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!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Extreme Week!

Saturday, the McFarland Family of Indianapolis had their lives changed forever when Ty Pennington knocked on their door.

Bryan, Emelie, and Teddy were at the house site Saturday and you can catch glimpses of them on this news report. Ted's in a teal coat reading a book across the street while the family has their picture taken (such a homeschool kid!). Look for Emelie's long blond hair.

Sunday, Bryan and I marched down the street for what will be the shot of the builder and volunteers coming onto the set. Later today the house was demo-ed. Click for that news report.

Very fun, very inspiring, very cold, very tiring. What an experience. Next up - Day 3!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More to be proud of!

This past Saturday, Emelie participated in her second Horse Judging Competition. Emelie placed third, her teammate placed second, and the Boone County Team placed FIRST in the Junior Division.

This competition was great because it was closer to home, but it was much larger than her first one. We are so proud of these three girls! This is a tough activity, but they work very hard - and it shows!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Extreme Makeover Build Team

As I type this it's 11:44 p.m. and my dear, sweet husband is still at work, and he doesn't know when he's coming home. It's amazing everything that goes into building a house in four days for a two-hour TV show. In just over four days, somewhere in Indianapolis, Ty Pennington will be yelling "Good Morning %^&#@ Family." Wow!

Last Friday, Estridge held an Extreme Pep Rally for their vendors and volunteers. Even though times are tough, every one of the vendors approached to donate time and materials has said "yes." And thousands of volunteers are ready to participate.

This is the Build Team with local news personality Kevin Gregory. (Bryan said he's really funny and VERY tall.)

Table for Twenty?

Sunday we watched our friends' children so the parents could have an afternoon date. They had thoughtfully done the same for us last weekend. Bryan and I decided to take everyone to our favorite Chinese buffet to chow down for lunch. We had a great afternoon as the parents to 16 children ages 13 to 6 months.

Here they are lined up in Banana Slug order before we went in to the restaurant. What you can't see are the people in the restaurant gawking at us through the window.

Once we found our seats (at four tables) one elderly couple did pick up their things and flee to the other side of the restaurant. Pretty funny considering our 16 were the best mannered children in the place!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Meal Plan Monday - March 23, 2009

We had an weekend action-packed weekend from start to finish! On Saturday evening, we hosted some of the production team members from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Bryan figured that they travel so much so that they rarely get a home-cooked meal. It was quite a blessing to utilize my full pantry to whip dinner up.

This afternoon and evening, with much help from my daughter and her friends, we made around 90 cups of granola. Glad that task is done for another month or two!

Here is what the Stumpf Family will be enjoying this week:

Monday (Bryan Night Meeting) - Taco Soup, Tortillas

Tuesday (Horse Judging/4-H) - Deanna's Meatloaf (crockpot), Mashed Potatoes

Wednesday (AWANA) - Lunch Meat Sandwiches, Chips

Thursday (Bryan Night Meeting/4-H??) - Ground Beef Stew (crockpot), Fresh Bread

Friday (Bible Study) - Pizza

Saturday (E.M.H.E. Knocks on the Door!!) - Black Beans, Cheese & Chips

Friday, March 20, 2009

Health Food Sale

This month, Amazon is having a special sale on many brands of healthy-alternative foods.

I'm excited because it's time to expand baby Hunter's palate. My favorite first food is the Earth's Best Organic Baby Cereal. It's about $4 per box at Whole Foods but a case from Amazon works out to just over $2 per box. Plus it's delivered right to my door for free!

Another huge favorite is the Annie's Mac 'n Cheese. It's a great alternative to the day-glo orange variety.

See if any of your favorites are on sale!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sisterhood Award

Thanks to Elizabeth from yes.they're.all.ours for awarding me the Sisterhood Award. This award is supposed to be given to those who display great attitude or gratitude in their blog. I'm truly humbled.

Here are the rules for accepting this award:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.

2. Nominate at least 10 blogs who you feel are worthy of this award by displaying great attitude or gratitude in their blog. (I'm going to select 5 blogs, which is what are doing.)

