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!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Another great kitchen idea

When I was poking around looking for trash can solution, I also came across this video as a way to store pot lids. I have the perfect cabinet where I can fit two racks. Another item for the Lowe's list....

Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Projects 2012

Traditionally, Bryan and I try to tackle a home improvement project over the New Year's holiday. It's a way to get one resolution checked off the list right away. Past projects can be seen here and here.

This year we've got a three-day-weekend to fill, so we're thinking big with the paint brush. Finishing up painting the kitchen and hopefully moving into the dining room.

I put one more thing on Bryan's plate tonight...The trash situation in our kitchen. In the six years we've lived here, we've never had a great solution for the trash can. I've long wanted to hide it in a cabinet, but it keeps getting pulled out to migrate around the kitchen as we need it.

Tonight, via the wonder that is google, I found this video. We're going to modify it a bit since we already have a rolling shelf inside the cabinet, but I think this is what I've been looking for! Excited!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Emelie's First Step Toward College

I'm sitting in the campus library at Indiana Tech while my 15-year-old baby is down the hall taking her first CLEP test. A passing grade will get her 6 English credit hours toward her degree in history.

She wants to have a Bachelor's Degree by the time she graduates from high school, but I'm pretty sure she should still be in pigtails wearing a tutu holding her beloved Barney!

Making this experience more surreal is the fact that we're expecting another blessing in May, need to potty train one boy, have another child needing a razor, and pretty much everything in between. Never dull!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Tradition - Christmas Campout

This past weekend we were able to participate in one of our newer Christmas Traditions - the Christmas Campout. It's one of those little things that really make the season special for the children.

On a weekend before Christmas, everyone brings their blankets to the living room. We pull in the TV and watch a movie with a special snack (this year Bryan grabbed some yummy trail mix from Sam's Club). Afterward (when hopefully everyone is sleepy) we bed down in the living room and sleep under the lights of the Christmas tree (we unplug all but a couple strands).

While getting the 3-year-old to settle down can be a challenge, and morning comes way before it should, it's a sweet family time.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Traditions - Yummy Christmas Dinner Side Dish

This is one of those dishes that only gets trotted out once a year. Like our Christmas Eve soup, our arteries have to work the rest of the year to overcome the effects!

Nevertheless, it's delicious and can easily be made a day or two ahead and refrigerated, ready for baking just before Christmas dinner. Or mix together in the crockpot to save room in the oven. Heat on low for 4 hours.

Twice-Baked Potato Casserole
1-1/2 pounds red potatoes (about 6 medium), baked (We usually use white or gold potatoes)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 cups (24 ounces) sour cream (2 cups is just fine!)
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
2 green onions, sliced

Cut baked potatoes into 1-in. cubes. Place half in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the salt, pepper and bacon. Top with half of the sour cream and cheeses. Repeat layers.

Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until cheeses are melted. Sprinkle with onions. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Tradition - Christmas Eve Soup

This soup is such a delight. A whole lot of comfort food in a bowl. And we serve them in bread bowls - even better!

Mom and I prepare this early on Christmas Eve. I think we're up to tripling the recipe. We've outgrown the crockpot and keep it warm in the roaster now! More soup means we can have it for lunch while putting the finishing touches on Christmas dinner.

When we get home from visiting the lights (again!) on Christmas Eve we have hot bowls of soup before launching into our tradition festivities - a.k.a. Christmas Eve jammies!

Cheeseburger Soup
1/2 pound ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup diced celery (we don't like celery and leave it out!)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups diced peeled potatoes (1-3/4 pounds)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups (8 ounces) process cheese (Velveeta)
1-1/2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup sour cream

In a 3-qt. saucepan, brown beef; drain and set aside. In the same saucepan, saute the onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley in 1 tablespoon butter until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the broth, potatoes and beef; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt remaining butter. Add flour; cook and stir for 3-5 minutes or until bubbly. Add to soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in the cheese, milk, salt and pepper; cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from the heat; blend in sour cream. Yield: 8 servings (2-1/4 quarts).

