4 Moms, 35 Kids

For links to all the topics we’ve covered as well as a list of our upcoming topics, please visit the 4 Moms page.

Ever wondered what it’s like to manage a large family or curious how others do it?  Hoping for some help for your growing family? Flabbergasted that we aren’t checking into an asylum?  Think there are some secrets that we’re not sharing?

Well every Thursday starting next week you will have the opportunity to get a glimpse into the homes of 4  moms of many.  We’ll each be sharing our different perspectives on how we manage our larger than average families.  From scheduling to laundry, homeschooling to cooking we’ll share what we’ve learned and what it’s like trying to keep up.  We’ll share some of our triumphs and some of our struggles.

Have questions or topics ideas?  With four different perspectives there will surely be something that will work for you.  Please feel free to leave thoughts and suggestions in the comments.

Next Thursday we will each share our schedule (or lack of one) and how we plan to get everything done each day.  Then Thursday March 18 we will live blog how our days actually go.  You didn’t think that things happen according to the schedule all day, did you??   (Trust me, with more than half a dozen children in each home it doesn’t.)moms of many manage

Connie is a Christian homeschooling mom of 8 rowdy children, wife for 25 years of one hunky golf pro, wiper of noses, writer of stories. She blogs regularly at Smockity Frocks.

The Deputy Headmistress is shy and blogs behind a pseudonym which she intended to be amusing and somewhat self-deprecatory. She and the Headmaster locked eyes in a high school Sunday School class in 1979 when she was 17, and they have been merrily married since 1982, in spite of the fact that at 17 the DHM nearly got the HM beaten up by her other boyfriend, and at 20 she nearly got him arrested by a cop from church. Happily God helped her grow up, and He is gracious and forgiving, and so is the Headmaster. They have seven wonderful Progeny both by birth and adoption, two handsome sons-in-law, one adorable grandson, and two precious unofficial foster sons, ages 5 and 3, who live with them about half the time. They have been homeschooling since 1988. The DHM, and occasionally some of the Progeny, blog regularly about politics, family life, living in the country, books, music, cabbages, kings, and living the countercultural Christian life at The Common Room.

KimC is a Christian, a wife, big sister to 13 sibs, and the slightly-crunchy homeschooling mom of 10 children: 9 on the outside and 1 on the inside. She lives with her very large family in a very small house in south Texas and finds peace in chocolate and blogging at Life in a Shoe: the methods and madness of one family of 12.  Her family shares their little house on the hill with dogs, gerbils, snakes, and tarantulas, and a 10 year old cat named Tim. The chickens stay outside. Usually.

Kimberly blogs at Raising Olives (that’d be here) and is a second generation homeschooling mom to her soon-to-be 10 children. She is married to an amazingly patient husband, who also happens to be a magnificent father.  Their family’s primary goal is to glorify God and to raise children who will do the same. For that reason they attempt to examine every decision that they make in the light of God’s word. Many of their decisions may seem strange to the world and they’re good with that.

4 Moms, 35 Kids- topics we’ve talked about:

The Schedule
The Reality: A Live Blogging Adventure
Going Out with Lots of Littles
Feeding Your Family on a Budget
Menu Planning
Cooking from Scratch
Cooking for a Crowd – Recipes
Homeschooling – How we’re different

New here?  You may be interested in some of my do-it-yourself tutorials which include a  fun way to display books, making your own chalkboard paint and recipes for homemade laundry detergent, yogurt, buttermilk and more.  I’ve also posted about why we decided to homeschool and some of the ways that we save money.

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29 Responses to 4 Moms, 35 Kids
  1. Roan
    March 4, 2010 | 9:49 am

    Hi Kimberly,
    I am really looking forward to this series. It is always beneficial to peek into other mothers’ lives to see how they do it. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Kate
    March 4, 2010 | 9:50 am

    Sounds fun! I only have 2 but we’re trusting God to give us…what He thinks is right. We’re anticipating many. 🙂 (People are surprised we have two kids at age 25!) I’m trying to learn all I can from moms of many right now so that I don’t find myself overwhelmed (usually) when I do have more! Thanks!


