Lynn

Easy Shepherd's Pie

Here is the recipe for the easiest Shepherd's Pie ever!  We love this dish around here, and I love recipes that are quick, easy, and inexpensive.

Ingredients:

4lb Potatoes, cubed (try to pick a variety that doesn't turn floury or mushy in water)
1/4 Cup Butter
1/4 Cup Milk
Dash Pepper 
1lb Lean Ground Beef (1.5lb if using regular)
1 Medium Onion, finely diced or 1 Cup frozen diced
1 - 1.5 Cups Frozen Mixed Vegetables
1 Tsp Beef Bouillon Powder
1 Cup Boiling Water
Paprika
Grated Cheese

Step 1


Bring potatoes to a boil in enough water to cover completely.  Watch closely as the pot can easily boil over once the starch leaches out of the potatoes.

Step 2


Drain and mash potatoes with butter and milk.  Add pepper to desired taste.  Do not over mash unless you like glue. A few chunky bits is better than wallpaper paste ;)

Step 3


Brown ground beef in large skillet until no longer pink and drain the fat.

Step 4


Add onion and vegetables to skillet.  Warm until no longer frozen.

Step 5


Add the beef bouillon to the cup of boiling water and stir until dissolved. Then add water mixture to beef mixture. Cook until liquid is reduced to a thick gravy.

Step 6


Place beef mixture into bottom of a regular casserole dish and top with mashed potato. Sprinkle with paprika and place in 350 degree oven for 35 minutes.  After time is up, sprinkle with grated cheese and return to oven for 5 more minutes (long enough for cheese to melt).

Finally:


EAT!

This is a super easy way to indulge in this family favorite.  You can fancy pants it up for company if you wish by doing any of the following:

 Substituting pearl onions for the other onion.
 Piping the potato onto the beef with a piping bag.
 Using left over roast beef in place of the ground mince.
 Using half regular potato with half sweet potato.
 Topping with a sprinkle of french fried onions.

It's all GOOD!

Oh and in the interest of complete disclosure, I had to borrow the last two images as we got so carried away when we dished up that I forgot to take pictures.  These look very close to the actual deal we demolished here. That is how popular this menu item is in our house!


Enjoy!

Lynn

Have you ever had a simple moment transform your whole day?  Today I found grace in the grocery store.
Anyone that knows me is well aware of my pea sized bladder.  After 39 years, 3 natural births, and my chronic tea addiction I have developed PRR (public restroom radar).  Much like when you are pregnant or potty training toddlers my body tends to twitch when it is within five feet of a flushing toilet (or non-flushing if my last tea was large and my opportunity is small).  Today of course was no different, or so I thought.

Grocery stores are notorious for restroom closets, no stalls, just a simple toilet for each gender. Catching one empty is almost a challenge  and so you just anticipate standing in a cue two people deep.  As I stood there today something unexpected happened.  The boy in front of me who was all of about 13 suddenly flopped himself down on the floor and began kicking off his clothing.  I stood there watching as the woman with him began to coax him off the floor and realized that the boy in question was autistic.  I didn't back away at the scene before me, I simply took one step out of the way and observed her as she brought the boy to calm.  It was amazing.  As a mother with a child who has ADHD and ODD I understand how easily these situations can get very overwhelming but she was a pro.  Once the situation calmed she sort of glanced my way in slight discomfort and I found myself saying "wow that was great control" and she smiled.  "He's been working on that really hard" she said, and I told her that it was lovely to see.

Suddenly the boy looked up at me, right in the eye, and took my hand.  It wasn't a hand hold like come with me or I mistook you for the lady I'm with but almost a thank you.  It was a purposeful look with a purposeful gesture from a boy, that for a minute, forgot the world around him.  It was the most beautiful thing I have experienced with a stranger in a long time. I told him that he did a great job. I  found myself fighting back a tear, as he walked away into the men's room..

As I left the restroom a woman with a half full shopping cart happened to be blocking the way.  She apologized and explained that she was waiting for her son who she thought was inside.  As I walked over to the baskets it struck me that maybe that boy in the other room was hers.  Returning to her I asked if he might be the same boy and she confirmed he was. On her face was a sense of relief at knowing where he was and probably more importantly that he was just fine.

