When Baby Isn’t the Gender You Had Hoped For

What do you do when baby doesn't turn out to be the gender you had hoped for?  A candid discussion with Amy @ RaisingArrows.netPerhaps you’ve had your hopes and dreams set on having a little girl, but God hasn’t given you one.  Or maybe He’s given you girls, followed by a string of boys.  Or maybe it’s the other way around and you’ve only had girls and really would like the joy of raising a little rough and tumble boy to carry on the family name.

And you feel guilty.

You know you should feel blessed by the gender God has given you, but you can’t help but feel disappointed when it doesn’t turn out the way you had hoped.  Sure you love those babies with all your heart, but deep in your heart you wonder if you’ll ever get your wish.

I know this because I’ve lived it.

My story probably isn’t the same as yours, but I know what it feels like to wish baby was the opposite gender.  I know what the longing feels like.  I know what the guilty disappointment feels like.

When Emily passed away in 2008, I desperately wanted another girl.  Not that I wanted to replace her, but because I wanted to regain a little of what I had lost.  Instead, I had a blond haired boy on New Year’s Day of 2009 whom we named Micah.

When Baby isn't the Gender You Had Hoped For | RaisingArrows.net

I remember my OB saying she felt it was probably best I did have a boy following Emily’s death, and I quickly came to the place where I agreed with her.  He was a delight, and I was not sorry he was a boy for long.

When Micah turned 1, I found out I was pregnant again.  This became a pivotal point for me.  In my mind, I had “done my time.”  I had birthed a boy child following my daughter’s death, and I “deserved” a girl.  I became very wrapped up in wanting a girl.  In fact, going into the sonogram, I was nearly sick to my stomach with anxiety.  Because we never let the sonographer tell us what we are having, but we always look for ourselves, it leaves a shadow of a doubt we carry with us into the delivery room.  However, looking at the sonogram that day, I was pretty sure I saw a boy.

And I cried.

All the way home.

And many days after that.

I compared sonogram photos of my other babies, hoping to be wrong.  Hoping the little one I was carrying was not another boy.

But, he was…

When Baby isn't the Gender You Had Hoped For | RaisingArrows.net

Little Garin had colic and I had postpartum depression – both of these were firsts for our family.  However, as Garin grew, and both the colic and PPD subsided, I began to see what an amazing gift the Lord had given me in this child.  Garin was and is an absolute joy to raise.  I realized I had squandered a lot of time wishing for him to be something other than what he was.  I had not been enjoying my little boys because I was too busy wishing for another little girl.

When Baby isn't the Gender You Had Hoped For | RaisingArrows.nerWhen I became pregnant with our next child, I vowed NOT to waste time wishing for a girl.  I threw myself into preparing for a new baby no matter the gender.  We came up with a boy name we loved.  I decorated in blues and yellows.  And I began to ENJOY the boys God had given me.

Including the little boy named Creed born January 2013.

When Baby isn't the Gender You Had Hoped For | RaisingArrows.netHe was my third boy in a row, and I was thrilled!

I now have 5 boys.  They are rowdy and rambunctious, but wholeheartedly devoted to their mama.  In fact, I’ve come to a place where I’ve wondered if this baby is a girl, do I even remember how to be a baby girl mama again?  It’s been 7 years since I had a little girl, and with Emily gone, my next girl in age is 10.  My girls are at a very different stage in life than my little boys.  My house is no longer filled with girly toys, but rather Legos and cars.  Wrestling is a daily occurrence, and the words, “Don’t hurt your brother,” are said multiple times a day.  This zoo of boys is my norm.  In fact, the 4 youngest boys have taken on the collective term “little boys.”  As in, “My little boys are all wearing red,” or, “Little boys, come here!”

Do I still wish for a girl?  I don’t know if WISH is the right word.  I would love to have the chance to raise another girl.  Yet, I know in my heart it would be scary because of my circumstances – having had my last little girl pass away at the age of 7 months.

Do I feel I NEED another little girl.  No, not anymore.  I have learned to celebrate each precious life – boy or girl.

But, it wasn’t easy.  It was a God thing.

When Baby isn't the Gender You Had Hoped For | RaisingArrows.net

I would like to offer you some suggestions on how to learn to celebrate each baby no matter the gender because I’m a practical person who likes to have tangible ways to help me work through difficult circumstances.  These are not meant to be “band-aid” solutions or ways to just “get by.”  These are ways to start training your brain to see your babies as blessings and gifts from God in exactly the gender package God intended.