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Tradition - Holiday Lights

Several years ago, our Friday night Bible Study started the tradition of going to a nearby town that has an awesome light display in their park. Each of the 12 Days of Christmas has a display, and Santa hands out candy canes! We kick off the evening at Pizza Hut and then cram into our vans to "Ohhhh" and "Ahhhh" over the lights.

Over the years, as our group has grown and changed members, more families have joined us for this evening. Last year we had over 60 people (and the guys let all the moms sit together while the dads watched the children)!

My children look forward to this evening every year as great time with their closest friends. So this year, make going to see pretty lights an event by inviting all your friends!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - December 12, 2011

This past weekend we groceried for the next 9 weeks. It was so cold! But at least we didn't have to worry about the frozen stuff thawing!

Next "big grocery" trip, I'm hoping to extend the shopping by another month. That will require a pantry overhaul to gain more space, but I love the thought of only grocerying four times a year!
Many of our meals this month are coming from the cookbook Family Feasts for $75 a Week. Some of our new favorites have come from this book (think Korean BBQ Beef and Asian Noodle Salad - Yum!).

Here's a standby from the Stumpf kitchen. This is the only way I prepare pinto beans. It works great for adding the beans to casseroles or mashing them up like refried beans. The flavor has won over several non-bean eaters.

Pinto Bean Mix
· 2-3 pounds of pinto beans
· ¼ cup dried onions
· 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
· 1 teaspoon cumin
· 2 tablespoons of butter
· 2 tablespoons of salt

Wash and sort beans. In a Dutch Oven combine beans and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for one hour.

Drain and discard water. Rinse and return to pot. Add enough water to cover, onions, cumin, garlic, and butter. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender. Add salt (this is crucial to flavor!). Cool the beans.

For refried beans,place in a blender and process. Easy to freeze flat in baggies.

If you have a pressure cooker, these can be done in less than 30 minutes. Read more.

This week we will be enjoying:
Monday - Bean Burritos, Homemade Flour Tortillas, Salad

Tuesday (Homeschool Meeting) - Puffy Pancake, Sausage

Wednesday (AWANA) - Mac & Cheese, Frozen Pizza

Thursday (Karate Tournament - Go Ted and Jacob!!) - Calzones, Green Beans

Friday - Tacos, Skillet Corn

Saturday - Broccoli Cheese Soup, Bread Bowls

Breakfast menu is here; lunch menu is here.

Find more menus at:

'Tis the Season!

This past weekend was of the "Crazy Christmas" variety. Bryan's company Christmas party, wrapping up decorating the house (finally!), attending a live nativity, cyber shopping into the wee hours. I prefer to enjoy the season under a fuzzy blanket with hot coca and Christmas carols, but try as I might, it's hard to keep nutty out of the season.

Last week I wasn't able to blog because I was frantically working to finish crocheting a shawl to wear to Bryan's party (totally self-inflicted crazy, I admit!). My mommy said no blogging until it was done. Thirty minutes before we walked out the door to the party, I wrapped up the last stitch. Plus I managed to give myself a manicure on the way to the party. (Note: nail polish fumes + riding in a small car with a stick-shift + pregnancy = rather car sick!)

We were able to decorate the tree that had been standing in our living room unadorned for a week. All the Christmas rubbermaid totes have even found their way back down to the basement! No outside lights this year. Ready for a mini-tirade? Three years ago, at an after-Christmas sale, I bought LED lights for the front of our house. Even on sale the cost of those babies warranted a phone call to Bryan for approval. After two years of use 3 of the 5 strands are dead. Not replace-a-bulb dead, but feel-bad-for-the-landfill-as-you-chuck-them dead. In this case "going green" meant that the green is just "going" from our wallets!

Now were going to begin enjoying all our family traditions that really do make Christmas our favorite time of year. I'm always on the lookout for new ideas to make the season even more special. So I'm going to post a few of our "favorite things" to hopefully spark your Christmas Spirit. But for now....a cup of cocoa is calling my name!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Girls' Double Triple Bunk Beds

We're still wrapping up the last details of our Mudroom Makeover. This past weekend we even managed to paint a couple walls in the kitchen. Nesting or just bored of white? You decide.