I understood that mom.  The fear of what's happening with your special needs child when you are not there to observe or assist.  I understood the caregiver who knows the urgency of handling the situation and the embarrassment of having to do so with an audience.  I understood the boy who shares my world but sees it completely differently than I do with a courage and strength he is entirely unaware of.
This queen of hand sanitizer forgot all about germies and viruses today because her hand was held by an angel.

Little man I hope your days are as beautiful as you are.
Sincerely,
The Bathroom Lady
Lynn
Welcome to Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy, formerly know as One Busy Chick!  It's been a bit of a learning curve trying to swap over and in the process I managed to confuse the news feed LOL.  Apparently I should have announced the move in advance before tearing things up like a monster truck.  If you have managed to find me anyway then well done, if not consider me...

Why the change?  I didn't 'feel' the last blog.  It was cute but lacked any sense of direction.  The posts are still here, but I plan to go through everything and keep only what will be relevant to the focus of this blog.   Why the name Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy?  Firstly it's something I say A LOT.  Secondly I always loved the saying that when life gives you lemons make lemonade and that's kind of the feel I want for this blog.

So here we are starting fresh and having fun!  Let me know if you stop by and if you enjoy it here feel free to follow along with the button on the side :)

See you soon with great tips and stories to share,
Lynn
Lynn
It's Time Again For...



Here are 10 things I am loving today!


1.  My new Etsy Jewelry purchases!  I don't buy stuff for myself often but when I do it's something I am totally crazy about.  I hung out at Fabulously Flawed and grabbed myself some awesome deals!  

2.  My garden!  I've already got radishes, leaf lettuce, and swiss chard ready to harvest! Everything else is coming up fabulous and I can't wait for the fall harvest :)


3.  My kids.  Seriously, deep, mad love!  They are growing into such little men and I'm having so much fun with them this summer.  B is making such progress with his impulsive behavior and aggression which is over the moon amazing!  J is starting his first formal year of homeschooling this coming September and already he can do math in his head!  He's loving it!  He's starting to recognize words and B is helping him along.  Soon they will both be independent readers and writers.  Where does the time go?


4.  My husband.  He is amazing, period.  He is really one of the best men you could ever meet.  I know that sounds bias but honestly I have friends and acquaintances tell me frequently what a great guy he is.  He might be pushing 40 with a wedding band but the ladies (and young ladies) still flirt with him all the time!  He is always willing to lend a hand to someone in need and he is a really gentle heart.  It took a long bumpy road to get to him but he was certainly worth the wait!  How blessed I am to be crazy in love with my best friend :)

5.  Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Chai nutritional drink.  It is delicious times a million!  The only problem is you can only drink a cup a day because it is packed with vitamins and minerals.  Unfortunately it tastes so good the bottle taunts me from the fridge LOL!

6.  Avon Reversalist Skin Care products.  My skin seems to really love this stuff!  Normally when my time of the month hits I look like a pimply faced school girl (especially with my peri-menopausal hormone coaster).  I started using this and my skin was ten times better!  Even my complexion is looking so much better then it's regular blotchy pink mess.  I was beginning to wonder if I would ever have nice skin, but I really think now that it is possible!


7.  The new styles of riding boots at Sears Canada.  I will tell you a little secret about me, I am an equestrian at heart.  If I were wealthy I would have horse stables, take equestrian lessons, the lot!  I love horses!  However horses won't happen here anytime soon, but I can still love up on the equestrian style.  I have been searching for decently priced riding style boots and finally Sears has come to my aid.  I think I will have a black and a brown pair this year if I can swing it!




8.  Homeschooling!  I have been busy researching curriculum and activities for the upcoming school year.  I'm not done arranging everything but I'm close.  I am so excited to start again in the Fall!

9.  Weight Watchers - I have been so lazy this summer with my weight and eating habits.  Let me tell you as a friend once said, putting a pretty shirt over a muffin top does not turn you into a cupcake!  So, now I'm off to get myself together with the help of my trusty friend Weight Watchers.  We never really parted ways, we simply got busy and forgot to call each other.  

10. My hair!  I lopped it off into a bob, yes sir I did!  I don't have a pic yet, but it's very easy and comfortable :)

What are you loving today?  Stop on by and see Jamie to tell us all about it!

