Sunday, May 17, 2020

The Best Cheesecake

This recipe is time consuming, but well worth it! The texture and flavor are perfect. Make it with or without the topping. (Picture above is without the topping.)


40 single graham crackers, finely crushed or 11oz. of graham cracker crumbs
8 Tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted

Mix all ingredients. Press and pat into bottom and two inches up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. (A measuring cup works well to press mixture into springform pan.) Refrigerate.


3 - 8 ounce packages cream cheese at room temperature (very important or your cheesecake will be lumpy!)
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Cream sugar and cream cheese until light. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat at low speed in an electric mixer for 30 minutes. If beating time is shortened and sped up, the cheesecake will not be smooth. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. (Tip: Use a cookie sheet or foil underneath to prevent melted butter from dripping onto bottom of oven.) If no topping, bake an additional 15 minutes. If topping, remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes.


1 1/2 cups sour cream (3/4 pint)
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Mix ingredients thoroughly and spread on cake. Bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

Serve with your favorite fruit topping or plain. It is delicious either way!

Friday, January 24, 2020

IEP: How-to's and Organizing a Binder

Well if having six children on IEPs (Individual Education Plans) doesn't make you go insane, it makes you get organized.  It was much easier to store it all in my brain when we only had 3 kiddos on IEPs. I want to share with you some tips I have embraced to make my life easier.

The first thing, and most important, is to have an IEP binder for each child. I use a 3-ring binder, size according to the amount of records, and personalize it with the child's name. This is where you will keep everything IEP related: IEP requests, assessment plans, assessment reports, meeting notices, progress on goals, behavior notices, and report cards.

Then I found it extremely helpful to have a Table of Contents which lists the dates of each IEP, notes, services, etc. at the front of the IEP binder. I am providing a copy for you to download FREE.

I also scan each IEP and components (assessment reports, etc.) into my computer and save on an external hard drive. Each child has a folder on my external hard drive. I save the documents first by year, then by name and date. This way I have easy access to the records if i am looking for a specific documents. I also have them available to e-mail or make copies as needed for their Alta worker or medical providers.

In case you are wondering if your child qualifies for an IEP, here are the 13 categories in which your child may qualify. These specific categories also must be adversely affecting their educational performance.  For instance, if your child has ADHD they might qualify under Other Health Impaired, but only if it is adversely affecting their educational performance.

If you would like to have your child assessed for special education services, you MUST put your request in writing and give it to the school. It has been my experience that it is best to also give specific examples of why you think your child needs to be assessed. The school district has 15 school days to respond to your request. They will provide you with an assessment plan which states the areas they would like to assess your child and are asking your permission. Please sign this form and return to the school district as soon as possible. 

The school district then has 60 school days to assess your child. During this time frame they will also schedule the IEP meeting. Most school districts are accommodating to your schedule, within reason. They will provide you a Meeting Notice, which you then sign stating whether or not you are able to attend.

Here is an example of the IEP Process from CAHELP (specific to California).

I also have a video IEP How-to's: A Parent's Perspective on our YouTube channel: DivergingLives. Feel free to check it out!

Homeschool Helps: Equivalent Fractions FREEBIE

 I know it has been a while since I have posted. Life is crazy, as usual. We are back to homeschooling two of our children this year. Becaus...