Category Archives: Five on Friday

Five On Friday: Overland Park Botanical Gardens

Monday, I went with a friend to visit the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.  I had a great time.

Unfortunately, my “real” camera tends to get a bit fussy when it doesn’t have an SD card.

Thankfully, my phone pictures turned out okay and I’ve decided to share a few of them with you for this week’s Five on Friday post. Be sure to check out all the other blogs linked up over at the F.A.S.T. blog, our hosts for this link up.

One: Monet At Work

Bonjour, Claude!

Two:  Another Statue

We took a wrong turn (our first of a few) and wound up on the Sculpture Garden Trail.

A few years ago one of the statues was at the center of a bit of controversy as the subject is a bare-chested female.  If interested, you can read a bit about it and see a picture of the sculpture in question in this article.

I didn’t take a picture of that statue as it didn’t really intrigue me.  It might be something that would give an immature teenager a few giggles but not much else.

This sculpture seemed far more interesting to me.  

Three: Enchanted Forest Exhibit

Our main goal in visiting was to view this exhibit.  Everything was done in a woodland style.  I felt for children viewing this exhibit subjected to the “please, do not touch” signs as even as an adult it took a bit of self-control (see my Tuesday post for another photo) The end or beginning of the exhibit, it was a bit hard to find.  While the exhibit was interesting and left me wanting to run home to get my dolls so I could play, it wasn’t as big as I anticipated.  It also wasn’t exactly what I expected.

I had hoped to see more colorful fairy gardens stretched throughout the gardens.  Next time, maybe they’ll ask for my advice, ha!

One final picture of this area, I must include this tree.  Is this not the perfect place to build a tree house?

Four: Train Garden

Aside from the rather long journey to get there and the blazing sun, I found the train garden to be a bit more enchanting than the Enchanted Forest.  Loved watching the train go through the town and over the bridge.  Finally, I managed a photo of the actual train in action!

Five: Random Nature Stuff

We took a few wrong turns in our quest to find the Enchanted Forest as well as return from it.  They could stand to mark their trails just a bit better out there.

Many, many thanks to my ever prepared friend for sharing her bug repellent with me!  However, not all bugs were a nuisance.

A pretty little butterfly or moth, probably a moth but still pretty!

We saw many different types of dragonflies while wandering. In addition to being grateful for my friend sharing her bug repellent (we also saw and heard many mosquitoes), I was also grateful for an air-conditioned visitor center!

This pretty bouquet of fresh-cut flowers graced one of the tables. 

We only saw a small portion of the large area.  Perhaps we’ll get back there on a cooler day and I’ll remember to pop the SD card into my camera when we do.  Many thanks again to my dear friend for joining me on such a fun adventure!

Birds Of The Neighborhood, Part 2

Last Sunday morning, I awoke to the call of “pretty bird, pretty bird, pretty bird!”  At least that’s what it sounded like to me as the local cardinal sang.  It seemed very loud but then, my morning person husband had left the back door open.

This fellow usually hangs out quite high in the trees making a photo of him let alone a decent photo of him with my current camera just about impossible.  I got lucky though!  Most my attempted shots look more like this:  He really is a pretty bird though isn’t he?  While sometimes, I’ll spot him & his lady friend in the front yard, they mostly stick to the backyard.  I did capture (on film) another neighborhood couple in the front yard though:  These doves nest in a nearby yard.

I also spotted the following camera elusive birds (well, not the grackles or robins) in or near or front yard this week:

  • The tiny titmouse family making lots of noise to steer away a nosy grackle.
  • More grackles including a family teaching their younger bird and feeding it.  (I can’t decide if my grackles are neighborhood guardians or a neighborhood gang)
  • The robin debating a nest in our maple tree
  • A flash of something small and yellow which may have been a goldfinch
  • A Chimney swift finally flowing low enough for me to use my bird app and id it
  • A turkey vulture soaring high and making shadows on the ground
  • A couple of pigeons (not on our street) as I was driving home from work one day

They aren’t always in our backyard and usually much like the singing cardinal, they like to hang out high in our trees but earlier this week I heard their somewhat (to me) bizarre and prehistoric sounding calls.  Since they were low enough in the trees, I grabbed my camera.

The woodpeckers were working hard on this day!

First I spotted a pair of downy woodpeckers, who were not in the mood to be chased by the people paparazzi so these blurry blobs were the best I could get of them: The red-bellied woodpecker proved to be a bit more of a cooperative subject:   Finally, this Northern flicker was the most cooperative bird of all. I used to see these woodpeckers a bit more often after rainy days but haven’t in some time: birds

Also spotted in our backyard but not photographed:

  • An English sparrow chattering at me before flying off to a different backyard
  • A nuthatch happily hanging out in a tree without a titmouse family chasing him
  • The pesky bluejay who simply refuses to be captured on camera
  • The robins and grackles who run the neighborhood

Once again, I’m joining in with the weekly link-up over at I’d Rather B Birdin’ and since I missed Five on Friday yesterday, I’m letting this post do double duty and joining in that link-up hosted by the F.A.S.T. blog as well.

What birds did you notice this week?

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!

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

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!

Five on Friday: My Kitchen Table

My mother once told me the kitchen was the heart of the home.  And I should make sure to get a home with a big kitchen because everyone always gathers in the kitchen.

I have found the first sentence to be true.  Too bad I didn’t follow her advice.  Our kitchen is quite small.  However, we make it work.

Our kitchen table is a small wooden table my brother gave me when I moved into my apartment.  His family was moving on to a larger table and he no longer needed it.  It was a good sturdy table for an empty apartment.

The leaf was very seldom if ever used.  It was simply a round table that sat under a framed print of Picasso’s “Bouquet of Peace” which I learned as “Hand with Flowers.”

My husband actually hung the print on the wall for me when we were dating.  Somewhere I may have a picture of the table in those days but searching for it would send me down a rabbit hole from which I might never emerge.

I honestly can’t remember when it became the kitchen table for our home here.  Perhaps from the moment I moved in here.  The seldom if ever used leaf is now a permanent fixture in the table so our family of four fits comfortably.

The Picasso print has long been passed on to a nephew (it wasn’t my husband’s style).  The table now sits under a drawing J made in the 2nd or 3 grade.

This is what our humble kitchen table looked like last night:

When I set my mini goals on Tuesday, one was to keep the kitchen table clear and eat dinner there each night.   For today’s Five on Friday (hosted by the F.A.S.T. blog, go check it out!), I thought I’d share about my struggle to keep my kitchen table clear all week.

Please forgive some of the blurrier photos, they were snapped in a hurry without the best light most days (and today’s yet another rainy day…better be seeing lots of May flowers!)

Five Views of the kitchen table:


This is how it often looks after the morning rush of making lunches and getting everyone out the door during the week. 


After I cleared it off on Tuesday.  Thought maybe a black and white copy would help with my lighting issues. 


After a mid-week grocery run on Wednesday.  I usually only go to the store on Sunday nights or Monday mornings but sometimes I forget things.  I may have been hungry when I made this grocery store run..


The start of setting the table for dinner on Wednesday evening. 


I was doing better yesterday as it looked like this after the morning lunch making rush:

One of the lilies in the bouquet did this yesterday.

I thought a cheery new table-cloth would keep me inspired to keep the table clean.  Finally, in regard to the second part of my mini goal, we have had dinner at the table all week!  Unfortunately, not always at the same time.  The carrots were a tough sell but I probably also put too many on his plate.

Now, I need to go and clear off the table from the morning lunch making rush which morphed into a “I can’t find a pencil for school” rush from the table.

Do you find it a struggle to keep your kitchen table clear of stuff?

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