3. Be sure to link to the blogs you nominate within this post.

4. Let your nominees know about the award by commenting on their blog.

5. Link back to the person who gave you this award.

I nominate the following blogs for a Sisterhood Award because they make me smile, laugh, look at things differently, and remind me to always put God first:

  1. Jamers at Doodlebean Adventures

  2. Lisa at Jones' Life

  3. lilmack3562 at The Grant's

  4. Kim at Life in a Shoe

  5. Kendra at Preschoolers and Peace

Enjoy spending some time visiting with these lovely women.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Exciting News!

This morning the world found out what I've been busting to tell for weeks. Bryan's company, Estridge Homes, will be building the home for the two hour season finale of Extreme Makover: Home Edition. This honor couldn't have come to a better group of people! Follow the progress at Estridge.com.

Here's the announcement to the employees (note the handsome man in the green sweater.)

More on the BIG Grocery

From Elizabeth, a.k.a. busymomof10,

I'm sitting over here, struggling to make a 1 month menu!!! Laurel suggested planning by the month as a way to save money on my grocery budget, so I have a big mess out of cookbooks and notebooks and I'm working on it!!! I think I'm being too perfectionistic about it! I have lots of questions!

Like, where did you get those adorable calendars that your menus are written on??? I love those!

Do you buy everything on one day at Super Walmart?

Do you shop at Sams or Costco too?

So, you don't pay attention to the weekly sales ads? I've been trying to plan around the weekly sales.

Do you go back to a local grocery store once a week for milk
and eggs and produce?

Where do you store food for two months?? I don't have much pantry space and store food in my laundry room or under my bed
the way it is!

Thanks for the questions!

I try to work from one cookbook for every two-month cycle. I love the Taste of Home Quick Cooking Annual Recipes books. They have hundrends of quick recipes to choose from, so I only have one book sitting out on my counter. I only try new recipes once or twice per week. The rest of the time I rely on family favorites (like Sausage Braid) or quick & easy (like jarred Spaghetti & frozen Meatballs).

The calendars are just a template in MS Word 2007. Kind of a pain to fill in, but I love the results!

We shop on one day (about three hours spent away from home due to the 25 minute drive one-way). We shop at Aldi and Super Wal-mart. Aldi first, and the Wal-mart to get what Aldi doesn't have.

We only do a little bit at Sam's Club. Most of those purchases would fall under "impulse buys." We only have a membership because their eye exams and glasses are cheap. We sometimes buy their "Take & Bake" pizzas for our Bible Study nights. Those are a great deal!

I don't take the time to plan around the sale ads or clip coupons. I do keep an eye out for good meat sales and will stock up then (Wal-mart meat is pretty lousy and not that cheap). I'll also check out the produce sales, but only go in to get something if I need something else.

Which brings me to the milk & egg questions. Our eggs come from our beautiful flock of backyard chickens. Bryan picks up milk once or twice per week on his way home from work. There are often an item or two that I missed from the big trip, or that I underestimated the quantity, so he'll grab those for me too.

As my buddy, Jamers, said, I am blessed with a walk-in pantry. We designed our own home, and that was one thing of many things we made Stumpf-size. It has our upright freezer and a lot of shelves (but I'm hoping to add more!). B.P. (before pantry) I had a small, free-standing linen cupboard in my dining room for boxed items and stored cans in the garage. Not as handy, but it worked!

Meal Plan Monday - March 16, 2009

We've just returned from the shopping trip and the larder is full. Such a blessing! Having all these groceries to choose from makes me feel like a kid in a candy store. This week we'll be enjoying:

Monday (Bryan Night Meeting) - Microwave Stroganoff and Egg Noodles

Tuesday (4-H) - Chicken in Sour Cream Sauce (crockpot)

Wednesday (AWANA/4-H) - Cheesy Shells, Frozen Pizza

Thursday (4-H) - Roast Beef & Gravy, Mashed Potatoes

Friday - Pizza at Bible Study

Saturday (Horse Judging Contest) - Sweet & Sour Sausage, Rice

Sunday - Dried Beef Gravy over Toast, Peach Cobbler, Eggs

Friday, March 13, 2009

2009 Meal Plans: January-May

I just uploaded the 2009 January-May dinner menus to our website. I plan out our meals 2 months at a time. It saves so much time (both at home and at the grocery) and money, that I can't ever imagine going back to shopping more frequently.