*Enjoy the children you have.  One thing I wasn’t truly doing was enjoying my little guys.  I was looking toward the next pregnancy as the one that would bring me another chance at a girl.  This is not how God intends for you to parent.  Enjoy the babies you have!  Find good things about having a string of boys (or girls)!  Revel in the fact that these little ones were given to you and learn to cherish that!

*If you find out gender ahead of time, take that knowledge and make it special.  Buy or make something special just for that baby.  Celebrate – and I don’t necessarily mean a “Reveal Party” because that could backfire on you if well-meaning friends and family are disappointed and say so.  Take time to enjoy your pregnancy and prepare for the new baby in a special way.  Come up with a name you love.  Take time to ponder who the new baby will look like.  Thank the Lord for this new life and the privilege to carry this child.

*Don’t let others feel sorry for you.  Even if you are feeling sorry for you, don’t allow others to do the same as that will only perpetuate your feelings of disappointment.  You can be honest with those you love, but if you are going to learn to be content, you have to learn to be outwardly blessed by the gender of children the Lord has given you.  You don’t have to quote Scripture to exude thankfulness.  You need only to offer a smile and an appreciation for the children you have.

*Make having a lot of one gender special.  This is where it gets fun!  Dress them alike.  Plan parties and outings and homeschool projects that cater to their gender.  Be a boy or girl mom full force!

*Be joyful and count your blessings – but give yourself grace.  Once upon a time, I had more girls than boys.  In the blink of an eye, that changed.  Of all people, I should have been thankful.  I should have counted my blessings.  But, in my humanness, I wanted what I did not have.  Learning to see my boys as something other than stepping stones on my way to the girl I felt I deserved took time, humility, and an entire change of heart.  I needed grace to get past the guilt and disappointment.


Do you have a story to share about your own disappointment?  Perhaps you have an encouraging word for mamas traveling this same road.  Please, feel free to share your thoughts and comments below so that others may be encouraged and blessed!

Large Family Bedrooms – Ideas to make the best use of the space you have

Arranging Large Family Bedrooms | RaisingArrows.netSince having children, we have lived in 9 different houses.  Each time we move, we have to consider which children will go in which bedrooms and how those bedrooms will be configured to best accommodate everyone in there.

Today, I want to share with you some of the ways we have configured bedrooms, as well as ways other people have done it.  I’d also love to have you chime in with your ideas and suggestions to help out other readers!

(this post contains affiliate links)

When we had our first child, we lived in a 2 bedroom apartment.  He had his own room.  We had our next child in a 3 bedroom house.  They each had their own bedroom.  We moved again and had another child.  This time it was a 2 bedroom, causing us to actually have to think about where children would sleep.

The master bedroom in that house was very small, so there could be no baby in the room with us.  In the 2nd bedroom, we had a bunk bed for the two older children (boy and girl) and a crib for the new baby (girl).  I had originally used a partition like the one below to separate the two “sides” of the room…a rather fruitless attempt at trying to have a “nursery” atmosphere.

The reason I say “fruitless” is because the partition just took up room…precious room.


The next move was to another 3 bedroom.  We had 2 more children while living there.  During the nearly 3 years we lived there, we had many different configurations:

Configuration #1:
Bedroom A – bunks for boy and girl
Bedroom B – baby in crib

Configuration #2:
Bedroom A – bunks for 2 girls
Bedroom B – twin for boy, crib for baby

Configuration #3:
Bedroom A – bunks for 2 girls
Bedroom B – bunks for boys
Master Bedroom – crib or bassinet for baby

The first set of bunks we owned were shorter than normal and wooden.  The second set was metal.  I’m not fond of metal bunks, so when we moved from there, we gave them away.


The next house had 4 bedrooms, but we only used the 3 upstairs.  While living there, we lost our daughter, Emily, and had 2 more little boys.

We started with a boy room and a girl room.  When Emily got sick, we moved her into our room in a “moses basket” on the floor next to my side of the bed.

After Emily passed away and our next little one was born, I kept him in our bedroom until he was about 4 months.  He then moved into the boy room that had a twin bed, a mattress under the bed that we pulled out for the 3 year old, and a crib.  The girls’ room continued to be the wooden bunks.

For a short time after our 7th child was born (and before we moved again), we put the toddler in a toddler bed in the girls’ room and bought another toddler bed for the 4 year old, making the configuration in the boys’ room – toddler bed, twin bed, crib.  Looking back, it would have made better sense to continue with the mattress under the twin.  It would have saved a lot of space.  We eventually got rid of that second toddler bed.


