Monday, May 31, 2010

Nature Nook: The Mystery Bean

Once upon a time, there were four children who came home from preschool with mystery beans. The beans were a mystery because they were hidden inside damp paper towels sealed within Ziploc bags, and you couldn’t see them at all. Now I know I could have opened the bags, unfolded the paper towels , and looked at the beans, but at the time, it didn’t occur to me to do so.

There were no instructions.

I wasn’t sure what to do with them, so like any busy mom of quads, I piled them on the kitchen counter and told myself I’d figure it out later.

Weeks later.

Finally, I decided I was tired enough of moving them from one spot on the counter to another and I was going to throw them away. After all, they’d been sealed away from air FOREVER so they must be dead by now, right? But before I tossed them in the trash, my curiosity forced me to open them up and take a look.


So they were saved from the trash can and planted instead. I was so excited they had actually grown that I didn’t pay any attention to whatever remnants there were of the original beans. Were they green? White? Who knows?

Zachary’s bean was the only one that survived the first planting. It had grown the most and had the most roots in the bag. So when the garden was built, the mystery bean went from houseplant to potential garden veggie.


I don’t know if we’ll actually get any beans from it, but it is flowering!


We’ll be sure to keep you posted!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Nature Nook: Little Green Thumbs

Okay, it’s taken me forever, but I’m finally getting to the gardening post! I mentioned before that we planted our very first Harris Family Garden on Mother’s Day weekend! I didn’t include it in the Mother’s Day post because it wasn’t really for Mother’s Day. We just happened to do it that weekend.

Jim built a raised bed off the side of the house in the sunniest part of our back yard on Sat. Then on Sun his four little helpers were ready to start planting! First, they helped bring all the tools to the garden.

DSC_0518 DSC_0517 DSC_0516

I don’t think we really needed all those tools, but if one child is going to carry something, they ALL have to carry something!

After spreading the dirt out, it was time to decide where each plant should go. We had 3 tomato plants, 1 cherry tomato plant, 3 squash plants, 2 okra plants, and 1 mystery bean. (Mystery bean story coming soon!)

After much deliberation…

DSC_0521 What do you think, Zachary, a little more to the right?

…JonZReaTom decided all the plants should go together on the right side to keep each other company. They would have plenty of room to grow as long as they grew up or left.


Fortunately, they were overruled by Daddy, and the plants were placed more appropriately across the whole bed. It was now time to get panting! Each of the kids got to have a turn planting and watering.





And here’s how it looked in the end!


Already we are producing lots of tiny tomatoes! I’ll have to get a picture soon! I have to admit that I find the garden very exciting! If I had done more of the actual work, I might find it even more exciting! JonZReaTom’s favorite part so far has been that it attracts butterflies! I’d like to get some pics of them too! There’s so much going on these days and never enough time to tell you all about it! Have a great weekend!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Being a Mom

Sunday was Mother’s Day, and I have to say that this was one of the best yet! I realize I haven’t had that many to compare to, and maybe I feel this way every year, but this Mother’s Day was just really wonderful!

It was really more like Mother’s Weekend because the festivities kicked off on Friday when the kids came home from preschool with armloads of treasures for mom! They had grown some morning glories, baked heart-shaped cakes, made cards, and also made these cute crafts:

DSC_0553 Jonathan shows his loving arms

Saturday, the kids went ahead and gave me their presents: wind chimes, a precious Willow Tree figurine of a mom and little boy that literally made me tear up, the book Bringing Up Girls (James Dobson’s companion book to Bringing Up Boys which I’ve been reading for awhile now), and a make-your-own stepping stone craft which I look forward to doing with the kids this summer.

And as if this wasn’t enough, Sunday was really special, too! Jim volunteered to get the kids ready for church so I got to sleep a little later than normal and take a nice leisurely shower. Then I was treated to a delicious big breakfast, so much better than the waffles we usually have on Sunday morning!

At church the kids made the most adorable presents! (Thank you so much Heidi and everyone else involved!) From each child I received a ceramic plate and collection of holiday themed handprint pictures (and one footprint). There’s a close-up of the flag. DSC_0550


Each picture velcros to the plate so you can change them out with the seasons! Aren’t they great! What an investment of time and money these must have been! You’d be even more impressed if you saw the size of their Sunday School class! (You can start off with enough singleton kids to make a normal class size, then throw in my quads and two sets of twins! It’s a humongous class! That’s a WHOLE LOT OF HANDPRINTS!!!)

After church we went to lunch at Gondolier. This was a special treat since we almost never go to restaurants with the kids! They did really good though, so maybe we can start doing this more! Then it was time to go home and make pictures!


Share the love!

DSC_0483 Me and my *sniff* almost-four-year-olds!

There was also some gardening fun this day, but I’m saving those pics for another post!

