It is the season for ponds and jam!

A few days ago i decided we should go “look at some nature” as my daughter says.

So we loaded everything on the buggy and headed up to the pond nearby. It didn’t quite go as planned (when does anything ever go to plan?) but at least we got a healthy dose of fresh air and then a heavy dose of uh… rain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So After running home in the rain I decided to use up some of the huge number of plums we had on our tree to make jam. I now have A LOT of jam – I think we have enough plum jam to last until next year!

 


How We Got Here – A Story For Other Mums Of Many – Part 1

Pregnancy and birth – how we got here.

I’m guessing if you’re reading this pregnancy and birth are not new to you. I’ll spare you the long winded descriptions of your baby’s weekly development and I won’t bother comparing him or her to a fruit or vegetable, after all, there are thousands of books that will tell you when your baby has reached the milestone of being the size of an avocado.

This is for mums who are bathing toddlers with one hand while simultaneously throwing up in the toilet (ah the joys of pregnancy sickness) or those who are waddling to the park and wondering where the nearest toilet is for their 20th toilet trip of the morning. It is also for mums who don’t think they can do this, those that are pregnant with baby 3,4,5 or more and feel like they are failing (spoiler – you’re not) or alternatively those thinking about having more but struggling to make a choice. So here we go let’s delve into the world of large family pregnancy.

Conception and the all important pregnancy test. Continue Reading →


End of the month and planning for next month!


£1.90 meal for 8!

So money was a little tight this week and this meal was a lifesaver for filling up the kids bellies!


Some pinto beans soaked then cooked for around 60 minutes , mixed with garlic, chopped tomatoes and chilli powder. Rice , homemade tortilla wraps and cheese!


Chicco next2me bedside cot 2 minute review


Our new playpen 

Our new playpen arrived yesterday for Molly! I have put it up in the playroom but there is some reorganization that needs to get done in there, I think i will move the desks out to the other side and have the playpen over in that corner to give a bit more room. I have never actually had a playpen before but I am finding that Molly is a super speedy crawler and so it seemed a good idea to have somewhere nice a safe but not too tiny(!) for her to play while I am cooking (the kitchen is next to this room just out of shot) or while I am doing a non baby friendly activity with the older kids.


Budgeting in a large family – making bread


Keeping a large family organized – Clothes!


How to feed a family of 8 for £280 per month (June)- the meal plan and shopping list

Photo DocumentThis months food budget is £300 so £280 for a big Tesco shop plus £20 for anything we run out of (likely to be just milk)

The total came to £280 for this months shop which includes all meals plus deserts and fruit for snacks although we already had some frozen berries and frozen corn on the cobs leftover so those are not included in this list.Most of the kids are at school for lunch weekdays this month so if you have extra kids at home then add extra ham etc!

Each day of the meal plan has a breakfast dinner and desert, lunch is always either leftovers from the night before, sandwiches made with the ham I cooked and froze as soon as it got delivered or sandwiches made with extra bits i have so for example spare bacon or cheese.We do repeat meals through the month for two reasons – it saves money and it also allows me to cook double batches and freeze ahead so that i don’t have so much cooking to do each day.Next month will be different meals. I buy bread flour to make bread in the bread machine so we don’t need ready made bread which saves money plus allows me to buy the whole months shop ahead as everything will fit in the freezer that needs to! So no popping back and forth to the shop for extras!

SO on to the plan! (click links to go to recipes where needed)

Day 1

Breakfast – Boiled egg and soldiers
Lunch – ham sandwiches, crisps, fruit
Dinner – Pappa-al-pomodoro
Dessert – Oreo M and M cookie bars

Day 2

Breakfast – Whole Orange Muffins
Lunch –  Ham Sandwiches and fruit
Dinner – Chicken and veg Casserole and dumplings
Dessert – Jam roly poly and custard

Day 3

Breakfast – Porridge
Lunch – leftover chicken veg casserole
Dinner – Peach and Chickpea curry with rice
Dessert – Nutella Brownies

Day 4

Breakfast – Porridge
Lunch – Leftover peach and chickpea curry OR sandwiches
Dinner – Chicken Chips and peas
Dessert – Choc chip Banana Bread

Day 5

Breakfast –  Whole Orange Muffins
Lunch – chicken/mayo sandwiches (using spare chicken left from last night) and fruit
Dinner – Cowboy casserole
Dessert – Baked egg custard

Day 6

Breakfast: Boiled egg and soldiers
Lunch – Ham sandwiches and fruit
Dinner – French stick pizzas
Dessert – Lunch lady brownies

