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!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Adoption Update - Not to be this time

We got the call today that the agency has gone with another family for the boy and girl we interviewed for. We're definitely sad as we had begun picturing these children as part of our lives. However, we trust that those that know these children best know what family situation will best meet their needs.

We've "thrown our hat in the ring" to be considered for three other sibling groups, so this could be just the beginning of many roller coaster rides. Thanks for all your prayers! They've definitely been felt!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Adoption Update - The Waiting Game

Our interview yesterday went very well from our perspective. We were told that a decision would be made by the end of the week. What?! That would be by tomorrow?! Holy cow! I thought this was a slow process!!

Both Bryan and I feel more attached to the children since the interview, which we didn't expect. Now I keep trying to talk myself down with "God's will be done. God's will be done." I just happen to have a very strong opinion of what I would like God's will to be! 

Thanks for all the prayers! While I was nervous prior to the interview, I felt pretty calm during. Could I ask for prayers for a good night's sleep tonight?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Adoption Update - Interview Tomorrow

Bryan and I are very excited because tomorrow we will be interviewing to be considered for adopting two children. This was the first sibling group we submitted our homestudy for, and we are thrilled that we have the opportunity to interview.

Since we know that God knows what our family is to look like, we pray that God will bring the children he has planned for our family. However, our hearts have been knit to this boy and girl that we've never met, and so we are nervous as well!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - April 25, 2011

I'm a little giddy about my knew knowledge...I made cheese today!! Not a big wheel of cheddar, mind you, but a little blob of an Indian Cheese called Paneer.

What has me excited is that it can be used in recipes calling for feta. We love feta but always forget to grab some before we want to make our Greek Ham Wraps. Now with this simple recipe, we can have that favorite more often!

It does use a lot of milk, so save the whey for a recipe like potato soup.


6 C milk
1/4 C white vinegar or lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt

Set the milk up to boil. When the milk comes to a boil, pour the vinegar or lemon juice and salt into it. Reduce the heat and stir continuously until the milk is completely curdled.

Remove from the heat when the separation of the curds and yellowish whey is complete. Strain the mixture through a clean muslin cloth (I used a tea towel) drapped over a colendar placed on a big bowl. 

Leave it for 15-20 minutes so that all the whey is drained out. To make the paneer into a block, tie the muslin and place it under something heavy.

The paneer can now be cut into chunks and used as required. We crumbled it into our wraps. Yum!

On the menu this week:Monday (Bry Night Meeting) - Greek Ham Wraps, Micro-Roasted Potatoes

Tuesday (Rabbit Agility) - Cheese Enchiladas, Mexican Rice

Wednesday (AWANA) - Smoked Sausage Sandwiches, Baked Potatoes

Thursday (Karate) - Taco Salad

Friday - Bonfire at Church

Saturday  (Math Tournament) - Veggie Alphabet Soup, Fresh Bread

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

Find more menus at:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Meghan's Chocolate Bunny Dreams

Since Emelie was the one with the forethought to photograph Saturday's events, she gets the honor of telling the story...

False advertising: this post has nothing to do with Easter. Bunnies and chocolate, yes, so you are somewhat justified in reading this.

My sister, Meghan, is obsessed with rabbits. She already has a Chocolate Rex, Ghirardelli, that she showed at the 4-H fair last year. She loves that little Delli, but she's always wanted Mini Lops. So last summer, she worked insanely so this spring, for her birthday, she could get two Minis, a buck and a doe. Girl bunny+boy bunny+overenthusiastic 11-year-old girl= oh my!! Picture my barn next spring...

Oh well. She's my sister, I love her, and I have great faith in my own persuasiveness. You're reading this blog post right now. That's gotta count for something.

This morning, we went on a quest. The Fellowship consisted of Meghan, my mom, my grandma, and me. We found the Mini Lop people without any problems. Meghan was certain what she wanted, a broken buck (multicolored) and a gray doe.

Then we saw the bunnies, and she fell in love.

Mom did too...

That was the buck Mom wanted. A broken gray. We totally called that one. Mom loves any animal in gray. Gray bunnies, gray cats, gray horses, gray warthogs...rhapsodies in gray.

But this was the buck Meghan fell in love with. A broken buck, just like she wanted.

