets the kids get away with murder. Wanda is too nice, and Wanda’s older brother is too cool and grown-up to be bothered. Stephanie still thinks she can handle them, but Kate doubts her. On the way home from school, the bus stops suddenly—Sleepover got out again!

Rebecca and Lauren have some peach ice cream and then head over to Wanda’s house to support Kate. The house is a disaster. They all try to help clean up. Before they leave, Lauren decides to weigh herself on Wanda’s brother’s scale. Turns out, she has gained 6 pounds in the past 3 days! She decides—no more farm food!

The next morning, Lauren wakes up at 6am to go jogging. She skips the delicious blueberry muffins and sausage, and instead has half a grapefruit for breakfast. That day at school, Carol invites them all to a sleepover at her house, and says her dad will take them all to the circus. Lauren notices that Angela, Jenny Carlin’s best friend, is actually smiling and being nice. Kate finally caves in and asks Stephanie for help dealing with Wanda’s bratty siblings. She goes over to the house after school, while Rebecca and Lauren go to a cattle auction with Rebecca’s dad.
Kate is shocked to find out that whatever Stephanie did, worked! The kids are actually cleaning and helping out around the house!

That night for dinner, Lauren has a salad and one pork chop, skipping the potatoes, cornbread and cake. The next morning she goes jogging and is joined by Reggie, which she thinks is excellent. The next morning, 2 more boys join her. If only Jenny Carlin could see her now!

Thursday afternoon, the girls go for jelly doughnuts at the Doughnut Hole and Lauren has a diet Dr Pepper. Then they go to Star Confectionery for hot butterscotch sundaes and Lauren has some lemon yogurt. I’m sorry, but you’re on vacation!! It’s ok to indulge a little on vacation!

Friday morning on the bus, they notice that Wanda’s sister is wearing Stephanie’s black and white sweatshirt. Turns out, Stephanie bribed the kids to be good! However, Wanda’s brother Will disappears. He turns up at the circus, along with Sleepover the donkey, who escaped yet again. Turns out, Will wanted Stephanie to buy him a canoe and she said no. So Stephanie’s plan didn’t work out perfectly, but the kids are better behaved.

That night they all go to the circus. When the vendor comes around selling peanuts and popcorn, Lauren says no and admits that she gained 6 pounds. Turns out, Wanda’s brother fiddled with the scale! Lauren promptly orders a big bag of peanuts AND a big bag of popcorn, along with an extra-large Dr Pepper.

The circus starts and guess who has joined? Sleepover!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I promise a recap of #12 Kate's Sleepover Disaster tonight. Sorry for the delay! I was in Philly last week, visiting some friends. I also went to the New Kids on the Block concert! It was awesome. But the main reason for my lack of updates is the 2nd job. It is killing me. I was hired to work 3 days a week, and I've been getting scheduled for 4-5 days a week. I already have a full-time job and I write for a newspaper about once a month, so I never have any free time anymore! I tried to quit on Sunday but they wouldn't let me. ha. They agreed to put me down for only 3 days a week from now on, so I'm going to stay.

I have tonight off from the 2nd job, so I promise I will post a recap. In the meantime, please vote on my poll! Part of the reason I got the 2nd job was so I could save up to go on a really great trip next year. I need some motivation when I'm mopping the store at night. ha. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A few of you asked about the French foreign exchange student disaster, so I figured I'd write about that. Hopefully I'll be able to do the next recap tomorrow night. I never seem to have time anymore thanks to my new 2nd job, season 1 of Dexter on dvd, and taking naps when I can. ha.

When I was in 6th grade, I convinced my parents to let me participate in French Back to Back. They wouldn't let me go to France because they said I was too young, but we hosted a French student for 3 weeks. Since I didn't go to France, I was one of the last ones paired up. There were more French boys than girls participating in the program, so I got stuck with a boy. Back then, my friends and I were just starting to get interested in boys. I had my first crush in 6th grade. But I wasn't interested in having a French boy stay at our house. I wanted a girl, because I was convinced we would become best friends.

Well, we got Phillipe. He was probably the worst match possible for our family. He was into sports (soccer) while my family is all about studying. He refused to even try to talk to us. The French kids knew some English, and we were trying to learn French, but this kid would not even try to talk to me. He was weird. He refused to let my mom wash his clothes, he wouldn't eat the food she made (she once served corn with dinner & apparently that was a huge insult. I don't know, I love corn) and he would stare at my friends in class. Also, since we got stuck with a boy instead of a girl, we tried to get him and my brother to be friends, but they didn't get along at all. If I remember correctly, I think Phillipe hit my brother or something. I think my brother hated me for years for that!

One weekend, my family got to host one of the French girls, Sandrine, because her host family was going out of town and couldn't take her with them. We got along great! I only wish we had been paired together (we probably would have, if my parents had let me go to France!)

I think my family tried to keep in touch with Phillipe's family for about a year or so, but that was it. However, we do still keep in touch with some of the other families here that hosted French kids. It's funny that we still remember that, even though it was so long ago. I kinda even remember the French song we had to learn for the show we put on for the French kids. It was about a suitcase (valise) and listed all the things inside of it.

Oh, but one cool thing... Philippe brought us a bunch of French souvenirs when he came. One of the things he gave me was a bright colored sticker from the Eiffel Tower. Even though my French Back to Back experience wasn't what I hoped for, I was still hooked on France. I was so excited to learn French in high school and always dreamed of the day I would finally get to go to France. Well, I finally did--exactly 10 years later, in 1999. And, I got myself a colorful sticker from the Eiffel Tower, that is similar to the one Phillipe gave me.

Back to the Sleepover Friends... I bought a bunch more books on ebay. I am close to completing my collection!

#8 Lauren's Treasure
#14 Lauren Takes Charge
#17 Patti Gets Even
#18 Stephanie and the Magician
#26 The New Kate
#27 Where's Patti?
#33 Lauren's Double Disaster

Sunday, October 19, 2008

#11 Stephanie's Family Secret

It's Friday afternoon and school is almost over. Mrs. Mead, the girls' teacher, is taking down names of students who want to participate in the school's 5th grade talent show. Karla, who the girls think is the dullest girl in class, says she'd like to do a ballet routine. Lauren, who is busy hiding the magazine she is reading, wonders if Karla will wear a brown ballet outfit. Jenny Carlin, the girls' enemy, says she will play a clarinet solo. A few other people raise their hands. Then, Stephanie says she, Kate, Lauren and Patti will do something in the talent show! Lauren, Kate and Patti are not thrilled about this, but she talks them into it. After class, Stephanie comes up with an idea--they'll lip synch to a record, do a few dance steps and call themselves The Four Aces.

The sleepover that night is at Kate's house. Kate's dad takes them for Mexican take-out from a new restaurant, Pancho's Villa. Stephanie shows up late because she decides to have dinner with her parents since they've been acting weird. When she finally gets there, the girls try to guess what could be going on. Patti thinks Stephanie might be moving. Kate thinks Stephanie might be getting a present, like the time Stephanie's parents surprised her with a VCR. Stephanie recalls a movie they saw recently, where a guy loses his job and assumes that her father must have lost his job at the law firm. She said her dad mentioned a big meeting with his boss and figures that it was bad news. In the movie, the guy didn't want to upset his family so he'd get ready for work in the morning, hang out at the library all day and then come home at the regular time, so they'd think he was at work. Stephanie decides that they should all follow her dad on their bikes on Monday morning, and see where he goes. Kate is mad that they'll be late for school, but they all agree to do it.

Once all that is taken care of, they stuff themselves with Mexican food and then practice their routine for the talent show. They choose the song "I Wanna Be Your Girl" by the Polka Dots. Later on, they head downstairs for food. Lauren takes a bite of some mashed potatoes when Kate's little sister Melissa catches her. Turns out the mashed potatoes were really Melissa's map of the United States for a class project, and Lauren ate several states!

