Thursday, February 28, 2013

Kids and a Mom in the Kitchen #36: Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Time for Kids and a Mom in the Kitchen
(A weekly linky where you can share your special time in the kitchen, such a great place for learning. You can also link up Kid-Friendly Recipes)

The linky is at the bottom.

In these week's leading up to St.Patrick's Day we are again focusing on one color of the rainbow at a time. Last week we focused on Red and Orange. We had two muffin tins last week, a red one and an orange one. We have also made two different color desserts. For red we made Strawberry Pretzel Salad and for Orange we made Orange Creamsicle Cake. We will be making something special for Yellow this week. Don't forget to stop by to see the Orange Creamsicle Cake post and to find out what we do for Yellow.

Have you ever had Strawberry Pretzel Salad? I have had it at Fellowship Meals before and have made it quite a while ago. A friend at co-op suggested it as a good idea for a red dessert and I obviously agreed with her. I found a great version on (no surprise there, I love allrecipes). We only had 1 package of jello, so I cut the recipe down to half.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Ingredients (this is what we used, 1/2 the recipe found on allrecipes):

3/4 cups crushed pretzels
2 1/4 TBS sugar
6 Tbs butter, melted

1/2 cup sugar
1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese
1 (8oz) container whipped topping

1 (3oz) pkg strawberry jello 
1 Cup Boiling Water
1/2 (16 oz) pkg frozen strawberries

Hannah is really getting involved with our kitchen time these days. I have to say, it does make it a bit more stressful having 3 children fighting over stool/chair space, turns, etc. It is also harder to get pictures at every step.

First we crushed the pretzel sticks using my Magic Bullet. I wasn't really sure if we crushed them too fine, but it turned out well. Next time I think we will crush them by hand and see if we like it better. 
Next we added the 2 1/4 Tbs of sugar and the melted butter. 

We stirred it together and placed it in a pie plate (the original size recipe fits in a 9x13 pan) and pressed it down on the bottom. Then I baked it in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes (it is to be lightly toasted). 

The girls went out to play while it cooked and cooled. Finally, later in the evening, we were able to get the rest of it made.

We beat together the 1/2 sugar and the cream cheese.

Then we folded in the whipped topping.

And then we spread it over the cooled pretzel crust. 
Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

The jello is made with only boiling water and you add the frozen strawberries, stirring until they thaw. Our strawberries had already thawed, so I just added them the way they were, it worked out fine. 
Pour it over the top of the cream cheese filling and place it in the refrigerator for 1 hour more or until completely set.

As you can tell, this is a simple recipe, except there is a lot of wait time in between each step. We ended up finishing it right before bed. 

Yes, I still let them have a little piece.

Do you have your children help you in the kitchen?  What lessons do they learn? Do you have any kid friendly recipes to share?

I'd love to see your posts, whether you have done something this week or some time in the past. Just link up below. This is a weekly linky.

I am linking up to:

Blog Post Hop Happy Go Lucky  Full Time Mama

Melt in Your Mouth Monday
Try a New Recipe Tuesday at Home to Four Kiddos
The Gathering Spot at Mamal Diane
Tempt My Tummy at Blessed with Grace
Friday Food Frenzy at Close to Home
Fantastic Thursday at Five Little Chefs

And here is my Kids and a Mom in the Kitchen linky

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A+ TutorSoft, Inc. Online Homeschool Edition Review


I have been looking for a math curriculum for Tabitha as I know she is beyond the math that is in the Kindergarten level of My Father's World. She has always been very intuitive when it comes to math. We have done mostly hand-on, daily living math learning for the past several years. But, I am getting to a point where I want to make sure we aren't missing anything. Enter A+ TutorSoft, Inc.

I know the girls love working on the computer, so when I was given an opportunity to review A+ Tutorsoft, Inc's Multi-Sensory Interactive Math curriculum as a part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I felt it was perfect. I did hesitate a little bit, knowing Tabitha was technically only in Kindergarten and their lowest grade level is first grade, but I felt she would be able to do the work. I chose to use the A+ Interactive Math Online Homeschool Edition.