The next house was also a 4 bedroom that we only used 3 of.  We only lived there a year and did not have any new babies while there.

Configuration:
Bedroom A – girls in bunks
Bedroom B – Twin and 2 toddler beds
Master – crib for baby

When the baby got to the place where he was waking up every time Ty or I rolled over in bed, we moved him to the walk-in closet in a playpen.


The next house we again only used 3 bedrooms and had another baby while there.  We had two different configurations while living there:

Configuration #1:
Bedroom A – girls in bunks
Bedroom B – queen bed for my oldest, bunks for the next 2 boys, and a toddler bed
Master – baby in playpen

Configuration #2:
Bedroom A – girls in bunks, baby in playpen at the foot of bunks
Bedroom B – same set up as #1


In our current house, we use 4 of the 6 bedrooms.  They are configured this way:

Bedroom A – girls in bunks
Bedroom B – King bed for my oldest (this room also doubles as a guest room) and twin for the next boy down
Bedroom C – bunk for 5 and 4 year old boys and toddler bed for 1 year old


The next house will be a 3 bedroom.  I am planning to configure it this way:

Bedroom A – girls in bunks, toddler bed for 1 year old
Bedroom B – XL twin for my oldest, bunk for 8 and 5 year olds, mattress underneath that can be pulled out for the 4 year old
Master – baby in playpen


Some other options I have seen…

Triple bunks

Mattresses lined up side by side to create more bed space for several kiddos

Pillow chaise beds – these are especially compact and work great for lots of littles!


I do want to mention a few other things before turning this post over to my readers to give their ideas…

#1:  Walk in closets as “bedrooms”

Most closets do NOT have vents in them, so you do not want to close off the closet.

You will need to be certain EVERYTHING is out of baby’s reach.  You don’t want clothing or racks falling down on baby!

#2:  Not using a crib for baby

This is a bit of a paradigm shift for many parents.  Our culture has gotten so used to huge cribs with fancy bedding that it is hard to give up that “nursery dream.”  However, when you don’t have the room for such sizable pieces of furniture, you look for other ways to give your baby a proper bed.

Our favorite newborn sleeping accommodation is the Snugabunny from Fisher-Price:

It folds up for traveling, it keeps baby snuggled, and I can put it anywhere in any room easily.  From there, we use a playpen.  Don’t overdo the bedding and blankets.  We prefer Carter’s quilted playpen sheets because the quilting makes them very comfy for baby without being bulky.  You can get them in velour for the winter and cotton for the summer.

Another issue that needs to be addressed is where to keep clothes in large family bedrooms, but I’ll address that in another post so this post doesn’t get any longer than it already is!

Now, it’s your turn!  What are some creative ways you’ve configured bedrooms to make them work for your family?  Looking for more Large Family Living ideas and tips?  Check out my Large Family Pinterest board and the Large Family Living page here on Raising Arrows!

Get Your DrinkBands in Time for the Holidays! {GIVEAWAY}

If you read Raising Arrows regularly, you know how important DrinkBands are in our house.  In fact, just the other day, I mentioned them in my post on having a Minimalist Kitchen.

DrinkBands Giveaway!

DrinkBands make having a minimalist kitchen with a large family possible because it saves me on washing glasses constantly.  Everyone leaves their glasses on the counter for the day, and we wash them at night.  Everyone has a color, so they aren’t dragging 50 glasses out of the cupboard over the course of the day and I know exactly who has misplaced theirs.

When company comes, we add an extra set of DrinkBands (often the Camo Pack or Party Pack).  Our family’s set of DrinkBands are now personalized too!  It makes me smile to have mine say “Mama” and Ty’s say “Daddy”. :)

Do you have guests coming for Thanksgiving?  What about Christmas?  Well, now is the perfect time to snag a great deal on DrinkBands and be prepared for the holidays!

CLICK HERE TO ORDER!

And guess what?!  Two Raising Arrows readers are going to win DrinkBands!  I’m giving away a set of 9 Regular Personalized DrinkBands and a set of Camo DrinkBands!

All you have to do is enter the giveaway below.  (email readers click through to the post to find the giveaway!)  Winners will be announced on Saturday, so hurry!
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Leaving the Big House on the Prairie

Last week, I mentioned there were some major changes going on around here.  Not sure if any of you guessed what those might be, but now that we have told all the people who needed to be told first, I can tell all of you…

We are moving.

