Here’s our Big Family Food and Fun: November 26-December 2, 2023 post…
Here’s what we ate and what we did this week!
Big Family Food and Fun: November 26-December 2, 2023
Sunday morning we woke up to snow!! The kids were so excited and it was so pretty. They started making plans for sledding and a snowman – even though there was only about an inch of snow on the ground. ;)
I made a big pot of oatmeal to warm us up on a cold morning.
I had made a lot of bacon from the sale I’d taken advantage of last week so I used some to make Turkey Bacon Cheese Subs for dinner. I cut and fried leftover baked potatoes plus warmed up leftover steamed broccoli.
We ate an early dinner that night because everyone started getting hungry early. Therefore, I knew we’d need a snack before bed. Anna and Acacia helped me make Flourless Chocolate Banana Muffins and we set them aside for later.
We’ve found that our evenings can be LONG since it gets dark so early and it’s too cold to go outside to play. If we don’t have a plan and keep our evenings structured, everything can quickly turn to chaos. So we try to plan activities for our evenings to help the kids stay calm (<— this is a loose term, ha).
I had made a run to Hobby Lobby on Saturday and had taken advantage of their 1/2 off Christmas crafts sale. For such a low amount of money, I think we have enough evening projects to last us from now until Christmas!
This particular night, we used a chain kit I had picked up to make a Christmas Countdown Prayer Chain. The littlest five kids mostly just crawled around and tried to destroy the chain, oy. But Brayden and Kiya were engaged in helping. We thought of 30 people or people groups (aunts, uncles, cousins, our church, etc) to pray for and wrote them on our chain pieces. Each day from now until Christmas, we’ll take off the end of the chain and pray for whoever we wrote down.
This was SUCH a good activity for our kids, though it did trigger some sadness, hurt, and tears as we wrote down some of their biological family’s names. We prayed differently that night at bedtime – for continued healing for the ones they miss and for the ones that caused hurt. These precious children are so dear.
We moved on to our muffins before heading up to get ready for bed. As it turns out, we needed to finish all of our clementines too. :)
Monday the kids had a final day off from school before going back after Thanksgiving break. Eva came over to help with the littles and I took Brayden, Kiya, and Keith to our weekly Food Distribution set up to help get ready for the Tuesday giveaway.
Brayden spent most of his time helping Kathleen, the leader of this distribution site, set up a snack table.
Kiya and I used sharpies to mark out the bar codes on products. I took this TERRIBLE picture as I was trying to not waste time with my phone out and as a result, moved my hand while snapping it. I’m posting it here anyway, you know, to prove that Kiya was there too, haha.
When Kiya and I finished marking all the chip bags, Keith helped drive the boxes into the store room.
After naptime that day, the little girls and I made a big batch of Cream Cheese Cut Out Cookies. I put them into the freezer for later in the Christmas season for us to decorate and share with people.
For dinner we had Beef Roast that I’d slow cooked all day with carrots. I made cornbread (from a mix, thank you Costco).
Before bedtime that evening, we all gathered in the dining room to enjoy the first prayer link in our Christmas countdown prayer chain that we’d made the night before. We prayed together for aunts, uncles, and cousins then sang some songs before heading up to bed.
I love that I was able to capture this sweet moment with Anna, Josie, Elias, and Malachi. :)
Tuesday morning the kids headed back to school after a six-day Thanksgiving break. I made Bacon Cheesy Eggs with applesauce for breakfast.
We felt like we could all use an outing, so after we dropped Brayden and Kiya off at school the rest of us went to Aldi for groceries. Right away, I loaded up on salad kits and other produce.
Matt kept his cart on the move so that BabyBoy#11 wouldn’t fuss. We got stocked back up on our Aldi favorites before heading out to run other errands that morning.
That afternoon Brayden, Kiya, and I handed out food and helped clean up at our Food Distribution site. There was quite a bit leftover so we were blessed to bring home some food for our household too. Here’s a fuzzy picture of the kids heading to the van after their great volunteer work.
Back at home, we enjoyed dinner that had been cooking in the crock pots. Smoked Sausages and Party Potatoes with a salad.