The breeder didn't have any gray does, but there was this really nice agouti that Meggie loved. She is just about the sweetest, calmest rabbit ever :)

Then you have to do this whole bunny physical thing to make sure its nails are black. Of course.

But in the end, Meghan got two beautiful bunnies. Since she already has Ghirardelli, we said that she should name the other two after chocolate brands too. She like Dove for the doe, but she wanted Jellybean for the buck.

I know it's her birthday, but we were all like, seriously.

My mom and grandma came up with Cadbury. Which I loved. It fit a cute, puffy bunny perfectly! And, if you think about it, would a dude rather be named Cadbury or Jellybean? And jellybeans are gross. All of which were arguments I used in trying to convince her that Cadbury was the name to choose.

She didn't listed to me. It took peer pressure to get her to change her mind.

But she did, eventually, which means that we have Ghirardelli, Cadbury, and Dove, with lots more chocolate brands to go, as she pointed out. That led to the discussion on other rabbit/chocolate names. Heath. Reeses. Godiva. M&M. I said that the only way I was going to let a bunny be named M&M is if it was a white one. Named Eminem - lol.

We're gonna have to wait for fall, at least, until any of those dreams are realized. For right now, we are perfectly happy with Dove and Cadbury, the two newest members of our animal family!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Recipe - Resurrection Rolls

Here's a delightful way to illustrate the Resurrection, especially to young children. Plus they're yummy, too!

Resurrection Rolls
1 package Crescent rolls
melted butter
large marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Give each child a triangle of crescent rolls.
The crescent roll represents the cloth that Jesus was wrapped in.

Give each child a marshmallow.
This represents Jesus and His purity.

Have child dip the marshmallow in melted butter.
This represents the oils of embalming.

Dip the buttered marshmallow in the cinnamon and sugar.
This represents the spices used to anoint the body of Jesus.

Wrap the coated marshmallow tightly in the crescent roll
(not like a typical crescent roll up, but bring the sides up and seal the marshmallow inside)
This represents the wrapping of Jesus' body after death.

Place in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
The oven represents the tomb (pretend like it was 3 days and nights!)

When the rolls have cooled slightly, the children can open their rolls (cloths) and discover that Jesus is no longer there,


The marshmallow melts and the crescent roll is puffed up, but like the tomb - IT IS EMPTY!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

WFMW - Make that Chicken Stretch!

No, we're not making our yard birds do yoga. Although that is a great visual!

Around here, we treat meat more like a side dish. Which is how it is treated everywhere in the world -- except America. While my husband is a "meatatarian," he is fully supportive of the health benefits and economic considerations of having meat as part of the meal, rather than the centerpiece. He's happy to order a steak when we go out to eat!

Last week I made BBQ chicken for our family of 10 using only two chicken breasts. I cooked the meat ahead of time, shredded it, and then let it simmer in lots of BBQ sauce for about half an hour. Served with a big pile of mashed potatoes and lots of fresh veggies, it was yummy and child-friendly (no bones!). We even had enough for leftovers for lunch the next day.

When a casserole calls for chicken breasts, I substitute cubed chicken from a whole bird that I have roasted. Sauteing chicken tenders? Previously cooked cubes work just as well and throw in another handful of veggies. Fajitas? Try heating some shredded chicken in your pan with water and spices. Shredding the chicken helps it to go much further. That's why it's always shredded in Mexican restaurants.

I will often throw in some beans to keep the protein level up (white bean puree is usually unnoticeable in a sauce). Increase the sauce that can be sopped up with a carb. And don't skimp on the veggies (even if they are pureed into the sauce so no one knows they're there)!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - April 18, 2011

We survived one of our busiest weekends of the year!

On Saturday, Meg competed in a Math Pentathlon Tournament. She earned Honorable Mention! She was happy because she improved her score from last year.

At the same time, Emelie was participating in our area's 4-H horse judging contest. She placed first in the senior division and is heading to the state contest in a couple weeks!

Just to keep things spicy, Hunter's cough (and attitude) only allowed us about three hours of sleep on Saturday night.

Sunday we celebrated Meghan's 11th birthday. Photos of that even coming soon!

The crazy continues this week with a packed schedule. For dinner we will be having:

Monday (4-H Floriculture) - Black Bean Quesadillas, Skillet Corn

Tuesday (Horse Judging, Rabbit Agility) - Hashbrown Casserole, Peach Cobbler, Eggs

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

Thursday (Homeschool Group, Karate) - Tomato Soup, Grilled Cheese

Friday - Dinner with friends!

