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 30, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - January 30, 2012

Wow, January is about done! And yet we're enjoying Spring-like temps. To be able to send the children outside to play without umpteen layers of clothes is a beautiful thing.

We're less than two weeks away from our once-every-9-weeks-or-so grocery trip. My pantry is really showing it. So our some of our meals. While I love having supplies for 2 months of meals at my disposal, my tendency to substitute here and there results in some interesting dinnertime bedfellows.

Tonight, as Ted was cooking up dinner, it was "Well, here's a can of sliced pineapple. Don't know why I bought that. Let's have it as a side dish!"

Assuming I haven't used the ingredients for something else, this week we will be enjoying:

Monday - Homemade Pizza

Tuesday (Math Practice, Horse Judging) - Blueberry Pancakes, Eggs

Wednesday (AWANA) - Frozen Burritos, Corn Casserole

Thursday (Karate) - Franks & Beans, Ho Cakes

Friday - Dinner at Friends'

Saturday - Tamale Pie, fresh fruit
Breakfast menu is here; lunch menu is here.

Find more menus at:

Sunday, January 29, 2012

An ode to carrots

I was recently gifted with a large bag of baby carrots that had been frozen (thank you, Kristie!). As soon as I saw the bag, I knew exactly how those orange babies would end up.

I'm not a huge fan of cooked carrots, so that option's out. Since these were fresh carrots that were then frozen, they cannot be thawed and eaten "raw." They're soft and turn gray - yummy.

About once or twice a week I steam about 4 cups of the carrots until soft. Then I puree them until smooth, adding a bit of the  steaming water to make a smooth puree. This makes about 2 cups of puree.

Then when I cook throughout the week, I slip in a cup of carrot puree. It's easy to hide the carrots like spaghetti sauce, hamburgers, BBQ sauce, and even sweet potato casserole.

Why go to this trouble (besides waste not, want not)?

Carrots are loaded with beta carotene. Carrots are very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. They are also a good source of thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, folate and manganese, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium. 

Carrots are also good at fighting inflammation in the body because they contain antioxidents and fiber. The amount of B vitamins present in carrots are especially good at regulating the body's circulation that the heart and lungs have nutrients available to do their job efficiently. Additionally, carrots also help lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Raw is almost always the best option but, when looking at veggies, think outside the side dish, especially if you have picky eaters. What they don't know about can help them!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cooking Substitution Tips

I'm pretty good at keeping a well stocked fridge and pantry, but there are times when I run out of a staple or two.

Here are a couple that have saved my bacon more than once. They also have the added benefit of being lower in fat than the original ingredients. If you don't keep dry milk in the pantry, I encourage you to pick up a box at the grocery. Not only for the recipes below, but also for Homemade Pancake Mix and Chai Tea Mix (I couldn't find this recipe posted. I'll remedy that!) - essentials around here!

Sour Cream Substitute (for 1 Cup sour cream for use in a casserole or soup - not to top a baked potato!)
1 C Evaporated Milk
1 Tblspn White Vinegar
Mix together and let sit in the fridge for as long as you can (hours not days). It will appear thick and curdled.

Evaporated Milk (for 12 oz can)
1-1/3 C Milk
1 C Dry Milk
Mix together until smooth.

Sweetened Condensed Milk (for a 14oz. can)
1 C. Dry Milk
2/3 C Sugar

1/3 C Very Hot Water
3 Tbsp. Melted Butter
In blender, combine instant dry milk, sugar, hot water and melted butter. Blend until smooth. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Happy Birthday, Heidi!

Our little Adelaide Kathleen turned one whole hand this past Sunday. How is that possible?

As the youngest Stumpf girl, she regularly plays the part of half-imp, half-dictator. She's so charming that the other children don't really mind being bossed around (most of the time!).

Grandma Nan surprised Heidi and Brigitta by taking them to Disney on Ice on Saturday. Thanks to a tip from Jamers, I busted out their princess dresses and enough hair glitter to clog our septic system.

These two are only about a 1.5 years
apart and the best of friends.
After church on Sunday, we had lunch at "Little Red Robin Hood" a.k.a. Red Robin. It's a favorite birthday destination because the birthday girl gets an ice cream sundae and no one makes her share (but she usually does!). The we came home for presents and cake.

Heidi had picked a "Tangled" sheet cake from Walmart. (Gasp - a store bought cake!) Bryan was happy to take a break from his usual cake artistry. But Meghan really wanted to make some creative cupcakes. Heidi chose monsters!? The one without 3D eyeballs is for Ted and his braces. I think Meg got some of her Daddy's talent!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - January 23, 2012

What a great weekend of scrapbooking with friends and then celebrating my "baby girl's" 5th birthday! I'll post more on that, but before she went to be, she proclaimed it "the best birthday EVER!"

We've got a busy week going on, but that's the morn for this time of year. So long as the roads stay snow & ice free, I'm a happy girl. I'm posting the recipe for our Snickerdoodle Granola below since I was reminded yesterday that I've been remiss getting it to the favorite recipes page.

Bryan eats a cup of dry granola everyday on his way to work. We have it here for breakfast several times a week. My latest nighttime snack is to put some in a bowl, pour milk on, and microwave for a minute and a half. Yummy, warm, and comforting!

Snickerdoodle Granola

12 C Oats
2 C Sugar
1 C Oil
1 C Butter, Melted
2 tea. Cinnamon
2 tea. Vanilla
1 tea. Cream of Tartar
1 tea. Salt

Mix all together and spread into 2-3 pans. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes. Cool in pans while trying to keep little fingers from snitching it. Store in baggies or tubs. Can be frozen for longer storage.

This week we will be enjoying:
Monday - We actually had enough leftovers for a dinner buffet - unheard of!

Tuesday (Horse Judging) - Waffles with fruit syrup

Wednesday (AWANA, 4-H Council Mtg) - Corn Dogs, Chips

Thursday (Dentist Day, Karate, 4-H Rabbit Mtg) - Korean BBQ Beef, Ramen, Rice, Peas

Friday - Sausage Stroganoff Soup, Fresh Veggies

Saturday - Hamburgers, Fries

Breakfast menu is here; lunch menu is here.

Find more menus at:

Friday, January 20, 2012

Quick Scrapbook Layouts

I get to spend tomorrow afternoon and evening scrapbooking. Happy dance! I'm trying to get all caught up before bambino arrives in May and all crafting grinds to a halt for several months. I admit that, for me, the feeling of being on top of things is as enjoyable as the process of creating the pages.

I've managed to keep relatively current in my books by using 8 x 10 photo collages to reduce the number of layouts I need to make.

A similar concept was being touted in the latest Archiver's newsletter. Now they're promoting the use of their pocket pages (cool, but can get pricey). The same result can be achieved by using a piece of cardstock as your base. The bottom line is to fill your pages with more photos than bling since it's the memories that you're trying to get out of the shoeboxes (or off the SD card).

Below are some of the Archiver's examples. I do really like the clean lines of these pages. (There's that need for order and structure again!)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Seven Lies about Homeschoolers

This video has been showing up all over my Facebook page, but in case you missed it, it's quite the giggle. When he got to #1, I looked around at all the children watching and everyone (including me!) were in their jammies! And this was at lunchtime!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - January 16, 2012

We're doing a happy dance around here. Our beloved bus, SUE, has been at the repair shop since last week. Bryan was fearing the diagnosis of rebuilding an engine and thousands of dollars. It looks to be not as bad as all that (an answer to our prayers!). While not cheap, I think we can still buy groceries!

Now I get to choose which children I love the most to go to this week's activities since only three can fit in Bryan's car. Hopefully SUE will be back on the road before Heidi's big birthday celebration this weekend!
Here's a recipe for Taco Salad. We enjoy several versions of Taco Salad, but this is an especially good one to bring to pitch-ins.

Taco Salad
1 pound lean ground beef
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (16 ounce) can chili beans
1 (16 ounce) bottle French dressing (start with 1/2 bottle, then add more as needed)
1 head iceberg lettuce
1 (14.5 ounce) package tortilla chips
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped tomatoes
4 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 cup prepared salsa
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef and drain excess fat. Stir in the taco seasoning, chili beans and French-style dressing. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add water if it gets too dry.

Crush the bag of chips, open the bag, and toss the broken chips into a large bowl with the lettuce, cheese and tomatoes. When the meat mixture is done, combine it with the lettuce, tomatoes, chips and mix well. Then, add salsa and sour cream.
This week we will be enjoying:
Monday - Baked Sandwiches, Fresh Fruit

Tuesday (Horse Judging & Homeschool Mom's Mtg) - Cheese Enchiladas, Spanish Rice

Wednesday (AWANA) - Smoked Sausage Sandwiches, Baked Potatoes

Thursday (Karate) - Taco Salad

Friday - Stumpf Chili, Cornbread

Saturday - Korean Egg Rolls, Asian Noodle Salad

Breakfast menu is here; lunch menu is here.

Find more menus at:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mudroom Makeover - "After" Photos

FINALLY... Here are the photos of our completed mudroom makeover. We started this project before Thanksgiving, and it was mostly done within a couple days. I've been dragging my feet in making the doors for the lower cubbies simply because, well, I really don't have a good reason. When I buckled down and did it, it only took one evening.