I realized that I never posted a finished photo of the bunk beds Bryan made for the girls' room. They are amazing and the girls love them!

The beds are attached to the wall and are super sturdy. We joke that a tornado could blow away our house, but the beds will still be standing!

My favorite feature is there's a kick-plate under the bottom bed (like a hotel bed) so nothing can get shoved under the bed! Genius!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - November 28, 2011

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! We had 25 around our table including 18 children. It was a fun time!

The older girls have already started to fill the freezer with treats for our Christmas "goodie table," a few presents have been wrapped, and I'm starting a list of things that need to be done. 'Tis the season. But I dearly love Christmas, and wouldn't change this brand of crazy for anything!

Here's a satisfying skillet meal that won't break your budget:

Brat Potato Skillet
3 medium red potatoes, cubed
1 cup beef broth
5 fully cooked bratwurst links, cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 medium tart apples, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butterThis week we will be enjoying:

In a skillet, bring potatoes and broth to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add bratwurst, apples, onion and salt; cook for 5-10 minutes or until potatoes are tender and broth has evaporated.

Push bratwurst mixture to the sides of pan. Place sugar in the center of pan; cook until sugar is melted and golden brown. Add butter; cook and stir until butter is melted. Toss with the bratwurst mixture; serve immediately. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Stumpf Notes: We use smoked sausage instead of brats because they are so much more economical. Lately, the children prefer this without the apples cooked with, so I serve unsweetened applesauce on the side. We usually make about triple the amount of everything except the sausage, butter, and sugar.

Monday - Pinto Bean Casserole

Tuesday (Shalom House) - Brat Potato Skillet, Lemon Garlic Broccoli, Applesauce

Wednesday (AWANA) - Corn Dogs, Chips

Thursday (Karate) - Black Beans & Smoked Sausage over Rice

Friday - Sausage Stroganoff Soup, Fresh Veggies

Saturday - French Roast Beef Sandwiches, Salad
Our menus for past years can be found at our website. Breakfast menu is here; lunch menu is here.

Find more menus at:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cyber Monday Curriculum Sale - Free to Cheap!

Every year CurrClick has a great Thanksgiving Sale with many items free to download. Plus many things are on sale. Right now I have a Christmas Fun Pack in my cart that is only going to set me back $0.50.

The sale starts at 8am EST Monday. You can head over now and start nosing around. I just downloaded a cute little Christmas-themed set for pre-schoolers that was FREE! Love it! Happy shopping!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Mudroom Makeover - End of Day 2

Here's what we had when we went to bed Saturday night. We're even further along tonight, but no more pictures until we're all done.

As it always is, there were bumps along the way. Shelves too long, storage bins too big, and a hard time finding fabric I liked at Joann's. However, my husband is amazingly resourceful, and he's worked like a dog on my latest pet project. Not what he had in mind for the weekend, but he never complained!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mudroom Project - End of Day 1

We put the first coat of paint on the mudroom walls by bedtime Friday. The white spots were huge spackle repairs from the coat hooks. Those needed to dry overnight.

I love color on my walls! With every room I paint, I wonder why I waited so long to get around to it!

The Empty Mudroom

After pulling everything out of the mudroom, it looked amazingly bigger! The children loved the echo of the empty room.

This is the nook off the kitchen where everything went - expect for that huge coat pile in my bedroom. Proving that things have to get worse before they get better. This is motivation to finish the project!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Our weekend project

You know I'm feeling better when.... I get all fired up about a home improvement project!

This weekend we're tackling the mudroom. It needs help! Trying to get it done for around $100 (not including gas to drive to IKEA).

Monday, November 14, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - November 14, 2011

My first Menu Plan Monday in two months! We had a baby check-up this afternoon. I'm about 14 weeks along and heard the little punkin's heartbeat. Never gets old!

I'm glad I'm getting some energy back because this is a pretty busy week. And I can't believe next week is Thanksgiving! Excited but, phew, I can't figure out how this year has flown by!

