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


Blog Archive

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!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - February 1, 2010

I have a new way to save money on the grocery budget: Have everyone in the family get sick over the course of a week. No one wants to eat, and when you do cook, one dinner can be stretched over 2 or 3 meals!

A nasty tummy bug hit our home last Monday and hasn't quite let go yet. On the up side, Bryan got to spend some extra time at home, and our week's activities rapidly dropped off the schedule.

Here is what I have planned to serve for the week. The actual menu may run much closer to chicken soup and jello!

Monday - Baked French Toast, Sausage

Tuesday (Mom's Meeting, Horse Judging) - Chicken Barley Soup, Crackers, Veggies

Wednesday (AWANA) - Cold Cuts Sandwiches, Popcorn

Thursday - Cheesy Sausage Penne

Friday - Bible Study

Saturday - Beef & Bean Crescent Pie

Find more menus at orgjunkie.com. Our menus for the year can be found at our website. Breakfast menu is here; Lunch is here. What's on your menu this week?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Recipe - Sausage Braid, One of our Favorites!

This is one of our all-time favorite recipes! We are up to making at least 3 braids for dinner unless the sides are really substantial. It goes together especially quickly if the sausage has been browned ahead of time.

Sausage Brunch Braid

12 ounces bulk pork sausage
½ cup chopped onion
¼ cup chopped celery
¼ cup chopped green pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pkg (3oz) cream cheese, cubed
2 Tbs. chopped green onion tops
2 Tbs. minced fresh parsley
1 (8oz) tube refrigerated crescent rolls
1 egg, lightly beaten

In a skillet, cook sausage, onion, celery, green pepper and garlic until meat is no longer pink and the vegetables are tender; drain. Add cream cheese, green onion and parsley. Cook and stir over low heat until cheese is melted; set aside. Unroll crescent dough on a greased baking sheet; press perforations together. Roll into a 12 x 10 inch rectangle. Spoon sausage mixture to within 3“ of long sides and 1” of ends. On each long side, cut ¾“ wide strips 3” into the center. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle, forming a braid. Brush dough with egg. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Stumpf Notes: I find that 1 lb. of sausage and 8 oz. cream cheese makes 2 braids. I often omit the veggies and just use the sausage, garlic, and cream cheese for filling. Yummy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

WFMW - Training for Crib Time

Several months ago in my Room Time post, I alluded to Crib Time. Now that Hunter has given up his morning nap (sniff, sniff), he is now a member of the Room Time/Crib Time Club.

Every school morning for 30-45 minutes, the three youngest children have alone time in their rooms while the rest of us read history and fold laundry. The preschool girls select a special toy. I usually give Hunter a stack of board books and sometimes one of those annoying vTech toys.

We started him at about 15 minutes and quickly moved to 30. Now he'll play for up to 45 minutes without complaint.

The benefit beyond getting some uninterrupted school work done, is that I can put him in his crib at other times when I need the toddler contained (think getting ready for church, making dinner, etc.).

I don't have unscheduled Crib Time more than a couple times per week because I don't want him to realize that I'm trying to get him out of the way for a couple minutes. Plus, I don't ever want him to see his bed as a punishment. I tell him excitedly that "It's time for Crib Time!" Making sure he has plenty of safe things to look at, I can leave him for a few minutes to get some things done.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Character Building DVDs

Our family has been very blessed by the character building DVDs by S.M. Davis. We've watched them through several times with the children, both as a family and in our Bible Study that we host every week.

The older children are especially impacted by the Biblical truths presented and have strove to make improvements in their own lives.

Influence of Older Children on Younger Ones
A key to dealing with rebellion in a 2nd born is for the 1st born to understand the power of his influence & his responsibilities in relation to younger siblings. The 2nd born must also understand this with the 3rd, etc. This message ends with three moving illustrations of the powerful influence of older children on younger ones. Dr. Davis recommends this video as his most important message for entire families to WATCH together.

What to Expect From a 12 Year Old
Teen problems come from a deficiency in earlier character development. Using the Bible passage Luke 2:41-52, Dr. Davis points out 7 key character qualities seen in Jesus at age 12. He tells how important it is that we teach these same qualities to our children by the age of 13. If you've ever wondered what to expect from your children, this is your answer.

