Jan 29, 2016

Friday Feasting: Fluffy Pancakes

Fluffy pancakes

A "tried and true" recipe at the Young house.  We have always loved the buttermilk pancake recipes that we have made in the past, but we don't always have buttermilk in the fridge.  So, we googled and found that you can add vinegar to your milk to make your own!  This recipe already includes the buttermilk/vinegar variation plus is already adjusted GRANDE style.  The picture above shows what was leftover after feeding the 10 Young bellies at our house - plenty, as you can see!  We always use left-over batter to make "cookie pancakes", and if you leave them on the counter, they just seem to disappear.  Adding chocolate chips to our pancakes is also a favorite at our place.  Here, we added a special Halloween combo bag of white chocolate chip flavored orange pumpkins and normal chocolate chips.

4-1/2 cups milk
3/4 cups vinegar
6 cups flour
3/4 cups sugar
2 T baking powder
1 T baking soda
1 T salt
6 eggs
3/4 cups butter

1.  Combine milk and vinegar into a bowl and set aside to "sour".  (wait at least 5 minutes)
2.  Meanwhile, mix up all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl (large enough to hold all the wet ingredients in a bit too!) - flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
3.  Add eggs and melted butter into the "sour" milk and whisk.
4.  Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until all the lumps are gone.
5.  Pour 1/4 cups batter onto skillet or griddle and flip once bubbles begin to appear on the top of the pancakes.  Cook until medium brown on the other side.
**optional - add chocolate chips, blueberries, etc... during step 4**

Enjoy!!  :)

Jan 27, 2016


It’s been a busy season for us, full of celebrations. As we come down from Christmastide, we are into “birthday-tide” as four of our children celebrate their birthdays, one right after another. Our goal as parents, was to find ways to make memories, or traditions, rather than bombard with gifts soon forgotten.

Early on, our family adopted the tradition of letting the birthday child choose his or her meals, for the entire day! They were only limited by their imagination. Yes, sometimes we’ve gotten lobster (OK that was MY birthday!), others they’ve ask for nothing in particular. But always, a breakfast meal was in order. French Toast Casserole is regularly asked for as is coffee cake. Both very different from our norm, and cherished, as part of the celebration. But, one of the most celebrated is the birthday cake. Something they savor. A couple like cheesecake, others German Chocolate cake, and then there is the old fashioned yellow cake preferred by others.  And the cake always appears after dinner. We all gather. Tell brief stories of “remember when you….”, praying for a happy birthday, and begin another year when you blow out those candles.  Another year to grow. Another year of memories.

Traditions. Ties that bind us together for generations to come.

Jan 25, 2016

Monday Meme: Happy Goodbyes

Prayer and laughter are the best meds.  Sometimes they might cure a problem.  More likely, however, they will only help get through a tough situation.  Life tends to give us a lot of those—difficult circumstances or troubled times.  As moms, we need to get through those moments, with grace and patience if possible!  How are we to do that?

By choice.

We choose to be happy in whatever circumstance we find ourselves.  At times, we can’t help but react or over-react.  That’s when habit kicks in.  Do we shout out, or do we keep quiet?  Our actions speak louder than our words, and our kids are watching our lead.

I know it’s easier said than done, but I look for the positive, even if it’s just learning from a mistake.  What is the good?  If I am dealing with people, what’s the good in them?  It can be hard to find.  Occasionally, maybe the only good in that moment is their goodbye.  That’s ok.

We are to love our neighbors and our enemies.  We are all children of God.  That means every human has dignity, no matter what.  We are human, and we can’t please everyone.  Likewise, we can not expect to be pleased by everyone.  We simply can’t be vindictive or vengeful. 

We can pray for that person, even if it’s for a sooner-vs-later departure.  If we can pray for a happy death, which we do with every Hail Mary, we can certainly pray for a quick visit from someone who may push our buttons. 

So while we might appreciate some people more than others, we can look forward to an arrival as well as departure.  Both require love.  

"Love is patient; love is kind... Love is never rude, it is not self-seeking.  It is not prone to anger; neither does it brood over injuries."
~1 Cor 13:4-5 

Jan 22, 2016

Friday Feasting: Fruit Smoothies

Fruit Smoothies

We make two batches for the 10 of us. Use any combo of fruit that you like, but for best results, some of it should be frozen for best consistency. 

