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, June 29, 2009

The National Debt Road Trip Video

This clip has been a great way to explain what's going on in Washington to our children. Gotta love YouTube for an economics lesson! I wish my college Macroeconomics class was this clear.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - June 29, 2009

I'm in the process of recovering from my oh-so-fun weekend of scrapbooking with mt buddies. While I completed quite a few pages, I've gone to bed WAY to late over the last few nights.

This week we'll be getting ready for our 4th of July Family Reunion in Cumberland Falls, KY. The van's engine started acting up today, so we're praying it can be fixed in time (and for hopefully not to much $$$).

In the midst of the flurry of packing, the Stumpfs will be enjoying:

Monday - 3 Bean Soup, Cornbread

Tuesday - Taco Salad, Corn Casserole

Wednesday - Chicken Caesar Salad Pizza, Breadsticks

Thursday - Au Gratin Beef Bake, Sesame Broccoli

Friday to Sunday - in Kentucky!
What's on your menu? Find more ideas at orgjunkie.com.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Babes in Baskets

The new way to contain children while letting the TV babysit them.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Snapshots of Swim

Here are just a few of the photos from the swim lessons that have consumed our lives for the past two weeks. The children take lessons at Lawson's which is a Boone County institution. It's a wonderful, family-run backyard pool that has taught a generation of children in this area to swim. I'm always amazed at the children's progress in just two weeks, and they love it! Tomorrow is our last day for this year, and so life will return to "normal."

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - June 22, 2009

We've just had the Yin and Yang of weekends: Saturday was packed with 4-H activities from 8 in the morning until after 5 in the afternoon. In contrast, Sunday had no commitments other than to celebrate Father's Day. Bryan installed a new stereo (his gift to all of us) in the van. He and I even had a late lunch out while Emelie held down the fort during naptime. Such a blessing!

This week swim lessons wrap up, and I'll turn my thoughts toward the scrapbooking crop this weekend and preparing for the family reunion over the 4th of July.

The meal theme for this week is quick and easy! We'll be having:

Monday - Brat n' Tot Bake

Tuesday (4-H) - Oodles of Noodles Soup, Fresh Bread

Wednesday (Bryan Night Meeting) - Sausage Spanish Rice (crockpot)

Thursday - Hamburger Goulash, Mashed Potatoes

Friday - Bible Study

Saturday - Pintos, 3 Cheese Spirals

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Breakfast Challenge

Since we don't want breakfast to be left out (it is the most important meal of the day, right?), here is the "Stumpf Plan" for breakfast. While Joy at fivejs.com was looking for new recipes, we will rarely crack a cookbook early in the morning. This is why routine is so important to me when I'm stumbling around and wondering if it's too early to have a Diet Pepsi.

Our breakfast menu hasn't changed dramatically over the last couple years. It seems that when I do try something new, the outcry makes the effort not worth it. While we do have some variation within each day, the general plan remains the same which makes for easy shopping.

Monday - Muffins, sometimes from scratch, more often from this "cheatin' recipe"
Tuesday - Hot cooked rice with milk and sugar, granola for the non-rice eaters
Wednesday - Hot cereal, rotation of Coco Wheats, Oatmeal, and Malto-Meal
Thursday - Cheap cereal (Aldi brand Cheerios, rice crispies, or cornflakes), granola
Friday - Toast, English Muffins or Bagels
Saturday - Pancakes (from this mix) or Coffee Cake
Sunday - 1 box of Sugar cereal, granola

The children drink one glass of diluted juice for breakfast. We often have eggnog or Orange Julius. They always have the option of making eggs or oatmeal if they don't like what's offered since those are always in abundance around here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Baby Filp Flops

This crochet pattern for Baby Flip-Flops was featured in last week's newsletter from youcanmakethis.com. I was immediately sucked-in. What could be cuter on pudgy little piggies than flip-flops? I downloaded the pattern and by the next day, Hunter was ready to cruise the beach!
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Monday, June 15, 2009

The Lunch Challenge

I spend quite a bit of time rambling about what we're having for dinner, but there are two other meals each and every day that still need consideration. Joy is having a lunch recipe link up over at fivejs.com, so I thought I'd chime in on how the Stumpfs handle lunch.

