Here’s our Big Family Food and Fun: January 14-20, 2024 post!
Big Family Food and Fun: January 14-20, 2024
Last week was full of Snow Days, below zero temps, and a bit of going stir crazy while being cooped up day after day with so many littles. Church services on Sunday were canceled. By the day before, the roads were finally starting to be cleared out somewhat. So we decided to text some families to see who might be ready to venture out and make their way to our house for worship and fellowship.
Altogether, there were 28 of us gathered in our living room. It was so very beautiful to enjoy this time together. Kids played and were engaged at the same time. It was awesome.
I had made a roaster full of White Chicken Chili and Applesauce Muffins to share. Plus I put Saturday night’s leftover Spaghetti and baked it with cheese on top for an additional option for people to enjoy. I made 12 Sub Sandwiches with turkey, bacon, and cheese then toasted them and cut them in half. Friends who came brought Pigs in a Blanket, Cookies, Homemade Bread, Crackers, and we all had a wonderful feast!
Several families stuck around for a good part of the afternoon to visit and play games.
Monday the kids didn’t have school because of MLK Day. For breakfast, I baked several pans of bacon, fried leftover baked potatoes, and rewarmed leftover French Toast. I also made a blender full of these smoothies so our kids could be filled with veggies and fruit.
Mid-afternoon, Keith requested Breakfast Cookies. He was so excited to help me, and it was a great idea. So we made a double batch.
They turned out tasty, but for some reason all the cookies I’m making in this oven aren’t turning out pretty. I still feel like I’m getting used to my Castle oven. :)
Eva came over that morning to help with kids. Brayden and Kiya had fun playing games with her. And it was because she was there helping that Keith and I were able to make our Breakfast Cookies. :)
We warmed up leftover mac and cheese and Pizza Chicken Bake for lunch with sliced oranges and cucumbers.
That afternoon, Malachi finished packing and loading up all of his stuff. He and his cousin, Troy, have been making plans to rent an apartment together here in Lincoln. And Monday – cold as it was – was moving day. Snifffffff. I’m super happy for Malachi, just as I was when his three older boys left for college and got to venture out on their own. But I cried just the same, just as I did for his three older brothers. I just really, really like my kids. :)
And yes, he’s just moving across town so I’ll see him often. Which is why he chuckled at my tears.
Currently living at our house right now: Matt and me, Elias, Brayden, Kiya, Keith, Anna, Acacia, Josie, BabyBoy#11, plus three gals who rent our three third floor suites. We frequently have our adult kids coming and going plus lots of friends in and out. This Castle God gave us is such a blessing. :)
Back to our Food and Fun…
That afternoon, Justus and Kelsey came over and they, along with Eva, started doing some freezer cooking. By the end of the afternoon we’d made a huge bunch of Breakfast Sandwiches, Burritos, and four pans of Creamy Salsa Enchiladas.
For dinner that night, I baked our pan of Creamy Salsa Enchiladas and served it with canned fruit, fresh spinach, and buttered corn. We’d gotten a fun M&M Cookie Mix in a Jar for Christmas so we baked those for dessert.
Our kids were going a little bit nuts (Matt and I were fine though, hahaha) because of being copped up in the house for so many days. So we let the kids play in the bathtub until they got wrinkled that night, just because we needed some kind of indoor activity and change of pace. As we pulled them out and jammied them up for bed, Matt made popcorn for a bedtime snack.
Tuesday morning was guess what? Another snow day. We lazed around watching a show that morning, then ate some of the Breakfast Sandwiches that Justus had made the day before plus some of the Breakfast Cookies.
As a way to provide some structure and learning to our day after having SO MANY DAYS away from school, I decided that we would have a “Pretend Homeschool Day.” I pulled out activity books and put together Learning Packets for Brayden, Kiya, and Keith. They loved this!
They spent a full hour and a half on their packets, taking their jobs very seriously. I was thankful God had given me the inspiration to do this that morning.
While the “big kids” were doing their school work, Matt hung out with the littler ones. Magnatiles are the best.
Meanwhile, Kelsey had managed to slowly make the drive over to help us out, praise God. She had stopped at the store for us on her way, picking up much needed formula and milk – plus construction paper and balloons!
Just before lunch, I read a Magic School Bus book to the kids for a “science lesson.” After lunch, I found the episode that went along with this book on Netflix so they got to watch that and have fun learning more about the Human Body.
Keith helped me make dinner that night. He was so proud of how he poured the sauce on the chicken all by himself.
He also helped me make a double batch of Flourless Chocolate Banana Muffins. These made a great snack that afternoon plus a great addition to our dinner that night.
