Birds Of The Neighborhood, Part 1

Since I love watching birds, I’ve decided join in the weekly link up over at I’d Rather B Birdin’ Please, let me introduce some of the birds who call our neighborhood home.

Birds of a feather:

I’ve noticed our local bird gang of Grackles tends to be more active during the rainy weeks.  I think this is their leader:

While Grackles are never going to win any bird contests for looks or singing, they are interesting ones to watch.

I guess they aren’t all bad as they do try to do their part in cleaning out the neighbor’s much neglected gutters: However, I don’t see their car washing venture taking off any time soon.

Rocking Robins

Probably a bit more popular than the gang of Grackles are our resident robins.  They sing a softer tune and tend to hang out in numbers low enough to not give a person nightmares.

Thanks in part to a much welcome blaring sun, we had to identify this young robin spotted on our Thursday walk by listening to the songs on the bird id app on my phone:

I startled this bold little robin coming around the side of the house one day and it ruffled it’s feathers right back at me.  Not put off by me or our little gray cat, he likes to frequent the front yard areas of our neighborhood: Who says only the early bird gets the worm? Pretty sure I took this photo later in the afternoon:

Our robins also like to perch on rooftops:

Of course, they also seem to be busy birds!

Other Birds I Spotted This Week But Missed Capturing With The Camera

Spotted in and around the front yard, while sitting on the porch with my mighty protector:

  • a redheaded woodpecker, gone by the time I returned with the camera
  • a pair of titmouse birds (do they have nest nearby perhaps?) chasing off a little nuthatch
  • a couple bluejay taunting me but refusing to cooperate for any decent photos by remaining very high in the treetops
  • a dove gathering nesting supplies
  • a cardinal flitting about in the woody area at the end of the street as well as perched on the power lines
  • a mother crow taking off with her flock (one large crow and several smaller crows)
  • several little swallows too far away and high in the sky for me to properly id them

In the Backyard:

  • the Carolina wren who has been a bit too quiet lately, a relief to spot him!
  • sparrows though not too many
  • another pair of cardinals
  • probably the same blue jays

*I also spotted a hawk of some sort swooping in the wooded area as we were taking our evening walk on Thursday and also saw the resident geese of the pond at the end of the street.

Hopefully, I can capture (with the camera!) a few of the birds listed above at some point this week.

What kinds of birds call your neighborhood home?

If you love watching the birds like I do, click the button below and go visit Anni’s blog for some amazing bird photos!

Five On Friday: Two Short Walks

It’s been a mostly rainy week here.  After an entire day of sun yesterday, it rained overnight.  We may even have severe storms on Saturday.

We did take two short walks during the week just to get out for a bit.

I’m sharing a few photos of our walks for my Five On Friday this week.

Our First Walk On Wednesday Evening

We all went on this first walk except G is off on a band trip.  My nephew who was staying over did come along with us though.  Honestly, it was a let’s just get the boys out of the house for a bit walk.

My husband and the kids went all the way around the block.  I got sort of hung up and left behind taking photos of the scenery but didn’t really mind.

ONE: A Clearing Sky:

Sunset through the trees:

TWO: Pond At The End of The Street:

Our Second Walk On Thursday Afternoon:

The second walk was only J and myself.  It was a let’s take advantage of the beautiful day kind of walk.

THREE: Wildflowers 

Four: A Closer View of The Pond

 

Five: We May Have Trespassed A Tiny Bit But Sometimes A Kid Needs Adventure

Note:  Normally, I would not encourage my kid to trespass on private property.  This is vacant land at the end of our street that simply gets mowed when the weeds start reaching over a foot tall.

The fence is only there because a previous neighbor called the city (every day for a month!) and complained about the owners letting the weeds grow so tall and the people who were dumping trash.  The owners answered with the fence and oh, they do mow it now.

Interestingly, this pond has a unique history as it was at one time (well, before my time!) a popular swimming destination complete with lifeguards and concession stands, then a site where, a local past political boss, Tom Pendergast supposedly dumped concrete, and is now privately owned by a local developer who 10 plus years ago was going to revitalize the surrounding area before taking his interests somewhere else and leaving nothing but torn down houses (politeness prevents me from commenting further about the developer).

Be sure to check out the F.A.S.T. blog and some of the other great blogs in the link up as well!

