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!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

WFMW - Our Spring Celebrations

Several years ago we became convicted to disassociate the world's view of Easter with our observance of Resurrection Sunday. Because we didn't want to have the children feel like we took away a holiday that they had always looked forward to, we just created a new holiday: Spring Celebration.

Spring Celebration 2008 (because we didn't get around to it in 2009!)

Either on the Saturday before Resurrection Sunday, or on any Saturday that's convenient for us (that's the benefit of creating your own holiday!), we have some of the traditional Easter basket and egg decorating and hunting.

Often we've held it the weekend after Resurrection Sunday enabling me to take advantage of 50% off sales! It's also wonderful to not have to cram one more thing in before church services.

Most importantly, we can spend Resurrection Sunday reflecting on god's greatest gift instead of chocolate bunnies!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - March 29, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom! We're glad you came up so we could celebrate your day with you!

We are also praising God that Hunter had a follow-up doctor visit from the drama of last week. His lungs are clear! We can begin to wean him off the Albuterol (no more middle of the night treatments!). He'll be on a maintenance breathing treatment daily for the next month or so to get him through allergy season without any more issues.

The rest of the crew is fighting Spring Fever. Did you hear about the school that had a "Sun Day?" My students are all for it!

This week we will be enjoying God's provision in the following ways:

Monday - Garlic Potatoes and Ham, Rolls

Tuesday (Horse Judging) - Tater Tot Casserole, Green Beans

Wednesday (4-H, AWANA) - Corn Dogs & Chips

Thursday - Black Bean Quesadillas (these are always a HUGE hit)

Friday - Bible Study

Saturday - Sausage Spaghetti, Bread, Salad

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

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Crafting Inspiration

One of my favorite sites to browse is YouCanMakeThis.com. They have something for everyone from sewing patterns to digital scrapbooking to knit and crochet patterns. Best of all, the patterns are downloads. No running to the store to start something new!

Just looking through the fun patterns has been an inspiration to me. The designers have a flair for fabric and creating that "boutique" look. I've based the little girls' Easter dresses on this fun pattern:

These are some of the favorite ones we've made:

These are on the "Wish List:"

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hunter's Hard Week

On Tuesday, my beautiful baby boy turned 18-months-old. (Where has that time gone?) Several of the children have had nasty colds and by Tuesday evening, Bryan and I were feeling it too.

Just before crashing early that evening (you know I wasn't feeling good if I was going to bed early!), I told Bryan, "I bet Hunter has an ear infection by the end of the week."

We weren't shocked when he started crying at 2am. Nor were we stunned by his wheezing. This is well traveled territory for us. We gave him some Tylenol and a breathing treatment and put him back to bed.

At 4am he was up again. The wheezing seemed worse. It was like he couldn't draw enough breath to cough. After trying a couple of things without success, we decided that the only choice was an ER visit. Again - been there, done that.

Hanging in the ER

Bryan took him in and we text-ed back and forth over the next couple hours. At 7am he called to tell me that Hunter had been admitted. What?! He wasn't responding to the breathing treatments or steroids. While Bryan was talking to me, there was a sound like a squeaky rocking chair in the background - that was my son.

Getting settled in the hospital room

At first we were hoping he'd be home by lunch, then by the end of the day. Around 3pm Wednesday we learned that he'd be spending the night. All this time the poor guy was breathing like he'd just run a marathon. At some point the official diagnosis of Bronchitis was handed down.

We called his bed "The Cage." Hunter chose not to sleep there.

Hunter did as well as a sleep-deprived, Albuterol-amped, steroid-grumpy toddler could be expected to in a hospital room. He slept pretty well Wednesday night, except for the every hour-and-a-half interruptions for temp-taking or breathing treatments.

We took several laps around the floor for entertainment

He must be feeling better - Fruit Loops topped with Bacon?!

At 8am Thursday, he was released. He was so happy to be home! We have to continue treatments around the clock all weekend, but all things considered, he's doing great!