The girls listen to some dedications on the radio and they think their enemy Jenny Carlin might have called in one to Steven G. "from a secret admirer." They decide to call Jenny and pretend to be Steven's little sister to see if it was in fact Jenny. They make Lauren call, and Stephanie says she'll let Lauren wear her black jacket. Lauren bursts out laughing though, and Jenny figures out it's them. She vows to get even.

Monday morning, the girls go to Stephanie's house and wait for Mr. Green to leave the house. When he pulls out of the drieway, the girls follow behind him on their bikes. Unfortunately for them, they have to ride right past their school and Jenny sees them as they ride by. They continue to follow Stephanie's dad but since he's going pretty fast, only Patti and Lauren are able to keep up. They follow him all the way to a bank. Lauren goes inside but can't see the writing on the door where Mr. Green went. The other girls show up and Stephanie decides they have to go back in and try to find out what is going on. She asks a bank employee about opening up an account for a club at school. Kate asks about Mr. Stufano, whose office Mr. Green went into. Turns out, Mr. Stufano is a loan officer. The girls rush out of the bank. Stephanie is convinced her dad needs a loan because he's been unemployed for weeks already. The girls try to think of ways to earn money, such as a yard sale and entering contests in magazines.

I have to admit something here. When I reread this book a couple months ago, I decided to enter some contests as well! I could use the extra money and it sounded like a good idea. Most of the contests don't offer cash prizes, but there's some pretty cool stuff you can win. And the best part is that you can just enter contests online--no need to waste a stamp! I entered a ton of contests. Unfortunately I didn't win anything, but I'm going to continue looking for cool contests to enter. All thanks to the Sleepover Friends. ;) ha.

Anyway, the girls head to school and they are very late. They have to check in with the principal and their punishment is spending lunch in the principal's office. They also have to write a one page paper on why it's bad to be late for school.

The next day after school, Kate and Stephanie spend the afternoon getting stuff together for the yard sale while Lauren and Patti go through Lauren's mom's magazines to find contests to enter. They collect about 50 different contest entry forms, and Lauren says she will fill them out and mail them. The next afternoon, the girls go to Stephanie's house to see what she has decided to sell. Lauren is shocked to see what Stephanie is going to sell:

I couldn't believe what Stephanie had decided to sell! Her newest red sweatshirt with the big black squares; her red-and-white striped turtleneck sweater from a boutique in the city...and the black leather jacket, the one I was supposed to be wearing for calling Jenny Carlin on the phone!

She is also selling her black western belt, her beaded moccasins and her red leather pocketbook. Lauren offers to buy the jacket for $20 so "it'll stay in the family." Patti buys the belt and Kate buys a sweatshirt. The girls take the rest of the clothes and stuff to Kate's house, where they will be having the yard sale on Saturday. The girls are contributing some of their own stuff to sell. Then they make some posters. They stick star and rainbow stickers on the posters to brighten them up. Cute. Obviously they aren't too worried about money though, since they then go to Charlie's Soda Fountain for some double-dip pistachio cones, to Sweet Stuff for some chocolate-covered almonds and to the Pizza Palace for a slice of pepperoni pizza. At the Pizza Palace they run into some guys from their class and tell them about the yard sale. The guys ask if they can come over with their own stuff to sell, and the girls say yes.

At their Friday night sleepover, the girls go through their stuff and price it. They eat taco chips and bean dip, and a strawberry ice-cream chocolate-cookie pie. Yum! What are taco chips, though? They eat them a lot and I don't think I've ever had taco flavored chips. They sound good.

The yard sale is a huge success. However, when Lauren's and Kate's moms check out what the girls have for sale, they see all of the brand-new clothes Stephanie is trying to get rid of, and they call Stephanie's mom. Her mom comes right over and asks Stephanie why she is selling all of her new clothes. Stephanie's mom is very mad, and Stephanie ends up telling her that she knows her dad was borrowing money.

Turns out, Mr. Green didn't lose his job. The big news is--Mrs. Green is pregnant! The loan is to build an addition on the house.

The girls end up making $102.38 at the yard sale. Since Stephanie's family doesn't need the money after all, they decide to donate it to the Riverhurst Children's Hospital.

The 5th grade talent show is on Friday.

We were wearing denim minis, tights, crop-tops, and lots of bangles, and we'd pulled the top of our hair over in side ponytails, just like the Polka Dots.

Karla does, in fact, wear a brown leotard and tutu.

When it's Jenny's turn to perform, nothing happens. She tries to play her clarinet, but nothing comes out. She finally manages to squeak out a few notes, but it's pretty awful. Turns out, someone put a scarf from Henry and Larry's magic act, inside the clarinet. She assumes the Sleepover Friends did it. So when it's time for the Sleepover Friends to perform, Jenny switches the tape and instead of "I Wanna Be Your Girl," the tape plays Karla's ballet music!

Stephanie says to just do the dance steps they had practiced: spreading their arms out wide, hopping forward on one foot, hopping back and doing the moonwalk. Awesome. ha. The audience thinks they did it on purpose as a joke. Finally Larry and Henry stop the tape and they take their bows. Thanks to Jenny, they are the stars of Amateur Night.

That night, the sleepover is at Stephanie's house. Her parents take them all to Mimi's, an Italian restaurant. Lauren makes a pig of herself--stuffed clams, salad, pizza with everything except anchovies, and a butterscotch sundae.

The next morning, the girls are awakened by a strange noise. They go outside and find out that the Greens won a prize from a contest Lauren entered. Their prize is a DONKEY! Turns out Lauren filled out a form for Friends of the Burro, and now the Greens have adopted a donkey. If they give him back, the truck driver says the donkey will be killed. That is so sad! Mr. Green throws up his hands and says they'll keep him until they find a better place for him. The girls decide to name him Sleepover.

Next up (and I promise to not be such a slacker!) - #12 Kate's Sleepover Disaster. It's time for the Riverhurst students to go visit their new friends in Walden. It's my other favorite book. For some reason, I just love the idea of doing exchanges. Probably why I convinced my parents to let me do French Back to Back in 6th grade. Unfortunately they didn't let me go to France (they said I was too young) but we hosted a French boy for 3 weeks. It was definitely a disaster!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Kate's Chocolate Marshmallow Super-fudge

I haven't tried making this yet, because it seems a little complicated. I want to make it eventually though, because it sounds so good! In the Super Sleepover Guide there is another recipe by Kate called Four Star Brownies, and that sounds much easier to make. Basically, the directions are: Buy a box of brownie mix. Follow the instructions on the box. Throw in some nuts or candy. That is it! Sounds much easier to me! Of course, this fudge can't be that hard to make if a fictional 5th grader can make it. ha. Anyway, if any of you are up for a challenge & decide to make Kate's fudge, let me know!

Kate's Chocolate Marshmallow Super-fudge

2 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 can evaporated milk (5 oz.)
1 jar marshmallow cream (7 1/2 oz.)
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 package of semisweet chocolate pieces (12 oz.)

Put the sugar, butter or margarine, evaporated milk, marshmallow cream, and salt together in a large saucepan. Stir over low heat until blended. Turn heat up to medium, so that the mixture boils slowly. Stir constantly for about five minutes - the mixture will get thicker. To make sure that it is done, drop a tiny amount in a cup of cool water. It will hold together in a loose ball if it is done, and separate if it isn't. (Don't forget to keep stirring while you are experimenting!) Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate and vanilla. Keep stirring until chocolate is melted. Pour quickly into a buttered 9-by-9 inch pan. Smooth to the sides of the pan. Rest your stirring arm and let the fudge cool.

