Monday, June 30, 2014

Backyard Fun (*QSBL)

A Dollar Tree grass skirt hangs in the doorway out to the deck.

I confess that we don't use our backyard nearly enough.
This summer is going to be different and on the *Quirky Summer Bucket List,
I wanted to kick off summer by planning a Hawaiian party for the family.  Easy menu: ordering out for Hawaiian pizza and dessert was sprinkling macadamia nuts over ice cream! Easy peasy!

Dollar Tree paper cutouts hang fom the umbrella .spokes.

Because I had been to a fabric warehouse in Hawaii, I made outfits for the three Grands to wear at the party. (Going to this warehouse was a trip highlight and Carol told me as we entered, "I hate fabric stores," so I knew I had to be quick in 'n out - otherwise I'd have done some serious damage to the credit card.)
E in pink (of course), M in orange and K in a surfboard print.

We played several games, but one of the favorites was the beach towel relay.  M kept running off with the hat, lei and hair flower. 
Run, Little One!

John and his Dad are neck to neck in this heat.

This is perhaps my fave picture below.  Poor Jed with what I put him through on a regular basis!

He's such a good sport.  Wth a plan to go somewhere to recover after this?

Putting the backyard into action this summer makes the upkeep a little less painful...not that ours is by any means a "showplace" backyard like I would like to have if only gardeners were on the payroll.  At least it was used this summer other than mowing!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Trip to the Mother Country (*QSBL)

Ingrid, Ellie and Ava in front of the destination.
Oh, how fun it would be to travel to Sweden as part of the Summer Bucket List!
That isn't going to happen, though.  However, with the *Quirky Summer Bucket List, it is possible to do the next best thing without even boarding a plane!  In Chicago, there's a great Swedish restaurant called TRE KRONOR and my sister and I took our Grand-daughters there for Swedish pancakes and lingonberries.

Outdoor eating here even includes a little stuga where we could enjoy those pancakes!
(L to R:  Ellie, Linnea, Ava, Ingrid)

Following our meal we took the girls to the SWEDISH AMERICAN MUSEUM on Clark Street in Andersonville. On a summer afternoon, the third floor of the museum was empty so we had the place all to ourselves!
The girls were all outfitted into "work" pinafores - provided at the museum.

The ticket booth for the boat trip to America is on the left side.
Step right up!
Two examples of houses are available to play in:  here Ellie experiences life in the old house in Sweden.
Potatoes and fish?  Why, yes, don't mind if I do!
.My sis and I like to eat together in the new place in America.
The Nelson Sisters with a lot of food to eat!
Chores galore...cows to milk, chickens to feed, harvest to gather, laundry to hang...
The Anderson Sisters

Fun?  Ya, sure.  You betcha!

Impromptu Variety Show (*QSBL)

Carol closes the curtain to get ready for their act.
It's always a bit of joke when we have City Nest overnight visitors and we put up a privacy curtain in the living room for sofa sleeper guests...I tell them we need to have some sort of a show.
Well, that happened this summer and the *Quirky Summer Bucket List added another check mark!
Participants in the show: Ava, Ingrid, Linnea, Ellie, Carol, Mark, Bjorn and me.
Audience member: Diann.

Here's Ava doing a dance to a song from FROZEN.

Here's Bjorn just wanting to be in front of the curtain.
(He's a new big brother!)


Here we have certified hula dancers, Carol and Mark.
Linnea is enthralled with their performance.

Here I am doing something that resembles dancing with Miss E.

Did you like to put on shows when you were younger?
Most of the fun comes from hiding out in another room, then coming to the audience to perform.
Even here, we had some performers with a bit of stage fright.
But I think a memory was made of  getting together with folks in wide age ranges from 2 to 60+
and fun was had by all!

"Variety" is the spice of life!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Dance with a Crowd (*QSBL)

Dancing with the Rholls at the Fritz/Johnson wedding.

