It’s time for our Big Family Food and Fun: January 28-February 3 post!
Big Family Food and Fun: January 28-February 3, 2024
Because our church building is undergoing major repairs due to a frozen pipe and flood, we will be meeting for worship with our church family at a different location on Sunday afternoons for the next several weeks. It’s different, but we sure are thankful to be together with our church family again!
With the change in Sunday schedule, I decided to make Pancakes, Eggs, and Sausage for lunch that day before we left. Josie helped me count the cups of water we added to the mix.
Keith helped me whisk it together.
And we had a great feast.
Unfortunately, while trying to get everyone fed, some of our kids had some pretty severe behavior struggles. We can never predict what might trigger these larger melt-downs and this particular day, my heart felt broken to pieces after dealing with them.
Our babies have so many hurt places to deal with and I just hate it. I was so glad to spend time in worship right after this, and I just cried through the songs. Their words were perfect to minister to me, knowing that we serve a Savior who rescues and heals us. He will do this for our children. Oh how I hurt for their hurt.
It was good to hug friends after church that we hadn’t seen for quite a while because of the harsh weather. Then Justus and Kelsey came over to have a Snacky Dinner with us.
Monday morning we got Brayden and Kiya off to school, then Eva came over to help! Keith and I packed up some snacks for him to eat on the way, then headed to help set up food for the next day’s Food Distribution.
Is he setting up the food or is he building towers? The answer is yes.
We arrived home to find Anna feeding BabyBoy#11 his bottle, while Eva made sure no one dropped any babies off the couch.
Now that Acacia and Josie are 3 1/2 and 2 1/2, they have decided that afternoon naps are for babies and Matt and I have decided to stop fighting the losing battle. Booooo.
So we let them watch a show for a while in the afternoons so that we can at least have a short minute of breathing time, then I took them into the kitchen with me to do some food prep. Acacia crunched up some cornflakes for me while I mixed up Peanut Butter Honey Puff ingredients for a snack.
After everyone got home from school, Kiya started her homework and Elias grabbed Brayden to head off for some “Bro Time.” (I mentioned last week that we’ve hired Elias to spend some very intentional one-on-one time with Brayden to help meet some of his needs. It’s going fabulously.) This particular day, they headed to Barnes and Noble to look around at games and books. Brayden comes home ten feet taller after these outings.
Meanwhile, I’m able to use this time to pour more intentionally into the others. Anna and Acacia were happy to fold kitchen towels and washrags for me.
I wrote out my Easy Egg Casserole recipe for Kiya. She read through it, and I got out measuring cups and spoons to show her more details about how to use them. Then she put the entire casserole together almost completely on her own. She has decided that she loves cooking and can’t wait to learn more!
After she finished putting together the casserole, we set it into the fridge to bake Tuesday morning for breakfast. Then she started to butter hoagie buns for dinner.
Then we toasted the buns Kiya had buttered and spread jelly over them for our dessert.
Tuesday morning I was up early and put Kiya’s Egg Casserole into the oven to bake while I had my God time. Once all the kids got up, we ate it with pears and leftover pancakes from Sunday. It tasted great!
For a morning outing, we went to a Music and Movement Library Storytime. Then we played with some of the library learning toys for a while before heading home.
Late that morning, we had a visit from BabyBoy#11’s CASA who has been with us through several of our kids’ cases. She loves seeing all the kids’ progress (and we appreciate hearing her perspective since we are living through the day-to-day and don’t always see progress through the messes). The girls had fun vising with her while they ate avocado cups and applesauce.
It was gorgeous outside so we got to play in the sunshine and get nice and muddy. :)
After school, I took Brayden and Kiya to Food Distribution to hand out food. Before clients started to come through the line, I was able to sneak in a quick photo of the kids setting up their tables so that you can see a little snippet of what the set-up looks like. Brayden got to hand out boxes of crackers this week and Kiya gave out different varieties of meat. I can’t say enough to share how good this service opportunity has been for our kids.
Back at home, Elias and Matt were holding down the fort. Elias warmed up leftover Pizza Casserole from last week for everyone to eat for dinner. We got home and handed out some grapes and berries we’d been given at Food Distribution and the kids acted like they’d never eaten fruit before. :)
Wednesday was GLORIOUS. The beginning of January gave us negative temps and the last day of the month gave us high 50s. Amazing! We got ready to head out for the morning, but before we did, everyone took turns scrubbing potatoes to put into the crock pot for our dinner.
They took their jobs very seriously.
