It’s Big Family Food and Fun: October 22-28!
Big Family Food and Fun: October 22-28, 2023
Last week’s illness turned into pneumonia for me (a constant struggle since I was exposed to black mold in my dorm back in college). So I stayed home from church Sunday morning, knowing that Matt would have plenty of help with the littles there.
A few weeks prior, I had put a large Pork and Hashbrown Casserole into the freezer so we pulled that out to bake all morning for lunch. Here’s a poor photo of the casserole ready to pull from the oven plus sides we grabbed from the fridge: leftover peas, that crazy bowl of leftover pineapple that we can’t seem to finish, a package of sweet peppers, and a loaf of bread to slice, butter, and toast.
Before heading back to bed that morning, I made Apple Dip that our family loves to enjoy for dessert.
Asa and Eva joined us for lunch and it appears that Asa and Keith had some sort of dual when they arrived. Or is that Keith? We can’t tell.
Eva’s parents had heard I was sick and they texted to see how they could help. I requested 10 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so that I could put together easy lunches for the school kids this week. (It’s crazy how even the simplest tasks feel hard when you’re sick.) Not only did they make and bring ten sandwiches, but they made ten entire bagged lunches! We started our week with a sack full of sacks – filled with sandwiches, chips, applesauce, and treats! We felt so blessed to be cared for this way. :)
After dinner and toys were cleaned up for the evening, we got out a new craft kit for the kids to enjoy. This might have been a favorite for me because they are completely un-messy!! And they are great for kids with extra sensory needs. These babes stayed calm for ten entire minutes doing this. That may not sound impressive, but in our world, ten calm minutes is amazing.
Monday I was still not feeling well and asked some friends to come over for the evening to help with the kids. Malachi cut smoked sausage and put it into the crock pot for dinner.
Elias boiled 2-pounds of noodles and we put a container of White Queso from Sam’s into it. (Try this – its so good!) We made Caesar salad to round out the meal. Since our friends were coming over for the evening and I wanted to be sure our meal stretched far enough, I also got out a few cans of mandarin oranges. And then I went to bed and slept the entire evening while we had extra help. :)
Tuesday I felt a tiny bit better. We needed something quick to eat so I made Peanut Butter Honey Rice Krispie Bars. Look at those sweet little Josie hands reaching up for a bar…
That afternoon, Elias seasoned two chickens and worked with Matt to get them onto the smoker for dinner. At meal time, I steamed green beans and made Mashed Potatoes like this. Such a comfort-food meal!
Justus and Kelsey had come over and after dinner we all “helped” Kelsey wrap up some boxes to turn into Giant Legos for a Trunk or Treat project this weekend. My energy was still so low that I wasn’t much help with crowd control. :/
Wednesday morning I had a special ed teacher coming over to spend time with BabyBoy#11. I needed a little something to eat before this meeting so I (too) quickly put this Smoothie into the blender – overfilling it in my haste. The lid came off and I ended up exploding it all over the kitchen and all over myself.
One of our housemates witnessed the entire thing and came to my rescue. “You go change and have your meeting. I’ll take care of this.” And she did. Sniff. We are well cared for.
For dinner that evening I got out the tidbit of leftover roast and potatoes we had from last week plus some of this week’s leftover chicken. I put the meat on hoagies with spinach and melted Havarti cheese on top. So good!
I fried the small amount of potatoes and got out leftover green beans. We all just got a tiny serving of sides, but we all got full. :)
Brayden had a special field trip on Thursday morning and the request was that all the kids try to put themselves fully into 1897 mode, from clothing to food. He wore his button-up shirt, jeans, and boots and here was his lunch that day:
A biscuit with butter, beef jerky, and an apple wrapped up in a cloth. He took a tin can for his water and was so excited that he could hardly sleep the night before. :)
Thursday evening we had plans to go to “Boo at the Zoo” which is a very big deal here in Lincoln. So that we could have an early dinner and get out the door easily (hahaha) I made a bowl of Chicken Salad with some of the leftover smoked chicken from earlier this week. We ate it on rolls with veggies and canned fruit and it tasted SO GOOD.
Here we have “New to the Neighborhood Community Helpers:” a gardener, a teacher, a construction worker, a babysitter, a policewoman, a fire chief, and a garbage man.
Friday turned COLD. The night before, Malachi brought up our totes of coats, gloves, and hats and Matt sorted them into piles. Keith tried on EVERYTHING when he got up on Friday morning. :)
Anna got in on the fun too, but somehow her “bundling up” included huge purple pants and a princess dress from our dress-up clothes trunk, plus crocks that are several sizes too big. At least she found a hat, though. :)
The best discovery from our sorting of warm items was the Blues Clues slippers from 2001(ish). Asa was the first to wear those, then each boy after that, and somehow we still have them for Keith to wear. (And all of the little sisters. Taking turns is a whole big thing around here.)
I had an IEP meeting at school for one of our kids that morning then three therapist sessions throughout the day (one of them for me, praise God).
Because the day was packed, I simply threw a huge pack of hotdogs into a pot to have warm at dinnertime so the kids could eat before moving on to our evening events.
The fullness of this day ended with Trunk or Treat with our church family in the evening. Thankfully, Justus and Kelsey fully took over the plans we had to be a part of it. We sent a very bundled up Brayden, Kiya, and Keith with Elias so that they could enjoy the event. But Matt and I kept the littlest four at home to stay warm.
Saturday we took the day off, as much as one can take the day off with so many kids. Nobody got dressed that day; we just chilled in jammies or whatever we had all slept in the night before. We did some cleaning, we watched some soccer, we didn’t go anywhere. It was great and needed.
I didn’t get a picture of lunch that day, but I asked the boys to make 5 boxes of mac and cheese. FIVE. BOXES. Which seems like plenty, doesn’t it? Excessive even? Sure, but we have housemates and they needed to eat too.
That pot of mac and cheese was devoured before Matt and I could have any or before our housemates came down to eat. Wow. I don’t even know how much to make in the future. Eight boxes?? Ten? Make two pounds of this instead? Yes probably.
That night I used some of the smoked chicken from earlier in the week to make Chicken Gravy to go over the leftover mashed potatoes. This tasted sooooo good on a cold, jammie day. The buttered peas really hit the spot that night with the kids too. Adding plenty of butter to steamed peas makes them taste like candy, apparently. ;)
And that was our week!