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!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - May 31, 2010

What a wonderful holiday weekend. We spent 5 days traveling the state of Indiana to bring to life some of the history we've studied this past year. The children are determined to become re-enactors to really re-live it!

We're looking forward to a relatively quiet week at home. Hopefully there will be some serious accomplishment in the 4-H department!

Here are some of our favorites we will enjoy this week:

Monday – Sweet & Sour Sausage, Rice, Broccoli


•1 (14-oz) can pineapple tidbits or chunks, undrained
•1/4 cup brown sugar
•2 tablespoons cornstarch
•1/2 cup water
•1/4 cup cider vinegar
•1 teaspoon soy sauce (or more to taste)
•5 smoked sausages, cut into slices
•1 (5-oz) can water chestnuts, drained and thinly sliced
•1 green pepper, cut in strips

Drain pineapple tidbits, reserving syrup. In medium saucepan, combine brown sugar and cornstarch. Blend in reserved syrup, water, cider vinegar and soy sauce. Cook and stir over low heat until thick and bubbly. Carefully stir in meatballs, water chestnuts, green pepper strips and pineapple. Heat to a boiling. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Tuesday  – Turkey Ranch Wraps, Potato Wedges

Wednesday – Bratwurst Potato Skillet

Thursday - Black Beans, Cheese & Chips

Friday - Bible Study

Saturday - Stumpf Chili, Cornbread

Our menus for last year can be found at our website. Breakfast menu is here; lunch menu is here.

Find more menus at orgjunkie.com.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Recipe - The "Bestest" Oatmeal Cookies - Ever!

Last week I had a big baking day. I made 8 batches of granola, with other things in between as the mixer and oven allowed.

For our homeschool program last Friday I made up a batch of these wonderful cookies. They were sent out from Large Family Logistics about 3 years ago and have been our favorite ever since! I usually only make a half-batch which is still a ton of cookies. The dough also freezes beautifully.

Grab a glass of milk and enjoy!

The "Bestest" Oatmeal Cookies - Ever!

Cream together in large mixer:
3 Cups Butter, softened
1.5 Cups Sugar
1.5 Cups Brown Sugar
6 Eggs
1 16 oz. Jar of Peanut Butter
Mix, in order given, with the creamed mixture. Be careful not to over mix the flour and oatmeal.

3 tsp. Lemon Juice
1 tsp. Vanilla
3 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Powder
2 Cups Flour
9 Cups Oatmeal
Mix in:
12 oz. Bag of Chocolate Chips
Drop by heaping tablespoons (these babies need to be big!) onto cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 or until done. Eat one warm from the oven with a glass of milk!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

WFMW - Breakfast Treat!

The real title of this post should be: How to get your children to eat oatmeal and be a cool mom at the same time! But that's a little long.

When we eat oatmeal or cream-of-wheat on our "Hot Cereal Wednesdays," I've long-since let the children drizzle on honey or maple syrup. The other morning while looking in the too-packed fridge, inspiration struck. Why not let them use up the ice cream toppings that need to move on from my fridge shelves?

They were so excited to gobble-down their oatmeal. Pineapple sundae topping on oatmeal is soooooo yummy. Many liked strawberry, but I felt the color was beyond unappetizing (think raw hamburger).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New storage solution for socks?

Now everyone knows how much I like clever organizing tips. Here's a new one for you:

If you don't want to walk the MILES to the mud room to put away the clean socks, just store them in the piano.

This is what I discovered when I was dusting the living room the other day. Clever. Has anyone seen Caleb? I think he has a job to finish.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - May 24, 2010

One of the changes we've made with the new chore system is to have Emelie (14) cook dinner twice a week. She's often helped me in the past, but now it's all up to her for the whole meal to be ready when Dad walks through the door.

After the first night, I asked her how she liked it. She said it was tiring but better than scrubbing toilets (which I'm now doing in exchange!). I'm excited to teach her everything that goes into feeding this crew: the adaptations we make for our tastes and budget as well as the quantities we need.

This is a short week for us since we'll leave on Thursday to enjoy a weekend of Indiana State History Field Trips! Here are some of the favorites we will be having:

Monday – BBQ Beef Sandwiches, Potato Wedges

Tuesday  – Dried Beef Gravy over Toast, Eggs, Fruit

Wednesday – Pinto Bean Casserole

Thursday- Sunday - On the road!

Our menus for last year can be found at our website. Breakfast menu is here; lunch menu is here.

Find more menus at orgjunkie.com.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The best part of being a big sister to 8?

All the cuddles!

Emelie can hardly sit down without someone climbing on her lap, and I've never heard her complain!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

WFMW - A tool to inspire child labor

In reading Manager's of Their Homes while preparing our new chore system, I came across the idea to buy a little floor sweeper to clean up the tile floors in our house. Bryan was skeptical about its practicality, but we found a little one at Wal-mart to bring home for $20.

