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!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - January 31, 2011

As I'm sitting here, I can hear the ice ping-ing against the window. The candles are on the counter, bread has been baked, and my poor husband braved the store for batteries and eggs. We are trying to be as prepared as we can for what the weather-types are calling the worst storm in years.

When I was relaying the projected snow and ice totals to Emelie, she suggested that we just declare martial law and be done with it. Later she was reading the details of the advisory and said she just kept hearing the Debbie Downer song running through her head. She keeps me laughing!

The reality is that the menu plan below might be a work of fiction. If we lose power (as every news outlet is saying we will - love the optimism!), we'll be dining on granola, sandwiches, and baked beans from a can. Praise God it's all sitting in our pantry!

Also a work of fiction is the list of our week's activities. Horse Judging is already off the books for tomorrow. I suspect more cancellations will come as we reenact some Little House on the Prairie winter scenes.

This week we MIGHT be enjoying:

Monday (4-H Leader's meeting) - Homemade Pizza

Tuesday (Horse Judging) - Chicken Broccoli Divan, Rice, Cherry Bread

Wednesday (AWANA, 4-H Aerospace) - Chicken Patty Sandwiches, Popcorn

Thursday (Homeschool Group, Karate, 4-H Rabbit)- Stumpf Chili, Tamale Pie (in the freezer)

Friday (Bible Study)

Saturday - Hamburger Stroganoff, Chocolate Cherry Dessert

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

Find more menus at:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Video - Can you say "Cabin Fever?"

Due to snow, snow, and then a bit more snow , we've had our share of cancelled evening activities. I consider that a sign from God that we are meant to get into our jammies and have some family fun time.

Well, the children have invented a new sport. The name is still in development. I've heard "Slug Wars" and Burrito Fight." They're still working on it. Look for the sport's debut at the next Winter Olympics. This is gonna be HUGE!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

WFMW - Focusing on Schoolwork

We had a couple rough days at Stumpf University last week. It prompted the Stumpf Motto of 2011: "Do your duty!" Bryan coined last year's motto: "Keep it clean!" I'm hoping for more enthusiasm for this year's...

I also found myself crying out to God in how to help one of my dear students stay on task. This lovely, sweet child somehow "forgets" to do her schoolwork...everyday. Even though we do school...everyday.

She gets up to go to the bathroom. On the way back, she thinks of a project in the basement and disappears for two hours. When she's in charge of Buddy School, she prepares fun crafts and activities and the little ones have a fantastic time. Then 1:00 rolls around, and I find out she hasn't even started her work, most of which is overdue.

This is what God gave me:

After she's worked though her morning chorepack, she reports to me. I have cards in my chorepack representing each of her school subjects. She gets one card and puts it in her chorepack holder. After completing that assignment, she comes to me and we switch cards. If she needs help with a subject, she places the card on my planner as a reminder to me to go over it with her at our designated time.

We've done this for four school days so far. Every day she has completed her independent schoolwork before lunch (a far cry from when I would formerly find out at 4:00 that half her work wasn't done!). I no longer have to nag, but I'm always aware of what she's working on since I have cards around my neck. Likewise, the card around her neck reminds her of what she's supposed to be doing. And she has WAY more time for that project in the basement!

So far, this works for me!

Monday, January 24, 2011

MPM - January 24, 2011

I spent my Sunday afternoon stocking up our freezer with granola for the next couple months. It makes such a mess in the kitchen, I prefer to make it in big batches. This time I was able to make 7 batches which used 84 cups of oats. I considered making more, but realized that I'd better stop to make dinner for the family!

I experimented with two new flavors that I'm hoping with be a hit:

Chocolate Mint Granola
· 12 cups oats
· 2 cups brown sugar
· 3/4 cup cocoa
· 1 cup butter
· 1 cup oil
· 2 teaspoons mint extract
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter and mix all ingredients in large bowl. Spread in 2 to 3 - 10 x 15 baking pans with sides. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool.

Cinnamon Raisin Granola
(I know this doesn't sound very creative, but I've always avoided raisins since Emelie doesn't like them. Now she's way out-voted, so raisins are in!)
· 12 cups oats

· 2 cups brown sugar
· 1 cup butter
· 1 cup oil
· 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
· 1 tablespoon cinnamon
· 1 cup raisins

Melt butter and mix all ingredients in large bowl. Spread in 2 to 3 - 10 x 15 baking pans with sides. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool.