Why Satan Wants the 1st Born
Most rebels both in the Bible & in our time are 1st borns. Do you know why Pastors and Christian leaders have three times as much difficulty training their 1st borns? Do you know the consequences of not giving God the 1st things? Do you know the blessings 1st borns may expect who give their lives to God? Entire families should watch this video, but especially parents and their 1st born children.

Monday, January 25, 2010

...There were never such devoted sisters

These two are best friends! Well... most of the time!

The other day while I was using the blender, they came up with their own hearing protection.

I couldn't resist snapping a shot of this sweet moment!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - January 25, 2010

Is anyone else as shocked as I am that this is the last week in January? I'm not even used to writing 2010 yet!

Our weekend was both very happy and very sad. We celebrated Heidi's 3rd Birthday while dealing with a barn crisis. The pony that we board for our neighbor and Meghan's best friend coliced and had to be put down. Emelie and Bryan were front and center in handling Mac until the vet arrived and during the exam. Emelie was steady beyond her years!

This afternoon was brought to us by football! We're excited to root our Colts onto another Super Bowl win in a couple weeks!

This week, busy and eventful, we will be enjoying:
Monday - Waffles and Sausage

Tuesday (Homeschool Group, 4-H Leader's Meeting, Horse Judging) - 2 Bean Chili, Cornbread, Coleslaw crockpot

Wednesday (AWANA, 4-H) - Smoked Sasauge Sandwiches, Baked Potatoes

Thursday - Colorful Ham Strata, Cottage Fries

Friday - Bible Study

Saturday - Cheesy Mac & Dogs, Salad

Find more menus at orgjunkie.com. Our menus for the year can be found at our website. Breakfast menu is here; Lunch is here. What's on your menu this week?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Heidi!

In honor of my youngest daughter's 3rd brithday, here are the top three things we love about Adelaide (a.k.a. Heidi):
  1. She is such a spunky little thing!
  2. She loves to be a helper!
  3. She has such a grateful spirit! She says "Thank You" all the time without being prompted!

After dinner at the Chinese Buffet, everyone wanted to show how old Heidi is now (and now she costs at the Buffet! drats!).

A horsie cake followed by some presents including new shoes, a bouncy horse, and "sock jammies!"

Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

WFMW - Tomato Staking

Why does God provide me with wonderful resources to meet my needs, and then as time goes by I forget about them? The other day, my 2-year-old daughter was raising my boiling point with her fits and outbursts. Just as I was losing my cool, God gently reminded me about "tomato staking."

If you're new to this concept, it basically means that you keep your child with you at all times. Elizabeth has much information at her website and has even written a book.

I've developed my own version of staking that is especially effective with the younger crowd. The child that is acting up most is the one that needs the most attention. (This is the one that you want to send to their room!) They are then with me to help with my daily tasks. Important to note: don't treat the staking as a punishment! Be cheerful about having the child with you, not as an opportunity to lecture them! When they have "found their happy" they can go back to their day.

And that fractious 2-year-old? After helping me wipe the table and sweep the floor, Heidi skipped back to her sister and played happily!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Expectations vs. Goals

So often I let my children's behavior frustrate me when I really need to realize that the problem lies in my expectations. While there need to be goals to be reached, along the road to those goals I need to expect my children to act like children.

For example, our goal is for all eight children to sit quietly in church like the little angels they are. However, I need to expect the little ones to fidget, talk during prayers, and loudly point out their drawings. All the while Bryan and I work at training them in proper behavior. If I go into worship with the expectation that they won't be perfect, then I won't be stressed when they meet my expectations.

Goals are the big picture that we're always working toward. Along the way, when things are still a little messy, keep the expectations grounded in reality.

Monday, January 18, 2010

This is just so wrong

The poor boy just needed to go to bed, but we were all to enthralled by the book Bryan was reading to us to do the responsible thing. So Emelie tried to distract Hunter by putting him in a leotard. Wrong, very wrong!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - January 18, 2010

Yesterday we spent the morning procuring food for the next two months. As one of our friends commented when Bryan posted this photo on Facebook, "That looks like God's Blessing packed into the back of your van!" That pretty much sums it up. The best part is that we won't have to do this again until the Spring Equinox.

