Thursday, June 30, 2011

Home Invasion!!!

I must confess I think I'm doing a better job at writing a homemaking blog than a homeschooling one, but anyhoo...

For those of ya'll who are on Facebook, I already mentioned that I'm going to have a large group of people in my house for the next 10 days or so during a semi-annual church conference. They come from out of town & instead of having them stay in a hotel, we host them here! It is SO. MUCH. FUN! Chaotic in many ways, but superabundantly fun and such a blessing to my family. It really causes you to grow in your basic humanity, forcing you to think of others & do your best to make them comfortable. Letting them into your lives, heart & home. For my children, these two times of the year (during Christmastime & Fourth of July) are the best times. They would rather have these people come invade our home and take over their bedroom than go on vacation or to Disneyland. Weird right? But they love having people over, and they help me out a lot to make it happen! (Just the other night, Caitlin helped me de-bone two chickens that I cooked in advance to have shredded chicken & some broth.) They know it takes a lot of work, but its worth every bit of extra effort!

We will be having about 26 people the first night, then about 22 for the rest of the time. Add our family to the mix and we'll have about 30 people in this house for 10 days! YIKES!!! Well, luckily I've done this a time or two and I'm getting the hang of this gig! Not to mention, the mothers of these other families are super-women! Two of them have 8 kids each, and the other has 3. All of them happen to homeschool their children (which just means they are equally as crazy as I!).

So, how do I do this? I know, I're wondering how we pay for this, why we do it (I sort-of answered that above), how we could possibly have the room for that many people? Well, we save up the money for it (No vacation? Eh, there'll be time/money for that someday. For now, we'd rather do this. Not to mention that the families that come usually do leave a thoughtful monetary gift when they leave. It is never expected, but nice when they are able to help out a bit. However, we would do everything in our power to do this even if they weren't able to help out.) We do happen to live in a pretty large house (there are 6 bedrooms, a few big ones, a couple smallish ones). But hey, as much as we want to have these people, they want to come. So, we try to get couples comfortable in beds and kids sleep on floors. We usually have a room for the girls, a room for the boys, and some of the smaller ones sleep with parents. This year, there will be a group of jr. high/high school/college boys in the living room. Their luggage will go under the stairs. And they will be in the living room because we usually stay up late each night, and they will be among those allowed to stay up a bit later. The younger kids will be in bedrooms.

As far as the practical matters, I shop well. Not with coupons...I haven't learned the art of couponing. But I do find things (especially meat) when it's on sale and buy in bulk to freeze it. Like the other day, I got chicken quarters for $0.49/pound. (Yup that's 49 CENTS, people!) For 30 pounds of chicken, I paid less than $15.00!! (Note: I RARELY pay more than $2.00/pound for meat. So, I don't eat super expensive cuts of meat, but we eat very well. I make a lot of roasts, or shred meat for tacos. There are lots of things to do with cheaper cuts of meat! I will post some ideas/recipes in the next couple weeks.) THAT, my friends, is how you shop when you will have 30 people in your house for ten days. lol... I shop at the Mexican markets. Psshhhh, what? I shop at Costco. I shop at Stater Bros. I shop wherever I know I will find those deals!

Okay, so I won't get into recipes today, but here are a few photos of my house as I'm preparing. Four grocery stores later (twice to Costco), here are how the cupboards & fridges are looking. (Oh yeah, I just plugged in the third fridge to give us some breathing room, so I can actually be able to find stuff in the fridges!).

A plethora of new "Tupperware" containers.

Storage for big items, rice, beans, rice cooker, etc...

More storage containers.

Bread (3 loaves for one day's french toast...I hope it's enough!) 
Croissants, sheepherder's bread, marshmallows for a 
jello salad & for Rice Krispy Treats!

Kitchen Fridge...pretty much every crevice is filled. 
You have to make SURE the door is shut! lol

Upper Cabinet. Snacks & some cereals.

Main Pantry.

It's easier if you get organized in advance. 
Baking supplies together (I have moved the p.b., by the way). 

Canned fruit, oodles of noodles, misc things.

More canned goods & some other misc goods.

Freezer #2, crammed full. I had to open it slowwwwwlyyyy! 
Didn't get knocked out by frozen chicken! Whew!

Fridge #2 door, crammed full of stuff.

Fridge #2 main area. I've gotten to move some of this out of there to the third fridge.   **And we usually go grocery shopping once or twice during the week!** 

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