Saturday  (Rabbit Show) - 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, April 14, 2011

For the Children's Sake

For the Children's Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and SchoolI first read For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay about 10 years ago. I recently picked it up again and am really enjoying going through it.

Regardless of the educational decisions your family has made, this book outlines the environment in which a child can flourish. I love the descriptions of rich literature and the results of exposing children to great books. It is so easy to underestimate our children!

Try checking your local library for this classic to put renewed purpose in your parenting.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

WFMW - Good deal for laundry soap

A while ago I waxed eloquent on the frugality of the laundry soap available at Sears. While that is still a great deal if you can hit a sale, an equally good buy can be had at Walmart 24 hours a day.

Lately we've been buying big boxes of Purex for just under $3 a box. No coupon is going to make Tide that cheap!  We can get away with using 1/2 to 3/4 of the amount listed on the box since we have soft water.

To anticipate a couple questions...We do have sensitive skin around here and have experienced no increase in itchies over the past 6 months of use. It is rated for H.E. washers. I have 2 front-loaders, and it works just fine. The clothes are just as clean as with other soaps I've used. The box states it's good for 30 loads, but I know we get more than that out of it. 4 boxes last us about 2 months doing about 18 large loads/week.

What do you use to make your laundry life easier or cheaper?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Working on that Peaceful Home, Part 2

Last week I shared my notes from the first half of the Malley sibling's workshop entitled Peace Treaties in the Living Room. Here's how they finished their session. You'll have to imaging the dark room, harp music, and emerging chalk painting for yourself.

They used the analogy of reaching the summit during a hike to describe how we need to equip ourselves for better family relationships.

• Stay focused on your goal of better conflict resolution and deeper relationships.

• Lay aside weights (sin, wrong priorities, schedules that are too full)

• Be prepared with food and water (be in the Word of God a lot – memorize Scripture)

• Encourage and strengthen each other. Pray for each other.

• Ask questions to encourage conversation

• Be interested in their interests

• Proverbs 18:21 - The tongue has the power of life and death

Know the dangers you will face along the way
• Beware of allowing other friendships that will come between siblings

• Pride, sin, selfishness

Do not rely on your own strength
• We need God’s help – he gives grace to the humble

• Work together – when you do something hard with someone, you become close with them

So there's their thoughts and suggestions. What do you do to encourage sibling harmony in your home?

Here's the new Stumpf mantra for that department (and this goes for mom too!):
Be enthusiastic and look for opportunities to praise one another's character.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - April 11, 2011

It seams like the part of dinner I struggle with the most is coming up with tasty, economical sides. The same couple seem to get trotted out over and over. I'm in need of creativity here.

What are your go-to side dishes?

Here's a great way to dress up some canned green beans. Even my non-green bean eaters will go for this on. I'm sure that it would taste even better with fresh beans. Have to try that this summer!

Sesame Green Beans
3/4 pound fresh green beans,steamed or 2-16 oz. cans, drained
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted 

Warm green beans in a skillet. Add the butter, soy sauce and sesame seeds; toss to coat. Yield: 6 servings.

Monday - Chipped Beef Gravy, Toast, Scrambeled Eggs

Tuesday (4-H Horse & Pony) - Mexican Dinner, Sweet Potatoes

Wednesday (AWANA) - Cold Cut Sandwiches, Chips

Thursday (Karate)- Teriyaki Chicken, Rice, Edamame

Friday (Church Function) - Dinner at Church

Saturday  (Horse Judging Contest, Math Pentathlon Tournament, 4-H BBQ) - Food from the 4-H BBQ!

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

Find more menus at:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Was it something she said?

So this is what happens when I go away for a couple hours? Emelie's reflections on the events of this afternoon. 

I was babysitting today, while my mom took 4 siblings to a mock math tournament. Caleb stayed home to work on his math, and Heidi and Hunter are too young. So I was cleaning up after lunch. It's not the world's most engaging activity, but the world must go on.

Anyway, I'm cleaning up and not really interacting with anyone, when Caleb comes tearing past with a suitcase. Well, what else? Suitcases when he's supposed to be doing multiplication? There was a couple times I considered leaving home when it came to multiplication. So I just absorbed it. I would tell Mom he was kidnapped by Martian pirates. Or a Sicilian, a Spaniard, and a giant. She loves the Princess Bride.