Bag of Activities for When Mom is at Work

As much as I love working at the preschool, it is harder on days when my boys are home for the summer.  They are old enough to stay on their own and yet my youngest still misses me (shh! it’s a secret) and needs things to do.

For today’s Tiny Tip on a Thursday, I decided to share one thing I did to try to help him.

I put together a Mom’s At Work bag for him to look in and get activities throughout the day.  Sometimes, he does the activities and sometimes he doesn’t mess with the bag at all.  I’m okay either way.

While it’s for him, I admit it is also for me in that it helps a tiny fraction in alleviating some of the leaving the kids at home alone guilt.  Here’s a quick peek into what is currently in the bag.  I do try to change it up each day I work (unless J hasn’t bothered with it, then I leave it alone).  Mom's At Work Bag

My main goal is to not spend any or at least very minimal money on the bag.

Mom's At Work Bag

Our current bag

The current bag I picked up for a birthday present and then realized, it was much too big.  It makes a great “when mom’s at work bag” though.

I also make it a goal to spend as little money as possible on the contents of the bag. Most these items came from around our house with maybe 1-2 items coming from the Dollar Tree.

 What is in the Mom’s At Work Bag:

  1. Library book
  2. Note with ideas of things to do: I usually list them as challenges such as build me a bird feeder out of Lego’s,
  3. Question note (This question was why is this full moon called the flower moon?)
  4. Not pictured, a simple note from me including the times I’m working and when I’ll be calling to check in on them.
  5. Science “make your own snow” experiment
  6. 100 piece puzzle
  7. Box of mini erasers for a bowling set (I’m amazed at the creative uses I’ve seen kids around here find for these, mini bowling sets, drawing faces on them to create characters, etc…)

In the past, I’ve also given J special Lego sets (I preferred sets from the Creator series for this purpose) to only play with when mom was at work.  I kept them well-hidden. However, I prefer the Mom’s At Work bag option for the cost-effectiveness.

What tips do you have for keeping kids occupied while you are at work?

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Note: I started this post last year and it sat in the draft folder for almost a year as other posts continually took precedence.  The bag is gone now put to its proper use to wrap a birthday present.  Don’t worry, I also returned the library book long ago!  J’s a year older and just slightly more mature now.

The bag may still come out as I’m scheduled to work a full week later this summer. Lately, I’ve been thinking of re-purposing it into one of those I’m Bored bags or boxes seen all over Pinterest.

Happy Homemaker Monday, School’s Out!

And yet, it’s still going to be a busy week! I’m actually starting my Happy Homemaker Monday post on Sunday. Who knows how much computer time I’ll have tomorrow.

This week definitely needs a plan.  My oldest son is leaving Tuesday to go on a trip with his high school band. My youngest has already, the day before the last day of school, said THOSE two words.

The Weather This Week

Is it March or is it May?  I asked that question on Sunday morning. It’s pretty nice this morning with a shining sun although still a bit cool out. Rain is supposed to come this afternoon.  Upper 60s the rest of the week until the weekend when the chances of thunderstorms return.

On My Reading Pile

I finally finished reading The Bone Labyrinth by James Rollins but haven’t started anything new yet.

Movies Or Television Shows I Watched This Weekend

I attempted to watch Bad Moms but turned it off after about 10 (if that) minutes.  I had to turn it off due to content since I was trying to watch it while my boys were home but it was so raunchy in the first 10 minutes that I didn’t want to risk them coming into the room where I was watching it.  Honestly, I have no desire to see the rest of it and I usually love stupid comedies.

My husband has been watching Last Man Standing on Netflix and so I’ve been watching that with him.  It’s a fun show we can watch together without worrying about the boys being around while it’s on the TV.

On My TV

No idea except for the season finale of The Flash.  If you watch the show, you’ll know what I mean when I say, I hope that didn’t really happen!

Menu

It should be an interesting one to plan this week since it will just be the 3 of us but then J will probably have friends staying over sprinkled in throughout the week.

