Here’s our Big Family Food and Fun: February 4-10, 2024 post!
Big Family Food and Fun: February 4-10, 2024
My brother and his wife had spent the might so Sunday morning we enjoyed a little bit more time with his family before they headed out to join my niece for church in York. I made bacon and set out fruit, yogurt, Bran Muffins, and Lemon Bread.
If you recall, our church is currently meeting in a temporary location on Sunday afternoons while we wait for flood-related repairs to be done at our building. So we spent the rest of the morning giving all seven kids baths and showers. Plus I took a long bath – woot!
We warmed up leftovers for lunch, then enjoyed a Snacky Dinner after church with some of our older kids and some friends coming over to join us.
Matt turned on some soccer highlights to watch and I captured this happy moment of hoopla in our living room. :) :) :)
Monday morning Eva came over to help and I took Keith to our Food Distribution site to help set up to give out food the next day.
When we got home, I discovered that Eva had cleaned my kitchen and made it so shiny! Bliss!
We warmed up leftover Instant Pot Mac and Cheese for lunch and the kids requested frozen peas to be stirred in. Who am I to argue when the kids want veggies?
That night, Elias and Brayden made dinner as part of their weekly Bro Time. They had purchased the groceries during last week’s time, and this night was a great night for them to put it together for us. Hiring Elias for this special task of pouring into Brayden was such a good decision. It’s making a big difference in Brayden’s life, even more than we’d hoped.
They mixed up Brownies to bake before starting dinner.
Then we all feasted on the meal they made: Pasta with both red and white sauces, Garlic Butter Shrimp, Meatballs, Caesar Salad, and Garlic Toast. We all loved it and Brayden beamed with joy.
That afternoon, since I had the night off from making dinner, I put together a batch of Peanut Butter Honey Puffs for snacks.
While the guys were cooking, Kiya spent time with the loom she’d gotten for Christmas to make her sisters bracelets and necklaces.
Matt walked Brayden and Kiya to school, then our Speech Pathologist came to work with Acacia. Josie joined this morning too, and she was wearing her life jacket – just in case. ;)
Afterward, we loaded everyone up to do some shopping. Matt dropped two girls and me off at Sam’s then took the other three littles with him into Menards. Divide and conquer, right?
It had been a while since I’d been shopping so I over-filled our cart.
I got lots of fresh produce, sparkling water and 100% juice “pop” for our Super Bowl gathering, shredded cheese, applesauce, chips, chicken nuggets, eggs, milk, chicken thighs, hamburger meat, and a few ingredients and condiments we needed.
That afternoon, I picked up Brayden and Kiya from school and we headed to the Food Distribution to help hand out food. Brayden got to give out Runzas and chicken; Kiya gave out boxed side dish options. Over 100 people come through the line each week, giving us lots of opportunity to smile and show love.
We brought home three bags full of food – lots of bread, buns, and bagels and even a container of strawberries!
Back at home, Elias and Matt warmed up Green Beans that I had made that afternoon and baked this Easy Ham and Hashbrown Casserole that I’d put together over the weekend. In the hubbub of getting home, I almost forgot to take a picture. By the time I remembered, the green beans were gone and people were going back for seconds on the casserole. :)
Matt and Elias went to York on Wednesday to work on our properties and Malachi came over to help me with the kids. For breakfast before sending everyone off to school or work, we had toasted bagels/bread/English muffins, and ate them with sausage and grapes.
To keep the kids busy that morning, I filled a container with dry rice then gave everyone a yogurt container and measuring cups.
Was this messy? Yes. But it was a controlled mess and it kept the kids engaged for several minutes. Malachi and Keith decided to go outside and ride their skateboards together so the girls and I continued to measure and scoop.
I had a lot of help sweeping up the floor afterward.
Once the mess was cleaned up, we spotted the boys through the dining room window with their skateboards.
BabyBoy#11 got up from his morning nap so Malachi came in and took care of him while the girls and I went outside to join Keith. His regular bike is missing (might have been taken??) so he’s making do with his old balance bike for now.
Everyone worked up a big appetite so we came in and ate applesauce pouches and finished off a small bowl of leftover Cream Cheese Salsa Dip with chips.
Dinner that night was simple: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Tomato Soup, and Stir Fried Veggies.
After kitchen clean-up, one of the kids brought me a book to read. We opened it up and before I knew it there were six kids piled up on and around me. This was perfection!
Thursday morning was apparently not picture-worthy, ha. I had a treasured phone call with one of my cousins while the kids played and Matt took Keith to get a hair cut before school. Then I took BabyBoy#11 to yet another specialist to see if we could get to the bottom of his eating issues. I’m so thankful for everyone at Nebraska Children’s Hospital, and I’m extra thankful that there is a satellite clinic in Lincoln so that our appointment needs with his specialists are more convenient. I came home overwhelmed with information but also hopeful that we are on the right track to meet his needs.