It's basically a dust-buster with a handle and floor attachment. It also has a cord which I see as a huge benefit since anything rechargeable always peters-out before the job is done.

What I did not expect was just how popular this thing would be. Bryan wishes we'd bought one ages ago! Every job time (and many times in between) finds children sweeping the bathrooms, the cubbies in the mud room, or going along the base of the kitchen cabinets.

With the long handle off, it is the perfect size for Heidi to vacuum the living room - which she likes to do several times a day! It's the perfect scale for the children to handle and feel like they're really helping out!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - May 17, 2010

I'm having a blast! Working on the new chore system, getting a little scrapping and sewing done, having a few friends over. Whoo Hoo! Summer break rocks!

This week we plan to dine on some of our family's favorite meals:

MondayBean Burritos, Homemade Tortillas

Tuesday (4-H Aerospace) – Teriyaki Chicken, Rice, Edamame

Wednesday (4-H Council Meeting) – Baked Hashbrowns, Peach Cobbler, Eggs

Thursday (4-H Horse & Pony)  – Cheese Enchiladas, Corn Casserole

Friday (Homeschool Share Fair) – Stromboli Sandwich

Saturday (4-H Service Project) - Franks n' Beans

Our menus for last year can be found at our website. Breakfast menu is here; lunch menu is here.

Find more menus at orgjunkie.com.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Recipe - Super Easy Mac 'n Cheese

I was just bragging on this recipe the other day and thought it was time to share it. My children can make this almost unassisted from six- or seven-years old. The best part is that it is made all in one dish! No boiling noodles or making cheese sauce.

Baked Mac 'n Cheese

· 2 tablespoons butter

· 3 cups milk

· 2 cups uncooked macaroni

· 1 cup water

· 1 teaspoon salt

· 8-10 cheese slices

· Pepper to taste

Melt butter in a 9 x 13 pan. Add macaroni, salt, and pepper. Mix with a fork until thoroughly coated. Pat smooth with fork. Cover with cheese slices. Pour milk and water over cheese. Do Not Stir! Cover with cookie sheet (to prevent that unappetizing "skin") and bake for a hour at 350°. Stir and let stand a couple minutes before serving.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

WFMW - Reforming Our Picky Eaters

Over the years Bryan and I have tried every tip out there to stop picky eating and dinner-time battles.

We started out with the very liberal Parent's Magazine philosophy of not requiring them to do more than take a taste of the foods on their plates. We didn't realize that, to a child, sticking one tine of a fork into a casserole constituted a bite.

We read that not allowing dessert made food a reward (a no no in today's food-focused society), so they always got dessert (when we had it) even without eating their dinner.

I went through the very-short-lived phase where I would keep the casserole ingredients separate to serve to the children. What a pain! And they only wanted the cheese anyway!

In exasperation, I put everyone on the Bean Diet. I decided that if the children were not going to be appreciative of what we were eating, I would serve nothing but beans. Baked Beans, Refried Beans, Bean Soup. Bryan and I caved on that one because we got so sick of beans! It was great for the budget, though, and now we happily eat beans all the time!

Through the grace and wisdom of God, we began to consistently implement the policy we use now.

I dish all the food before calling anyone to the table. (This also helps the food cool and cuts out the very lengthy "passing of the dishes.") I dish out very small portions that I would expect a 2 or 3-year-old to eat to every child - large or small. This is what everyone is expected to eat. Seconds are encouraged.

The children are not allowed to say anything negative about the food. Instead of "I don't like that," they may say "That is not my favorite." No nose wrinkling, no "eeewww," no gagging. Those behaviors get another helping.

About age 2.5 they must eat everything on their plate before being excused or having dessert. If they pitch a fit at all, they are promptly excused from the table. Bryan and I don't lose our cool (after all, it's not our problem!). The same plate is seen again at breakfast, and, if necessary, at lunch. It rarely comes to that. They usually snarf the left-over dinner before breakfast, so they can enjoy breakfast with the family.

As a result being consistent, we have much more peaceful dinners. With eight children, favorite flavors vary widely, but everyone eats what is put in front of them. Now my oldest two have very adventurous palates, and almost always complement the dinner provided. What a blessing!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - May 10, 2010

Now that we're done with our regular school work for the year, I'm looking forward to getting some special projects done. At the top of the list is the implementation of our new chore system. Tomorrow, Bryan and I will have date night at Walmart for our once-every-two-months grocery trip. And of course there's always the hoped-for completion of crafting and organizational projects!

This week we plan to dine on:

MondayChicken Stew over Biscuits

Tuesday (4-H Woodworking) – Beef Tortilla Casserole

Wednesday (4-H Council Meeting) – Cold Cuts, Popcorn

Thursday (4-H Rabbit)  – Tangy Tender Chicken

FridayCasserole in the Cooker

Our menus for last year can be found at our website. Breakfast menu is here; lunch menu is here.

