About Me

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Indiana, United States
Updates on our homeschooling family with ten children, a handful of chickens, a couple horses, three bunnies, and six cats. Visit our website at PeacefulHome.net


Grocery Spending

Food Only

Oct 2010 - $231.39

Nov 2010 - $998.22

Dec 2010 - $340.29

Jan 2011 - $855.15

Feb 2011 - $203.17

Mar 2011 - $916.52

Monthly Average $590.79

Weekly Average $137.85
Our family's website, PeacefulHome.net, is in the process of changing hosting companies and is currently inactive. Our plan is to move this blog over once construction is complete. Please stay tuned for updates!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Super Easy Carmel Corn Recipe

Bryan went out to a concert tonight, so the children and I watched The Tale of Despereaux (eight thumbs up, by the way). I couldn't find my usual Cracker Jack Popcorn recipe, so I Googled. This is so good and super quick. It took longer to cool from molten-lava hot than it did to make it up.

I should have videoed the feeding frenzy that ensued when I placed the bowl in the middle of the living room!

Microwave Carmel Popcorn
4 quarts popped popcorn
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C butter
1/4 C light corn syrup (but pancake syrup works if you're out)
1/2 tea. salt
1 tea. vanilla
1/2 tea. baking soda (I forgot this , but no one complained)

Place popcorn into a large brown grocery sack. Set aside.

In a 2 qt. measuring pitcher, combine the brown sugar, butter, syrup, salt, and vanilla. Heat for 3 minutes in the microwave, stir until well blended. Heat for another 1 1/2 minuted. Remove from the microwave and stir in the baking soda.

Pour syrup over the popcorn in the bag. Roll down the top to close the bag and shake to coat the corn. Place bag in the microwave, and cook for 1 minute 10 seconds. Remove, shake, flip the bag over, and return it to the microwave. Cook for another 1 minute 10 seconds. Dump the popcorn out onto waxed paper, and let cool until coating is set.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Home Beautification

For Mother's Day, Bryan and the children selected a bunch of landscape plants - roses and hydrangeas. Over Memorial Day, he put everyone to work putting them in the ground. I can't wait until the plants start growing!

The "Before" Shot

Child Labor

Everyone working hard

An "After" shot of one of the finished beds

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Modest Swim Wear

Anyone who's tried to shop for an appropriate swim suit for a girl or teen can feel my pain in the process. I thought it was bad enough when Emelie was still in girl sizes, but now I know that those were the easy days.

When she was very small, we were very much "anything goes." As she grew, so did our convictions about modesty. At that point the search was for one-piece with enough fabric. A couple of years ago we started having boys and girls wear swim shirts. A great idea because we are really pale folks. No tanning here - just sunburn and freckles.

Last year we splurged and bought the girls swim shirts and skirts from Lands End. They looked adorable! Very cute and very covered. At the end of the season sale I bought the next size up for everyone, but Em had grown out of girl sizes. Hence, the dilemma.

I was so frustrated in my search, that Bryan even started thinking we needed to start a modest swimsuit business! It is easier to find a covered-head-to-ankle suit than a covered-more-than-the-norm-suit.

However, I think we've finally found the answer. While Lands End does now sell one style of swim shirt in women's sizes (thanks for the heads-up, J.A.), I think we're going to go with
this due to the built-in extra support (along with the extra price tag) with a Lands End skirt to match (free shipping through Wednesday and 30% off). I hope the pieces match! Look for swimming photos coming this way soon.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cream Cheese Potato Soup Recipe

This is soooo good. Chuck the diet and whip up a whole bunch of comfort in a bowl. The best part - it's cheap and easy, too! This one was voted into the family cookbook, so it will be part of our repertoire frequently (at least during the cooler months).

Cream Cheese Potato Soup

6 C water

7 tea. chicken bouillon (I like this kind)

2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, cubed

1 package (30 oz.) frozen hash brown potatoes

1 1/2 C cubes cooked ham

1/2 C chopped onion

1 tea. dill weed

1 tea. garlic powder

1 tea. salt (taste before adding)

In a Dutch oven, combine the water and bouillon. Add the cream cheese; cook and stir until cheese is melted. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, for 18-20 minuted or until vegetables are tender.

Yield: 12 servings (3 quarts). This was a perfect amount for my crew. Several had seconds and there was a bit left over for Bryan's lunch.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - May 25, 2009

This has been such a fantastic holiday weekend. Bryan was a building machine! He planted my flowers he bought me on Mother's Day, built a wall in the barn, and completed a horse stall minus the gate. I'll take some photos soon.

