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Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfait Recipe

Pumpkin cheesecake parfait… the only word that comes into my mind is YUMMY!  I was outside playing with the kiddos the other day and we started noticing the leaves changing colors on the trees.  It was so pretty and it reminded me that fall, which is my favorite season, was right around the corner.  I love the cold crisp sunny days, all of the beautiful colors that fall brings, and the aroma of pumpkin everywhere.  Speaking of pumpkin, I thought I’d share one of my favorite pumpkin recipes with you.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfait

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. container of Cool Whip
  • 8 oz. package of Cream Cheese
  • 1 bag of Ginger Snap Cookies (graham crackers can be substituted)
  • 1 ½ cups Pumpkin Pie Mix
  • 1 Tbsp. Powdered Sugar (granulated sugar can be substituted, adjust amount as needed)

pumpkin-cheesecake-parfait-ingredients

Directions:

  1. Cream cheese should be at room temperature and Cool Whip should be defrosted.
  2. Put ginger snap cookies in a Ziploc bag and crush them to your preference. I prefer bigger chunks of cookie in my parfait, but if you prefer more of a crumble, have at it.  You can also substitute graham crackers if you don’t like or don’t have ginger snaps on hand.
  3. Cut cream cheese into cubes and place in large mixing bowl.
  4. Place the entire container of cool whip in mixing bowl.
  5. Mix until you have a nice thick and fluffy mixture.
  6. Now add the pumpkin pie mix to the fluffy mixture in the bowl… the mixture will thin out
  7. Add the powdered sugar
  8. Blend everything together.

Construction of Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfait:

  • Take parfait container and place a layer of crumbled ginger snap cookies in the bottom
  • Now put a layer of the pumpkin cheesecake filling in next. I used a small Ziploc bag and cut the tip of the corner off to keep from getting the sides or rim of my cup dirty… though shoveling it with a spoon works just as well.
  • One more layer of ginger snap cookies
  • Finally, one more layer of pumpkin cheesecake filling.
  • You can put whip cream on top, sprinkle some ginger snap cookie crumbs on top, or top with chocolate sprinkles.

Be sure to refrigerate the portion you don’t eat right away!  I love this recipe because it’s so easy and so flexible to make.  I will be making these Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfaits in little cups for our large family get-together this Thanksgiving.  Enjoy!

Cheers,
Lisa

 


Frozen Yogurt Sandwiches

FAMILY APPROVED!

Welcome to my summer Frozen Yogurt Sandwich post!  The whole family is having a great time enjoying the sunshine and water this summer and Miss Sassy Pants had her first boat ride, which was a blast.  She kept telling uncle to go faster, and her no-fear attitude has me a little worried for when she turns into a teenager, but I guess that’s future mommy’s problem!

Since summertime is in full-swing and cold treats are in high demand, I decided to whip up some delicious frozen yogurt sandwiches for the entire family.  They are quick, easy, super cheap, and healthy!  Check out the picture of the little hand taking an opportunity to swipe another one!  Not to state the obvious, but they were a big hit with the entire family.

Frozen Yogurt Sandwich Ingredients

Ingredients & Supplies:

Graham Crackers
Yogurt
Container  – freezer bags work well too
Spoon

 

Directions:

Here is the REALLY complicated part… break graham crackers in half.  Spread your yogurt of choice on the graham cracker…thickness is up to you.  Place other half of graham cracker on top then place completed frozen yogurt sandwich in a sealable container and then put that container in the freezer.  Allow for the frozen yogurt sandwiches to set in the freezer, which should take about 60 minutes before enjoying.

Frozen Yogurt Sandwiches Finished Product

I chose to use honey flavored graham crackers and yogurt flavors, peach, strawberry, and raspberry.  I hope everyone enjoys!

Cheers!

Lisa


Toddler Carrier Review Tula vs LilleBaby

Toddler Carriers – Tula vs. LilleBaby

Welcome back and I hope everyone had a safe and fun 4th of July weekend!  I am hoping your Thursday is off to a great start, because mine definitely is.  The sunshine is out, the kiddos woke up after mommy enjoyed a cup of coffee by herself, and I am finally sharing my review on TODDLER CARRIERS!

