Category Archives: Five on Friday

Five On Friday: Favorite Vacation Memories

Not sure I can call it cabin fever but I’ve hit the point of the year where I crave a vacation. Really, I hit that point sometime back in late June.

Sometimes I like to look back through my vacation photos and “re-live” our past vacations. Especially when it seems my Facebook feed is flooded with people off on amazing trips. We’ve not really been anywhere too exotic but I’ve loved most the places we’ve gone.

Want to travel down memory lane with me as I gaze longingly at some places we’ve been. Pretty much in random order though I’m starting with our most recent trip.

ONE: Washington, D.C.

We were lucky enough back in April of 2019 to follow the high school band on their trip to march in the Cherry Blossom Festival. The Embassy Suites in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia was fantastic and right across the street from a Metro station. We didn’t need to ride but we did go check things out on our first night. Our tour guides (both the bus drivers and our local D.C. guide) were friendly, fun, and full of great information.  Giving us tips on everything from where to eat (The Department of Agriculture cafeteria was great! And we’ve yet to find french fries that rival those from the D.C. food trucks) to best times to see some of the sights.

The D.C. area was full of people, busy, and beautiful! Hopefully, I get to return there some day and visit the National Zoo (an item I didn’t get to check off my list). We did so much in a short time: Arlington National Cemetery, The WWII Memorial, The Vietnam Wall Memorial (so moving), Smithsonian Museums (natural history, national archives, national gardens), Pentagon Memorial (also very moving), and the Library of Congress. Add in watching the Cherry Blossom Parade and getting accidental surprise tickets to tour the White House Gardens!

A fun trip though we didn’t get to see G much as he was busy with the band. And we wanted to give him his space. If you get a chance to go to D.C. do it! And pack some good walking shoes.

TWO: Duluth, MN

I didn’t want to leave Duluth, MN! Absolutely loved it when we visited back in June of 2018. My husband and boys, however, didn’t cooperate with the let’s just stay here plan and so we returned home. I could easily have a summer home on the shores of Lake Superior and be quite content. Not so sure about winters there. Already wrote several blog posts back when we took this trip so you can read the first one here or simply type “Duluth” in my search bar if you want to know more about our trip or the area.

THREE: South Dakota

July of 2015 found us vacationing in South Dakota. Another place I loved and want to see again as there’s so much to see and we did not, of course, see it all. We stayed in Custer and though it meant we had to drive a bit more sometimes to see or do things, it suited us perfectly.

I remember we drove overnight to get there so the kids could sleep and we wouldn’t need to stop. Not the best plan. They were so tired and grouchy that we pretty much had to force them  to get out of the car when we reached The Badlands.

South Dakota is a beautiful state. I hope I get a chance to return some day. Another summer one though as I hear winters there can be rather harsh.

FOUR: New Mexico

This one wasn’t a favorite. I think, the timing factored heavily into that. We had a death in the family just one week before we planned to leave. Cast a bit of a shadow over the whole trip and we ended up coming home early as well.  We were traveling to check out land owned by my husband’s late grandfather. Our travels took us through Santa Rosa, Roswell, and we ended up in Carlsbad. I was excited to go to Carlsbad Caverns and watch the bats fly out of the cave (bucket list item).

(No bat photos as I chose to simply enjoy the experience. Or Maybe we couldn’t take photos, don’t remember. Still I’m glad to have just enjoyed the experience.).  We were supposed to go on from Carlsbad to White Sands and perhaps the mountains but as I said, circumstances caused us to cut this trip short. We did enjoy our detour through the Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Texas.

FIVE: Colorado Springs, Colorado

I’ll end my post of vacation memories with a real blast from the past as 10 years ago in July we found ourselves in Colorado Springs, Colorado. There was lots to do there (outside and free, good for young kids) and we had a good time. However, I do remember being ready to go home.

We stayed near the air force base. Selecting hotels located opposite to all the places we plan to visit is a special talent.

I remember one of my favorite things about this vacation was feeding the giraffes at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

And of course, driving up Pike’s Peak. I’d kind of like to go back now and try some photos with a newer camera.

Photo above is of Crystal Lake on Pike’s Peak.

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And so ends my walk down vacation memory lane for today. What have been some of your favorite vacation spots? I’m always looking for ideas for when the world returns to normal.

Five On Friday: Current Summer Lovin’

Have I ever mentioned I love summer? I think I probably have on more than once. My friend, Rebecca and I even did a whole 30 days of summer series two years ago.

Since this is the last Friday I’ll be off work for a couple of weeks, I thought I’d share 5 of my current summer loves. Some are “regular” summer loves and some are just things I’ve discovered this summer. I love summer so much coming up with five things was easy. This post easily could have been Ten on Friday.

And yes, I do also love the Summer Lovin’ song from Grease. Whole movie really.

Five of My Summer Loves

ONE: My pink and gray camouflage sandals.