I am still anxiously waiting for the Sleepover Friends books I won on ebay to get here. I hate media mail! Up next is #11 Stephanie's Family Secret.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

#10 Lauren's Sleepover Exchange

Sorry I've been slacking. I was hoping I'd get #9 No More Sleepovers, Patti? so I could do that one. I am trying to keep the recaps in order. But it still hasn't shown up, so I'll have to do it later. This is my favorite Sleepover Friends book.

The students in Mrs. Mead's 5th grade class are doing an exchange with the 5th grade class at Walden Elementary school. Walden is a small farming town, about 200 miles from Riverhurst.
More Riverhurst students signed up than Walden students, so not everyone will get to host a student. The Sleepover Friends are hoping they'll all get to host someone, so they can have a big sleepover. They all draw names. Stephanie gets Molly Jones, Kate gets Darlene Kastner, Lauren gets Annette Hollis, and unfortunately Patti draws a blank slip of paper. Their enemy Jenny Carlin gets Rebecca Newman.
There's a sleepover that night at Stephanie's house. They eat sour cream & onion potato skins, Patti's Alaska dip, leftover Chinese spareribs, and Cherry Coke and Dr Pepper. In this book, Lauren describes Patti's dip as tuna, catsup, cream cheese and some other stuff mixed in a blender. Tuna and catsup? That sounds even grosser than the recipe in the Super Sleepover Guide. The girls are all watching movies, but Lauren is more interested in Body Talks, a book about body language. After the movie, the girls talk about their plans for when the Walden students get there. They plan to go on a bike tour of Riverhurst, go to Charlie's Soda Fountain, go to the school party, and have a sleepover at Patti's. Stephanie plans to take Molly shopping. Kate plans to rent her favorite movies for her & Darlene to watch. Kate's favorite movie is 50 years old, 3 1/2 hours long, in black and white, and entirely in Russian. What 5th grade girl would pick that as her favorite movie?? I've always thought the movie was probably Dr. Zhivago. We had to watch it in school once and I thought it was ok. Lauren plans to take Annette jogging and swimming. The girls all say they'll share their Walden girls with Patti since she doesn't get to host anyone.
On Sunday, Lauren spends the day getting ready for Annette's visit. She and her dad wash her brother's dog Bullwinkle, but Lauren doesn't have time to clean her room so she just throws stuff in her drawers and closet. Then she and Kate head over to the school to meet the Walden kids. Lauren wore her second best sweater, green with buttons down the left shoulder, black sweats and jogging shoes. A sweater and sweat pants? That doesn't seem like a good look to me. Kate wore a tshirt, a blue cardigan, and stone-washed jeans. When they get there, they meet up with Stephanie, who is wearing a bright-red cable-knit sweater, black denim overalls (to make the farm kids feel at home), and spotless white sneakers. How do you wear a sweater and overalls together? I wouldn't think you could wear a sweater underneath overalls (seems too bulky), but if she wore it over them, you wouldn't be able to tell they were overalls. Anyway, their enemy Jenny wore a bright pink jumpsuit with a matching pink ribbon in her hair. Lauren watches her talk to Mark Freedman and Pete Stone, and recalls the things she read about in the body language book.
The bus arrives and as each kid steps out, they find out who they are staying with. One of the boys, Reggie, is really cute. He has spiky blond hair, pale blue eyes, and a light tan. He wore shades on a cord, a brown bomber jacket, and "a great smile." Turns out he is the cousin of Rebecca Newman, who is staying with Jenny. Rebecca wore jeans, a green and yellow zigzagged sweater, and canvas boots. Molly, who is staying with Stephanie, has black hair in a braid and round glasses with red frames. She wore high-waisted black pants with yellow suspenders, a white sweatshirt with yellow polka dots, and yellow sneakers with a red stripe around the soles. Kate says they look like twins who were separated at birth--The Shopping Sisters.
There are 2 girls left. One is about Lauren's height, with short, wavy hair and kind of a bouncy step. She wore jeans and Mercury jogging shoes, just like Lauren's. Lauren hopes she is Annette, but unfortunately for her, she is Darlene, who is staying with Kate. Annette turns out to be the other girl, who is short and blonde, and is wearing a turquoise-blue sweater and skirt, pink tights, and loafers. Annette isn't very friendly, and she announces that she doesn't want to go out for pizza with the rest of the girls. So, she and Lauren go home. Annette asks Lauren how they'll get to school and Lauren says they're all going to ride bikes together. Annette says she can't because she was in a serious bike accident and can't get near one for 6 more months. As they walk inside, Lauren's brother's dog jumps on Annette and freaks her out. Then they go up to Lauren's room and Annette freaks out over Lauren's cat, Rocky. Kate calls later that night and is shocked to find out Lauren and Annette are cleaning Lauren's closet! Annette had opened the closet and seen everything Lauren threw in there. Kate tells her that the other Walden girls call Annette "Little Miss Muffet." Her dad is the superintendent of schools in Walden, so she had to go on the trip, but she's not friends with any of the other girls because she thinks she is too good for them. Kate says that Darlene told her she's never seen Annette ride a bike, so she doubts she really had a bike accident.
Lauren recalls an article she read in a magazine called The Dream Diet. To lose weight, you go to sleep. Wake up 7 days later and you've lost 20 pounds. I always thought that sounded like a great diet! I love to sleep. The Dream Diet is one of the things I remember most from the Sleepover Friends books. Lauren wishes she could fall asleep, wake up 7 days later and lose Annette.
The next day, they all go to school. At lunch, Rebecca Newman sits with Patti instead of with Jenny, her host. Jenny is furious. After lunch, some of the Walden students give speeches about life in Walden. Austin talks about his family's dairy farm.
After school, Lauren's mom tells her that Annette's mom called. Turns out, Annette doesn't know how to ride a bike. Annette is an only child and her parents are very overprotective. Lauren convinces Patti to come over and pretend to suck at baseball, so they can teach Annette how to play. Her plan works perfectly and they all have fun. Then, Rebecca shows up! She couldn't stand Jenny or her sidekick Angela, so she left and walked over to Patti's house. Patti's brother told her Patti was at Lauren's house, so she came over. They are about to start playing baseball but unfortunately, Jenny and Angela show up. Bullwinkle gets loose and jumps on Jenny. When Lauren's older brother Roger comes out to get Bullwinkle, Jenny gets all flirty with him, much to the disgust of Lauren. After everyone leaves, Annette confronts Lauren about her mom calling, and says she figured out that Patti wasn't actually bad at baseball. Lauren decides she'll teach Annette how to ride a bike.
At school the next day, Jenny continues to be annoying and Rebecca continues to ignore her. In class they learn about Carol's family's pig farm, and the antique apples that Jim's family sells. Turns out the apples are not really antique, it's the trees that are. After school, they get Dr Peppers and cheese doodles, and teach Annette to ride a bike. Annette learns quickly. Then Rebecca shows up--she escaped from Jenny's house again. Lauren's mom calls Jenny's mom and tells her that Rebecca and Jenny don't seem to be getting along so Rebecca will be staying with Patti.
The next day at school, Lauren hides the Body Talks book in Jenny's desk, thinking maybe Jenny will learn something about her ridiculous body language. In class, Tommy talks about how his dad is a vet, and Darlene says her family grows fancy fruits and vegetables for restaurants, sells fresh pies in the summer, and runs a cross-country ski business on their land in the winter. After school, they all ride their bikes around Riverhurst. They go to Tully's Fish Market, which has tanks full of live lobsters and clams and sea urchins--"the closest thing we've got to Sea World." (doesn't sound even remotely close to me). Then they go to Munn's Pond and the Wildlife Refuge, and go window shopping on Main Street, with a stop at Charlie's Soda Fountain.

Friday night, there is a Sock Hop at the school. Afterwards, they head to Patti's house for a sleepover. There's big bowls of chips, pasta salad, soda and a 6 foot hero sandwich crammed with baloney and pepperoni and onions and provolone and peppers. There's also an ice cream cake for later. The girls head upstairs, where the Walden girls tell ghost stories. Rebecca tells a scary story about a fat white hand. Then they eat the ice cream cake and drink pink lemonade, listen to the radio and gossip.
The next afternoon, they play baseball with the boys, and Annette does great. That night, Lauren and Annette go out for Chinese food with Lauren's family. Then they come back and Lauren shows her her photo albums.
On Sunday, they head back to the school to meet the bus back to Walden. The girls are all excited and talking about all the fun things they plan to do. The Walden kids had a blast and the Sleepover Friends can hardly wait to go visit them in Walden. The Walden kids all shout out "Riverhurst! Riverhurst!" and on the last one, the Walden girls shout out "Sleepover Friends!"

Friday, September 19, 2008

the Stephanie bag

A few months ago, I started making handbags. After making bags for all of my friends, I finally had time to make one for myself. I usually refer to the bags by whichever friend I made it for. This one I am calling the Stephanie bag. Why? Because it's black, white and red, of course!
I found this black & white fabric and thought it was cool and different. It's definitely not my usual style. I originally planned on doing the inside lining in bright pink. Then I saw the red and was inspired! I think it turned out really cute.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

the full list of Sleepover Friends books

Here is a list of all the Sleepover Friends books. The ones I have are in bold. I hope to eventually get all the books.

#1 Patti's Luck
#2 Starring Stephanie
#3 Kate's Surprise
#4 Patti's New Look
#5 Lauren's Big Mix-Up
#6 Kate's Camp-Out
#7 Stephanie Strikes Back
#8 Lauren's Treasure
#9 No More Sleepovers, Patti?
#10 Lauren's Sleepover Exchange
#11 Stephanie's Family Secret
#12 Kate's Sleepover Disaster
#13 Patti's Secret Wish
#14 Lauren Takes Charge
#15 Stephanie's Big Story
#16 Kate's Crush
#17 Patti Gets Even
#18 Stephanie and the Magician
#19 The Great Kate
#20 Lauren in the Middle
#21 Starstruck Stephanie
#22 The Trouble with Patti
#23 Kate's Surprise Visitor
#24 Lauren's New Friend
#25 Stephanie and the Wedding
#26 The New Kate
#27 Where's Patti?
#28 Lauren's New Address
#29 Kate the Boss
#30 Big Sister Stephanie
#31 Lauren's Afterschool Job
#32 A Valentine for Patti
#33 Lauren's Double Disaster
#34 Kate the Winner!
#35 The New Stephanie
#36 Presenting Patti
#37 Lauren Saves the Day
#38 Patti's City Adventure

Super Sleepover Guide
Super Beach Mystery

Monday, September 15, 2008

Banana Smoothie

GO BEARS! haha

Tonight I made a banana smoothie, Lauren's favorite thing to order at Charlie's Soda Fountain. It wasn't very good. I do not recommend it.

Banana Smoothies

1 banana
1 cup milk
EITHER 1 cup yogurt
OR 1 scoop frozen yogurt
OR 1 scoop vanilla or chocolate ice cream
1 tablespoon honey (optional)

Put everything in a blender and mix. This is an especially healthful recipe if you use yogurt. With ice cream, it is almost like a banana milk shake.

I used yogurt and put in a little honey. I also threw in a few ice cubes, because I figured it needed it. Well, it was not that good. It would probably be better with ice cream.

Next up: I haven't gotten #9 No More Sleepovers, Patti? so I will be doing my favorite, #10 Lauren's Sleepover Exchange. I also plan to post the recipe for Kate's marshmallow super-fudge, although I doubt I will be making it any time soon. It sounds complicated. But maybe one of you will be inspired?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

#7 Stephanie Strikes Back

There's a new video club at Riverhurst Elementary, and Kate can't wait to join. She finds out about it through Kyle Hubbard, a kid in their class, during an assembly about Amsterdam. Kate loves to watch old movies & foreign films, but is bored with a slideshow about Amsterdam? I've been to Amsterdam and I loved it. Anyway, after school , Wendy, a 6th grader, approaches Kate and invites her to come to her house on Saturday for a meeting of the video club. The Sleepover Friends don't like Wendy because she is snobby and knocked Lauren down during recess in second grade because she wanted to be first on the slide. Stephanie and Lauren are not interested in the club, and Patti can't go because she promised her mom she'd help out at her brother Horace's birthday party. Since Patti hasn't gotten him a gift yet, she, Lauren and Stephanie go to the mall. Stephanie is excited about a jacket she saw in the window at Just Juniors--it's black & white checks.

When they get to the mall, they head to Romano's, which is described as "a gigantic store that sells just about everything, from shampoo and greeting cards to dishes and toys." Sounds like Wal-Mart or Target to me. Patti and Lauren go look at toys and Stephanie heads off to the makeup aisle. Patti had thought about buying Horace a 6 ft. tall inflatable iguana, but Lauren talks her out of it, saying it'll take him all day to blow it up and then what would he do with it? They find some eggs that transform into insects, but they're too expensive. Stephanie shows up with her purchases--two Swingers, which are zinc oxide sunblock tubes that come in bright colors. Stephanie got red and yellow, since they didn't have white. She also bought a book about dreams.

The girls decide to go look around in the mall, and stop for rocky road ice cream with hot fudge sauce. After they eat, they head to Feathers and Fins, where Patti buys Horace an ant farm. They were sold out, so she buys the display model which already has ants in it. Stephanie returns from Just Juniors, where they were sold out of the jacket. Then the girls head to the Pizza Palace, where Stephanie buys the girls each a slice of pepperoni pizza, because she wants to see her latest crush, Michael Pastore. He asks Stephanie if she is going to join the video club and she decides that she will, since he's going to be there.

That night, the sleepover is at Patti's house. When they get there, they find out that the clowns who were supposed to be in charge of Horace's birthday have canceled due to the flu. They provided favors and decorations, but there's no cake or entertainment. Apparently Patti's mom is not good at baking, and she's all stressed out about work, so the girls decide they'll make the cake. Supposedly the bakery has already closed for the night, but don't they have grocery stores in Riverhurst? Can't they just go pick up a pre-made cake? Or at least go pick up a box of cake mix and some ready-made frosting? I don't think my mom ever made a birthday cake from scratch, and she's great at cooking and baking. The girls actually get out a recipe book and find a recipe for Conway's Chocolate Bliss cake. Patti's mom leaves them some "fuel"-- a giant bottle of Cherry Coke (just how giant? Does she mean a 2 liter?), onion dip, shrimp spread, cheese dip and some large bags of chips. The girls get to work on the cake. They decide to increase the recipe by 1 1/2 and put Lauren in charge because she's good at math. Well, when the cake is done, it turns out Lauren miscalculated the flour and they put in too much. There's a huge crack down the center of the cake. Then, they get a great idea! They make some chocolate frosting with a few drops of green food coloring to look like dirt. Then they put little plastic dinosaurs on the cake and make some volcanoes out of paper. Everyone loves it!

While they were making the cake, they put on a home shopping channel. They see a video camera being offered for $759.98. They are surprised at how expensive it is. Then they switch the channel to some old sci-fi movie. Oh & after they finish baking the cake, they sit down to eat the chips & dip, as well as cherry coke floats with fudge ripple ice cream.

Once the cake is done, the girls head up to Patti's room and start playing around with the zinc tubes Stephanie bought. Patti thinks Lauren looks like a puppy and Kate thinks Patti looks like a clown, so Lauren starts barking and the 2 start telling jokes. Then Stephanie gets the bright idea that Patti and Lauren should call themselves Sparkly and Barkly, and perform at Horace's birthday party. They are nervous but agree to do it. They're a hit--the kids love them.