I purchased all three of these carriers with my own money because I was in need of a carrier for my toddler.  This review is 100% my opinion and none of these carriers were given to me or loaned to me for review.  Since, I had done the research, I thought I would share with everyone just in case anyone else was in or going to be in my current situation.  However, this site does contain affiliate links, which help support my family, but in no way shape my opinion.

Before my little Moose was born, I was adamant that we did not need a second stroller.  I absolutely loved my Bob stroller and did not want to replace it with something larger (the Bob is already big enough) nor did I want to spend the moolah on a double stroller.  My goal was to wear my son, which would allow our daughter to still use the stroller as needed, but she didn’t regularly ride in it willingly.  Great plan… unless your adorable little boy came out with absolutely no intention of allowing you to wear him!  Keep in mind, I have many baby carriers and to my total dismay, he has no interest in any of them despite the variety of ways you can wear him.  He is just not a snuggler (I may be crying a little as I type this sentence).  Unlike his sister, who would still love for me to wear her, he doesn’t like to be cozied up.  Instead, he likes to be laid out with lots of space to wiggle and move.  So what is a mother to do?  To the Internet I went – researching other options that would fix my current situation.  At that point I realized there are carriers made specifically for toddlers.  SHUT THE FRONT DOOR, right?!

Let’s go over the basics that should be considered before selecting your toddler carrier before we delve into the details of each one.  Toddler wearing is a personal choice and finding a comfortable carrier that suits your and your child’s needs varies.  Things to consider before purchasing your carrier are:  your size, age, where/how you prefer to wear your child, what kind of straps and padding does the carrier provide, if it provides lumbar support, where and how long will you be wearing the child, what kind of weather will you be in, and lastly, the size of the child.

I am a plus sized short female.  I planned on wearing my toddler, who is about 35 pounds and 37 inches tall, while grocery shopping, going to amusement parks (when she needs a rest), taking walks around the neighborhood, and while doing chores around the house when she needs to be cuddled and I still have stuff to get done.  It was important for me to find a carrier that allowed me to carry her in the front, the side, and on my back, since I wanted to have the option to have my hands and front free in case I needed to pick up my little guy.  I also wanted something that had well-padded shoulders, some type of lumbar support, and was roomy enough for her to be comfortable.  The carrier needed to be made out of durable material that was breathable and easy to clean.  I know, I know, it’s a huge wish list!

After a lot of research, I narrowed it down to three carriers:

Below is a break-down of each carrier along with pictures.

Tula Carrier

The Run Down….

The Tula Toddler Carrier has quite the following.  Their variety in patterns allows you to select one that suits your mommy personality, taking baby gear to a whole new level of style.  I purchased the Bandit pattern, which I absolutely loved and thought both kiddos would approve being carried in it.  This specific carrier is a toddler-only carrier and is not meant for babies under 25 pounds.  The Tula carrier can be used on toddlers weighing between 25 – 50 pounds (approximately 18 months through 4+ years old) and must be at least 32 inches tall.  It allows for an ergonomic m-position seat which supports optimal development for the child’s body and is made out of a nice breathable material that is machine washable.  There is a large pocket on the hip belt that holds keys or a phone.  It also has a removable hood that provides protection from the weather and can support the child’s head while sleeping.  I have also been told it allows for comfortable breastfeeding, but I don’t know from personal experience.

My experience…

All in all, the Tula is a very nice, light weight toddler carrier.  I liked that it was machine washable and needed no special care to clean.  The material is not as easy to wipe clean on the spot as the other two carriers are, but you can’t beat the style and infinite patterns you get to select from.  The straps were standard straps that were sturdy and they provided nice secure support for carrying.  I felt that the entire time I had my daughter in the carrier she was secure and comfortable.  The shoulder straps are padded, but not nearly as padded as the other two carriers.  The Tula material was on the thinner side and not quite as roomy as the LilleBaby CarryOn.  The straps also didn’t have as many adjustable positions as the other two carriers did, which is important if you wear a variety of clothing while carrying (sweatshirts, jackets, t-shirts, tank tops, etc.).

Another downside that I found with the Tula is that it only allowed for me to carry in the front and back and I really wanted the option to carry on the side as well.  I figured if I was going to invest the money in a toddler carrier, I wanted as many options for carrying as possible.  Since I was going to be packing the two littles around by myself, I also wanted to make sure I could get the carrier on and my kiddo in it (BY MYSELF) in all of its carrying positions.  I was able to do this without issue in the Tula.