Leaving the Big House on the Prairie | RaisingArrows.net

We are leaving that big house on the prairie because Ty took a promotion that has us moving VERY soon.  It will be a professional move, so I won’t have as much work to do as some of our other moves.  (See my series on Large Family Moving for some of my favorite tips and tricks for moving!)  We are hoping to be somewhat settled before Thanksgiving so that we can truly enjoy the holidays.

We’ve made a lot of friends here, so telling people was very difficult, especially considering the very small window of time in which we were leaving.  We have been in the area nearly 4 years (even though we have moved several times within the area), making this one of the most emotionally difficult moves we have had to make.

There are some really great things about the area we are moving to.  The homeschool laws are fantastic.  Our house is surrounded by beautiful big trees.  The neighborhood is hilly and serene.  The home is owned by a homeschool family (and was owned by another homeschool family before that).  We have friends nearby, and much of our family will still be close enough to visit.

My friend, Candi, said, “You move more than you have babies!”  She’s right.  This is move #13 in 18 years.  Some were due to college and some were due to rentals being sold.  Some were job changes and some were job promotions.  We never take moving lightly.  It’s not something we just up and do one day on a whim.  From the outside looking in, I’m sure it seems a little crazy, but we have seen so many things line up that we are confident this is where God wants us right now…just as the big house on the prairie and the 11 houses before it were where God wanted us then.

Can a Large Family Have a Minimalist Kitchen? {Kitchen Tour – Part 1}

Back in March, I wrote a post about keeping your kitchen clean.  I mentioned in the post how reducing clutter in your kitchen helps tremendously, but I’ll be honest, sometimes clutter lurks in places you forget about, or sneaks onto your counters, and sometimes it shows up in the form of a gift from a well-meaning someone who brings it into your kitchen and leaves it there.  Before you know it, the kitchen has been overrun by things that do nothing but take up space.

So, when I saw a post on Pinterest that begged me to take a look at one woman’s minimalist kitchen, I couldn’t help myself.  What I saw made me sigh happy, clean counter, sighs.  But, it also made me wonder…

Can a large family live without a lot of extra kitchen appliances, dishes, tools, and gadgets?

In other words…

Can a large family have a minimalist kitchen?

Can a Large Family Have a Minimalist Kitchen? (plus Kitchen Tour Part 1!) | RaisingArrows.net

I will start off by telling you that kitchen gadgets are NOT my thing.  They hold no appeal for me, so you won’t find a lot of that type of thing in my kitchen, minimalist or not.  In fact, in nearly every area of my life, I tend toward the minimalist category.  Decluttering is cheap therapy for me.  I like to throw things away.  But everyone knows a large family naturally accumulates more stuff than a smaller family.  More people bringing in more things, not to mention outsiders who figure you need more stuff since there are so many of you, can easily overtake a large family kitchen.

I was determined to take the minimalist approach to the kitchen, and run with it – just to see how far I’d get.  I can definitively say that you ABSOLUTELY CAN HAVE A MINIMALIST KITCHEN in a large family, but there are a couple of things you have to take into consideration.

1.  Have the RIGHT SIZE of tool for the job.  You will waste a ton of space if you are trying to accommodate a large family with 3 too-small pots, rather than 1 perfect-sized pot.  Don’t hang onto items that don’t really fit your family.  Upsize and declutter the too-small things.

2.  Purge often.  Because of the sheer number of people in a large family household, you have to be on your toes with sorting and getting rid of things that don’t truly belong in your home.  If you receive something that is a better fit, get rid of the item it replaces.  And don’t look back!

OK, let’s get started with the tour…

{affiliate links included}

Can a Large Family Have a Minimalist Kitchen? | RaisingArrows.net

This is the main wall of my kitchen.  This is by far, the largest kitchen I have ever had; however, it has a few tricky spots I’ll point out as we go.

On the far left, you see a glimpse of an antique ice box that holds our teas and my Bosch mixer.  While I use my Bosch often, I decided it was not often enough to warrant counter space.  On top of the ice box is a glass pitcher, a flower arrangement my 10 year put together (she has a real knack for home decor), and a plate for fruit.  These things are all decorative and functional.

Working our way to the right, you’ll see a counter space that has a basket for bread with a butter dish next to it.  I could get a bread box, but that’s not something I’ve ever owned, so until I do, a basket works.  I also hung my hot pads on a 3M removable hook next to the stove.  (I LOVE these hooks!)