Meghan is the chef this week, and the recipe below is one of her favorites. I grew up eating this easy skillet meal. My father called it by its unpoetic sailor’s name. This comfort food sends my children into shrieks of glee. It’s very rich, so we don’t have it very often, but with eggs and a loaf of whole wheat toast, it makes for an easy, frugal meal.

You can try stretching the gravy by adding a can of mixed veggies, but my children call that heresy. They would prefer that veggies were on the side.

Creamed Beef on Toast
3 Tbl Butter
3 Tbl Oil
1/2 C Flour
4 C Milk
1 tsp Salt
2 packs roast beef (those thin lunchmeat packs that are less than $1)
1/4 tsp pepper

Melt butter and oil in a large saucepan. Stir in flour. Add milk and keep stirring. Add salt & pepper. Cut beef into strips and stir in. If too thick, add a little more milk. Heat to boil and remove. Serve over warm toast.

This week we will be enjoying:

Monday (Bryan works late) - Beef Gravy, Toast, Scrambled Eggs

Tuesday (Homeschool Mom's Meeting) - Mexican Dinner, Sweet Potatoes

Wednesday (4-H Council Meeting, AWANA) - Cold Cuts, Chips

Thursday (Karate) - Teriyaki Chicken, Rice, Edamame

Friday - Baked French Toast, Fruit, Sausage

Saturday - Swedish Meatballs, Rice, Noodles, Steamed Broccoli

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

Find more menus at:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Get your tissues ready...

Bryan forwarded me this article. So amazing! So sweet! So what I want for us!

Grab some tissues, and then hug your man extra tight tonight!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The best deal for four eyes

My new glasses came today! Doing a happy dance! If you haven't heard about Zenni Optical, check out their website for the best prices on glasses.

My girls each got 2 pairs earlier this year. The total for 4 pairs was around $100. One of Emelie's is titanium steel (somehow a girl falling off horses tends to break glasses?!).

I just bought a pair of glasses with photochromatic lenses (like Transitions, but cheaper) and a pair of prescription sunglasses. My total, including shipping, was about $64. The frames for my sunglasses were only $6.95!

Just take the numbers provided from your eye exam and enter them in on the website. You can even upload a photo of yourself to "try-on" different frames.

With 5 glasses wearers in the family (and likely more in the future) we were delighted to find an economical way to see better!

Note: I'm not affiliated with Zenni in any way - just a satisfied customer.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Oh Baby! It's a Stumpf!

I have been a bad, bad blogger. Almost two months and not a single post. Would you forgive me if I have a good excuse?

I've spent my prime blogging hours over the past several weeks alternately curled up in the fetal position feeling disgusting and fantasizing about hamburgers (preferably loaded with jalapenos). Par for the course for me during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Our "baby," Hunter, was about to turn three when Bryan and I were delighted to find out that we were going to have another blessing. God willing, our ninth child will arrive mid-May 2012!
I think this one looks like Bryan
It's a little surreal to us to be working on driver's ed and college with our oldest two, while getting ready to start the journey over again. Hunter is almost potty trained so we might be a zero diaper home for a couple months. That hasn't happened in almost 16 years! Nevertheless, we are over the moon that God has blessed us again - even at our "mature' age.

I'm starting to feel better, so hopefully I can remember all the post ideas that have floated through my head in the past few weeks. As I always say, it's never dull around here!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Emelie's on the road to D.C.

If you could read the time stamp of this post, you would see that it's just after 4am. I woke up thinking of my girl who is currently on a Purdue University bus somewhere around the Pennsylvania/Ohio line. Better than last night when I had nightmares of lost money and cell phones!

About a month ago Emelie was offered a 4-H achievement trip to Washington D.C. because of winning the State Horse Judging Contest. At first Bryan and I dismissed it. We are very much NOT in the habit of letting our children go 14 hours away with people we don't know!

But I kept thinking about the trip that she had earned.

We looked into it further. The other young adults from all over the state had achieved similar honors (like Crops Judging Champ and Dairy Foods Judging Champ). The itinerary was crazy, but they'd see everything there is to see in D.C. in just three days. Our cost is minimal. It seemed like such a great opportunity, especially for a girl with her head on straight like Em.