Part of summertime fun is being invited to weddings and dancing with crowds...I
love this! I really, really love this!  But due to no forth-coming wedding invitations this summer (one in September and one in October, though), I knew I needed to get to dance with a crowd and added that to the *Quirky Summer Bucket List.  A side note: dancing with a crowd doesn't mean an impromptu session with just the smallest family members...I'm talking big crowd here!
To go about this, I/we spent some money (think of it as a wedding gift) and got tickets to a show that would have to have some dancing potential: MOTOWN The Musical.  Through the various numbers, you can bet I was doing some serious seat bopping and grooving, but never up on my feet.
The pictures below will give you some idea of the acts we saw and 60 songs we all know and love were performed such as
Dancing in the Street
  Brick House
I Heard it Through the Grapevine
My Girl
Please, Mr. Postman
Stop in the Name of Love
Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours
My Mama Told Me
(Pictures courtesy of Google images)

It was just so much fun, but I was itchin' to stand up and dance!
Finally the chance came during the reprise when the Stevie Wonder piece was played over and over again:
I wish those days could come back once more
Why did those days ev-er have to go
I wish those days could come back once more
Why did those days ev-er have to go
Cause I love them so

The Oriental Theatre interior where pictures were allowed.

And then the dancing was done. 
Check off another goal on the QSBL!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Transforming Jed's Shirt (*QSBL)

Jed used to wear this lovely blue shirt. 
Today is my son-in-law Jed's birthday.  Happy Birthday! No birthday suit....instead the Quirky Summer Bucket List continues with a shirt. I'd always wanted to transform a man's shirt into a dress for a little girl - his girl of four years old!  This shirt was a beautiful,  subtle blue plaid made up in the most wonderful, quality fabric.  Unfortunately, there was a stain that wouldn't come out and the shirt had to go....right to my project bag! 

This is the pattern I used: Simplicity 1923.

Because the pattern called for a button closure on the front, I could use the shirt front as a shortcut.
When cutting out the shirt, I noticed that the front (right) side of the shirt was more plaid and the inside (back) of the fabric was more stripey. So I used the plaid part for the top of the dress and the stripey part for the bottom skirt and ruffle.

Can you see the difference between top bodice and bottom skirt?

The final touch?  Adding a little flower to the top with leftover shirt scraps,
and then putting this four year-old in her Daddy's shirt made just to fit her smaller frame.
"Happy Birthday, Daddy!"

(*Quirky Summer Bucket List)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Quirky Summer Bucket List

Summertime, ah Summertime!
It's my favorite season, but it is too brief for my tastes. With deliberation I try to make the most of the fleeting days and evenings. Each summer has its "must do's" as far as a Bucket List: concerts in the park, ice cream outings, trips to the lake, eating al fresco, neighborhood walks, joining the Summer Reading Club at the library, celebrating five family birthdays, and so on.
But, this year I am pumping up the list with quirkiness and a bit of the unusual.
Like loading up the car with three adults and three kids and going to IKEA.
That's really on the side of what-are-they-thinking? That means three car seats with an adult in the middle of the back seat on patrol. Me.

Walking to the destination.
Getting TO the destination was the fun part.  To my right (in the car) sits the little guy who is obsessed with the word "hat" and likes things placed on his head accordingly.  He also consumed a whole lot of Cheerios.

To my left : the Little Miss who didn't want to share her books,
obsessed over crayons, markers and coloring in general.

Did you notice neither were smiling?  
In back of me, the oldest of the pack.
Chattable should have been her middle name!

And finally we were inside.  The beauty of IKEA for Miss E?
She's finally old enough to go to the play area by herself while the rest of us shopped.

The kid's play area is a big hit for all three Munchkins.
Then it was time for lunch. Junior John (Kaden) was all about wearing his food on his face and in his hair.

There was a lot of action at our table!  And two pretty terrific Moms who know how to handle it.

Our outing only lasted under two hours, but it was well worth all the fun.
As for me, being with the kids and their energy was the best excuse for not ending up with much in my shopping cart. The trip home was much quieter, too.

As the summer progresses, I will be sharing some more of my quirky Bucket List adventures.
Like how we put on a variety show at the City Nest that included hula dancing and the room curtain falling down and someone getting bopped in the head by it!  What a wild life I'm leading as a retiree!