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!

Friday, July 31, 2009

4-H Exibits

In a post that only a grandparent could love, here are the photos of the children's 4-H exhibits. We will be turning-in four of the qualifiers for State Fair today. Meg's flowers will check-in next Wednesday. And the adventure continues...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

WFMW - Dirty Rag Game Part 1

When Em and Ted were still tiny, we rented a wonderful old duplex. However, the linoleum kitchen floor had a design with recessed flowers. No amount of mopping would get rid of the gunk stuck in those flowers.

One day, I stripped them down to diapers and filled big bowls with soapy water. I gave them measuring cups to play with and a few old wash rags. They had so much fun playing and splashing in the middle of the kitchen. I washed up the dishes at the sink while the water started to slosh against my toes.
When they were done, I dried the children off and then set to work drying the floor with big towels. Because a decent amount of water had soaked on the floor, all the gunk lifted away leaving the floor clean and shiny.

Check back next week when I'll explain how cleaning floors became a competitive sport! What works for you? See more tips at wearethatfamily.com.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"Banana Slug"

Along the same lines of last week's Tuesday Tip, here is something else we do when heading out in public with our precious children. Several years realized that we needed to be able to round up our children quickly.

We voted on a code word, something that was rather unique so whenever they heard it, they would know to come to the parent immediately and pay attention. The winning word(s) was "Banana Slug," mascot of UC Santa Cruz. Just one more glimpse into the oddities of the Stumpfs, but it's not something that normally comes up in conversation.

For a couple weeks we practiced at home. Bryan even got a stopwatch. He'd yell "Banana Slug," and the children would run from all over the house and line up in age order in front of him. If they made it under 15 seconds, we'd pass out M&Ms (my favorite training tool). I think the record was around 7 seconds.

Pretty soon we were able to try out this new skill in public. It is especially helpful when rounding the troops up after church, calling everyone together to make an announcement, or lining them up to pay at the Chinese Buffet. The funniest thing is how quickly the children's friends caught on. Now we will often have "honorary Stumpfs" in our line!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ripley Has Arrived!

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

We have adopted this verse as our family verse for this summer. We are humbled and awed at how he is providing for all of us. Not just our needs but the greatest wishes of my children.

Emelie has loved horses since before she could say the word. Moving out to this piece of land was done with the hope that she would have a horse of her own some day. Today was that day!

Even better, we were able to share this joy with our dearest friends: Jammers and her family and Meg's buddy, Mary (fellow horse fanatic). Ripley was so patient to let everyone take a turn on him. Even the boys, previously rather ambivalent to horses, were super excited. Caleb put on Jakie's cowboy vest and hat while Ted donned overalls. Then Ted immediately set to work making Emelie a box to hold her brushes.

What an thrilling adventure we are embarking on!

Menu Plan Monday - July 27, 2009

This has the potential to be a very big day for us...Ripley the Horse might be arriving this evening! We spent our weekend between the 4-H Fair and working on the fence and stalls. While we're not done the fence, I think it will hold a horse for the next couple days while we complete fencing-in the "mud lot" in front of the barn. Besides, Emelie will be out there with the horse every waking moment.

Bryan realized that trying to get the 4-acre pasture done was too big a task to finish this weekend. So, in the interest of time, we're working on the .25 acre area directly in front of the barn. Now that we've figured out how to install the flex-fence, it should go pretty fast (although nothing in this process has gone very fast!).

Last night we cut the mats for the stall. That was an act of trust as I would stand on the mat and walk backwards as Bryan would cut towards me with the circular saw. I'm glad that job's done!

Tonight we check-out our 20-something exhibits from the fair and begin preparing for entering State Fair on Friday. Whew! Another busy week when my crockpot and microwave will be working overtime. This is what we will be enjoying this week:

Monday - Chuck Wagon Beans, Cornbread

Tuesday - Breakfast Pizza

Wednesday - Football Sub Sandwiches, Potato Wedges

Thursday - BBQ Meatball Sandwiches

Friday - Bible Study

Saturday - Dried Beef Gravy over Toast, Micro-Fried Apples

Find more menus at orgjunkie.com. What's on your menu?

Friday, July 24, 2009

The pain was worth it!

Emelie, Teddy, and Meghan combined took 30 4-H projects this year. They exhibited in 26 of them. All but Shooting Sports earned a blue ribbon (we have to practice shooting more!) and half earned at least Honor Group. The Lord really blessed the very hard work of their hands, and we give all the glory to him! So here's the run-down for the grandparents and other interested on-lookers.