We got the big kids home from school and played outside again since it was so nice!
That morning, I had put Crock Pot Fajitas in to slow cook all day. I fried some corn tortillas that I had tucked away in the freezer so we ate the Fajita meat more like Tostadas. :)
I cut up a fresh pineapple for dessert. So good!
The most exciting part of Thursday was that I found a few minutes to actually find the bottom of two laundry baskets that night! This is no small thing to celebrate.
Friday mornings are a bit more hectic because Brayden has to be at school an hour early for Ukulele class. So I decided to not cook and instead get out cereal and granola choices that morning.
Here’s what our couch looks like each morning after I make my way to our laundry room and bring up outfits so that we can dress the five littlest.
Everyone was dressed and ready for the day when our friend Courtney arrived for a visit!! She’s one of our dear York College friends we become close to during her time as a student a few years ago. It was so good to catch up with her!
We fed the kids a snacky lunch of crackers, cheese, grapes, cucumbers, and sliced turkey or ham before the preschool bus arrived to pick up Keith and Anna.
Then Acacia, Josie, BabyBoy#11, and I walked around outside our house and enjoyed the sunshine for a while.
I dropped the girls off at Ms. Kathi’s house for their special time with her that afternoon. They started off with a tea party which was so cute that I snapped a photo before I headed out. :)
I took the night off for dinner and got out frozen nuggets and fries.
Besides not cooking, the best thing about a meal like this is that everyone eats it without complaint! After dinner, I got to go out by myself to an Adoptive Moms Support Group that meets once-a-month. My time at these meetings is incredibly valuable and helpful to me. Oh how I need the support and understanding that this group offers.
Saturday morning I made Scrambled Egg Sandwiches with fruit.
Then we loaded up and headed to Sensory Friendly Story Time. (Saying it this way makes it seem like it is actually easy to feed everyone breakfast and load up in the van, hahaha. In reality, it takes a solid hour to get everyone ready to leave after we feed them breakfast. Getting out the door doesn’t always bring out the best in me, oy.)
Today the kids got to enjoy waving scarves along with Valentine-themed books, rhymes, and songs.
I love seeing Keith so engaged. :)
After story time, Librarian Diane gets out lots of tubs full of sensory toys for the kids to enjoy for about 20 minutes. Brayden and Josie weren’t able to play though, seeing as they were buried under all the scarves.
That afternoon we worked on Super Bowl Party food. Kiya had helped me make a double batch of Brownies the day before and we got them frosted.
I baked several pans worth of Bacon like this. I needed cooked bacon so that I could make this dip, plus we’ve found that it’s really nice to have pre-cooked bacon in the fridge to pull out for breakfasts or sandwiches. And yes I had just baked several pans worth of bacon on Sunday, but indeed, it was already gone. What can I say? 13 people live here and six of us are adults. Food comes and goes, then comes again, then goes. :)
I cut several pieces of cooked bacon into a bowl and Kiya stirred ingredients together to make Bacon Ranch Chip Dip for our Super Bowl Party.
I had recently made a big jar full of Ranch Dressing Mix, so it’s possible I went a little bit too Ranchy as I made our party food. I was just trying to use what I had and I didn’t feel like getting out a bunch of different seasonings. So Ranch won when I was working on recipes. Bacon Ranch Chip Dip, Spicy Ranch Dressing (to eat with these Potato Wedges), and regular Ranch Dip to eat with veggies. I didn’t put ranch in the brownies though, so I feel like we’re ok. :)
I was in “use up what we have” mode so dinner that night was a little bit of this and that as I cleaned out the fridge. I had olive oil in a cast iron skillet on my stove from Thursday night’s Tostadas, and I had a small bag of pizza dough that Eva had given me. So I baked the dough in the olive oil in the oven then topped it with leftover marinara sauce from the night Elias and Brayden had made dinner. Then added cheese and we had a skillet pizza!
This was obviously too small to feed our entire clan, but we just pieced it together with whatever fruit everyone wanted plus I asked everyone to eat some fresh spinach on the side. We didn’t sit down to eat dinner together that night, just ate in spurts as I kept working in the kitchen.
Acacia crushed some cornflakes for me and we made another batch of Peanut Butter Honey Puffs. (We go through these faster than we go through bacon.)
I also made a small batch of Peanut Butter Honey Rice Krispie Bars. The Puffs and the Bars are just my way of staying on top of everyone’s hunger when kids (or mom) needs a little bit of protein throughout the day.
Super Bowl Dips in the fridge, snacks made, sink full of dirty dishes, and it was time to get everyone ready for bed to wrap up our week!