2 c Frozen Mango pieces
1 c Frozen Cherries
1 c Frozen Pineapple
Milk (cow, goat, or coconut)
Yogurt, plain 16 oz, divided
2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
2 tbsp honey, divided

1.  Fill blender container 1/2 way with milk of choice.
2.  Add 8 oz yogurt, 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp honey.
3.  Add frozen fruit in any combination of your choosing up to the point recommended by your blender. (We love mango so that is the largest portion of fruit.)
4.  Blend and serve.
5.  Repeat with next batch and remaining ingredients.

Enjoy!!  :)

Jan 20, 2016

Helping Out My Family

I couldn’t wait till my kids were old enough to have chores.  With babies coming every 1 ½ to 2 years, I just couldn’t keep up on my own, and my dear husband’s greatest desire was to have the house nice and neat and tidy.  *sigh*  Now, don’t get me wrong…he helped a LOT.  I can remember one afternoon when our first was a tiny baby.  I had actually gotten the baby to go to sleep in his crib instead of on my lap attached to my breast, and I was at the sink doing dishes.  Bryan walks in from work, gives me a kiss, and goes to grab the broom to start sweeping the kitchen.  I LOST it.  “How can you expect me to get it all done??  I’m sorry!!  I just hadn’t gotten to the sweeping yet!!  I JUST got the baby down, and I don’t even know what we’re having for dinner!!” **sob, sob, sob**  You know, those completely unrealistic expectations that you have for yourself when you’re a new mom.  
But…wait…now I have seven kids, I’m almost 15 years into this gig, and I still had those same feelings yesterday.   
Enough about MY issues, let’s get down to the meat of things.  I HAD to have a way to get my little guys who turned into bigger guys with more little people coming up behind, trained in the ways of keeping a house running.  You know and I know, I DEFINITELY can’t do this all on my own, not even with a broom-wielding husband!!
Generally, you get on the “chore chart” when you hit 6-years-old.  

(if you click on the image, you will be taken to the editable google doc)

You’re paired up with an older sibling till you are 7, then you are on your own.  Since mealtimes are the messiest, the chores are done after each meal.  Mom and Dad are in charge of Saturday’s chores, and everyone pitches in on Sunday.  I have a four-week rotation of chore charts, so you never have to do the same chore for more than a week.  I also have an “alternate” Week 3 chart, as the fifth child kind of throws things off.  Apparently, dusting and sweeping and lunch dishes are the “best”, and dinner dishes, laundry, and bathrooms are the “worst”.  Tee hee hee!
I have also had to make additional checklists for individual chores that didn’t seem to be getting done completely, a.k.a. the bathrooms.  I’ll print it out and stick it to the wall of the room that needs correct attention for about a month.  That seems to do the trick.  Well…until the next time I have to print it out and stick it back up there.  I’ve thought about doing it for every chore sometimes, as I feel like I spend a lot of my time calling people back to finish a chore correctly, but everything takes time that I don’t seem to have a whole lot of!!
Now before you think everything runs smoothly all the time at my house, let me just say that I still have to chase children down to get their chores done.  Especially my angelic, 10-year-old daughter when she has vacuuming for the week!  It’s not till the middle of day that my brain catches up and I think to myself…”hey, she never ran that vacuum this morning!”  My kids also know that evening TV or rainy day video games are NOT going to happen unless all chores get done.  I get to nag them a lot less because of these consequences.  Generally, everything runs pretty smoothly, and I don’t get dishpan hands!  (I HATE DISHES!!)

Jan 18, 2016

Monday Meme: What kind of mom are you?

Choice A:

Choice B:  

First off, I want to share that I'm not the fit-into-a-perfect-box type of mom. I can relate to choice A because overall, my house is relatively clean.  Tidy and somewhat clean, but many families of dust bunnies reside in our house.  I try to make a "place for everything" and that helps a TON.  But to be honest with you all, there are 10 people living under my roof.  TEN!!  

