Sunday, August 23, 2020

Answered Questions! How Do We Feed Such A Large Family!

Patti asked~
My Question is food and meals???
How in the world do you keep everyone fed?

(Photos are random from past to present
and have nothing to do
with the text in this blogpost.)

Patti, that is a good question!
Especially now with even more 
financial limitations due to Covid...

There was a time when we were spending
 up to $5000 per month on our food bill.

It was a more financially lucrative time in our life.

But things change, and we have had to make changes 
along with the current situation and the troubled times.

What we do right now is completely 
different than what we have done in the past
due to "nutritious" opportunities
that have blessed us!

When the schools closed
they opened free meals for
whoever feels they need them.
We jumped at this opportunity
and we pick up BKF, lunches 
and snacks, once a week. 
They give us enough food 
for much of the week, except dinners!
It is such a blessing to our family!

This program just ended in mid August
so we will go back to our
original way of doing things.

We go to Costco once a month 
which usually costs us
about $1200 ...
give or take a few hundred.

Then we fill in with tri weekly 
trips to the local grocery store for the extras.

We really try to eat healthy food
and get all of the food groups in 
with almost every meal.
We buy in bulk whenever possible and 
watch for all of the sales for potential meals!
We take advantage of coupons, sales and discounts!

If you know of any meal deals out there
let us know!

We generally don't have leftovers because
we give everything away at each meal to those
that are growing and need extra calories!
Which includes all of our boys
and a few still growing girls!

It does not include the Mom and Dad!

We have snack time at 4:00
but then those that are growing 
and need more food, 
generally pop into the pantry
 for more snacks throughout the day.
We try not to waste any food and 
eat what ever is in our frig and pantry.

Right now, we are so blessed
to be eating our meals TOGETHER!
It is so bonding, celebratory and
becomes a cheerful event!
It's a great time of sharing, chatting, 
growing and eating good food!

I know this will change
when kids start getting jobs.
But, even then we will try to have 
them work in the afternoons,
while others are in school.

Our evenings are precious with-
conversations, family games, family shows, 
current events, time for hubby and I to chat,
 and we hope to add in a family bible study in the evening!

I don't say this to impress others,
it's what we truly want to do
in all honesty, I sometimes feel,
like I can't add in one more thing...?

I am in charge of BKF and lunch.
Hubby is the dinner guy!
you read that right!
I do not make dinner unless,
it's Mom's spaghetti night!

The kids help with every meal! 
They have become amazing cooks
and incredibly competent!

Every week a new group of kiddos 
has kitchen cleaning duty.
There are 5-6 kiddos in each group
and they pick up after every meal
when it's their groups turn.
Each group is a mix of older, middle and younger kids.
I will often help with the kitchen cleaning 
after BKF and lunch, 
so they can get going on their school.

In a nutshell
- constant grocery shopping
while trying to be on a budget.
- taking advantage of whatever
 options/deals are out there!
- working together!
-eating what we have and filling
hungry tummies
 with left overs and extra snacks.
- making meals celebratory and joyful.
- focusing on healthy foods!

Every night is a banquet at our house!

So I hope this answers some of your question!

Friday, August 21, 2020

A Day trip to the North Shore!

It was absolutely a lovely day,
for a day trip!

Jenny, Jake, Grace and Mary have
 never been to northern Minnesota!

Or, seen any of the Great Lakes!
We love to experience "firsts" with our kiddos,
so it was particularly joyful
to see how much they loved it!
I think we may have to repeat
a few other excursions
so that they can have those experiences, too!
(Mt Rushmore, Chicago, Florida, etc)

Ellie is so excited bc she has a phone!
She is working on texting/messaging
her friends and family!
She is such a blessing to us
and embraces life,
 with a smile on her face!

The Burgess family rented an RV!

So much fun!
We thought it was such a fun idea
but I'm guessing they don't
make one big enough...
 for our family!

Have FUN and drive safely!

They visited friends in Wisconsin,
cruised the North Shore (of Lake Superior)
and met us at Canal Park in Duluth!

But... someone was left behind!
Poor Coco, but lucky us!
We loved having her stay with us, for the week!

We visited Mulvahill Road in Duluth!
Hubbies great great uncle used to live here
and the street was named after him!

Thankful for this guy!
We've had our fair share of challenges
but God has been so good to us
throughout our many years together!

Next up, the lift bridge!

The whole bridge raises when
a big boat needs to pass under it!
It's raised in this pic!

And now it's back down
to street level!

It warms my heart to have her
and her family with us!
They are medicine to our souls!

We ALL have so much fun with this family!
This is how NOT to stand in a photo!
Don't lean back!
And of course,
Ava had to take a pic of us
while I was getting my tutorial!