While Horace is opening his presents, a bratty kid named Bruce starts fighting with the other kids and they end up knocking over the ant farm. Patti's mom takes the kids outside while Patti and Lauren clean up. Lauren is under the table when Bruce's sister, the snobby Wendy, arrives to pick him up. She is talking with her friend about how they only invited lowly 5th graders to the video club because they needed more members. She tells her friend that they won't even let the 5th graders near the video camera and she bets most won't even stay in the club.

Lauren tells Kate and Stephanie, but they don't really believe her. However, there's a video club meeting after school on Monday, and it's a disaster. Most of the 5th graders end up leaving because Wendy and her friends are running the show. The club decides their first video will be "A Day in the Life of a Junior High Athlete," starring Wendy's boyfriend, Chuck. The girls are disappointed, and there's only one video camera, so there's nothing they can do.

The girls head to Charlie's Soda Fountain and order their usuals: Patti gets a lime freeze, Kate has a Coke float with two scoops of vanilla ice cream, Stephanie gets a chocolate shake and Lauren gets a banana smoothie (that will be the next thing I make! Look for that within in the next few days!) Wendy and her friends are there, and are being snotty, so Stephanie vows to do something about it.

The next sleepover is at Lauren's house. They are making caramel popcorn. They bring that up to Lauren's room, along with a king-size Dr Pepper, a mound of Lauren's dip and a giant bag of taco chips. Lauren gets a call from a kid's mom, whose daughter had been at Horace's birthday party. She wants to hire Sparkly and Barkly for her daughter's party. She offers them $35 and Lauren says she'll talk to Patti and get back to her. Meanwhile, Stephanie has a surprise for them--she got a video camera. What?! Apparently she bought a used video camera for $364 off that home shopping channel. How is this even possible?? Stephanie says they sent her the camera and a tape, and bill you $30 a month for a year or so. This girl is in 5th grade! I'm pretty sure they don't let 10 year olds buy stuff off home shopping channels and agree to a payment plan like that! The girls decide to keep it from their parents so they don't get in trouble. Just then, Bullwinkle, Lauren's brother's Newfoundland dog bursts into the room. The girls go crazy running around and trying to keep the video camera safe. Roger comes in & gets the dog, and Kate says they are sending the camera back. Stephanie says no way. Lauren mentions to Patti how Mrs. Freedman offered her $35 for them to perform at her daughter's party and Stephanie says they should do it because that will take care of the first payment on the video camera. Lauren asks why they should have to give up their hard-earned money to pay for the video camera, and Patti says they have to stick together. They agree to do the party and then come up with an even better idea--they'll videotape it and call it "Clowning Around."

Kate announces that one of the biggest directors around will be talking to the video club at their next meeting. The girls plan to show their "Clowning Around" video. The party is a success and the video turns out great (no need to edit!) They even manage to catch Wendy's bratty brother Bruce on tape, picking on another kid.

At the video club meeting, Wendy shows the video of her boyfriend and it's boring. The director is not impressed. Then Kate gives him their video and everyone, including the director, loves it! Wendy gets pissed off and leaves.

The final sleepover of the book is at Kate's house. They eat a whole plate of Kate's super-fudge and drink ice cream floats. Stephanie admits she finally told her parents about the video camera and they're cool about it--but if the girls miss a payment, they have to send it back. And the company won't refund their money (well, of course not. I'm surprised they'd even take it back at that point). Kate says Wendy dropped out of the video club and some of the other 6th graders probably will, too. Stephanie is busy calculating how much money they will be making since Roger wants to borrow the camera, and other parents want to hire Sparkly and Barkly. She jokes that they should buy another camera. Um, no. Thankfully Kate talks her out of it and suggests they play Truth or Dare.

Next up: I hope to do #9 No More Sleepovers, Patti? I bought it on ebay but I haven't gotten it yet. If it doesn't come in time, I will do #10 Lauren's Sleepover Exchange, which is my favorite! I also plan to make Lauren's banana smoothie. I'll get to Kate's fudge at some point, but it seems kinda complicated to make. Then I thought--it can't be that hard if a 10 year old can make it! ha

Monday, September 8, 2008

Dr Pepper ice cream float

I made a Dr Pepper ice cream float tonight. It was really good! I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner! Thank goodness for the Sleepover Friends.

I bet you didn't think you needed a recipe to make an ice cream float. Well, there is one in the Super Sleepover Guide, so I thought I would share it.

Ice-Cream Floats

Your favorite kind of ice cream for floats
Your favorite kind of soda for floats
Whipped cream (optional)
Straws (optional)
Long spoons (optional)

What's the whipped cream for? It makes the floats "fluffier." Here's how to do it: Put a teaspoon of whipped cream in the bottom of a tall glass. Then add a scoop or two of ice cream and fill the glass with soda.

I don't know about you guys, but I never heard of putting whipped cream in the bottom of the glass. Have I been making floats the wrong way all these years?! I used chocolate chip ice cream and it turned out pretty good!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

#6 Kate's Camp-Out

It's Friday night and instead of the usual sleepover, the Sleepover Friends are headed upstate to a cabin on a lake with Kate's family. The place is in the middle of nowhere and the girls are getting tired and hungry in the car. Kate is disappointed to find out the Norwood family will be at the lake as well. The 2 boys are troublemakers and Kate can't stand them.

When they finally arrive, they are disappointed to find out that the house is falling apart and there's no electricity. Kate's dad had called ahead of time to have someone go over to the house to turn the electricity and water on, but they are out of luck. Stephanie is upset because she won't be able to do her beauty regimen, and they will have to use an outdoor toilet. Stephanie isn't big on camping and bugs and the outdoors... neither am I.

Everyone decides to make the best of it. They unload the car while Kate's dad finds some firewood and a kerosene lamp. They roast hot dogs in the fireplace. Lauren eats three, plus half a bag of sour cream and onion potato chips. Then they roast marshmallows and eat Kate's super-fudge. As they are eating the fudge, Kate asks her dad to tell them about the place and why the lake is called Spirit Lake.

Dr. Beekman tells them the story. There were 2 fur trappers named Willis Pyle and Roy Jonas, who had cabins on opposite sides of the lake. Willis was lucky and ended up with hundreds of pelts. But Roy's traps would break or a bear would eat it before he could save the fur. Willis made tons of money while Roy barely had enough to scrape by. Finally, Roy cracked. He waited until Willis paddled into town in a canoe piled with fur and was paid for them. No one saw what happened, but next thing they knew, Roy was riding around on Willis' horse and shooting his fancy rifle. Roy said Willis gave him the stuff, but people suspected he drowned Willis in the lake. Then mysterious things started to happen--weird lights, a ghostly white canoe in the lake... but Roy paid no attention. Then one night Roy's dog gave a loud howl and there was a loud knock on the door...

Just at that moment, there is a loud knock on the door! Everyone freaks out. Turns out it is just Dr. & Mrs. Norwood, the Beekman's family friends. They wanted to make sure the Beekmans got there safely, and they had seen the dark house and a flashlight in the backyard. They explain that there have been some break-ins in the area and wanted to make sure everything was ok. Once they leave, Dr. Beekman finishes the story.

Roy calls out "Who's there?" but there's no answer. Then whoever or whatever it was knocks down the door and Roy is face to face with the ghost of Willis Pyle, complete with the bullet hole Roy put in him. Willis asks for his money. Roy faints. When he wakes up, his hair is completely white. He was never the same after that, and drowned in the lake soon after. Supposedly people can see the ghost of Willis paddling his canoe from one shore of the lake to the other, looking for his money. The money was never found. Roy buried it somewhere and even though holes have been dug up all over, it's never been found.