1. Fine Arts- Blue
2. Floriculture- Champion, Selected for State Fair
3. Foods- Blue
4. Forestry- Honor Group
5. Microwave Cooking- Champion
6. Misc. Crafts- Blue
7. Self Determined- Blue
8. Sewing- Blue

1. Bicycle- Honor Group
2. Computer- Blue
3. Electric- Blue
4. Misc. Crafts- Blue
5. Self Determined- Honor Group
6. Shooting Sports- White
7. Small Engines- Champion, Selected for State Fair

1. Bicycle- Reserve Champion
2. Child Development- Blue
3. Computer- Grand Champion, Selected for State Fair
4. Foods- Reserve Champion
5. Horse and Pony- Champion
6. Horseless Horseman- Reserve Grand Champion
7. Microwave Cooking- Reserve Champion
8. Misc. Crafts- Blue
9. Photography- Champion, Selected for State Fair
10. Self-Determined- Champion
11. Shooting Sports- White
12. Vet Science- Reserve Grand Champion, Selected for State Fair

Emelie's projects were the only ones that received trophies. Caleb helped her out during the awards ceremony. Although I prefer the shot below when she has four hands! I'll get more photos of some of the exhibits in a couple of days. I'm actually going to take a break from the fairgrounds tomorrow, since we've lived there this week!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A post about posts

Every waking moment for the past couple weeks has been consumed with 4-H exhibits and putting in our pasture fence so Ripley the Horse can come home. We're not there yet, but getting closer. Many wonderful friends have come to help out with our family project - we couldn't have done it without you!

The chickens help get the worms out of Dr. Matt's way.

The boys pretend to be posts. They're a little short...

This is what it was looking like as of Sunday. Almost there!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

WFMW - Our Grocery List

I grew up watching my mother shop for the family from a handwritten grocery list that she had mimeographed (remember those smelly blue things?). When I was out on my own, I created one on the computer even long before the babies started coming.

The list is organized according to how we shop the store. I have a list that has Aldi and Wal-Mart on one page, as well as one for Wal-Mart only. (We shopped Wal-Mart only last weekend from 10pm-12am. It was the only free time we had!)

Since it has the items that we use most, I just circle what I need and note quantities. There are also blank spots to write in more unusual needs. I've formatted it so that I can rip it down the middle so Bryan and I can "divide and conquer."

Download my copies at
PeacefulHome.net. Click on the "downloads" tab.

What works for you?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fun with obedience

When we go out, people tend to do a double take. "Mom, they're counting us again." Like it or not, we don't look like the average family strolling through Target.

While we don't ask for the attention, it's a reality, and I certainly don't want to exacerbate the whispers and nudges by having one of my little ones melt down when he hears the dreaded "no" word. (Not that any of these lovely children would ever dissolve into a puddle while doing that shoulder thing that makes it impossible to pick them up! ;-)

As a preventative measure, we often will play a form of Simon Says before we go somewhere or enter a store. "Put your hands on your head. Touch your toes. Hop three times. OK. Now that's how quick you need to obey Mommy when we're in the store." Everyone is smiling and ready to listen. If they start to get off track as we're going through the store, we just play again.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Face of Joy

Ted's long-awaited dream of owning a dirt bike was realized Sunday in the form of an early birthday present. After church we drove to the southside of Indianapolis to pick up what he thought were stock tanks (to explain the trailer on the van).

Imagine his surprise when a trailer with a Ted-sized dirt bike pulled up beside our van!

The couple we bought it from couldn't have been nicer. They even put bows on the bike for us!

He was so excited he was hugging everyone in sight.

Everyone got a turn on the bike.

Back at home, Ted tore up the driveway while the littles played in the puddles.

Thanks, Grandpa, for helping this dream come true!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - July 20, 2009

The past seven months has been leading up to this: Hard work, late nights, temper tantrums by both children and parents. We're turning-in the exhibits for the 30 projects our three oldest children took for 4-H this year.

We dropped off 12 for closed judging on Friday evening. The Bicycle Rodeo was Saturday. Tomorrow starts the painful week of open judging. We'll be at the fairgrounds multiple times each day until Thursday. The fair opens Friday morning (Ted's 12th Birthday!)

It's times like these that it is so tempting to let the meal planning slide. But the reality is, these are the times when it matters most! Thought put into dinner the night before - what to take from the freezer? does this need to be a crockpot meal? - will make the difference between a home-cooked meal delivered on-time vs. a trip through the arches (which now carries around a $35 tab for our family).

That being said, this is what the Stumpfs will be enjoying this week:

Monday - Bean Dish Casserole

Tuesday - Baked French Toast, Sausage

Wednesday - Crock-pot Beef and Noodles

Thursday - Easy Taco Bake

Friday - Small Group Bible Study at the Fair!

Saturday - Franks n' Beans

What's on your menu this week? Find more at orgjunkie.com!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Cheesy Chicken Recipe

In my mind, a marker of a successful new recipe is when multiple children ask for seconds. This dish received several thumbs up. While it loses points in the healthy department due to all the convenience foods, I think I'll keep these ingredients lying around our pantry for nights when we need something quick, easy, and filling.

Cheesy Chicken
1 package (10 oz.) frozen broccoli in cheese sauce

1 package (6.5 oz) broccoli au gratin rice-a-roni

1 C cubed cooked chicken

1/2 C cubed Velveeta

Prepare broccoli and rice-a-roni according to package directions. Combine broccoli, rice, chicken and Velveeta. Stir until cheese melts.

Notes: I prepared the broccoli in the microwave and the rice in my beloved electric skillet. After the rice was cooked, I threw everything together in the skillet.