10 sets of coats/sweatshirts
10 sets of shoes
10 sets of clothes
10 sets of hobbies/collections/toys
6 students and their paperwork/schoolwork
2 adults with paperwork/stuff/junk from our 35+ years of life  ;)

Whether it's two or ten or six or five, it's a LOT of stuff.  A lot of mess.  And, only a handful of us regularly pick up after ourselves somewhat well.  

Second, I very much dislike these comparison meme's, so I don't even want you to answer the question.  I think moms (at least me) can get down when I start to compare and see how much better and lovely and beautiful and perfect another mom has it - whether it be her house, clothing, hair, curriculum choices, blog, car, etc...  We need to be happy with US.  The perfect being that God created US to be.  Moms need to team up and be on the same team.  Stop with this comparison junk.  And be happy with the gifts and talents in others, rather than falling into the comparison trap, that can lead to getting you down or even jealousy.  So, just stop!   Let us encourage, compliment, and lift each other up.  Let us love one another and the person God created us to be!  

"If any one says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen."
~1 John 4: 20

And if we want to do any comparing, let it be to the person we were yesterday or last week or last year.  We can reflect on our own successes and failures and change our lives according to this more healthy type of comparison.  We should always strive to be a better mom today than we were yesterday.  

"Act today in such a way that you do not need to blush tomorrow."
~St. John Bosco

Jan 15, 2016

Friday Feasting: Mexican Casserole (vegetarian style)

Mexican Casserole, vegetarian style

Growing up, I decided to become vegetarian. At twelve.  And so, when I met and married my husband, he knew I was clueless on cooking meat. With my first pregnancy, I CRAVED chicken wings.  How funny that was! We were living in Charleston (Mt. Pleasant proper) and there was a little bistro pub down the road from our apartment, that we had to go to, two-three times a week.  The wings were 0.10 cents each. What a deal. And this was my foray back into "meat" eating. Chicken was integrated, somewhat, back into my life after that. But the plan was to raise our baby and future children, pretty much vegetarian. In twenty-six years of marriage, I've never cooked a hamburger. 

Not cooking meat is helpful for us, as we stick to the traditional Church teaching of "meatless" Fridays, in addition to other days of abstinence. We can go through quite a few vegetarian meals over the course of the year, just on Fridays alone.  Here is a recipe that just about everyone at our home enjoys!

This Mexican casserole is made with meat substitute, but you can certainly use ground beef or turkey.  And change up the cheese, if you prefer. Serve with corn and a side salad. Fruit Smoothies for dessert rounds out the meal for us.  Feeds 10. 

1 pkg (12 oz) Meatless Ground Crumbles (we like Boca Burger brand)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp dried onion flakes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
16 oz salsa (or diced tomatoes, or 8 oz,  tomato sauce)
1 (16 oz) can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 (16 oz) bag Tortilla Chips, crushed and divided.
2 c sour cream
16 oz colby-jack cheese, shredded
1 (2 oz) can black olives, drained

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook Crumbles until heated through. Add minced garlic, onion flakes, cumin and salt and stir to combine.  Stir in salsa, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in beans, and heat through.
3. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 crushed tortilla chips in dish, and then spoon crumble mixture over chips. Spread sour cream over Crumbles, and sprinkle olives and 1/2 cheese over the sour cream. Repeat with the other 1/2 crushed chips, Crumbles, sour cream, olive and top with cheese. Bake, covered, 20 minutes. Uncover, bake an additional 10 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Enjoy!!  :)

Jan 13, 2016

Professional Development for Parents?

My husband is an actuary. He is a Fellow in the Society of Actuaries. Like many professionals, in order to maintain his designation, he must take 30 hours a year of professional development even though he has met all the qualifications and passed all the exams, studied for 1000's of hours and worked in his field for 20 years. So why does he need professional development, and what does that have to do with parenting?

An actuary needs professional development because his industry is constantly changing. New laws are implemented, plan designs change, and ethical rules are revised to keep pace with a changing economy. In the same way that a professional actuary needs to continually invest in his education to keep up with insurance industry trends and changes in law, parents who take their vocations seriously need to take the time to learn more about parenting. If you think about it, parenting is way more important than any paying job you're ever going to get, and the reward is infinitely higher. Our goal is heaven, and each of our children has the potential to become a saint.