I got a little scrapbooking done and worked around the house. I took many breaks to crochet on my new afghan.

Since we're really trying to cut down on eating out, I spent quite a bit of time this weekend in the kitchen. By far the Cream Cheese Potato Soup we ate this evening was the biggest hit. I'll get that recipe posted. It is so delicious and ready in under 30 minutes!

Here's what we will be enjoying this week:

Monday (Memorial Day) - Cream Cheese Potato Soup, Salad

Tuesday - Beef 'n Bean Torta, Corn Casserole

Wednesday (Bryan Night Meeting) - Waffle Fry Nachos

Thursday - Sweet n' Sour Sausage, Rice or Egg Noodles

Friday - Small Group Bible Study

Saturday - Meatball Sandwich Slices

If anything sounds good to you, I'd be happy to post the recipes!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Emelie's Horse Judging Team

Among the other things that we've been up to the past couple of weeks, Emelie has wrapped up her first year as a member of the Boone County 4-H Horse and Pony Judging Team. It's an activity that we didn't even know existed a year ago, and yet it's as if it was tailor-made for Em.

The team has nicknamed itself, "Small but Mighty" because only three members remained once the competitions season started. This isn't an activity for the faint of heart. It takes A LOT of time and work. However, they finished strong against larger teams from bigger programs. Here's the recap:

Competition #1: Team 4th Place, Emelie 4th Place Individual

Competition #2: Team 1st Place, Emelie 3rd Place Individual

Competition #3: No Team Competition, Emelie 42nd Place Individual

Competition #4 (State Qualifying Contest): Team 2nd Place, Emelie 3rd Place Individual

Pictures from new camera 118

State Contest: Team 4th Place, Emelie 14th Place Individual



It still amazes me how well she did her first year out! Her coach is even talking of a national competition in the fall. And there are colleges that offer full-ride scholarships to their Judging Team. WOW!

By far the greatest benefit has been the boost to her self-esteem and the incredible improvement to her public speaking skills. She is not phased by getting up in front of crowds now. Quite the turn-around for a girl that used to be painfully shy.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Shoes On Time

I've had a couple of discussions with friends in the last week about getting someplace on time. Punctuality does seem to be a dying art. However, since I am, as my beloved husband has dubbed me, "compulsive punctual," we have developed a system to get the crew out of the house and to our destination on time. Well, most of the time!

The key is to stop determining when to leave solely based on how long it takes to get someplace. That is only one factor in the equation. The real question is: How long does it take everyone concerned to find matching shoes, put on those shoes, go to the bathroom, go out to the van, come back in for a book, go back out to the van, come back in from the van to go to the bathroom again, only to go back out and get buckled in? Also, remember that the toddler waits to fill her diaper until just two minutes before departure.

Once you've calculated the time it takes for this Departure Routine, add that to the travel time. Subtract the total time from what time you need to be at your destination and you now have what we Stumpfs call "Shoes On Time."

For example: Church starts at 10am. We would like to be there by 9:50. It takes 25 minutes to drive there. Our Departure Routine takes 15 minutes in the summer (more in winter - coats and mittens!) for a total time of 40 minutes. Therefore the Shoes On Time is 9:10.

That is the only time we will mention all morning. That is what we aim for. When that time rolls around, Bryan or I yell out "Shoes On Time," and the flurry of activity begins. I'm not always (ok, never) even ready myself by this point. But I can continue to brush my teeth during the bathroom runs and shoe hunts.

Bottom line, don't think in terms of "What time do we need to leave?" Decide what time you need to put your shoes on!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Welcome Ghirardelli!

Meggie (9) has been quite the rabbit-lover for years. This year, a fuzzy bunny was the only thing on her birthday wish list.


So, two weeks ago, Ghirardelli, the chocolate Rex buck, joined our family. He was welcomed with more attention than he has ever desired. He is the softest thing you could imagine. Now Emelie and Teddy enjoy teasing Meg saying they'd like a pair of mittens out of Rex rabbit.


Now Jacob (5) want a female for his birthday so we can have lots of rabbit babies. We'll see about that one...


He's already been shown by his breeder at a national Rex show. Next year Meggie will show him for her rabbit project in 4-H.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Heidi the Headbanger

Heidi (2) has recently become enamored with Caleb's electric drum set. Her naturally-occurring mullet makes her hard-rocking tendencies even more hysterical!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Clothing Chaos

Managing the wardrobes for the 10 of us is a never-ending, sometimes overwhelming task. The frustration comes in when the majority of the clothes are knee-deep on the closet floor. And also when clothes are found in the hamper with the hangers still in them. I try to convince myself that Jacob probably did wear that shirt with the hanger in it all day, bless his heart. Surely my dearest darlings would never put clean clothes in the dirties rather than hang them back up!

