A Baker's Dozen and Apollo XIV

http://bakersdozenandapolloxiv.com/

I am a mom to 14 and a professional photographer. I love reading, knitting, coffee and throwing awesome themed parties fro my kids!

Renee is a winner of Top 25 Moms With Big Families - 2013

What has having a big family taught you about motherhood?

Motherhood is hard. Too hard to not enjoy it along the way. I remind myself of this constantly. If things aren't fun, if I'm not enjoying being a mom, something's wrong. That's when I take a step back and see what I can do to add a little more fun into our lives.

What tips do you have for meal planning?

PLAN. That's my tip. Cooking for a crowd as big as mine, is nearly impossible without some kind of plan. Every time I get lazy about planning I regret it. Ideally, I plan our week's worth of meals on the weekend, doing the shopping AND prep our veggies and meat ahead of time. This way, even when life gets crazy, we all get fed.

How do you get your children involved with chores? Please share what age these tips are appropriate for.

Everyone (except for three year old Apollo) has daily jobs. My sixteen year old does the dishes. All of them for our big family! But, that is his only daily job. Everyone must make their beds and keep their rooms clean.

What's a great theme you've done for your child's birthday? Please share a link with a photo.

Renee Bergeron

I just had a "color" themed party for my two and seven year olds. We decorated with candy and it was a huge hit! http://www.circleofmoms.com/article/what-s-s-like-have-tube-fed-toddler-04549
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What's the best form of exercise for a tired, busy mom who wants to get back in shape?

Renee Bergeron

For me, walking/running. I don't need anything other than a pair of shoes and a little motivation.
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What's your kids' favorite recipe or meal to make themselves? Please include a link to a recipe with a picture.

Renee Bergeron

Chicken fingers! This recipe is quick, easy and healthy. My seven year old can make them with help and my older kids can make them by themselves.
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What's a fun arts & crafts or science activitiy that's perfect to do outside because of the mess? Please include a link to a picture if you have one.

Renee Bergeron

Mixing colored whipped cream! My kids loved everything about this: the colors, the texture, licking their fingers.
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What's a simple meal your kids like to make for a family dinner? Please include a link to a picture and recipe if you have one.

Renee Bergeron

Awesome Asian Salad is the perfect meal for hot summer nights! Filling, delicious, can be made ahead, and no need to heat up my oven. We have also taken this on picnics and camping!
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What do you do with all your digital photos? Please share your best tip for rediscovering memories and de-cluttering your hard drive.

Renee Bergeron

As a mom to 14 AND I professional photographer, this question is very important to me. One my hard drive I have a folder for each year, then a folder for each month of the year. I file photos chronologically. Within the monthly folders, I will name special occasions (Apollo's 3rd birthday, etc). For just daily life I use the date. I make photobooks through MyPublisher- six months at a time. This has the bulk of our family snapshots. My last book (July - Dec 2012) contained 407 photos and cost just around a hundred dollars. This way I have hard copies of those important photos. I also print lots of 4x6 photos of my children to put in their individual albums.
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Do you use your slow cooker/crock pot even in summer? If you have a great warm-weather crock pot recipe, please share a link to it with other moms!

Renee Bergeron

We use the crockpot in the summer because it keeps the house so much cooler! This White Chicken Chili takes about ten minutes to throw together and will fill your house with it's delicious aroma. This recipe will please the whole family.
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