This week we'll be enjoying:

Monday (Bryan night meeting) - Chicken Pot Pie, Chocolate Pie Deluxe

Tuesday (Horse Judging) - Veggie Cheese Soup, Pumpkin Bread

Wednesday (AWANA) - Hot Dogs, Chips

Thursday (Karate)- Hamburger Soup, Seasoned Crackers

Friday (Bible Study)

Saturday - Winter Roast, Bread, Brownies 

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

Find more menus at:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Happy Birthday Heidi!

Yesterday, our youngest girlie turned a big girl 4-years-old. Cliche, but, Holy Cow! how is that possible? She is such a cutie! No danger of this one getting lost in our big family. This one knows her mind and lets everyone one know it - all the while smiling at us in that irresistible way!

We enjoyed lunch at Red Robin (especially the ice cream sundae!).

Later Dad worked on the cake amidst several admirers looking for a frosting handout.

The finished cake. What that man can do with toothpicks and an orange peeler is amazing!

Blowing out the candles in her new Jessie hat.

Lovin' the new Jessie boots!

We enjoyed our cake during a showing of....what else?....Toy Story 3!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

WFMW - Well Planned Day Planners

I've been very impressed with the planners from Home Educating Family Publishing. The colorful planners are beautiful and have a place for every list and need that I have, plus many more!

I'm bummed that I just discovered The Well Planned Day in mid-December since the calendars run from July-June. I went ahead and ordered the download .pdf version to see how it would work for our family (it's only $8.98). Bottom line - I'm lovin' it! Meal planning, to-do list and school planning for the week all on one beautiful page.

Emelie ordered the 4-year Well-Guided Highschooler. She is now keeping track of her assignments, GPA, and attendance, and the planner has instructions on how SHE can translate that information into a transcript. Whoo Hoo!

The 2011-2012 editions are on a pre-release sale from the publisher right now, plus free shipping if ordered before Friday. Check out the bundle packages. I'm ordering mine tonight!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Happy Winnie the Pooh Day!

Meg made our centerpiece.
Her inspiration was the Honey Tree.

 Today is the birthday of Winnie the Pooh creator, A.A. Milne. We celebrated with a dinner that would be loved by that willy-nilly-silly-old bear. Everything (except the apple slices) had honey in it!

After our Brown-Sugar Honey Coated Ham, Honey Bear Carrots, and Fresh Baked Sweet Potatoes, everyone was licking their lips and their sticky fingers!

All the recipes and the idea for this celebration was found in 365 Quick, Easy & Inexpensive Dinner Menus.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Meal Plan Monday - January 17, 2011

Saturday we spent the morning bringing in the food for the next 9 weeks. It was our first big grocery with the bus, and SUE did fantastic. To unload from the Walmart portion, we formed a fire-line and had our two overflowing carts unloaded in no time!

A glimpse into what SUE looked like after ALDI, the half-way point
We have a busy week planned, but with weather coming in, I'll be hoping to be snowed in. All the while dreaming of spring. I don't even like to garden, but I've found myself pondering over seed catalogs. Maybe this is the year I discover my green thumb?!Most of our meals are coming from this great cookbook:
 365 Quick, Easy & Inexpensive Dinner Menus

This week we'll be enjoying:

Monday - Cincinnati Chili

Tuesday (Bryan night meeting) - Brown Sugar Honey Ham, Honey Glazed Sweet Potatoes, Honey Bear Carrots (more about this menu tomorrow!)

Wednesday (AWANA) - Smoked Sausage Sandwiches, Baked Potatoes

Thursday (Homeschool Group, Karate)- Italian Bean Soup, Herb Sticks

Friday (Bible Study)

Saturday - Heidi's Birthday, Dinner at Red Robin!

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

Find more menus at:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Heidi the Yodeling Cowgirl

Heidi loves the Jessie Talking Doll Grandma got her for Christmas. She has memorized the 20 or so sayings - in order - and walks around the house yodeling and talking with a drawl. Can you have too much cuteness?

Now Jessie has an owner!

She stole Emelie's show hat to look more like Jessie. Good thing
someone has a birthday on Saturday...Hmmmmm....

Friday, January 14, 2011

Recipes for Leftover Oatmeal

Since I'm trying to clean out my pantry and freezer before the upcoming big grocery day, I began searching the web to find uses for the dib dabs of oatmeal frozen in baggies at the bottom of my freezer. Waste not, want not, right? I found some really yummy looking recipes.

I've made this cake for years. Delicious, but very rich.