MONDAY:  Roast in the crock pot, carry over from last week

TUESDAY:  Tacos again probably (J has a friend staying over so it may also be out)

WEDNESDAY: ham steaks and potatoes

THURSDAY: Lasagna (from a box), salad, and garlic bread

FRIDAY:  Breakfast for dinner, either French Toast from the freezer or pancakes and bacon

To-Do List

  1. Finish paying the bills
  2. Grocery store!
  3. Dollar Tree for body wash
  4. Laundry
  5. Make sure G has everything he needs for his trip
  6. Any last-minute errands for G
  7. Clean out fridge (every week)
  8. Make a summer plan (it doesn’t “officially” start in my mind until next week)
  9. Clean house

Creating

Still planning the flower areas in the front yard. This door just sort of “magically” appeared at the base of a tree in the front yard.  Can’t wait to see what the tiny homeowners do with the rest of their space.

Looking Around The House

Pretty much, the usual.  If you’ve been reading the blog for any time, you know that means it needs a good cleaning which I probably won’t do this week.

From The Camera

My Mother’s Day gift from my boys makes the expected rain a bit more bearable and exciting.  Into every rain barrel, a little rain must fall: Yesterday was G’s birthday, he wanted a very low-key celebration plus his traditional request of cookie cake: Queen of the neighbor’s fence:

What I’m Wearing Today:

Black tee-shirt (high school band shirt from G’s freshman year), green Capri pants, and tennis shoes

Simple Pleasure

Working on this blog and connecting with all the other wonderful bloggers out there.

Quote For The Week

In your calm is your strength.  (German Proverb)

 


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Don’t forget to check out all the other great blogs at the Happy Homemaker Monday link up, hosted by Sandra from Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom!

Five on Friday: The Birds, Flowers, And Trees

I’m sure the bees were around as well but I have no good pictures of them.  Although I’m late to the party, I didn’t want to miss a third Five on Friday in a row.  Be sure to check out the host of Five on Friday, the F.A.S.T.blog.

I’ve wanted to post this five for 2 weeks now so I’m just going to move right on into it.

One: The Birds

As the weather improves (if you like sunny and warm anyway), I’ve been spending more time outside soaking in the sun and listening to the birds.

I’m actually a bit terrified of birds, don’t want them too close to me (unless I want a picture), don’t want one for a pet, and absolutely don’t want to touch one.  However, I love watching them and spotting new ones around our yard.

I also love listening to their different calls.  This little Tufted Titmouse has been giving serious competition to the Carolina wren in the how loud can I sing department. 

I was super excited to spot an American Redstart flitting about the trees.  A completely new (to me) bird!  These birds do not sit still very long, trying to capture a good photo is about impossible.  Here’s my mediocre attempt:

This little bird was getting a few lessons while complaining about wanting to go home.  I’m hoping it will blossom into something beautiful. (I think it’s a baby robin). I’m not sure on this one but I think it is a Swainson’s thrush.  Another bird I’ve never seen before! Finally, just one more bird to share.  This lonely cooing dove that likes to hang out in the late afternoons.  I do think I saw a pair but only photographed one. 

TWO: Not the bees but my protector, a squirrel,  and a bug

This little gray cat loves me and works very hard to keep me safe from those loud annoying birds.  She keeps me safe from the birds but is quite content to let the squirrels (another thing I don’t care much about, any member of the rodent family) run amok.  Finally, a bug I spotted while sitting on the porch.  Or rather upon some Internet research, I think a bug larvae.  Oh, that makes you want to see the picture, huh?  I noticed this bizarre creature on the rim of my lavender pot.  It may turn into a ladybug one day! I sure hope so….

THREE: The Flowers

My aunt gave me these wonderful flowers for Mother’s Day.  They add another beautiful pop of color to my small flower garden area and smell great as well. I love sitting on the front porch enjoying my flower garden. And here’s a close up of the butterfly bush (an Easter gift from my sister) that inspired the whole thing.  It’s starting to bloom.  

Four: The Trees

We are fortunate to live in an area with many mature trees.  My opinion is not necessarily shared by my husband but I love the trees.  On a super windy day: Somebody loves to hang out under here when she’s not protecting her mom from those malicious birds.  I fight every few months with my husband that he is NOT going to cut this tree down.  (It’s the neighbor’s tree so I usually win quite easily).

Someone also loves to ignore everyone when she’s in her “clubhouse” as well.

FIVE: A Song

Since I went a little overboard with my photos on this post, I’ll leave you with the song that’s been popping into my head lately when I’m outside enjoying all this nature.

Is it stuck your head now as well?  It is a catchy tune don’t you think? A great one to sing while working in a flower garden!

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