Above that counter space is my Baking Cupboard.  I have had a designated Baking Cabinet/Cupboard for years.  If you bake a lot, and you can spare the space, I highly recommend doing this.  This is also where our often-used seasonings go, so they are quick to grab when cooking up meat and other dishes.

Below that counter, are casserole dishes, cookie sheets, and other baking dishes.  Here is a list of exactly what I own:

I could rid of the items we don’t use often, but for now, I like to have them on hand for the few times I do want to make something that calls for one of those pans.

Next, is the stove.  I do not keep anything stored in the oven or in the drawer below (except the broiler pan that belongs with the stove…and never gets used).  On top of the stove, I have a tea pot.  This would not necessarily have to be there, but I like the way it makes the stove look all homey. ;)

Above the stove and microwave, is where I keep olive oil and olive oil spray, along with my knife sharpener.

Can a Large Family Have a Minimalist Kitchen? | RaisingArrows.net

The next counter space over has an upcycled utensil holder made by my friend Char at New Life Treasures.  It holds a few wooden spoons, an assortment of spatulas, whisks, tongs, a ladle, and a couple of other utensils.  I was brutal and got rid of any utensil that didn’t get used regularly.  If there was something that didn’t get used often, but I still thought ought to be kept, I moved it to a container in a cupboard – more on that in another post.  I will say this counter top space is also where clean dishes go to dry.  We hand wash any dishes that don’t fit in the dishwasher as well as any dishes or knives that are not supposed to be put in a dishwasher.  I use an XL Envision Dish Drying Mat to put the overflow dishes on to dry.

Above that counter is where our plates and bowls are kept.  I have 3 small plastic bowls and 3 small plastic plates for my little guys.  I have 6 more plastic bowls that work well for snacks and such, along with 8 pottery bowls that match the 8 dinner plates I have of October Franciscan pottery.  I also keep 3 deep bowls in that cupboard that work well to mix small batches of things.  Besides the 8 dinner plates, I also have 8 smaller Corelle-type plates.  Typically, when the table is set, Mommy, Daddy, and the two oldest children get large plates, and everyone else uses the Corelle or plastic smaller plates.  Sometimes, depending on the meal, we all use the smaller plates.

Can a Large Family Have a Minimalist Kitchen? Kitchen Tour!| RaisingArrows.net

Excuse the horrible photo.  I was taking it with my phone and there was no making it look pretty.  You can see below the sink there is a cupboard and another right next to it.  These hold cleaning supplies.

Next to those cupboards, you will see the only drawers in the kitchen.  They are small and shallow.  Very strange setup for such a large kitchen, but we’ve made it work.  The top drawer is silverware and extra DrinkBands for guests.  The next drawer contains kitchen towels.  The 3rd drawer contains Bosch attachments, gadgets we actually use on a regular basis (pastry cutter, apple corer, beaters, etc).  The bottom drawer used to hold plastic storage container lids, but I’ve decluttered enough of those that it currently stands empty! *gasp*  It will probably end up housing my drying mats (yes, I have more than one) or some of the less used kitchen gadgets that are put away on the opposite side of the kitchen (another topic in Part 2).

The counter top above those drawers is the dirty dish holding area.  That is where all the dirty dishes go until my Dishwasher Helper takes care of them after every meal.

And lastly, the cupboard above that counter is where glasses go.  We have two glasses for each person, colored coded with their DrinkBand.  There is also a place for sippy cups, and a box that holds plastic reusable cups that my husband takes with him on his daily commute.  I use a box for these because inevitably, someone would open the cupboard door and out would fall all the plastic cups!  I do have a few extra glasses for when company comes stored on the top shelf as well.

I will be sharing what is housed on the other side of the kitchen along with the island in a later post.  Feel free to ask any questions and offer ideas for other readers to create a more minimalist kitchen of their own!

Posts in this Series:
Can a Large Family Have a Minimalist Kitchen (with Kitchen Tour Part 1)
Minimalist Kitchen Tour Part 2

Want to read more about Homemaking?
Check out my Homemaking Basics!

Homemaking Basics | RaisingArrows

How We Feed Our Family of 9 with 2 pounds of Hamburger

How We Feed Our Family of 9 with 2 pounds of Hamburger + Unstuffed Cabbage Roll recipe | RaisingArrows.netWhen I wrote about my bulk taco seasoning recipe, I mentioned we only use 2 pounds of ground beef for our family of 9, and that I only started using the second pound about 2 children ago.  Several of you were shocked and wanted to know how this was possible, so I thought I’d write a little bit more about how we manage this.

