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Welcome to my large family blog! My name is Renee.

Contact me:

I am married to a hottie Canadian-turned-American, Chuck, and have been blogging since 2006.

Chuck and I have grown our large family through adoption and birth. We have fourteen children: five adopted (foster-adopt, private adoption and international adoption) and nine biological children.

Large Family Tips: How to Have an Awesome Summer

I gave birth to our first eight babies in nine years then stopped the Baby Train. Four years later we decided to have just one more baby and ended up with Apollo XIV, in June 2010. Apollo is our cherry on top but he rocked our world with his near-death birth experience, double aortic arch and four and a half years with a feeding tube.

Our seven oldest children have escaped our clutches and moved out of the house. Three live in Washington and two live in New Zealand with their Kiwi husbands.

To learn more click on Meet the Kids.

We homeschooled most of our large family until medical issues and special needs came together in the Perfect Storm and left those dreams crushed. Several of our kids attended public school for a few years. I have been homeschooling at least some of our kids for the past 20 plus years!

Since you can obviously see that I have it all together I use my blog to:

Show you how to organize your large family

Prep a week’s worth of meals

Share my best large family freezer cooking hacks

Help you laugh at me because most days it’s laugh or cry over here.

Oh, and I love to throw themed parties!

And because I don’t know what to do with all of my spare time I also:

Own a photography business Little Earthling Photography where I specialize in birth and newborn photography and write product reviews for Large Family Reviews.

I accept select sponsored blog post and product reviews if I feel that they fit in with our family values and goals.

Be sure and follow me on Pinterest, join my Facebook page and check out my photos on Instagram.


  1. Christine Fiedler

    Fell upon your blog site and really enjoy reading about your family and life with all your wonderful, beautiful children. Also love to read blog sites where people are Christians as I am myself. Thanks for sharing your stories!

  2. Margie Barndt

    I’m praying for Apollo, that his body will accept it’s repair and heal super-on-the-naturally well. For his body to regain it’s strength, his mind to continue to acquire knowledge and with that understanding. That Apollo would KNOW the love of AbbaFatherGod. That He’s the giver of every good and perfect thing.
    As Apollo heals, as pain leaves his body in Jesus Name, as he feels his family’s loving touch, he comes to know in a deep, life filling way how much FatherGod loves him and has PROVIDED for his every need according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus.
    Apollo will declare to the Glory of God His goodness, His wonders and His provision for him, his family;and for all the family of God. In Jesus Name, amen~So Be It.♥
    You, your mommy, daddy, brothers & sisters are loved. Loved by AbbaFatherGod & me! :-)♥

  3. adriana vivo

    There is a wonderful website put together by a Spanish team of cardiac surgeons. I want to share some drawings from the site that might make sense to Apollo’s case. It talks about arches, slings and options for repair. Here is the link:
    It’s in Spanish but has great visuals. I can help with translation if you’d like. I would contact this group and ask if they have any suggestions. I sent you an email last night about a Johns Hopkins surgeon.

  4. adriana vivo

    Please call me, I want you to go to the next appointment on 9/11,well armed. There ARE doctors that know what is going on, you just have to find them. I’ll send you my number privately.

  5. Melissa

    I love, love, love the new tabs: themed parties, recipes…. I was drawn to your site months ago while aimlessly looking for large family tips late one night. Your photos drew me in. My whole family prays for Apollo; I anguished with you from afar March 7th. God bless you and thank you for the bright spot you put out there for the world to enjoy. 🙂

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Thank you for your sweet words. It was very comforting to know so many people were thinking of him during his surgery. Glad you like the new tabs, I’m still working on them, so keep checking back.

  6. adriana

    Hi Renee, I was reading your update about Apollo’s visit. I am sorry to hear the diagnosis. The surgeon, whose information I provided, was the secondary surgeon, who worked on my son.The doctor who operated on his diverticulum and divided the ring is Dr. Duke Cameron, the head of the department at Hopkins. He is fantastic! People travel from all over to be treated by him. The aorta is his specialty and he works on both adults and children. Have you checked out my website, I put in lots of information. I am praying for Apollo.

  7. Adriana

    Renee, praise the lord. Apollo looks good. So happy to know he is on his way to a great life! I’ll be watching for posts on his nutrition. I am very interested in the nutritional therapies and work that Apollo will be doing with speech therapists to improve his eating. Because my son is 19, it’s hard to find a therapist to work with.The majority of them focus on young children, unless the condition is life threatening. Many work with stroke patients. After having the vascular ring for so many years, it’s a combination of physiological and psychological issues that need to be addressed. I’ve yet to find anyone, we’re still searching for the right team of professionals: nutritionists and therapists to help. We also have to get another swallow test to see the post surgery results and know what we are up against.

  8. Leslie Ender

    You have a lovely family! I homeschooled my 2 boys who are now 19 and 21 years old. We hae had a great adventure and moved to Innsbruck, Austria this year. Is there a way to prescribe to your blog?

