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Dina-Marie Oswald, Mother of ten
I was born in Macon, Ga. and have one sister. My father owned his own heating and air conditioning company. My mother was a stay at home mom until I was a junior in high school at which time she finished her college degree and became a RN. She retired after 30 years. My sister is a music teacher in the Bibb County public school system.
We lived in Alabama for 20 years except for a job transfer to Switzerland (aka vacation!) for 4 years. In 2008, we relocated our family to west Texas to start a vineyard. Leaving the corporate world and security of a regular paycheck has been quite and experience and we are loving the farm lifestyle! Since our house in AL has not sold, I have taken a crash course in frugality! I now have a garden, a milk cow and chickens. The girls and I make cheese and get great deals with coupons!
John is my best friend. We met at a college Bible study in Atlanta, Ga. He was a chemist for 20 years and now is very happy being a vintner grape farmer). He is an amazing man with a “can do” attitude. He built our home which is almost 5000 sq. ft. near Mobile, Al, himself and when it sells is looking forward to doing another house to overlook our vineyard. He is the type of man to have a large family with. He is always available to do what needs to be done from playing to changing diapers (the cloth kind!).
Why The Decision to Have a Large Family?
Before I met John, I thought 4 children constituted a large family. Since he is number ten of twelve children, my idea of “large” changed when we met. When we were first married, we had a number in mind of how many children we wanted, but as we began having them, we realized what a blessing they are. We did not want to limit His blessing. I think, if I can trust God for my eternal salvation, I should be able to trust Him with the number of children I should have. That said, I think sometimes people look at a large family and just assume it happened easily when that is not always the case! Each child is definitely a miracle!
We have 7 boys and 3 girls. The boys ages are 24 yrs, 22 yrs, 16 yrs, 12yrs, 9 yrs, 7 yrs and 4yrs. The girls ages are 19yrs, 14 yrs and 13mths. Our oldest is married to a wonderful Christian girl and they are expecting their third child in May. Our granddaughter is 2 years old and our grandson is 14mths. Our second oldest son works with the Border Patrol and the rest are still at home.
Some joyful experiences with her large family
There is never a dull moment at our house. I think the most joyful times are when everyone is home seated around the table at a meal. I look around and am amazed!
A Funny Story
I am continually asked questions such as, “don’t you know what causes that? After our first daughter was born a cashier said,”Oh you can stop now, you have your girl!” The funniest was, “Are you catholic?” Without thinking I blurted out, “No, just fertile protestants.” After thinking about it, I was embarrassed.
Experiences or knowledge has helped her on her journey
Knowing that children are a gift and that God uses them to show me myself. We have lost three babies in the second trimester as well as a couple of early miscarriages. These losses have helped me appreciate the children we have in a greater way. It is easy to take children for granted especially in the throes of daily duties, but each is a special gift.
I actually have two. My mother is first. Although she did not have a large family, she taught me loving and patient attitudes. She was and is a shining example of a woman who loves and trusts in the Lord. Second would be my mother-in-law. As mother of twelve, she had a very active and rambunctious crew which she handled with love and patience.
Her Housekeeping Tips
Have your children involved in keeping the house clean from an early age. I find that if chores are done on a daily basis, I am able to eliminate massive cleaning days. I use a chore chart which rotates on a daily basis, the chores for each child. This method is also helpful when say a younger child cleans a bathroom with less expertise than an older one. It is no big deal because an older one will be cleaning it the next day.
Not to allow the younger child to do a shabby job, but to help as the younger ones learn to clean. Also, this way, no one is “stuck” with bathrooms for a week or a month.
I also try to have a place for each item to avoid clutter. Teaching the children to put an item away in its place before getting another one out, is so helpful in the general appearance of our home. I guess it all boils down to getting the children involved with the cleaning because if they must help clean, they are not so quick to make a mess.
Favorite Scripture Verse
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens you.”
Favorite Family Meal
8-10 c grated cheese (comb of Appenzeller, Swiss, Monterrey Jack, Muenster – I pick 1 sharp and 1 mild variety)
2 c white wine
2 tsp corn starch dissolved in a small amount of cherry liquor
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
ground pepper and garlic powder to taste
Mix cheese and white wine in fondue pot and heat over medium heat stirring constantly with a figure 8 motion until a smooth and creamy. This should take at least 10 – 15 min. Add the corn starch dissolved in cherry liquor as a binder as well as the lemon juice. Let the fondue simmer for another 10 min. stirring constantly. Add pepper and garlic powder to taste. Move fondue pot to table over a small burner to keep it warm. Dip bite size bread pieces into the hot cheese and enjoy.
** A longer cooking time helps the fondue to be smooth rather than stringy.
Favorite Family Dessert
Chocolate Bar Cake
1 box chocolate cake mix (I use the Homemade Chocolate cake recipe from here)
1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1 c powdered sugar
1/2 c sugar
10 (1.5 oz) milk chocolate candy bars with nuts
1 (12oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
Prepare came mix according to directions. Pour into 3 greased 8″ round pans.
Bake at 325F for 20-25 min. or until a fork comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 min. Remove from pans and cool completely.
Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and sugar at medium speed with mixer until creamy.
Chop 8 candy bars finely. Fold cream cheese mixture and chopped candy into whipped topping.
Spread icing between layers and on top and sides. Chop remaining 2 candy bars and sprinkle half over the top and press the remainder into the sides of the cake.
I blog at http://myculturedpalate.com about our family’s adventure from the carefree life in Alabama (paycheck) to the exciting life of starting a vineyard in Texas (no paycheck yet) including frugal living, homeschooling, farm life, cheese making, recipes…..