This curriculum is available for grades 1-6, and they also have Pre-Algebra and Algebra. In addition to the Online version they offer a CD version for homeschool. This is a complete curriculum that your child can do on the computer with the addition of worksheets and exams that can be printed out. With the Online version you can also do the worksheets and the exams online and get instant grading and feedback. There are multimedia lessons for which lesson plans have already been planned out. Additionally there is a curriculum guide, a printable workbook, interactive questions & answers, a solutions guide, exams, exam solutions and formula reference sheets. With the online edition and the premium edition of the CD the parent can lock the solution guides and answer keys.

When you first arrive at their site you will see this screen:

I do have to say, that the layout of their homepage was quite overwhelming to me at first. The main part will constantly switch between the Online Homeschool, CD for Homeschool and the School versions. In order to fully concentrate on the version you are interested in you can click on one of the orange circles on the bottom of the middle section. 

You can also click on the title "Homeschool Math Curriculum-Online" or "Homeschool Math Curriculum-CD Software" to be taken to the page with all the grade levels, from there you can find out more details about each grade. 

This same screen is the one you come to in order to sign in. You can sign your child in or sign in as the parent so you can manage your child's account and check their progress. I do like that my daughter does not have easy access to this section.  

After Tabitha is signed in she will come to her personal workspace. The Table of Contents shows you the Chapters that will be worked on in this grade level and under each chapter there are lessons. We were working our way through the lessons for a while before I noticed their is a section titled, "Lesson Plans." The program has listed how many lessons should be completed per week. 

You are to work on the Multimedia lesson, where the computer teaches your child using Visual Graphics, Text and Audio. Your child is lead through the lesson, which can be paused if you feel your child needs additional instruction and it can be replayed. 


After listening to the lesson your child will get to do the Interactive Q & A.

There are both multiple choice questions and fill in the answer questions. After answering the question your child will get instant feedback, letting them know if they are correct or incorrect.

If your child answers incorrectly they will be shown an explanation and then be given a chance to answer the question again. It is very important to remember to answer each question and get your confirmation before clicking next to move to the next question. 

After your child finishes the Interactive Questions and Answers they then have worksheets they can work on. I loved that we had either printable worksheets or online worksheets to use. Tabitha was able to work at her own pace, setting aside the worksheet, whether online or printed, and come back to it later if she was struggling with it.

If she completed a printed worksheet, I put her answers into the online worksheet so it could get graded instantly and added in to be tracked for her progress. If she got any answers wrong she was able to go back through the worksheet to see which ones were wrong and what the correct answer should be.

The program keeps track of all the completed worksheets. You can review when your child completed the worksheet, how many questions there were, how many were answered correctly and the percentage grade.  It also lists a total for all the worksheets. Which is great if you are required to have grades for your child. It would also be great to have something to print out to add to our portfolio when the girls are old enough to be reporting to the school district.

After all the lessons in the chapter are completed you have an Exam. This exam is timed and you can not pause it if you are using the Online Edition, though the parent can add time in the parental control section. I have not had Tabitha take an exam yet as I feel it will frustrate her. I know that she knows the material from the worksheets.

We have really enjoyed working with A+ Tutorsoft Math. Tabitha has time on it almost every day after lunch. Though there were some days she didn't want to do her math, once she got started she usually didn't complain, though there was a bit of procrastination. Today she was really looking forward to her time on her math.

