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**Larger Than Life Families**

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  • 4 years later...

I've had to get creative and do things differently. For instance, my kitchen cabinets have been decorated (at the top) with these baskets that I have collected over the years and a little fake greenery, very charming. wink.gif


So one day made them all scooch over and I used that space for a number of my small appliances (foodsaver, etc). I decided to keep these in their original boxes to help prevent dust way up there and now that part of my kitchen cabinets look like a Walmart shelf, not so charming. huh.gif



Lovely thread.. it was so fun to read through. I know it's fairly old. But I do have 10 kids and so a lot of it was useful information. Though I already do a great deal of it.


I quoted above because something that would be useful no matter how many people are in your house if you have boxes that you need for storage that are sitting out.. you can get contact paper and wrap them up so at least they'd be pretty boxes.


I also have realized that the sheer manpower available with a large family is a good thing. Not only does that mean there's enough people to get all the jobs done (if you train the kids to work) but if it all goes south, you have enough people to work and for lookout/guard duty as well. (I have kids from 3-17 with 4-5 of them old enough to help with that depending on how they're paired up)


Sauces and gravies are a great way to stretch meat and fill bellies.. they can be put over noodles or potatoes or rice or breads.

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I didn't have a large family just 3 boys that played sports and lots and lots of friends. Up until the last one married and moved out I was never surprised to get up in the morning and have warm bodies all over my house. So yeah I cooked for a crowd.


I have cooked 3 roasters at a meal; 2 pounds of ground beef, and a pound of bacon & sasuage were standard when I cooked. I fed them lots of dry beans, pasta, potatoes, oatmeal, rice, and yes biscuits, cornbread and pancakes were must. French toast was a biggie on special occasions. Dry cereal was a treat and only if the cereal was on sale, I had a coupon and I could get it doubled. We went through 5 gallons of milk a week. This did not include the 3 gallons of powdered milk that I made up and diluted the whole milk with. I would go to the farmers market and buy eggs by the case. During the summer I would shop the farmers market and buy all my veggies and fruit there.


The boys grew up on red beans and rice, gumbo, chili mac, potato soup, chicken noodle soup that was made from the bones of the 3 baked chickens from dinner. Sodas were not bought, it was koolaid made by the gallon, the only thing is I used one pack of koolaid and one cup of sugar per gallon. They didn't learn to they were teenagers that a pack of koolaid was only supposed to make 2qts.


As they got bigger I branched out into breakfast bakes, quiches, and other casseroles. Chicken and dumplings go a long way to fills hollow legs as well as chicken and dressing. All the leftover veggies were dumped into an ice cream bucket in the freezer and once a month I made a big batch of veggie soup and lots of corn bread. Hamburger gravy and biscuits and fried potatoes were served for any meal.


After school snacks were not sandwiches but pasta, with cream of broccoli soup for flavor. Mac & cheese, tuna and green peas was another give fix that tied them over to dinner.


Desserts were not a biggie in my house but snack foods were homemade, trail mix, cookies, muffins, brownies and 3 ingredient peanut butter cookie. Peanut butter cookies was the first thing the boys learned to cook.


They were taught to do laundry, dishes, cook, sweep, mop, vacuum and dust. I started training them to do laundry when they were in diapers. I had three laundry hampers and I put pictures on each hamper and turned sorting laundry into a game of match the picture.


Hubby and I have cooked for summer camp and retreats and we feed 150+ people so planning and organizing is a must. Prep, prep, prep! If you are going to grind popcorn grind enough for the week, same with flour and coffee beans. If you are going to make pie dough check your menu and if you are going to make quiche later in the week make extra dough and refrigerate it. We grilled a lot during the summer when the boys were younger and I would plan the menu and grill everything for the week. This way I could prep and cut meal time and we didn't waste charcoal.

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I do not have a large family. With my brothers there are 4 of us right now. However my daughter had 7 children. She does a lot of baking and almost all of her meals are from scratch. Everyone helps with chores and laundry, including watching younger siblings, even to changing diapers when they were still in them ( At one time she had 4 in diapers or in the process of potty training and two that not only still used bottles but also had dysphagia so needed special care in feeding. Everyone who was old enough took turns with changing and feeding.)


Bathing was on a schedule. Everyone has their own color for towels and washcloths. That way it is easy to tell who's is who's. Clothes are a lot of homemade and hand me downs. That causes some problems when someone doesn't want to give up a favorite clothing item to the next in line. Right now the youngest is still insisting on wearing a jacket two sizes two small and the third youngest keeps taking the clothes from the youngest that he thinks he should still be able to wear even though they no longer fit. They have a very small kitchen so the kids eat at the table and Mom and Dad eat in the living room. She currently only has the 5 children at home. The oldest moved out and we lost the second youngest one 4 years ago. It is his old jacket that the youngest refuses to give up.


Large pots are an essential. Eating out is rare. Usually, if they do it is pizza, not fast food or a sit down restaurant. That is too expensive.


School supplies are gathered from what ever source you can. We go to local festivals and fairs and get the free pencils, rulers, pens or other office supplies they sometimes hand out. At the start of the school year she gathers all the supplies together. Each child is given what is on the school supply list for their grade. All other pens, pencils, paper, erasers, crayons, markers, etc are kept in a tote for school supplies. No child is allowed to get into it without permission. Mom keeps a tight reign on supplies to make sure they last the year for everyone.


And of course she welcomes help from any neighbors, friends and family that is available. In fact they have a system where the other moms all pitch in and you may suddenly have one mom with up to 14 kids at a time, but it gives the other mom a chance to run errands or take a few minutes for herself. Everyone pitches in and watches everyone kids which helps even out the work load.


As has been mentioned. Space is also an issue. Sleeping is usually divided into girls rooms and boys rooms and there are 3 - 4 kids sharing a room.


I come from a large family and I remember at one time my Step-mom had 7 boys sharing one room and the lone girl at home at the time had a room to her self. Of course, if there were female guests, they shared with my sister. My oldest sister and I were both married at this point and not living at home, but each of us moved back home for a little while. My sister stayed in that room with a baby and her daughter who is a 9 months older than my baby sister and the four of them shared that room while her husband was stationed overseas. Our motto has always been there is always room for one more at the table and in the house. Family is family and there is always room for them. You just have juggle to fit everyone. Sometimes it is sleeping on the floor and bathrooms are always an issue, but somehow it always works.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't currently have a larger than life family but I have in the past and currently work with Cub Scouts. On camping trips we are feeding a lot of people. Organization, schedules, and one pot meals are key. If you can cook outside, foil pack dinners can be a life saver. Just get a bed of coals going and have everyone assemble their own meal in a foil pack. Use heavy duty foil. Put a cabbage leaf on it, add cut up veggies and whatever protein (sliced thin or a burger patty), and some liquid (gravy, broth, water, etc.). Top it with another cabbage leaf and seal the foil around it like an envelope. Toss is in the coals for about 15 minutes then flip it and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. If the veggies are cut up small it cooks quite well in this time. Everyone gets into helping and there is minimal clean up. It gives the cook a much needed break.


Use the leftover coals to cook a dessert in Dutch ovens.

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I just made the hamburger, sliced taters/onions, and carrot pieces combo tonite. But I make it in the dutch oven IN my house oven. Very fast that way too. Have to put in supper fast [back injury makes everything a pain] ....to cook while I'm stumbling ....ah, carefully doing evening chores....then it's ready cuz I'd collapse if I had to cook when I come in. Reason not same as big family but the end product needed is similar. Don't have time to waste and its got to be flexible/simple/filling.


MtRider ....I LOVE just reheating leftovers. If I alternate days, DH doesn't mind.

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