a big (little) family

http://www.abiglittlefamily.com

Married nearly 11 years, I'm mom to six kids born within eight years and expecting a seventh in the spring. Writing of life, laughs, lessons learned, homeschooling, sewing projects, and random thoughts that scatter my brain each day.

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

What has having a big family taught you about motherhood?

No one moment is more important than the others. It's about the little things, and

What tips do you have for meal planning?

Start before 5pm! Getting meat out the day before and having a plan is always my goal. I don't meal plan far ahead, and I don't grocery shop based on a plan. I buy what we usually keep on hand, and special meals get added to the list for next time. It works well for us.

The crockpot makes things so much easier. I'm trying to use it more - it eliminates the madness hour that happens when everyone's hungry and trying to get the meal together. Also, I love to grill - tastes great and easy cleanup. The grill gets used a lot around here, summer or winter. To keep the budget low, we tend to eat less meat and more side dishes. The garden helps a lot with this!

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

Each of my four older children, ages 4, 6, 8, and 10 have a list that they must go through, step by step, each morning. Repetition builds skills, so they keep their same lists for months or even years. I do my best to always give the job to the youngest capable child - the older ones will always tend to get dumped on, so this divides things more evenly. Each child has a "buddy" that they are to help as well - buckling in the car, getting them dressed, helping them when they ask. This has been amazing for building the relationship between siblings and gives me more time for other tasks. Life's always full steam ahead, there's never an end to the work to be done, but when the kids pitch in to help, we can all have a little bit more down time.

What's one of the worst messes your child has made? Please share a link to a photo if you have one.

Adrienne

The worst mess my kids made was in the kitchen, when a quart of used frying oil landed on the kitchen's tile floor. Slippery doesn't even begin to describe it! I ended up pouring hot soapy water on the floor after I'd wiped up as much as I could and mopping and re-mopping. What a mess!
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How much privacy should your kids have?

Adrienne

With kids age nine and under, right now I say they get no privacy when it comes to personal email and things they bring into the house. As they grow, and their maturity grows, it will depend on the child. Trust is pretty important, but keeping tabs on their conversations is a good way to know where their hearts are - if they are chasing after foolishness or facing situations with the appropriate behavior. I wouldn't snoop, but I would expect them to be open and honest or we need to talk further!
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