This is better!
Lean forward and into each other!

Skipping rocks on Lake Superior!

Melissa, doing the Titanic pose!

Okay everyone,
look at mom!

Beautiful, clean and clear!

We want to keep this puppy dog
and NOT give her back!
We LOVE her!

Freezing cold water and
wet feet hopping from rock to rock!

Photo bomber, Jake!

It was so refreshing up north!
Warm with a slight coolness in the air!
Fall is around the corner
for those of us that live
in the north!

Finding rocks, throwing rocks!
A past time that no one tires of!
Simple, healthy play!

Katie always wanted a little sister!
Now, she has MANY!



We are so thankful for the love and support
we get from ALL of our older kiddos,
their spouses and girlfriends!

Thank you Jesus!

Papa and Bennett!

Thankful to have a new header photo!
It big and it's bold
it's the best we got!

Abundantly blessed!

Emily was teaching Jake 
how to sneak up on the pray!
Thankfully, the bird escaped, 
just in time!

We ended our afternoon with ice cream!
Coco got a puppy cup!

Making great memories!

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Under Construction!

Please be patient!
I am trying to put up a new header photo...
And I have no idea what I'm doing!

If you have a clue how to do it,
be sure to comment!


Thursday, August 13, 2020

Relishing the Moments!

Twice a year this beautiful family 
comes to visit us
and when they do,
our hearts are filled with joy!

Ali and Emily are into catching toads, 
snakes, salamanders, five lined skinks
(the skinks are in VA and brought WITH them in their van to MN)
and whatever else they can find!

The porch is our favorite place to sit.
with windows on three sides,
we feel like we are part of the outside!
It's a relaxing place to be and 
a wonderful room for conversations!

It was an interesting evening, weather wise!
The skies were grumbling nonstop.
Lightening flashed every 1-2 seconds.
It was quite a show and it went on 
for hours and hours and hours!
Finally at midnight the clouds let loose
and we had a huge hail storm!

It is such a joy to have the pitter patter 
of little feet in the house!
Nonstop cuteness!

No place better to take 
a very large crew,
then to a pool!

Everyone has fun!

All of our kiddos are great swimmers!
Emily(6) and Ali(4) are doing really good 
with swimming, too!

Bennett loves the new floaty pirate ship!

He got his Dad and his Nana 
with the water gun!

We seem to have an abundance of 
cute little toads in our yard!
So the creative older sister/ mom of three
decided we should have toad races!

Yes, we moved the lines closer!
Everybody had a turn to race! 
First and second place in each heat
moved up to the next bracket,
toward the championship round!

The toads that didn't win were released into the woods!

Mia is truly enjoying her little nephew!

Grace, Ben and Sam
had fast toads,
that went in the right direction- lol!

Ready, get set, go!

One of the winners brackets!

Madeline's toad won the last heat!
And Ben's toad won the other one!
Madeline's came in FIRST PLACE!

Time to cook dinner!
Ali has a purse with her all of the time!
Emily usually has a reptile or amphibian with her!  
And Bennett always has an auntie or an uncle with him!

Hey kids!
Smile for the photo!

Time to relax!

and eat!
Yes, we sent them ALL back into the house
to wash their hands with soap and water!

Our kids and grandkids
LOVE cookouts!

 And more toads!

The next morning they 
found buckets
of toads!

One happy guy strolling through the yard!

Bennett is looking at something?

Could it be this?

Yep, it is!

He got the bucket of toads!
So proud!

And this is what was in the other bucket!

Auntie Ava is trying to get Bennett to eat his peaches...

Bennett won!

Creative Katie is working on a new project!
Can't share now but hoping to, 
in the future!

And per my FB posts...
our outside well pump broke...
24 hours without water...
But we survived and it was fixed 
early the next morning!

This is what happens when someone 
with the name
atieK... (That's in secret code!)
gives her father and her husband 
the same Father's Day gift!

Any women,
would have changed...
not them, not guys...
the matched the whole evening!

Beautiful girl in a beautiful dress!

Love you to the moon and back!

Outside play, more toad races and a princess!

Billy, Andrew and Jim went golfing!

We have some passionate golfers in our family!

Katie, Andrew
Kari, Mark, Billy and Kelly!
Such a blessing to have them together!
(Missing Matt, Caitlin, Johnny and Abby!)

The grand puppies!
Max and Coco!

It is such a blessing to be together!
My heart is so full of joy!

Cookie time after pizza!
The crowd is gathering!

Thankful, grateful. blessed!

Auntie Barbie was so happy to see
 her great nieces and nephew!

We haven't see Auntie Barbie for 
many months because of Covid...
It was a blessing to have her join us!