Have a super awesome day!


Lynn
 Adding To My...

I can't believe that July is half over already!  Of course this rapid acceleration toward fall means one thing.....school's coming!

This September we embark on our third homeschooling year.  I will be honest, the first two years were a mixed bag of preparation and good intentions.  Somehow at the end of the previous year I would vow to be more organized the following year but instead find myself running around like a chicken come fall pleading against time for my curriculum to arrive and the facilitator visit to be delayed.  It all worked out in the end but...not gonna happen this time!

I have spent snippits of last week searching curriculum, discovering what we need, the cost and where we can get it.  All I need to do is pick it up next week.  I am now contemplating what activities and organizations we wish to be a part of this year.  We are a soccer family, but this year we opted out because B couldn't handle it.  He found the group competitiveness too much to handle and his anxiety was way too high.  I'm thinking this year we will opt for less competitive and perhaps more solitary pursuits unless he is really passionate about returning to the pitch.  Now if we can only convince him to fully submerse in water we might finally be able to burn through those swim lessons too!

I still consider myself a homeschool newbie, even after two years have passed.  Like the new kid in school I sat back and listened to murmurings of group activity but simply wasn't brave enough to step up and join in.  Well I think I feel ready to introduce myself now.  Recently I meet a small group of women from the local homeschool association.  It wasn't as intimidating as I thought.  I think this will be my initiation year into all things homeschool mum.  Instead of just working within my bubble I'm going to reach out, get stuck in and see what happens. Always a fear inducing prospect, but hey I can put my big girl (or in my case really big girl) knickers on and open myself up to something good.

Of course as with anything in my life, the first step in getting going is getting organized!  Sometimes my idea factory seems to run dry, so I browse the Internet for some creative and purposeful inspiration.  Here are some of the cool things I've found today:

Sorting Bin System - As Presented by Risa


I really love this system!  We have those rolling drawer cabinets that are made of plastic. You know the ones sold at Walmart with drawer fronts molded into a basket weave hoping to hide their utilitarian existence.  It doesn't work I assure you, and quite honestly neither do the drawers that stick like a crock shoe to a glue trap!  I did happen across another smart homeschooler who actually had similar bins to the ones above only they had labelled them with vinyl lettering, oooooh cute! 



I love this mobile concept!  We often move our activities around the house and grounds (oooh look I sound all posh and wealthy, but really it just means outside enjoying our well loved acreage) so this would be ideal!  This is one of those 'why the heck didn't I think of that' moments, because I carry one of these caddies around when I clean bathroom all the time (and if you have boys you know how often you are cleaning bathrooms!).

Weekly Checklist - Early Bird Homeschool


I am the queen of lists.  Seriously I should be thrown in jail for crimes against defenseless trees!  Toss me into the dungeon as my kingdom is ruled by paper and pen.  I love the condensed yet complete nature of this list, so I'm going to create my own based on this very fine example :)

Homeschool Records - I Heart Organizing


How cool is this!  At the end of each year I always curse the fact that although we were working, I don't have a firm reference for previous school years (and therefore organized mementos). I mean we had stuff, but of course it was simply put away with the previous years curriculum and not revisited for purpose or pleasure.  This is perfect! I'm going to rustle up my own version (listen to me sounding all cowboy boots and lassos) so that my children have a flowing record of their hard work. 

So there it is, I'm well underway and I actually can't wait for the new term to start!  Just wait until you see the cool things we come up with this year :)

Have a great weekend!
  

Lynn
What I'm Loving Wednesday!


1.  The Royal Canadian Tour (you knew that would be first!) - I am loving every minute of it and feel even more certain that William and Catherine are a perfect fit.  I can't wait to hear of royal babies!  The only downer is they are stopping in Calgary and I am NOT in Calgary.  I'm still licking my wounds over my absence in the UK during the wedding, but at least technology allows me to pretend :)

2.  Opening my Avon Deliveries - It's seriously like Christmas!  I have always loved the sparkling newness of opening parcels and this is no different.  I also get so excited to try the new stuff I've ordered and love love love this new dress I bought:


3.  My Garden - It's growing like...well....a weed!  It's growing a few weeds as well LOL!  Everything is coming up amazing and I can't wait to see the end result!

4.  Prepping For The School Year - Yes it's only July but I'm already busy deciding on curriculum for the fall.  This is the first year both boys will be in full time study and I can't wait!

5.  Papa Murphy's Thai Chicken Pizza - It's seriously a new addiction!  I just love it and as a matter of fact it's on the supper menu tonight :) Trust me it's the closest thing to sex that food can be, next to chocolate of course!


6.  My Kid's Made Friends With The Neighbor Kids - Yes they finally have next door playmates which they have never had.  It's so sweet to see how happy they are knowing that they have little friends so close by!

7.  Katie Price's Documentary 'Standing Up For Harvey' - I seriously love how she has advocated not only for her own son but for others who may be perceived as challenged or different.  It made me smile, it made me cry, and I think it's so worth a watch.  It comes in three parts, you can watch part one below and then catch the other two to follow under the same user:


8.  Sunshine - We are getting a lot of rain around here, so when the sun comes out I am doing a happy little dance!  Hoping to go to the park today, but if not then we will partake in the backyard :)

9.  Good Friends - What is life without them?  I have a good network of lovely people in my life and feel so blessed.

10.  Getting My House In Order - Slowly it is coming along and it's so nice to see real progress!  Sorting and organizing takes time but it is so worth it!

There is some stuff I'm loving today, how about you?  Head on over to see Jamie and tell us all about it!  You can share or you can just check out what everyone else has linked up.  Go on you know you want to!

Have a super day!

Oh and one thing I'm not loving.....all these Blogger problems!  I am so sick of trying to post, save or upload pics only to have it not working.  Seriously Blogger staff let's get this fixed already it's been far too long.
Lynn
Wow, How Time Flies...
When You Are Working In The Great Outdoors!


The last two days have been a blur, as we toiled away in our large garden patch.  It's been a labor of love, and we pray something actually grows!  

We moved to our acreage home last April, and the yard was not in the best shape.  The garden area is what used to be the space for an old greenhouse many years ago.  Needless to say there wasn't much to work with other that a big cement bordered space full of weeds.  We (along with the help of some great neighbors) tilled the heck out of it, trucked in some lovely manure mixed with top soil, and tilled again to get a nice consistent mixture of garden soil. 

After many seeds, plants, stakes, and fence bundles we have this!


It doesn't look like much right now but hopefully it will produce some lovely results.  The space is actually much longer than it appears as it's actually surrounded by the cement foundation belonging to the old greenhouse.  You know those long glass greenhouse buildings you see at the garden centers where you buy all your plants and supplies, this was one of those.  

If all surfaces above ground (and we can keep the wild critters out of it) we should produce:  Peas, Orange Carrots, White Carrots, Beets, Rainbow Swiss Chard, Iceburg Lettuce, Romaine Lettuce, Zucchini, Yellow Squash (essentially yellow Zucchini), English Cucumbers, Cauliflower, Rainbow Bell Peppers, Big Red Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Red Onions, White Onions, Green Onions, French Breakfast Radishes, Red Potatoes, and White Potatoes.  I think that's everything LOL!

We have also planted the following fruit trees:  Red Raspberries (2 Types), Golden Raspberries, Saskatoon Berries (2 Types),  and Blueberries (2 Types).

In a smaller bed we have our Pumpkins next to the children's garden where they plant Sunflowers and Cosmos.  We are hoping to get a pumpkin each for Halloween carving!

Hubby is building me a little self contained patch for my Red Rhubarb plant.  Rhubarb tends to take over, so a permanent location where it can't spread further than you dictate is best.  It's like an unruly child, it needs boundaries LOL!

I still have to get my herbs, strawberries, and garlic going on the deck.  I'm hanging the strawberries to see if I get more fruit that way, and the rest is just waiting for more soil and pots.

I also got dug in with the front flower beds.  I had Day Lilies in the weirdest spot, so I had to transplant them all after I got the weeds and junk out of the way.  I now have one front bed totally planted and one waiting for my Sweet William seeds.  Getting closer to the end, and considering it was only two days work I feel rather accomplished!  


Have a super fantastic day!