It takes FOR.EV.ER to get out the door any time we go anywhere. Shoes, man. Finding this many shoes (that have a matching pair), and getting everyone a jacket, and packing snacks, not forgetting the baby’s bottle…
Leaving the house is such an ordeal every time. But then it’s always worth it!!! We went to a skateboard park so that we could play outside at a park but avoid mud from all the melting snow. This was perfect! We took Keith’s skateboard, Anna’s bike, and Acacia’s and Josie’s little scooters. But then, of course, they mostly just climbed all over the cement mountains. :)
We got home in time to eat a few bites of lunch before sending Keith and Anna out the door for the preschool bus. Then we cleaned the kitchen and took Acacia and Josie over to our friend Kathi’s house to spend part of the afternoon.
Matt and I have been praying that we’d find a few more people we could call on for babysitting as the girls stopped napping and we are rather exhausted from the pace we keep. It’s been hard to get much work done beyond parenting tantrums and dealing with poop.
God answered with not one, but two different people who are kind and willing to helps us out a few afternoons each week. We are so thankful! As I write this sentence, only BabyBoy#11 is home and he is asleep. The quiet house is life giving and needed!
Meanwhile, this is how I left the girls today. Ms. Kathi had a lovely assortment of activities for them to enjoy.
The weather was so incredible that the kids played outside all afternoon when they all got home while I made Smoked Chicken. We ate it with salad, corn, stir fried veggies, and watermelon. I had made Baked Potatoes in the crock pot but they weren’t done cooking by dinnertime, so we had buttered rolls instead.
Justus and Malachi came over and ate with us (followed by a piano lesson for Brayden by Justus). I plated up some leftovers to send back with each of them for Kelsey and my nephew Troy since they couldn’t come over to join us. We’d eaten most of the food, but at least they got some of the amazing chicken!
Thursday morning for breakfast, I made two loaves of French Toast like this. No need for syrup when it’s this good all by itself. :)
Keith spent some time with gloves and a shovel clearing out more melting snow. He enjoyed this work so much that I could hardly get him inside when it was time to get ready for the bus to come.
After school that day, Elias took Brayden out for some Bro Time so Kiya and I hit the kitchen for more cooking lessons. The little girls joined us too, of course. Today, Kiya learned how to make Chewy Granola Bars. This involved learning to turn on the stove and stay safe with the heat.
They turned out great!
Meanwhile, I made a big jar of Ranch Dressing Mix to use with our dinner.
While they cooked, Kiya helped me make Pineapple Fluff Salad for a side dish.
What is the best part of helping cook? Licking the spatula. Of course.
Josie had been puttering around and found one of our waffle irons. She sat down and started using it as a laptop. It was the CUTEST.
Elias sent me this as the two of them headed home from their outing to enjoy dinner with us.
Friday morning I made Eggs in a Nest for breakfast before getting Brayden off to his early morning Ukulele class, Matt off to York for the day, then Kiya off to school. Elias wasn’t feeling well so Malachi came over to help me hold down the fort while they were gone.
We spent some time getting Malachi’s empty room cleaned up for company over the weekend. The kids had too much fun with the extra mattress that kept “accidentally” falling on them.
At noon I had a big IFSP meeting for the two youngest kids (IFSPs are like IEPs for kids under age 3). So we made a couple of Frozen Pizzas for an early lunch then Malachi was a rock star chasing kids while I spent two hours in the meeting. Phew.
With Matt being gone, we kept dinner simple too. I cooked a package of hotdogs and made these smoothies so we’d get some veggies in us. Kiya helped make Baked Beans because she’s enjoying the kitchen so much and wants to help at every meal now. :)
Saturday morning we had cereal, yogurt, and fruit plus leftover Chewy Granola Bars.
We headed to our favorite Sensory Friendly Storytime. Check out Brayden sharing his coat with Keith as they walked in.
Everyone got to pick a special sensory chair to sit in.
Afterward, Ms. Diane, the librarian, pulled out special sensory-friendly hand-on toys. Truly, this is an amazing option we love to take advantage of here in Lincoln!
We spent time in the main area of the library also, thinking we’d just be there a few minutes. But the kids got very involved playing Post Office and we ended up mailing packages for an hour!
On our way home, Matt remembered that we had some Free Kids Meals coupons that we’d been given way back in October. Today was a good day to cash them in! So he bought one adult meal and we got five free kids’ meals. The kids were so excited about this treat!
There was a special showing of Charlotte’s Web at the theatre for only $3 that afternoon, plus someone gave us two free vouchers. So Elias helped us out and took Brayden, Kiya, and Keith there during afternoon rest time. What a day – restaurant food AND a movie at the theatre!
While they were gone and the youngest four were resting, I cleaned. Hello mop. Thank you for your service.
Meanwhile, Anna’s “nap”…
My brother and his family came to visit Troy so they were all here for dinner. Having them all in our living room was pretty great!
Asa and Eva were able to join us for dinner. (Justus and Kelsey came later. Malachi was filming a hockey game and couldn’t make it.)
And that was our week!