We recently signed up for Parents University. One Friday night a month, we leave the kids, and instead of heading out to a restaurant for a nice dinner, we meet with other couples at a high school and sit in the same desks I remember from so long ago and listen to classes which are helping us grow together as parents. We are learning about the natural law, and freedom. We are discussing the meaning of life. This is our professional development.

We are spending time with other parents who are similarly hoping to learn more about how to guide their children through the sleepless period of infancy, on to busy toddler-hood, to the rambunctious childhood years, the angst filled adolescent years and the tentative first steps into young adulthood. All of us there know that our jobs as parents are important enough to sacrifice a weekend evening; that professional development in our vocation is crucial to help us adapt to our ever-changing roles.

After 20 years of parenting  experience, we know, more than ever before, that there is always something more to learn. That no matter how much experience we have, we can always improve our skills, learn a new technique, discover a new way to speak to the heart of each one of our very unique children. We have lots of tools at our disposal: the Sacramental life, our prayer life, devotions, lots of Holy Water, our intellect, and the grace of our vocation, and professional development.

Jan 11, 2016

Monday Meme: Catholic Coffee

It’s our first ever Meme Monday, where we dare to expand on a selected meme that has either touched us, made us giggle or say “Amen!”

Since our blog implies we as a group appreciate a cuppa coffee, I thought I would start us off with the above meme to set the tone for many memes to come.  This is a family blog, written by and for families.  Most of us have what many may consider a ‘large’ family.  We are converts.  We are cradle Catholics.  And even reverts.  We may be charismatic.  Or Traditional.  Adoptive mothers.  And mothers of many little souls who have already passed on.  But as the meme above implies, that no matter what our cuppa looks like, we all have something in common. We are faithful Catholics.  And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

So welcome to our cozy Cuppa Catholic CafĂ©.  Pull up a chair, pour yourself a cuppa coffee, and feel free to chime in on any topics we may be discussing.  We can’t wait for you to join us!

Jan 8, 2016

Friday Feasting: Sweet Chex Mix

Sweet Chex Mix

**This recipe was given to me by my dear mother-in-law many years ago and is a family favorite!  We take it to large group gatherings and potlucks on a regular basis.  The recipe below is my doubled recipe and makes what you see in the picture - two 9x13 pans.**

1-1/2 cups margaraine
1/2 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
18 cups rice (or mixed) Chex

1.  Grease two 9x13 pans.  Measure and pour 9 cups of Chex into each pan.
2.  Bring first 3 ingredients to boil.  Pour onto Chex and stir good.
3.  Bake for 7 minutes at 350 degrees.
4.  Stir and bake for another 8 minutes.
5.  Take out from oven place onto a cooling rack.  **optional - you can add candy corn, M&M's, candy hearts, etc...  at this time**

Enjoy!!!  :)

Jan 6, 2016

A forced (kinda) New Year's resolution for my kids

We have eight kids.

Eight really really great kids.

But eight really really normal kids.

So, yes, this was a very appropriate New Year's resolution for my kids for the year.  Written in the oldest's handwriting even.  I've even had to refer to it mulitple times this year and we're only six days in.  Oy!!  I'm needing my white board back to get back to teaching school and to display our daily journal entries, so I think I'll have to type this out, laminate and hang.

What are your kids' New Year's resolutions?  Forced or unforced?  How about we just say "suggested"?  Yeah, that sounds better!  Hee hee!!

Jan 2, 2016


Hi there!!

Happy New Year!!  

Welcome to our little corner of the internet!

Let me allow for an introduction...
This page will be made up of various authors who share 3 things in common...

1 - friendship forged through Christ and his Catholic church - many of us have never met in real life, yet many of our friendships are closer than some of our in real life because of our sharing with #2 and #3 over the years....

2 - we are moms of many many many children - we have large families.  Thanks to God blessing us and the beauty of openness to life and His perfect plan for our families.

3 - we homeschool our crews.  Yes, we're all part of that CrAzY bunch!!

We will use this special place to share about the ups and downs and ins and outs of our lives (grande style!) and our great love for our families and faith!

++May God bless you this year!  May He make his presence known.  And may you always draw near to Him!!++