Tag Archives: large family

Easiest way to preserve tomatoes–freezing them

Having a large family, has meant that we try and do as much preserving as we can.

When it comes to putting up food for the winter months, my first choice is to freeze it.  This year we did strawberry jam and froze it.  We picked blueberries and froze them.  We made applesauce, around 200 quarts and froze it!  We also did tomatoes.

We love to eat spaghetti, at least once per week.  I have found that we can easily make a sauce with a few cans of diced tomatoes and one can of tomato sauce.  We then add basil, oregano, onion, green pepper, and garlic.  Let it simmer on the stove and add your meat.  Delicious, homemade flavor.  Once I realized that I would be able to get away with that kind of sauce for my family instead of the “store bought” version, I wanted to put up some tomatoes for the winter months.


I have realized that the easiest way to preserve tomatoes is by freezing them.

I used to can it into jars and it would be a long process of skinning the tomatoes and smashing it—no more of that, I do not have time.  I have found this method to be super easy and the best, quickest version for our large family.

I actually had a fussing one year old, while I was trying to do this so our 8 year old took charged and did it all for me!

The tomatoes that we had purchased were a thick meaty type, so we chopped the tomatoes in quarters..


Then placed them into the food processor, skins and all

let it whirl, until pureed

We then poured them into quart sized containers.  Put them in our freezer until ready to use.  Simple and easy.  Makes a delicious, fresh from the garden flavor spaghetti sauce.061


large family food idea– breakfast–baked overnight french toast


 large family food idea–breakfast–baked overnight french toast


I have found that making meals for a large family, really isn’t that much different than making it for a smaller sized family.  Around our household, we make a breakfast meal once a week.  One thing our family enjoys is french toast.  We usually use our skillet and fry the toast on top of that.  It can sometimes be a task that takes up much of my meal prep time, especially when you have to go through 2 loaves of bread.

I wanted a simplier way. When trying to plan large family food ideas I wanted to incorporate french toast into the mix, but I wanted it to be easier to make, otherwise I probably wouldn’t want to make it.   I have found this baked overnight french toast recipe and we love it.  I make it the day before and then refrigerate it.  When it is time to cook dinner, we pop it in the oven.  No prep for Mom!  Very simple to make.

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 12 slices of bread
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 10 eggs

What I do first, since we don’t own a microwave, is I melt my stick of butters in a 9×13 pan.

While that is melting I mix up my eggs and milk.


After the butter is melted, I stir into it 1 cup of brown sugar.  Spread it across the bottom of your pan to cover.  I then sprinkle it with cinnamon.  Place 12 slices of bread on top of the sugar mixture.  Put bread 2 slices high in pan.  

Pour your egg/milk mixture over top of your bread.

Wrap in foil and then refrigerate overnight.  In the morning or evening, depending upon when you are going to serve your meal, place in 350 and cook for 45 minutes.  This will puff right up out of the pan.  028


To serve cut sandwiches and then invert them onto a plate. No need for syrup, it makes its own.  Our size family goes through 2 pans of this meal.  Very delicious!034


Enjoying life with a large family

My husband recently started a new job, but with starting a new job comes all the stress of being the “new” guy.  My husband is a pretty resilient man, he just usually rolls with all the “cheap shots” geared towards the new guy.  Well, when you have a large white 15 passenger van that you sometimes drive into work, you know the ridicule is going to be magnified.  “Don’t you know how to stop that? or “Wow, really having 10 kids, that’s insane, if my wife wanted me to have that many, I’d divorce her.” or “You really want to go nowhere fast!”

sad….sad….sad…cheap shots made from the world.

One thing that I do know from living life is that when people are uninformed about something, they usually think its a bad idea.  Just because they don’t know any better.

And most people are misinformed about large families.


My husband is a very wise man when it comes to speaking what he believes.  After enduring some ridicule last week at his employment, he laughed them off and just went with all the “shots” and then he turned to one of the workers and said, “Do you love your child?”  The guy kind of hesitated and stopped for a second and said, “Well, yes I love my child.”  My husband then said to him, “If you can imagine that little amount of love that you have with your one child, I have that multiplied by 10!  Why would I want to deny myself all of that love?”  He said the guy kind of stopped in his tracks for a minute and then was quiet.


People in the world don’t realize why they do what they do.  Most people are on this hamster wheel of life, that just keeps spinning around and around and around.  With no real directions or destinations of getting anywhere in life.

They continue with life, doing what their parents did–get married, have 2.1 kids, what society has told them to do–goto college, find a job, work 9-5. It is a continuous wheel of never ending sameness.   They don’t really get anywhere they just kind of “blend” into society.


Society doesn’t want you to go against the status quo—for fear of disrupting  it or creating disharmony.

One of my husbands favorite quotes is this:

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

Henry David Thoreau

We want to live life to the fullest.  Having a large family has filled our life so full of love that it is indescribable. Now is that for everyone?  No, I don’t believe God has called everyone to have ten children.  God has called US to have ten children and love them and bring them up as unto the Lord.  We love our life, we love our crazyness, we love being together doing things together every moment that we can.