Day 7 

Breakfast – Freezer breakfast sandwiches (English muffins with bacon and cheese slices made ahead and frozen)
Lunch – Leftover pizzas *if any or ham Sandwiches and fruit
Dinner – Hawaiian Pasta salad
Dessert – Rice Pudding

Day 8 

Breakfast – Porridge
Lunch – Leftover pasta salad
Dinner – Cottage pie and veg
Dessert – Baked egg custard

Day 9

Breakfast – Whole Orange Muffins
Lunch –  Ham Sandwiches and fruit
Dinner – Chicken and veg Casserole and dumplings
Dessert – Jam roly poly and custard

Day 10

Breakfast – Porridge
Lunch – leftover chicken veg casserole
Dinner – Peach and Chickpea curry with rice
Dessert – Nutella Brownies

Day 11

Breakfast – Porridge
Lunch – Leftover peach and chickpea curry OR sandwiches
Dinner – Sausage, mash, veg, onion gravy
Dessert – Choc chip Banana Bread

Day 12

Breakfast – Whole Orange Muffins
L
unch – Leftover sausage sandwiches
Dinner – Cowboy casserole
Dessert – Welsh cakes

Day 13

Breakfast – Porridge
Lunch – Leftover cowboy casserole OR sandwiches
Dinner – Corned beef pie (corned beef, onion and mashed potato in a shortcrust pastry pie) with veg
Dessert – Lunch lady brownies

Day 14

Breakfast – Freezer breakfast sandwiches
Lunch – Leftover corned beef pie
Dinner –Loaded baked potato salad
Dessert – Rice Pudding

Day 15

Breakfast – Boiled egg and soldiers
Lunch – ham sandwiches, crisps, fruit
Dinner – Pappa-al-pomodoro
Dessert – Baked egg custard

 

Day 16

Breakfast – Whole Orange Muffins
Lunch –  Ham Sandwiches and fruit
Dinner – Chicken and veg Casserole and dumplings
Dessert – Jam roly poly and custard

Day 17

Breakfast – Porridge
Lunch – leftover chicken veg casserole
Dinner – Peach and Chickpea curry with rice
Dessert – Nutella Brownies

Day 18

Breakfast – Porridge
Lunch – Leftover peach and chickpea curry OR sandwiches
Dinner – Cottage pie and veg
Dessert – Choc chip Banana Bread

Day 19

Breakfast –  Whole Orange Muffins
Lunch – Leftover cottage pie
Dinner – Garlic Parmesan Pasta
Dessert – Welsh cakes

Day 20

Breakfast – Porridge
Lunch – Ham Sandwiches
Dinner – Corned beef pie (corned beef, onion and mashed potato in a shortcrust pastry pie) with veg
Dessert – Lunch lady brownies

Day 21

Breakfast – Freezer breakfast sandwiches
Lunch – Leftover corned beef pie
Dinner –Loaded baked potato salad
Dessert – Rice Pudding

Day 22

Breakfast – Boiled egg and soldiers
Lunch – Leftover potato salad
Dinner – chicken chips and veg
Dessert – Baked egg custard

Day 23

Breakfast – Whole Orange Muffins
Lunch –  Ham Sandwiches and fruit
Dinner – Chicken and veg Casserole and dumplings
Dessert – Jam roly poly and custard

Day 24

Breakfast – Porridge
Lunch – leftover chicken veg casserole
Dinner – Peach and Chickpea curry with rice
Dessert – Nutella Brownies

Day 25

Breakfast – Porridge
Lunch – Leftover peach and chickpea curry OR sandwiches
Dinner – Sausage, mash, veg, onion gravy
Dessert – Choc chip Banana Bread

Day 26

Breakfast – Whole Orange Muffins
Lunch – Sausage sandwiches
Dinner – Garlic Parmesan Pasta
Dessert – Oreo M and M cookie bars

Day 27

Breakfast: Boiled egg and soldiers
Lunch – Ham sandwiches and fruit
Dinner – French stick pizzas
Dessert – Lunch lady brownies

Day 28

Breakfast – Freezer breakfast sandwiches
Lunch – Leftover pizzas *if any or ham Sandwiches and fruit
Dinner – Hawaiian Pasta salad
Dessert – Rice Pudding

Day 29

Breakfast – Porridge
Lunch – Leftover pasta salad
Dinner – Egg, chips, baked beans
Dessert –  Baked egg custard

Day 30

Breakfast – Whole Orange Muffins
Lunch –  Ham Sandwiches and fruit
Dinner – Chicken and veg Casserole and dumplings
Dessert – Jam roly poly and custard

Phew! so thats it – June and here are my breakfast muffins all ready to go in the freezer! my ham is all cooked and in the freezer on portions for lunches yummy!

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To get all this cooked here is the shopping list!