The vast majority of lunches are prepared by oldest daughter, Emelie (13). During the school year this frees me up to continue working with one of the other children. Now that it's summer, I'm usually trying to get some project wrapped up while Em makes lunch. Although now I tend to wander in and help her when I can, mostly to spend some time with her.

In the past I would plan one lunch for each day of the week to be repeated each week. That made planning for the big grocery trip quick and easy.

Over the last few months I've been trying to prepare enough dinner to have leftovers for lunch. This has benefited both the pocketbook and the ease of preparation. We still stock some lunches ingredients for when the leftover bank is low.

Here are some of our lunch "stand-bys:"

  • Parmy Pasta (cooked pasta, buttered and sprinkled with Parmesan, jarred spaghetti sauce on the side)

  • Mac & Cheese, Frozen Pizza

  • PB&J or PB& Honey

  • Black Beans with Cheese, Sour Cream, and Tortilla Chips (this is always a HUGE hit)

  • Hot dogs (when we're completely desperate)

  • Baked potato platter (micro bake potatoes, chop them up and top them on a platter so each can take as much or little as they want)

  • Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

  • Spoiler Sandwiches (spread bread with peanut butter, top with chocolate chips and marshmallows, grill like grilled cheese)

  • Cheese & Crackers (but this gets too pricey for everyone to feel "full")

We drink kool-aid or Lemonade prepared by Ted (11) or Caleb (7) that is sweetened with Stevia. We try to have either fresh or canned fruit at every lunch. A big bowl of popcorn is usually present, too!

Two yummy recipies

This past Saturday we hosted some friends for dinner. I tried a couple of new recipes, something you really shouldn't do for company, but this time it worked out great. I was looking for quick and easy. Both I prepared earlier in the day and fridged them until I needed them.

Mexican Corn Dip
2 cans fiesta corn, drained
1 can black olives
1 can green chilies
1 C mayonnaise
2 C Mexican cheese (I used cheddar)

Mix ingredients together and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.

This dip is so good you'll have to use a lot of self control to keep from eating it before your guests arrive!

Maple Baked Beans
2 cans (16 oz. each) pork & beans
1/2 C ketchup
1/2 C maple syrup
dash ground cinnamon

Combine ingredients in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 15-20 minutes or until mixture reaches desired thickness, stirring every 5 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

This recipe is great because it doesn't heat up the kitchen. I used 3 cans of beans and adjusted everything else up. This quantity filled a 9 x 13 pan.

Menu Plan Monday - June 15, 2009

What a great weekend of fun and fellowship! Between having friends over for dinner and Bible study Sunday evening, we've been able to cook for 20 people this weekend in addition to our 10. It's been a family affair, and I love the memories we're making of working in the kitchen together.

This week for dinner we'll have:

Monday - Red Bean Veggie Soup, Fresh Bread

Tuesday (4-H)- Flavorful Swedish Meatballs, Egg Noodles, Rice, Broccoli

Wednesday (4-H)- Bean Burritos

Thursday - Colorful Chicken & Rice

Friday - Bible Study or Worship in the Park

Saturday - Baked Bean Cornbread, Hot Dogs, Salad

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fun Videos

Bryan is a master at finding YouTube videos for the children to watch. Since Ted is an amateur stop-motion movie maker, he know that they would love these. The videos have been a great incentive at bedtime, "Brush your teeth and we'll watch Deadline!"

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Do things like this happen to other people?

As I mentioned a few days ago, we're sharing swim duty and driving with our favorite family of eleven. On the first day of lessons, after arriving at our friends' house, I went inside to drop off Em and the babies. The nine swim-bound children were busy getting situated in the van. We were on-time and going well!

When the other mom, Kim, and I got back out to the van, I heard someone proclaim that Meghan (9) was stuck in her seat belt. Apparently, someone had the knowledge that a quarter had been put into the buckle on a previous day and now the buckle could not be undone. Add to the entrapment was the fact that Meg had pulled her belt all the way out so that it entered "car seat mode" and was now tightly pinning her to the seat.

While Kim climbed over the seats to get to Meg (sitting second row from the back, furthest seat from the door), I climbed in the back to asses the situation. We pulled, we tugged, it didn't budge. Meg was now trying valiantly not to panic.

"We're going to have to cut it," I decided. After digging my scissors out of my craft bag, I handed them to Kim. She was understandably reluctant to chop through the seat belt.

