Monday, December 11, 2017

How I Respond to Comments about our Large Family

Well, since I was personally tagged three times on this one post about large families on facebook, I figured I had better take a moment to  talk about how I respond to these comments.

Oh you know the ones:

  • Don't you know what causes that???
  • How many are you going to have??
  • When are you going to stop??
  • Are you Catholic??
  • You sure have your hands full.
  • Your house must be huge!
  • Better you than me!
  • Just wait until they're teens!!!!
  • Are there any twins??
  • You don't look like you've had 12 kids!!
  • on and on, ad nauseam.....
Sometimes I answer, sometimes I don't!  

For the most part, I generally think that people are just curious or just trying to start a conversation with me.  I don't think, most of the time they mean any negative by the questions they ask, they ask either because they want to know the answer or maybe they got caught staring!  They do stare sometimes, and count.  That's okay!


My favorite comment is:  You don't look like you've had 12 kids!  I like that one the most because, well, I don't! I try hard to keep my weight healthy and always have been on the skinny side anyway so it doesn't bother me.  But I do wonder though, what their thought of a large family mama is supposed to look like!

My least favorite comment is:  Better you than me!  I personally value life.  All life.  And this just leads me to think that they don't.  I am probably wrong on that though and it may mean something totally different.  Mostly, I think they think children are a burden whereas I think they are a blessing!

Things to keep in mind as a large family mama when you get asked these questions, and believe me, you will!

1. People are generally trying to just be friendly.  Their tone ought to tell you that.  Smile and be friendly back to them. 

2. Think about your mood that day and try to remain in good spirits and smile.  I know for me, after about the fifth person staring or asking or counting, I can get a little offended.  That's when I have to just smile.....and be nice.  

3.  Always respond with a positive comment and point them to God.  For example, the other day while we were shopping, two were in the buggy, two were walking alongside the buggy and three teens were meandering behind us and someone said, "looks like you have your hands full today!"  I said, "Yes, God has surely blessed us!"  They smiled and went on down the aisle.


4.  If it is your conviction that having as many children as God blesses you with, and you are fully believing in that, then you are free to live joyfully in that conviction.  All the time.  Don't let these comments rattle your convictions!

I hope that helps you as it was intended.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Instant Oatmeal Packets - Easy

Today is Saturday and once again I had another baking day!  I made 2 loaves of bread, banana nut muffins, banana nut loaf/cake, rice krispy treats with the organic, corn-free marshmallows I vlogged about in last weeks haul.  Also, I made instant oatmeal packets.  They were really easy.  (In case you missed it, here is the video for last week's baking day.)

For my instant oatmeal packets I used bulk oats I bought last week from the co-op.  You can use quick oats or regular oats as well from the store.

You will need:

10 cups of oats
1 1/2 cups of sugar (brown sugar works well or the substitution amount your favorite dry sweetener like coconut sugar or sucanat)
1 tsp of salt
2 tsp of cinnamon - omit if you are doing a dried fruit if you'd like (like dried strawberries)

In a bowl, put 7 cups of oats, sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
I used my coffee grinder for this next step, but you can use your food processor too....pulse the last 3 cups of oats to a powder.  Add to other bowl.  Mix well!  Mix well!  Mix well!



  Put 1/2 cup of well mixed oatmeal mix into a ziplock baggie and add toppings if you'd like.  Store in a cool dry place. 

When ready to eat, pour into a bowl and add hot water to desired consistency.  Some of my children like it thick, some like it thinner.  Stir and enjoy!



Here are some add in ideas:

  • about 1 Tbsp of chocolate chips per baggie
  • I added 1 Tbsp of flax seeds to the whole 10 cups of oats before I packaged them because I have little bitties that will be eating it.
  • chia seeds
  • nuts
  • maple sugar
  • dried apples
  • leave out the cinnamon and add dried strawberries
  • peanut butter powder
The children love them and they are easy to make!  Oats and other ingredients bought in bulk make these cheaper than store bought and I know exactly what is in them!  Have you ever made them?  Let me know if you try it and how they turn out!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

How I Keep it All Together As a Mama of 12 - Chores and Schedule

My friend over at Our House, down there on the sidebar, recently shared about her schedule and routines for chores so I thought it was a good idea to share mine as well!

