What's the big deal about Young Living

Advice, Please

Everyone in Smockityville is looking forward to a long overdue visit on Friday with some of our good friends I have posted about before. They now have 11 children, from ages 2-ish to 15-ish. 9 of those are boys, so my son is especially excited!

I need your help, though! What should I serve 18 children for lunch? Keep in mind the growing boy factor, which means all suggestions should be hearty and filling. Other factors to consider are ease (did I mention there will be 18 children running around my house who will need varying levels of attention?), and frugality.

We are working with an extreeeeeeemely tight budget these days, so I would love to hear your suggestions for super frugal meals which are quick and easy, but hearty and filling.

Is that so much to ask?

And while you're in the mood for giving advice, I'm having trouble deciding on how to spend a $15 dollar credit I won at Mimi's Babies Etsy shop. Hop on over there and you'll see why I can't decide! Everything is super cute PLUS! What should I choose?

Thirdly, (WHAT?! I'm indecisive, okay!) Sodderbug has offered me one of her necklaces, PLUS a giveaway for one of you. (More on the giveaway later.) The trouble is, I don't think I can fit my seven children on one of the necklaces without shrinking each one down to the size of pinpoint, and, well, what's the point of that?

So, I'm considering a Bible verse or a saying. What do you think?

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  1. Mac-n-cheese, hot dogs, green beans, applesauce! Or spaghetti with meat sauce, green beans, french bread, applesauce. Or a big pot of hearty soup like a thick beef stew or chili with bread sticks and cut up fresh veggies.

  2. WOW! That’s a lot of growing kids! I was thinking crockpot cooking, but can a crockpot feed 18? Not sure. In any event, I suggest a one-pot meal – a hearty soup. Maybe Chili with beans and meat.
    As for the necklace – maybe your husband instead.

  3. Okay, not that I’m an expert with my family of 5, but…I made chicken tetrazzine last night and it was super simple, not a lot of ingredients and hearty. You can make the chicken ahead of time and with all the spagetti noodles it really stretches. That with a big green salad and you’re good to go:) And I think a bible verse would be perfect on your necklace:) Oh and have fun with your friends!!

  4. That’s so cool that you won that shop credit! Yes, her stuff is really cute~! If it were me, I’d pick a few crocheted flowers to pin in my daughter’s hair. Love-er-ly!

    And then for your food dilemma this week, check out my post on Yummy Tuna Melts. They really are so easy to make and taste GREAT! Our kids love ’em as much as we do. Checkie: http://classiclyamber.com/blog/2010/02/24/easy-tasty-dinner-tuna-melts/

    I also like Susan’s idea of a one-pot meal, such as the chili. Ya can’t go wrong with that, either!

  5. I would make a big crockpot full of chili (or three in your case with the three crocks)….meat and beans. Make up a couple of pans of cornbread, have some cheese and onions for toppings. Raw veggies as a side and a couple of cakes (they take less time than cookies) for dessert/snack.

  6. I thought of the Mac and Cheese idea also. One great website with big portions for meals is http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/ She has great ideas for yummy hearty meals! Have a fun time!

  7. I would go with the chili idea (several crockpots) or SantaFe Soup. Add lots more beans than milk. But cornchips and there you go!

  8. I just posted a new recipe on my blog. Chili Dog Pizza. Here’s the link: http://smorganlife.blogspot.com/2010/03/chili-dog-pizza.html
    See my notes on the crust.

  9. I agree with the big pot of chili or taco soup (I have a great WW friendly one that’s very frugal). Bake some potatoes in the oven (another cheap food item), bag of tortilla chips (or make your own corn tortilla chips, deep fry them), and hot dogs. Set up a “Chili Bar” where they can make baked potatoes topped with chili, cheese and sour cream or nachos with cheese, sour cream and salsa or hot dogs topped with chili. We do this when we visit my in-laws and everyone comes over for supper. Crowd pleaser and very filling. There are always leftovers for straggler snackers in the afternoon.

  10. I would do spaghetti and meat sauce. Add ground beef, if the budget allows. Then you could also serve raw vegies for snacks. Snack cakes and/or ice cream for dessert? Have fun, sounds like a lively time!

  11. when we need to serve a crowd, we always do a build-your-own-something. taco bar is an all-time favorite – tortillas, lettuce, tomatoes, beans, beef, cheese, salsa, sour cream, whatever’s on sale. everybody, every age, can always find something they like. plus, you have the option of serving it like finger food for the toddlers. a chili bar, pasta bar (meat, veg, cheese, sauces on side) and baked potato bar also work well.