Before she began cutting she did say, "You know, our husbands won't understand why we did this. They will quickly come up with many alternative solutions." The belt was cut, and Meg was freed.

As we got into our seats in the front, we laughed and wondered if things like this happen to other people.

And yes, Bryan immediately pointed out that we cut the belt in the wrong spot which will now cost us hundred of dollars to fix. Oh well...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Stumpf Shooters

Between practicing for 4-H Shooting Sports and protecting the homestead from the raccoon that's made off with 7 of our chickens, the children are spending more time at target practice in the front yard.

Bryan picked up some new hearing protection which Caleb and Jacob tried out by banging on the piano.
Ted was not appreciative.

Emelie helped out the "little shooters" with the BB gun and targets from the recycling bag.

Don't go for the striped target!

Bryan goes over pistol safety.

Heidi goofs a safe distance away on the front porch. Note: those are baby Hunter's pants that she found put away in her drawer. Not sure they'll fit him anymore!

Monday, June 8, 2009

10 Stumpfs on 16 Wheels

This year we decided to forgo buying our annual zoo pass and put the money toward a trailer for the van. We've enjoyed hauling out bikes all over our county and beyond on 4-H rides and some impromptu tours. Bryan does more than his share of hauling - carrying the three youngest in front and behind. Nothing like an extra 100 pounds when going uphill!

Ready to take on Turkey Run State Park

Hunter tries out the "Kermit" seat. We've since put him in the trailer with Brigitta and put Heidi up front to help stear.

Jacob ditched the training wheels this past weekend.

Cozy quarters in the caboose!

Menu Plan Monday - June 8, 2009

What a wonderful summery weekend we just enjoyed! This is my favorite time of year – warm days and cool nights. We start swim lessons this week for five swimmers from Brigitta to Ted.

Emelie is teaming up with our friends’ oldest daughters to watch Heidi and Hunter as well as their two little ones. As a bonus, the girls plan to have lunch ready when we drag through the door. Two 13-year-olds and one 11-year-old preparing lunch for 19 people! They even planned the lunches and provided the moms with shopping lists. Makes me a little teary to see good organization in the younger generation!

And in the midst of everything, this is what the Stumpfs will be enjoying this week:

Monday – Ham & Bean Stew (crockpot), Cornbread

Tuesday (Dad Night Meeting, 4-H) – Hot Chili Cheese Dip, Fritos, Fruit

Wednesday – Turkey Ranch Wraps with Homemade Tortillas (Family Favorite!)

Thursday – Ham & Noodle Casserole, Broccoli

Friday – Bible Study: we’re serving Tacos!

Saturday – Cheese Enchiladas, Black Beans, Salad

Let me know if you’d like a recipe!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Streamlined Baby Changing

Hunter currently sleeps in the master walk-in closet, and will until he sleeps well enough to not disturb his brothers. I had kept his clothes near his crib, while his changing pad was on our dresser in the bedroom. This was an OK solution, but it did present problems when I realized a new outfit was called for after the changing process had already begun. And then I had those lovely situations when the outfit ended up so disgusting that I didn't even know where to safely put it while decontaminating the baby.

A few weeks ago we moved Hunter's "closet" into the laundry room. Look at how happy he is about it! Now I can place dirty clothes into the sorting bins and revolting clothes directly into a washer. Sad side note: About 5 minutes before I took this shot, one of my washers gave up the ghost by blowing a transmission. It was unexpected and sudden. We are in mourning. >sigh<

Diapers, wipes, and all his various creams are at the ready. Things stored in tubs are a wonderful canvas for my label-maker!

Bryan installed this shelf to double as a clothing rack. He is so patient with my organizational rampages.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Simple Drink Recipe - Horchata

Since we have Mexican inspired food at least once a week around here, a few years back I went searching for a good Horchata recipe. For the uninitiated, Horchata is a drink readily available in the Mexican restaurants of Southern California (our homeland). Delicious and refreshing!

Little did I know the labor that went into this refreshment: grinding rice and almonds, letting it stand overnight, draining through cheesecloth - not something I'm going to labor through on a regular basis.

Eventually I did find a great recipe for "faux" Horchata. Meghan (9) whipped up two batches for dinner last night which was promptly sucked down by the horde, followed by demands for more.