So last evening she boarded a bus with 34 of her new best friends (actually she's hoping to find someone who doesn't talk who wants to go to the bookstore during the 2 hour allotted shopping time - someone just like her!)
Emelie getting on the bus. How can she look so
grown-up and still like my little girl at the same time?

When they arrive at the National 4-H Center later this morning they have just enough time to change before heading to Capitol Hill for Congressional visits, tour of Capitol, tour of Supreme Court and Library of Congress. Tonight it will be a night view of Washington with stops at the Jefferson, Lincoln, Vietnam, and Korean Memorials. Whew!

On the homefront, we're all counting the minutes until her return. And mama will be overflowing the throne room of heaven with prayers for her safety (and hoping for a little sleep!)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mr. C!

Today my handsome, steady man turns the big 1-0. The decade has flown by and I'm the proud mama to a boy that is always looking out for me. He's the one to always put others first. Sweet guy!

No baby picture for this one since he was born in the dark ages - before digital! I could always take a photo out of an album and scan it, but you'll just have to trust me that he was a cute little baby!

Opening a book about Star Wars LEGO - with
exclusive Hans Solo Mini-Fig! Be still my heart!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It's Soup Weather - 2 Favorite Recipes

While I'm not too happy about fall coming on, I am enjoying the return of soup weather. With the colds going around our family, we've enjoyed these two soup recipes. I've posted both before, but they are so good that they deserve another mention!

Cream Cheese Potato Soup

6 C water
7 tea. chicken bouillon (I like this kind)
2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, cubed
1 package (30 oz.) frozen hash brown potatoes
1 1/2 C cubes cooked ham
1/2 C chopped onion
1 tea. dill weed
1 tea. garlic powder
1 tea. salt (taste before adding)

In a Dutch oven, combine the water and bouillon. Add the cream cheese; cook and stir until cheese is melted. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, for 18-20 minuted or until vegetables are tender.

Yield: 12 servings (3 quarts). This was a perfect amount for my crew. Several had seconds and there was a bit left over for lunch.

Stumpf Chili
This is a very child-friendly chili. No offending chuncks of veggies (although I've been know to sneak in a veggie puree)!

1 lb. ground beef, browned with onion and drained
32 oz. tomato sauce
4 C water
2 - 15 oz. cans kidney beans
2 T chili powder
1 t cumin
1/2 t salt
2 t garlic powder
2 t dried basil
2 t dried oregano

Combine all and simmer for one hour, or cook in the Crockpot all day on low. Serve over cornbread and top with cheddar cheese and sour cream.

We double this recipe which exceeds my crockpot capacity. I simmer it all day in a 20 qt. roaster.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mr. McGakers

Today my redheaded firecracker turns eight. Jacob is a freckle-faced bundle of energy with a flair for the dramatic, but he still loves to cuddle with mama (he'll kill me for saying that!)
Jacob's first Christmas
(about 3 months old)

Hamming it up as usual!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Boy Birthday Bash 2011!

Yesterday we celebrated our annual cake-fest for our three boys whose birthdays are within 5 days of each other. In case anyone thinks they're being slighted by having a one day celebration, the boys ask to do it this way.

They'd picked out their presents while we were at Disney World (LEGO store - need I say more?). They requested the local Chinese Buffet for lunch, and we had LOTS of cake and ice cream for dinner. And yet we still have cakes all over the counter.

Jacob requested cake for breakfast on his actual birthday (tomorrow). I'm thinking we just might start our day with one huge sugar buzz!

In the "Stumpf Room" at the Chinese Buffet

Caleb requested a "pizza" instead of cake -
shocker!  I used this recipe and loved how it
turned out!

Bryan showed his amazing skills as a frosting
artist again this year. This is Hunter's Toy
Story Alien cake.
Jacob requested a "Gronkle" from
How to Train Your Dragon.

Our Birthday Boys during round #2 of 3
of "Happy Birthday" singing.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bub!

Our little man turned three today. Hunter's an active little guy that keeps us all busy! He has the talent of making me crazy one minute and melting my heart the next.

