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!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Why do we homeschool?

Emelie and I just arrived today at the Midwest Homeschool Convention. We both have so many great friends that are joining us. It should be quite the weekend!

As I’ve done my research on curriculum and planned what to buy (my favorite thing), I was re-affirmed about the journey we are taking. It really all boils down to freedom:

We have the freedom to find curriculum that suits the learning styles of our children.

We have the freedom to sleep through the school bus driving by at 6:30 in the morning.

We have the freedom to take our vacations and field trips whenever we want to.

Our children have the freedom to develop deep and meaningful relationships with each other (case in point – Ted and Caleb are best friends. Would that happen to a 13 yo and a 9 yo that were out of the home all day?)

We have the freedom to boldly proclaim the sovereignty of God in everything we do and all we study.

Our children have the freedom to spend large amount of time exploring their passions and interests.

Our children have the freedom to learn at their own pace without regard to grade levels or labels.

Our children have the freedom to do what is right rather than what is cool without ridicule from their peers.

We have the freedom to do school in our jammies (awesome in the winter!).

The teacher has the freedom to kiss the principal at the end of the day!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Field Trip Fun!

Last week I took the 5 oldest children on a field trip to the Indiana State Museum. Our homeschool group was there to participate in a Civil War workshop and tour the museum exhibits.

To prove that things are never dull with the Stumpfs around...
Jacob gets kissed by a...well, I don't know what that is!
It's a tradition for Caleb to get his photo
taken with the gargoyle.
Meggie got picked to dress up like a Civil War
 soldier. The uniform almost fit. That musket
weighed 30 pounds!

An artsy shot of Emelie, our photographer.
No comment.
Emelie actually got Caleb to try on a bustle!
This one's going in the wedding slide show!

This is made of HAIR! GROSS!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - March 28, 2011

This past weekend, Bryan, Emelie, and Jacob attended Emelie's horse judging contest. We were very proud that Emelie placed 4th in the senior division!

This week I'll be getting ready to go to Cincinnati with Emelie for the Mid-West Homeschool Convention. We're very excited to be with our friends and hear some great speakers.

I'm using my meal plan to pull together meals ahead of time for Bryan. I hope to have everything mostly together before I leave so either he or Meghan just has to whip up a side dish or two.  So this week we will be enjoying:

Monday - Pinto Beans, Mac & Cheese, Cornbread

Tuesday (Horse Judging) - Biscuits & Gravy, Eggs

Wednesday (AWANA) - Chicken Patty Sandwiches, Popcorn

Thursday (Homeschool Group, Karate, Homeschool Convention)- Spaghetti & Meatballs, Herb Sticks, Salad

Friday (Homeschool Convention) - Hashbrowns & Smoked Sausages, Tangy Broccoli

Saturday  (Homeschool Convention) - Potato Cream Cheese Soup, Cheese Garlic Biscuits

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

Find more menus at:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Try it this weekend - Breakfast Cake Recipe

Here's a tasty coffee cake recipe that starts as a homemade mix. This only makes 2 cakes for our size family (in a 12x20 pan), but it makes 7-9x9 sizes.
It's not very healthy as is, but sub in some whole wheat flour, include some white bean and butternut squash puree and you can serve it with a little less guilt.

I love to have some of this mix in the freezer and Meggie is happy to whip up breakfast on Saturday mornings while Bryan and I snuggle in bed with all the little ones!

Breakfast Cake Mix

8-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 cups sugar
2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 cup baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2-1/2 cups shortening

3 cups raisins
3 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups chopped pecans
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup water

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, milk powder, baking powder and salt; cut in shortening until crumbly. Store in airtight containers in a cool dry place for up to 6 months. In a large bowl, combine the topping ingredients. Store in airtight containers in a cool dry place for up to 6 months. Yield: 7 batches (21 cups cake mix and 10-1/2 cups topping mix).

To prepare cake: In a large bowl, combine 3 cups breakfast cake mix, egg and water. Pour into a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Sprinkle with 1-1/2 cups topping mix. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: 9 servings.

Note: Contents of cake mix may settle during storage. When preparing recipe, spoon mix into measuring cup.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

WFMW - Hire the "To-Do List" Done

When I walk around my house, there are always those projects that nag at me. Those things on the to-do list that never seem to get done. That clutter that needs to go away.

Bryan and I have started to hire our children to take care of these things. They don't receive an allowance, so they're all pretty poor. Here are some examples of what the children have done for us lately:
  • Match the overflowing sock basket (5¢ a pair)
  • Clean out the crayon, marker, pencil drawers (25¢ a drawer)
  • Clean out a messy kitchen cupboard ($1)
  • Pick up trash in the yard (5¢ a piece)
  • Pull weeds in front of the house ($5) a section
  • Shred documents ($2 a pile)
These are above and beyond the everyday house and yard jobs that they are expected to do. And those everyday jobs must be done before they can do a money job.