*One thing to understand is that the back carry position is a little tricky to get your child in by yourself in any carrier in general, but with a little practice it becomes very quick and easy.  This holds true for all three carriers.*

One of the biggest downfalls of the Tula was not having lumbar support.  When carrying for a longer period of time (hour +), I started to feel the weight of the child in my lower back in the front carrying position.  This is where the other two carriers take the lead, leaving the Tula behind in their dust.  The lumbar support makes a huge difference distributing the child’s weight, which is very helpful on longer carries.  This is probably not such a big deal if you are only looking for a carrier for short carrying times (15-30 minutes), but anything longer and I would say the lumbar support makes quite the difference.

Since I have my carrier with me at all times (either in the car or in the bottom of the stroller), I wanted something that would fold up and not take up a lot of room and this is where the Tula really outdid the other two carriers, folding up much smaller than the other two.  However, do realize these types of carriers are a little harder to squish into a diaper bag since they’re larger to accommodate toddlers, though if you have a huge diaper bag you might be able to fit it.

http://www.tulababycarriers.com provides instructions on how to care for your carrier as well as instructions on how to put on the carrier in both carrying positions.  If you chose to buy from them, you should also check out their return policy and customer service reviews.  I purchased mine from amazon.com because they had it on Prime and I couldn’t wait to receive it.  Plus, Amazon has an amazing return policy if you have any issues.

Tula Carrier Side Tula Front Tula Carrier Rear

LilleBaby Complete

The Run Down….

The LilleBaby Complete is a six position ergonomic baby – toddler carrier made with a mesh insert for temperature control, thus making carrying in all seasons delightful.  It is made of 100% cotton that is durable and soft to the touch and is of course machine washable.  The Complete features lumbar support, neck support (newborn carrying), a hood that is easy to use, two-way adjustable shoulder straps, and a decent sized pocket that zips.  What makes this carrier special is that it can carry from newborn (7 pounds) all the way up to 45 pounds, with no additional products to be purchased or added in, making it versatile. I would classify it as a hybrid carrier meant for someone who is looking to buy just one carrier and have it until their child no longer needs to be carried or reaches 45 pounds.  The straps are 3 inches wide and very sturdy.

My experience…

This is a wonderful carrier… sturdy and comfortable with lots of flexibility for a parent that does not have another carrier and wants to purchase one that will last from birth to toddler.  The LilleBaby Complete felt like a jack of all trades carrier.  It was an over-the-top carrier for an infant, yet fell short in the toddler carrier category when compared to the Tula and LilleBaby CarryOn.  I did consider this carrier to utilize as my only carrier, but the lower weight limit was a huge negative.  You also have to do a lot of adjusting to switch from newborn/baby carry to toddler carry positions and the toddler carry position did not appear to be as roomy as the LilleBaby CarryOn and Tula.  Unfortunately for this carrier, once I had experienced the toddler-only carriers, this hybrid was out of the running!  Please keep in mind, it is still a very nice carrier and definitely worth looking at if you’re in the market for a newborn/baby carrier with a higher weight limit.

LilleBaby Carrier Complete Rear LilleBaby Carrier Complete Side LilleBaby Carrier Complete Close

LilleBaby CarryOn

The Run Down….

The LilleBaby CarryOn is a toddler only carrier.  I decided to go with navy with ikat rings and it is worth noting that there are not as many colors or patterns to choose from in comparison to the Tula.  This carrier can be used on toddlers weighing between 20 – 60 pounds (approximately 12 months +).  The material is 100% durable cotton that is soft to the touch and machine washable and allows for ergonomic front, side, and back carry, which is a huge plus in my current situation.  It also has lumbar support with three-way adjustable straps.  Two larger pockets and a removable hood are also included.