  12. Our favorite “boy” food it cooking a large chuck roast in the crockpot 8 or so hours and then shredding it and serving it in flour tortillas with cheese. This also works with chicken or pork but my boys prefer the beef.

  13. I really like the chili idea also. We serve ours over spaghetti sometimes. Spaghetti is cheap and will help the chili go farther.

  14. Jennifer says:

    Ok, so I have to give a shout out to homemade pizza! You can mix up the dough and sauce ahead of time, so it doesn’t really take too long. My favorite pizza crust recipe is here: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Quick-and-Easy-Pizza-Crust/Detail.aspx I usually make it with half white and half whole wheat flour and everyone loves it. I make my own sauce by sauteing some chopped onions and garlic in olive oil, adding a can of tomato puree and italian seasoning to taste. Of course, you could just buy some already made sauce too. Another bonus of pizza is that you can set out the toppings so each person can put exactly what they want on their little section of pizza.

  15. may I suggest crockpot refried beans and make burritos? That is super cheap fiber with no meat involved and quickly fills up the tummies. Tortillas are super cheap at Costco too- I’m not sure if you have one near you. Mexican rice along side with some carrot sticks should leave everyone full (not the rice-a-roni kind- my sister-in-law makes it great, but I have yet to do it as well as she does)

  16. Vegetarian chili. I think the basic recipe is 3 cans beans, 1 cup corn, 1 onion, 1 or 2 cans tomatoes (going on memory here), 3 Tbs or so chili powder. You can scale that for as many as you have. It’s inexpensive, but it’s filling enough to satisfy my husband.

  17. Anything with rice, red beans or black beans with rice, lentils and rice, egg fried rice. Breakfast is good too, like pancakes and waffles or maybe spaghetti. Good luck, that’s a L-O-T of food :)

  18. Quesadillas! I make them on a griddle, so I can do several at one time. Make them simple, with one type of cheese (the Mexican blend already shredded), on flour tortillas, folded over. Use scissors to cut them into 4ths. Everyone can have as many triangles as they want. Serve with salsa and sour cream for dipping. If you want it to be heartier, you can add refried beans to the quesadillas, too. They are just as popular as grilled cheese, but easier.

    Some sort of fruit (apple slices, bananas, whatever is cheap) on the side.

  19. French bread pizza and fruit salad. Its super filling and has the allure of pizza. Who doesn’t like that? Plus its cheap and easy to make.

  20. Sloppy Joes! Day old bread store or over chips.

  21. I don’t know what the budget looks like.. but.. this past weekend I fed 13 people. We had tacos! It was cheaper then I thought. I had hard and soft tacos and the had everything else out and they served themselves. I was also thinking sloppy joes, I have done that before for a party. Soups are good too!

    Hope this helps

  22. My first thought was also chili, or white chicken chili. It would fill a big crockpot and you could use just a few cups of leftover diced chicken. It’s a favorite around here!

  23. Jennifer says:

    Hey, when I think “big family”, I think of my favorite big TV family, the Duggars, so here is a link to their favorite recipes –

  24. Shepherd’s Pie is easy – and cheap. A little meat (either chicken, turkey or beef) frozen veggies in a gravy sauce (home-made, of course) with mashed potatoes on top.

    A pasta casserole: Noodles, tomato sauce, hamburger, and cheese on top.
    Throw on black olives if the kids like it.

    Potato Soup?

    I also make a Rice/Chicken casserole (Just what it says: Throw in cooked Rice – probably 2 8×13 dishes for that crowd. Mix in frozen veggies – don’t even have to cook them, throw in shredded or deboned chicken (cheaper to boil and debone and shred your own) and then make a white sauce (flavored with chicken bouillion) over all of it and mix it together. Cheap, easy, and very filling.

    I like all of the other ideas above, too.

  25. Okay – on the baby item, I’d choose the socks. :) The hair items are so cute, but also so easy to make. In fact, I think that I need to teach my girls to make these so they can make a bunch for my two year old! :) I’ve made the socks before – but that’s been a decade ago.

  26. i’m just praying for good weather on friday so all those boys can go outside!! have fun!!

