Family time plus nine

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This past week was somewhat of a blur and flurry, guests arriving, shifting, cooking, cleaning and finally everyone packed up and made their way back to their homes. Yesterday afternoon the last of my children headed back home and now the house is relatively empty. The house is still a bit messy and today will be my big weekly clean up which means an all day effort of moving furniture, sweeping, scrubbing and finally everything will be back in place, shiny and routine. IMG_1500 (1)

Last Tuesday morning I cleaned the house, made guest beds, moved furniture around to accommodate our large family and stocked the pantry with basics.

Wednesday was spent baking and waiting for my kids to arrive. I worked on my contribution to the dessert table with a turtle cheesecake.

I did my last minute jobs to ensure that our house was once again ready to be bursting with the usual antics, and soon after Yusuf and Alicia came driving up in their brand new electric car. I am assuming in years from now the grandkids will look back and laugh at us oldies who were amazed by a car that needed to be plugged in and charged at few and far between supercharger stations!! The next order of business was a spin in the vehicle and a return home to get settled in.

My middle child flew into Spokane late Monday and insisted on chauffeuring  Grama and Grampa to our home on Wednesday. Meanwhile Saleeha and Edison would arrive around midnight, Osama, Jacki and kids made their way to Fattima and Ben’s that day around 3 and eventually everyone ended up at the family home for pizza and of course this included, home repairs, playing games, wrestling matches and some time for chatting.

That night my middle child picked up the engaged couple at our tiny local airport and everyone settled in.

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After a good night’s sleep it was time to head over to Fattima and Ben’s for breakfast and precious moments were spent with the whole family. All nine of my children were in one place and it was just like old/new times.

Babies were put down for naps, cars were loaded and it was time for the days festivities to begin.  This year I took charge and made sure things stayed on a loose schedule and it went fairly well. The family picture was scheduled for 12:30 and although everyone hemmed and hawed they knew I would not take no for an answer! I started with a picture of my parents and all of my children._DSC0019

Jacki and I switched places as photographer

Eventually Heme’s friend came over and took a photo of the whole group _DSC0056

Cooking commenced and a whirlwind of pans, dishwashers and dryers, oven overloaded with food, turkey and stuffing, shepherd’s pie and sweet potato au gratin, spinach salad, smashed potatoes and rolls were all served promptly at 3:00 p.m.

After dinner everyone pitched in and cleaned up following the jobs list to the letter. Dessert was the only thing that occurred out of order and a line that formed behind the cheesecake was inevitable. I really liked the recipe and only made a few changes, some of the batter for the cheesecake was mixed with caramel sauce and a portion was mixed with chocolate, marbling it with the plain cheesecake. I chose to make a chocolate ganache and topped that with caramel sauce and pecans.IMG_1091

Our white elephant was the best ever and my gifts were stolen numerous times, specialty candy and a puzzle of Seattle, a stack of scratch tickets, VR headset and a holiday tin of popcorn and finally I ended up with outdoor led light torches for the yard. The other gifts included; a tortilla press, a digital cooking thermometer, gift basket from the World market, snowman cookie jar, tiny pool table and candy and too many others to list.

Games, cards and movies were watched, babies carted around and general family time shared.

Cars were packed, bags loaded and slowly each family and individual went back to their place of residence leaving our cozy little household of only 4.  I think Alayna expresses our sentiment in splendid fashion with no words!IMG_1216

 

This Thanksgiving I was encouraged to take charge once again and so I found my rhythm and my place as the head of household.

Blessings to all and thankfulness for every day!

Happy birthday!

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Spring is a busy month for our family with six of my nine children having been born in those few months. My father also has a spring birthday and this year he celebrated his 84th! We don’t generally exchange gifts any more but instead spend extra time together.

IMG_6724.JPGOn Saturday we woke up early and made our way to Spokane, my hometown. Osama had steak marinating and had the meal planned out. We stopped to see our little guys at their first soccer practice and then went to Osama and Jacki’s house. Fattima and B picked up the cake I had ordered at our favorite place and arrived shortly after we had settled in.IMG_6746.JPGEveryone pitched in to help get things cooking and then Mom and Dad arrived.

The meal consisted of perfectly prepared Flank steak, three choices of smashed potatoes and two salads. It was an amazing dinner!

We stayed a few hours and then drove back to our little town on the Palouse. Dad was happy to have most of his grandkids and great grandkids celebrating with him and we have come to realize this is the best gift we can give!

Happy Birthday Dad!