Horchata Stumpf-Style

2 C Milk

2 C Water

1/2 C Sugar

1/4 tea. Cinnamon

1/2 tea. Vanilla

Blend and enjoy!

This is also great in a pinch when you need to "stretch" the last of the milk in the jug for dinner :-


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Project Complete - Sampler Afghan

Three weeks ago I started crocheting an afghan after being inspired bya free pattern from Knit and Crochet Today. Tuesday afternoon, I finished this fun project for the girls’ room. I haven’t done much else these last few weeks, but it was so much fun that I’ve already purchased the yarn to make another one!

After finishing the 12 blocks

The finished product!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Product Review - Tell Me More Spanish

We recently purchased a new Spanish computer program for Emelie (13) and Teddy (11). It was time since our Rosetta Stone software was the oldest version and we’d misplaced the second disc years ago.

I came across Tell Me More through the Homeschool Buyers Coop. It seemed like a good value, so we decided to go for it. So far, Emelie is loving it. She says every time she works on it how she likes it so much more than Rosetta Stone.
I purchased the older version to save $$. The newer version has different buying options. Check out a demo here.

Here are the highlights:

Covers reading, writing, listening, speaking, vocabulary, grammar, and culture (RS focuses on the first 4). "Culture" even includes geography.

The most powerful speech recognition technology available, allowing you to improve your pronunciation

Most extensive offer on the market with 950 hours of Spanish learning
4 levels included: Complete Beginner, Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. (RS is one level for a comparable price)

Learn Spanish in an interactive and engaging way with more than 5,000 exercises and 37 types of activities (RS exercises are all the same)

Headset included - my children say they feel like airplane pilots

Easy to track the student's progress.

Easy to install. I was even able to network the database.

While it is pricey, I love an educational program that the children are enjoying during their summer free time.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - June 1, 2009

Whoops! Running a little behind this week. I’ve crashed early the past couple nights (an unheard-of event), so my blog-time didn’t happen. Below are two recipes requested by Lisa from last week’s MPM. Hope you enjoy – we sure did!

Beef ‘n Bean Torta
1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 can (15 oz.) pinto or black beans, drained
1 can (10 oz.) diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
1 can (2.25 oz.) sliced black olives, drained
1 ½ tea. Chili powder
½ tea. Salt
1/8 tea. Pepper
4 flour tortillas (8 inches)
1 C (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
Salsa, sour cream, lettuce, tomato, cilantro

Cut four 20 in. x 3 in. strips of heavy-duty foil; crisscross so they look like spokes of a wheel. Place strips on the bottom and up the sides of a 5 qt. slow cooker. Coat strips with nonstick cooking spray.

In a skillet, cook beef and onion, drain. Stir in beans, tomatoes, olives, and spices. Layer meat mixture, cheese, and tortillas ending with tortilla and cheese.

Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours. Using foil as handles, remove the stack to a serving platter. Serve with toppings. Yield: 4 servings

Stumpf Notes: We tripled this recipe (heavier on the beans, lighter on the meat). I baked them in round cake pans at 350 for about 30 minutes. To please the more particular eaters, I pureed the tomatoes and chilies so no offending chunks were present.

Waffle Fry Nachos
1 pkg (22 oz.) frozen waffle fries
10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
3 green onions, sliced
1 can (6 oz.) sliced black olives
1 medium tomatoes, chopped
2/3 C salsa
1 ½ C shredded cheddar
1 ½ C shredded Montery Jack
Sour Cream

Bake fried according to package directions. Transfer to a 10-inch over-proof skillet. Top with the bacon, onions, olives, tomatoes, salsa, and cheeses. Return to the oven for 5 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Stumpf Notes: I couldn’t find Waffle Fries as Super Wal-Mart. I’ll look at a regular grocery store when I get the chance! (Bryan was gone that night so we ended up eating frozen pizza while watching a movie.)

And here is what the Stumpfs will be enjoying this week:

Monday (Lainie night meeting) – Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Tuesday (Bryan night meeting) – Taco Salad

Wednesday (4-H/Bryan night meeting) – Franks n’ Beans, Corn Pudding

Thursday (Bryan night meeting) – Sandwich Braid

Friday (Lainie night meeting) – Sour Cream Beef & Beans

Saturday – Spaghetti & Meatballs, Breadsticks, Salad

Let me know if you’d like any recipes!