  27. When we moved a few years ago, we had lots of family helping, and it added up to about as many people as you’ll have. I made a BIG pot of potato soup first thing that morning and then transferred it to the crock pot so I could get on with my work. I had toppings for everyone (cheese, chives, bacon) to choose from.

    Several years later, I still get comments on what a good meal, and what a great idea that was!

    By the way, it was in February, so it was especially appreciated.

    That same weekend, my mother in law made something I’d never heard of, but it was good. She had made a roast, and then shredded it and fixed it up similar to tuna (with mayo, pickles or relish) and then made up lots of sandwiches for us. She sent them in individual baggies. They were also a hit!

    I was in a panic because I’m hosting my 2 nephews this weekend, who are the same age as my own boys, so 4 little boys 4 and under sounded like a lot. But, well, you win!

  28. I would make a double batch of taco soup with chips and cheese, plus lots of stuff for garnish. I made it for the first time last night and it was pretty good.

  29. Frozen Pizza’s w/ Salad and cut up apples or Taco Melts {Break hard taco shells in half & place on cookie sheet..fit as many as you can on there… then smear refried beans on each shell, thin layer of seasoning gr.beef/turkey, then a layer of cheese.Stick the sheet in the oven at 350 until the cheese melts.
    You can add sour cream,salsa,corn,or lettuce to them}
    (Look for coupons for the shells)

  30. Chili (heavy on the beans) and cornbread.

  31. Jennifer says:

    Pasta, Pasta, Pasta! It is filling and cheap, cheap, cheap!!! I also think a bible verse would be absolutely wonderful!!!

  32. Sorry, but I have no advice for that many kids!! Have fun and enjoy it though. :)

    Thank you for all your sweet words about our Etsy shop. We really enjoy making our handmade treasures.

    But we do have a new Easter bundle you might be interested in… http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=41854412

    Have fun choosing!


  33. Nachos are always a hit with my kids, and especially the boys. You can have cheese in one crock pot, the meat in another, and let everyone make their own with all the fixings. Hope it goes well, and you have a great day together!

    One the necklace, I would go for a Bible verse.

  34. This reply isn’t to the current blog post, but just to let you know that I am so glad that you didn’t ever meet up with the Craigslist people when you went on that drive. I know it’s been a while since that post, but I just read about this, local to me, and was thankful your trip ended up the way it did.

    Craigslist can be a wonderful marketplace, just always meet in a public place and let others know where you are going and why.


    • Smockity Frocks says:

      @Chick Hatchers, Oh my! That is horrible! I could totally see that happening in the part of town we were in! I’m so glad it turned out the way it did now!

  35. To make life easier on the moms, so everyone could have time enjoying one another, and to cut down on messes I would serve finger foods. Hot dogs rolled in dough, sliced fruit, cheese with crackers, muffins, cookies, vegi with dip, pizza roll-ups, sandwiches, stuffed eggs, grapes, or mini burgers are some things I can come up with right now. The adults can always have something different and less “kiddish.” Most children never seem to eat much when with friends.

  36. Pizza.

    I like mac n cheese but cheese is expensive!

    So I’d stick with chili, spaghetti….anything you make for your family that is inexpensive, just double or triple what you make already.

  37. OH and a Baked Potato Bar! That’s always good and filling.

  38. Hey Lady,

    Just wanted to say that I love the new look, and would really appreciate it if you gave me a tutoring lesson on how to get a layout like yours. lol

    I get a lot of traffic due to being on your blogroll, so thank you for that!!

    I hope you find some suitable meals. I am no help because cooking just doesn’t do anything for me since I can’t eat any of it. :-/

    ((Hugs)) to you,


  39. I’m going to agree with most others…chilli! Add a couple of loaves of bread and some butter, and do up a bowl of carrots or other kid-friendly veggies to eat raw, and pile a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies in front of them and they should be good to go!

  40. I know I am lame and have just really started following you, but I totally didn’t realize you were pregnant. HA! I remember watching some video of what you were wearign ot blissdom? and thinking… that’s a maternity shirt. But you totally weren’t pregnant…but now I am realizing you were. Like, I said. Lame. How do you do all this with 7 kids… I am losing my brain trying to keep up with all my new Blog friends. And i only have 3 little ones.

    Well congrats! HA!