The Best Oatmeal Cake Ever

For the Cake:
1 1/4 c Boiling Water (I substitute about 1.5 cups cooked oatmeal for the water and oats)
1 c Quick Oats
1 stick butter
1 c brown sugar
1 c white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 c flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

For the Icing:
1/2 stick butter
1 c brown sugar
1/4 c evaporated milk
powered sugar

Mix water, oats, and butter & let stand for 15 minutes (not necessary if using leftover oatmeal). Add remaining ingredients together in a bowl. Add oatmeal mixture to the bowl and mix well. Bake in an 8 x 11 casserole dish at 350 for 30 minutes.

Melt ingredients together in saucepan and cool. Add powered sugar until thick enough to pour over cake. Pour over HOT cake! I usually take a toothpick and poke holes throughout the cake so that the icing sinks in…YUMMY!

Peanut Butter Bars with Leftover Oatmeal

2 cups leftover oatmeal1/2 cup butter, softened (coconut oil is also yum)
1 cup sweetener…sugar, sucanat, etc….(or honey- if you half the amount, and it doesn’t get the batter too moist)
1 egg
1 cup whole grain flour…wheat, spelt, etc….(maybe a bit of extra flour if you used honey to sweeten)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/3 cup peanut butter (we like this better doubled)
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream butter, sweetener and eggs in a bowl. Add oats and other ingredients; mix well. Spread into greased 9×13″ baking pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Cool on wire rack; cut into bars.

Leftover Oatmeal Cookies
2 c. sifted flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. sugar
2/3 c. shortening
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. cooked oatmeal

Sift dry ingredients together. Add shortening and eggs and beat until creamy (about 2 minutes). Stir in oatmeal. Drop from teaspoon onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Yield: 4 dozen.

Cooked Oatmeal Scones
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup cooked oatmeal
2/3 cup milk
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (or a bit more)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 Melt the butter and honey together, and mix them into the cool, cooked oatmeal. Mix in the milk, half at a time. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. You may wish to adjust the salt depending on how much was used in cooking the oatmeal- I am assuming not very much, if any. Mix the flour into the oatmeal. If the mixture seems too moist, add a little more flour. (This will depend on how moist your cooked oatmeal was. When enough flour has been stirred in, the dough will form a rough ball.) Roll out to 1" thick and cut in wedges, or scoop it out with an ice cream scoop and flatten it to 1" with dampened hands. Bake on a greased and floured sheet at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mangosteen Amounts

Mangosteen 100 - 100% Pure Undiluted Juice ~ GENESIS TODAY ~ 30,000 mg Pure Fruit Pulp Per Serving!!!I had a couple comments in last week's Hunter Asthma Update asking how much of the wonderful Mangosteen juice do we give our little man.

While he was wheezing, I gave him 2 tablespoons twice a day in a glass of whatever beverage he was asking for at the time.

After about 3 days, we cut back to 1 tablespoon twice a day. Over the last couple days, he's probably only had about 1 tablespoon a day which is where we will keep it unless we start to hear wheezing again.

We've also put him on a multi-vitamin to make sure he's getting the Vitamin C and B he needs. So far so good - he doesn't even have so much as a runny nose! He played out in the snow today (which normally makes him wheeze). When he came in he was completely fine! Praise God!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

WFMW - Swagbucks Rock!

Search & Win

I joined Swagbucks about one year ago. In that time, Bryan (who joined separately) and I have redeemed over $130 in Amazon gift cards. I started hording cards in September and saved them for Christmas. We were able to take $65 off our Christmas order from Amazon (that's more than one LEGO General Grievous Starfighter in case you wanted to know!).

All we did was use the Swagbuck search rather than Google. And I search everything - my gmail, this blog, sites I know. You never know when the Swagbuck fairy will sprinkle her magic bucks. I could spend more time hunting for codes, but haven't really pursued it that heavy - yet...

Now I'm wanting a netbook. After all, I'll be able to blog so much more while our computers are tied up by children frivolously doing their schoolwork. Only 30,150 Swagbucks to go!

Swagbucks definitely work for me!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - January 10, 2011

We've taken down the last tree and ornament. My house looks twice as big! I love Christmas decorations, but I also love the uncluttered look of clear surfaces.

365 Quick, Easy & Inexpensive Dinner MenusWe're preparing for our next 9-week grocery trip to happen on Saturday. I've returned to an old favorite cookbook, 365 Quick, Easy & Inexpensive Dinner Menus. For everyday of the year, there's a main dish and usually a side and desert recipe. Plus tons of kitchen tips, crafts, and cookie recipes. If you can pick it up for a good price, it's well worth it!

This week we'll be enjoying:

Monday (Bryan night meeting) - Taco Skillet

Tuesday (Horse Judging) - Pumpkin Pancakes

Wednesday (AWANA) - Cold Cuts, Popcorn

Thursday (Karate)- Stroganoff on a Bun

Friday (Roller Skating) - Pasta Carbonara

Saturday Big Grocery Day!!