Hunter 3 years ago

Hunter's favorite photo taken last week.
 He calls it "Bubbie Pumpkin!"

Enter a giveaway or two...

Since I've been down with my cold, and my husband is enjoying watching the Rugby World Cup, I spent some time on my favorite blogs. A couple are having some giveaways you might be interested in...

Over at Life in a Shoe, one very happy winner will receive her choice of a skirt or a $50 gift certificate from Marie Madeline Studio. Amazingly cute stuff. Ends today, so hurry!!

Life in a Shoe is also giving away 5 copies of the e-book,  Visionary Womanhood Gatherings: A Family Strengthening Mentorship Tool for Women and Maidens. Use the link to get more information.

Raising Olives is hosting a DVD givaway for the Moore Family Film, It's Your Life: The Moss Family. It looks like it would be a great thing for our Bible Study to watch.

Just go to these blogs and leave a comment to enter. I'm heading that way right now!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

We're home!

We made it home from our Disney Adventure 2011. Naturally a little weary and trying to wade through the mountains of laundry. Half of us are dealing with our "Disney Cold," but fortunately there weren't any ambulance rides this year! More highlights coming soon...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fool-proof Bread Dough

This is my go-to bread recipe. I make about four loaves every week or so. Sometimes I save some dough to freeze for Baked Sandwiches. You can use it in any recipe calling for frozen bread dough.

(Hint: I've been known to throw other things into the dough like leftover oatmeal, purred white beans, pureed cauliflower, or pureed squash. They'll never know unless you tell them...)

Here is the one-loaf version. Great to set for delay start on the bread machine (does anyone still have one of those?)

1 C warm water

1.5 teaspn yeast

1.5 Tblspn sugar

3 C Flour (can combine white & wheat so long as there is more white flour)

1.5 Tblspn Dry Milk

1.5 Tblspn Oil

1.5 teaspn salt

Put in bread machine in the order listed by your manufacturer (I think mine used to be water first and yeast last). Set for delay start on a regular or white bread cycle. If you’re making in a mixer or by hand, follow the directions below.

Here’s the version I use. This makes four loaves. The loaves freeze well after they are completely cooled.

4 C warm water

2T yeast

1/3 C sugar

12 C Flour (can combine white & wheat so long as there is more white flour)

1/3 C Dry Milk

1/3 C Oil

2 T salt

Combine warm water, yeast, sugar, and 6 C flour in bowl for big mixer. Mix until just combined. Let sit for 10-15 minutes (this is called “the sponge”). Add in the rest of the ingredients. Knead in mixer for 8 minutes. Chop into 4 equal sections. Put each section into a greased loaf pan. Let rise, covered in warm place for 45 minutes. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove immediately from pans. Cool completely on racks.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Brigitta chillin' at Ecot

Menu Plan Monday - Disney Edition

OK. So this isn’t a real Menu Plan Monday post. But this is what the Stumpfs will be eating this week….

Sunday (Arrival Day) – We’ll head to the Polynesian for a quick dinner (maybe some sushi?) and Dole Whips – our favorite pineapple soft-serve ice cream. We dream about the Whips all year! Available only at the Poly and Magic Kingdom.

Monday (Epcot) – Lunch: Dining around the World Showcase, Dinner: Beirgarten (Bryan’s absolute favorite!!)

Tuesday (Magic Kingdom) – Lunch: Probably Pecos Bill’s or Pinocchio’s, Dinner: Liberty Tree Tavern

Wednesday (Hollywood Studios) – Lunch: Something at Downtown Disney, Dinner: Probably Toy Story Pizza Planet

Thursday (Magic Kingdom) – Lunch: Crystal Palace with Winnie the Pooh and Friends, Dinner: Our resort’s food court

Friday (Animal Kingdom) – Breakfast: Tusker House with Donald Duck, Dinner: ‘Ohana at the Polynesian

Most breakfasts will be eaten our room or as we’re driving to the park.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

On this day 18 Years Ago...

I married my friend
With whom I share
My dreams, my life, my love

Happy 18th Anniversary, Sweetheart!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Out of Office Reply

Tomorrow, bright and early, we head for Florida. The third annual Stumpf trip to Walt Disney World is  for about to begin!