G had some slide sandals he’d leave by the front door that I borrowed to run outside (usually to throw an unwilling cat inside for the night). Loved them enough that I wanted my own pair. I bought these 2-3 years ago in Oklahoma while on a shopping trip with our late aunt. So not only do they make my feet happy in the summer, they also remind of a happy memory.

And I admit, I live in these during the summer if I’m at home. (They aren’t good driving shoes so I do change into tennis shoes for running errands, work, etc)

TWO: The abundance of fresh produce 

My mom and dad always had fresh fruit on the counter and so I tend to do the same. I did pull a few of things out of the fridge for this photo. One of my husband’s clients bought too many cherries and shared her surplus with us (lots more in the fridge!). My sister-in-law shared some extra zucchini. On today’s agenda, cherry compote, cutting up the watermelon, and figuring out what to do with the strawberries and zucchini. I’ll probably have a nectarine as a snack later. What’s your favorite summer fruit or veggie?

Three: Fun, Seasonal Local Finds

Our Hy-Vee carries a selection of local products (and produce as available) in the summer. I always enjoy finding new favorites like this blueberry lemonade from a local orchard (they’re mainly known for apples and I tend to buy their apple cider until I can no longer find it). 

Throwing some blueberries and strawberries in a glass of this makes a fun summer drink. G prefers the strawberry lemonade version. If you’re local, both are worth checking out.

Four: One For The Cozy Lovers, This Watermelon Lemonade Candle

Seasonal candle scents are a thing with me lately. I wasn’t sure I’d like this as sometimes food/drink scents can be overwhelming. However, this one is just subtle enough. It’s a bit of a change from the beach scents that I usually put out in the summer. And I like that I can use it until I switch over to something apple in September.

Five: Watching the butterflies, birds, and flower garden insects

The cat and I enjoy our early mornings and evenings on the deck watching the birds as they visit the feeders. No photo but I spotted a baby dragonfly hanging out near my flowers yesterday!

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What are your current summer favorites?

Also, a small blog/media note: I finally got a new phone. How old was your old phone, Jean? So old that I couldn’t remember my Instagram password and the reset went a very old e-mail. I made a new account. So if you followed me previously, please click the button on the sidebar (it’s updated) over there to follow the new account or just click here. I’d love to follow you back as well since I had to start fresh and can’t remember all the Instagram names/not to mention the search function on that app is a headache. My goal is to post a photo a day over there. Thanks!

 

What Went On This Week

Realized I missed posting a What’s Going On Wednesday. So I decided to tackle a look back at the week in the form of a Five on Friday instead.

And I also realized I forgot to share my front porch/flower garden in progress pictures on Monday. So I’ll share those as I talk about all the places I went this week. My pictures won’t match my subjects at all. Welcome to my crazy mixed up world.

Yes! Places. Plural. I got out of the house every.single.day this week. It felt glorious to have places to go. That said, we’re still not back to normal. And I am dearly missing normal. I don’t want a “new normal.” I want regular normal.

Anyway, let’s start with the usual yucky Covid-19 numbers.

Backyard peonies finally bloomed

 One: Numbers and COVID-19 Info for Our Area

Cases statewide:  11,558

Total deaths:   671

Total tested:  172,946

In the Kansas City Area:  967 and 24 deaths

Our local county:  485 and 15 deaths

And the number of cases within our zip code:   47

Worth noting, there are still counties within our state with zero cases. The two biggest cities, KC and Saint Louis have the highest numbers. And the Saint Louis area still has considerably bigger numbers than our area. A link to the map for anyone interested.

Two: End of the School Year and Supply Drop Off/Pick Up

Still need to plant my marigolds in the vegetable garden

My first outing of the week on Monday (unless we count Sunday’s parade viewing, then it’s the second outing) involved going to drop off J’s school books and band tux. Yearbooks were late so I had to return for that today.

And it didn’t involve going into any buildings. I made a paper sign with his name, held it up and drove to each station where I opened my trunk so they could take things out or put thing in it as needed. It worked very efficiently. And I did appreciate that as I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Three: A Little Bit of Normal And a Zoom Meet

I was so happy to finally find one of my favorite summer annual flowers

Purslane graces my garden every summer but the store where I usually buy it went out of business (pre-Covid 19) and I didn’t even remember the name of it until recently. I was so happy to find it last weekend. A little bit of normal when things are not. Another bit of normal was J’s baritone lesson on Monday night. His instructor just gets him and is a happy, enthusiastic person. It was nice to sit and read my book while listening to the lesson again.

Instead of normal bunco on Tuesday night, we had another Zoom meet up. There were only 4 of us this time. And it was an odd mix. I think fewer wanted to bother now that we can “go” and “see” people again? Not sure. Anyway, it was quite odd and I found myself rather down after it. Not anyone’s fault. Just me missing normal stuff.

Four: Haircut Therapy

I read somewhere lemon grass repels mosquitoes so I always try to put some near the front porch

My hair appointment was different. I’ve known my stylist for years following her from shop to shop to the salon she now co-owns. Lots of rules for her to follow with regards to giving haircuts again. I had to text her when I arrived to get the okay to enter, have my temp taken prior to entry, wash my hands upon entry, and wear a mask the whole time (so did she). Not the most relaxing experience but we both did what was necessary.

