About Me

My photo
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!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Tuesday Tip - Easy Outside Activities for Littles

When the thermometer starts hitting 85 degrees consistently, it seems that it gets harder to convince the children to go outside to play. After dealing with cabin fever all winter, we want them out in God's creation all summer. Here are a couple ways to entice children outside:

- Fill a bucket (gallon ice cream tubs work great) with water and give them a cheap paint brush. Let them paint the house, porch, deck, etc.

- Put soapy water in those buckets and have them wash doll clothes or matchbox cars.

- Sidewalk chalk. Everywhere. Perhaps followed by the buckets of water?

- Fill a tub with cornmeal for a portable sandbox. Add scoops and they'll be busy for hours!

- Bubbles. In small containers so the gallon doesn't get dumped like ours did yesterday!

- Pull up a lawn chair and read a story to them on the porch or lawn.

- A picnic in the backyard can be as much fun as a trip to the park.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - May 30, 2011

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend. Saturday we purchased and planted over 40 landscape plants, and I giggled the night away at a scrapbooking event. Sunday we enjoyed church and our evening Bible Study.

Today we've been trying to keep cool as we discovered yesterday that our air conditioning wasn't working. It's a common theme with us as the a/c in the bus isn't working either. Hopefully both will be fixed in the next day or two. (I get grumpy when I'm hot!)

On our dinner table this week will be:

Monday - Chinese Cole Slaw, Fried Rice

Tuesday (Rabbit Agility, 4-H Self Determined) - Turkey Ranch Wraps, Potato Wedges, Jello

Wednesday - Hot Dogs, Popcorn

Thursday (4-H Rabbit)  - Black Beans, Cheese, Chips

Friday - Bonfire at Church

Saturday - Stroganoff Meatballs, Beans or Rice, 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:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

WFMW - Cute Skorts for Cute Girlies!

I just love skorts for my girls. They can tumble and play, twirl to their hearts' content, and not have to worry about modesty. I've recently made them each a skort from patterns downloaded from my favorite site, YouCanMakeThis.com.

Heidi's is a gathered one made from the Skants, Skapris, Skorts, Skirts & More pattern. Brigitta has a twirl skort from 3 Perfectly Preppy Skorts and Skirts. Both are very quick to put together - and the girls just love them!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Tuesday Tip - Cooking Tips

Here are some cooking tips that have saved my bacon (snicker) more than once!

Too Much Salt
If you've added too much salt to a recipe, there are several solutions, 1) add a little sugar, 2)in soups or stews, a raw potato slice added to the mixture will absorb the salt, and 3) a second batch can be made, omitting the salt, and added to the first batch. Combine the two mixtures and freeze half for later.

Too Sweet
Add some salt, or, if the recipe is a vegetable or main dish, a teaspoon of vinegar.

Wilting Vegetables
Remove brown edges of vegetables and sprinkle with water. Wrap in a towel and pop into the refrigerator for about an hour. Or, dip quickly in hot water, then ice water with a small amount of cider vinegar added.

Chopped Onions
Peel and quarter. Place one layer deep in a small pan and freeze. Quickly pack in bags or containers while frozen Use as needed, chopping onions while frozen, with a sharp knife.

Hurry Up Hamburgers
Poke a hole in the middle of the hamburger patties while shaping them. The burgers will cook faster and the holes will disappear when done.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - May 23, 2011

Tonight we tried this yummy broccoli side dish. Give it a try - it's sure to become a family favorite! And you can get it on the table in under 10 minutes.