Our daily schedule:
7-8 Mom rise and dress.  Bible reading and coffee <-----Quiet time with God
8-9 Kids do chores and eat breakfast (these chore lists are hanging on the fridge)
9-9:30 - Clean kitchen
9:30 Morning meeting time, academic group studies, bible memory then individual subjects while mom works with little guys.
12 - Chore time and lunch
1:30 - Rest and Read, little ones to nap, rotate laundry
1:30 - 5 Continue school, mom grades work and does her projects.
After all the school work is done and little ones up from nap, piano practice and other instrument practice.  Then outside work for daddy.  If we didn't finish our weekly chores, we complete that at this time.  Then free.
5-6 - fold laundry and quick clean the house
6-7 - dinner and clean up
7-7:45 - Free time, visiting
7:45 Littles ready for bed
8 - Bible time with daddy and then goodnight for little ones
10 - Bedtime for all, house shut down for the night


The children have specific rooms or jurisdictions they are responsible for keeping maintained and picked up during the day.  I hardly ever rotate these unless one is ready to move up the ranks into doing that chore.  Usually, one time a year this happens.
1  -  Make lunch, sweep porches and outside stairs, plus your bedroom
2  -  Dining room, plus your bedroom
3  -  Livingroom, plus your bedroom
4  -  Downstairs, library and bathroom, pantry and entryway, plus your bedroom
5  -  Hall bathroom, plus your bedroom
6  -  Hallway, plus your bedroom
7  -  Help mommy, plus make up your bed

I do my own room, bathroom and I also help with their chores where needed!

One thing I firmly believe in is working alongside, at the same time as, your children as they are working!  Put yourself on the chore list!  That way, the children see the division of labor and know that it does take a whole family to keep the place spic and span.  Which brings me to the list here of our weekly chores.

We have monthly chores, but those are usually done as a group project.  We have outdoor chores in the spring/summer/fall as well.  That will be another post when the time comes.

It may look like we work all day long, but I assure you, we don't!  We have ample free time to play and just be!

In the video below, I go over my routine and chore lists in a little more detail.
I hope this is a help to you! ..

linking today with the Charm of Home.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Entangled at Twilight

The sun is peaking through the sky with a twilight twinge coming up over the horizon. All voices are quiet and resting. Peaceful. Sleeping. One lonely little voice quietly rumbles under the cool of the morning. "Mommy, hold you, pweese.........mommy, hold you, pweese........zzz....pweese......" Without resisting I pull my tired, sick body out of the covers and grab the small voice with reckless abandon. Get her a cup of milk and pull her close to me in the sheets.