  3. Christin
    March 4, 2010 | 9:52 am

    Looking forward to it as I am currently working on a schedule 🙂 Thanks for sharing!


  4. Melinda
    March 4, 2010 | 10:07 am

    This is a wonderful idea, I wish I would have thought of it!!! I enjoy a real look into other large families windows, just a sneak peek!!!
    I am a Mom of 7 currently, one on the way… but it’s still in the somewhat quiet mode!!
    I love to see others ideas, and wonder if I can use them, implement them, or make them into something of my own.
    Blessings to you, and looking forward to the each and every Thursday!!!


  5. Deputyheadmistress
    March 4, 2010 | 10:33 am

    Looking forward to this, and to getting to ‘know’ you better!


  6. Elizabeth
    March 4, 2010 | 2:03 pm

    Great! a glimpse into other large families. Maybe I’ll get some creative ideas for use in my home that is on somedays let’s say chaotic! Also I’m a mommy of 9 on outside and 1 inside. I love large families!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I’m also hoping to learn a lot from this. I’m so glad that it has worked out for us to do this together.


  7. Rachelle
    March 4, 2010 | 2:52 pm

    Hey Kim-

    Can’t wait to see all the posts. As a mom of ten myself, I am always looking for ways to improve things around here!! Looking forward to meeting all the other moms.

    Have a wonderful day!
    Rachelle (mama to 10 blessings so far!)


  8. NJ
    March 4, 2010 | 3:22 pm

    As a mother of one son who 8 months old, my life revolves around his sleep pattern. DH and I would like to grow our family to 4-5 kids and I would love to know how you all handle the soap opera that can be infant sleep.



    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    This seems like it would be a great topic and we’ll certainly keep it in mind.

    In the meantime here are some thoughts from someone who’s been through it before. 🙂 One thing that I think I’ve realized as I’ve grown older is that sleep isn’t as important as I thought it was. I know that may not be what you want to hear, but honestly it gets a lot easier and you become accustomed to interrupted sleep.

    I’ve also learned to enjoy that time when I’m up with my babies at night. Again it may just be age or an attitude shift, but it is easier to enjoy it now than it was.

    On the practical side, starting with baby number 4 I’ve co-slept with our babies. This enables both the baby and me to get a lot more sleep and this is important when you have little ones that will be up during the day whether I got to sleep at night or not. That was one of the biggest factors for us. We’ve not had any sleep issues since I started doing that.

    I do think that this would be a great topic to tackle, so stick around. 🙂


    Deirdre Reply:

    Co-sleeping really has helped me. I always say that I feel so much better in the morning if my feet never have to hit the floor during the night. I keep all the supplies I might need beside the bed (extra diapers, clothing, blanket, etc.) I keep a bed in the rm in case I want to have the bed baby-free for a little while for one reason or another.


  9. Anonymous
    March 4, 2010 | 4:30 pm

    I’m looking forward to this! I love your blog!

    I had a question though… I have two children, my youngest is 4 months old. I got mild post-partum depression with my first, and this one it’s pretty bad… and I hear it gets worse with each child. I can hardly function right now, I’m afraid for my family if it gets any worse… did any of you struggle with PPD? How did you deal with it (or overcome it)? How did your families function while you couldn’t? I would love to have more children, I’m just scared to death that I will get hit with it again and worse.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I think this is another good topic to handle especially if some of the others have had experience with this.

    My situation is a bit different than yours but it had to do with anxiety and was DURING the pregnancy. (It ended as soon as I gave birth, weird.) Anyway, I too was told to expect it to get worse. I had it with baby number 4, it was worse with baby number 5 and then only slightly with baby number 6. I’ve not had any problems since then.
    I say that just to remind you that God is in control and will give you exactly what you need to get through everything that He calls you to. He also has the power to take that away if He wills.