Everyone goes to bed after that. The girls get the whole upstairs to themselves, but put all the beds in one room so they can be together. Kate tells them that she isn't worried about ghosts, she is worried about the Norwood boys.

The next morning, Dr. Beekman goes to the Norwood house to use their phone and call about the electricity and water. The girls are hanging out by the lake and decide to take a walk. Patti sees some turtles and wants to catch one for her brother. The Norwood boys, Sam and Dave, come by on an inflatable boat. They invite everyone to dinner at their house that night. Kate tries to get out of it, but her parents already agreed. The boys ask Patti what she is doing and she says she wants to get one of the turtles but can't tell how deep the water is. Sam tells her the lake isn't too deep and puts one of the paddles in the water to show her. Patti and Lauren fall for the trick and take a few steps--and next thing they know, they are in water up to their noses! Lauren manages to open the valve on their boat as they try to paddle away. They end up in the water too.

The girls head back to the house to dry off. Mr. Morrell is there fixing the electricity. He tries to scare them by saying to watch out for ghosts. Everyone eats lunch and showers, and then heads over to the Norwood house. Kate warns them about the boys, and Stephanie thinks she can't be fooled. Sam tries to shake Lauren's hand but Stephanie knows he has a buzzer in his hand. Dave tries to offer Patti some lemon drops but Stephanie grabs the jar and holds it towards Dave as 2 paper snakes shoot out. The Norwoods have a book on ghosts that the girls decide to read. Supposedly the house they are staying in is haunted, but it's delightful--running footsteps and lilting laughter of a small child and music notes as if a child were practicing on a wooden flute.

They all decide to go fishing while Mrs. Norwood makes dinner, which is roast loin of pork. Lauren and Stephanie get hungry so Dr. Norwood sends the boys to get them some sausages on buns with mustard. As the girls are about to eat, they realize the boys put big worms inside the buns! They are grossed out and leave, while Kate's parents and sister stay at the Norwood house. Back at the house, Kate and Patti find a secret cubbyhole near the fireplace. Inside is a small leather pouch filled with old coins. At first they think it might be Willis' money, but then realize the coins aren't old enough. Instead, they think the coins belonged to the child who haunts the house.

The girls get hungry so they decide to look for food in the kitchen. Apparently no one had been in the house for a long time, so I wouldn't want to eat any of that food! They find some jars of shrimp cocktail, a container of smoked cheese spread, a metal box of fancy crackers and 6 small bottles of jam made from weird sounding fruits. They each decide to make something. They look through the groceries Kate's mom brought and find tuna, English muffins and Velveeta cheese, so Patti makes tuna melts. Kate heats up some chili to make sloppy joes, Lauren goes with the shrimp cocktail and cheese spread with crackers, and Stephanie makes biscuits with jam inside.

After dinner, the girls are still talking about the ghost and they decide to have a seance. They take deep breaths, turn off the lights, sing and try to concentrate. Kate thinks it's dumb, but then they hear a loud bang. They start asking questions and continue to hear the bangs. Then they hear a giggle. Kate gets mad and figures it's the Norwood boys. They all jump out the window and try to run after the Norwood boys. They are nowhere to be seen, but they keep running. Then they hear a noise. They decide to investigate and see 2 men dragging furniture out of a house and putting it in a van. They overhear one of the men saying they'll make a lot of money off the furniture. Then they recognize one of the men--it's Mr. Morrell, the man who came over earlier to turn on their electricity. They remember how the Norwoods mentioned break-ins and realize Mr. Morrell could easily steal from the houses since he goes around fixing things and turning the electricity on. Patti and Lauren decide to run back to the house and send flashlight signals across the lake to Kate's dad, who is still at the Norwood house. Kate and Stephanie hide behind a bush and continue to watch the burglars. Their plan works and Kate's dad rushes over. He calls the police and luckily there is a patrol car nearby. The police catch the burglars just in time. Dr. Beekman takes the girls to the Norwood house. The Norwood boys are barefoot and sleepy, and it doesn't look like they were running around outside. Is it possible that they didn't try to scare the girls and they really did contact a ghost? Meanwhile, Kate and Stephanie had gotten safely back to the house before the police showed up.

The girls figure out a way to get back at the Norwood boys. They decide they will pretend to find the gold coins in the sand. The boys will think they found Willis' money, so they will end up digging & digging for no reason. The next morning they go out to the lake and their plan works perfectly. As they are heading back to the house to pack up and leave, the boys are digging like crazy.

It's time to leave. In the car, they are discussing the old coins they found. Dr. Beekman says he is going to give them to Dr. Porter, the man who owns the house they were staying in. They catch a glimpse of the Norwood boys, still digging like crazy. Kate's sister Melissa says the boys couldn't have tried to scare the girls, because she watched "Roller Derby of the Stars" with them all night. Lauren is convinced they actually contacted a ghost during their seance, but Kate thinks Melissa probably just fell asleep.

Tuesday morning at school, Kate has a surprise. Each of the girls gets to keep one of the old coins. Dr. Porter donated the rest to a local museum. Then Kate announces that her dad wants to rent the cabin for 2 weeks in the summer, and the Sleepover Friends are all invited!

Next up: I still need to make a Dr Pepper float, and I will do that this weekend. Then, look for #7 Stephanie Strikes Back early next week!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

black, white & red

I found this really cute coat at Express. It's a black & white houndstooth wool coat. Unfortunately you cannot save images on the Express website, but here is the link:

I love it! It's not my usual style, but I really want it.

Then I thought... you know whose style it is? Stephanie's! She would totally wear this jacket! I can see her wearing it with a red scarf and red gloves.

I think I have been reading too many Sleepover Friends books.

The jacket also comes in red & white! Coincidence? I think I need this jacket! Just ignore the price tag, though.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

#5 Lauren's Big Mix-Up

The Sleepover Friends are headed to the city for the weekend, to visit Stephanie's grandma, Nana. I'm still convinced the city is New York City, but I'm surprised that four 5th grade girls are allowed to roam around the city by themselves. I was born and raised in a suburb of Chicago, and I wasn't allowed to go into the city with my friends by ourselves until I was in high school!

Anyway, the girls take a bus into the city and Nana meets them at the bus stop. They get their luggage and Nana hails a cab. Stephanie acts like a know it all, even though she only lived in the city until the summer before 4th grade. Kate is not impressed, and I wouldn't be either. Patti acts a little scared, even though she lived in the city when she was in 1st grade. The girls are supposed to meet up with Stephanie's old best friend from the city, Tiffany, but she decided to stay late at dance class and will come over later.

After the girls arrive at Nana's apartment and settle in, it's time to eat. Nana says she didn't know what to get so she "got a little of everything at the delicatessen." She wasn't kidding. There was a 3 foot long hero sandwich with salami, cheese, ham, tomatoes, and lettuce; a plate of stuffed eggs decorated with pimiento; a big bowl of potato salad; bags of barbecue and sour cream and onion potato chips; cheese dip; and fruit salad. Plus, sodas and chocolate fudge cake. As the girls are about to eat, Tiffany shows up. She acts really snotty and criticizes Stephanie's haircut and her sweater. She brags that she is going to be a "real" actress--one who is trained on the stage and can act, dance and sing. She won't eat any of the food because it is too fatty and greasy, and bad for her skin.