My experience…

This carrier is absolutely amazing!  It is the Cadillac of carriers.  The material is light, durable and easy to clean and the torso portion is much roomier than the other two for my little one.  She can easily put her hands inside or outside of the carrier or relax back with no lack of room or support.  The pockets are big, but I don’t use them because I generally forget that I put something in it and it either falls out on the ground when taking the carrier off or I lose it until the next time I put the carrier on and find it.  The three-way 3 inch adjustable straps are so nice, especially when wearing different types of clothes (example: sweatshirt vs. tank top) and the straps are super padded…like a pillow on your shoulders.  The icing on the cake is the lumbar support…I seriously cannot believe what a major difference it makes when doing the front carry!  It helps disburse the weight of the child, which makes quite the difference on your back after carrying.  The CarryOn goes on just like the Tula in the front and back carry positions, but the CarryOn allows for a hip carry position as well.  Easy to put on and take off and folds up nicely to be packed.  Tula definitely gets a point here, since it folds up the smallest between the three carriers.

http://lillebaby.com provides instructions on how to care for your carrier as well as instructions on how to put on the carrier in each carrying position.  If you chose to buy from them, you should also check out their return policy and customer service reviews.  I purchased mine from amazon.com because they had it on prime and I couldn’t wait to receive it.  Plus, Amazon has always been great to work with if there was an issue with my order.

LilleBaby CarryOn Side LilleBaby CarryOn Front LilleBaby CarryOn Rear

So Which Carrier Would I Recommend?…

Do you even have to ask?  I would recommend the LilleBaby CarryOn to anyone looking for a toddler only carrier.  It exceeded my expectations and I truly enjoy wearing my kiddo in it.  Now, I will also admit that I loved the other two carriers as well, but the LilleBaby Complete seems to fall short as a toddler only carrier (which is what I am looking for) and the Tula (though super stylish) just didn’t provide as much support as the LilleBaby CarryOn.  Again, everyone wears their carriers differently and are looking for different qualities in the carrier they select.  Don’t get me wrong, all three carriers are great and I wouldn’t turn down any of them as a gift, but as far as selecting one to buy, LilleBaby CarryOn wins hands-down!

Definitely do your research and know what your goals for the carrier are.  Please feel free to leave a comment or email me any questions you might have.  Best of luck!

Cheers,
Lisa


Dreams and Caffeine Blog Holiday Sparker

Introducing… The Holiday Sparkler!

Welcome to the holiday season!  I can’t believe it is already the second week in December…where has the time gone???  I am sure many of you are hustling and bustling to get your Christmas shopping done, decorations up, and party planning complete before the big day.  I have been a little overwhelmed this season, attempting to provide a stupendous holiday for our daughter while also trying to prepare for the arrival our son who is due in January.  So as I sit here with my feet elevated to reduce the swelling in my very pregnant feet, I decided it was time to share one of my all time favorite holiday drinks.  I call it the Holiday Sparkler!!!  Since I am pregnant this holiday season and cannot have alcohol, I have concocted a non-alcoholic version as well, that I’ve decided to call the Baby Sparkler (very fitting, huh?).  If you can’t or don’t drink alcohol or want to have a fun drink for the kiddos this Christmas, it’s just as fun and delicious!

 

Holiday Sparkler ~ Alcohol Version

  • Wet the rim of the champagne glass
  • Dip the rim in sugar
  • Pour equal parts champagne and cranraspberry juice ~ depending on the size of your drink and how large of a drink you need after fighting the crowds this holiday season.
    • Any champagne will work, though if you would prefer a dryer taste, then I would use a Brut and if you would like a sweeter taste I would go with a Spumante or something along those lines. The brand of cranraspberry juice doesn’t matter, whichever is cheapest…however, I tend to use diet so the drink isn’t too sweet.
  • 3-5 raspberries plopped in the drink…they are delicious to eat once your drink is gone. Due to the time of year and wanting help chilling the drink, I went with frozen raspberries.

Dreams and Caffeine Blog Holiday Sparkler Ingredients

Baby Sparkler ~ Non-Alcohol Version

  • Wet the rim of the glass
  • Dip the rim in sugar
  • Pour equal parts Sierra Mist (diet or regular) and cranraspberry juice.  The brand of cranraspberry juice doesn’t matter, whichever is cheapest…again, we use diet to help make the drink less sweet.
  • 3-5 raspberries plopped in the drink…they are delicious to eat once your drink is gone. Due to the time of year and wanting help chilling the drink, I went with frozen raspberries.

Dreams and Caffeine Blog Holiday Sparkler

I hope everyone enjoys the Holiday Sparkler and the Baby Sparkler!  Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts or to share a picture of your drink or if you changed up the recipe and wanted to share it.  I would love to hear from you!

 

Cheers!

Lisa