This week’s Large Family of the Week is the Caldeira family from Yorkshire. Mum Claire shares her tips and tricks for dealing with a family of nine.
Please introduce us to your family:
Hi, I’m mum. My name is Claire, I’m 36 and I am mainly a stay at home mum. I have 1 cleaning job one morning a week and I do lots of voluntary work during the week. I help serve lunches at an over 55’s luncheon club once a week amd I run a small independant food and clothes bank for the local community in the local area with my friend. I am a commited Christian and my faith means everything to me. I love to spend time with my family, read and walking.
Mark my husband is 35 and we met 9yrs ago. He is an amazing step dad to my 6 children and dad to our little girl. He works long hours as a HGV driver delivering cement around Hull and East Yorkshire, He is very family orientated and loves being at home with us. He is a proper gentleman! Mark loves technology and cars and cycling. He is the sound engineer at the Church we attend.
Ashleigh is the eldest she is 18. She loves animals especially dogs, She is currently studying animal care level 3 and its her 2nd year at college. She is very bubbly and caring and at home takes care of all the pets which include 2 guinea pigs a rabbit and a poodle. She is a commited Christian and her faith also means alot to her she is a backing singer in the Worship Team at our Church.
Chloe is 17 and she is currently in her 1st year at college studying health and social care. she is a very caring and loving girl and sensitive. She is full of life and is always doing stuff to make her family and friends laugh whether this be dressing up or making video’s or funny pictures. She is very intellegent and loves reading. Chloe has a very mature head on her young shoulders she can always be found curled up on the sofa with a blanket and a cup of tea!
Owen is 14. He is a very caring and sensitive boy. he loves football and his xbox like most teenagers his age. unlike his older sisters he doesnt own a phone and isnt interested in social media. He isnt quite sure what he wants to do when he leaves school next year but Im sure it will involve fitness or sport of some kind.
Megan is 13. Megan loves being out with her friends socialising and unlike her older sisters is rarely in the house. She is very sporty and loves football and has taken part in cross country a few years in a row now and done really well. She is very loving and caring and loves to help out in the kitchen cooking meals from scratch and baking buns.
Bethany is 11 and recently started secondary school. I call her my little ray of sunshine as she is always full of smiles and can always cheer you up no matter how down you are feeling. She is very caring and always being helpful around the house. She loves singing and drama and will burst out in a song no matter where she is even optican waiting rooms! she loves an audience and not shy and Im sure one day I will be watching her in The West end!
Kealan is 9. He like his big brother loves football and loves nothing more than taking his football out with his friends for a kick about. He is caring and loving and likes being helpful. He is very bright and very good at maths.
Kacey-Lee is 7 and the baby of the family…she runs rings around everyone and rules the house. She is very energetic and full of life as any typical 7yr old. She loves playing with her disney princess dolls and loves role play with little figures. Kacey-Lee is quite a tom boy and loves football playing football and riding her bike.
Do you consider your family to be large? If not, what do you think is the magic number which turns an average sized family into a large one?
I dont think about my family being large any more probably because I dont know any different and I’m used to having a large family but looking from an outside then yes it is large. I would say 6+ is considered a large family although a mum of 2 might even consider 4+ a large family.
Did you ever think you would have a large family?
I always wanted 4 children but never thought I would end up being a mum of 7.
What is your best moneysaving tip?
When I do my grocery shopping which is usually online I sit down and plan meals before I order. I have a budget and aim to stay in that budget by picking supermarket brands. We have a planner and the weekly menu is added to the board so the children and myself know whats planned for that evening meal. I always recieve hand me down clothes from friends which I am really greatful for. I have a bread maker which helps cut the cost down of loaves of bread.
What is your best tip for organisation?
A good routine really is key to organisation. I am always planning ahead and write everything down.
What is your favourite recipe?
My favourite recipe is homemade spaghetti bolognaise.
Lean mince, passata, garlic,onion,mushrooms,carrot,veg oxo,dark soy sauce,mixed herbs,black pepper…all chucked in the slow cooker and once cooked served with spaghetti and garlic bread.
Do you cook the same meal for everyone or cater for different tastes?
Being 9 of us we dont all like the same things so struggle to find meals to cater for everyone so most nights there will be some of the children who wont like what’s on the menu. If some of the children don’t like what I’m cooking they will usually help themselves to something i.e a sandwich, egg or beans on toast or cereal. I am very relaxed on what they eat and wont force them to eat something they dont like even if its vegetables as long as they are eating its fine by me. The good thing is they all like fruit so theres always a bowl of satsumas apples and bananas at hand.
What is the best thing about having a large family?
Being in a large family there is always someone to talk to, someone to cuddle and there is always laughter. Yes we have arguments to deal with and mad moments when they wont settle at bedtime but overall we have lots of fun! days out used to stressful when they were smaller but now there alot older we really enjoy a day at the country park with the dog or ice skating and bowling.
And what is the most difficult?
I would say the most difficult part of having a large family is trying to keep the house clean and tidy and keeping on top of all the washing. It’s never ending and you never seem to get anywhere with it. I also find being a large family isolates us from the family. We dont get dinner invites or feel we can just pop round to visit someone for a coffee. Money is an issue so we dont often eat out or go out on family days out as much as we would like too.
If you could offer one piece of advice to parents, what would it be?
Always hug and tell your child you love them even if its rejected which often happens with teenagers going through the difficult teen years. I have found the teen years the hardest years to deal with. I would rather go back to sleepless nights, teething and toddler tantrums in an instance, at the time they seemed very challenging but dealing with teenagers is a lot harder. I recently read a book which really helped me to understand teenagers and how to deal with them. The book was written for parents/carers and written by teenagers themselves. The book is called Teenagers Explained: A manual for parents by teenagers written by Megan Lovegrove and Louise Bedwell.
Don’t you have a television?
Yes we do have a television but there’s never anything interesting on TV these days is there??
Do you know what causes it?
And finally, will you have any more children?!
Unfortunately my husband had a vasectomy 7yrs ago. At the time I was suffering with post natal depression but now I regret not having any more… I would of loved to have got to 10.