We also got out the containers of raspberries we’d picked up at Aldi that morning. They looked like this in exactly four minutes:
Wednesday morning we used fresh greens to make these smoothies to go with our breakfast.
Late morning, all the littles “helped” me make pizza for lunch. BabyBoy#11 entertained himself on the floor crawling around and playing with toys. I choose to ignore how many times the kids licked sauce off their fingers. All the germs baked off in the oven, right? Sure. They did.
Here are the first two pans of pizza. Another pan was still baking, giving us LOTS of pizza to enjoy.
Which is why for dinner that night we ate more pizza. :) Matt and Elias had been gone all day so I was a bit worn out and didn’t feel like making anything else. Brayden learned how to put together salad kits to go with our (cold) pizza, and that was dinner!
We sat at our living room table later that evening and made paper ornaments with stickers. The kids had so much fun with this craft!
The next day I was blessed to take a day off!! Matt, Elias, and Malachi watched the kids all day so that I could have a much-needed day to myself. I Christmas shopped most of the day, which I loved. My final stop was Costco, and Matt and I had decided that their pizza would be our dinner. Did we just have pizza three-meals in a row? Yes. Did all the kids get fed? Yes. This is a win.
Eva had taken new photos for our family on Thanksgiving and I had picked up the prints that day while I was out. So we gathered around on the floor by our “picture wall” so the kids would watch me update their pictures. I couldn’t believe how long they sat still watching me!
Part of the fun was seeing all of the older photos in each frame. (Every year I just add the new photo to the front of the pile. So each time we open up the frame, we can look at all the photos inside to see how much each kid has changed through the years.)
Tada! The updated wall!
Friday morning I made Breakfast Sandwiches.
Mid-morning we took the littlest five to play at one of our libraries. Wow, was it a disaster that morning. We had a lot of rough behaviors while we were there, plus poopy diapers and kids who needed to poop and bleh. Some outings are great, and some are not. This one was not. As always, Matt and I are discussing what might have gone wrong and what we could do differently next time. But some of their behaviors are triggered by who-knows-what and happen who-knows-when. Ugh, God help us. (He is. He always does.)
Naptime was extra good and needed that day. I spent some time baking (which was therapeutic for me!) so that we could have easy snacks on hand. I made a double batch of Lemon Muffins, which only turned out so-so.
Then another batch of Flourless Chocolate Banana Blender Muffins, which have become a favorite!
And then some Crustless Cheesecakes which I personally really like to eat on the run.
We had a super early dinner because we had tickets to go see our Zoo Lights (a wonderful and sweet gift from a dear friend). That morning I had “dumped sauce on chicken” for an easy meal. I rewarmed Tuesday’s potatoes, made a salad, warmed up corn, and made a bowl of Pineapple Fluff. We were nice and full, then got bundled up to walk around the zoo to see the awesome lights.
Here we are at the entrance, putting on our 3-D glasses which made all the lights look like candy canes.
We headed to the train right away so we could hopefully avoid long lines.
After the train ride, we walked through the zoo and had an amazing experience enjoying all the lights. At 7:30, BabyBoy#11 declared that we were FINISHED, poor guy. It was time to get ready for bed anyway, so we headed back to the van to go home and get to bed.
We had read that Home Depot was offering a free workshop for kids to come and build Gingerbread Houses so we decided to give it a try.
Apparently every single family in Lincoln had decided to try it too. This was only half of the crowd we discovered there! So we took our kits “to-go” knowing with all seven littles, we’d never be able to build and paint our kits there.
Back at home, Matt took the kids to the basement to build their houses.
Brayden was very determined to build his without help and he did a great job!
They were very proud of their finished products. :)
I made a big pot of hotdogs for lunch with sliced pears and a plate of veggies.
That afternoon I made one huge Lasagna plus three regular sized Lasagnas (because if you’re going to make one you might as well make four).
We cleaned out the fridge’s leftovers for dinner that night, got baths, and enjoyed a little bit of Husker volleyball before heading to bed. And that was our week!