Ummmmm, the suitcase had feet? Like, Hunter's feet. Wow, so maybe it's not just math. Maybe it's me *gasps*. I'm such a bad babysitter my brother feels compelled to kidnap his younger brother to save him from me? I promise I had said only remotely normal things all day. But, um, I was hurt. Was this the result of years of suppression? Was this a spontaneous act of rebellion against me and my obsessive cleaning habits? (haha, not really) Or is my 9 year old brother involved with a black market trade in suitcases with feet?

I was unsure, so I took a picture.

Guess what? Both brothers decided to tough it out one more day. They stuck with it until Mom came home, upon which time, they fled screaming into her arms (ok, maybe not ;))

And Heidi? She's the little mini me, and she just kept doing puzzles through the whole drama. Love you, girl.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Perhaps a little too brown around the edges?

Here's another post from Emelie detailing one of our events this morning. A couple qualifiers... 1) Emelie can cook. She's a great cook! Perhaps she just doesn't always pay attention to details. 2) Until she laid eyes on the specimin below, she was actually planning on eating the thing. The smell of things burning is delicious to her. She backed down from that position.

Ok, so I can't cook. I left out the salt in the biscuits tonight, and that was my fault. But, my self-esteem is still intact.

Because.... I'm not the only one who sets food on fire.

To be politically correct (a new attitude for me) there was no fire. But there was smoke. Copious amounts of smoke. All from one tortilla and one-minute, forty-five seconds in a toasting oven.

Basically, I hate oatmeal. So I scrounge in the kitchen for whatever other food is left over from last night's dinner. This morning, it was tortillas left over from turkey ranch wraps (they were delicious! I didn't make them!). And I hate food that bends. So I toasted mine a little, so it was a nice, striped-brown, tortilla brisket.

Whatever I do is pure genius in the eyes of my siblings. Suddenly, everyone in the free world wanted a tortilla just like me. Mom was toasting tortillas and toasting tortillas, until, she tried to make one for Teddy.

I was getting ready to go out and take care of the horses when all of a sudden, this overwhelming, dirty, gritty smell comes pouring through the house. I run out, and the oven's open and smoke is escaping out. The whole kitchen is hazy and smells like...um, smoke. Teddy's got a pizza box and is waving it around the smoke alarm, trying to keep Heidi asleep, Mom's trying to open the doors to let the smoke out, I'm confused and just standing there.

It took like 15 minutes for the smoke to clear and the oxygen masks could come off. Mom finally opened the oven, and, among the last gasps of smoke, was this tar-pit tortilla. It was so burnt that it had gone rock hard crispy, and then soft and gummy again. It was full of ginormous air bubbles, and looked sentient. I was sort of genuinely scared. If life could have evolved from inanimate matter, it would come from charcoaled tortillas.

Because it's human nature to feel emboldened by the failure of others, I was feeling pretty good at the end of this experience. Tortillas are my nemises (I've been banned from the microwave twice and the oven once for setting tortillas on fire. We're talking flames!). But today, we had a smoke-induced panic attack and it wasn't my fault.

Now isn't that a good day?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hooked on Eagles!

A post from Emelie's Blog about our latest obsession...

So my uncle is a huge birdwatcher guy. This morning, he emailed this link to my mom. It's a live feed from a camera watching an bald eagle nest in northwestern Iowa. She opened it around breakfast, and this thing has been on all day.

During school, everyone kept running into the kitchen to check on these birds. There's the two parents, two eaglets, and one unhatched egg. And we get all wrapped up in this reality-show, eagle style. They were like all upset when the one eaglet got more food than the other eaglet, when the parents were fighting in the nest. All that good stuff.
This is dad on the nest from earlier today

And of course, there's the beaver. There's a nice, stiff, very dead beaver in the foreground of the camera. At first, we couldn't figure it out. It was brown and fuzzy and had big teeth, but mainly, it was dead. And who knew that eagles ate beavers? But, according to Wikipedia, eagles will eat pretty much anything. So...ok. This was proven when there was another bird in the nest.

And eagles get ugly when they eat. Mom and Dad fighting over the food, spitting food into the baby's mouths, that one little guy getting more than the other little guy, yeah. There's a whole untapped drama source at the eagle dinner table.