Still a nice chat while she cut my hair. And I smiled at how she referred to not wanting give me “The Covid.” I felt better after as always.

Five: Target time, Traffic, and a Return to the High School

Pink petunias on the front porch.

Yesterday for the first time since early March, I braved Target. And I was a bit let down to find them out of several things on my list (still?!), full of confusing signs…one way aisles but no arrows? And with only one cashier, very long line. I refuse to wait in line for self-check out. Don’t get me started. Not the experience I anticipated.

My main goal to get G’s birthday cake decor and cards still happened so not a total waste. We celebrated his birthday last night with take-out Chinese food and birthday cake Kit Kat candy bars. His aunt and my nephew plan to come over tomorrow for dinner and official chocolate cake with white icing.

Then, I had to take some tools to my husband at his job and found myself in a bit of traffic. Been awhile. Things may still be weird on the inside but the outside of our city is veering closer to normal every day.

This morning, I returned to the high school and picked up J’s yearbook as well as popped into a local farm supply store to get my starving birds a bit more food.

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So as you can see, I spent this week going all the places! And while it wasn’t quite normal, it did feel good to get out and about again. How did you spend your week?

 

 

 

 

Five On Friday: Bird Photo Outtakes

Had a hard time deciding what to share for a Five on Friday today. My friend, Rebecca shared birds today for her Five on Friday and it gave me an idea.

I love watching the birds. And I take quite a few photos (really an obnoxious amount). Recently, I revived my Saturday bird watching posts.

Just for fun, I thought I’d share some of my bird photo outtakes with you. Sometimes I have fun photos that I haven’t shared simply because it’s a repeat bird from the previous week. Or the bird didn’t really cooperate. Hope you enjoy these 5 fun photos.

This pair resides by the pond at the end of our street.

ONE: Geese Portrait

TWO: House Finch

I’m guilty of ignoring these fun birds a lot in my blog. I have a whole bunch who spend lots of time at my feeders. And I do enjoy watching them. They’ll wait for me on days I need to fill the feeders and aren’t even put off by the little gray cat. This little fellow posed for me.

THREE: Brown Thrasher

I noticed this bird sitting on a branch when I was outside soaking up some sunlight one day. Couldn’t resist snapping photo.

FOUR: Robin

I can’t seem to get a decent photo of one of our most common backyard birds! However, I like how this photo somehow came out looking a bit like a painting. 

FIVE: Baby Sparrows

I fuss a lot about the house sparrows. They eat at my suet feeder and chase the downy woodpecker away. He’s been fighting back lately. Hooray. However, even I can admit the little baby sparrows are cute. Saw this fun sight today.

No idea why these sparrows were all in the fence but I thought it was interesting. So did our cat. Don’t worry, she behaved.

It’s so fluffy!

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Are you a bird watcher, too? Be sure and check out my post tomorrow for more birds.

Five On Friday: Planning For Flowers

Are you as tired of sitting inside as me? Want to come with me as I dream about my garden areas?  Flowers filling them soon, I hope. 

Let’s go see how those areas (dreadfully neglected since early last fall) look.

ONE: My Main Flower Garden Area Beside The Front Porch

Time to play my “favorite” game: Is it a weed or a returning perennial flower? 

Some of that pictured above hides poison ivy so I was glad I wore my gardening gloves while working! A bit of progress made:

TWO: The Front Of The Porch

Yikes! Let’s not dwell here. Although I didn’t take after photos, I did rake out some leaves and my blazing star can breathe a bit better now. I also have a lily working its way toward blooming. Only one this year.

THREE: My Butterfly Garden at the End of the Driveway

I didn’t even take a full picture of this one. It’s such a mess. However, a small sign of hope exists there. Returning milkweed or butterfly bush or something here.

FOUR: The Actual Garden Where Vegetables Grow

Well, sometimes they grow. Not yet tilled as it’s been so rainy. Hopefully, this week. We do have some strawberries at least.

Not sure what to say about the mess pictured above. Hard to believe last year it held beans, tomato plants, and peppers. By the way, the lone strawberry plant is blocked by the spinner. We have four green strawberries on it.

How about a diversion? No idea what kind of little flower I have growing pretty much in the middle of the yard. It’s pretty though. I’m guessing a bird or squirrel “planted” it.

FIVE: Wildflower Garden Area That Wasn’t

My regular readers probably remember my well-meaning neighbor who weed-whacked my attempt at a wildflower garden before it had a chance to bloom. The space was likely too shady anyway. I’m still deciding what to plant back in this far reaching corner or our backyard.

Whatever I decide, you can see the fencing in the corner there. It’s going to be well marked.

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Clearly, I’ve lots of work to keep me busy outside. I’m ready to plant flowers. However, I’m also at a loss as my favorite place to buy them went out of business earlier this year. I don’t even know what many of the plants I bought there were named. I just knew which ones I liked.

What are your spring and summer outdoor plans?

 

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