Broccoli Side Dish
5 cups fresh broccoli florets
2 tablespoons butter
4 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Place broccoli and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Combine the remaining ingredients; pour over broccoli. Cover and microwave on high for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Serve with a slotted spoon. Yield: 4 servings

We've got a fun week planned. A side benefit is that I don't have to cook for a couple nights. On the menu this week:

Monday - Sloppy Joes (made with Black Beans), Broccoli Side Dish

Tuesday (Rabbit Agility) - Biscuits & Gravy, Eggs

Wednesday - Dinner Out with Friends

Thursday - Karate Bonfire

Friday - Hashbrowns & Smoked Sausage, Salad

Saturday - Black Bean Quesadillas, Skillet Corn

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

Find more menus at:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

WFMW - Perk up that oatmeal

In an effort to perk up our breakfast menu, I went to a very fun site, Mr. Breakfast. I was specifically looking for ideas for our Wednesday morning menu of hot cereal. We've been rotating Coco Wheats, Malt-o-Meal, and Oatmeal. The leftovers have been getting larger, so I know that the kiddos are getting tired of it.

I found these recipes that sound super yummy. We had the Amish Oatmeal this morning. I doubled it and it wasn't enough! I'll scale back on the butter and sugar and triple it next time. It was so yummy!! I'll be trying the other two recipes in the next couple weeks. I'm actually looking forward to oatmeal!

Amish Oatmeal

(6 servings)

1 and 1/2 cups Quaker quick oats
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup melted margarine
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Warm milk to serve
fresh fruit -- brown sugar -- or other preferred topping

Combine the first 8 ingredients and mix well. Spread evenly in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 350 F. for 25-30 minutes or until edges get golden brown.
Immediately spoon into bowls, add milk. Top with fruit and brown sugar, if desired. (We didn't use toppings. Just milk.)

Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
(4 servings)

1 cup oats - old fashioned or quick
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon butter - softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For Topping:
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
2 Tablespoons white sugar
2 Tablespoon softened butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare 4 individual 1-cup ramekins by coating the inside generously with cooking spray.
Prepare the topping mixture by combining the three ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Mix all dry spices together in a small bowl. Combine all other ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Mix well and slowly sprinkle in the spice mixture at the end so it's distributed evenly through the mix.
Divide the mixture among the four ramekins.
Bake for 10 minutes. Carefully sprinkle equal parts of the topping mixture over each serving. Bake for an additional 7 minutes.
Allow oatmeal to cool at least 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
(We'll double or triple this and bake in a casserole dish)

As American As Apple Pie Oatmeal
(4 servings)

1 and 3/4 cups water
1 cup apple juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 and 1/2 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup chopped apple (1 medium apple)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
fat-free whipped cream for topping - optional

Bring the water, apple juice and cinnamon to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the apples and allow them to cook and soften for 1 minute. Stir in the oats, maple syrup and vanilla. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until thick - stirring often. Check after 4 minutes for desired texture.

Transfer oatmeal to serving bowls and top with a small dollop of whipped cream.

Cold Breakfast Oatmeal
(1 serving)

3/4 cup rolled oats (non-instant and uncooked)
3/4 cup skim milk (may use rice or soy or almond milk)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 packet sweetener of choice (optional)
1/4 cup dried or fresh blueberries

The night before your breakfast, mix oats, milk, cinnamon and sweetener (if using) together in a cereal bowl. (If you are using the dried blueberries, go ahead and add these the night before also making sure they have plenty of liquid covering them.) Now cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning, add your fresh berries (if using) and stir gently. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Tuesday Tip - Cleaning the Bathroom

I had successfully gotten out of cleaning the bathrooms as my children got older. However, this last year I found myself back with the scrub brush since Emelie took over cooking dinner two nights a week. Not a bad trade off...

I am constantly amazed at how disgusting our bathrooms get. I want to get them really clean, but don't have hours to spend on the task. Here's a couple things I do to get the job done well and quickly.
  • Clean your bathroom after a steamy bath or shower. The walls, fixtures, etc., will be much easier to clean, because the steam will have loosened the dirt
  • Rub glass shower doors with a white vinegar dampened sponge to remove soap residue.
  • Dip a cloth in kerosene or rubbing alcohol to remove scum and spots from your bathroom fixtures.
  • Insert a sponge into the leg of an old nylon stocking and knot the end. Use it to scrub sinks, bathtub, tile, etc.

Menu Plan Monday - May 16, 2011

Whoops! I'm a day late with this one!