Most every weekend and night is spent doing this…




Children playing, being children.  Isn’t this what life should be all about?



Letting our babies enjoy watching leaves float down the river.  Enjoying the simpleness of life.


Whether you have a large family, or small family, or no family at all, get outside this fall and enjoy some of Gods natural beauty.  Find a local park and start exploring.  We have come across many beautiful scenic areas, just by visiting the different parks in our area.  Pack a lunch or take a dinner, just enjoy being outside spending good quality family time.  Be unplugged from the world get back to fun, talking, and  knowing your children or spouse.  Do things like you used to do before life got a hold of you?

So what are you going to do?  Are you going to jump back on that hamster wheel, or step off and start enjoying life with your family?




Be simple, be basic, no big packing, no big fancy foods, just jump in the car, grab a diaper bag for little ones, some peanut butter sandwiches,  apples, and water.  That is all a person needs–simplicity.  Go have fun, enjoy, live life the way that God has intended you to.









large family food ideas snacks popcorn balls

This is a great, inexpensive large family food ideas for snacks…..a yearly tradition around our home.

 Popcorn balls



We usually plan a fall harvest party for our household every year.  We plan games and activities– just some good fun for the little ones.  My oldest daughters and I usually make some cute fall snacks.  Popcorn balls are always one of the things that we make.  They are super easy and taste great.

We usually double this recipe when having a large gathering.  This recipe makes about 16 balls.

  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1 pkg. (10-1/2 oz.) Marshmallows
  • 1 pkg. (3 oz.) gelatin, any flavor–we really enjoy strawberry
  • 3 qt. (12 cups) popped popcorn–make sure to not get any seeds into your bowl.

I usually scoop through the corn after having it popped, to ensure that we don’t have any unwanted seeds.  It is very bad to be biting down into a hard popcorn seed when you eat these.

So pop your popcorn, don’t worry about making over, we usually do and have a little less, sugar for our balls:)

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt your butter


Place your marshmallows in the potImage00017

Let melt, continuously stir this so that it does not burnImage00018

When completely melted, add your package of gelatinImage00019

Stir until dissolved.  Then remove from heat and pour over your popped popcorn.Image00020

Gather up your ball makers….and let them get to work.  I haven’t met a child yet that doesn’t like making these, especially when they get to lick their fingers clean!Image00021

We found that having your hands slightly dampened, helps in preventing your hands from sticking to the popcornImage00022

You can wrap these up in plastic and twist them closed, or we just sat them on a plate and covered with plastic wrap.  They will last for a little while, if you need to make them before hand for a group something.Image00023



large family food ideas snacks energy bites

Here is another large family food ideas for snacks…energy bites

This is something that our family enjoys very much.  Very simple, healthy ingredients.  I can’t even feel guilty feeding it to my children because I know it is good for them. This also works great for those of us who are trying to lose some weight, because it takes away those “sweet” cravings that we have.  When I was losing my 70 lbs, there were times when I just craved junk food.  These energy bites were the key to helping me not gorge on something unhealthy.

This recipes makes about 175 golf ball sized bites.  We store these in our freezer and just grab one when we need a pick me up.

If you want the “smaller family” version scroll down to the end.


Energy bites

  • 15 c oatmeal
  • 6 c unsweetened coconut
  • 5 c flax seeds
  • 4 c mini chocolate chips
  • 5 c (40 oz) peanut butter
  • 5 c honey

Place the oatmeal in a large bowl


Next add the coconutImage00002 Then the flax seeds–you can use either type golden or the darker one…I have used bothImage00003And the mini chocolate chips, you can add regular ones, the smaller ones make the balls more uniform.Image00004

In a separate bowl mix the peanut butter and the honey


Pour the peanut butter/honey mixture over the rest of the mixed ingredients.  Stir until well combined.Image00006


Here are the ingredients that I used.  I used a whole 40 oz jar of peanut butter.  Our honey I get from a local source and they sell it in 1/2 gallon milk jugs.  I used 1/2 of the container.  For next time, it is easier to just pour directly into the bowl, instead of having to measure sticky honey.Image00008 I purchase my items at a Mennonite bulk food store.  This is from the flax seed.  It was 1.5 lbsImage00009 The unsweetened coconut was 1.3 lbsImage00010 The mini chocolate chips was 1.75 lbsImage00011 For the honey I used half of the containerImage00012 The oatmeal we buy in a 50 lb container and the peanut butter was purchased at Aldis.

Ok back to our energy bites……after you have thoroughly combined your ingredients, it is time to roll them into balls. Image00013

This works best if you just slightly dampen your hands.  Then grab some of the mixture and form it into golf ball size balls.Image00015


I put them on a cookie sheet and freeze them individually.  After completely solid, I place them in tupperware containers and store them in the freezer.

Energy bites for the “smaller family”

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup flax seed
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Mix as in above and store in freezer