16 December 2014

Tasty Tuesdays {easy shepherd's pie}

Hey there!  Just popping in on the Tasty Tuesday to share a quick and easy version of Shepherd's Pie--and a fantastic way to use up roast beef leftovers! 

I started making it in this way when I got tired of using my roast leftovers for beef-veggie soup and wanted to make something different with them.  This has been a hit with the whole family!

Step 1: Arrange your (leftover/cooked) roast beef 
in the bottom of a deep-dish pie pan.
I like to make sure mine is chopped or shredded into bite-sized pieces.  

Step 2: Arrange your (leftover/roasted) carrots on top of the beef.
I also cut these into smallish pieces.

Step 3: Arrange roasted or sauteed onions on top of the carrots.
I supposed you could skip this step if you don't like onions, 
but I can't even imagine that!
(I do keep my onions in large pieces so they can be easily removed from my onion-hating son's plate though).

Step 4: Pour over about 1/2 to 3/4 cup beef broth.  
If you add more than this it will bubble over while baking 
and make a mess in your oven.
Don't ask how I know that.

Step 5: Spread a nice, even, thick layer of mashed potatoes 
on top of it all.  Make sure to go all the way to the edge.  
You can used leftovers for this or simply make a fresh batch 
(this will take about 5-6 medium potatoes) 
in the usual way (seasoned and all).  

Step 6: Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes 
or until the potatoes begin to get
those pretty browned edges.  
Then dig in and enjoy!

15 December 2014

What's For Dinner {Dec 15th}

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

And the most busy, right?

So one of my main plans of action to keep me organized is to continue with my meal planning.  Knowing what we're having for dinner each night makes my days much less stressful and I can plan other activities so much better.

So here's what's for dinner this week:

Monday:  Shepherd's Pie

Tuesday:  Taco Cups ...or maybe Turkey Enchiladas

Wednesday:  Pizza at our church

Thursday:  Cookie Exchange at my house~I'm serving finger foods {more on that later}

Friday:  Tuna Croquets, Baked Potatoes, and a yet-to-be-decided veggie

Saturday:  Snacks/Leftovers

24 November 2014

What's For Dinner {the Thanksgiving edition}

It's almost time for the big day!  I love Thanksgiving and am really looking forward to it this year.  We'll be having our meal at my parents' house--which is very close by--with family and friends.  I've been busy the past few days finalizing our menu with my mom and sister and making my grocery list.  As usual, we have gone overboard and are preparing a ridiculous amount of food!  I can hardly wait! :)

Here is our menu (links are included for the recipes we'll be using):

Thanksgiving 2014

Pickles & Olive plate

Main Course
Roasted Turkey
Giblet Gravy
Green Bean Casserole
Sweet Potato Casserole
Buttered Corn

Chocolate Cream Pie
Apple Pie

P.S. if you're looking for a great {free!}planner for Thanksgiving, check out this one from Beth at Eat Better Spend Less.  

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

20 November 2014

A Nonverbal Learning Disability and What It Means For Our Family

If you've been reading my blog for a while then you may have noticed that these past 9 months or so it has just basically limped along.  In fact, I even took a lengthy break for part of that time.

And that was nice.

I hesitate to say I was feeling "burnout".  But I guess maybe that was it in a way.  My husband likes to say that burnout doesn't happen because you have too many things going on, but instead it happens when you are not feeling fulfilled in all of the things you are doing.  And I think there's much truth in that.

It's easy to keep going full-steam-ahead when you're pumped about how things are going.  But when you feel like every day is sucking the life out of you it's a little harder.

Last winter we began the process of having our 9-yr-old son, Mr. B, tested for what we thought might be ADHD.  It seemed like it took forever.  In reality it took about 6 months.  So, yeah ....forever.

At least it feels like forever when you're dealing with near-daily meltdowns, dissolving into tears way more often that you'd like to admit, and just trying to survive some days.

As it turned out, our son does not have ADHD.  At least not in the full sense of that diagnosis.  He has been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) with a Nonverbal Learning Disability (NLD)--with features of both ADHD and Asperger's Disorder.  And he is on the Autism spectrum.

That was definitely not what I was expecting.  A learning disability.  That he will have forever.  That he must learn to cope with for the rest of his life.

That we, as a family, must learn to handle properly.  Successfully.

So these past few months have been filled with lots of reading on my behalf.  Lots of heart-to-hearts with my hubby.  And even more struggles with my son.

I love him so much.

And he is such an awesome kid.  He's incredibly creative and smart and funny.

It's just that often that awesomeness gets overwhelmed by his impulsiveness, his impatience...  Others often only see how he struggles socially--with being a team player, with sharing, with understanding how others feel...

I am also learning how to talk with other moms about it.  That's not always easy and lots of times they just look at me with that deer-in-the-headlights look.  But mostly they are sympathetic and understanding.  And here and there I meet a mom who really gets it because she has a kiddo who has special challenges as well.

And that is a sweet moment of grace when it happens.

I don't know how much I'll talk about this here, but as I learn more and process it more I'm sure it will come up.  I don't feel that total burnout feeling anymore, but it's a whole new learning curve for me (for all of us!).  But we are meeting the challenge, learning new normals for our family, learning new techniques for homeschooling ....just learning constantly!  I sort of feel like a student again myself these days.

Anyway, I just wanted to share a little about it here.  Thanks for listening.

17 November 2014

What's For Dinner {Nov 17th}

We are going into our second week back from our family vacation ...and I am still trying to get organized again and back in my routine.  We are already into the holiday season (last week we had our first-of-three Thanksgiving meal!) and the calendar is starting to really fill up.  

This week is super full, too, but I am still planning on dinner at home most evenings.  I love family dinners at home!

Monday:  Parmesan Chicken Cutlets, Steamed Broccoli, Sauteed Summer Squash, Salad

Tuesday:  {Thanksgiving potluck with our homeschool group}  Corn Casserole

Wednesday:  Potato Soup ....maybe {Mr. B is having oral surgery on this day so I'm sort of playing it by ear}

Thursday:  Taco Cups with Rice

Friday:  {not yet decided due to possible plans} maybe Homemade Pizza or Stromboli

Saturday:  {not yet decided due to possible plans}  maybe out??

25 October 2014

End of the Week Wrap-Up {week 8}

Well, the first quarter of our school year is almost over!  Yea!!

This has been one of those weeks where we were all a little tired, there was some sickness, and there wasn't a lot of exciting stuff on the calendar ...but we stayed the course and got a lot done.  Love that feeling of accomplishment!

On our "Fun Friday" we had our devotional time, did some Life of Fred, played some American trivia, worked on stories with our Story Cubes, and then wrapped up with some leaf painting.  

We had seen these cute illustrations in the current issue of Family Fun magazine and thought this would be a fun project to try--and they were!  I even did one :)  

Just find some pretty autumn leaves around your yard or on a nature walk, grab some tempera paints and fine-tipped brushes, and paint some fun woodland creatures on your leaves!  

Can you see the animals on these leaves?

Then we ended our day with a family movie (Soul Surfer), some pizza, and these yummy caramel apple cupcakes that my awesome hubby whipped up for us!  

What did you do this week?