Our big family food and fun this week revolved around our new school routine and extremely hot temperatures.
First, let’s all be blessed to see these two amazing brothers in the matching outfits I found on clearance at Sam’s. Sweet score!
And now onto the food and fun!
Big Family Food and Fun: August 20-26, 2023
Now, if you recall, last week I forgot to plug in the crockpot when I made dinner to leave for Asa, Eva, Elias, and Malachi to feed all the littles when Matt and I went out for our anniversary. So this week, while making a big Sunday Lunch for guests, I was very intentional about plugging in not one but three crock pots. There, my job is done. Lunch will be perfect. I sent this picture to Eva to show that I’d learned from my mistake.
But alas, when we arrived home from church to finish lunch prep, there sat my smallest crock pot. It had been plugged in. But had its owner turned it on? No she had not.
Well shucks. Can’t win ’em all I guess. Lunch that day was a big Nacho Bar, and the cold crock pot was fully cooked taco meat that was supposed to be warm by the time we got home. Nothing a skillet can’t fix in five minutes, right?!
I forgot to take pictures of our fully set out Nacho Bar with it’s chicken, beef, cheese, tomatoes, cilantro, salsa, sour cream, spinach, and chips. It was a tasty lunch! And here’s a picture of the mess after lunch.
Humidity and temps were high that day (and all week) so dinner that night was leftover burgers from last week, rewarmed on the stove plus bowls of cottage cheese with pineapple.
We ate outside, not because the weather was pleasant, but because the kids were all wet. Matt had set up our little pools and a sprinkler for them. We let them all just get wet in their clothes instead of changing to swimsuits. My laundry pile is big enough as it is. :)
Monday morning I made a griddle full of Eggs in a Nest. These are a favorite of our kids! Except for this particular day, two of my kids declared that they didn’t like them. Ugh. I guess these don’t taste good on Mondays?? (Meanwhile, Kiya ate three of them. No one can predict who will eat what.)
I made Beanie Weanies and packed it in Brayden and Kiya’s thermoses for lunch. I left the remainder of the mixture in the pan to rewarm for the four littles at home for lunch.
For dinner that night, I made simple quesadillas with leftover chicken, cheese, and spinach.
We ate them with grapes and we ate in shifts. Everyone was hot and tired after a big, hot day at school. I finished making the quesadillas but then I needed to feed the baby so I just threw food out on the table and let everyone come eat as they realized it was ready. :)
After everyone ate, Matt got the sprinkler set up again so everyone could cool down.
After they played for a while, I brought out some Go-gurts I had frozen. Now, not only were the kids wet and covered in dirt and grass, they were also sticky. Meh, no biggie. We hosed them all down before heading in for the night. :)
Tuesday morning, we ate yogurt and granola before school. After we delivered Brayden and Kiya to the school door, Matt and I walked back with the five littlest and made a plan to find some kind of air conditioned play place so that we could get the kids out of the house. It was 106 degrees that day, but we were going stir crazy. I packed a snack of animal crackers, cheese sticks, and grapes and we loaded up and headed out.
We checked out a fun play place at a church north of town. It’s open to the public all day long. Very cool!
The kids loved running around and playing! Then we sat them down to “snack” on what sort of become their lunch. (Keith and Anna’s bus picks them up for preschool a little after noon, so we feed them early.)
Once we were home and got Keith and Anna sent off to school, Acacia, Josie, and BabyBoy#11 played in the living room while Matt and I dug into the fridge for leftovers for our own lunch. We’ve been given lots of lovely fresh garden produce from church friends and neighbors, and the tomatoes right now are amazing! I warmed up a leftover burger from last week and cut it up with a fresh tomato. Of course we also had our smoothies. ;)
The thought of cooking was not pleasant since it was 106 that day, so I made Chicken Salad Sandwiches with spinach. I cut up a cold watermelon and that was a very refreshing side dish!
After we ate, we took the kids for a surprise treat. We needed another indoor, air-conditioned outing so we found a McDonald’s with an actual Play Place (remember how we tried this before and got let down?!).
We especially loved the cool interactive light table!
Matt downloaded the McD’s app to see what deals we could get. He paid for two cups of ice cream to share and got a free large fry. The kids LOVED this! This amount was perfect for our littles to share, and I think he spent about $5 for everything. And phew, we made it through another hot night with the kids.
Wednesday morning I made eggs, sausage, and toasted buttered bagels for breakfast. Matt headed to York to work on our properties and Elias became my side-kick for the day.
We got Brayden and Kiya to school. Then while Elias stayed in the house with BabyBoy#11, I (bravely or ridiculously?!) took all four of the others outside to “help” me wash our van. It needed a good scrub and getting wet on this super hot day sounded like a good idea.
Keith (age 4) was put in charge of the hose. The girls got washrags to help me scrub. It actually all went quite well for about half and hour. We were all drenched (thank you, Keith) and the van wasn’t perfect but looked better than it did. So we decided it was a win.
We hosed everyone off, changed into dry clothes, drank lots of water, and ate leftover quesadillas cold out of the fridge. Then we put on shoes and went to the library to play with their learning toys. Why did we do this? Air. Conditioning. Plus toys that are different from the toys at our house.
BabyBoy#11 isn’t yet sitting up but this was a good spot to practice.
Three out of five kids melted down before we got all the toys picked up at the library. “Librarian Diane” was absolutely beautiful in how she came and helped. She magically got all three little girls on board to help her pick up blocks while Elias and I dealt unsuccessfully with Keith who was beyond tired. We made it home and tucked all five in for naps. (Preschool was canceled because of the extreme heat. Good timing as these kids needed make-up naps after their big transition into school.)