We are very pleased with how it turned out. It's amazing how moving a couple things around has given us more room. And, overall, it stays more tidy. I think I will put initials back over the hooks because the younger set can't remember which hook is theirs. But if coats make it to any hook, I count it a victory!

Just a reminder, here's the very real "before" shot:
And here is the "after:"
We painted the walls in two shades of green.
We added another set of shoe cubbies.
The hooks are mounted to door trim that
we had in the basement leftover from the
construction of the house.
The mirror says "Stumpf - established by God 1993"

The upper cubbies store out of season items like
sunscreen and sand buckets

The lower cubbies hold socks, hats & mittens.
The numbers are for the children to remember
which cubbie has their socks.
We added a curtain to the shelf to hide
sports equipment and things that need
to go to the barn. Bryan made the rod from
a piece of metal pipe and brackets.

I made a fabric cover for this clear plastic tub. It holds
our big flashlight for finding predators at night, as well
as extra bags and Bibles for AWANA.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Clutter Buster - Dresser Top

I can't stand clutter. Clean surfaces make my heart sing! Unfortunately life gets in the way of my quest for junk-free areas. And a little stuff breeds more stuff.

I'm determined to de-clutter the different areas of my home that tend to be the catch-all for whatever we don't want to put away. First on the attack list: the top of the dresser in my bedroom.

This is keeping it real, folks - Here is the untouched "before" shot.

Let's see what we have here:

  • unclaimed 4-H ribbons
  • Hunter's nebulizer (which the bucket contained three butter knives purchased in September to spread peanut butter during a road trip, two batteries, and three acorns)
  • a rock
  • hospital bracelets from Hunter's birth (he's 3!!)
  • a lonely puzzle piece
  • everything Bryan carries in his pockets daily
  • fabric from a skirt I completed weeks ago
  • misc. papers, books, and junk, junk, junk!! 
I keep this out for my children's amusement.
This is Bryan and I twenty-one years ago.
Recognize the frame, Megan?

And here's what it looks like at this very moment. Is that angels singing that I hear? The plate is for Bryan's keys and phone at the end of the day. That little basket for those mystery screws and buttons that need a home.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

'Tis the Season to Organize!!

I love that this time of year, the retailers capitalize on everyone's good intentions to get organized by highlighting organizations products. Just bought some myself last night to hold some new Christmas toys, and it makes me pretty happy. (Emelie just shakes her head when I extol the joy of plastic totes!)

But I'm not alone in my passion for corralling the clutter...Cruise on over to OrgJunkie to check out her post on how to organize without breaking the bank. I especially love the suggestions of repurposing tea and tissue boxes. Now that's a green slice of happy!

Organizing Junkie

Monday, January 9, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - January 9, 2012

The Christmas decorations are coming down. We've got a full week of school to do. The holidays are behind us. Sigh. We usually don't take much, if any, Spring Break (so we can finish by early May), so we feel like the marathon of four solid months of school is ahead of us.

We have been enjoying the beautiful weather of the last few days. Temps in the 50s in January! Do I still live in Indiana?

Below is one of our favorite easy dinners. If the tortillas are already made, even young ones can put this together. It's also a great way to get non-bean-eaters to try the "wonderful fruit!"

Black Bean Quesadillas
•2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
•1-2/3 cups salsa, divided
•10 flour tortillas (8 inches)
•2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
•2/3 cup sour cream

In a large bowl, mash beans; add 1 cup salsa. Place five tortillas on ungreased baking sheets; spread with bean mixture. Sprinkle with cheese; top with the remaining tortillas.

Bake at 350° for 15-18 minutes or until crisp and heated through. Cut each quesadilla into six wedges. Serve with sour cream and remaining salsa. Yield: 30 wedges.

This week we will be enjoying:
Monday - Bryan picked up pizza from Sam's Club :-)

Tuesday - Black Bean Quesadillas, Skillet Corn

Wednesday (AWANA) - Chicken Nuggets, Popcorn

Thursday (Karate) - Tomato Soup, Grilled Cheese

Friday - Greek Ham Wraps, Micro-Roasted Potatoes

Saturday - Grilled Pizza Sandwiches
 Breakfast menu is here; lunch menu is here.

Find more menus at:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Kitchen Paint Job

We spent Friday evening and Saturday painting the rest of our kitchen. Our favorite paint is the Valspar Signature paint available at Lowes, and I love the Eddie Bauer Colors. Our kitchen is now a combination of Cabin Red and Brook.

The "before" shots:

The "after" look:

We're almost done with the wall we painted in the dining room, so more photos to come!