I've got a couple posts scheduled for the next week, so hopefully you won't miss me :-) !

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My latest crochet craze...

A couple weeks ago I started another one of my favorite potholders. After a couple rows, I decided that the yarn was just too lovely to be a lowly potholder. I immediately started this floral shawl pattern.

It came together so quickly. The main shawl and three of the flowers are done. I just need to get to the craft store to get a couple other colors for the remaining flowers. It will be perfect for fall! Excited!

Tonight I started my first pair of socks. This is similar to what they will look like (but prettier colors!).

My mom gave me the pattern. It looks like it is available at local yarn stores. Never attempted a sock before. The hook is really small. Thin yarn, small hook...Might send me to bifocals before my time.

I can almost feel these cozy socks warming my feet as I sip my hot cocoa this winter!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - September 5, 2011

Only five more days until we leave for Disney World!! Or five more "sleeps" as the girlies are saying. We'll only school for two days this week and spend the rest of the week packing.

In honor of our trip, here are some of the snacks that we usually take into the parks:
  • Peanuts (unsalted or children get too thirsty)
  • Individual boxes of raisins
  • Little gummie fruit snacks
  • Individual bags of pretzels
  • Dum Dums (keeps mouths quiet if you make it a contest to see whose lasts longest)
  • Lots of water bottles (we refill them all day long)
This week we will be enjoying:

Monday - Bean Burritos (using Pinto Bean Mix), Salad

Tuesday - Puffy Pancake, Sausage

Wednesday (AWANA) - Sweet & Sour Sausage, Noodles, Green Beans

Thursday (Karate) - Mac 'n Cheese, Frozen Pizza

Friday - Tacos, Skillet Corn

Saturday - Leave on vacation!!

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

Find more menus at:

When Hunter puts himself to bed...

After we finished the movie last night, when we walked into the living room and found Hunter on the floor. The best part was that he had put his Pooh Bear to bed before he fell asleep!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Celebrating the aniversary of my 29th birthday

Happy Birthday to me!! We're watching Mars Needs Moms and about to have my favorite - Dairy Queen ice cream cake. My husband had them make it all blue (my favorite color). I can't wait to see the mouths of some very happy children smeared with blue frosting!

Later, the older children, Bryan, and I will watch Soul Surfer. I've been wanting to see it for months. Redbox is awsome!

I have to sing the praises of my oldest boy for a moment, was able to connect my netbook to the Switched-On Schoolhouse to the main database. That's something we haven't been able to do since we bought a new router 6 months ago. We were even planning to call a "geek" to get it fixes. Our own "geek" saved us some cash!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Quick & Easy Mani-Pedi

It am NOT into nail polish. Way to high maintenance for me. I can't stand it if it doesn't look good. And in my world that happens about 30 seconds after it's applied.

So how excited was I to learn about a quick way to have super fun nails? Have you seen these babies while cruising your local drug store?
Sally Hansen Salon Effects are real nail polish strips (they even smell like nail polish) that go on quick and require no dry time. My fingers stayed decent looking for about a week, my toes for over 2! The patterns are so fun, I'm stockpiling. The older girls and I can't wait to put on our next pattern for our vacation!

I watched a YouTube clip on how to apply them easily. That really helped! They retail for around $10, but I've bought all mine off ebay for about $6.50 including shipping!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - August 29, 2011

Here's a tasty recipe that tastes like fall. We love pumpkin so much that I buy a case or two each fall when it's cheap and eat it all year. This pumpkin dessert is an easy alternative to traditional pumpkin pie and great if you want to feed a crowd!

Pumpkin Pie Squares
1 can (29 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 package (18-1/2 ounces) butter recipe golden cake mix
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup chopped pecans
Whipped topping, optional

In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients; beat on medium speed until smooth. Pour into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Sprinkle with cake mix, then drizzle butter over top. Sprinkle with pecans.

Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 1 hour on a wire rack. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving. Cut into squares and garnish each serving with whipped topping. Yield: 12-16.