The children and I went to the zoo yesterday, and I was so wiped out I think I fell asleep at 9:30. Those of you that know my tendency to be up well past midnight should be sufficiently shocked! Since evenings are when I get things done, this blog didn't post itself while I was snoring like a big dog!

While Bryan and I were checking out during our big shopping trip, we had a couple curious onlookers. One little boy said that he'd never seen a receipt so big and then asked us how much money we had. Another little guy turned to his mother and asked, "Have you ever seen one lady buy so much food?" The mom was horrified and apologized. I laughed and said adults ask us similar questions all the time!

This was the "funny find" of this shopping trip. We thought it looked very multicultural!

On the menu this week:

Monday (Bry Night Meeting) - Calzones

Tuesday - Bean Burritos, Flour Tortillas, Salad

Wednesday (AWANA - last night!) - Mac 'n Cheese, Frozen Pizza

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

Friday - Tacos, Skillet Corn

Saturday - Chinese Chicken Salad, 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, May 15, 2011

I had a date with a really cute guy!

Bryan and I just returned home from a mini-date night of appetizers and dessert. I'm always looking forward to being with him on the weekends and, with as busy as things have been lately, feel disappointed when Monday rolls around and we barely had time to wave at one another.

So this afternoon I texted him while he was at a 4-H meeting and asked him out for a date! It was such a blessing to have an hour or so of uninterrupted time to catch up and talk about what's on our minds. Plus the cookie sundae was delicious!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Quick and Cool Crochet Potholder

My mom introduced me to this pattern to make an Origami Hotpad. I tried the first one hot off her crochet hook, and I was the one that was hooked!

They are a great size and thick enough to keep your hands protected. Since all of my potholders look like Chernobyl victims, it was past time to make some new ones.
They take one skein of Sugar 'n Cream yarn - available at Walmart for about $1.79. They can be whipped up using single crochet in just a couple hours. A great thing to do while watching a movie.

Click here for the free pattern!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Inspiration from a couple FREE ebooks!

In March of 2011, in the face of an abundance of homeschooling advice written by adults, Currclick put forth a challenge to homeschoolers far and wide. The challenge seemed simple on the surface – to write an advice column about how to homeschool a child written by the homeschooled children themselves. Many kids stepped up to this challenge and the result of their efforts should be required reading for all homeschool parents! Enjoy and be inspired by the heartfelt, thoughtful, and practical advice penned by these extraordinary homeschoolers.

There are many books written by adults and homeschool veteran parents about homeschooling. But don’t people need to know what kids think? We believe so! In this fantastic, inspiring and informative collection of short stories written by homeschool kids, you'll find all sorts of amazing homeschool tips and advice from the real experts ... the kids!

Click here to download both volumes for free!

A side note: Let me know if you can get through the dedication with dry eyes!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Tuesday Tip - Cleaning Cooked-On Egg

For the longest time I struggled with cleaning up after pans that we'd cooked eggs in. It seemed that no amount of scrubbing or soaking would help. In search of answers, I googled.

The answer lies in water temperature. Clean those scrambled egg pans and poached egg cups in cold water first. Using hot water only serves to cook the egg more and affix it to the pan. Once it's clean, follow up with soap and a hot rinse.

Also helpful, coat your cooking pans with the magical lecithin mixture. You'll be amazed at how easy clean-up becomes!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - May 9, 2011

How glorious it was to take a family walk tonight and then play softball in the front yard until after 9 o'clock! Most of the children have completed their school year, and our weekly activities are slowly lessening. I love May! I feel like I can get more done around my house in May than any other month of the year.

This morning I surprised the children at breakfast with yummy "Milk Shakes." This really gets everyone smiling first thing in the morning!

Combine in a blender:
  • 1.5 cups cold water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1.5 cups non-fat dry milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon stevia (use additional 1/4 cup sugar if you don't have)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid lecithin (use a squirt of non-stick cooking spray if you don't have)
  • 16 ice cubes
We'll be heading out Saturday for our bi-monthly grocery trip. My new 2-month meal plan makes the planning for 9 weeks of food a pretty quick process.

