This is part 6 of our series –managing a large family. Thursday is errand day
Having a large family and not being organized or prepared for things could result in me driving to town numerous times during the week. The Lord has taught me well, during our marriage there has been numerous times where we only had one vehicle, I would have to carefully plan out what I needed to get done on the weekend, otherwise I would be without a vehicle during the week. Those days are for the most part gone, but I do know that I want to be as frugal as possible and our 15 passenger van is not an efficient gas producer. I try and minimize my trips into town to once per week.
This day can go smoothly, or it can go quite harriedly. I typically try and get up early for this day, get everyone up and feed them breakfast. I try and choose oatmeal or eggs, something that will sustain in their stomachs longer than cold cereal. We don’t typically do any chores, we wait to do those for when we get home. My main focus is getting everyone out the door before 9:30am. 9:00 would be my ideal time, but with 10 children you can’t expect a miracle:)
I make sure that everyone has used the bathroom before we have left. We do have a potty chair in the van for anyone that may need to go while we are out doing our running.
My husband is a visionary man and has taught me to pack and go on the spur of a moment. I am quite good at grabbing a diaper bag, throwing in a change of clothing for the baby, 1 and 2 year old. A few diapers and a package of wipes and we are ready to go.
My 15 year old daughter make us some peanut butter and jam sandwiches while we are getting ready. I like to take some apples and a bag of snack mix. We take plastic bathroom cups to put the snack mix into. We grab water bottles and 2 sippy cups for the 1 and 2 year old. Place in a small cooler and we pack it into the van.
Our library books have been accumulating all week. As we read a book, we place it into our cloth reusable bag to be ready to return. I have another child grab these to put into the van as well.
Depending upon what errands we have to do this day I might take grocery bags for our trip to Aldis. A large plastic bin for bread from the bread store—so that it doesn’t get smashed. A cooler if it is warmer outside for our cold items. If we are taking one of our hospitality snacks or meals, I will bring those along as well.
I also have my list that I made on office day–Tuesday with all of the stops I need to make for the day. I bring a pen to cross off what we have done, or to make notes for something to remember.
We bring our sit and stand stroller with us. The baby goes in the front and the 2 year old sits in the back. We can then put the 3 year old in a shopping cart and usually each older child will take 1 of the younger ones while we shop.
Even though it is tiring, it is always good to reiterate the rules of being out in public with the children.
- Be careful when opening the van door as not to slam into someone else’s car door–done this way too many times—sigh.
- Do not rub your coat on someone else’s vehicle while waiting outside of the van.
- Stand next to the van while waiting for everyone to get out of the van
- No running or chasing in the store isles.
- You can only touch things that you plan on purchasing, so if you don’t have any money, no touching!
- No asking for things while we are shopping.
- Let’s be an example of Jesus and smile to others’ while shopping.
- Look for ways to be a blessing. Is there an elderly person who needs help in the store?
We try and plan to get all of our errands done around lunch time. I like to be able to feed the children lunch in the van and then be driving home for nap time.
When we arrive home, everyone helps unload the van. We try and have each person clean their rows out. Our van can get very messy–quickly. I keep a hand bench broom under our van seats. When we get home, we do a quick sweep of our van floors. One of the requirements I wanted when we bought our 15 passenger was the rubberized flooring. We had carpet on all of our vehicles and when you have a large family, it does not go well together. Having the rubber is wonderful, we just sweep out the mess and do a quick wipe once a week with a wet rag. If the cracks are bad we will do a shop vac.
It is now naptime, everyone is tired and cranky from being gone all day. We lay down the little ones, let the older children take a break and I typically sit down and rest for a few as well.
Thank goodness I made my dinner casserole yesterday. Around 3pm I place it in the oven and let it bake. I like to make baked french toast and overnight egg casserole for an easy meal. If we have an early arrival I might make some other form of eggs for dinner. We have many chicken eggs so I plan on once a week a breakfast meal and Thursdays are that day. We like having homemade omelets as well.
We will then do a quick pick up of the house, which isn’t too bad cause we have been gone all day. We then do our schooling for the week as well. We do a 4 day school schedule and then just work longer into the summer months. Today we will do our online work and then later tonight we will read books while enjoying our family time.
Today is a tiring day, it is always a chore to have to take everyone out, but I am thankful we only have to do this once a week. Sometimes if we have a big, once a month shopping day planned, my daughter, who does not like shopping will watch most of the little ones. Then I am able to leave earlier in my day and get my shopping done quickly.
We are almost done with our week, up next Friday