Category Archives: Five on Friday

Five On Friday: Signs of Summer

Yesterday, our first day of summer, arrived with a cold, rainy day. It actually felt more like fall!

We have to laugh about our ever-changing Midwestern weather or I’m afraid we’d be crying all the time. Thankfully, there are plenty of signs of summer to remind me the rain will turn to super humid, hot pool ready days again soon.

Five Signs Of Summer (Besides the weather):

ONE: Summer flowers blooming!

The highway medians overflow with blooming wildflowers. I love to see the yellow from the black-eyed Susan flowers as I drive along running errands. In my own yard, trumpet vine appears on part of the backyard fence along with the wild honeysuckle.  My tropical milkweed is blooming in the front yard: 

Soon I hope to see my favorite monarch butterflies visiting the yard.

TWO: Natural outdoor lights begin to turn on just before dark becoming brighter as the sun finally sets.

During the daytime, the natural light sources (aka lightning bugs or fireflies) seek shelter among my plants and flowers.   I’ll have to read a few tips (feel free to share them if you know any) of how to capture a photo during the twilight hours. Standing outside taking in the sight of the first few bugs lighting up the night is one of my favorite summer things.

THREE: Taffy in the grocery store!

Admittedly, a bit of a silly one. And yes, I have a taffy problem. However, when I see the self-serve bins of taffy in the seasonal aisle of Hy-Vee, I know summer’s arrived.   On a healthier note, fresh produce is also abundant again.

FOUR: Road construction everywhere!

To be fair, I’m mentioning one of my not favorite things.  However, it is certainly everywhere and a sure sign of summer. We drove through our fair share on our way to Minnesota. And the weekend we arrived home, an entire section of I-70 shut down for bridge work over the course of 2 nights.

Since I don’t have any pictures of orange cones or concrete barriers to share, here’s a photo of a lovely Minnesota road.  And I must give a special shout out to those Minnesota construction road signs, I loved them even if I couldn’t manage a photo.

Slower traffic, move right.

Merge right, take turns.

Ha! If only we could put take turns on so many signs around here. Our road signs (and drivers) could certainly use the extra directive.

FIVE: Slower paced, simpler days

It’s just before 5 on Thursday as I put together this post. No need to hurry up and get dinner started as there aren’t any school functions to rush off and attend. No homework battles looming. We can eat at 6 or 7:30, doesn’t matter.

Some of us, can spend plenty of time improving our Tetris score and showing it off on the television screen:  (Note: This is J, not me.  My talents do not include high achievements in Tetris).


What are some signs of summer for you?

Note: This post is part of the 30 Days of Summer series as well as a Five on Friday post (although our Five on Friday host is currently taking a break, I wanted to stay in the Five on Friday habit).

Five On Friday: Lake Superior

Ever go on vacation and feel like perhaps you’ve found your second home?

We spent most of this week in Duluth, Minnesota.  As soon as we arrived, love at first sight!

I’ll be posting more about our vacation (and how I met a fellow blogger in person!) next week but for today’s Five on Friday, I simply want to share the beauty of the big lake with you.

ONE: Overview of Duluth from the travel center atop skyline drive

I made an “unauthorized by the family” stop as we entered the city on Sunday evening.  A sweeping view of the city of Duluth and the lake made us anxious to get closer. Well, perhaps I was anxious to get closer. The rest of them were simply hungry, I think.

TWO: Lake Superior From The Lake Walk On A Sunny Monday Morning

We stayed right in Canal Park and the Lake Walk and the lake itself were simply steps from our hotel.  I got right out there with my camera

THREE: Watching The Ships Arrive!

While our ship never came in, it was fun watching the other ships arrive and depart. 

FOUR: Exploring The North Shore

Trying to wrap my head around the idea we were actually driving east while exploring the north shore of the lake left my head a little muddled. However, the beauty of the lake helped provide a quick recovery. Two Harbors Area: Split Rock Lighthouse State Park:

We skipped going into the Lighthouse opting to instead visit the park and view it from the shore.

FIVE: Sailboats on Lake Superior

Tuesday evening, the winds picked up and the waves were amazing. Those pictures, all on my phone. It’s a bit of a project to get phone pictures to the computer. So, we’ll save those for next time and instead I’ll leave you with “my” sailboats.

After the rain on Wednesday morning moved out, the day became simply picture perfect. Apparently, also a perfect day to take out a sailboat onto the big lake.  *********

Quick, I need reminded about the winters in those parts. I simply did not want to leave such a beautiful place.

In addition to already missing the scenery, it turns out housekeeping isn’t coming to knock on the door to our home any time soon either.  Back to reality! I want to go back to Duluth!




Five On Friday: More Random Camera Practice

It’s been a while since I had the time to sit down and put together a Five on Friday post.  Now that it’s June (wow!), my time is a bit more of my own and less calendar driven.

This week transitioned us from the school year to full on summer! Admittedly, I found myself pacing a bit earlier in the week.

I turned to my camera for a bit of relaxation. We’re also heading out on a much-needed vacation soon so I needed some practice. All the images hail from around our yard.

Images From My Random Camera Practice:

ONE: Blue Sky

As I sat on the front porch Tuesday evening, I noticed the blue of the sky and ran back inside to grab my camera. Later in the evening, a very brief thunderstorm rolled through.

TWO: Garden Images Inside And Out

We already have a green tomato! Usually, we don’t see tomatoes in our less than ideal garden spot until late August/early September.  The long view of our garden. Yes, I know we should weed it. However, we don’t. Ever try to start celery from scraps? Here’s a photo of my third attempt. The first two went well until I planted them in the garden.  Perhaps it needs to remain an indoor thing?