For dinner this evening, I roasted about 15 lbs. of ham to use over the next couple months. Now I'm trolling for some great prices on hamburger and chicken.

This week the Stumpfs will be enjoying:
Monday - Stumpf Chili, Cornbread

Tuesday (Horse Judging) - Coney Dogs, Fries

Wednesday (Bryan Night Meeting, AWANA) - Chicken Nuggets, Popcorn

Thursday - Bean Burritos

Friday (Heidi's Birthday!!!) - Bible Study

Saturday - Homemade Pizza

Find more menus at orgjunkie.com. Our menus for the year can be found at our website. Breakfast menu is here; Lunch is here. What's on your menu this week?

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Skirt for Tough Chicks

Emelie found this skirt in Sew What! Fleece and just had to have it. She loved the contrast of a twirly skirt with a ruffle made out of tough, camouflage fabric.

I didn't use fleece, at her request, because she wanted a more year-round garment. If I had, it would have been even quicker since many of the edges could have been left unfinished. Even still, it only took me a couple hours to put it together.

Here she is, really not wanting her photo taken!

This is a poor shot of the godet in the back which adds more fullness to the skirt.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Recipe - Sweet Sausage & Beans

This meal was a snap to throw into the crockpot on a busy day and have ready to go by dinner. Served with some bread I had pulled out of the freezer, it was quite a hit!

Sweet Sausage & Beans

1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups frozen lima beans, thawed
2 cups frozen cut green beans
1 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 (16 ounce) can baked beans
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon prepared mustard

In a slow cooker, layer carrots, onion, lima beans, green beans, sausage and baked beans. Combine ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar and mustard; pour over beans. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or until vegetables are tender. Stir before serving. 4 Servings

Stumpf Notes: My crew doesn't enjoy cooked carrots, so I omitted. I could see putting in carrot puree next time. I used one can of green beans in place of frozen. I doubled this recipe, and it fed our crew nicely with some leftover for lunch.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

WFMW - A Picture Doesn't Lie

Thanks to all who posted such great advice on last week's backwards Works for Me Wednesday. A common theme was inspecting the children's jobs. Admittedly this is where I struggle most. I usually have several plates spinning and checking up on everyone's quality of work is difficult. Then when I discover an incomplete task later, I'm not a pleasant mommy.

Lately I've been using our digital camera to help with inspecting. When children claim to be done with their jobs, I tell them to grab the camera and take a picture of their area of work. Then they bring the camera to me. Usually the job gets a "pass," but if not, I can point out areas that need work without leaving what I'm doing.

Nothing can take the place of in-person inspection, but this can certainly help things along. (I do cringe at the thought that, just maybe, everything has been shoved just to the outside of the camera's view. Nahhhh, my children would never do THAT!)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Children and computer time

Since we bought our first children's computer game, about a decade or so ago,weekend computer time has dominated my children's weekends. Even though each child only received 30 minutes of play each day, as the children added up, so did the time spent in front of the 'puter even if was only watching siblings play.

Most of the games were at least somewhat educational and since it was a great way to keep everyone quiet during naptime, Bryan and I came to rely on it. However, we began to notice that even the prospect of computer time consumed the children's thoughts and actions. It was the highlight of their day and maybe of their week.

The final straw came when several children lost their computer privilege, and their world just melted into wails of "what am I going to do?" We pulled the plug.

It's been about six months now, and Bryan and I stand firmly by our decision. The children focus on playing with each other. Ted and Caleb's relationship has grown especially strong, and a mutual LEGO admiration society has developed.

So here's my New Year's challenge to you: Are electronics are coming between your children and their relationships? Could things be improved if you pulled the plug?

A big thank you goes out to Ted who, even though he still longs for his computer time, encouraged me to write this post.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sleep Well, Our World is Protected!

While visiting with friends on Friday, Heidi discovered some exciting costumes in their dress-up collection. She was very excited about her new look!

Here's Heidi with her betrothed (we arranged the marriage the day after he was born). What a fantastic crime-fighting duo!