On the menu this week:

Monday - Homemade Pizza

Tuesday - Blueberry Pancakes, Eggs

Wednesday (AWANA) - Franks & Beans, Ho Cakes

Thursday (Karate) - Frozen Burritos, Corn Casserole

Friday - BBQ Meatball Sandwiches, Sauteed Green Beans

Saturday  (Big Grocery, 4-H Aerospace, 4-H Cloverbuds) - 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:

Saturday, May 7, 2011

They did their best...and it showed!

Event: Indiana State 4-H Horse Judging Contest
Division: Senior (9th-12th Grade)
Winner: Emelie!!!

First year judging at this level and she wins the big dance! She worked so hard to prepare and it showed! Just last night she told me how calm she felt. She said she would do her best and leave the results up to God!

Event: Mathematics Pentathlon Tournament
Division: One (Kindergarten and 1st Grade)
Gold Medalist: Jacob!!!

He won every game and had a great day.

Event: Mathematics Pentathlon Tournament
Division: One (Kindergarten and 1st Grade)
Cutest Participant: Brigitta!!!

Her games didn't turn out like she'd hoped, but she kept a smile on and had fun anyway!

Also worth noting: Ted worked the game table at the math tournament. He's become so helpful that the leaders get excited when they see him coming!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Where my head has been...

I just haven’t felt the blogging mojo this week. Finishing up our school year, computer issues, cleaning poop off the carpet, and removing powder blush off my bathroom floor have taken much time and energy. I’ve been spending my evenings searching photo listings and sending emails to caseworkers.

I’m looking to get some balance back in my schedule. While I think I’ll still check the Indiana listing daily, I don’t think I need to check it hourly! The national listings I’m going to try to save for once a week.

Our homestudy has gone national. Copies have gone out to a couple other states. Our preference is to adopt locally for many reasons, but we feel called to cast a wide net and see what God will do.

I have to get up before 6am tomorrow (so, so wrong) to get Emelie ready for her contest. As soon as she walks out the door it will be time to get Jacob and Brigitta ready for their math tournament. We’ll get home just in time to see the Derby run and collapse for the evening.

I’ll try to put some fun stuff up on the blog next week. I’ve kept the sewing machine busy (great therapy!) and will show you some of my must-have patterns for spring...

Have a great weekend! And Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - May 2, 2011

I'm feeling like we're finally able to come out of our winter cocoon. Our weekend was bookended with bonfires Friday and Sunday. On Saturday, Caleb competed in his division of Math Pentathlon Tournament. He knocked our socks off by earning a silver medal! Way to go Mr. C!

This week is one of our last busy ones of the season culminating in the busiest Saturday of the year. Jake and Brigitta will compete at their math tournament while 40 miles away Emelie competes in the state horse judging contest. Thank goodness for Grandma to hold down the fort while Bryan and I run from one place to the other!

On the menu this week:

Monday - Pinto Bean Casserole, Salad

Tuesday (Horse Judging, Rabbit Agility) - Waffles, Sausage, Fruit Syrup

Wednesday (AWANA) - Corn Dogs, Chips

Thursday (Homeschool Group, 4-H Rabbit, Karate) - Black Beans & Smoked Sausages over Rice, Peas

Friday (Horse Judging) - Sausage Stroganoff Soup, Fresh Veggies

Saturday  (Math Tournament, Horse Judging Contest) - Meatloaf or Hamburgers, Potatoes

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

Find more menus at:

Easter Weekend Photos

A week late, but here are our photos from last weekend's festivities.

On Saturday, the children were surprised to wake up to baskets hidden around the house. This was part of our sporadically-observed Spring Celebration. I'm always amazed at how excited and grateful the children are for a little candy and a few token gifts!
I taught them how to use malted milk
eggs as lipstick!

On Sunday the children dressed in their tropical best to go to church to worship and celebrate the resurrection of our Savior. After church Bryan and the four eldest were able to serve dinner at a church in downtown Indy. Serving others was a great way to observe the holiday may become our new tradition!