If you have followed us for long then you know were are a very outdoorsy family. We love being immersed in nature’s goodness which ultimately means wrapping ourselves in God’s beautiful creation. We love to hike in the woods, camp under the stars, and dig our hands in the dirt. Camping embodies all of this. I grew up camping so it means even more to me. It is a connection to my childhood and stirs so many amazing memories within me.
Now we are the parents and want to share that with our small army. And we want to do it NOW. Not when they are “older” or when they can appreciate it or enjoy it more or when it’s easier for us. NOW. Because ultimately #nowisNOW and why wait?
We almost fell into that rabbit hole of thinking last year. We took almost an entire year off from camping, albeit I was pregnant for most of that year, but still. We were in between having our old pop up camper and dreaming toward a bit larger rig for our growing family, and we put it off. WHY? Because of indecision. We didn’t (and still don’t) know what type/size of camper to get. We didn’t (and still don’t) know how much we wanted to spend on it. We even thought about replacing the van to pull it. And in confusion of the flow chart of “what about this” we didn’t step forward in anyway to make it happen. And that sucks.
Then we snapped out of it. We decided that while we wait on our decision, our budget and God’s blessing on a (quite large) purchase we wouldn’t just stop dead in our tracks. We would enjoy camping with our family and make it AWESOME until we had a clearer picture of what we should invest in. Because, in the end, the memories aren’t dependent on what kind/size of camper we get or the features it has in it. It is ONLY dependent that we GO and make those memories together.
Who else is a camping/hiking/nature family? How do you make it work?
If you’re interested in seeing what we ended up getting to use until we decide about campers, here a video that shows how we are going to get 10 people comfortably in tents!
My day in the life during summer break with 8 kids + a friend!
Sleeping arrangements and room assignments in a family our size are topics I get asked a lot about. Room sharing, while something that used to be commonplace, is not as common today in the world of 4 bedroom houses coupled 4 person families. In bigger families or families with small homes room sharing is something that needs some consideration. We have recently changed up our room arrangements and thought we’d share what has worked over the years.
In the first video HERE I discuss the evolution our house has been through starting from a 3 bedroom home holding a family of 4 to a 3 bedroom house holding a family of 9 and how we made it work. I also discuss adding rooms and eventually having a home with 6 bedrooms that will hold our family of 10 in the next couple weeks when our little Cypress joins our family and run us into the double digits category! Here is a short recap of how we made it work (all in the same house):
When we moved in we had one boy, one girl and a 3 bedroom home. Our children each had their own rooms and we were SPREAD OUT!
Then when our third child was born (a boy) we moved him in with his brother.
Two more girls were added when baby #4 and #5 were born and we had a girls room (3 girls) and a boys room (2 boys).
We got the surprise of a lifetime when we found out our 6th child would join us and he joined the boys’ dorm with a total of 3 girls in the girls room and 3 boys in the boys room.
When our 7th child (our 4th girl) showed up we originally thought we would add her into the girls’ room and just figure out how to make the small closet work more efficiently.
But before she was ready to move in (most our babies sleep with us for 6-12 months) our home school room in the basement was loosing its luster because it had slowly become too small of a space to contain 7 kids all doing different things. I decided to move the school room upstairs and convert our formal dining room into a dining room with a dual purpose. Since we now had a fully finished room where our home school room used to be we decided to utilize that as a room for our older two boys and move our oldest daughter in with our youngest son and leave the little girls room head count at 3 (our youngest 3 girls).
Fast forward to 2016 and we are expecting our 8th child and our older kids are now teens/tweens. Converting the office and finishing off the basement sounded like a good move so we went for it. Hopefully this fall we will have our final (6th room) finished and our oldest 3 kids will have their own room and our youngest 5 will share 2 bedrooms. The shared bedrooms will be set up as follows: 1 “little boys room” with Ezra and Cypress and 1 “little girls’ room with our youngest three girls: Faith, Georgia and Cora.
Now, if that didn’t make your head spin I don’t know what will. You can click on the video links (hyperlinked above to see the previous set ups) to hear the story in part 1 and see a bedroom tour of all the rooms in part 2.
Our weekly grocery haul:
Detailed Price Breakdown:
Weekly Dinner Menu:
Dinner 1: Salmon fillets, roasted asparagus (from the garden), rice and salad
Dinner 2: Eating out to celebrate my dad’s birthday
Dinner 3: Jamaican jerk chicken, Jamaican rice and peas and salad
Dinner 4: Bacon cheeseburgers with lettuce, tomato and onion, baked beans, salad and corn
Dinner 5: Fettuccine Alfredo with peas and salad
Dinner 6: Subs with meat, cheese, cucumber, tomato, lettuce, banana pepper, bell pepper and mayo, yogurt and fruit and probably some crackers
Dinner 7: (our one meal Sunday): Chili with cornbread or grilled cheese and salad
FOOD HAUL DISCLAIMER
(for my videos and any other channels that you watch)
Please remember in this (and other) food hauls that each family’s diet and lifestyle is unique. Please be understanding that what is best for one family (dairy free, gluten free, non-GMO, organic, vegetarian, etc) is not always best for every family. Also note that the contents of each haul may not be the ONLY thing that particular family is eating. A lot of people buy fresh produce at farmers markets, grow it in their own garden or take from a stock pile of canned food in their pantries to supplement their purchased items. For some reason food choices and diets have become sacred ground on the internet and opinions are cast out like deadly judgement stones. We are all trying to do what is best for our individual families with what we have. Please be graceful and kind in the comments to one another.
This was my haul from Walmart last night. I purchased a lot of non-food items that drove the price up a little bit, but I also didn’t have to purchase too many veggies and meat which probably negated that. We had several meals worth of meat and veggies here at home so this was a scant week in those areas.
And the price breakdown in the receipt below.
Many of you voiced interest in peeking into our basement to view how we store our hand-me-down clothing and shoes. I think we have a pretty great system and it is working beautifully for us. A big selling point for any system for our home is the ease-of-use of it. If it isn’t easy to implement it WON’T. GET. DONE. That is just the cold, hard facts of it. Intricate organization systems aren’t worth the cardboard boxes that contain them if they aren’t implemented because it’s not user-friendly. So remember K.I.S.S. – Keep It Super Simple.
This post contains affiliate links (YAY.. I finally found out how to become an affiliate since I CONSTANTLY am raving about my amazon purchases!) LOL!
Link for the boxes I showed in the video:
Shoe measuring devise that was shown in the video: