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, 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.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - August 15, 2011

Here is a recipe for one of our favorite side dishes. And since my niece asked for it specifically, that was the kick in the pants I needed to finally post it. It's another great use for leftover rice

Disclaimer: This isn't the most authentic recipe for fried rice you can find. The original came from a cookbook written by someone from Kokomo, Indiana. Hence the bacon. However, I dare you to stop eating it once you start!
Quick Fried Rice
· 6 Slices of Bacon
· 1 Cup Frozen Peas
· 1/2 an Onion, chopped
· 3 Eggs, whisked
· 4 Cups Cooked Rice (white or brown)
· 3 Tblspn Soy Sauce (we like Bragg's Liquid Aminos)

In a large skillet or wok cook bacon until crisp. Spoon of all but about 2 Tblspn bacon grease. Saute onion until tender. Push bacon and onion off to the side. Scramble egg. Add peas, rice, and soy sauce. Heat through. YUM!

This week the Stumpf kitchen will be serving...

Monday - Baked Sandwiches, Fresh Fruit

Tuesday (Homeschool Mom's Meeting) - Cheese Enchiladas, Spanish Rice

Wednesday - Smoked Sausage Sandwiches, Baked Potatoes

Thursday (Karate) - Taco Salad

Friday - Bible Study

Saturday - Korean Egg Rolls, Asian Noodle Salad

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

Find more menus at:

Friday, August 12, 2011

School Stuff - Room Time

The half-hour that my little one spend in room time enables me some quiet to work with one or more of the others on subjects that require more teacher help.

Hunter has lost his room time discipline over the summer, so we're working up to the full half-hour with him. Up to about 20 minutes at this point. More about training for Room Time under "Our Day."

We pulled some activities out of storage for room time. The Teddy Mix & Match continues to be a a huge hit. The little ones have come up with cute names for all the bears. 
Ravensburger Teddy Mix & Match - Children's Game

It's taken some time, but I managed to gather up all the gears from Ted's old set. The youngest have never had the chance to play with it, and it keeps them busy for a long time.
Gears! Gears! Gears! Super Set - 150-Piece Set

We also unboxed Emelie's old Ello Fairytopia set. Another fun building set that can really hold attention.
Ello Fairytopia

One of the most sought after toys are those magnet letters that we all played with as children. Add a metal cookie sheet, a mixing bowl and spoon, and they happily play for some time!
Educational Insights Magnetic Alphabet and Numbers

Thursday, August 11, 2011

School Stuff - Circle Time

Circle Time has been a fixture in our school day for several years. You can read more about what we've done in the past under the "Our Day" tab.
I love that it brings everyone together to learn some things and sets the tone for our day. It also provides a time to cover subjects that might otherwise be overlooked.

This year in circle time we're covering the poetry from Sonlight Core 4 and Core 100.
A Treasury of Poetry for Young People: Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Edgar Allan Poe, Carl Sandberg, Walt WhitmanThe Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children's Poems

Since we're finishing up our two-year study of American History, we are also singing selections from Wee Sing America and History Songs. I'm always amazed at how much the children retain from songs. They're still singing the songs from last year!
Wee Sing America 
History Songs

Lastly, we're spending some time with art appreciation through a few books that have we haven't used as much as we should.
How Artists See: The Elements: Earth Air Fire WaterHow Artists See: Feelings: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Love 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

School Stuff - Kindergarten

This school year I was looking for something new to do with Heidi (age 4.5). She knows her letters, sounds, and numbers, and she loves to "do school." I wanted something that was more "fun" and less academic than what we generally use for Kindergarten (A Beka phonics and Math-U-See Alpha) since she's on the young side.

I'd heard some positive reviews of My Father's World and, after researching it, knew it was what I was looking for. It contains all the main subjects. The first two weeks focus on the creation story from Genesis, followed by 26 hands-on, thematic units that focus on the wonders in God's creation. The sun, moon, rocks, vegetables, elephants, butterflies, and dinosaurs are just a few of the topics.

While buying the kit can be pricey, I knew that the other children would also enjoy the science and literature components of the program. I'm getting whatever books we don't own from the library.

I've scheduled my time with Heidi from 9-10am. The next four oldest children will be working on some of their seatwork at the same table from 9:30-10am. This will give them plenty of opportunity to "listen in" to what we are covering.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - August 8, 2011

Happy first day of school! Stumpf University officially opened today with much enthusiasm on the part of all the students. Even Bryan noticed the energy level and extra-loud volume in the house when he came home tonight. I'm so thankful that the children enjoy our school times here at home!

