Sunday, November 11, 2012

"HOW RUDE" and also I Like Food

When you have a larger than average family, you tend to get lots of comments. I have had complete strangers say the must uplifting things to me in church, in the grocery store and in other public places. Things such as, "You are so blessed!" or "I remember when mine were all young, and now they are all grown and still so close." We have even had people ask us how we manage to have such well mannered children. That's kind of a morale boost. And then there are those well meaning folks, complete strangers who are surely trying to be friendly, but their comments come off as a little insensitive. "You poor thing. Your hands are SO full. You must need a vacation." or "Oh, my gosh. I don't know HOW you do it. I only have 2 and I can't keep up." or "Better you than me. You must have the patience of a saint." I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me "Are they all yours?" No, I'm really into grabbing all the neighborhood kids to go stand in line at the post office. It's really fun! 

And then there are the people who think they are funny. "Don't you know what causes that? Heheh" or "Don't you guys have a tv in your bedroom?" One of my friends who also has a large family has a perfect response for that one. She always says, "Nope. No tv in our bedroom! There's too much sex on tv!". There are so many wise guys with snappy comments out there and they all seem to think it is the first time we've heard it when they let those comments rip. I am too polite to tell them what I think of their humor. There are also people who ask me questions I wouldn't ask even my closest friends. Complete strangers have asked me if I planned to get my tubes tied. Really? Are you an ob/gyn?  "Are you done yet?" is a common question. Give me your number and I'll be sure to give you a call when we decide! For some reason, having a large family makes others feel that it's okay to become over familiar.

I try to extend some grace to everyone who comments on our family. For the most part, people seem to think positively about us. There are a few who like to point out the size of our "carbon footprint", but they are rare. I have only had a few unpleasant confrontations, but that's a whole other blog post.

Many friends and family folks, as well as strangers, are concerned about the financial aspects of raising a large family. Admittedly, it is hard. People want "stuff" and "stuff" costs money. I like to think we are raising our kids to be thrifty and considerate. Needs come WAY before wants. In this throw away society, we have to try to fix things before we replace them. Or we do without. Maybe our kids will grow up being more careful of their things. Maybe they will grow up seeing the value of people, family and experiences over "things".

One of the ways we try to keep a handle on the financial situation is to try to stick to a household budget. I think I am pretty good at stretching the grocery budget, but I know I could do better. We cook mostly from scratch because convenience foods are more expensive than staples. Keeping staples supplied and the menu interesting is a challenge. I know my kids get tired of the same rotating menu, but certain things are just more large family friendly than others. (Spaghetti day....again!) There is one dish I make a lot and no one seems to tire of it. I kind of made it up, basing it on a few dishes I've had and recipes I've seen. It is so easy to make and versitile. You could make it for two or twenty people. We call it Italian Chicken, but I told the kids we should give it a cool name since we kind of invented it. Anna said we could call it That Good Chicken Mom Makes, but for now I'll stick with Italian Chicken. Here it is; give it a try!

Ingredients needed:
boneless/skinless chicken thighs; enough for your family. (for our family of 8, I cook about 16 thighs) You can use breasts, but they tend to dry out faster.
olive oil
Good Seasons Italian Dressing (dry mix)

Preheat oven to 350.
In a baking dish, place enough boneless/skinless chicken thighs for your family. If you use breasts, you won't need as many and the cooking time is shorter. Toss the chicken in just enough olive oil to cover each piece. Spread the chicken evenly in the dish. Pour a packet of the dry seasoning mix over the chicken. For 8 or more pieces, add another packet. I use 2 packets. Pour some water over the seasoned chicken. About 1/4 cup for up to 8 pieces, 1/2 cup for more. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and stick it in the oven. Bake for 2 hours.

That's it! It is simple and tastes like you slaved for hours. Best yet, if you use thighs, you can accidentally over cook the meat and it will still be good and moist. Breasts are trickier. They dry out quickly, so I rarely use them in this recipe. I always serve this dish with mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli or brussel sprouts and a salad.

"MAKE IT." -Clare Basso, age 14 (1/2), Certified FEWD CRITIC
(Clare edited this post and found that it needed a snappy ending)


  1. Wow. Tasty AND simple. Right up my alley! I loved this post. People think they're so clever with the, "You know how that happens, don't you? heh heh" BS. It seems like just about everyone I grew up with had large families, so we didn't hear it that much. But I know you must hear it now.

    People are stupid most of the time.

    I'm gong to try this recipe. One that I had success with a million years ago was to cut up a whole chicken and put it in a baking pan. Put one cup of Coca Cola and one cup of BBQ sauce on it and cook it for a while on either 325 or 350. (I can't remember.) The Coke tenderizes the chicken nice and yummily. It's been years since I made it, but it was a big hit the few times I did.

    I loved FEWD critic, BTW. Killer ending!

  2. I have a friend who makes the Coke chicken and she swears by it. Another friend makes root beer pork roast. I tried that and made pulled pork sandwiches. Very good! Thank you for reading and always commenting. I get plenty of hits on here, but I have no idea who is reading. It would be nice to know! Thank you for your encouragement!