Nana asks the girls if they would like to rent some movies. She belongs to a video club that delivers. They've got to be in NYC. You can get anything delivered in NYC! I'm sure you can probably get things delivered in Chicago as well, but here in the suburbs, about the only thing you can get delivered is pizza. And Jimmy John's. The girls look at the list of movies. Kate is excited that there's two whole pages of foreign films. She chooses a Swedish movie called Raspberries in the Fall. What 5th grade girl wants to watch foreign films?! It's not much better than Lauren's pick though--Mare's Nest, an old 1930s comedy. Tiffany chooses Aardvarks, which is a play that was filmed. I don't remember what movies I watched in 5th grade, but there is no way I would have watched any of those movies! I realize this takes place long before High School Musical or Camp Rock, but there's got to be good movies for kids back in 1988. Anyway, the girls grab some Dr Peppers (club soda for Tiffany), Cheese Doodles (celery sticks for Tiffany) and fudge cake (nothing for Tiffany) and sit down to watch the movies. They watch Aardvarks first, and it's about three people sitting on stools on an empty stage talking about death. Again, WHY would 5th grade girls want to watch this movie?? I like independent and foreign films now, but I certainly didn't when I was in 5th grade.

They decide to watch Kate's movie next, but it's in Swedish with subtitles, and Tiffany gets bored. She starts talking to Stephanie about kids they knew, and Kate gets mad. She takes movies very seriously and doesn't like when people talk during movies (I don't either). Tiffany starts gossiping about some girl named Myra Dillard who thinks she is so cool because she lost weight, permed her hair and sings in a rock group. Tiffany won't shut up, so Kate says to her "Are all the kids from the city as rude as you are? Or did we just get lucky?" Tiffany storms out. Nana makes sure the doorman calls her a cab. Stephanie is all pissed off at Kate. The girls get ready for bed. Lauren decides she wants to write in her journal. All four girls are keeping journals as part of a class assignment. The girls all have matching journals. As Lauren reaches into her suitcase for her journal, she realizes--it's not her suitcase! There's men's hiking boots, a blue sweater with a red stripe and reindeer on the front, and an old-fashioned tape reel. Here's what Lauren actually packed:

Besides my best blue sweater, I'd packed my turquoise-and-black top, my black stretch pants, two pairs of leg warmers, and my silver Reeboks. All of my favorite stuff had gone off with somebody else!

Is that the same turquoise and black top she purchased in #4 Patti's New Look, when Patti bought that crazy outfit? Also, silver Reeboks? Awesome.

It's too late to do anything about the suitcase, so the girls go to bed. The next morning, Nana makes the girls blueberry waffles and offers to ask her friends if they have some kind of tape recorder they can use to play the tape. The name C Harkness is on the tape, so they get out the telephone book and call all the Harknesses in the book. They don't get anywhere, so they decide to try again later. Nana lets them go shopping in the city by themselves and plans to meet up with them at 1pm for lunch at Scrumptious. Since Lauren has no clothes, Patti lets her borrow some green stretch pants and Nana loans her a gray wool sweater with flowers and dark green leaves on it. Stephanie invites Tiffany to hang out with them, but she turns them down. She agrees to meet up with everyone for dinner and ice skating that evening.

As the girls head to the bus stop (I avoid taking the city buses whenever possible, I can't imagine taking the bus when I was in 5th grade!) they see a sign on a lamppost for a lost dog. They take the bus for awhile and then get off to do some shopping. They go to Rumpelstiltskin, a toy store, and a fancy dress shop called Nell's. Then they go to a pet shop where Patti buys a lizard for her brother and Lauren buys a toy for her cat. Then it's time to meet Nana for lunch. That was it? What was so great about those stores? Stephanie kept talking about how great the shopping was in the city, but they could have just gone to the mall in Riverhurst.

At Scrumptious, Lauren orders a grilled cheese sandwich and a strawberry ice-cream soda called "Berry Best." I have to admit, that sounds like a great lunch to me! They are about to eat their dessert, a chocolate mousse for four, when Lauren says she wishes she had her journal to keep track of their adventures. Stephanie offers to tear out a few sheets from hers. As she reads the journal, she realizes it's not hers. It's Kate's, and it says some not-so-nice things about Stephanie and Tiffany. Stephanie storms out. Nana pays for their lunch and then goes with Stephanie, leaving the 3 girls alone. She gives the girls $20 for cab fare and they tell her they'll go to the Historical Society Museum. Unfortunately, the museum is closed for renovations. The girls decide to look up the other Harknesses they got from the phone book, to try to find Lauren's missing suitcase. Are they crazy?! You don't just go knocking on strangers' doors in the city! Luckily nothing bad happens. They end up by Patti & Stephanie's old elementary school, so they decide to check it out. While they are there, they run into Myra Dillard, who Patti and Stephanie knew back in 1st grade, and who Tiffany had gossiped about the night before. Myra turns out to be really nice and friendly, and the girls make plans to hang out with her the next day. Then they decide to take the bus back to Nana's.

Patti gets on the bus first, but Lauren and Kate are distracted by a mime performing nearby, and the bus (and Patti!) leaves without them. As they try to decide what to do, they find a small dog under a car. Lauren crawls under the car to get the dog and they decide to take it back to Nana's. Kate hails a cab (just like a city person!). The cab driver isn't thrilled about the dog but agrees to take them anyway. As they are riding in the cab, they see Patti jogging along the sidewalk and ask the driver to stop and pick up Patti. He's even less thrilled about this, but agrees to it anyway. Patti thinks the dog they found is the missing dog from the sign on the lamppost. When they get to Nana's, they call the number on the sign and it is the missing dog! What are the chances of that?! The woman, Elizabeth, comes over to get the dog. She offers the girls a reward, but they won't accept it. Elizabeth does the lighting for a play and asks if the girls would like to watch from backstage that night. Of course Nana has no problem letting the girls go off with a stranger in the city, so they agree to it. They invite Stephanie, but she has plans with Tiffany.

Meanwhile, Stephanie had played the tape Lauren found in the suitcase and it's very strange. There's nothing on it until the end, when they hear a man and woman arguing and a loud bang. The girls are a bit freaked out, but there isn't much they can do. They eat tuna sandwiches on toast and then Elizabeth comes to pick them up for the play. As they are watching the play from backstage, they recognize a conversation that sounds just like the one on the tape. They tell Elizabeth about it afterwards, and it turns out C Harkness is Charlie Harkness, the man who wrote the play! What a coincidence! Then, Elizabeth takes them to her place where they eat brownies and drink hot apple cider. When the girls get back to Nana's, they find out Stephanie got stood up. Tiffany forgot about going to dinner and skating with her, and went out with her other friends. Stephanie decides Tiffany isn't really that great after all, and is a crummy friend.

The girls call up Myra Dillard and go over to her house for lunch. Myra shows them where the band practices, and plays and sings some songs for them. Turns out, Tiffany wanted to be in the band but was turned down because she can't sing. For lunch, the girls eat ham and cheese croissants, macaroni salad and lime ice cream with little blueberry tarts for dessert. Lauren says that "just listing the food we ate during the weekend was going to take up two or three pages of my journal." ha.

At school on Monday, Lauren is up at the board working on a math problem, when she is called to the principal's office. Turns out C Harkness is on the phone--he saw "Riverhurst" and "Lauren" on the cover of the journal, then looked inside and found "Patti," "Kate" and "Stephanie" inside. He called the school and asked if they could help. They said yes, of course: Everybody knows the Sleepover Friends! He and Lauren agree to put the suitcases on buses so they can pick them up later. So this old guy looked through Lauren's stuff? And are the girls really known as the Sleepover Friends at school?? I thought that was just what they called themselves. At least Lauren is getting her stretch pants and silver Reeboks back!

Up next: I am going to make a Dr Pepper ice cream float, and look for #6 Kate's Camp-Out later this week.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Patti's Alaska Dip

Lauren isn't the only Sleepover Friend with her own special dip! Patti has one too - Patti's Alaska Dip. I think it sounds disgusting, but of course these girls can't get enough of it! In #9 No More Sleepovers, Patti?, Patti almost moves to Alaska when her parents are offered teaching jobs there. I don't have this book and I don't really remember much about it, but I guess Patti learns to make this dip while they are visiting Alaska. Luckily for the Sleepover Friends, Patti and her family do not end up moving to Alaska.

Patti's Alaska Dip

1 can chunk, white tuna (7 oz.)
1 package cream cheese (8 oz.), left out to get soft
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 scallion
1 teaspoon chili sauce

Make sure that you leave the cream cheese out of the refrigerator for about an hour before you start. Drain all the water or oil from the tuna. Clean the scallion and cut into four or five pieces. Put all the ingredients into a food processor or a blender. Blend until well mixed together.

Patti says she likes to serve the dip with vegetables, nacho chips, or plain old potato chips.

Monday, August 25, 2008

#35 The New Stephanie

This book is one of the last few books in the series. As far as I can tell, the last book is #38 Patti's City Adventure. I had stopped reading the books by then, so this one was new to me. Stephanie is the narrator of this book instead of Lauren, who narrated most of the books.

Lauren, Kate, Stephanie and Patti are hanging out in Stephanie's "apartment" at their usual Friday night sleepover. For some reason, Lauren is on a health kick, and is eating sugar-free, whole wheat cookies. Stephanie says they taste like dog biscuits, and I have to agree with her. The other girls still eat their usual sleepover junk food, including Dr Pepper floats. I have never had a Dr Pepper float, and now I would like to try one! That will be my next post.

The girls decide to take another one of those magazine quizzes. This one is called "Are You Nice? Or Not?" There are questions about friends, gossip, community service, etc. Patti receives a perfect score. Of course, since she is the nicest person they know. Lauren and Kate fall somewhere in the middle. Stephanie fails! The quiz results say "What's putting a hold on your niceness? You must have a lot of empty spaces on your calendar. Someone as self-centered, insensitive and snobby as you couldn't possibly have any fun. Who would want to be friends with you anyway?" Wow, these quizzes are harsh! The other girls think it's all a big joke, but Stephanie gets really upset about it. As she is trying to fall asleep that night, she thinks of ways she can improve her niceness quotient and become a better friend.

The next morning, Stephanie turns down a trip to the mall with her friends in order to go to the library and get some books on how to be a nicer person. In one of the books, there is a list of things to do to be a nicer person:

Do: Spend quality time with your friends.
Do: Speak only if you have something nice to say.
Do: Give service - to your community, your friends, your parents, and to all those in need. Find a way to help.
Do: Say "yes" more than "no."
Do: Think of others first. Making others happy is nice.
Do: Follow through on your commitments.
Do: Smile - a lot.

Stephanie takes this all to heart and decides she is going to follow the list. As she is checking out her books, she asks the librarian about community service opportunities and she's in luck - the library needs volunteers to collect contributions and used books for the annual library drive. Stephanie signs up. She is given some leaflets to pass out and sets out the next day to start collecting. She gets off to a good start and is happy that her new niceness plan is working so well.

On Monday morning, the girls all meet up to ride their bikes to school like they do every morning. Stephanie got up early to make sure she had time to look her best. When she meets up with the other girls, she compliments them on their outfits, because that is what a nice person does. She also offers to help Kate carry her books, and comments on what a beautiful day it is. Patti notices this and asks if she is feeling ok, because she's not acting like her usual self. Stephanie is a little offended by this, since she is just trying to be nice. She decides to keep her niceness plan to herself, and assures the girls she is feeling fine.

In class that day, they get back their results from an achievement test. Jenny Carlin (their enemy) brags that she is so smart she will get moved to 6th grade. Stephanie is finding it hard to be nice all the time when people like Jenny Carlin make rude comments towards her and her friends. But she refuses to back down and tries to find something nice to say.

The Sleepover Friends have a new friend! Her name is Hope Lenski. She is quiet, wears strange clothes and is a vegetarian. Apparently she has even been to a few sleepovers! At lunch that day, she mentions that she volunteers at a recycling center. Stephanie thinks this is a great idea and decides to go, too. Kate and Lauren agree to come along, but Patti has a parent teacher conference to attend.

Volunteering at the recycling center is hard work, but Stephanie feels good about it and offers to go back again to help some more. That night after dinner, she offers to help her mother clean out the kitchen cabinets. Then she goes through the family's books to find some to donate to the library. By the time she is done, it's late and she hasn't even started her homework. She ends up staying up late to finish and is tired the next morning.

At school the next day, Patti announces that it's not Jenny Carlin who is being asked to skip to 6th grade - it's her. She is upset about this and doesn't want to go, but it seems like her parents, the teacher and the principal have already made up their minds. They even make Patti go to the 6th grade classroom in the afternoons. The girls say they'll help Patti figure out a way out of this.

Meanwhile, Stephanie continues to be nice to people (including Karla Stamos who the girls describe as being "a grind"), volunteer and help her mother around the house. This leaves little time for homework and it starts to catch up to her. She is worn out, but she is so determined to be a nicer person that she won't cut back. She even takes on another project.

At the recycling center, Stephanie finds out that one of their favorite restaurants, the Pizza Palace, doesn't recycle. The girls are determined to do something about this. They talk to the manager, but he says it costs too much to recycle and he doesn't have time. The girls are disappointed, but they aren't ready to give up.

They have a sleepover at Kate's house, where they decorate giant cookies. That is something new! Then they play some Truth or Dare. Stephanie is still being overly nice and the girls point it out. She gets upset because she is just trying to be nice!

The next day, the girls want to go to the mall, but Stephanie turns them down. She wants to go volunteer for the Sea Mammal League. While she is there, she wishes she was hanging out with her friends at the mall instead. Then she feels bad because volunteering isn't supposed to be fun - it is supposed to be nice.

While this is all going on, the girls are still trying to figure out a way for Patti to stay in 5th grade. They decide to try to find information at the library. Stephanie can't go because she is too busy volunteering. Her friends start to get mad that they never see her anymore. She doesn't even have time to do her homework anymore & she is always tired, and her teacher notices. One day after school, she decides to go to the library so she can get her homework done. She finds a quiet corner, finishes everything and then falls asleep. She wakes up later that night when her parents, the librarian and 2 police officers find her! She didn't tell anyone where she was and her parents freaked out when she didn't come home. She had double booked herself--going to the recycling place with Hope AND going to the mall with her mom, and didn't show up for either.

Stephanie's parents finally realize something is up. She admits that she has been too busy lately with all her volunteering and stuff. Her parents make her stop volunteering during the school year so she can focus on her homework, and tell her she doesn't have to keep doing extra chores around the house.

The good news is, the girls brought around a petition for people to sign, encouraging the Pizza Palace to recycle, and it's a success. They even offer to help the manager get started on a recycling program.

At their Friday night sleepover at Patti's house, Kate shows Stephanie the magazine with the quiz in it. Stephanie had made notes in it about how to be a nicer person and Kate found it. They figured out what she was up to, and they tell her they like the old Stephanie. Stephanie admits she is relieved she doesn't have to volunteer anymore, but they all agree to continue their work at the Pizza Palace.

For their sleepover snack, Hope makes them shakes made of raspberry sherbet and crushed fresh fruit. What happened to the junk food?

The girls also have a surprise for Patti--they got all the 5th graders to sign a petition to let Patti stay in 5th grade. The next morning, Patti shows her parents the petition and explains that she would prefer to stay in 5th grade. Her parents agree to let her make her own decision, and she picks 5th grade. The Sleepover Friends are so excited that they'll still be together!

The book ends with the girls shouting "Sleepover Friends forever!" In case you are wondering where I got the name for this blog--that is it. Quite a few of the books end this way.

Up next: the recipe for Patti's Alaska dip (which sounds disgusting) and a recap of #5 Lauren's Big Mix-Up.