When Bryan and I were first married, we used to shop every week. After the first baby came along, shopping no longer seemed like a date, so we started going every two weeks. By the time baby #2 was born, we had to drive further to get to a Super Wal-Mart, so we transitioned to every three weeks, and shortly thereafter, once-a-month. A year ago I proposed trying every two months, and we've never looked back. Start small, work your way up to it.

The first thing I do when I sit down to plan is to write on the calendar all the activities that we have going on. This helps me to identify the nights I have more time to cook vs. when we are on the run. It also shows when I don't need to cook at all due to Bible study nights (when we pitch-in for pizza) or out of town, so I'm not buying more food than we need.

When planning the meals, designate each night of the week with a different theme. In the past I've used "breakfast night" (a great budget-stretcher), "Crockpot night," "new recipe night," "Mexican night," "quick and easy night," "things with frozen meatball night," etc. We eat our leftovers for lunch, but that could easily be one of the themes. Then I fill in down the column what fits in with the theme. It's OK to repeat! Especially with breakfast night, I often use a three week rotation.

I love to try new recipes. I'm forever in search of new ones that will become family favorites. So my menus are typically a mix of new recipes and old standbys.

For breakfast, we have a set menu that does not change. That way I know that I need to buy 9 weeks worth of English muffins/bagels/toast (Friday's breakfast). I prefer reheating leftovers for lunch. It's usually faster and more cost-effective to make more at dinner, than to re-invent the wheel for lunch. We do keep pasta and PB&J on hand for days when we don't have leftovers.

The our food budget is the biggest expense that I can control. By investing a few hours every couple of months to plan, I can dramatically keep our costs down.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Quick T-Shirt Dress

We are frequently blessed by people giving us clothes. It's almost crazy how little we spend on clothes for all 8 children. When I go through the bags, I try to see beyond the garment in front of me, to see if I can use it in ways not intended.


If a dress is shorter than we like for Meghan (8), I can often re-purpose it for one of the younger girls. My sewing time is so limited these days, it brings me great joy to whip out a dress in just a few minutes.
Here is a quick and easy way to create a modest, girly dress:

  • Determine the finished length of the dress.
  • Cut a T-shirt about 2-3 inches below the armpits (I like an empire waist on the little girls).
  • Cut the skirt off the dress the finished length desired minus the T-shirt length, plus about an inch for seam allowances.
  • Gather the skirt to the T-shirt. Sew and press.

These make the best play dresses, and the two- and three-year-old can dress themselves!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Round of Applause...

This past weekend Emelie competed in her first Horse Judging Competition. The Boone County 4-H team placed fourth and Emelie placed fourth individually. Very good for her first time out!

The team watches several classes of horses compete in different disciplines. They then write their "reasons," or placings, for the classes. They memorize these reasons, which are several paragraphs long, and deliver them orally in front of a judge. It's like a speech competition for horse lovers!

At the next competition I'll get a shot of her in her uniform. She calls it her business suit.

Modest and Stylish Outfit Ideas

modest fashion week

"When people think of modesty, they usually think of dowdy and
shapeless. But, let me tell you, modesty is anything but dowdy and
shapeless! Modesty is beautiful."

Read more over at The Stay-at-Home Missionary.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

What Should We Then Wear?

modest fashion week

Stop on by The Stay-at-Home Missionary for Modest Fashion Week. Joy will be hosting wonderful guest bloggers and exiting give-aways. Prepare to be challenged!

Menu Plan Monday - March 9, 2009

We're gearing up again to do our big, once-every-two-months grocery trip next weekend. That means the menus from this week are slightly bottom-of-the-barrel from the meal plan I created in January.

