I'm a mom of 18 kids and I spend $2,000-a-month on food and $8,000 on presents – here's how I keep the house organized

A MOM-of-18 who spends over $2,000 a month on food and $8,000 on birthday presents for each child says she loves having a giant blended family.

Desiree Hart-Spegal, 33, had always dreamed of having a big family when she was little and wasn't put off when her now-husband, Chris, 46, told her he already had eight kids.



Desiree already had three children from previous relationships – Maliki, 16, Makaila, 15, and Andrew, eight – and still wanted more.

After meeting through mutual friends in October 2013 the pair had a whirlwind romance and married in July 2014.

They started trying for a baby straight away and welcomed Christa, six, in June 2015.

Now they have Izabella, five, Christopher Jr, four, Lily, three, Heavenly-Grace, two, Elliesiah, one, and Briella who is one month old.

The couple lives together as a blended family with Chris' children from previous relationships – Skyler, 21, Braden, 17, Kaden, 15, Jayden, 11, Sarayia, 11, and twins, Chevelle and Donny, eight.

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Chris' son, Gavin, 20, lives by himself in Spokane, Washington.

Desiree, a joint owner of a car dealership, from Forth Worth, Texas, said: "I had always dreamed of having a big family.

"It felt like my duty to use my gift to have children.

"It can be a manic house, but I stay organized and make sure I spend quality time with them all.

OVER $500 A WEEK ON FOOD

"I spend over $500 a week on food but I try to order as I go so that I don't waste anything.

"I love that we get to raise so many amazing kids and watch them grow into adults."

Desiree started trying for children with Chris almost immediately after getting married – both sharing the dream for a big family.

"I wasn't fazed by Chris having eight children already," Desiree said.

After getting married, Chris and a pregnant Desiree were living with her three children and one of his daughters, Sarayia, in October 2014.

After having Christa and Izabella and taking in Chris' children, the family moved from a four-bedroom house to a 37,00 square foot property to make room for their growing family.

FAMILY LIVE IN FIVE-BED HOUSE

They have a five-bed house, and the middle-aged girls share a room, as do the younger boys, older boys and youngest girls.

Each of the children has a different personality and Desiree tries to match what they like to their chores.

"Christa is so organized so I get her to keep the shoe rack tidy," Desiree said.

"Christopher Junior thinks he is my husband – he is a mini Chris, like his name suggests.

"And then my premmie baby, Lily, is such a fighter.

"The kids are really good at doing their own washing now too – so that helps out with the ten-plus loads of laundry a week."

Savvy Desiree stays organized to keep on top of her family.

"I'm good at remembering dates and I'll always be getting them to tidy up a few times a day, so it is not a mess at the end," she said.

"At mealtimes, I lay out all the plates in lines for the different age groups so I can easily dish out their portion sizes."

The family has two SUV vans to get all the children around on days out.

MONTHLY COSTS EXPLAINED

They spend $400 a month on a Six Flags membership for the whole family and splurge over $270 on birthday presents.

"I don't think there is a month without a birthday," Desiree said.

The family fork out $8,000 for Christmas presents for the whole family.

Now after just having baby Briella in January 2022, Desiree has decided it is time to stop.

"I think we're done now," she said.

"Chris is going to get a vasectomy but if it happens somehow after that again then it's meant to be.

"But it's not something we're planning.

"My baby-making season is over but my grandbabies are just around the corner.

"I love having so many children. We're a perfectly imperfect blended family."

Chris said: “Now I do love everybody’s personality. All their different personalities and watching them grow. It’s my favorite.

“It’s really the greatest adventure of my life. I think of all of our lives. Let’s be honest, I’m beyond blessed."


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