Three: Green Tree!

The same day of the blue sky, I also noticed the sunlight hitting this tree in the neighbor’s front yard. I find the image soothing and hope you do as well.

Four: Close-Ups

Bought a few more flowers on Memorial Day as I impatiently wait for my summer garden to bloom. Pink geraniums never fail to brighten up the world for me. Also, this little cat might be gray but she certainly does wonders for keeping the world interesting. Hey, I was talking to you, lady with the camera!

Five: Can you stand more cat cuteness?

It’s hard work keeping people at your beck and call. Sometimes, I just can’t stay awake long enough to bother with it. *******

So I filled my first week of summer break with my camera, petting the cat (not always by choice!), reading, catching up on some Netflix, and enjoying the slower pace.

Also, did a few loads of laundry plus G hosted a sleepover for 5 friends to belatedly celebrate his birthday on Tuesday. Wednesday, J spent the night with a friend, and then, yet another of his friends stayed over last night.  Did I mention something about a much-needed vacation coming soon?

How did you spend the past week?

(Note: Our Five on Friday host, The F.A.S.T. blog is currently on a break. Please leave me a link in the comments if you published a Five on Friday post this week so I can be sure to visit!)



Randomness From A Busy Week In May

Sharing a few random moments from my week with today’s Five on Friday post. And yes, I know it’s Saturday. Let’s just get straight to it.

ONE: The World Is Green Again!

I mowed our lawn last Sunday and by Friday, it looked like I hadn’t bothered. Complete with these little white flowers randomly appearing.  The creeping Charlie (the little purplish ones) also gives parts of our lawn a lovely lavender hue. Time to get out the lawn mower again but not today as thunderstorms roll through this morning.

TWO: Teacher Appreciation Week

Worked a few days this week and while they were busy and a bit chaotic (standard school days in May), I felt so loved. I’m still not used to being on this end of teacher appreciation week. My “haul” pictured below. The nicest note from one of our regular teachers, a Starbucks gift card from the parent organization, a coaster (back says if teachers were flowers, I’d pick you). And not pictured, a super hero themed school shirt. 

THREE: Growing Like Weeds

I’m having the best time watching the baby robins in their nest. They seem to get bigger every time I look out the back door.  They keep their mama busy. We’re hungry! Again. And now, we’re getting our feathers!

FOUR: Another Wren House Hunting

Caught this little wren checking out the wren house in our yard!

FIVE: Returning Flowers

Last Sunday, I stopped and picked up a hanging basket of my little blue flowers. And while out “chasing” birds around the backyard, I noticed the hydrangea I “rescued” from the rack late last summer, survived the winter. As well as a yellow (?we planted purple ones) Iris bud. And with a bit of overnight rain… A yellow Iris!


Along with working a bit last week, my youngest son also had his last band concert of the year plus a reunion picnic for the elementary gifted program, my oldest son had a rather tough Chemistry exam, and my husband traveled out-of-town to attend the funeral of one of his former classmate’s parents.

And I may or may not have sneak off by myself to go see Avengers: Infinity War last night. Definitely, not a movie I’d recommend for the younger ones. My teenager wouldn’t see it again with me and I found it intense as an adult.

Looks as though the sun’s decided to make an afternoon appearance around here so it’s time for me to get outside and inhale the just rained smell and take in all the lovely green hues of the world.

Hope your weekend blooms with happiness!

(Linking this post up with both Five On Friday hosted by the F.A.S.T. blog as well as the Bird D’Pot hosted by I’d Rather B Birdin’)


Spring Portraits

Have I mentioned May is a super busy month? Have I mentioned our weather has (finally) turned and spring is here. Posting on this blog must take a backseat to days with sunny blue skies and warm weather.

However, I decided to share a very late Five On Friday post combined with a bird-watching post tonight. These portraits of spring fill my heart with joy. Maybe they will fill your heart as well.

ONE: The Robin Family

They do have more than one mouth to feed….

TWO: A Few Blooms

First, white flowers on a couple of not so stinky trees. Much prettier than the Bradford pear blooms.  Can’t remember the name of the tree with these first blooms. The second is a dogwood.

Make a wish!

THREE: More New Neighbors!

A new neighbor moved in next door to the robin family today. They tried moving in on Thursday and weren’t welcomed. Today, they were tolerated.

I found myself elated as a family of one of my favorite little birds worked away. Only one stood still long enough for a quick portrait. Hello, little house wren!

FOUR: This Thrush Seemed To Be Checking Out The Neighborhood As Well

I “chased” him around the front and back yard all morning before settling on thinking he’s a Swainson’s Thrush. Please, let me know if you think he’s a different type. Not even sure these are both the same bird. The bird in the second photo seemed a bit smaller than the first one. So nice to see a variety of birds around the yard again.

FIVE: A Few Other Creatures Wandering About The Yards

And then, there were bunnies…I caught this bunny bathing this morning. Not pictured, later I spotted a baby bunny hopping not far from the tree. He was in the underbrush well before I could go back and grab the camera again. It seems this squirrel may have finally figured how to forage for his own food. Maybe. And of course, the little gray cat continues to not be amused by the time I spend taking photos. ****

Has spring arrived for you yet? Linking up very late to Five on Friday hosted by the F.A.S.T. blog as well as with The Bird Depot hosted by I’d Rather Be Birdin’. Be sure to go visit both wonderful places!

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