  9. adriana

    Hi Renee, I hope Apollo continues to thrive. Would you mind giving my email
    to one of the people who said her 18 year old daughter had the same surgery
    and is having eating problems. I want to connect with her. It would be a great
    favor. I am researching the effects of surgery on older patients like my son.

  10. bakersdozenandapolloxiv

    He is working for whatever people want to donate toward his trip, and he is totally up for farm work!

  11. bakersdozenandapolloxiv

    Yes, I did read it. I’m not sure what to say. First off, I’m sad for everyone involved in an adoption that was less-than-perfect.I know firsthand from my own Liberian children that they were told we were rich and they would have everything they wanted here in the US. Our Liberian children (either by nature or their original families) are hard workers, but many Liberian children came to the US thinking they would *never* have to work. Our story is a happy (though not perfect) one…I know plenty that aren’t. I will say the article was very obviously one-sided and I found it interesting that in every case they sided with (and believed) the child over the parent…I do know that many adoptions were not handled correctly and this is the fault of the system (I’m glad they’re revamping it) and ignorance. Many families we were in contact with were under the impression that “re-adopting” in the US was optional and didn’t do it because of the added expense. In some cases this meant the child never received proof of citizenship which will render getting a job nearly impossible. On the other hand, we were lied to about our children’s ages…we were told Boaz and Ezra were 9 and 10…not 13 and 15. So, I’m more than happy to have the system scrutinized and improved. At the same time, there are always two sides to every story. Most of all I was struck by how many people (adults and children) have had their dreams shattered.

  12. bakersdozenandapolloxiv

    Thank you, Vivian! I am sure it will make it here. If not, he is allowed to hand carry money if needed.

  13. Renee

    I just stumbled upon your blog and I can’t stop reading it. I’m originally from WA but currently live in Australia working as missionaries in the field of video and photography with my husband. I love seeing your pictures of all the green trees that only WA can provide and all my favourite places. I have a very active almost 2yr old and reading your stories about real life has really helped me to take a breath relax and enjoy my little guy. Thanks for being real.

  14. Mark

    I saw an article about your troubles with TSA. As the parent of a special needs child, and someone who had a G-tube during cancer treatments, I have had many dealings with the TSA and medically needed liquids. Some have been great, others bad. At our home airport, we call a few days ahead of time and offer to send them a complete list of the liquids we will have with us. Usually, this works well and we go through with no hassles. They still have to screen the liquids, but they know what’s coming. Other airports, where we can’t find a phone number for the TSA, have such a range of reactions, its either scary or funny. At one airport, they almost called the bomb sniffing dogs, others threatened to poor out all the liquids. In the later, I insisted on speaking with a supervisor who was more reasonable. The best advice that I got for myself when I had my G-tube was to open all the containers, poor them into containers that open, and freeze the contents solid. If they are frozen solid (keep them on ice until you get to the airport if you can), they are allowable. Hope this helps. Sorry about your troubles, I know it’s not easy, but don’t stop travelling just because some TSA agents are ignorant.

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Interesting, Mark. When we traveled to Texas last year (for surgery) I called the TSA and was assured the liquids would be NO problem because they were for my tube-fed son. Obviously they don’t have a consistent rule or way to handle these issues. I think much of this would have been avoided if they would have simply screened me seperately when I walked up to the first officer…thanks for your input!

  15. Glenn

    Read about your disaster with TSA. If you looked at their application process for hiring you would understand. The test for being considered is a find the object in a suitcase video game. For persons that have never played video games it is a challenge. I recently retired from 40 years law enforcement and thought a TSA position might be good way to stay active, meet interesting people, and supplement my meager retirement income, I did apply & flunked their video game. With 40 years law enforcement, schooling in detecting deceptive behavior, reading deceptive body language, interrogation, cultural diversity, several terrorist schools, a year with IPTF Bosnia, supervising up to 120 cops, master law enforcement license Texas TCLEOSE, approximately 2000 hours of Law enforcement schooling, and a few commendations, I was denied due to the video game failure, all of the experience & background, not even a consideration. That aspect (video game) could literally be training a good animal trainer could apply to a monkey. Little wonder some of their employees are at the village idiot level.

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Thank you for sharing, Glenn. If that is the test, then I must say the screener passed with flying colors! She did indeed Find the Liquid in the Carry-on. As for your work experience, you sound like the perfect man for the job! Knowing how to read and detect deceptive body language sounds like exactly what they need. I’m guessing you could tell the difference between a flustered mom with a crying three year old and someone planning nefarious actions. Thank you for your perspective.

  16. bakersdozenandapolloxiv

    Debby- Those birth stories were moved over from my original blog (on another platform). I’ve had endless trouble with the switch and have had to move everything manually. Her story just hasn’t made the move yet. I’ll have to look into that.