  41. Hi! First I just have to tell you how much I love your blog! I found it last week, I think, and I look forward to reading your posts! I have 5 children under 3 years, so it’s nice to read about someone who has “gone before me” and hasn’t lost her mind (yet :). Anyhow, I would make Frito Pie. Get generic frito chips, white rice, chili, cheese, sour cream, etc (whatever y’all would like) and set them out so the kids can layer them as they please. It’s super cheap because you can even use meatless chili beans if you want, and so yummy! I would recommend that, whatever you do, you make sure it’s not too hot. Some of my kids get upset stomachs if I make chili too hot and it’s no fun to have to change nasty diapers or to have sick children when you’re visiting with a friend :). Make sure you let us know how it goes! (Oh, and I would go with the Bible verse, too… if not, ask her to attach a small magnifying glass to the necklace :).

  42. Gabrielle says:

    Many people are suggesting chili or spaghetti. To make it a bit more frugal you could substitute half the meat for lentils. It’s cheaper, very nutritious and I promise none of the kids will notice the difference.

  43. I’m posting my response on my blog. I could also help more if you wanted to tell me what you already have on hand.

    • Smockity Frocks says:

      @DeputyHeadmistress, I would love to see your post on this!

      We have plenty of potatoes, rice, beans, flour, sugar, yeast, spaghetti noodles, and tomato sauce. We have a limited amount of ground beef, chicken, (both cooked and frozen) and cheese. Unfortunately, our budget right now will absolutely not allow for enough Fritos or fresh fruit to satisfy 18 children.

  44. Done! I posted the link in the box for ‘website’ with this comment. Lots of potatoes, rice, and pasta. Baked potatoes, baked potatoes fried with a bit of meat, potatoes in soup, and more.

    One thing I do with fruit when money is tight is not worry about enough to satisfy everybody. Right now we’re doling out half an orange with lunch, or cutting apples into wedges and everybody gets three wedges. Or get a can of pineapple if you have toothpicks, because kids have fun skewering pineapple chunks on toothpicks, and it takes longer to eat that way so two or three chunks per person doesn’t seem so skimpy (they like skewering other things on toothpicks, too, including each other).

    If you have lentils and/or wheatberries, sprout them for a salad or stir fried rice. For more, click through my name.=)

    Oh, and give them our love!

  45. Jasmine says:

    So, I just read the interview with Karla from last year and I am wondering if you ever did get a picture of her laundry room posted?

    As far as the meal, I have done this for parties in the past: Make a “pasta bar” Cooked pasta in some fun kind of shape (I used bowties) pour a little olive oil on it so it doesn’t stick. And then have different toppings, b/c all kids like something different. Spaghetti sauce, parm cheese, butter, cheese sauce, etc. and set it up buffet style with some bread and butter and a green salad.

  46. When we were in the service, we served this to big groups. Take hamburger buns and open them on a cookie sheet. Then take a can of chili or homemade chili and put a heaping tablespoon on each circle. Sometimes, I add chopped green pepper on top of that, then top with grated cheese. Broil til cheese bubbles and serve with fresh veggies and chips.
    When my boys were home, goulash was a popular dish. Lots of macaroni would spread a pound of hamburger a long way. If you don’t make goulash and would like to know how I do it, just let me know.
    Another big favorite with my family is grilled chili cheese. Make a regular grill cheese but put a TEASPOON of chili on the cheese before putting the second piece of bread on, then grill as usual!! This was our Sunday night favorite.

  47. Brenda Johnson says:

    OH MY GOODNESS….18 kids??????? You are an amazing woman!! The first thing that came to my mind was chicken and dumplings, filling and goes a long ways!! I wanta hear about this visit!!

  48. My 8 kids LOVE this meal. Some even ask for it on their birthday. It’s simple and leaves very little to clean up. It also leaves lots of time for visiting and supervising. …especially when the kids make it. Cook a huge pot of rice. Open a large can of baked beans and dump into a pot. (sounds like the institutional size would be apporpriate!) Slice up a package of hotdogs into the beans and warm. Fill everyone’s plate with rice and top with beanie-weenies. If you can afford to add fresh food, sliced carrots or celery is nice. Have a fun visit!


  1. […] everybody!  It’s MaddieLynn, the oldest Smockity kid.  While my mom is preparing for our guests, I’m excited to tell y’all about a brand new carnival that I’m going to be […]

  2. […] for all the fabulous suggestions for what to serve for lunch. After considering the “mess factor”, I finally decided to go with some hot dogs we had […]