Just a couple hours after getting home. Completely wiped out!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Recipe - Puffy Pancake

This is one of our favorite breakfast (or breakfast-for-dinner meals). It makes it's appearance fairly often when our chickens are laying well. The topping possibilities are endless. Our favorites are fried apples (or a can of apple pie filling in a pinch), cheese sprinkled with sugar, cinnamon sugar, or maple syrup. This recipe is a quadruple batch of the original which was made in a cast-iron skillet. Scale it to your family's needs!

Puffed Oven Pancake
Makes 2-13 x 9 dishes
4 Tbl. Butter
12 Eggs
2 C Milk
2 C Flour
1 tea Salt

Melt 2 Tbl. butter in each 13 x 9 dish. Tilt pan to coat the bottom. Mix the remaining ingredients in a blender (I have to do mine in 2 batches). Pour into pans. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. They look crazy when they are done - that's part of the charm!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Beautiful Chicken Stock

One of the projects my mom and I undertook (in truth, she did all the dirty work - what a mom!) this past week was to investigate and make chicken stock.

Google "health benefits of chicken stock," and you'll get volumes of information. Or just read "Broth is Beautiful." The bottom line is that chicken stock is every bit as good for you as Grandma always said. It's great for colds, healing to the gut, and the list goes on...

The first thing I educated myself on was the difference between stock and broth. Broth is made from cooking the meat in water. Stock is boiling the carcass or bones slowly with vegetables and spices. The goodness in the bones and cartilage is what produces the benefits of stock. I have a bag of broth in my freezer from boiling some chicken breasts. It looks pale as water compared to the stock we made.

We roasted three chickens (because I wanted LOTS of meat). After Mom picked them clean, we put one in the crockpot (with a steamer basket on the bottom for easy removal) and two in a stockpot. Throw in some veggies (washed, not peeled), bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Cover with water.

We cooked the stock pot birds for about 4 hours. The crockpot was on low for 8-10. Strain, bag, freeze. We found that 4 cups in a quart-sized baggie was a manageable size.

Now we're looking forward to some savory and healthy soups over the next couple months!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Now Serving...

A Bowl of Cuteness!

Unlike a previous Hunter photo, this was completely his idea. He brought the bowls out of the pantry and climbed inside. Priceless!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - March 22, 2010

Ohhh, how fickle the weather can be. Last week we delighted in warm temperatures. The children escaped outside whenever they could - horse rides for everyone, new forts created in the woods, remembering how to ride a bike, kissing gravel as the bike crashes. Good times, good times. But now, we're shivering again. The children flew out the door this morning to church, only to clomp back in for their coats.

Heading into the homestretch of our school year. Only 7 weeks (or so) left! Time to start planning all the home improvement projects to complete over the summer. Most will be pushed aside to make room for those other projects - 4-H projects! But it's always fun to daydream about those warmer, more relaxing (?!) days to come.

This week we will be feasting on:

Monday - Roast Beef w/ Gravy (leftovers will be frozen then used later in Stroganoff and BBQ Beef Sandwiches), Mashed Potatoes

Tuesday (Homeschool Group, Horse Judging) - Chili Day Meatballs, Rice, Green Beans

Wednesday (4-H, AWANA, Council Meeting) - Chicken Patty Sandwiches & Popcorn

Thursday - Nachos with Taco Meat and Black Beans

Friday - Bible Study

Saturday - Pork w/ Apricot Sauce (leftovers will be used later in Chili Verde), Rice

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

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Congrats Em!

Today, in her first horse judging competition as a "senior," Emelie placed 2nd! Quite the accomplishment considering this is only her second year on the team, and she was competing against high-schoolers. Way to go! We're so proud, Emelie! Read about the day in her words at HorseLovers Life.

And while my lovely daughter was working so hard, my mom and I went shopping at Joann Fabrics (ahhhhh - angels singing). I bought the fabric for the girls' Easter dresses. A little late, I know, but the California trip set me back a bit in the sewing plans.

After throwing together outfits from our stash last year, I was determined to make new this year. (Might be regretting this decision around 10pm on Easter Eve!)