Soured cream x2
Milk (50 pints)
Butter x 10
Cheese slices x 6 packs
Mozarella x 8 balls
Grated parmesan x 3 packs of 200g
2 large whole chickens
4 packets of bacon
4 blocks of cheese
3 boxes of minced beef
2 large ham joints
frozen peas x2
frozen sprouts x2
onions
carrots
potato croquettes x2 bags
4 packs chicken breasts
4 packs sausages
Bread flour x4
cocoa powder x2
tomato puree x6
Big bag of raisins
Pudding rice x3
Jam x3
chickpeas x 6 cans
spaghetti x 4
plain flour x 2
self raising flour x 4
Long grain rice x 2
Corned beef x 4
Porridge oats x 5
yeast
canned sweetcorn x 4
Canned custard x 10
Honey
Mushroom soup x4
Nutella x 2 large jars
canned pineapple x 2
Sugar (5 kg bag)
Box of 12 eggs x7
Mayo x 4
Chicken stock
beef stock
Oreos
M and ms
Crisps
Choc chips x4
Bananas
Apples
Oranges
Frozen strawberries
Frozen mango
Baked beans x4
Canned peaches x4
English Muffins x 36
potatoes x 4 bags


How to get a large family out the door to school/work on time

I have many parenting fails, I won’t list them because that’s depressing BUT one of the things I am pretty good at is getting everyone up and to school and work in some kind of reasonable order and on time. I know a lot of people who struggle with this whether they have 1 child or 6 children so here is my take on how we manage this. It is just me and six children (ages 11,9,7,5,4 and 7 months) in the mornings as my husband leaves for work at 6am so this is based on the situation of one adult plus many little children.IMG_7254

1.Go to bed early get up early – seriously don’t imagine a lie in just don’t try, it wont end well for anyone. I get up at 6am and this gives me time to waft around being wonderful, if i get up any later than 6:30am then I turn into a screaming wreck by 8:50.

2.Make sure the clothes are in some sort of basic order. I don’t mean they have to be perfectly prepared I just mean if they have been through the wash and are dry then we are good. We have a shelf in the dining room where we keep all the clean uniform. Sometimes it needs ironing before it goes on but we got up at 6am remember?  we have time to deal with that.

3 .Don’t use the morning as “teaching time”. It is wonderful if your children are totally self sufficient in the mornings and get themselves perfectly ready but for the rest of us for goodness sake don’t try and use school mornings to fix that. There are times and places for teaching a toddler to do up her own buttons or teaching your 11 year old to perfectly plait her own hair – a school morning is not that time and place. If you find your self repeating over and over “get dressed, get dressed get dressed”, pick up up clothes, pick up child, insert child into clothes. On the weekends you can encourage more self sufficiency until they get too old to want Mum to dress them.

4.Keep breakfast simple, we like pancakes, cereal, porridge and things I have made the day before (banana bread etc). I don’t make things like eggs and bacon etc on school days simply because it takes too long and on days i go to work (2 days a week) the house has to be tidy before I leave and I don’t want to make too much washing up.

5.Don’t be above bribery. Use healthy bribes if you must but if you are running late then it works. I tend to resort to this on days I have to go to work for things like tidying up since I cant do it after the school run. Not perfect parenting but it gets us through the day.

6.Keep hair styles simple. We have 5 daughters, that’s a lot of hair to do. I keep it to pony tails bunches and plaits. I am not about to spend half an hour brushing hair, to be fair I wouldn’t do this if I had all the time in the world either – hair isn’t my thing.IMG_7405

7.Aim to leave 15 minutes before you actually need to – you will never hit that goal plan to be running behind.

8.Keep a running list of jobs – I actually do this all day, I have a notebook I write down the next three things I need to do. Then tick them off as they are done and add the next three. This way I have some sort of plan but its only short term so it can change depending on what in happening/new jobs that come up/how I feel. I find this especially helpful in the morning as it breaks it down into manageable chunks.

9. No TV until everyone is dressed and fed and ready to go and passed room inspection. Once everyone is dressed and ready to go and room inspection has been passed the TV can go on in the living room so it is in their best interests to do this as quickly as possible. Anyone not dressed etc isn’t allowed in the living room to watch TV until they are. The older ones have set a record of being dressed, ready to go and tidy roomed by 6:45 am although most days its closer to 7:45am.

10.Don’t feel like a failure if it all goes wrong. Some days I feel on top of the world when I leave, everything has gone smoothly and the house is tidy, we skip off to school then i go to work the world is fab. Other days we have lost someones shoe, one kid is covered in yoghurt, one kid is crying and I look like I have never seen a shower but hey we are out the door. You win some, you lose some.