For the last couple of years, we have hosted Thanksgiving in our home. It is something I absolutely love to do, and it's the one day a year where I really enjoy going all out. I love to set my table and create a welcoming setting for our loved ones to enjoy. I love to make our Thanksgiving spread a really classic, traditional Thanksgiving meal. Turkey, stuffing, sweet potato, the works. But since I know that not everyone is a huge fan of pumpkin pie, I wanted a twist on a classic Thanksgiving staple.
My cousin Olga makes this incredible Pumpkin Cheesecake, so the first year we hosted, I asked her for the recipe. I've really enjoyed making this cheesecake year after year, and you can bet that I'll be making it again this Thanksgiving! I like to top it with Salted Caramel - it really gives it an incredible flavor.
I haven't quite figured out how not to make it crack, but it tastes amazing regardless, so if you're on the hunt for a delicious dessert recipe for Thanksgiving, look no further!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 20 single square crackers)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 packages (8 oz each) Neufchatel cream cheese (softened)
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 can (16 oz) solid pack pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
Let me know if you make this favorite of ours! I'd love to know how it turns out!
Did you enjoy this post?
Check out some of my other Thanksgiving posts:
My Thanksgiving Tablescape
Classic Bread Stuffing
*This post has been sponsored by HITN Learning. All opinions are my own.
In our home, one of the biggest pieces of heritage that we want to pass along to our children is the ability to speak Spanish. When Caleb was little, we spoke to him exclusively in Spanish. Over the years, between watching TV in English, starting school, and general laziness on my part, his Spanish has gone to the birds. I have some friends who have been so consistent with speaking to their kids in Spanish that they can hold all their conversations in both languages, and that’s truly what I hope to be able to work on with our kids. We’ve been making a much bigger effort to speak to them in Spanish, and we have already noticed a difference.
Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend an event hosted by HITN Learning at Barnes and Noble, where I had the chance to speak with bilingual education advocate and TEDx speaker Dr. Mariana Díaz-Wionczek on how to raise bilingual children in today’s multicultural world. Mariana is a Hispanic mom, researcher, and academic. She has served as producer and Head of Education, Cultural Content & Research for several Nick Jr. productions including Dora the Explorer, Dora & Friends, and Go, Diego, Go!
I was able to chat with her one on one and I loved some of the information she gave me. Here are some of the tips she gave me and other parents there:
The Cleo & Cuquin Family Fun! Math Kits & App are a tool that we can utilize as parents to enrich our children’s learning experiences and encourage them to speak in Spanish. They offer engaging, child-centered bilingual print and digital materials, and hands-on activities. The kits focus on key math skills that create a strong foundation for Kindergarten learning. There are three math kits available: Counting, Sorting, and 3D Shapes.
We received the Cleo & Cuquin Family Fun! Counting Math Kit& App. Some of the skills it works on are counting to 10 and reading and writing numerals 0-9. The content in the kit is exciting and fun so it motivates kids to practice, and engages children through play, using manipulatives and digital content to reinforce essential skills. Caleb absolutely loves the app, and has started to understand it even when it is in Spanish mode. You can switch the app from Spanish to English, so it doesn’t matter what level your children are at. He also loves the game, especially when he wins (which he does almost every time).
As a former teacher, I really love that this kit addresses all kinds of learning styles and that it involves the parents. It’s not just your child sitting in front of an app and doing something independently - it requires you as the parent to get involved and practice your own Spanish! You can purchase one of these kits for your own children at Barnes and Noble. (Counting Kit, Sorting Kit, 3D Shapes Kit)
I love that Caleb is starting to become more interested in speaking Spanish and as long as he is trying, I’m going to continue to encourage him in any way I can!
Today is World Homeless Day, and in order to shed some light on homelessness, several local bloggers were invited to the Chapman Partnership. Eddie and I decided that this would be a really great opportunity to serve outside of our church and school community, and set a good example for our kids. I also truly believe that with this platform that I have built, I have the obligation to share with my followers things that are a need in our communities. We were given a tour of the facility and then we had the opportunity to serve lunch to the residents.
The Chapman Partnership is an incredible organization that has truly been designed with its residents and their dignity in mind. One of the things that our Volunteer Specialist Jessie told us is that many people are just one paycheck away from homelessness. A lot of the thoughts that people have about homelessness are misconceptions. Not every person who is homeless is in their situation because of drug or alcohol abuse. Some are, but there are so many other reasons why people fall on hard times, and everyone is entitled to try and pave their way to a better life with dignity. This is something that the Chapman Partnership really embodies.
Chapman Partnership is the private sector partner of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, and they operate two Homeless Assistance Centers located in downtown Miami and Homestead. The Chapman Partnership empowers homeless men, women and children to build a positive future by providing the resources and assistance critical to growth, stability, and independence.
They provide a wide array of support services that go far beyond just emergency shelter to include comprehensive case management, health, mental and dental care, day care, job development and training, job placement, permanent housing assistance and other support from a variety of social service agencies all under one roof to 800 men, women and children daily. Unlike many other shelters, the Chapman Partnership does not have a limit to how long someone can be in residence.
During our tour we learned just how much The Chapman Partnership does for those experiencing homelessness. From intake to outplace, they truly give those in their centers all the tools they need to become independent. They have a medical clinic manned by nurse practitioners from Jackson, mental health services, and a mobile dental clinic (where they perform all dental procedures except for orthodontics). All of this is provided at no cost to the residents. If their needs cannot be met there, they are given a voucher to receive services at Jackson.
We were able to visit the dorms - they have three separate areas: one for families, one for single men, and one for single women. While their largest population is single males, a large percentage of the homeless population does include women and families. At the Chapman Partnership, 44 percent of residents are families with children, and they have taken that into account. Their family dorms are designed for families of four, but for those with larger families, adjoining rooms allow for families to stay together, as that is one of their primary goals when it comes to families.