And here are the lovely damsels that Turtle Girl and Spider Boy will be protecting:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - January 11, 2010

For this week's Menu Plan Monday, I'll give a glimpse into planning the dinner menus for our big grocery trip planned for Saturday. We'll shop for 8 weeks which means the next time I grocery the temps will be above freezing. Yeah!

There are 56 days of dinners. Eight will be our Friday Night Bible Study. Nine will be AWANA which I plan quick & easy like frozen pizza or cold cuts. That leaves 39 dinners to plan and purchase ingredients for.

With my new love of cooking for planned overs, here's what we have:

Pinto Bean Mix (6-8 lbs.)
  1. Bean Burritos
  2. Bean Burritos
  3. 2 Bean Chili
  4. Beef & Bean Crescent Pie
  5. Taco Salad

Ham (15 lbs.)

  1. Baked Ham
  2. Colorful Ham Strata
  3. Greek Ham Wraps
  4. Sliced Ham and Cole Slaw
  5. Sunshine Ham
  6. Ham & Beans

Hot Dogs (8 Packs)

  1. Coney Dogs
  2. Cheesy Mac & Dogs
  3. Hearty German Potato Salad
  4. Franks & Beans
  5. Hot Dogs

Chicken (2 Whole, 3 if less than $5 each)

  1. Roast Chicken
  2. Grilled Chicken Salad
  3. Chicken Primavera
  4. Chicken Barley Soup
  5. Mexican Chicken

Bulk Sausage (3 lbs.)

  1. Cheesy Sausage Penne
  2. Sausage Braid
  3. Biscuits & Gravy

Meatballs (2 lbs.)

  1. Spaghetti & Meatballs
  2. Spaghetti & Meatballs
  3. Chili Day Meatballs
  4. BBQ Meatball Sandwiches

Breakfast for Dinner (once/week usually when Bryan has a late meeting)

  1. Hashbrown Casserole
  2. Hashbrown Casserole
  3. Waffles & Sausage
  4. Waffles & Sausage
  5. Blueberry Pancakes
  6. Blueberry Pancakes
  7. Baked French Toast
  8. Baked French Toast

Clean Out the Freezer (I can usually scrounge at least four meals out of things I've shoved in the freezer.)

That's it! And I can honestly say that it took me longer to type this post than it did to plan it to begin with. With the meals centering around a common ingredient or theme, the cooking time will be cut down dramatically!

Find more menus at orgjunkie.com. Our menus for the year can be found at our website. Breakfast menu is here; Lunch is here. What's on your menu this week?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Bathroom Spruce-Up

One of our New Year's projects this year was to paint the bottom half of the Palm Tree bathroom (the powder room off the dining room). I decided to sponge on brown paint for the very practical reason that nothing will show on it.

While we try to keep this bathroom for "guests only," the reality is that it's the first stop for children who've forgotten to wash their hands before we eat.

We need to buy new fixtures, so this can't be classified as a "makeover," but it is definitely an improvement!



Friday, January 8, 2010

Recipe - Spicy Lemon Chicken

This is a wonderfully versatile recipe because it can be made in either of my favorite kitchen helpers - the crockpot or the pressure cooker! Gotta love a recipe that you can plan ahead for or wait until the last minute.

Spicy Lemon Chicken
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 C water
1/4 C lemon juice
1 T vegetable oil
1/2 tea. salt
1/2 tea. each garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, and ginger
1/4 tea. pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (4 oz. each)
4 tea. cornstarch
4 tea. water
Hot cooked noodles or rice

In a greased slow cooker or pressure cooker, combine the onion, water, lemon juice, oil and seasonings. Add chicken and turn to coat. Slow cook for 4-5 hours on low, or pressure cook for 10 minutes.

Remove chicken and keep it warm. In a saucepan, combine the water and cornstarch until smooth. Gradually add the cooking juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened. Serve with chicken over noodles or rice. Yield: 4 servings

Stumpf Notes: I used 3 good-sized chicken breasts and doubled all of the sauce ingredients. After the chicken was cooked, I chopped it up and returned it to the sauce. This served all of us with some leftover for Bryan's lunch.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hilarious Heidi

On New Year's Day, as everyone was folding laundry during the Rose Parade (yes, our family knows how to have fun!), Heidi decided to practice some of her "After" shots from her stint on the Biggest Loser.