Find more menus at orgjunkie.com.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Extreme Makeover: Chores Edition!

We've been struggling with our daily jobs around here lately. I can trace it to two causes: unclear expectations and lack of inspection from me. Deciding that I needed a shot in the arm as much, or more than the children, I recently purchased Managers of Their Chores by Steve and Terry Maxwell.

I've used their Managers of Their Homes book for years to create our schedule, and figured that they would have some wisdom for me to maximize our daily job-time.

I've spent most of my Mother's Day working through some of the steps to create a new chore system. I'm pretty excited! I've assigned jobs that had previously been neglected and been able to distribute the jobs more fairly across the children.

I hope to make our "ChorePacks" in the next couple days and put the program in place by the end of the week. Stay tuned for how it works for us!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Will he turn into a prince, Mommy?

So...Emelie has had a dissection frog in her desk for almost a year (don't ask). Heidi has recently discovered it and takes a sick joy in sticking it under my nose when I least expect it. And each time I shriek like a frightened schoolgirl?!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

WFMW - Get deals with Groupon

While I've been lovin' my Swagbucks for several months now (to the tune of around $60 in Amazon gift cards!), a friend recently told be about Groupon. After signing up, Groupon sends one deal every day to your inbox. Local discounts on restaurants, spa treatments (what's that?!), and play tickets to name a few. Everything is around 50% off!

The Groupon deal-of-the-day is listed in the subject  line, so if you're not interested, just delete as you're weeding out your junk e-mail! It's a quick way to snag a deal that could turn into a date night!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Competition Season Wrap-Up

And now for the final installment of "Look at What My Children Did at Their Competitions!" (At least for the time being!)

For the past four weekends we've had Math Pentathlon Tournaments and 4-H Horse Judging Contests - usually two per weekend at two different locations. It's a stretching time as everyone's perception of normal is challenged.

Two weekends ago Jacob and Ted both completed in their respective divisions at Math Pentathlon Tournaments. (I guess the tournament organizers figure that not too many people have children in BOTH the first and last divisions.)
Here's a shot of what the competition floor looks like at one of the Math Tournaments.

Jacob, kindergarten, competed for the first time. He had so much fun! Win, lose, or tie he always had a smile on his face.

Ted, 7th grade, competed for the last time. Of all my children, he loves these games the most. He goes to all the other tournaments he can as a volunteer. He worked very hard preparing for his competition. Unfortunately, so did most of his opponents. All 5 of his games (which last 1 hour each) were hard fought matches. He knew by the end of his fourth game that he was out of the medal hunt. His final game ended with some controversy, but he’s determined see what God would have him learn from it.

This past weekend, Caleb competed in his math tournament. He goes through the games without getting ruffled. He enjoys playing, regardless of outcome.

Meghan volunteered at Caleb's tournament to be a runner for the score cards. She walked around the gym for almost 4 hours, ponytail bouncing!

Ted volunteered to be a game monitor (a job they usually reserve for adults). He was so proud to be able to help out the organization he loves so much!

After Caleb's award ceremony, we drove an hour to Emelie's State Horse Judging Contest. We made in just in time to see her place 6th in the state, with her team pulling in a 5th place ribbon.

We are so proud of everyone for all the hard work they put into their various pursuits! They all displayed great character and sportsmanship. And the crazy thing is...they want to do it again next year!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - May 3, 2010

Yippee! We survived another April! And as a special little gift, we don't have a 4-h meeting until Saturday! AWANA wraps up this week, and Friday is our last week of school. Life is abundantly good!

The larder is dwindling down as we look toward our next once-every-two-months grocery trips. In planning for the next couple of months, I'm sticking with the tried and true family favorites. It makes planning and preparating so much simpler. But I'm getting ahead of myself. This week, the Stumpfs will be enjoying:

MondayMeatball Lasagna, Fresh Bread, Salad

Tuesday (Homeschool Mom's Night Out - whoo hoo!) – Texas Toast Turkey Melts, Potato Wedges

Wednesday (AWANA) – Hot Dogs, Popcorn

Thursday  – Enchilada-Style Burritos, Black Beans, Salad

Friday – Bible Study

Saturday (4-H Aerospace) – Sausage Au Gratin Potatoes

Our menus for last year can be found at our website. Breakfast menu is here;
lunch menu is here.

Find more menus at orgjunkie.com.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Survival Skills from a 3-Year-Old

When we got home from church, Heidi was, shall we say, reluctant to come out of the van. Bryan came in the house and set the timer for a couple minutes. Then he went back out to see if she had had a change of heart and come in for lunch.

When he got to the van, there she sat happily munching a Pop Tart…a Pop Tart that had fallen on the floor the previous morning on the way to a math tournament.

Bryan shrugged and said it’s comforting to know if anyone were ever to get trapped in the van, they wouldn’t go hungry!