We doubled the ingredients which made enough for dinner and leftovers for lunch.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

WFMW - Meat for the Masses

As a family we don’t eat a lot of meat. My husband (and oldest two children) would be delighted steak every night; however, our grocery budget would not. We therefore stick primarily to ground beef and chicken breasts that I serve chopped up in rice or sauce.

The best times to buy ground beef and chicken are around the big BBQ holidays: Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day. This past Memorial Day I spent $60 dollars on beef and chicken. The quantities I bought will last us into September. That works out to $15 per month, or $1.50 per person per month.

After I pull out the beef needed for meatloaf and patties, I cook up all of the hamburger at once with some chopped onion. I freeze 1 lb. amounts in freezer bags.

I put some of the chicken raw into freezer bags in meal amounts (2 breasts). The rest I cook and chop before freezing. About 2 cups of chicken works in most casseroles.

Having the meat already cooked will cut down on dinner prep time dramatically. Saving time and money – my two favorite hobbies! What works for you?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Color Coded Children

When Emelie was a toddler, she naturally had her choice of sippy cups. She could chose whatever color suited her mood for the day. Once Teddy was old enough to use a cup, I always found him going after his sister’s. I decided to assign one color to each so that he could learn which was his.

Emelie picked (her reasoning is a funny story). Even at 13 or 14 months old, Teddy quickly learned that he was red, and Em was yellow.

As more babies came along, each child was assigned their own color. At each meal, the table setter places the cups around the table and that’s where the children sit for that meal (You sit where you sit, and you don’t throw a fit!).

Now color coding has expanded to our homeschool. The color that each child is shaded on the master schedule is the same color on their job charts which is the same color for their spiral notebooks and folders. This allows me to know at a glance who has left their work in the middle of the floor.

The younger children have towels with their names on them, but since the olders have worn theirs out, they now have color coded towels. If there is a blue towel on the floor, Emelie is the guilty one.

They have changed colors as their tastes have changed, and there is a learning curve with this. The children adapt quicker than I seem to. There are usually a couple months of, “Mom, that’s not my color any more.”

Geography Fun

Here's a fun way to brush up on U.S. geography. It's not always as easy as it looks!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - July 13, 2009

What a delightful, crazy weekend. We had the blessing of many friends coming over to help put up the pasture fence (still a work-in-progress, by the way) and some just to visit. It will feel strange tomorrow to be cooking for just the ten of us!

Sometime next weekend we will be making the BIG grocery trip again. In May we shopped for ten weeks. By this point the larder is really getting low. We'll be eating quite a few meals that sounded good when I planned them but never jazzed me enough to cook them. Maybe there will be a gem in there somewhere! That said, this is what the Stumpfs will be enjoying this week:

Monday - Ham N Bean Bake

Tuesday - Taco Lasagna

Wednesday - Smoked Sausage Sandwiches, Baked Potatoes

Thursday (4-H Fair Set Up)- Pecan Ranch Wraps

Friday (4-H Project Check-In) - Cheesy Chicken

Saturday - Ham n' Corn Scrambled Eggs, Micro Roasted Potatoes

Find more menus at orgjunkie.com. What's on your menu?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ted's Famous Lemonade

Just in time for the weekend, I thought I would divulge the secret of Teddy's delicious lemonade. We drink this by the gallon when working outside. It beats "Countrytime" hands down!

Lemonade (Regular or Strawberry)

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. stevia (use additional 1 C sugar if you don't have sugar)

1/2 C sugar

1/2 C honey

1 pack strawberry Kool-aid (optional, for making Strawberry Lemonade)

1 1/2 C Lemon Juice

Hot water

Fill a one gallon jug about 1/3 full with hot water. Using a funnel (if necessary) pour in the dry ingredients, then the wet ingredients. Fill up the jug through the funnel (to rinse it out) with hot water. The hot water is necessary to dissolve the honey. Chill in the refrigerator (or freezer if you're impatient).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hunter's Manly Headgear

What is more wrong:
The fact that my son is wearing a purple crown?
Or the fact that he looks so happy about it?

We're Expecting...

...a horse named Ripley!

Emelie, horse crazy since she was 18 months old, found out last week that her dream is coming true. A 15-year-old, bay, quarter horse gelding will be coming to live with us in the next week or two. See more photos of him at Emelie's blog.

We're about to start a new show: "Extreme Makeover: Pasture Edition." Time to get that fence up!

Our verse for this journey has been Psalm 37:4: Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Once again God's word has proven to be so true!

Here is Emelie, with buck-a-roo-wanna-be Jacob, just moments after hearing the news.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Our Fun Family Fourth

We had an wonderful time in Cumberland Falls, Kentucky over the 4th of July weekend. It was our first reunion in five years (we won't let it go that long again!), so we all marvelled at how much the children have grown. Plus there were four more little ones to love on!

Cumberland Falls State Park is truly an awe-inspiring work of God! Thanks to Uncle Jerry, we enjoyed great accommodations, and of course lots of great food.

This reunion was dedicated to our beloved G.G., my great-grandmother, who smiled down on us from heaven to see the family she loved so much enjoy being together.