Ready for Big Family Food and Fun: October 1-7, 2023?!
Elias had hosted a “Release Party” the night before so we woke up Sunday morning to young adults asleep all over our house, haha. We had prepared some extra rooms and beds, knowing that several would stay over, but it was fun to wake up and see friends scattered in the living room too. Some stayed and joined us for lunch after church too!
Big Family Food and Fun: October 1-7, 2023
I had boiled two pounds of macaroni noodles and stirred in an entire container of white queso from Sam’s. Plus I stirred in chopped up ham. That warmed in the crock pot all morning during church. We ate it with peas and grapes plus Mudballs and Peanut Butter Cookies.
Here’s a few of “the crew” hanging out in the kitchen to eat.
That evening our family got to enjoy a Harvest Party at our church parking lot with many from our church family. There was chili dogs, smores, and face painting!
Matt and Malachi took each other on in ping pong. I never heard who won. :)
Justus was honored to be one who enjoyed “pie in the face” and Brayden got in line multiple times to attempt to throw a shaving cream pie in his face.
Kiya and Acacia played a huge Jenga game with our friend Caitlyn.
And most of our “older littles” tried archery that was set up from Heart Shot Ministry. It was an incredible night!
Monday morning I pulled prepared Pumpkin Donuts from the freezer that we’d made a few weeks before. I air fried them which made it SO EASY. They didn’t turn out pretty but everyone ate them like cookies and it made for an easy breakfast.
We walked Brayden and Kiya to school then Keith and I got ready to head to the Food Distribution site to help set up. He packed himself a snack to eat on the way: a Pumpkin Donut and a bag of granola bites. :)
He takes his work so seriously when helping there. We love this service opportunity!
The kids had captured a caterpillar a few weeks ago and it turned into a cocoon in the jar. We were so excited! Matt noticed Monday morning that it had turned into a butterfly so that evening we all gathered around to admire then release it.
Keith was devastated that we were letting our butterfly go free. He had wanted to keep it forever. Oy.
I had some leftover roast from last week so I cooked rice, shredded the leftover roast, and put together burritos for dinner. Meanwhile, our neighbor had given us three buckets full of apples from his mom’s tree. I finally got around to making a huge pot of applesauce like this.
It made two huge bowls full of applesauce for us to enjoy throughout the week.
Tuesday morning BabyBoy#11 and I left the house at 6:15 to get checked into the hospital for an MRI. We are thankful to finally be referred for this so that maybe we can get some ideas about what his needs are so that we can get ahead of them and get him the resources he needs moving forward.
He was a trooper as we got him prepped – but HUNGRY and mad about it because we couldn’t feed him his regular morning bottle since he would be receiving anesthesia.
All in all, it went very well and we were home much earlier than we thought we would be.
I picked up Brayden and Kiya after school and we went directly to the Food Distribution to hand out food. We were blessed to come home with extra items – lots of breads and bagels again but also some greens, asparagus, peppers, potatoes, and yogurt.
Malachi had baked Chicken Tenders and made Caesar salad for everyone so when we got home, we dug in. Apparently Matt had had to “cut Keith off” on the salad because he loves it so much and kept asking for more and more. :) (Thankfully, I had brought home a bonus package of Caesar salad from the Food Distribution so we opened it up and added it to the bowl!)
Wednesday morning I made a big pot of Warm Vanilla Soother to celebrate Fall weather (and because Food Distribution begged us to take soon-to-expire milk home, ha). We are whole milk people, and this was 1% milk, but it still worked because I added extra eggs and some heavy whipping cream. We enjoyed it with toasted, buttered bagels.
Speaking of having lots of 1% milk on hand that needed to be used up: That afternoon I used several cups of milk to make Pudding Parfaits for dessert after dinner. I had a couple of sweet helpers who had woken up too early from their naps.
I smoked chicken for dinner that night, steamed broccoli, and used the pizza crust we’d been given at Food Distribution to make Garlic Cheese Bread Sticks.
A few of the chicken pieces were pretty thick, and I got a little bit nervous that they weren’t cooked as thoroughly as they should be. So I cut ALL the chicken into bites and put it in a pan with barbecue sauce to cook a little bit more just to be safe.
The Pudding Parfaits were a huge hit!
I had meetings again all morning on Thursday (October is a doozy with its appointments and IEPs. Our calendar is always crazy, but this month seems extra crazy.) So Matt and the older boys took care of food – I believe they pulled leftovers from the fridge.
That afternoon I made a double recipe of these Pumpkin Bars so we could have a quick breakfast food the next morning. (They tasted awesome with my coffee the next morning!)
Dinner that night was a simple Taco Bar. I realized as I was pulling out toppings that I had no greens or tomatoes. So I sliced cucumbers as a veggie side dish. And we had leftover Applesauce that I’d made earlier in the week.