  17. Dorothy Mangwiro

    Oh my goodness I’m in love with your family being from Africa let me say thanks to you and Chuck for what you did for your kids from Liberia

  18. Becky Sauceda

    I love your blog and I love reading your updates. God bless you and keep you and your beautiful big family. Thank you for sharing Renee!!

  19. simpleme

    I admire this beautiful family, your generosity and big heart…
    It’s the basics of Islam, so you should learn about true Islam, you worth it…
    I ‘ll let you search by yourself about the truth,
    Take care 😉

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Thanks for sharing this! Yes, it definitely sounds like he has some type of vascular ring. I hope his dream comes true.

  20. EV


    Andrew and Josiah are in college at the American College of the Building Arts. One of their classmates is looking to find housing in Washington State – Seattle – Soto area. He must intern for a blacksmith and has located one there. He’ll need housing for 8 weeks – he can pay. Any thoughts?

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      I wish I could help, but I unfortunately don’t have any contacts there at the moment. Best of luck!

  21. Tone

    Hi Renee! I am raising money for Habitot Children’s Museum’s Campaign for Joy for children with special needs – please view our fundraiser link here: – We are going to send out a special message to some of the museum members asking them to donate to this campaign. Would you mind if we used some of the images that were featured in the Huffington Post Article: to help us raise money for these kids? Please let me know and don’t hesitate to e-mail me:

  22. Flavio

    Thank you for sharing the picturesif Apollo’s recovering process. I wish you and your familie all happiness and a very healthy life!

  23. Leah

    That was what I wanted too. My stepkid will be a adult (where has the time gone?) next month and my biological kids will turn 3 later this year. She is responsible for babysitting them and driving them to their swimming lessons in town too. I pay her for tutoring them as well. She is about to start her 2nd year at college in our quiet town where she is studying childcare there. All 3 of them sleep on the same floor in 2 separate bedrooms next door. That way I save on tuition and childcare costs. How many kids do you have? My stepdaughter is almost 18 and my biological kids will be 3 this November. It’s cool to see the bond between all of them even if they are completely different.

  24. ANGIE

    Hi Renee,
    It is so lovely to read through your website so much useful advice for mummies that for sure. We don’t have kids as yet but hopefully will be blessed soon. We are a small independent business focusing on eco-friendly products and all things that are sustainable. Now the reason why I am getting in touch with you… I have a question for ya.. what is one thing that you use for baby every day and you would have loved to have it made from organic sustainable materials?

    Here is our web if you will –
    Thanks so much,
    Ecotribe Team

    • Renee

      Thank you for your kind words! I guess I would have to say diapers and receiving blankets. I used them for everything from swaddling to mopping up spit-up.

  25. Jim Wasserman

    Greetings, Renee.
    I just came across your website. Sorry to be a bit late to discover it, but I share your minimalist philosophy.

    I am a just-retired teacher after having taught Humanities over twenty years, including media literacy and consumer economics. I became especially dedicated to empowering and educating children and their parents about commercialism’s impact, including the effects of inundating youth with messaging to buy more.

    Nowadays, I am happily living in Spain with my wife trying to live a downshifted, Hemingway-styled life of writing, though the closest I have come to the Hemingway part is a house full of demanding cats. I write extensively on media and financial literacy, from regular articles on financial sites to a three-book series on educating elementary, middle, and high school students about media messaging and marketing to them (the books are designed for teachers and parents).

    More immediately, I’d like to invite you to consider a children’s play/story that is fun to read and also designed to get kids thinking about commercialization messages that push them to only look for what’s next to be bought. The story is about a village that has never heard of the word “enough,” but told they never seem to have it, go off in a fun and funny pursuit to get it at any cost (until they learn what it means to have enough…sort of).

    Thank you for both the work you do in our common cause. I look forward to reading more of your site. Please feel free to let me know what I can do in coordination with your efforts.

  26. Kathleen Notebaert

    We have put 2 children through public school, 1 k-8 public then 9th – graduation (next year) through Catholic School and have a 3rd grader currently in Catholic School. Did you blog through younger years? I’ve always been on the fence about homeschooling (my best friend has 8 homeschooled) but am seriously considering pulling my third grader. Feeling very fearful. I also work at the Catholic school and worry about finances. Just curious about your kids younger years and how you did it $ wise.


  27. Renee

    I did, but unfortunately my blog from years ago is a disorganized mess. I am working on updating and revamping those old posts. Look for updates soon!

  28. Charity Pool

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    In simple terms, the software will go out to all search engines, business directories, Google Maps and social media channels and find and extract data from websites matching your business niche using a set of proprietary filters and artificial intelligence. It will then save all the extracted business contact details from all sources into a single Excel sheet. You can then use these sales leads for B2B email blasts, newsletters, guest posting outreach for link building and off-page SEO, telesales, direct mail marketing and social media campaigns.

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