I did have a couple of concerns. The first unit that 1st grade starts with is counting to 100. I figured Tabitha wouldn't have a problem with this section seeing as she could already count to 100 and beyond. The problem came with trying to count to numbers up to 100 on the computer screen. Some of the images were so close together and jumbled together that she got completely frustrated. This was when I was glad we could just stop the lesson and come back later. I decided to print out the worksheet and have her use a marker to place dots on the objects she had already counted. She did much better. As I have been taught the importance of working from left to right, I feel having items all bunched together and circling around each other is very confusing for a child. Even I had trouble counting some of the higher numbers without being able to mark which ones I had already counted. I would love to see the counting in straight lines.

Another thing both Tabitha and I agree is a problem is the speed  of the multimedia lesson. As the lesson is being taught, the child will be asked a question, the computer almost immediately answers the question without giving the child time to come to the correct answer on their own or even pause the lesson so the parent and child can discuss it if needed. Tabitha would have loved to answer the questions being asked of her, but she wasn't given sufficient time.

All in all this has been a wonderful curriculum and we continue to work through it. We have been working through it slower than the lesson plans recommend, but as Tabitha has only just turned 6, I feel we are progressing satisfactorily. She has such a love for math, there is no way I am going to destroy that by pushing her. She is also excited to discover that we are done with counting numbers and as we progress we will eventually get to addition and time and money, I think that has motivated her.

You can purchase the A+Interactive Math Online Homeschool Edition for $19.95 per month or $124.95 per year. Or you may choose to purchase the Software CD for $99.99 per grade level for the Standard Edition or $124.99 for the Premium Edition. If you are not sure if this curriculum is for you, A+ TutorSoft offers a Free 1 month trial of the Online program (just click on the button in the top right of the home screen). In addition, though the end of March, you can use this code:  SPOFFER50 for 50% off.

To see what other families thought of A+ Tutorsoft Math, I invite you to stop by the Schoolhouse Review Crew post.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for
my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with
the FTC Regulations.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sunday Photo Round-Up: February 24, 2013

It's time for me to share my photo challenge photos from this week. I can't believe it has been a month since I participated. I am not sure what happened. And now I am late posting this time too.

First, let's get going with Scavenger Hunt Sunday. I am going to share my photos from the last couple of weeks:

Candy, Pink or Red, Love, Kisses, Smile
(These are the prompts from last week.)

I made hubby some candy this year.

Pink or Red
And he gave me some beautiful red roses (along with a box of candy).

 I gave the girls a Love Is in the Air Muffin tin for lunch.

And they had Hugs and Kisses as a part of their Valentine's Day Breakfast (oxo).


Baby Harold was having a blast playing in the kitchen cupboard. He was removing cans, stacking cans and even trying to put them back (he succeeded with a couple). I just love the huge smile!

Time to Eat, Getting Ready, Play Time, Sweet Dreams, Scrub-a-Dub
(These are the prompts for this week.)

Time to Eat
Time to eat my yummy Avocado Swiss Burger from Burger King.

Getting Ready
Getting ready to drink chocolate milk.

Play Time
Play time at co-op

Sweet Dreams
Hopefully having sweet dreams as he sleeps in his car seat.

A bit of a stretch, but I forgot to take a bath type picture. But they were finger painting and their hands needed a bit of a scrub-a-dub-dub-dub afterward.

Hidden, Plain, Left, Fast, Peace
(These are the prompts from the first week in February, that I somehow never posted.)

Amelia is hiding on the top bunk in the cabin where the preschoolers were stuck for co-op due to wetness in their usual room.

A plain wooden lamppost at the camp where we have co-op.

Making a left hand turn.


At co-op again, this time spinning fast.

Now onto
 Photo a Day
(I have not been participating in Photo a Day this month.)

And I'm continuing on with 
ABC Friday

(Even though I need to catch up a bit)

ABC Friday gives you a chance to share a random photo with a challenge!
Each week is a new letter theme, starting with A of course, we will work our way through the alphabet.
All you have to do is post a picture with the letter theme for that week…. A is for Auto, B is for Beach, C is for Cake….I think you get it.
This is not Wordless Wednesday, feel free to share in words what the photo is all about! or not, it’s up to you!

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