The temps were still ridiculously cold, but Kelsey bundled up with the kids and went outside anyway. It had been days and days since they’d been outside and they were needing the fresh air. Most of the kids only lasted a short time, but Brayden hung in there for about an hour. Phew1
It was a loud and crazy mealtime (louder and crazier than normal) because several of the kids had refused naps that day and were cranky. Matt had to go to our church building to help with a frozen pipe flooding mess. <— This has turned into quite an ordeal as the building now has a lot of damage.
A friend had come by for dinner, so she got to help with babies, bless her. Our three housemates helped with babies. Kelsey stayed to help with babies and helped me get them all to bed. It was a pretty crazy evening.
Oh! Also, my brother, Kevin, had come to town from Kansas to help his son Troy move into the apartment he is sharing with Malachi.
It was all good but wow was I happy to see bedtime roll around that night. :)
Wednesday we sent Kevin off and were able to get the kids to school. They were excited to go back! Acacia wanted to help me fold laundry and she actually did it. She was very proud of her work, as she should be!
I knew that this would be the warmest day of the week so during naptime I headed to Walmart and Costco for groceries.
Is it just me, or do we go through a lot of food every week? I’m not sure why this astounds me every single time I fill the back of our huge van with food. :)
I picked up as many of our kids’ WIC items at Walmart that I could that day. But BabyBoy#11 has been put on a special Toddler Formula since he isn’t eating solids yet. I am having a hard time finding it and will have to keep looking around town.
I got home from the store just as Matt was getting home with Brayden and Kiya from school. So they got to help bring in all the groceries. I’m excited to see that while our kids still need so much focused care, some of them are also becoming big helpers. We’re getting there!
I made four pounds worth of Hamburgers plus a big bag of Fries for dinner that night. Plus I cut up a watermelon I’d found at Costco. Watermelon in January? I’ve never bought one in the winter before. But Kiya had been hungry for watermelon and I wanted to surprise her. She was so excited!
I cut it all off the rind and we ate almost all of it with our dinner. Just before bedtime I caught these three stinkers up at the counter stuffing more of it into their mouths and GIGGLING. Oh, the giggling. I swiped the tray of melon away because it was getting destroyed and making a sticky mess. But I also captured this photo because they were still in a fit of giggles. :)
Thursday morning the kids had fun playing dress-up during BabyBoy#11’s naptime.
Josie helped me make Brownies for Elias’ birthday.
Malachi came over to give Elias his birthday gift and to take him out for coffee. :)
That afternoon, it started to snow again. Matt parked our van on the side of our house after picking the kids up from school because he needed to shovel our driveway. The snow had continued to fall so by the time he was ready to move it back to the driveway, the van got stuck. Well. There “just so happened” to be a tow truck driving by. The driver turned around and pulled Matt out, refusing to let Matt pay him anything. Amazing!
We all watched this “show” from our play room windows. :)
It was Elias’ birthday and we’d invited all of our kids to join us for dinner. With the snow falling yet again, some decided just to stay in for the night. But Asa and Eva were able to make their way over after the snow stopped. We’ll have another “official birthday dinner” a different night. But this night we had Elias’ choice of Fish Tacos with the works.
He had requested Frosted Brownies for dessert, and I filled the pan with 22 candles to challenge him to blow them all out in one breath.
Can he do it?
Yes, he can.
Friday is a bit of a blur as I tried to get caught up on laundry (4 loads, woot!) and reset for the weekend. Usually I make some sort of fun dinner on Fridays, but this time I decided we just needed to clean out the fridge. So we rewarmed the last of our White Chicken Chili and 10-Minute Mac and Cheese and that was that.
Asa stopped by with a couple of his buddies that we hadn’t seen for a while, so that was awesome. Elias had some friends over to hang out for his birthday, and that was also awesome. We put all the littles to bed after a long week, and that was the most awesome of all, ha. :)
Saturday morning for breakfast I made sausage and Peanut Butter Honey Puffs (the childhood favorite recipe I mentioned here). I’ll share my adapted recipe for these in a post soon. These are so good and our kids love them like I used to!
After breakfast, we prepped to host House Church on Sunday. With the pipe bursting and the subsequent flooding at our building, our elders and ministry staff worked extra hard to organize a Live Stream option and encouraged people to meet in homes to worship together. I haven’t made communion bread for years, but found a recipe online and it came together quickly.
Please take a moment to appreciate how un-uniformly I cut the pieces. Good grief, Laura. :)
Next, I got the kids involved in helping me pack a picnic for after church. There had been a scheduled “Picnic with Pals” with our Kids Ministry Group inviting us all to stay after worship and enjoy together. But with the building being unusable, the new meet up spot became one of our malls in town. Knowing we’d need to leave right after online worship to make it on time, we got our food packed and put into the fridge to grab and take with us.
I was feeling a bit like I needed a kitchen break, so for lunch we had Chicken Nuggets, Spinach with Dip, and Oranges.
Dinner that night was Hotdogs and Peas. And that was our week!