We've also had to make the rule that terms of work and payment must be decided on by employer and employee before work has begun. We've had children showing initiative (good thing!) by doing something that didn't needed to be done and expecting to be paid for it (bad thing!).

This has helped Bryan and I feel less overwhelmed and has put some coins in some empty pockets (and as a result, more Zhu Zhu pets in the house)!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Revealed - The New Dinner Plan

In our ongoing quest to simplify that which we have control over, I've standardized our 8 or 9-week dinner menu plan. It seems to obvious - why didn't I do this long before now?

I actually enjoy browsing through cookbooks and picking out new meals. I'm always on the lookout for one that will become a family favorite. The reality is that I'm the only one in our family that is enthusiastic in this area. I probably have to cook 25 new dishes to find one that the family loves enough to want to see on a regular basis. Enter the new plan...

I made a table in Word for 9 weeks. For for six days a week I typed in our favorite dinners. I allowed one night a week for a convenience food meal (usually our AWANA night during the school year). I made a "brinner" night almost every week since eggs are a inexpensive source of protein. I left one night a week blank to try a few new recipes so keeps things a little fun for me.

When it's time to big grocery, I check the freezer and switch-out some meals to use up what we have on hand. After printing out the menu, I write the dates in the boxes to look more like a calendar. Then I pick which cookbook I'll be selecting the new recipes from and write them in the empty spaces. 

Voila! Nine weeks of dinner meals planned out in less than 15 minutes! Another benefit of this plan is that, since these are mostly meals that I can make blind-folded, I can do the grocery list quickly without searching recipes for the needed ingredients. More time saved!

In case you're interested, I'm working to get the Master Meal Plan into the download tab.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - March 21, 2011

Saturday afternoon we took the four middle children on our 8-week grocery procurement expedition. That sounds like we were gone for 8 weeks. More like 3 hours (but there were times where Walmart felt like an eternity!).

Bryan always likes to measure the receipt against the children. Our Aldi receipt came up to Jacob's chin. Walmart is trying to steal Bryan's joy by printing the receipt on both sides. Bummer.

Bryan was so grossed out when he passed by these in Walmart's frozen case that he had to take a picture for Facebook. I love that they don't try to hide that no blueberries were harmed in their making. Bry says he's holding out for scrambled eggs on a stick!

Tomorrow I'm going to post about our new two-month menu plan. It should make planning, shopping and cooking a snap.

This week we will be enjoying:

Monday - Burritos, Homemade Tortillas, Salad

Tuesday (Horse Judging) - Puffy Pancake, Sausage

Wednesday (field trip, AWANA) - Mac & Cheese, Frozen Pizza

Thursday (Karate)- Sweet & Sour Sausage, Rice or Noodles, Green Beans

Friday - Bible Study

Saturday  (4-H Judging Contest) - Broccoli Cheese Soup, Bread Bowls

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

Find more menus at:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My 500th Post

Hmmmm...this is a bit of a milestone. 500 times I've pressed that "publish post" button at the bottom of my screen. What started four years ago as a way to keep distant family up-to-date has enabled me to meet some wonderful people, share some of the things I love, and show that life with eight children can be a wonderful adventure!

Thanks for coming on this crazy journey with me. It will be interesting to see what the next 500 posts contain!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Adoption Update - Another Milestone Reached

On Monday our social worker presented our homestudy before the Indiana Special Needs Adoption Program Specialists. The board voted to recommend us as an adoptive family!

I had tried to keep my mind off the proceedings all morning and was surprised when the voicemail came through. I shocked myself at my emotional reaction to the news. The children immediately started bouncing off the walls!

Now we can start searching for children. We pray that the Lord will guide every step (can we also pray for speed?)!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - March 14, 2011

Saturday, while I was out shopping for fabric, Bryan took six of the children to the AWANA Grand Prix. We had four racers this year. Sometimes I try to calculate how many cars we will have made by the time our youngest is done with AWANA. Then I get overwhelmed and stop thinking about it!

The children had a great time even though no one brought home a trophy. I think they always like the snacks the best! Here's what their cars looked like:

We've got another nutty week and weekend coming up. I hope to have my new, two-month menu plan up by next Monday. This week we will be enjoying:

Monday - Black beans, cheese & chips

Tuesday (Horse Judging) - Dried beef gravy over toast, eggs

Wednesday (AWANA) - Mac & Cheese, Frozen Pizza

Thursday (Homeschool Group, 4-H Meeting, Karate)- Turkey Ranch Wraps, Potato Wedges

Friday - Bible Study

Saturday  (4-H Judging Contest, Big Grocery) - Take & Bake Pizza
 Our menus for past years can be found at our website. Breakfast menu is here; lunch menu is here.

Find more menus at:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Operation Easter Dress Begins

We came. We shopped. We acquired fabric.

Yesterday Emelie, Hunter and I went in search for the perfect fabric for the girls' special clothes for Resurrection Sunday (Yes, Hunter drew the short end of this trip. Everyone else was at the AWANA Grand Prix). We were hoping to make good on Em's prophecy from last year to go Hawaiian ('cause nothin' says tropical like early spring in Indiana!).

