No More Science Fairs - Dinner! (& Shepherd's Pie)

The kids raised their glasses of milk high in the air, “clink!” while our family cheered, “Yay to no more Science Fair projects! Hip, Hip, Hooray!”

As our family was enjoying a delicious dinner of Shepherd’s Pie Sunday evening, other families in our neighborhood were sweating it out, helping their children get the boards ready and the science projects complete for the very popular Science Fair, which has been a big part of our community and local public school for many years.

We’ve served our time. Our family knows the pain. And we saw how many of the parents would practically do the project for their kid, to get that good grade. And the kids who didn’t get the help would struggle.

No, we are not bitter (hee hee). But we are relieved to be finished with this chapter in our lives! Because after how many years, and 10 projects later – our family is done!

I pulled out an old Christmas letter from my drawer and thought I’d share my husband’s words on Science Fairs in years past:

Abby (Woogy) is a fourth grader at Hoover Elementary. She is the only child in our home, and probably the only child in the history of Hoover Elementary, to have done her mandatory science project (how popcorn pops) on her own. And she got a ribbon! Science projects are a sore subject around here. I can only talk about them after much prayer and intense psychotherapy.

Still, we raised a glass around the dinner table, each of us congratulating her.

See? This has been going on for years!

So in celebration, we laughed, shared stories and enjoyed another great family dinner, reminiscing about the pinecones, popcorn, teeth, stained rags, detergents – and other scientific things that our kids learned about over the years.

Easy Shepherd’s Pie
(Using leftover mashed potatoes, I made this meal in about 5 minutes! This is a great recipe to use up your Thanksgiving mashed potatoes next week!)

I love comfort food recipes like this one. And the church cookbook that I grew up with is full of these kinds of recipes. I know there are different variations to Shepherd’s Pie, but this is our family favorite.

Taking pre-cooked ground turkey* from the freezer, defrost the meat and add ½ cup of ketchup and 3 Tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce

Defrost peas and carrots, drain, and layer on top of the meat

Take leftover mashed potatoes and spread over the peas and carrots

Sprinkle with paprika - Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until heated throughout


(*Remember how I buy the “4” pack of ground turkey from Costco, and when I get home I cook & season all 4 packs at once? What I don’t use, I freeze, making the meat ready for a QUICK MEAL!)

Speaking of family dinners, just what did this diagram mean, that I posted a couple posts back?

It was just a simple way to convey to our kids how and why we were taking a stand on a certain topic. Sometimes more concerning agendas may appear on my radar screen (I’ll often be the bad guy by bringing up certain topics to our kids). When Paul comes along, he backs me up, explaining things further, connecting the truth with reason!

Simple as pie! (not really ... it's not easy being a parent!)


Christy said...

I am so with you on how it's not easy being a parent. We've had a couple "issues" this week. We are at in interesting stage right now with our oldest. She is 17 and so wanting independence and freedom but at the same time still needing Mom and Dad.

How thankful I am for God's strength and wisdom that He provides as I mother the hearts of my children.

I always want to tell you how encouraging and inspiring it is to know that there are still families that sit around the dinner table and talk!

Wendy said...

Amen. Amen to everything in your post. Being done with science fairs, shepherd pies AND parenting!

Amen! :-)

GapGirl said...

Love the recipe for Shepherds Pie AND love the fact that you are celebrating the end of Science projects. We just started our first year of home schooling... and vowed NO formal science project in or curriculum!! Just small experiments we do on our own at our own pace and DONE BY THE KIDS!!! Yippie!!!

Laurie said...

I can so relate to the science fair. We all felt the same way when we realized there were no more science fairs in our future! Whoo hoo!!!

The shepherds pie looks great. And so easy!

Sgt and Mrs Hub said...

I think I still need prayer and therapy when the subject of Science/History Fairs is brought up.

My parents didn't help me out, for the most part - I was on my own! What a great lesson!

Shepard's Pie was a staple in my mom's house. It was my Dad's favorite meal :) I think it helped that it was inexpensive!


Krista said...

Thank you so much for the comment! And after 16 yrs. of marriage I have yet to make a shepherd's pie but you have now convinced me to try! My husband will surely thank you :)


Homekeeping Heart said...

Your Shepherd's Pie looks delicious and easy peasy. I like your idea of cooking, and freezing your ground meat to make for quick preparations later. Great idea, I like it!

Sandy Toes said...

Okay...I want to know what that diagram was for...you did not explain it..please tell!

Shepherds pie..what a great comfort food!!
-sandy toes

Jules from "The Roost" said...

Hated those science fair projects.....LOVE that shepherd pie ;)

Lucy said...

Dinner looks great and Shepherds' pie is my son's favorite and I too freeze my ground beef cooked and package for quick uses.... saves so much time especially during the week.

RosyRose said...

Yummy! I don't think I've ever made shepherd's pie...Yours looks great!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

That is an easy peasy pie :-)

Keeper of the Skies Wife said...

Yum. I love Shepherd's Pie.

Ms. Tee said...

Yuck on science projects - yum on the shepherd's pie!!!! :)

Deborah said...

I remember doing science projects. I was never a fan!! But I'm a fan of shepherd's pie, and this sounds delicious!

Jen said...

Well I totally understand the science fair thing...we are not done with it on Miller's end but Madison did her share in it as well....pulling hair out and grunting alot.....great recipe..I forget about it alot.

Tiff said...

I wish our stint with the science fairs were over. But alas. I have a 3 yr old and a two year old yet to have to experience the "Joy". Thanks for posting the recipe for the Shepherd's pie. I love that. And I wanted to be able to make it for my hubby!

Dawn said...

My daughter has a science fair coming up after the holidays...its her first one. ;) I love Shepard's pie and so does my family. Thanks for the recipe.

Rebekah said...

I have always wanted to try Shephers's Pie. It looks so good!

Grace said...

a milk toast, eh? the very best kind of toast, if you ask me. and may i say, your mashed taters look tremendous. the pie in its entirety ain't bad, either. :)

Carol said...

Hi Sandy,
Thanks so much for stopping by today & leaving a comment! Congrats to Abby for finishing her project by herself & winning a ribbon! I taught 4th grade for many years, it's my favorite age group.

~j~ said...

I love that you take time to celebrate the everyday victories in life! There is always something to celebrate isn't there?!
And of course mashed potatoes on anything in my opinion screams rejoice! :))

ellen b. said...

That looks like a very tasty meal. Such good comfort food. Congratulations that the Science Fairs are done :0)

Trying to Stay Calm! said...

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Kirstin said...

Yum, looks great Sandy! I guess then as a homeschool mom who has never gotten into huge science projects I should just nix the guilt? Sounds good to me!

I was going to make yummy meatloaf tonight, but the cabinet guys were here putting on my hardware and I didn't want to get in their way.

We are now in our house and I've been trying to post pictures for two days but it's taking forever to load...not sure why.

We are hosting Thanksgiving here and we are having my inlaws over on monday night for dessert and to play games. Whoo hoo!!!! Although right now I'm so tired from all the packing, cleaning, moving and unpacking that I can't see straight, so I think I'm giong to bed!! See....I can't even spell.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the science fair..we begin those projects here in January. It has always thrilled me to have children who make the effort to complete their own projects. I think it's great when a parent helps, but they don't need to do the work for them!

Parenting or should I say being a parent is difficult, but I love being a mom. I would gladly accept the heartache over and over because the joy my children give me is so much greater!

One a different note, I used your pear butter recipe and the family LOVED it. Do you mind if I share the recipe on my blog?

Have a fabulous weekend,

Donnetta (momrn2) said...

We are a family also known to celebrate these types of things. A finished book report, a project completed, etc. Anything for a celebration! :-)

Thanks for yet another simple, practical and yummy sounding recipe!!!

Happy Weekend Friend!

Dee Light said...

Ah, yes, the science fair. We were just celebrating a break from science fair mania our selves. Our oldest has paid her dues, no more science fairs for her. Of course we have 2 younger ones coming behind her, but they won't be doing the science fair for awhile. I intend to enjoy the break.

Shepherds pie is so yummy and the perfect comfort food for a cold day! Thanks for sharing your recipe.

Nadine said...

I remember science fair years - good for you that is over with.

Yummy your pie looks and easy too.

Hilty Sprouts! said...

I just wanted to tell you how much I love reading your blog. You have helped me to become a much less reluctant entertainer! I have given you a little bloggy award over on my blog.


Clumbsy Cookie said...

This reminds me when I used to live in the UK and eat shepherd's pie really often. Yummy!

50s Housewife said...

We just had our last Science Fair this week! We are SO very relieved. :)

I just stopped by to let you know that I am assembling your Crockpot breakfast casserole for tomorrow's breakfast. Can't wait!

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh...at our school it is Shoebox Dioramas: natural history dioramas, dioramas illlustrating favorite books, weather patterns or biographical figures.

My last child has officially finished the diorama stage. I just threw out my stash of sturdy shoeboxes this weekend. Hallelujah!!!

But there is a Jr. Hi. "Inventions" expo in our future...!

deb meyers

Apron Thrift Girl said...

Dave loves to make this meal for us. And I'm so glad to see that you too add the W. sauce. It makes all the difference.

Ginny said...

Our school thankfully does not do the science project thing, woo hoo!