Below the menu plan, I've posted our recipe for homemade Tomato Soup which we just enjoyed tonight. It is by far, my children's favorite soup and must be served with grilled cheese sandwiches. Heidi (age 2) ate/drank 4 bowls. It's smooth and creamy like Campbell's, but much healthier and cheaper. This recipe makes enough for dinner and lunch the next day.

Monday (4-H/Bryan Night Meeting) - Hashbrown Casserole (crockpot), Micro-Fried Apples

Tuesday (4-H Horse Judging/Mom's Meeting) - Rice & Bean Burritos, corn

Wednesday (4-H/AWANA) - Frozen Pizza, Mac 'n Cheese

Thursday (Bryan Night Meeting) - Chicken Stew (crockpot)

Friday (Bible Study) - Pizza

Saturday - Chicken Veggie Stir Fry, Rice

Homemade Tomato Soup

4 T Butter

1/2 C Flour

12 C Milk

64 oz. Tomato Sauce

salt & pepper to taste (about 2t and 1/2t respectively)

Parmesan Cheese

In a Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until combined. Whisk in milk until smooth and creamy. Heat until thickened, stirring frequently. Add tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Heat through. We like sprinkled with Parmesan Cheese.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hunter's Superhero

I realized yesterday that in the eyes of my 5 month-old, I can do absolutely anything. The all-powerful Mommy!

I can pick him up and WALK. That's amazing! I provide the nourishment that he wants (pretty much all the time) as well as all the loves and cuddles he craves. The toys I put in front of him are absolutely fascinating. And thank goodness I know where to get those dry diapers!

Hunter's 23rd Psalm (My Apologies to King David)
My mom is my hero, I shall not be in want.
She makes me lie down to take a nap,
Even when I don't think I need it,

She fills my soul.
She sings me soothing songs,
She tells me about Jesus.

Even though I'm sometimes really cranky,
I will not be afraid, because Mom is always there.
Your hugs and kisses, they comfort me.

You provide me with warm milk
whenever I need it.
Sometimes my belly does run over
(Sorry about that).

Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of my mommy

So after I came back from this ego trip, I got to thinking...God wants us to approach him like a child - just like Hunter. He wants us to prefer Him to all others, to light up with a grin when we're in His presence. We should turn to Him for the comfort we need.

Then it occurred to me, that as much as I love Hunter-man (which is a whole bunch, I assure you), God loves me even more. He loves me so much that He sent His baby Hunter to die for me. Can't really get my brain around that, but I'm so thankful He did!


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What I Love About My Husband

She Looketh Well . . . Blog

How much are we loving the Titus 2 Blog Party?! So wonderful to be able to share and learn from so many godly women!

Tuesday's challenge was to quickly list 5 things that you love about your husband. After posting the off-the-top-of-my-head list in the comments at She Looketh Well, I thought I'd elaborate over here.

So here's the top 5 list brought to you from the middle of a wheat field in central Indiana:

The Top 5 Things I Love About Bryan:

1. He always lets me know how much he loves me. Even when I'm not feeling lovable. Even when I'm not acting lovable. Always.

2. He keeps me laughing even after all these years. We've know each other about half our lives, you'd think it would get old. Nope! He makes me laugh till I cry on a regular basis.

3. He works so very hard for our family. There's nothing glam about working for a homebuilder these days. The hours are long and the numbers aren't good. Praise God for his Christian company that I know will perservere because of the sacraficial hard work of people like Bryan.

4. What an incredible dad! Just tonight, while I took Em to 4-H, he fed and bathed all the kids, cleaned up the toddler's potty accident, and had time to post to facebook about it.

5. He wants to know how I feel about things. After spending the day refereeing arguments about crayons, cleaning up innumerable body fluids, and matching socks, it's refreshing to have him ask for my opinion.

I could go on and on, but I'll spare everyone. I'll present this last piece of evidence. Just tonight he told me, "I'll do the dishes, you go work on your blog."


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Free Forms!

I love a good form! It makes me almost as giddy as a new Rubbermaid container. That is why I was so excited to learn that the "freebie" this week at CurrClick is School and Chore Charts. Loaded with cute graphics to inspire the younger set to get their jobs done! I'll be printing these on cardstock and then covering with clear Contact Paper (another product that makes me swoon)!

