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For All the Moms in Your Backyard

Bird moms come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Here are some of the most fascinating behaviors from around the world of mother birds.

  • Most Talented Mom - It takes as many as 12 days for a female Oriole to weave her nest. One Baltimore Oriole was observed spending 40 hours interlacing her basket-like nest. It included over 10,000 stitches and thousands of knots, all done by mom's talented beak.
  • Most Loyal Mom - A pair bond may form between a male and a female Carolina Wren at any time of the year. She will stay with him for life, always foraging and moving around within sight of her mate.
  • Quickest Mom - Black-capped Chickadees have one of the shortest incubation periods of all birds. Their eggs can hatch in as little as 11 days.
  • Trickiest Mom - By singing a "male" song, the female Black-headed Grosbeak can trick her mate into thinking a rival male is nearby, forcing him to stay close to the nest.
  • Supersized Mom - Sharp-shinned Hawk females average over 40% larger than their male counterparts. This size difference is the largest of all of North American birds of prey.
  • Mini-Mom - A mother hummingbird weighs only about eight times more than the eggs she lays.
  • Most Overworked Mom - Mourning Dove moms may raise up to six broods per year, more than any other native North American bird. 
  • Most Laid-back Mom - Unlike most other bird moms, robins do not lay their eggs at sunrise. They lay their eggs several hours later during the mid-morning. Since earthworms are easier to find during early morning, they feed first and then return to the nest to lay their eggs.
  • Most Devoted to Mom - Young Tufted Titmice often remain with their parents throughout their first winter. They have been known stay with mom into the next nesting season and help her to raise the next brood.
  • One Cold & Small Mom - The Rufous Hummingbird nests in Alaska
  • The Last Mom - American Goldfinch moms are one of the last songbirds to nest each year, waiting until mid-to-late summer when thistle seeds and down are readily available.

I just had to share this for all the bird lovers. The information came from Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop.
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South Carolina Is The Hot Spot For The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

In a couple short weeks, school will resume around these parts. My middle girl will begin junior year at the University Of South Carolina, the husband will be in grad school working on his MBA, and the littlest one will start fourth grade in his third year being a home schooler. We are all so sad that the summer break is coming to an end. We are planning to have one last hurrah by having an Ismail Party of Five-Total Eclipse Party. Okay, okay, it's not as fancy as I'm making it sound. We will be here at the house waiting in anticipation of viewing the eclipse. It will be the perfect time for the five of us to hang out and witness what will be a historical event.

It turns out that Columbia, South Carolina is one of the top spots in the country where the view is slated to be at 100%! Our local news has estimated over 1 million people will make their way to our state to partake in seeing the eclipse. Hotels are sold out everywhere and they say traffic will be crazy all over. That's a great thing for South Carolina businesses, for sure. If you aren't sure if your area will be able to catch any of the action, you can check here by entering your zip code.

The most important thing we did to prepare for the eclipse was to first purchase eclipse safe glasses, which we did a month ago. Little William was listening to a news report in regards to viewing the eclipse safely and insisted we must have the proper eye-wear. Here are the ones we got. Lucky for us, they came in a pack of 5. Perfect for our family!
Since we purchased them early, they were very inexpensive. I have noticed a big rise in the cost all over. I guess people are recognizing how dangerous it can be to your eyes if you get too much exposure to the direct sun. Let's hope these glasses work because when you put them on, you can't see a thing! Of course William had to be the first to try them on. 

We are so excited to have the opportunity to view the total solar eclipse together. I hope that you live in an area so you can catch a glimpse, too. Now we will keep our fingers crossed that the weather will hold up! Will you be participating in this big event? 

*This post contains affiliate links. Any purchases made gives me a little pocket change. 
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There Is Beauty Everywhere

Lately I have been feeling very overwhelmed with social media. I'm sure many of you can relate. Seeing the same horrible stories circulating over and over again gets nauseating. Even worse when everyone and their mother decides they need to do their own "news reporting" on their site. I have made it a point to completely log off and turn away from the garbage, even if it's for an hour or two.  One of the things that I find very soothing and even rejuvenating is by immersing myself in nature. I don't necessarily sit outside all day, but I do look outside my back window and take in the scenery. We have planted several trees and shrubs and it is cool watching them grow. My favorite thing I do from the moment I wake up is to look for the hummingbirds that feed at our window feeder. We have a few regulars that stop by for the sweet, homemade nectar. 