    Trust me, I KNOW it’s hard. During that time was the first time I really realized the joy of heaven and being able to be past all the sin and misery in this life. I think that the Lord had me struggle through those times so that I would be able to understand and help others who have those struggles.

    Blessings to you and your family.


    Deirdre Reply:

    This may sound strange, but I have found if I take a magnesium supplement that I have fewer problems with anxiety and depression. Our water is VERY high in calcium. So much that some settles at the bottom of your drinking glass. Calcium and magnesium have to be in balance in your body. I am not a vitamin guru or such, but this has hugely helped me. I have used mag. pills, but now use a powder called Natural Calm by Natural Vitality purchased at a health food type store. It is more absorbable and tastes really good.


  10. Cascia @ Healthy Moms
    March 4, 2010 | 7:33 pm

    I’m going to have to check these blogs out every Thursday. It sounds interesting!


  11. CookieMonsterKatrina
    March 5, 2010 | 11:19 am

    I am looking forward to reading all y’alls posts about living the large family life. Since you asked for suggestions, I have one I would love to see each of you talk about once.

    I would really love if each of you could dig deep into your psyches and try to remember what it was like when you had just three kids. How messy was your house really, when you had no hands big enough to really help you clean? How many times did you and hubby have sandwiches for dinner because after chasing three toddlers there was no time for cooking? How was it really when you started homeschooling your first and second child with other younguns underfoot? How many hours a day did you spend cleaning, doing laundry, and actually sleeping?

    I ask this because, as helpful as advice is from mothers of many, I find myself unable to use so many of their suggestions. I have no older siblings to take care of the youngers, make a sandwich for lunch, or mop the floor for a chore. And I wonder if my level of clean, and the amount of sleep I get is normal for my circumstances. Certainly when my oldest is older I can use him for much, but what do I do in the meantime!? Did you all have hired help? Did you have aunts, cousins, sisters, or moms who were tickled to play with the kids or helpful around the house? What did you do if you were like me and you have none of that?

    Thanks for asking, and for being willing to open your homes up to us. 🙂


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Yes, yes, yes. This is something that I want to cover. As a matter of fact I had this in my “post idea” notebook already. I remember having those same thoughts that you are having.

    Here are some of my quick answers.

    My house was actually cleaner when I just had a few kids because we lived in a smaller house and I did all the cleaning. Now with the kids doing much of the cleaning, everything is just a little dirtier.

    Sandwiches or breakfast for dinner? We didn’t know there was any other possibility. 🙂 That is not much of an exaggeration either.

    I was always exhausted!!! When we post about this I’ll post one of my actual schedules from back then.

    I was like you and did not have help. It got much, much easier when our oldest turned 5 and we had our fifth and has continued to get easier ever since. (well maybe not easier, but different.)

    Our school day looked much the same then as it does now. During school I do not have the big kids help with the little kids. The big kids are busy doing their own school work and the school day is a great time for me to be plugged in to ALL of my children. By the time my oldest was school age she was able to make lunch and I still have my little kids (5 and 6 year olds) make lunch most days. So if you go back to my posts about homeschooling multi-levels you should get a good idea of what our school looked like when we had all littles.


    Kaza Reply:

    No, no & no… I had 3 children under 4 years of age & it was a breeze… even by the time I had 5 under 7 years it was easy. You just have to be organised! I took up full time employment when my 5th was 6 months old. I stressed how I was going to manage a full time job as well as the housework… but what I didn’t realize is that when you leave the house clean in the morning & return that evening IT IS STILL CLEAN Whoo hoo! I continued full time work while number 6 & 7 arrived & I have finally now been able to quit work to stay at home with my darling cherubs. I have recently had number 8. I use to be Super clean… with 5 kids I was up at dawn cleaning & wouldn’t fall into bed until midnight, exhausted! But my house was perfect. Then one day my eldest child said to me that I was always grumpy & no fun to be with. I realized that I don’t have to vacuum twice a day, I don’t need to dust everyday, we can live without having our clothes ironed etc. Now that there is so many of us, we ALL do our bit. Even my 3 year old is made to put his folded washing away, and help stack the dishwasher. A 3 year old is keen, willing and able. You need to realise that kids learn be attempting, and although the results may not be perfect the first few times (and yes, you may need to re-do it later) that they are very capable. My 3 year old is already reading small words because he watches his older siblings & he wants to learn like them.