We found some lovely batik fabric that looked like it would fit the bill.
The little girls' dresses will come from this fantastic book:
Sewing Clothes Kids Love: Sewing Patterns and Instructions for Boys' and Girls' Outfits

The big girls' wrap skirts will be from this favorite:
Sew What! Skirts: 16 Simple Styles You Can Make with Fabulous Fabrics

And then here was some more fabric that was just begging to come home with us. I'm sure Heidi and Brigitta will be twirling in these this summer:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Try this magazine free!

This offer just showed up in my inbox - a free 7-day digital subscription to Home Educating Family Magazine. Both current and back issues!  This great magazine is published by the same folks that produce that fantastic planner that I use.

Click here to sign-up. Then get a cup a tea and start reading!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

WFMW - Find the cheapest gas

The vehicle we drive isn’t exactly petite. It’s a 6.8 liter diesel with a 35 gallon tank. (Insert the Tim, the Tool Man, Taylor grunt here). Unfortunately, diesel fuel is quickly approaching $4 per gallon.

We are really enjoying using Gas Buddy. It’s a website and iPhone app that searches for the lowest-priced gas station in your area. Sometimes we can find a price that is up to $.30 per gallon cheaper! That can be worth driving an extra mile down the road!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Stumpf Thumbs Up - Secretariat

We Red Boxed Secretariat this past weekend. What a great movie! I'm a real sucker for horse movies, I always end up blubbering at the end (much to the amusement of everyone else in the room!).

This is one of the best horse movies I've ever seen. Even though everyone in the room new how was going to end (we live with Emelie so horse trivia is a frequent topic), we were all cheering through every race. And the best part... "Oh happy day" was playing as he thundered down the track at the end. I was crying the whole time!

Disney really got family entertainment right with this one!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - March 7, 2011

'Tis the season for the Stumpfs to be running in 5 different directions several days each week. After several years of the March-May Crazies, we've developed a method of survival.

Included in that is planning out our dinner menus and making sure on Monday morning that we have all the needed ingredients for the week. Since dinner needs to be on the table about an hour-and-a- half earlier than "normal" most days, planning ahead helps keep things a little more sane.

I'm in the process of streamlining my menu planning to help prepare for our once-every-two-months grocery trips. I think it will make the planing go quicker and draw more rave reviews from the eating crew. I'll share when I get it done! 

On this week's menu:

Monday - Chicken Pilaf

Tuesday (Horse Judging) - Scalloped Potatoes with Ham, Pea Salad

Wednesday (AWANA) - Chicken Patty Sandwiched, Popcorn

Thursday (4-H Horse & Pony, Karate)- Taco Salad

Friday (Roller Skating) - Fried Rice, Coleslaw Salad

Saturday  (AWANA Grand Prix, 4-H Clover Buds, 4-H Aerospace) - Spaghetti & Meatballs, 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, March 6, 2011

Curriculum Decisions

Yesterday Emelie had her first horse judging of the year. Those contests equal a lot of waiting around for the parents. I always bring a bag stocked with things to keep me busy.

This year I came stocked with curriculum catalogs in preparation for the upcoming Midwest Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati at the end of the month.

Some things I'm solid on: Sonlight for history, Teaching Textbooks for high school math, SOS for language arts.

Things I'm looking for: science that the elementary ages can do together, a pre-K or K program for a precocious 5-year-old, and a character study that we love as much as the one we did this year.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

WFMW – Best Homemade Pizza Dough

My children absolutely love homemade pizza. Caleb has an almost unnatural passion for it! This dough make an easy-to-roll, thin crust. It’s a large batch – about 6 large Pampered Chef stones worth. If you don’t need that much, it freezes beautifully for a quick dinner later on.

We have one child that really doesn’t like pizza sauce. We make cheese – no sauce pizza by putting a little oil on the dough and sprinkling it with garlic powder. Then lay on the cheese. This has become the most popular pie in the house. We even order it that way when we order pizza. (Try the Pizza Hut Cheese Lovers without sauce – amazing!)

Homemade Pizza Dough

3 Tbl yeast
1/3 C sugar
½ C oil
4 C warm water
6 C white flour
6 C wheat flour

Mix yeast and warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and mix until smooth and elastic. Roll into greased pans. Bake dough for 5 minutes @ 400˚ before topping. Bake 10 minutes more after topping.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Girls' Bathroom Spruce-up

Last week we spent a couple post-littles-bedtimes working on painting the girls' bathroom. I didn't take a "before" photo. Just imagine a dingy white bathroom with toothpaste smears on the sink and clothes on the floor up to your knees.

Here are a couple "after" shots:

The color is called "joyful yellow." It's not quite as
bright as this photo shows!

Close up of the flip-flops that go around the top.

The scripture we chose for this room.

I'd like to replace the light fixture and glue some seashells around a mirror. Projects for another day. And one week later, those clothes are knee-deep on the floor again.