The chocolate and aqua fabrics on the right are for the four girls' dresses and skirts. While I was there, I just had to pick up a little something for me - that's the green and chocolate prints. They were just begging to be made into a new purse. How could I say no?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

WFMW - Ode to the over-the-door shoe holder

On our recent crazy road trip we so appreciated the over-the-door shoe holder for toiletries, I thought it deserved another post.

Since, for nine nights, we never stayed in the same place twice, we needed to be able to unpack and repack quickly. I loaded the shoe holder with our toiletries before we left, and folded it into the top of out swimsuit/jammies bin that went into the hotel with us every night.

At night we would carefully unfold the holder and hang it on the bathroom door. We used it to hold my make-up, toothbrushes, medicines, and hair styling tools and products. It was also a great place to stick things, even temporarily, that we wanted to make sure we didn’t forget. It kept the bathroom counters tidy, too, which you know makes me happy!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thinking Outside the Van - Travel Food

Spending 10 days driving around makes feeding this crew a challenge. Most of the time our breakfasts were included with our hotel room. (Think Plague of Locusts when you picture 10 hungry Stumpfs coming into the continental breakfast room.)

We naturally wanted to avoid “the arches” as much as possible. Never mind the taste, it costs us around $35 to drive through these days. I think we stopped once on the way out and once on the way back. (Funny side story: The counter worker in the Elk Grove, OK, McDonalds thanked us for the experience after filling our large order.)

Since this army definitely marches on its stomach, providing three squares a day was an important part of my job on this trip. A smart phone and Google maps were my constant companion.

Several times we found a Walmart. After visiting their "facilities," walking around the store would provide a stretch break. We’d pick up meat and cheese in the deli and a couple boxes of crackers.

While Bryan would gas up the van, I’d make one baggie of crackers, meat, and cheese for each row of the van. (Think “Lunchables” on a much larger scale.) The crackers could get crumbly, but overall it was a clean, on-the-go meal for around $15 total. String cheese was the biggest hit since we don’t have that very often.

One day we called ahead to a Pizza Hut down the highway. We picked up two large pizzas for $20 (planning ahead with coupons would have lowered the total - drat!). Since most of my crew likes cheese pizza without sauce (crazy, I know!), this was also a clean meal.

Pizza in Rolla, MO

The biggest hit was the evening in New Mexico that we decided to get Dairy Queen Blizzards for dinner. Think about it - if you plan properly, you can get several food groups into a Blizzard! And I have a friend that says that chocolate is her favorite vegetable because cocoa is a bean. I can get behind that!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Scenes from the California Road Trip 2010

Here are just a couple of shots from our trip. The photos are spread out between 2 cameras and Bryan's phone, so I'm working to pull them all together.

The deluxe traveling accommodations

Cool, 198 ft. cross in Effingham, IL

At a rest area in Illinois. I call this one "Sorry about your luck!"

At the Route 66 Casino in New Mexico. They're shivering because we just ate Blizzards for dinner!

The locals said it was freezing, but Southern California felt pretty good to us!

Proof that we were getting a little punchy toward the end!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - March 14, 2010

We made it back home late last night. Just in time for Daylight Savings Time, so we get the benefit of adjusting to a 4-hour time change from California! Our body clocks are so messed up. We slept until after 10 this morning (unheard of!). The little ones are just now drifting off to sleep 2 hours after their normal bedtime. This could be an interesting week!

As wonderful as it sounds to have some lazy days, we jump back into our busy schedule of 4-H meetings. March and April are our busiest months, and this week is no exception! It was such a relief to have my dinners planned out for me as we try to get back in the swing of things. I'm starting to plan for the next two months in anticipation of our big grocery trip next weekend.