This particular ruby-throated beauty loves to perch on top of our weeping cherry tree and fly up to the feeder throughout the day. It's amazing how these tiny creatures can capture your attention and make you feel so relaxed. Just call me the #CrazyBirdLady :) 

I don't have photos right now, but we also have several other feeders for all of the other birds that visit each day. It's not unusual to see up to 8 types of birds at once. My husband often jokes that he needs to start charging for rent and food. We have factored in the cost of bird seed into our grocery budget. Hey, it's still waaaaay cheaper than kids!

Overall, taking time out to relax and enjoy watching God's creatures is a great cure for the social media funk. I highly recommend it.

Wordless Wednesday | So Bright


Lemon tree update #3

For those of you who have been following Momfiles for a while you might recall that I planted a Dwarf Meyer lemon tree back in May. It was wee bitty little thing (see picture below) and I was not sure if it would even grow. I updated again 7 weeks later and you were able to tell that it did indeed grow! I don't have a green thumb at all so I was really happy with the progress.

Well now I am happy to report that my little plant has turned into a bush! Look how big it got! It has now been 5 months and it is still doing well. I actually brought it indoors since our temperatures have been flip-floppy. I keep it in a sunny area of the house and plan to re-pot it in the early spring in a bigger container and return it to the outside deck. I actually found a little caterpillar that had fallen off of it and that explained why a few leaves were chewed up.

I may not get any lemons for a while, but I sure am thrilled that my plant is still alive :-)

Shelly, Mom Files

Look what was lurking in our backyard...

It rained last night...heavily. It was the first time in 2 weeks. I was so happy for it. I just didn't expect this...

You should have seen how many birds were lined up on the fence and flying down close to the snake. I guess they thought they were going to catch a big worm? I get chills every time I look at this photo.

This cements my dislike of the Summer months. Thank goodness for husbands. I don't know what I would have done without Dwayne! He sent me back in the bedroom and he made it go away. I know I talk a lot of smack about him but today... he is royalty!

Has anyone had any encounters with snakes this Summer?
Shelly, Mom Files

Guess what? Bees STING!!

My family went away for the weekend to Atlanta, GA to join our family for the annual family reunion. The weather was picture perfect to be in the car for 3 hours. We were able to ride with the windows down~ we were loving it! The road trip was so much fun. We chatted, made fun of each other, laughed and lived frivolously with no cares or worries. We really enjoyed the time we spent together in the car....until.... a bee flew in! It ended up on my window (the passenger side) and I quickly put it down all the way but it seemed like the bee went down into the door and not out of the window. Oh well, we just kept right on along and stopped for a snack. We are all laughing and carrying on and suddenly the bee appears again! I quickly let the window down and it went out, but it looked like it came back in. I was not sure but the family seemed convinced that it was gone. Three minutes later I started screaming hysterically. The freakin' bee was on my upper back!! It stung me and I was freaking out like you would not believe. I am 37 years old and have never been stung by a bee before. Dwayne told me to calm down and he grabbed it with his fingers and killed it and threw it out of the window. He pulled the car off to a safe location and tried to see if the stinger was still intact. I don't even know what happened to it. I am however really glad that I am the mom who thinks of almost everything and packed Benedryl and Ibuprofen. I took both about 5 minutes after it happened. I think that saved me a lot of pain and swelling. I am SO thankful that I am not allergic in the deadly kind of way since I obviously survived. It is itchy and red but I am okay otherwise. Our trip was able to go on as planned and we had a blast. I would recommend that if you ever travel to be sure to take your Benedryl and Ibuprofen "just in case". I'm glad I did!!
Shelly, Mom Files

Dear Life: Please give me lemons

I finally received my baby Meyer Lemon tree I ordered several weeks back. I was surprised that it actually have leaves on it instead of only being a stick. William helped me plant it and we are hoping for the best. We potted it since citrus can't survive the winter and at that time we will bring it indoors. The tree is only supposed grow to about 4-5 feet at maturity and we should not expect any lemons until the second year. This was all Dwayne's idea (a good one too) and we look forward to seeing what happens! Hopefully my purple thumb won't show itself ;)

Question: Have you ever planted fruit trees in a pot before? If so, was it a success?
Shelly, Mom Files
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