Being an only child for almost 10 years, (and I’ve still only got 1 brother – love you though Ryan!) I have always been interested in the dynamics of a large family so I did a mini interview with Sara about how she runs and organizes her large family and I noticed that not only does she sound down to earth she has a passion for healthy food that she has passed onto her children which has created a great family dynamic and way of socializing together.
So lets find out a bit more about Sara..
A Bit about Sara
Sara is a blogger and the mum behind “cook with 5 kids”. With two degrees in elementary and early childhood education she is well equipped to not only teach but have her large family. Her and partner Dan have been together for 23 years (which is impressive)and have 5 kids (3 teens, one tween and a 7 year old – who thinks she’s a teen-). She Lives in Washington DC with their dog Molly and enjoys social media and photography. Her passions include cooking with her children and making healthy foods exciting! (Well colour us intrigued here at The Mummy Toolbox!)
The School run? How do you manage that?
I wish that I liked driving more than I do. I really hate driving. For many years my children were all in different schools and I was spending most of my time in the car. I have always tried to have a car that was comfortable for me and my children since we spend so much time in it. When the kids were younger we always had a built in DVD player to keep the younger ones quiet.
How do you stay on top of household chores? (I hate ironing- that alone must be huge)
I try and do my basic chores first thing in the morning after I drop off my kids at school. The dishes, the laundry, the cleaning. I do have a cleaning lady who comes once a month and does one really big heavy cleaning which helps me out. My youngest daughter will sometimes offer to help me with some of the household chores. It is more fun to have the kids help me than to do it alone!
Do you encourage your younger children to do the chores as well? And do you have an organisation chart?
We do not have a chart. Most of the kids only help if I beg them to help me. I ask people to pitch in when they can but they are all very busy (the older they get, the busier they are) and I know that they would help if they had more free time. My youngest likes to help the most. I find the younger the child, the more helpful they want to be! So start asking your 1 year old to help out around the house (Useful Tip Alert!!).
Do you sit down and pre plan your meals?
My oldest son is 19 and he has studied to be a chef. He plans the meals with me. We go over ingredients that we need. We love to have special dinner nights where the younger children plan and make a meal. They are so excited to help. When kids help in the kitchen they are more likely to eat it and enjoy the meal.
How do you go about cooking your dinners? Do you pre cook?
I do like to prepare dinners in advance. Most weeks I try to plan over the weekend what we will eat each night. We do not cook in bulk. Our family is so big that it would be hard to make enough to last more than one meal. We rarely have leftovers!
Can you give us an example of a meal you like to cook?
One of our favorite dinners in the summer is corn pancakes.
Do the young ones help in the kitchen?
I started them all helping in the kitchen at 1-2 years old. They could do so much!
Here is a video of my youngest daughter making a lasagna all by herself when she was only 2!! I have tons of videos of my daughter cooking on our channel, she has always loved to cook, even as young as one!
Do you all eat together?
We like to all eat together as often as we can. But the reality is that we cannot do this every night. Busy schedules, homework, choir, all the after school activities keep dinner a mess sometimes. I love the conversations around the dinner table. They are some of my favorite times. We also love to play family games after dinner. Whoever helps clean up and do the dishes is invited to the game. (That is a great rule Sara!)
How do you go about food shopping? (All that food must be expensive?)
We spend a fortune on food. I shop during the week every other day. I try to buy what is on sale, use coupons and shopping apps to save money (Great Frugal Tip). I want to buy healthy food, less processed foods.
Do you go on family outings?
HA! Family outings are impossible! Older kids do not want to go on outings, everyone is so busy, younger kids have different interests than the older ones. Outings and trips are almost impossible!
What is your favourite thing to do altogether?
Our favorite thing to do together is cook a nice dinner and play a game. We have many amazing board games. We also like to play a few video games together.
What is your main benefit to having a big family?
I love having a big family. You never hear the phrase, I have nobody to play with! I love how they each take care of each other. I love seeing them all sharing a movie or game. Each of my kids has 4 best friends for life.
Do they team up against you at all when you are trying to discipline?
I know this will be shocking, but I really do not need to discipline my children. They are all very well behaved. When they were younger we had a time out spot, but we did not have to use it much. I am a calm person and my kids usually listen to me.
If you could give one piece of advice to parents contemplating a large family what would it be?
My best advice is just do it! Do not be afraid to have more kids than all your friends. The love that your family will share is powerful. As long as you are enjoying being Mom to 1 or 2, you will LOVE being Mom to even more children.
Anything else to add?
Thank you for having me! I am happy to answer any questions on being a mum to many, teens, tweens or in betweens.
So where can we find more of Sara?
I LOVE social media and I love new followers! Please come visit me and follow me.
*For extras on parenting, come and visit my parenting board on Pinterest*
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