They serve three hot meals per day, as well as bagged lunches for those who leave for work and school. They provide child care with an on-site day care through the Head Start program through MDCPS, and they have a Family Resource Center where children can go after school to work on homework and enrichment activities, and where children can spend free time reading books, doing arts & crafts, or playing video games. Other services include life skills training, legal services, social security services, vocational training, job placement, financial literacy, substance abuse counseling and housing placement.
Because of their commitment to providing comprehensive services to their residents, the Chapman Partnership has a 64% success rate in outplacing their residents into permanent or transitional housing.
Ways You Can Help
We learned about the 1% Food & Beverage Tax* today and I thought it was really interesting - I actually had no idea about it! The Chapman Partnership receives a little over 60% of their funding from The Homeless Trust. The rest is private beneficiaries and fundraising efforts. The Homeless Trust is funded by the 1% Food & Beverage Tax.
There was so much to take in while we were visiting Chapman, and I wish I could share all the information we learned and all the amazing things that they do there. But know that when you donate to the Chapman Partnership, it is truly all going back to the residents and their betterment.
For more information about the Chapman Partnership, how you can get involved, and their services, head over to https://chapmanpartnership.org.
And as always, let’s count our blessings.
*What is the 1% Food and Beverage Tax?
At the time of the Homeless Trust’s funding, it was clear that the private sector alone could not support the needs of the community. The Florida Legislature, supported by Governor Lawton Chiles and the Miami-Dade County Commission, made it possible for there to be a 1% sales tax on food and beverages sold in the larger restaurants in our community. Fifteen percent of the funds received would be allocated to the Domestic Violence Oversight Board.
Specifics on the Tax:
A one percent (1%) Homeless and Domestic Violence Tax is collected on all food and beverage sales by establishments that are licensed by the State of Florida to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, except for hotels and motels. Only businesses that make over $400,000 in gross receipts annually are obligated to collect this tax.
The Homeless and Domestic Violence Tax is collected throughout Miami-Dade County with the exception of facilities in the cities of Miami Beach, Surfside and Bal Harbour. Eighty-five percent (85%) of the tax receipts goes to the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, and fifteen percent (15%) goes to Miami-Dade County for domestic violence centers.
The Halloween decorations are up, pumpkin everything is in stores everywhere, and most of the country is feeling cooler temperatures. But here in Miami, while we might be feeling a slight change in the weather in the morning and afternoon, the truth is, it's still HOT.
So while I might be burning all the candles or diffusing all the oils to make my house feel like fall indoors, I definitely cannot rock traditional fall looks outdoors without passing out from a heatstroke. But since fall is my favorite season, here are some ways that I incorporate fall style and trends into my wardrobe, year after year.
Texture & Color
A really easy way to switch between seasons is by using rich textures. Suede, leather, and velvet all speak to the warm textures of fall. Incorporate them into shoes, handbags, and accessories to automatically update your look and bring it into the current season. These suede pointy-toed booties are a really great piece that you can wear with jeans, a dress or leggings and they just scream fall.
As far as color, I tend to lean more towards blacks, purples, and burgundy shades during the fall, but really anything that is deep and rich would help to update your look!
My nail color is usually the first thing to herald the changing of a season. The minute I can switch over to fall's deep, rich hues (and manage to squeeze in a manicure), I go for it. These are some of my go-to nail colors, year after year. And yes, I realize they are almost identical. I also love navy and dark gray colors.
Butter London Ruby Murray Nail Lacquer $15.00
Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour 18 Rouge Noir $28.00
Essie Gel Couture Model Clicks $7.89
Add in Animal Prints
Another easy way to make your wardrobe feel more fall-worthy is to add in animal prints. Leopard is my go-to. Throw on a pair of leopard shoes, a leopard belt, or a leopard headband. It won't overwhelm your look, won't make you sweat, and you'll automatically feel more in-season. I got this headband from Aria Rose Boutique. I don't think they have them in stock anymore, but I've linked a whole bunch of leopard print accessories below!
The last way I get my look updated for fall without melting is by changing up my makeup palette. I use deeper, darker lip colors, like this bold burgundy hue from Kat Von D, appropriately called Exorcism (and which Caleb said I looked scary wearing). For eyeshadow I like to switch it up to grey and deep purples, and I love using the Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics Palette.
Tell me below, what are some ways that you make your wardrobe "Miami Fall" friendly? I'd love to know!
Ever since I read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry in third or fourth grade, I have devoured books about the World War II era. I find something about the time period so hauntingly beautiful. While there were so many awful things happening throughout Eastern Europe during the war, there was also so much humanity, resilience, and strength of human spirit. That's probably why I enjoyed The German Midwife so much.
The book takes place in Germany in 1944. Anke, a prisoner in the camps, does what she can to keep her pregnant campmates and their newborns alive.
But when the Reich notices Anke's work, she is silently whisked away from camp and given a task more dangerous than being in a camp. Anke is assigned to be the midwife of Eva, a woman who is pregnant with the Führer’s child. Her family is threatened if she doesn't complete this task, so what is there to do?
The book weaves through Anke's story, bringing in a few kind characters to help Anke along this impossible journey, and reminding us that good and evil are not always black and white, and that gray areas do exist. Will Anke deliver this baby and keep it safe, furthering the cause of the Reich she so detests? Or will she sacrifice this child to help fix a broken world?
The German Midwife is a solidly told, well-written read. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and if World War II novels are something you enjoy, then I think this is something you will enjoy as well. I honestly couldn't put the book down and even sacrificed a good night's rest to read a couple more chapters (a decision I really regretted when the kids woke up at 5:45 am).