Dinner that night was straight from the freezer because Mama was tired. I threw nuggets and fries into the air fryer and made a blender full of these smoothies so the kids could drink some spinach with their processed food. ;)
For breakfast Thursday morning, I made this recipe for Chewy Granola Bars x5. These were a huge hit (though we had to eat them in bowls with spoons because I didn’t make them in time to refrigerate/harden them).
Later in the day, after the bars had been in the fridge for several hours, I cut and transferred them to a Pyrex dish for easy-to-grab breakfasts and snacks.
We spent a good part of our morning with one of our Early Development specialists. Our littlest kids, ages 0-3, are serviced by this team for early intervention so that we can get ahead of some of their extra needs. This has been such a gift for our family. Today Keith, Anna, Acacia, and Josie all hovered around the specialist, Bridgette, who had captured their attention with a game. I snuck this picture of them all because they were all being so sweet and fun!
Right after this meeting ended, I had to run off to the elementary school for yet another meeting for another of our kids. As much as we loved our homeschooling years and are prayerfully open to homeschooling again if God leads us to do it, we are so very thankful for all of the necessary resources that the public schools offer for our family to meet our needs right now. We were so cared for in York and we are now being very well cared for in Lincoln.
I got home in time for lunch, frying leftover baked potatoes and serving it with Sunday’s leftover nacho dip and taco meat. I also got out grapes for the kids to
squish all over everything eat to their hearts’ content.
The kids are all home from school by 4:00 or a little after, and we sit at the table to get homework done right away so we can get it over with. :/
I’ve found that everyone is super hungry by 4:30 and snacks aren’t going to cut it. So at this point, I’m making very early dinners and then giving everyone a small snack around 6:30 before we start getting ready for bed.
That night I had planned to make a simple meal of this 3-Cheese Spaghetti. But while looking in my freezer for parmesan cheese to go with the recipe, I came across a package of shrimp. Ah, that would be good with the noodles! So I turned the 3-Cheese Spaghetti over to Elias and I made Garlic Butter Shrimp, which was a pretty exciting addition to our meal! I grabbed out bacon crumbles for people to stir into their cheesy spaghetti if they preferred that instead of shrimp, plus made buttered peas and got out watermelon.
Dinner was over by 5:00, haha, so while I worked on dishes, I sent Brayden out to set up the sprinkler for everyone. Today was supposed to be the last of the 106 degree weather, and we knew water was the only way to make it through.
I had corn on the cob in the fridge that we’d bought over the weekend at the farmer’s market and I was concerned that it would go bad if we didn’t get it prepped to eat soon. So after they’d played in the water for a while and cooled off, I took the corn out and had everyone help me get it shucked.
Not understanding that the corn needed to be cooked, Josie and Acacia got excited and helped themselves. ;)
The kids went back to their water play, a neighbor stopped by for a visit, and I somehow managed to give Brayden a much-needed hair cut before we headed in for the night.
Friday morning we had cereal and some of the Chewy Granola Bars I had made the day before. Brayden had to be at school early because he gets to take part in a Ukulele Ensemble – so fun! Lunch was PB&J, which I always forget to add to our menu and always wonder why I don’t make them more often. But then again, the girls get super messy when eating them so…
Dinner was extra fun because some dear friends came and joined us for the evening. We made the corn on the cob plus a big pot of Stir Fry. (We’ve been so blessed with friends sharing their garden produce with us!)
We’d picked up a cantaloupe at the Farmer’s Market and it was extra sweet.
Breakfast on Saturday morning was French Toast made like this – always a hit!
The temps had finally cooled down, so I took advantage by doing some much-needed (or much-wanted, ha) baking. I thawed all the bananas I’d stashed in our freezer and made this Banana Bread/Muffin recipe x4. I also baked a quadruple batch of these Brownies to share at a church fellowship lunch.
We had big plans for an outing that morning, but the plans got derailed by some immediate issues Matt needed to work on at our Castle. It’s such a fabulous place, but it is a historic home, so the age of the house brings with it some issues. Good thing Matt’s so handy!
The change of plans did not set well with our kids, so while Matt was dealing with house issues, I was dealing with behavior issues. Blech. I’m so thankful for God’s provision for us. I have to rely on Him constantly.
Three hours of exhaustion later, and an hour later than planned, we were able to load up and get out the door. Matt and I were both a bit frazzled, but the outing needed to happen so that the kids had a change of scenery. We went to a super cool “Wordstock” literacy event at a park – everything revolved around reading and books.
There were games on the lawn, and of course, everyone got to take home a new book.
They also all got a balloon. Somehow we managed to get all the balloons home without one blowing away or popping?!?!
I had cooked – wait – I had burned some hotdogs in a big pot before we left (who burns hotdogs??). It sort of worked to hide the black parts by putting them burnt-side down. ;)
We ate them at the park after enjoying Wordstock.
Naptime/Rest time was a welcome event for the parents after a morning with extra needs. :) That afternoon, Matt and I worked together to finish that morning’s house issue project while the kids rested and napped.
Oh, but were they napping??? Or were they just dangerously quiet?
Ah, the face of “innocence.”
I used a pizza kit I had picked up at Costco, along with some sausage I had browned to make pizza that night.
I had browned three pounds of sausage, because why just cook what you need for one meal when you can dirty the same amount of dishes and get extra food cooked for the future?
We bathed the three little girls (Anna’s marker turned the water blue), jammied them up, then took a walk to the Sunken Gardens before bedtime.
We got everyone to bed (after making sure all the markers and pens were properly hidden from toddlers and preschoolers). What a week! God is good and faithful. Hope your week was a good one!