First of all, THIS is what 2 pounds of ground beef/hamburger looks like (plus some onions from our garden…more on that in a moment):

How We Feed Our Family of 9 with 2 Pounds of Hamburger + Unstuffed Cabbage Roll recipe | RaisingArrows.net

The skillet is a 15″ cast iron skillet from Lodge.  As the meat cooks, we season it and often throw in onions and/or peppers to add flavor.  From here, the possibilities are endless!

Let’s say you are doing something with a Mexican flair…
Add tomatoes, beans, rice, and some type of sauce (tomato sauce is the most often used one here).

Italian?
More garden veggies, noodles, and sauce.

Sandwich meat?
Oatmeal, veggies, beans, lentils, and yes…sauce!

And don’t forget CHEESE!  We use a lot of cheese, sour cream, and veggies to add to our meat to create a heartier meal.

You can easily double the amount of pasta or rice you put into a dish and still keep the ground beef amounts the same.  Casseroles and stove-top meals (like the Unstuffed Cabbage Roll recipe below) are the easiest to stretch.  We rarely do something like meatloaf or a meat by itself (unless we are cooking up steaks, pork chops, or homemade brats).  Meatloaf can be bulked up with oats or rice, but not many in my family are fans of meatloaf, so I don’t even bother.

We often make quesadillas for a quick lunch (<—take a look at that post – it’s from when I was pregnant with Baby #7 and there’s a sonogram picture!)  We will start with the 2 pounds of hamburger meat, but when that runs out, we finish off with cheese-only quesadillas.  And again, we encourage the kids to add sour cream, lettuce, and salsa to bulk up calories.

Another thing we do is set out bowls of “sides” that add an element of fun to the meal.  It is not uncommon for there to be pickles, black olives, or a bowl of cut up cucumbers on the table to serve as finger foods to supplement the meal.  Sometimes I serve a traditional side (mainly for the evening meal when Daddy is home), but usually for lunch, the main dish is supplemented only by the extra finger foods.

And in case you are wondering, yes, I do serve snacks.  Around 3 o’clock is snack time and it helps to carry everyone through to suppertime.

Now let me give you a real life example from a meal we had a couple of nights ago…

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls | RaisingArrows.net

I set out to make the Trim Healthy Mama Stuffed Cabbage Rolls from the book, but realized too late they were supposed to be in the crock pot for 7-9 hours!  (Please tell me I’m not the only one who does stuff like this!)  So, I went with an unstuffed version from a recipe online.  Of course, there’s no way an online recipe is going to contain the right amounts for our family (unless of course, it’s from my own stash of Large Family Recipes), so I set out to tweak it.

The first thing I noticed was that it had 1.5 – 2 pounds of meat listed to serve 5-6 people; however, the cabbage was supposed to be a small head with the addition of only one small can of tomato sauce.  That’s where I grabbed my bulk.  The cabbage I used was large, and I used 2 cans of sauce, but could have used more if I wanted a soupier mixture (which works really well when putting it over something like rice or noodles!).  I could have added other veggies too like zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant or peppers.

Because this was going to be a THM-friendly dish, I had my son cook a large pot of rice as a side for the children.  If you aren’t watching your carb intake, then cook the rice and add it right into the dish itself.  You could even turn this into a soup by adding more tomato sauce and some water or broth.

And that was our meal.  Everyone tanked up and there was only a tiny bit of leftovers that Baby Creed will eat for lunch tomorrow.

Here’s my large family (with only 2# of ground beef) version of Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls:

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe (stove top using a 15" skillet) | RaisingArrows.net

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, diced
2 cans diced tomatoes (or fresh)
2 cans (8 oz each) tomato sauce
1 cabbage, coarsely chopped
seasonings to taste

In a large skillet, brown ground beef with onion and season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic, or other favorite seasonings.  Add in the diced tomatoes and the tomato sauce and mix.  Next, add the chopped cabbage and rest a lid on top of the pile of cabbage to encourage it to steam and cook down.  (I promise, it WILL cook down and fit in your 15″ skillet.  If you don’t have a large skillet, transfer the meat to a large pot before adding the cabbage.)  Once the cabbage cooks down a bit, stir to mix the meat and sauce in with the cabbage.  Continue to cook down until cabbage is tender.

Now, it’s your turn!  How do you stretch your meat?  What sorts of things do you add for bulk and calories?  And don’t forget to mention how many you are feeding!