I asked Kiya to pause so I could take a picture of my beautiful girl with her beautiful plate. :)
After dinner we decided to walk to Sunken Gardens. The weather was supposed to turn much colder and I wanted to see the flowers one last time before they froze. I was so thankful that Elias and Malachi joined us too. This photo, featuring 10 of my sweethearts, makes me so happy…
Friday morning was a bit nuts as we were trying to get Brayden out the door an hour early for his school Ukulele class, Matt and Elias out the door to work in York for the day, and some of our housemates out the door for a conference. I was so glad I’d made these Pumpkin Bars the day before so that everyone could grab and go as needed. Ignore the ugly photo. These tasted good so don’t let the picture tell you differently. ;)
Malachi hung out with the other kids and me all day. I had a teacher meeting that morning, the immediately after that we loaded the kids to go to Aldi.
Wait. The plan was to immediately load the kids and head to Aldi. But three kids needed to potty first. Then BabyBoy#11 pooped up the back of his brand new shirt.
So three pees and a poop later, we finally got everyone loaded and headed to the store.
Malachi helped me manage two carts and five kids by handing out veggie straws and feeding the baby his bottle. I threw food into carts as fast as I could so we could make it home in time for Keith and Anna’s preschool bus. And because we didn’t want to be in the store very long with five babies. :)
We got greens, salad kits, pears, cheese, fritos, ham, pasta, granola, cider, and some baby food. (BabyBoy#11 is still not too big on purees or anything solid, but the squeeze type fruit/veggie combos at Aldi work better than other foods so far.) Malachi spotted a Caramel Mocha Iced Coffee so we grabbed that too. :)
The real reason we went to Aldi: Mama was hungry for Spicy Ham and Potato Soup and we didn’t have any pepper jack cheese! It was on the menu for that night so while I could have subbed a different kind of cheese, I knew a trip to Aldi would be helpful anyway.
After we got Keith and Anna off to school, Acacia “helped” me make two crock pots full of soup for dinner. I was so glad I made such a large amount. This soup really hit the spot!
Malachi was craving my Hot Cocoa. It was chilly outside, it was Friday night, and I STILL had milk left from the Food Distribution. :) So it was a perfect time to make a pot of cocoa. The milk was 1% (not our preference) so I added heavy whipping cream to try and make up for the lack of fat in the milk. :)
I left for an Adoptive Moms Support Group so Matt reported back later that everyone under the age of 4 spilled their little cup of Hot Cocoa. Oops. That couldn’t have been fun to deal with. :/
As I was walking out the door, I spotted this scene. This was just before the hot chocolate started to spill left and right. Aren’t they sweet?
Saturday morning Matt and I took the kids to a Sensory Story time at a library. This is such a good offering for our family because several of our kids have sensory needs.
This was my very favorite part of the morning. Josie, our very timid two-year-old, started to finally become comfortable in this setting. Ms. Diane, the storytime leader, is fantastic and so good at making this a safe place for the kids. So there was our Josie girl, acting all grown up and excited, participating in the game with all the big kids. :)
When we got home, Eva joined us to help with the kids. Because of this, I was finally able to get to the basement to sort through all of our clothes for fall and winter. Phew, this was a huge task, and one I kept having a hard time getting around to! I’m so thankful that Eva made it happen. (Also, I finally found my jeans. We moved here in June and I had yet to find my jeans. I have never been so happy to see a pile of jeans.)
I pulled out all of the wonderful hand-me-downs people had given us. And I pulled out all of the clothes I’d picked up on clearance. As I sorted, our laundry room looked like this.
And the hallway outside the laundry room looked like this.
However long and a pile of mom’s jeans later, I got clothes organized into bins and up on the shelves.
Plus I had gathered quite a few clothes that we could donate. I can’t tell you how relieved I am that this job is finished!!
Meanwhile, Malachi made mac and cheese and Elias made a salad for lunch. Then while Eva and Matt put everyone down for naps and rest time, Brayden and I headed out for one-on-one time. We went for hair cuts then to Marshall’s to find clothes for him. (As I sorted clothes, I had found that we had almost nothing that fit him. Plus I needed a few things for the three little girls, plus socks, undies…). This time with Brayden was VERY needed and good.
When we got home, I quickly threw together a hot dog picnic and we loaded everyone up to go to a Hoot and Howl prairie event nearby.
While I handed out food and everyone ate, we got to see super cool owls and hear about what they eat and what they like. It was so neat!
Then we walked around to various booths and areas where there were so many great learning opportunities.
Overall the evening was fun but CRAZY. Wrangling eight kids nine and under (our extra 4-year-old was with us) was not easy with several of the littles running ahead of us – or in different directions. Then we had some behavior struggles as we settled everyone into the van to go home for bed.
These things ARE worth doing, but it is not easy to pull it off. We are thankful for God’s strength and for the sweet times we enjoy with these kids.