    I have never had any help from friends, family etc, and I prefer it that way. Hired help is out of the question as we couldn’t possibly afford it, even if we wanted it! You need to be organized, but you also need to be flexible, because nothing ever goes as planned! Have faith, God will always be there to give you the strength you need to get through it.


  12. Keeslermom
    March 7, 2010 | 5:46 pm

    Oooo, this sounds great!

    I’d love to see how everyone handles toy and clothing storage (out of season and between kids). We only have 4, working on our first adoption, and my house already feels stuffed!


  13. Tania @ Larger Family Life
    March 11, 2010 | 5:06 am

    Looking forward to the new series Kimberly!


  14. Tina
    March 12, 2010 | 5:46 am

    What a very neat blog! I just came across it when I typed in ‘is Apologia good for large families?’ What a search question,hu? But it lead me to your blog and I think it is great!! I am a mom of fourteen children (15 down to 2) and feel like I lost some of my focus. I will be back for sure!



    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Nice to “meet” you Tina.

    So do you think that Apologia is good for large families? We are thinking about going to that next year.


  15. Kaza
    March 15, 2010 | 10:25 pm

    Oh yeah, and sandwiches for dinner…. not a chance. My husband would NOT have accepted that! But we learn to manage the best way we can.


  16. Candice
    April 6, 2010 | 8:58 pm

    Glad I found you! I am an at home, homeschooling mom to four so far. Advice is always appreciated!


  17. Meagan
    April 28, 2010 | 4:24 pm

    How do you wadle through all the different curricullum choices and decide which one you want to use for the year with the different kids or do you base it on what is available and make it work, or mismash it?


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We’ll be talking about choosing curriculum next week on May 6. Hopefully we’ll answer your specific questions and if we don’t, please leave a comment and ask again.

    Thank you for helping us with topics!


  18. Summer N.
    April 28, 2010 | 6:24 pm

    To the Four Sweet Moms!!!:
    I have a homeschool question for the 4/29 post. Exactly how do you teach each subject? Lecture, Student directed, etc.? What curriculum do you all use and why for each subject? What schedule do u use for the schooling times? How do u fit in housekeeping and homeschooling and cooking, etc.?
    And, how do you manage children that don’t want to do their book work or seat work? I need some creative solutions to each and every problem u can think of. We are running into a variety of troubles. Such as, I may have picked a 1000 curriculum for kids that does not match their learning style. Oooops. So, any suggestions on troubleshooting grumpy kids, using the wrong curriculum, and a floundering mommy trying to put a bandaid on my curriculum boo boo, would be very much cherished and appreciated! Thanks in advance from this very dedicated, yet green homeschooling mother of 3!
    Summer Nichols


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thank you Summer! Did you see today’s post? It includes the upcoming schedule for 4 Moms.

    I will work on adding in teaching each subject and children who don’t want to do their independent work, those are great ideas.

    I hope that your other questions will be addressed in what we’ve already scheduled. If they aren’t please ask again. (Remember, I’m expecting our 10th- MAJOR case of ‘mommy brain’!!)


    Summer N. Reply:

    Yes, I am just about to dig in to today’s post. I’m so absolutely grateful to all of you for doing this! Thank u thank u for allowing us to work from your seasoned experience! It warms my heart in a big way. Tell the kids that me and my family are blessed because of your blog! And, I hope all the other three moms blogging can see these comments as well. Pass them this note, will you? Lol!!!
    In His Service,
    Summer Nichols and family


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