Our Journey of Faith

http://ourjourneyoffaith.net

I had my first 6 babies in 6 years. Everyone thought we must be done. Then ... we added 6 more. I am a homeschooling, pie making, scrapbooking, faith walking, miracle believing, Jesus loving wife of 30 years, mother of a dozen.

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

What has having a big family taught you about motherhood?

#1 All Children are Unique

There are really no solidly true, "All boys ____." "All girls ____." "All teens ____." "All 2 year olds ____." Every child is uniquely created and gifted by the Lord, and we need to learn how to parent each one in the way that they need to be uniquely parented. (Even our identical twins needed to be parented quite differently, which created quite the challenge sometimes.)

#2 Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

#3 Organization and Discipline are a Good Thing . . . otherwise you may quickly have a riot on your hands.

A mother of a small family may "let things slide", while a mother of a large family knows how quickly things can slide right out of hand.

#4 It's Okay to let a Baby Cry (as long as it's not all day every day).

#5 You Cannot Spoil an Infant (they never get held too much)

What tips do you have for meal planning?

When all my kids were still living at home, I made a monthly menu plan, and did a big monthly grocery shopping trip to make sure we had everything needed for the menu. This saved me a LOT of time and money.

We save a lot of time in our busy afternoons (with kids playing on sports teams) by using our crockpot often. We can load it up in the morning after breakfast, and know that there will be a hot meal ready for us at the end of the day.

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

Chores are a very big part of our parenting plan. Our extra large family works as a team, and every person on the team is critically important for the overall functioning of the team.

Chores for our family are:

Creative
Household
Organizational
Responsibilities
Everyone
Shares

Preschoolers can help make their beds, pick up their toys, set the table ...

Ages 5-8 can clean their rooms, sweep the floors, load the dishwasher . . .

Ages 9-11 can wash the dishes, vacuum, clean the bathrooms . . .

Ages 12-adult can make dinner, mow the lawn, do their own laundry . . .

When we had 7 kids at home over the age of 12, we divided the house into 7 sections and we made a chore chart for the 7 days per week. We rotated every child into every chore section every day of the week. We also paired up the young ones with the older kids, so that the young ones were learning the jobs alongside their older siblings.

What's on your bucket list of things to do with your kids this summer?

Laurel Diacogiannis

I "only" have 6 kids left at home this summer (with 6 already grown and gone). My older teens will spend much of the summer working at a local berry farm, which leaves me with the younger 4 (ages 10, 10, 12, 13). Since my husband has spent much of this past year unemployed, and with gas prices so high, the kids are I are looking forward to focusing on a lot of local fun (whereas we usually head out on cross country road trips). We will try to visit every park in our county, visit a few museums, have BBQs at the beach, and play a lot of board games and card games in the evenings and on rainy days.
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What's a great present for a tween?

Laurel Diacogiannis

As the mother of a dozen children, I have bought a LOT of presents for "tween-agers". My favorites for this age are: books (it's a great time to help them develop a love for reading); art kits (so important to help them develop creativity); sporting equipment (because they need to get outside and play); and science kits (academic and fun all wrapped up in one). I do not purchase movies, video games, or electronics for this group, as I believe they need to develop their minds (with creative and critical thinking skills), as well as working to be physically fit. So many of our kids nowadays are missing these critical activities for brain development and physical development.
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