Click on the banner below to download your free copy!


Monday, March 2, 2009

One for Our Book! - Corn Casserole Recipe

I've been wanting to find a Corn Casserole recipe that doesn't start with Jiffy Mix as the base. Trying to stay away from preservatives, lard, etc., etc.

The one I tried tonight received rave reviews from the tough panel of critics. They awarded it the highest honor a Stumpf recipe can earn - a place in our trusty "Black and White Cookbook." (Also known as the composition book where I write favortie recipes.)

It doesn't contain cornmeal and is much lighter than the Jiffy recipe. It called for being baked in a 2 qt. dish. Next time I'm putting into a 9 x 13 in hopes that it cooks a little faster.

Creamy Corn Pudding

4 T butter

1/2 C flour

1/4 C sugar

1 t salt

1 can (15 oz) cream-style corn

1 can (15 oz) whole-kernel corn

3 eggs, separated

Heat oven to 350.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat; add flour, stirring until mixture is well blended. Add sugar and salt. Mixture will be thick. Remove from heat and stir in both cans of corn. Lightly beat egg yolks, then add to the corn mixture. In a grease-free bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into the mixture. Transfer to a 2 qt. greased dish. Set the dish in a larger pan and put in the oven. Add hot water to the large pan to the depth of about 1 inch. Bake for 45-55 minutes.

Come Join the Party!

She Looketh Well . . . Blog

Head on over to She Looketh Well and join the Titus 2 Blog Party. This is a wonderful way to "meet" like-minded women, not to mentioned get hooked on a few new blogs!

The Peaceful Home Blog exists to glorify God in the little things happening in our bigger family. I try to serve my husband by being frugal with the resources entrusted to us, serve my family by preparing nourishing meals and creating warm memories, and most importantly, serve my Lord by taking my thoughts captive to him.


Emelie's 13th Birthday

I've know this was coming for some time; however, I'm still in shock that my oldest baby turned 13 last week. I'm only 23, right? As I look down this new road, I'm trying to suppress the fear and trembling and let the excitement come through. My role is changing from authority to mentor. I definitely operate better in the authority mode, so this will be a stretching time for me.

Now, in a blatant rip-off of a Life in a Shoe idea, here are

13 Things I Love About Emelie:
  1. I couldn't ask for a better leader for this troupe. She pours so much love into the little ones around here, and they adore her.
  2. She has got a sometimes-twisted sense of humor that can really bust me up.
  3. I love her passion for horses that has only increased over the years. This is your year, baby!
  4. She gets things done! Schoolwork, 4-H, chores (most of the time).
  5. We're so much alike, and yet so much not. It keeps things interesting.
  6. She is very genuine and not concerned with externals.
  7. She's becoming a very good cook.
  8. She can always come up with a good reason to have ice cream.
  9. She's not afraid to be her own person.
  10. We can share shoes!
  11. Her intelligence humbles me.
  12. I know I can count on her.
  13. I enjoy spending time with her as her mom and her friend.


This is the delicious cheesecake she made for her birthday cake. (She wanted to make it!)


Menu Plan Monday - March 1, 2009

Well, it looks like things are getting back to a Stumpf-kind-of-normal. My ear's still ringing like a handbell choir, and I can't hear very well. But the show must go on! A huge part of this house's show is food. Therefore, this week the Stumpfs will be enjoying:

Monday (Bryan home late) - Slow-simmered kidney beans (CROCKPOT), corn casserole

Tuesday (Emelie Horse Judging) - Texas Black Bean Soup (CROCKPOT), homemade tortillas

Wednesday (AWANA/4-H Small Engine) - Chicken Patty Sandwiches, popcorn

Thursday (Bryan night meeting) - Spaghetti & Meatballs (CROCKPOT), Salad, artisan bread

Friday (Roller Skating, Lainie Scrapbook Crop) - Smoked Sausage Sandwiches, baked potato platter

Saturday (Emelie Horse Judging Tournament) - Egg Drop Soup, Fried Rice