Here's one of our family favorite recipes. It is similar to the Hashbrown Casserole served at Cracker Barrel, but I think this version is even better! It's very rich, so we only eat it about once every couple months.

Hashbrown Casserole
· 2 lb. Frozen hashbrowns
· ½ cup melted butter
· ¾ teaspoons salt
· ¼ teaspoon pepper
· 1 can cream of potato soup or cream of chicken soup
· 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
· 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

· 2 cups sour cream (I usually use about 1 cup)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix well. Spread in a 9 x 13 baking pan. Bake at 350° for 1 hour.

This week the Stumpf cafeteria will be serving...

Monday - Black Bean Quesadillas, Skillet Corn

Tuesday - Hashbrown Casserole, Peach Cobbler

Wednesday - Chicken Nuggets, Popcorn

Thursday (Karate) - Tomato Soup, Grilled Cheese

Friday - Bible Study

Saturday - Greek Ham Wraps, Micro-roasted Potatoes

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

Find more menus at:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Some might say we're obsessed...

We're under 40 days until we leave for our trip to "The World." We're so excited, we talk about little else. Bryan and I were trying to put our finger on it the other night - why do we love it so much?

It pretty much boils down to complete escapism. He works so hard every day, and Disney is such a radical change of pace. And since I was sick during last year's trip, everyone agrees that a "do over" is in order.

It's relatively cheap for us - per capita, per day. Plus since it's all been paid for a couple months before, we don't worry about the cost while we're there. We spend almost $0 while on property.

It's something that the whole family loves. Everyone. Big and small. We try to think about other vacations. We really do. But we keep coming back to the house of the mouse.

This is a glimpse into the lives of some Disney groupies.

Every morning the children race to see who
can put up the countdown number of the day.

Star Wars has been abandoned as
preferred LEGO subject.

And dressing like a rodent is cool!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

4-H Fair Recap #2 - Meggie Edition

As our crazy 4-H Fair weekend was winding down, Meghan learned some exciting news. She had earned the award for Rabbit Herdsmanship for her age division. Since this award is concerned with the care of one's animals and barn area, 4-H makes a pretty big deal of it with a special awards ceremony for all the Herdsmanship recipients.
She was also selected as first alternate Rabbit Ambassador for her age group. Pretty impressive considering she didn't prepare at all for the tests because she had no intention of participating. She just took the tests on a whim. And since the first place representative couldn't fulfill the commitments, she'll be representing our county at the State Fair this Sunday. Now she's cramming for those tests!

We all entered several exhibits in the Open Show portion of the fair. Meg stole the show again by earning Sweepstakes for her potted plant!
Such an amazing turnout for a girl with a sweet, humble spirit!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - August 1, 2011

Here is recipe that we enjoyed the other night. It's a nice change of pace from traditional pizza. I have a couple eaters that enjoy it more. Here is the original recipe. My modifications are below.

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup barbecue sauce, divided
1 tube (13.8 ounces) refrigerated pizza crust
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Gouda cheese
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack. Grill, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 170°, basting frequently with 1/2 cup barbecue sauce. Set aside and keep warm.

Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 12-in. x 10-in. rectangle. Lightly brush both sides of dough with oil; place on grill. Cover and grill over medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until the bottom is lightly browned.

Remove from grill. Cut the chicken into 1/2-in. cubes. Spread the grilled side of each pizza with 1/4 cup barbecue sauce; layer with chicken, onion, cheese and cilantro. Return to grill. Cover and cook each pizza for 4-5 minutes or until the bottom is lightly browned and cheese is melted. Yield: 2 pizzas (4 pieces each).

Stumpf Notes: I made a total of 4 large pizzas - two without onion. I used my favorite pizza dough instead of prepared. I had some cooked chicken in my freezer. I used mozerella instead of gouda - still yummy although perhaps not as exotic! I pre-baked the crusts for 7 minutes, then baked the pizzas for an additional 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

This week the Stumpfs will be dining on...

Monday - Chipped Beef Gravy, Toast, Scrambled Eggs

Tuesday - Mexican Dinner, Sweet Potatoes

Wednesday - Cold Cuts, Chips

Thursday (Karate starts again!) - BBQ Chicken, Mashed Potatoes

Friday - Bible Study

Saturday - Swedish Meatballs, Rice, Noodles, Broccoli

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

Find more menus at: