Sopapilla Cheesecake

Yummy, Yummy, Yummy!

Okay, this recipe I am about to share with you is completely unhealthy…and it is absolutely loaded with calories…and I’m sure someone much smarter than me could figure out a better way to make it so that it is not quite so decadent..but the thing is, it is just SO GOSH DARN DELICIOUS that I don’t care. Now, this is one of those “special desserts” that you only make once in a while, but I promise you, when you make it for a party, EVERYONE will be asking you for the recipe!!

Three 8-oz. packages of cream cheese
2 cups sugar
2 cans crescent rolls
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup sliced almonds

1. Blend the softened cream cheese and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar until smooth.
2. Add in the vanilla and stir.
3. Open one can of the crescent rolls and shape the dough into a rectangle.
4. Press the dough into the bottom of a greased 13X9X2 pan.
5. Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the dough.
6. Shape the other crescent roll dough into a rectangle and place it on top of the cream cheese.
7. Melt the butter and drizzle it over the top of the dough.
8. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle on top.
9. Sprinkle the almonds on top.
10. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees, until the dough puffs up and browns.

That’s it. Now, don’t say I didn’t warn you, after that first bite you won’t be able to stop!

Check out other recipes from Try a New Recipe Tuesday here:

Menu Plan Monday 7/14/14


Last week I enjoyed a very relaxing vacation in the mountains with my family, and now I am back and doing all those post-vacation chores that remind you that you are back in the real world!! Of course, that means menu planning!! So, here is what’s on our menu for this week:

Monday: Grilled Pork Chops

Tuesday: Caprese Chicken

Wednesday: Pasta with butter and herbs

Thursday: Corn Chowder

Friday:  Beef and Bean Burritos

Thanks for joining me for Menu Plan Monday this week! See you next Monday.

On Boys and Forts

The Fort takeover.

So the question is “Mom, can I build a fort?”. And I sigh as my response. Forts are messy…they take up space…they usually result in me having to wash every extra sheet in my house.

But then I remember…my Nana had this round coffee table in her living room..and a certain little girl loved to throw a sheet on top and crawl underneath. It was my Narnia, my Terabithia, my portal to adventure. Then there was that time my cousin and I took her grandma’s sheets and tied them onto the patio chairs that one summer and had lunch and a camp out in the backyard.

Childhood is so fleeting…and as an adult there are times that I long to build myself a fort and climb inside and shut the world away! So…yes little (well, really not so little) boy, you and your brother can take over the living room (and the dining room, and part of the kitchen) to build your super-mega-fort-spy-superhero-headquarters. I will give you the sleeping bag and you can bring the dogs in with you and have a sleepover. And I will stand in the hallway and listen to the whispers and the laughter and think about how much I wish I could make time stand still so I could make your childhood last longer. I love you guys!

TOS Review: Moving Beyond the Page

Moving Beyond the Page ReviewI love teaching with real literature. And I especially love introducing my boys to some of my childhood favorites. So, when we got a chance to review a literature and social studies unit from Moving Beyond the Page, I jumped at the chance. We have used their products once before, and loved them. For this review, we got check out the Language Arts Package–Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, and the Social Studies Package–History of Your State.


Moving Beyond the Page


One of the things I love about Moving Beyond the Page is how easy it is to customize their programs to your child’s needs. All of their individual units are organized by age. For example, my 7th/8th (who is 12 years old) grade boy is not a big reader, so I was able to go a little below his age range for our literature, (Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH is for ages 8-10), but I stayed right in his range for the Social Studies (History of Your State is for ages 12-14). This makes it easy to create a custom complete curriculum for your child by just adding one of their science units and then finding a math program.

Now, the literature unit is online, and I have to say, I really wish I had a hard copy. That’s really just a “me” thing, because the online unit is very easy to navigate and use, but I prefer to hold the guide in my hands!! Anyway, we accessed our unit by logging in on the website and basically, you can go to the index page and receive easy access to student activity pages that include activities like plot flowcharts and chapter outlines as well as grammar lessons. The pages are easy to print out and use. In addition, there are chapter questions and a convenient How-to page that gives you a general outline for how to use the program, with a suggestion for a daily schedule.

The lessons for each chapter begin with an introduction with some discussion suggestions for the parent and child, and then moves into having the reading assignment for the child for the day, followed by activities and a conclusion. For us, this meant starting and ending the lesson together with my son doing the reading on his own. If there were chapter questions (some of them cover multiple chapters) I printed those out and had him do them after.

Now, one of the things I love most about these units is their culminating activity. Moving Beyond the Page does a really good job of giving kids a choice of activities to appeal to different learning styles. For this book, the activities were to write another chapter for the story, focusing on what happened to the rats after the move, or to build a “float” for a parade based on the book. When I was teaching, I always offered my students a choice of activities for book reports because I liked to let them use their own strengths to show what they learned. In building a float, or writing a chapter, kids get to tap into their creative sides!

For the social studies unit, I allowed my son to pick the topic, and he really wanted to learn about Florida. The History of Your State unit came with a DVD of the history channel series America The Story of Us, and the book We Were There Too!: Young People in US History.

History of Your State


The guide consists of eight sections that focus on topics like: Flora and Fauna, Native Populations, State Leaders and more. Each lesson gives you a suggested amount of time you should spend on it. Lessons are a mix of research and activities, with some lessons directing you to specific websites to gather information. I felt like the unit had a good balance of writing and creative activities with my son answering questions, drawing maps, and making journals. I have to say that my son really learned a LOT (and so did I!) from this unit, and on top of that, he had a LOT of fun doing it!

Just like before, I can honestly tell you I would firmly recommend Moving Beyond the Page for any homeschooler. They have a HUGE range of choices, and their units are fun, economical, and easy to use. The online package for Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM costs $19.92, while the hard copy package for History of Your State costs $75.72 (remember it comes with the guide, the book, and the DVD). I think both prices are very reasonable.

To learn more about Moving Beyond the Page, check them out on social media here:
Moving Beyond the Page on Facebook


To see what other members of the crew had to say about the products they got to check out, click here;

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TOS Review: Veritas Press

Veritas Press Review

As my children get older, I am always looking for new ways to challenge them in their schooling. With rising 8th and 11th grade students, I find that my boys are now coming up with more in-depth and thoughtful questions, particularly in the areas of history and our Biblical studies. So, I was pretty excited to get to try out the Self-Paced Omnibus I program from Veritas Press. This program is aimed at students in grades 7-9, so I figured it would be perfect for my 8th grader!

Veritas Press Review

Now, one of the first things I really liked about this program is the fact that it is self-paced, allowing you to move as slowly or quickly as you want. This makes it perfect to start in the summer, where we could do lessons 3 days per week, and then move up to 5 days per week when we officially get back to work in the fall. However, after having done some of the sections now, I will say that we may have to move at a slower pace all year due to the reading. There is a LOT of reading each week, at least from the viewpoint of my non-reading loving boy. And the reading is kind of hard too. We read through two books of the Bible and parts of the Odyssey for the program. In some cases (like Genesis and Exodus) you cover an entire book of the Bible in five sessions! If you have a child who loves to read and is really good at it, they will be at a huge advantage for this course. But, if you have a struggling reader or someone who does not enjoy reading (like in my house) you will likely have to slow down the pace or read along with them.

So, in the cases of Genesis and Exodus, my son and I alternated the reading, with him reading a section alone and then me reading to him. The Odyssey we had to read together because the Greek tragedies are still a little much for my son to tackle by himself. The videos that went with each session were much easier for my son to digest. My son really liked Mr. Etter, the teacher. He has a pleasant speaking voice and a warm personality which makes the videos easy to watch. Each daily session takes about 30 minutes or more (at least so far) which is a bit lengthy. Sometimes we would take a stretch break in the middle of a lesson.

Lessons are broken into different sections, with Mr. Etter speaking directly to the camera in lecture-type formats, interviews with experts and people on the street, tours of famous historical sites, and interactive quizzes and activities. The menu on the side lists the table of contents, but you cannot always skip around in the videos, some parts are locked until you finish the previous section. The course also comes with a PDF download of a book to go along with the program. You have to download it through another program called bookshelf, and the textbook is kin d of like a guide, it includes summaries of all the reading, as well as questions for discussion and debate.

The quizzes and activities were age appropriate and easy to finish. I liked the fact that students could go back and look at their quiz to see what they got wrong after. The program keeps grades and everything for you, making it less work for the parent. I got my own log-in and could see what my son was doing as well as his grades. I would have liked this program a little more if you could skip around in the lessons, reading what you wanted without following a schedule, but it is not set up that way. I feel Omnibus I is a very complete program and you could just add in some math and science to have a full year of school.

In my opinion, Omnibus is a very rich and detailed program that is great for advanced students. I think my older son (who is now in 11th grade) would have loved this! I can see that it is going to be a bit more challenging for my youngest boy, but I am hoping he will grow into it. Omnibus I costs $295 dollars for one year of access. Yes, that is a lot, especially since it is just for one year, but if you consider that math and science are all you need to add after that, it makes the price look a little better. If you want a Biblically-based, thought-provoking program that will challenge the way your child looks at the world, I would definitely recommend Veritas Press Omnibus I.

To learn more about this program, get in touch with Veritas Press through their social media accounts:

Veritas Press on Facebook

Veritas Press on Twitter

Veritas Press Pinterest

Veritas Press on Google+

To see what other members of the crew thought about Omnibus and the other products we got to check out, click here:

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Blueberry Cheesecake

So one of my best friends invited me and the boys to visit one of those “you pick” blueberry farms with her and her children. Its about a 45 minute drive, but it was worth it. We got about 15 pounds of blueberries for about $30! Of course, now the question is: what to do with all those blueberries? So far we have had blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes, and last week, I used my friends recipe to make this blueberry cheesecake.

Graham Cracker Crust

2 packs crushed graham crackers
1 stick melted butter
2 packages of Neufchatel cheese
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
10 oz. blueberry preserves
2 cups blueberries

1. Line a 13X9 pan with parchment paper.
2. Mix melted butter and graham cracker crumbs in bowl and press into bottom of pan.

Finished crust

3. Beat Neufchatel cheese in a large bowl to make it creamy.
4. Add vanilla, sugar, and eggs to the cheese and mix until blended.

5. Spread blueberry preserves over graham cracker crust.

6. Top the crust with the blueberries.

Fresh blueberries.

7. Top the blueberries with the cheese mixture and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

This tasted so good. I have to say, there is just something about using fresh picked blueberries that makes such a difference in the flavor! Thanks for stopping by. If you have any other ideas for ways I can use up all these blueberries, let me know in the comments. To see more new recipes check out the Try a New Recipe Tuesday link up: