Fall is in the air for sure, and we are loving it! Care to see take a look at the food and fun our big family enjoyed last week?
How did we go from 11 to 14?? Read about that here.
Big Family Food and Fun: September 10-16, 2023
Sunday morning, I packaged up three of the loaves of bread to give (along with a package of diapers) as gifts at a baby shower that was being hosted after church that day for three new babies. I then froze some of the Zucchini Muffins and put the additional loaf of Zucchini Bread and Muffins into our glass containers to enjoy for breakfasts this week.
There was a “young adult” lunch being hosted after church also, and we were asked to provide salad for the group.
Sunday evening, we smoked marinated Chicken Thighs, made Cheesecake Parfait to go with all the strawberries I’d picked up on sale, and steamed green beans. We’d been gifted a big bag of rolls after Sunday’s lunch at church, so we buttered and toasted them to round out our meal.
Asa ad Eva joined us, plus we caught our neighbor John working in his flower garden and he came over and ate with us too. :)
Monday morning after we got Brayden and Kiya off to school, Keith and I headed to the Food Distribution site I shared about here. He and I had a lovely time working together with the other volunteers to set up food for the Tuesday distribution day.
We got home around 11 and had an early lunch/snack outside before Keith and Anna got picked up by the bus for pre-school. We finished off this Bean and Cheese Salsa Dip from the fridge with some chips and grapes.
Monday afternoon during naptime I made a triple batch of Snickerdoodle Bites to have on hand for snacks as needed. It is so helpful to have these available to give to the littles when they need something to hold them over until mealtime.
For dinner that night, we made a huge pile of pancakes with sausage, eggs, strawberries, applesauce, syrup, and whipped cream. This kind of meal always goes over well and it tastes so good at dinnertime! However, I don’t make it often because it’s a bit of a high maintenance meal when fixing plates of firsts, seconds, and thirds according to preference for each kid. (Some want peanut butter, applesauce, syrup and whipped cream on their pancakes. Some want just butter and syrup. And oh yeah, whipped cream please. Some want…) :)
For breakfast on Tuesday, I made 8-cups worth of oatmeal and set out berries to add to bowls if desired.
The problem with having bathrooms in every bedroom
As some of the kids were eating, I began to wonder where Anna and Josie had gone. Suddenly water started pouring through this kitchen light. Ohmygoodness. The two missing girls were running the water in their sink and flooding the bathroom, which came through to the kitchen. Ack.
Matt took care of the water mess in their bathroom while I took care of the water mess in the kitchen (I needed to mop anyway. Heh.)
Look how sweet and innocent she looks just minutes later as she reads a Bible to her baby. :)
We’ve stopped being surprised by the insanity that happens regularly at our house. We are surviving. The kids are learning (hopefully). And seriously, I got my floor mopped (and cabinets wiped down).
We walked Brayden and Kiya to school, then loaded up the other five and went to Menards. Sometimes they run in four different directions in the parking lot. Sometimes they do this:
Like little angel babies.
People in the parking lot were all like, “awwww, aren’t your kids so sweet?
Are they always so well behaved???”
Matt and I start to sob.
Just kidding. I held it together and handed Matt a tissue.
Just kidding. There was no time to cry or hand out tissues. The kids had started to run amok.
We did Matt’s Menards thing, then loaded up again to burn off some energy at a park before Keith and Anna got picked up at home by the bus for preschool. We snacked on cheese, crackers, and grapes while we were there.
Keith had packed his scooter and helmet into the van to enjoy at the park because he’s practically an adult now.
That afternoon after school, Brayden, Kiya, and I went to the Food Distribution to help hand out food to people in the community. This was only our second week doing this and we still have a lot to learn about how it all works. But we are being kindly trained, and aside from knowing how this helps people, the best thing I’m seeing is how good this is for Brayden and Kiya.
A little side encouragement: Find ways for your kids to serve, to look beyond themselves, and to care for others. Serve with them. Let them serve with you. Make this a high priority.
At the end of the day, we came home with many wonderful items that will help stretch our food budget. (As I shared here, I learned last week that volunteers are able to take food home also, as long as there is plenty.) We got several packages of greens, apples, milk, breads and buns, and mineral water.
We didn’t get home until 5:40 and Matt, Elias, and Malachi had been holding down the fort with the rest of the gang. I’d put Creamy Layered Enchiladas into the crock pot before leaving for the afternoon so that dinner would be ready when I got home. I’m not sure where I went wrong, but they only turned out sort of so-so. We ate them, but we didn’t give them a high rating this time like we usually do.
It’s possible that we didn’t really care about dinner anyway because there was too much excitement going on outside! Our neighbor, John, grows an incredible flower garden in his yard that we all get to enjoy. He was honored that night to be featured by an organization showcasing his flowers, so dozens of people were coming over and walking through.
Not only that, but John is very talented with his harmonica and voice, so he was offering musical entertainment while people enjoyed his flowers. We didn’t need an outing that night. The “outing” was right across the street!
John insisted that we all come over for the treats he had laid out, but we waited until the event was almost over so that we didn’t add chaos to his big night. The kids were spoiled with sweets and juice while we listened to more of John’s music and visited with more of our neighbors. We are finding that God landed us in a fantastic neighborhood and we continue to be grateful.