Satisfied and happy. Her legs entangle my legs and her hands, my mid-back length hair. She rubs my face with sweet little hands. Caressing gently, the beauty and grace that signifies, to her, love and comfort. My heart swells with feelings of motherhood that only come from deep moments of time and expands all throughout all eternity. She pulls my cheeks and kisses me gently. As gentle as frost on the rosebushes outside the window. "Where did she learn to be so tender?" I lie there thinking to myself for a brief moment and remember the way that I sometimes kiss her. My hands wrapped around her rosy little cheeks and head. My lips gently and smoothly showing her the love of a mother. They do learn what they live.

~~~~~~~~~~~

I am taken back into time, 30 years ago, when I first planted a loving mother-kiss on my first one. My child that made me a mother. I no longer hold her cheeks and head and entangle with her, but only in our memories. When they visit, I often see her entangle with the youngers on the sofa reading aloud to them. I see her making memories with her own three little ones.  I often see her giving kisses everso gently to the littles. I think...."yes, this she learned from me...the gentle art of "mothering"." She has carried this into her own life, she's making her own memories.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


In the present, daylight strongly breaks into the windows and the quiet is broken with the alarm clocks, signifying a new workday. Soon, all voices will be rattling the rafters and feet will be scurrying along the wooden floors and the day will be in full force. For now though, I lay enraptured in my thoughts of mothering. Entangled with the baby of three years. Listening. Breathing. Holding her while she sleeps again.

Sickness is passing through and it has a way of slowing down a mama.  Our joy lies in our God-given acceptance of our roles sometimes.  I love my life and my role as a woman.  God is so good.


*May be shared at The Charm of Home or other linkups in sidebar.
Sharing today at Journeys in Grace

Monday, December 4, 2017

Modest Monday - Pinks

The weather here lately has been cool in the mornings and up to 70 degrees during the days!  Just beautiful.




Shirt - Mudd
Skirt - Its a no tag maxi I wore to get our Christmas tree here
Shoes - Sketchers


 My sweet daughter is wearing a maxi skirt - Faded Glory.
Pink t shirt - Mossimo
Black vest - Established
Ballet flats


This little one saw us posing and decided she should also pose too!  She ran over to where we were and said jovially, "me turn!  I do it!"  So, who could resist that cuteness?  
Her necklace - costume pearls from my aunt
Herr baby doll - one of her favorites that cries and laughs when you tickle her tummy!  
It is so true, children learn what they see....sigh.

Thanks for letting us join Caroline!

Friday, December 1, 2017

A Glimpse into Our Large Family Homeschool Week - 12/1/17

This week, as I was planning, I tried not to pick things to overload their week because I know how hard it is to get back into the swing of things after any sort of time off.  Mondays are hard enough as it is normally, but after a week off or more, well, that is tough.

Monday, during our group time we discussed synonyms pertaining to our vocabulary words, looking up the definitions and alphabetizing them, depending on age and grade level.  We also talked about Nehemiah and how he demonstrated a hunger and thirst after righteousness.  Our verse is Matthew 5:6, they are also learning 1 Corinthians 13 this month.

After that, it was time for everyone to disperse to their place and start individual work while I worked with the kindergartener and preschooler on their work.  Everyone worked well.

Ballet is a big hit over here right now, so my 11 year old watched our youtube playlist and taught little sister some moves and stretches.

Tuesday, our group time was fun and was spent studying about how to write a Psalm of their own and turn it into a song.  I was surprised how well the little ones understood what they were to do and how their Pslams turned out.

After group, individual time starts.  I had to help one high schooler figure out how to do the english assignment.  That night we brought the book to dad for help and he changed the assignment to better fit our goals for this child.  We are also changing english programs for this child as well.  ACE is not a good fit!

Finally, we got through kindergarten, preschool, and grading other grades.  New reading assignment books were handed out.

Afternoons are spent in highschoolers finishing their work along with any other person who hasn't finished what was required, piano practice, violin tinkering (they do not currently have a violin teacher, so they practice what they already know and try new things), playing out side.

Evenings are spent reading some more.  It is a great way to settle them down for bed.


Wednesday, we didn't have a formal group time due to various and sundry things but some had to finish assignments left from previous days, some even before the holiday.  The new english for the highschooler went well and promises to be a good fit.

I had a busy baking day and managed to turn out cookies, banana bread and 2 loaves of bread before having to stop for dinner prep.  I had a big one down with a migraine so that slowed me down too.



Thursday brought some sickness battles.  Mama and two little ones were up multiple times that night.  One feverish brow and two more complaining of sore throats during the morning but we managed to get some school work in.



 The Kindergartner didn't feel like doing much so we just went over the sounds with the video I created with the flash cards and songs that she has been learning.



Looking at books before naptime/rest time.  We were supposed to have piano lessons but they were canceled.

...


Friday  is errand day!  Most are feeling a bit better so we went ahead and visited the library, grocery stores and lunch out.  Well, in the van but it is out of the house after all.


Next week promises to be either bad or good.  During the holiday season, sometimes there is a natural tendancy to want every day to be a holiday!  What was your week like?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

{ Cheese Tray Help }



For big holidays, my family loves to have a cheese tray!  So I always enjoy indulging them.  I have always put together a nice cheese tray but haven't really received rave reviews over them.  Now I have found a secret little gem of a tutorial and Christmas cheese tray promises to be over the top! Marie over at
The English Kitchen has put this together.  She has some excellent recipes over there.




What are your favorite cheeses?  Mine has to be Brie.  I love the soft flavor and texture of this cheese.  I have always loved it paired with a jalapeno pepper jelly, which I've yet to master putting up after that harvest!  




If I were really on the ball for Thanksgiving, I would have made a delicate cracker like these to go with our cheese tray but I didn't dare.  At least the rolls were homemade!

Monday, November 27, 2017

{ Double Digit Mama Tip - 4 }

Here is the latest installment on my double digit mama tips series! This is one that I like to do every day, but come in handy when we are headed out the door!

If you have a friend or know someone who would enjoy these tips, please feel free to share!  Thank you.







Sunday, November 26, 2017

{Week in Modest/Feminine Dress - Day 7}

I am glad today is Sunday!  After a busy week, preparing, partying, visiting and overall merriment, it was good to be in the house of the Lord!

Here is today's outfit. ( My handsome oldest son decided to pose with me! )




Top shirt - Royal Robbins
Skirt - Tapemeasure
I also had a second short sleeved shirt under my long sleeved in case it was hot today.
My shoes were black Mary Janes.

This concludes this cold weather week in modest dress.  If you missed any days, here they are!


Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6

Saturday, November 25, 2017

{ Week in Modest/Feminine Dress - Day 6 }

I have to run to town today and pick up a few groceries.  Many people consume much food! 

Today's outfit is one of my favorites.  (I probably have said that about half of the outfits I have shared this week, but I do not believe in keeping things in  my wardrobe that I don't care for.  It is such a waste of: time, keeping up with the laundering of the non-favorite clothes, money, laundering the non-favorite clothes, and space where I could put to use!)


White shirt - Magellan Sportswear
Pink sweater with grey and white accent stripes - Contact, New York
Grey maxi skirt - Calvin Klein
Shoes - Black Keds

What are you doing this lovely Saturday?