We even watched watched Eagle Cam during lunch. Which really proves that we'uns are all purty much country kids, if we can watch that while we're eating. There was some confusion, though. One of my brothers kept asking if we could rewind it.

The gold star moment goes to my sister, who asked, "When will they say words?" Followed by Hunter who would cry "See Turkey!" everytime the screensaver came on.

Are you ready to be addicted? Follow the link...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - April 4, 2011

Still in recovery mode around here: Em and I just returned from a long weekend at the Midwest Homeschool Conference, the children and house had been enjoying that same time under Mr. Mom, and a severe thunderstorm woke everyone up and killed our power at 5:30 this morning. We've all had plenty of opportunities to practice good character today!

Speaking of good character, I did discover this past weekend what brings out the beast in sweet little homeschool moms...the Duggars!

I was as excited as the next mom to sit in on a session by Michelle Duggar as she shared her homeschool secrets and encouragement. I was shocked by the stampede that happened when they opened the doors to get seats! Like there was 90% off at the Apologia booth! Yikes!

The session was great, and Michelle is every bit as sweet as she seems on TV. There were even Jim Bob and children sightings. They were mobbed like the characters at Disney World!

When we came out of the session, hundreds of people had already lined up to see the whole family at the convention's Grand Finale. It was still over 2 hours from starting! I decided that no earthly person was worth that wait, so we headed home.

For now, we are getting back to reality, so this week we will be enjoying:

Monday - Chinese Salad and Fried Rice

Tuesday - Turkey Ranch Wraps, Jello, Potato Wedges

Wednesday - Hot Dogs, Popcorn

Thursday (Karate)- Black Beans, Cheese, and Chips

Friday (Brigitta's 6th Birthday!) - Dinner at Red Robin

Saturday  (4-H Sewing, Aerospace, Scrapbooking Crop) - Stroganoff 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:

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Working on that Peaceful Home, Part 1

One of the conference sessions Emelie and I found very refreshing and challenging was listening to the Malley siblings of Tomorrow's Forefathers called Peace Treaties in the Living Room. It is the sequel to their book Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends, which I highly recommend! 

I will hardly be able to give their message justice, especially considering the beautiful harp music and amazing chalk drawing of the second half, but here's a summary of how to help improve sibling relationships:

We shouldn’t be looking for an irritation-free environment, because God has put us together in families to grow us. Our family can’t function without every member in it. Irritations prepare us for the future.

In dealing with conflict, respond correctly to irritations:
• Accept them as from the Lord
• Surrender our rights (our time or possessions) because everything belongs to God
• Learn to look past the irritation
• See the needs of the person causing the irritation
• View the irritation as a test from the Lord

Don’t disguise the problem
• Be sure that you're not being bothered by an outside problem and taking out on the sibling

Correct past offenses
• Make sure that you have confessed past sins to each other so as to not harm future relationships
Keep your conscience clear

Learn to show mercy
• Mathew 5:7 - Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
• Micah 6:8 - He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Develop creative strategies to resolve conflict

Overcome evil with good – do exactly the opposite of what we naturally want to do

To be continued...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Get Ready to Laugh

In honor of the Tim Hawkins performance Emelie and I watched last night, have a giggle on me. This man is so funny, he had me doing that ugly laugh/cry thing!

Friday, April 1, 2011

First Year of College for $500?!

A couple years ago I listened to a couple convention sessions by Woody Robertson of CollegePlus!. I came home excited with a new vision for Emelie’s high school years. Today she had the pleasure of listening to one of his sessions, and to say she’s excited about finishing her Bachelor’s Degree by age 18 would be an understatement!  

Some thoughts from the session:
  • In 2010, fewer than 20% of college graduates get a job right out of school and most of those that do earn under 40K
  • Only 54% of freshmen entering college will graduate
  • 80% of college graduates do something different than their major
  • Students spend more time in drinking and sports than academics (less than 3 hours per day average are spent in academics)
  • 93% of faculty describe themselves as liberals
  • Our Founding Fathers graduated college at 16 and 17 years old

In contrast, those students pursuing the method promoted by CollegePlus! have an 80% employment rate. The time saved can be spent on internships and advanced degrees and the learning is individualized to the student.

Emelie’s personality and study skills make her the poster child for this method. It will be interesting to see where this takes her!