Wednesday morning, I cut some of the huge loves of wheat bread we’d received from the Food Distribution, toasted it, and smothered it with peanut butter and honey. I cut it into chunks and we enjoyed it with applesauce.
Of the 16-pounds of strawberries I bought on Saturday, we were down to 6-pounds and they were getting a bit squishy. So I cut them onto cookie sheets and froze them for smoothies.
Later, after they were frozen, I transferred them to gallon-sized freezer bags.
Wednesday’s big Azure Standard pick-up
As you know, I’ve been involved with Azure Standard in York for years. This is the first month I put in an order for the Lincoln drop. We came home with a very large supply of food because I hadn’t ordered for many months and needed to stock up on several Azure favorites. (Here’s a list of what I like to order from Azure.) I was blessed to have some referral credit to help pay for this haul (thank you!).
We got organic whole wheat pastry flour, yogurt, frozen corn, green beans, and peas, frozen hashbrowns, several varieties of canned fruit, and some boxes of Einkorn cookies as a special treat.
The hashbrowns came in a huge frozen brick so I transferred them to gallon-sized freezer bags – 8 in all! Our freezers are full and we are well stocked up. Very thankful!
For dinner that night we made a bunch of burgers on our smoker. Keith helped me load the smoker with pellets, taking his job very seriously.
Then we packed up our burgers and took them to one of our favorite parks for a picnic with grapes, pineapple, and yep, a salad like this. As good as this meal was, no one cared much about eating because they were too excited to ride their bikes and scooters on the trails. :)
Even little Josie got in on the action. She was the only one I could snap a photo of because everyone else took off so fast!
Thursday morning we made a bunch of Breakfast Sandwiches like this. We warmed them in our air fryer to enjoy then froze the few leftovers.
After we took the kids to school, Matt and I loaded up the five littles and headed to Walmart to pick up some WIC items, pull-ups, and diapers. We got home in time for a meeting with our Case Worker for BabyBoy#11. Then the bus came to pick up Keith and Anna. Phew, it was quite a morning!
I was excited to find cases of tomato sauce on clearance at Walmart. They were so cheap I bought five cases! It’s almost Chili season after all. :)
Matt had made plans with Elias and Malachi to stay with the remaining three little ones so that he could take me to lunch. So sweet! Here’s the most (un)impressive picture of our meal.
For dinner that night, we had Crock Pot Taco Pasta with salad, pineapple, and watermelon. We ate outside, then went for a walk before bedtime.
For breakfast on Friday morning, we ate Yogurt with Granola and berries.
Matt went to work in York that day so Malachi helped me get the kids to school, then we took the youngest five to the zoo.
I loved seeing how Acacia was looking up at her bigger brother here. :)
We stopped for a snack/lunch before loading everyone up to get home in time to meet Keith and Anna’s school bus.
For dinner that night, we pulled everything random out of the fridge to clear it out. No one really ate a balanced meal, but at least we didn’t waste food.
After dinner, I mixed up a double batch of these Pumpkin Donuts. I brought the kids in one at time (well, I tried – it was hard for all the little ones to wait their turn) to help me cut out the donuts as I rolled out the dough. We cut them into apple shapes to celebrate the coming of Fall.
While my hands were covered in flour, Acacia grabbed my phone from my back pocket and snapped dozens of pictures of our kitchen floor. But she also go this burry photo of me cleaning up after our donut mess. Ha!
Saturday morning, we fried the Pumpkin Donuts in coconut oil on the griddle then drizzled a little bit of glaze over each one.
We ate them with scrambled eggs and blueberries.
Then we headed out for what ended up being three full hours of fun.
First, we went to a library story time that was a special “Sensory Story Time.” It had been recommended to us by a specialist because several of our kids have sensory issues and can become overstimulated. We were VERY impressed with the program and hope to go regularly. (Those are weighted puppies the kids are holding.)
When that ended, we headed outside to a Community Garden Party (which happened to be just outside this very library). There were several tables set out with activities and everyone got to choose an apple.
They got to watch some fun plant-themed science experiments.
Then we got to tour the garden with scavenger hunt papers where the kids tried to locate various veggies, flowers, and insects. It was all SO MUCH FUN. We couldn’t believe that they all lasted the entire morning, but we didn’t load up to head home until well past lunchtime.
The apples had only held them off for a short while so we had some very hungry children when we got home. Therefore, there are no pictures to prove my ridiculous lunch. But the minute we got home, I simply grabbed every last leftover from the fridge to fill their hungry bellies. We ate a very weird combination of buttered pancakes, green beans, grapes, and chips with white queso. :) :) :) No one complained – they were all too hungry!
We spent the afternoon getting our final third floor room ready for the renter who was planning to move in that evening. So I took the night off for dinner, baking several frozen pizzas. We ate it with salad and clementines.
Just for fun: The floor in this suite was a gross mess when we moved in. Matt took from nasty to this…
And the final look is this:
There’s another space in the room large enough for a queen sized bed and night stand. Plus there’s a full bathroom attached to the room (as there is with all of the rooms we’ve rented out). I explained a bit more about our plans for renting out our third floor suites here. As of Saturday night, the rooms are full of wonderful people and we are thankful!
We are only just beginning to learn what God has planned for this Castle He gave us. We thank Him constantly for His provision.