Monday - Korean Beef in Lettuce Leaves, Rice

Tuesday - Homemade Pizza

Wednesday (AWANA) - Frozen Burritos, Corn Casserole

Thursday (Karate) - Franks & Beans, Ho Cakes

Friday - BBQ Meatball Sandwiches, Sauteed Green Beans

Saturday - Tamale Pie, Fresh Fruit

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

Find more menus at:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fit for a princess (or two)

Last time I mentioned my sewing energies were focused on making princess sundresses for our little girlies to wear in the Magic Kingdom. I wanted them to feel like princesses minus the itchy, scratchy, and sweaty from polyester costume dresses. I got the dresses done and they were pretty excited to model them.

I'll be making some t-shirt shrugs following this cute tutorial because there's a lot of white shoulders here that don't need to see the Florida sun.
Heidi as Rapunzel
What the girls don't know is that we bought glitter hair spray, hair paint, wands, and tiaras to complete their princess transformation. We'll surprise them the morning they're going to wear the dresses.
Brigitta as Belle
In case you're interested, I adapted the dresses from The Juliet Dress pattern.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - August 21, 2011

No time to ramble on tonight. I need to get in some sewing time. I'm making princess sundresses for the little girlies to wear at Disney World. It's our economical alternative to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique which would run us a couple apiece for the full treatment. Brigitta wanted to be Belle. Heidi is Rapunzel. The dresses are coming along as quickly as gathering that much material can!

The Stumpf pantry is starting to look like Old Mother Hubbard's with 2.5 weeks to go. Meals could get interesting over the next couple weeks...

Monday - Pinto Bean Casserole, Salad

Tuesday - Chocolate Waffles, Strawberry Syrup, Cool Whip, Sausage (This is our new favorite "brinner" meal. You'd be amazed at what I can hide in a chocolate waffle!)

Wednesday (AWANA?, Bryan's Birthday!!) - Corn Dogs, Chips

Thursday (Karate) - Black Beans & Smoked Sausage over Rice, Peas

Friday - Bible Study

Saturday - Hamburgers, Potato Wedges

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

Find more menus at:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

School Stuff – Buddy School Table Time

One of the highlights of the preschoolers’ day is the 30 minutes of Buddy School that comes right after room time. The four oldest rotate through as “teacher” with each taking one day except for Emelie who handles both Monday and Friday. Buddy School frees me up to work one-on-one with one of the other children, and is great for growing patience in the buddy teachers.

I’ve created a schedule (shocker!) so that the teacher can look up what activity falls on their day. The activities repeat about twice per month.

This year we’ve added the Preschool Activity Cards from My Father’s World to give the teachers some ideas on how to build skills while playing with some of our Lauri products. Since I already owned most of the needed materials, this has been a fun way engage the littles.

Other popular Buddy School activities are:
  • Do-A-Dot
  • Dry Erase Boards & Markers (check out Miller Pads and Paper for durable, economical boards)
  • Bubbles on the front porch
  • Play Foam
  • Fruit Loop Sorting (they sort the colors into muffin tins
  • Stickers (bought in bulk from the dollar store)

It is important to keep these activities out of reach when not in use so they remain exciting. The teacher and little buddies are also responsible to clean up any mess before they go on to their next activity – 30 minutes of TV time!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

School Stuff – Elementary Science

This year I’m taking a different approach with science. As Meg is entering the middle school years, I thought she should be allowed to have a year or two of fun before she needs to get a little more serious.

A friend told me about Little Professor Science Kits (thanks, Kristie!). She recommended them because everything is included in the kit (except water!). When it’s time to do the experiments, just grab the labeled baggie and go.

Since I’m allergic to any curriculum that is instructs “gather the following materials,” it sounded good to me!

We will do two labs per week with the four elementary students (1st-6th grades). On the “off” days, Meg and Caleb will fill out the lab reports. More tests can be done online to earn prizes.

These kits aren’t cheap – each box is around $90 and contains 12 experiments. It does appear that much can be reused or easily replaced so not only can I reuse in years to come, I’m hoping to trade kits with another family so we can both get more science for our bucks.