Changing out clothes for the new season is here again, and this time I was determined to do it properly. I read an excellent post at Raising Olives about switching for seasons and clothing limits.

I first worked on the boys clothes all at once since they're close in size. Then the two little girls. Tonight it was Meggie's turn. I pull out everything hanging in their closets (we hang everything except socks, undies and jammies). I rummage through the clean laundry and pull down the boxes of clothes in the appropriate size. Everything goes to the nook table where I work on it after the little loves are in bed (so I'm not subjected to their opinions/questions/etc.).

I sort everything into piles: give away, too small, too large, just right. I only keep items that I really would enjoy seeing on the children and are in good condition. Four big bags have gone to Goodwill. Halleluiah!

In the morning, the child gets to shop from their piles for the pre-determined number of articles (see below). They've absolutely loved this part! Meggie's been asking for a week to go "shopping." Whatever they don't pick, I box up immediately while the recipient hangs up their "new" clothes.

The next night, I do the same thing for jammies, undies, and swim suits. I still need to work on shoes and Spring coats. It's been a big job the last couple weeks, but their closets are so much tidier which makes for a happier mommy!

Boy Summer Clothing
2 swim suits
3 PJs
5 nice short-sleeved shirts
5 play shirts
3 long-sleeved shirts
5 shorts
1 pair of khakis
2 jeans or other pants
1 pair of sweat pants or track pants
1 sweat shirt
1 beat-up pair of pants for work pants

Girl Summer Clothing
2 swim suits
2 PJs
6 play outfits
6 nice outfits
1 pair of jeans or capris
1 pair of sweat pants or track pants
2 sweatshirts or cardigans

Monday, May 18, 2009

A New Craft Obsession

While nursing Hunter last week, I caught the end of Knit and Crochet Today on Create. They demonstrated a block from their crocheted afghan sampler. I downloaded the pattern from their website, and got to work during some downtime at our homeschool group.

Five days later, I'm halfway through block 5 of 12. I've gotten my buddy, Michelle, "hooked" as well. We're planning to work on our blocks during our playdate this week.

The blocks are so quick and fun. Meggie (9) has even finished one. I just grabbed some yarn from my stash to start, then went to Wal-Mart over the weekend to buy the rest to match. Based on the color choice, I'm thinking it will be a throw for the girls' room. I'm already planning on making several more. The boys have requested one in "Star Wars Colors." Not quite sure what color that is!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - May 18, 2009

We just finished watching our EMHE show. Wow! We're thrilled with the way it turned out. I boo-hooed right along with Bernard McFarland. While watching it all the emotion of that week came back - we could feel how cold we were on that first day marching in and how sleep deprived we were by the end of the week (hence the beginnings of my Red Bull addiction). But I think everyone involved would do it all again tomorrow if we had the chance. Actually, we do! The neighborhood projects are on-going, so we will continue to try to make a difference in the lives of others.

Now that the part of our lives that has been running on fast forward is getting back to normal, I'm going to enjoy more normal evenings around our dinner table. This week, the Stumpf family will be enjoying:

Monday - Spicy Steak Stew, Fresh Bread

Tuesday (Teacher's Lounge End of the Year Dinner for Lainie)- Bean Burritos, Homemade Tortillas, Corn

Wednesday (4-H) - Two-Tater Shepherd's Pie

Thursday - Chili Hack Chicken

Friday - Small Group Bible Study

Saturday - Skillet Beef and Rice, Sesame Broccoli

Sunday - Hamburgers, Cheddar Taters

Friday, May 15, 2009

It's Finally Here - Don't Miss It!

So sorry that I've all but disappeared from blog-land. I'm going to work very hard this weekend to make up for some lost time. I just wanted send out a quick reminder that the MOST IMPORTANT Extreme Makeover: Home Edition episode airs this Sunday at 7/6c. This is the season finale which is airing at a special time for two hours.

From the ABC Website:
McFarland Family
May 17, Sun 7/6c

Ty and the gang travel to Indianapolis, IN, to help a single father of three who started a program that empowered his community's children with books and knowledge.

We're very excited to see how the neighborhood improvement projects are depicted. Bryan has spent so much time working on this. He's not looking for any personal recognition, but really wants the neighborhood showcased. When Estridge first approached ABC with their plan for neighborhood revitalization, they were told "Do what you want, but it won't get any airtime." I believe that by the end of the production week, they changed their perspective!

So please watch and let me know what you think!