Being a mom is amazing, and I love it, but it is so much harder than I expected! The wonderful moments are really hard to hold onto sometimes when you’re surrounded by whining and crying and screaming. I feel so much pressure on behalf of my kids. Their behavior, intelligence, and development all sit heavily on my shoulders. But I know that I’m not alone! I know that every mom feels the same way! It makes me appreciate my own mom so much more because I know she felt this same way about me and my sister. And I know my sister and I drove her nuts with our petty fighting and whining just like my kids do to me (She’s touching me! I had it first! But she did it too! She’s copying me!)

So even though we shouldn’t judge a mom by her children, we do it anyway! And although I’m NOT perfect, not even close, God certainly thought highly enough of me to entrust His precious JonZReaTom to my mothering skills, which means, Mom, you must have done a pretty awesome job raising me! And Jodie too! Thanks for everything! I love you!

Happy Mother’s Day to every mom!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


We have been renting movies through Netflix for a couple of years now and love it! I am a movie person, and Netflix is so much cheaper than renting from a store! I highly recommend Netflix if you rent movies regularly!

And if you have a Wii (or a PS3 or Xbox 360) then I recommend it EVEN MORE! I just recently found out from some friends (thanks Bryon and Darlene!) that you can instantly stream movies from Netflix through the Wii straight to the TV!! All you have to do is log into your Netflix account and request a free Wii disc. They send the disc, you put it in the Wii, follow the super-easy instructions, and you’re in business! (Assuming your Wii is hooked to the internet). Now, granted, you won’t be able to stream the first-run movies, but there are thousands of movies and TV shows you CAN stream! I’ve found it really great for kids’ entertainment. There are great kids’ movies and TV shows available for all ages! Thanks to this my kids have been introduced to both Shirley Temple and the Muppets! I am so happy!

For those of you interested in giving it a try, here’s a bonus for you: right now I can get you a free month trial of Netflix! The regular trial is only 2 weeks. Just let me know you’re interested and make sure I have your email address, and I’ll get the info to you!

By the way, neither Netflix nor any of its employees has anything to do with this post. I get nothing for writing it. No one asked me to. It’s all me! Happy streaming!

Friday, May 7, 2010

I Just Love Getting Behind!

Well, not really. I hate it actually! I hate being so far behind that it seems silly to even write about a particular event because it happened so long ago, but I also don’t like leaving things out. What I’m trying to say is…

We had a great time over Easter! (I know, I know, bear with me, there are some cute pictures!)

To begin, the kids each had to take a dozen boiled eggs to preschool the week before Easter. That would be FOUR DOZEN eggs for me, so I baked them, rather than boiling them, like I did last year, and this time I remembered to take a picture! Yea! Click on the link if you want the directions for doing this yourself.


Luckily, the kids didn’t actually dye all 4 dozen, so we had enough for Easter weekend without having to bake or boil any more.

Uncle Clay and Aunt Carey came for the weekend with our cousins, Tyler and Avery. You know how much we love to visit with our cousins! On Sat, Gammy came to visit too, and we all dyed Easter eggs. It was a little chaotic, so I didn’t get a lot of pictures, but here are a couple.


DSC_2532 Even Superman enjoyed dying Easter eggs!

Sunday we all went to church together. The kids all looked so cute in their clothes. I was especially excited that Tyler was wearing a white shirt with a sweater vest, just like Jonathan, Zachary, and Thomas. It looked like we planned it!

We tried getting pictures on the swing, but it was so sunny that we had trouble getting the kids to look up, especially Thomas.


We had better luck in the shaded grass, but it was hard to get all the faces to stay in view!

DSC_2607 Jonathan, Thomas, Reagan, Zachary, Avery, Tyler

Sunday afternoon,we had an Easter egg hunt. The kids had been waiting all year for this!


It cracked me up when they all sat down here to start eating their treasures because this is exactly where they all sat last year! Without any prompting at all either time. I guess there’s something about this flowerbed ledge that says, “Here’s a good place to eat jelly beans!”


Hmmm…I’ve never done the pictures like that before, so we’ll see how it works! The kids were all so cute sitting along the ledge that I snapped a shot of each of them, except Avery who got away before I could get to her.

Well, I was just looking for last year’s post on the Easter egg hunting to link it to this one, and I couldn’t find one, so this post may be late, but at least all the festivities are accounted for!

This visit was really great! The kids and Tyler played better than they ever have before and really enjoyed each other’s company. Tyler is only 6 months younger than JonZReaTom, but those 6 months have really made a difference in the past. The older they all get, the less those 6 months matter.

We can’t wait for them all to come back again!

I also enjoyed talking with the kids about why we celebrate Easter in the first place. It’s a heavy topic, and I wasn’t sure how much detail to go into with them. How much of Christ’s crucifixion can an almost-four-year-old understand? So I gave them a very softened version. They heard a slightly less softened, but still appropriate, version in Sunday school, and I was pleased by how well they understood the story. There’s something really special about talking to your kids about Jesus and what he did for us! Next year I think they’ll be ready to do Empty Tomb cookies. I’ll try to remember to post the recipe in time for any of you who might be interested in them too. Thanks, Kim, for sending me the recipe!

Happy Friday!