Later that day, she saddled up to ride the range, or at least the living room.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

WFMW - Attention to detail in children, can it be done?

Since this edition of Works for Me Wednesday is a backwards edition, today I get to ask the question!

What is the key to inspiring the children to do a complete job in their chores?

Now I'm not asking for a perfect job. In fact I think my standards are pretty realistic with regards to their respective ages. This is what I'm talking about...

  • When taking out the trash, is it OK to leave the dirty tissues on the floor that were next to the trash can?
  • When cleaning one's bedroom, is that pile of ...(self-control moment here) stuff next to the bed supposed to be there or in the storage locations provided by a loving mother?
  • When caring for the animals, does giving them water imply clean water?
  • When cleaning the basement, is it OK to push everything off to the edges in a little toy/trash berm at the bottom of the walls?

We've lost our cool, taken away privileges, cleaned their rooms with trash bags, and tried not to let it bother us. We haven't been too successful at that last one. Is there a grand tip that I'm missing? Or do we go over that Bible Study on diligence one more time?!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Organizing School Supplies - Part 2

I few weeks ago, I wrote about how the children keep their books and workbooks. Further proving that you don't need a big schoolroom to homeschool, we also have two baskets (one on the kitchen counter, the other on the piano in the living room) where we keep the books that we use in those rooms.

Spelling and Bible take place at the dining room table. History, poetry, and the books that Emelie and Teddy share are kept in the living room. The trick is to be vigilant about making sure that these do not become a junk-magnet for things that don't belong. We usually have a discussion with the children on what each basket should contain.

Kitchen Counter Basket

Living Room Basket

When we start our Indiana History unit in a couple weeks, I'll be creating a new basket to hold the construction paper, scissors, and glue to complete the pages in their notebooks. Not being a crafty-type homeschooler, I need to do everything possible to make the experience smoother for me!

If you don't have a basket the right size, a $1 wash tub also works well! The goal is to keep things where they will be used. Nothing kills the learning spirit like Mom on a tirade because she can't find the history book!

Monday, January 4, 2010

We welcome some new Stumpfs!

Last Wednesday morning our beloved barn cat, Cat Cat, went to the Happy Mousing Grounds. She was discovered not doing well before breakfast and passed away in the lobby of the veterinarian's. She was a great hunter as well as a wonderful personality, and she will be sorely missed!

However, since a barn full of hay requires constant feline surveillance, we set out on Saturday to find the new barn patrol. We found Jynx and Brontë available for adoption. They have quickly become the most popular members of the family. They are currently living in the basement so they can become as attached to us as we are to them. We'll begin letting them out later this week. They don't have much in the way of winter coats, so we'll take that slow.

This cutie is Brontë. She is a 6-month-old grey tiger. Super playful kitten ! Watching her try to run on the concrete is like watching a cartoon character.

This beauty is Jynx. She is a 3-year-old tortoise shell. Very affectionate and still playful enough to keep up with Brontë.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - January 4, 2010

I'm starting the new year in my kitchen by making yet another big batch of granola. Since I'm sunning low on honey, a staple for many of my flavors, I'm thinking of inventing a new flavor. Does Chai Tea Granola sound too gross? I think I'll give it a shot!

I'm so bummed that we have to go back to "real life" tomorrow. Most bummed that Bryan has to go back to work after being off since Christmas Eve. I do so love having him home! However, it will be good to get back to our regular schedule since the flexibility and spontaneity of the holidays has been quite stretching for our little ones. Regular naps will be appreciated by all!

This week, as activities get back into full swing, we will be enjoying:

Monday - Mexican scramble (from the roast I cooked a couple weeks ago), Buttered Rice, Pintos

Tuesday (Mom's Meeting, 4-H Horse Judging) - Sliced Ham (from Christmas Ham), Cole Slaw, Applesauce

Wednesday (AWANA) - Cold Cut Sandwiches, Popcorn

Thursday - White Chili, Cornbread

Friday - Bible Study

Saturday - Taco Salad and Chips

Find more menus at orgjunkie.com. Our menus for the year can be found at our website. Breakfast menu is here; Lunch is here. What's on your menu this week?