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

Find more menus at:

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pants into Skirts

Before Christmas I converted a couple pairs of hand-me-down pants into cute little skirts for my girlies. The process is pretty simple - each only took about an hour to complete.

Go here for a detailed tutorial. I was not as meticulous. I didn't rip out the seams. I just cut them. The seams will fray which will add to the look, right? I also cut up the side seams, because a girl needs a little twirl!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

WFMW - Hunter Asthma Update #2

Early last week we were facing another round of Hunter's asthma drama. We were dosing him with vitamins C and B with Emergen-C and a children's chewable.

Jamer's told me about success she's had with Mangosteen after a friend of hers said it cured her children of asthma. We bought some (crazy expensive but cheaper than the ER!).

Within 12 hours, Hunter's wheezing was almost gone, and had completely disappeared within 36 hours. We were also giving it to Brigitta who's cough was keeping her from sleeping. Her cough was also disappeared.

They were each drinking one packet of Emergen-C per day (divided between morning and evening) and two tablespoons of Mangosteen (in some juice) twice per day. Within a couple days we dropped the Emergen-C completely and went down to once/day with the Mangosteen. Now only Hunter is drinking the Mangosteen once per day for maintenance.

I'm praising God for the information He provided over the web and through friends. Hoping we will be able to avoid more attacks in the future!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Adoption Update

We are a few more steps down the road to adoption. Friday will be the last of our three home studies. The only paperwork left to do are the medical reports for Bryan and I (don't know why we're putting that off!). Hopefully we'll get appointments in the next week or two.

It's exciting to think that our family might look different before the end of the year! I can also get keyed up thinking about how that transition will take place. Breathe - God is in control of all of this! But I have some adoption books on hold at the library, just to get prepared!

We're hoping that Friday we might have a very loose time-line of our next steps. I know that the Department of Child Services rarely moves at lightening speed. Pray that I can have patience and peace with that!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - January 3, 2011

Like it or not, we're back in the swing of things. That alarm sounded pretty cruel this morning. Back to school, work, and routine. OK, enough of the pity party.

Over the weekend we whipped up one of our family's favorite soups. It's quick and fairly economical. Best of all it's very warm and yummy on a cold evening!

Sausage Stroganoff Soup
1 package (12 ounces) brown-and-serve sausage links, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 garlic clove, minced
1 package (4.9 ounces) scalloped potatoes
3 cups water
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) chicken broth
1 jar (4-1/2 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained
1 cup half-and-half cream
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Paprika, optional

In a large saucepan, cook sausage and garlic until sausage is lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Stir in the contents of the potato and sauce packets. Add water, broth and mushrooms. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 14-16 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Stir in the cream, sour cream and mustard; heat through (do not boil). Sprinkle with paprika if desired. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Stumpf Notes: We doubled this recipe which gave up some lunch leftovers. We omitted the mushrooms (no fungus-lovers here!). Instead of the half & half, I used 1 cup of milk and 1/3 cup of dry milk whisked together. When I need some chicken broth quick, I use "Better than Bullion." It can be found at Walmart next to the little foil cubes that my children have been known to try to pass off as candy to each other!

This week we'll be enjoying:

Monday -
Baked Spaghetti

Tuesday (Bryan night meeting) - Breakfast Pie

Wednesday (AWANA) - Chicken Patty Sandwiches, Chips

Thursday (Homeschool group, karate)- Mexican Casserole

Friday (Bible Study) - BIG pot of Spaghetti & Meatballs

Saturday Pinto Beans, Mac & Cheese, Cornbread
Our menus for past years can be found at our website. Breakfast menu is here; lunch menu is here.

Find more menus at:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Go with God, Shultz Family!

Tonight I was able to spend a little time (too little!) with friends about embark on the adventure of their lives. In three days the Shultz's will leave a comfortable life to spend a year in Haiti. We're talking Mom, Dad, three children willing to heed God's call. How's that for picking up a cross and following?

Visit their blog, say a prayer, and let them know you've been there. Encouragement would mean tons right now and prayer more than that.

Amy, should you read this, this is how the Stumpfs have got you covered:
Bryan - praying for blessings on Jay's work
Lainie - praying for smooth homeschooling and peace for Amy
Emelie - praying for Anna's adjustment
Ted - praying for Jer's nerves
Meghan - praying that the children will adjust to the food
Caleb - praying for Jacob's happiness
Jacob - praying you can tell a lot of people about Jesus
Brigitta - praying that she gets to play with Fedlaine soon!