This week we will be enjoying:

Monday - Biscuits & Gravy, Fruit, Eggs

Tuesday (Horse Judging, 4-H) - Nachos

Wednesday (4-H, AWANA) - Chicken Nuggets & Popcorn

Thursday (4-H) - Stumpf Chili, Cornbread

Friday - Ham & Bean Soup, Hushpuppies, Veggies

Saturday (Judging Contest, 4-H) - Chicken Primavera

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, March 12, 2010

Hello again from New Mexico

Just like my last post, I'm in New Mexico. Quite a bit has happened in the past couple days:

  • We made it to California

  • Spontaneously located (via Facebook) and met up with some old friends in Rancho Cucamonga

  • Mom went back in the hospital

  • Spent time with family in Laguna Niguel and San Diego

  • Mom was released from the hospital!!!

  • Attended a lovely service for Bryan's grandmother

  • Drove 706 miles out of California today to end up here!
Everyone's looking and feeling a little road weary. We haven't spent two nights in the same place since we left last Wednesday. Today, especially, the children seemed done with this adventure. After all, the only thing to look forward to when they got up this morning was a whole lot of driving through the desert.

Bryan and I are trying extra hard to keep positive attitudes and cheerful countenances. Overall, the children have been troopers! We only stopped three times today with over 12 hours on the road.

I must admit that Bryan and I did get a little punchy that last hour on the road. Suddenly 80's songs have never been so funny, Bryan's finding deep meaning in road signs, and Jamers' Facebook comments have me almost squirting Monster through my nose. Good times, good times.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Sigh of Relief

Greetings from Grants, New Mexico! A little tired today. Being the middle day, we lacked the excitement of leaving or arriving. Tomorrow, I'm sure everyone will be fired up to get to California. In all the children have been fantastic travelers!

My mom was released from the hospital this evening. She sounded so happy to be home! The surgeon told her, "I don't know what you did, but the blockage is gone." I know something he doesn't - That God's people from all over came together to pray for my mom, and the blockage didn't stand a chance.

I am moved and humbled by everyone's support here, on Bryan's Facebook account, and through email. I felt surrounded by love even as I sped down the highway. Thank you for all your prayers and kind words!

Tomorrow, we land among family in Southern California. The last time we visited, Jacob (the cute reddish-haired one in the middle) was only 3 months old. Babies #6, 7, & 8 weren't even on the radar. Things have changed a bit!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Can I ask for a few more prayers?

We made it to Tulsa, Oklahoma tonight. There are wall-to-wall sleeping bodies in our hotel room. A few snorers make it seem like a bit of a bear cave!

I found out about half-way through Missouri that my mom has been hospitalized since Tuesday with abdominal pain. She had been so incapacitated that she hadn't even been able to call me. We've spent the rest of the day agonizing over what to do.

If she needs surgery, I'll return home as soon as I can. Naturally, we're praying that surgery won't be necessary. I want to be with my Mama, but would hate to leave Bryan to drive on with the children.

I need some prayer warriors to pray for healing for my mom and guidance for me - and quick!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

California here we come!

The Blue, Enormous Van (BEV) pulls out bright and early tomorrow morning headed for our childhood homeland of Southern California. We're hoping to be in Tulsa OK by Thursday evening, Grants NM by Friday, and Whittier CA on Saturday. If I have the opportunity to blog on the road, I will. Otherwise, I'll be back around the 14th.

God Bless!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Planes, Trains, and Big Blue Vans

When I cooked up the harebrained (as my husband called it) idea for our whole family to head to California for his Grandmother's funeral, I thought the concept would be pretty straightforward - Get in the van, drive as many hours per day as possible, arrive in California.

Yesterday, the opportunity to fly (yes, all 10 of us) became available. Shift gears, new plan. Now to find a flight from here to there that didn't cost as much as our farm and didn't leave or arrive around midnight.

Four hours later, still looking. Plus we need to rent a 15-passenger van at our destination. Note: Avis & Friends say they do that, but not where we're going.

Finally - success! A flight leaving mid-day that arrives around bedtime. Very do-able!

Wait! Before we confirm lets look at the seating arrangement so we can see what configuration we're getting into. Hmmmmm, what do those different symbols mean? Wait a minute! The little people icon means the seat is taken! There are only 11 empty seats on the entire plane?!

While the thought of walking down the aisle depositing children as we went made Bryan and I double-over with laughter, something tells me that we might be back to driving!