No-Bake Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake

No-Bake Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake

This page contains affiliate links. No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake

Can I just say wow!? This stuff is awesome folks. You may know how I’m always making my best attempt to eat healthily and help my children make those healthy choices. When the holidays come around I stick to the daily healthy choices. However, for the big events, I love to embrace traditions and go all out. This no-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake is one of those recipes I love, my husband loves even more, and is a fabulous taste of fall. In fact, I’d say it’s perfect for that holiday dinner party or even the big day. I don’t think anyone would be sad to see this as an option on that Thanksgiving dessert table spread!

No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake pin

You know how it goes. You’re invited to an aunt’s, or maybe a friend’s, giant family event, and you want to make a dessert that will WOW. When I was a kid I remember the table of pies and desserts at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Of course, then there were all the discussions about who would bring what. There’s a lot of thought and tradition that can go into holiday desserts. Still, every year there are always the completely new recipes you try out and decide if they’re good enough to make the repeat list for next year. I hope this is one of those keepers for you.

No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake

Let’s get started! First, this is a recipe I altered from another no-bake cheesecake I make quite often for dinner parties or to take to events. I LOVE all things pumpkin and the fall spices that go along with it. Naturally, it seemed like the thing to do to mix things up for fall.

No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake, pan & cookies

The Crust

To begin, get out a 9-inch springform pan, a family size package of Golden Oreos, or other vanilla sandwich cookies. The family size is around 19 oz., but if your store brand or other kind is a few ounces smaller don’t worry. To be sure, I get the family size knowing someone in the house will eat 2-3 before I can make the cheesecake. Then get out your food processor and smash the cookies up into small crumbs.

No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake, cookies

Next, melt a stick of butter on the oven or in the microwave and pour it into the cookie crumbs. Then pulse the food processor several times until the butter’s mixed in.

No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake, crust

Once the crumb crust is combined, dump it into the springform pan. Press it down with your hands or a flat-bottomed glass to make an even crust on the bottom and up the sides. Form the sides with your hand or the flat glass. The glass in my picture below was not completely flat, and I had to clean out crust from the ridges. C’est la vie! That’s what we had (but a straight, flat one would work a lot better. Then place the entire springform pan in the freezer to set the crust.

No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake, cup and crust

The filling

Now we move to the filling. First, take out a large bowl and put in the cream cheese, other stick of butter, pumpkin, almond butter, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. Second, mix that all up together using a standing or hand-held mixer. You can use a different nut-free butter such as soy to make it nut-free if necessary.

No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake, mixing filling

Third, add in 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, and beat that together with your filling mixture. Use a medium-high speed and mix for 2-3 minutes. As a result, you should end up with a lighter, creamy, mixture.

No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake, filling

Take the crust out of the freezer. Using a spatula, pour the filling into the crust and smooth it out. Next, put it back in the freezer while you make the topping.

No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake, overhead without topping

The Topping

For the topping get out the white chocolate chips, heavy whipping cream, and pumpkin pie spice. Put 1 cup of white chocolate chips and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice in a glass bowl. After that, heat 1/2 cup of the cream on the stove or in the microwave until it’s a rolling simmer. Immediately pour the cream then, over the white chocolate chips. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then mix it together with a spatula until smooth.

No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake, cream & white chocolate

Take the pan out of the freezer, and pour the topping mixture over the cheesecake. Then put it into the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour before serving.

No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake, in pan

In the meantime, I like to go a little overboard and whip up another 1/2 cup of the heavy whipping cream. When it’s time to serve, put a large dollop on each piece. Yum!

No-bake pumpkin cheesecake overhead

I hope you enjoy the recipe! Let me know how it works out for you.

No-bake pumpkin spice cheesecake arrow pin

I’m so looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas this year! We have a bunch of family coming to town, and that’s what I love. The fireplace going, friends and family talking and playing games, and cookies baking in the oven. Have a wonderful holiday season, eat some pumpkin spice cheesecake, and cheers to you and yours!

Do you need a pumpkin craft for fall?

Easy DIY Pumpkin decor feature

Best Estes Park Hikes For Kids

Best Estes Park Hikes For Kids

This page contains affiliate links. Estes Park hikes for kids

I was such lucky kid to have many memories hiking around Rocky Mountain National Park and other areas near Estes Park, Colorado. Quite often I think about how fortunate I was to grow up near to such a beautiful place. Naturally, I want my kids to love it as much as I do, and so it’s necessary we explore as often as possible. Of course, we don’t get up there nearly as much as I’d like!

Estes Park hikes for kids elk pin

Flashback!

I close my eyes and flashback to my childhood. My parents and I drive up to Estes Park and eat lunch at a local restaurant. Then, we head into Rocky Mountain National Park to drive around and look at the leaves or the elk, and stop at a hiking trail to explore. My father bends down with his black Canon camera to take close-up pictures of leaves and rocks along the trail. Squeal! I see a chipmunk, and my day is made.

What’s in it for you?

Together, my kids and I adventure out to explore the same trails and others in the Rocky Mountains. For you, we’ve put together a collection of our favorite Estes Park hikes for kids. Why? Because I want you and your family to have a fabulous Rocky Mountain experience. If you’re nearby or plan to vacation next summer and come in from across the country these are must-see beginner hikes. I hope you will love and protect these areas too.

How could you not love it?! Really.

The hikes we’ve listed are an easy introduction to hiking and meant for families to do together. Consequently, they are each no more than a mile or so in distance and fairly level. They were selected intentionally so a 4-year-old can walk them with Mom and Dad, and Grandma can join in if she wants. Try any or all of these Estes Park hikes for kids your whole family will love!

Our 8 favorite Estes Park hikes for kids

1. Lily Lake

Estes Park hikes for kids, Lily Lake

Lily Lake is an absolutely magical place in Fall. I highly recommend going there anytime, but if you are in the area in late September this is a must-see. There are yellow and orange aspens all about the lake and a nice flat walking area all the way around (about 3/4 of a mile). This is a handicap accessible trail, and you are in for some great photo ops!

Lily Lake is located about 6 miles south of Estes Park on Colorado Highway 7. There’s a convenient parking area very near the entrance to the trail. Everyone in the family will enjoy this one.

Hiking at Lily Lake

Bonus! The historic Bald Pate Inn is just nearly across the street and makes some of the most awesome pie I’ve ever eaten. Read about the Baldpate Inn here.

2. The Knoll

This is a good hike if you’re actually staying in Estes Park or spending a lot of time in town. Maybe you check out the historic Stanley Hotel, go on the ghost tour, and then the kids are ready to run. Park your car in the small parking lot or on Wonderview Avenue, just across from the Stanley Hotel. You will be able to access the trail from the parking lot. FYI – Dogs are not allowed on this trail.

Estes Park hikes for kids, Stanley Hotel

First, start off going south on the trail to the Knoll. Don’t you just like that name? “The Knoll…” What it is really is a view of downtown Estes Park and what’s left of an old stone cabin. For those of you who like histories, I was told it was originally built in 1907 by a former editor of the Denver Post. The elaborate cabin had a huge porch and fireplace, maybe too big, since it burnt down at the end of that year.

Next, go back north on the path until you see a downhill trail to the west. Follow it until you find the cabin built by the editor, Mr. Birch, to replace the one burnt in the fire. This one was built in 1908 and used by the Birch family into the 1980s. It’s is a fun path to scout out and to see some great views of the Stanley Hotel and downtown Estes Park.

3. Lake Estes Trail

Did you bring dogs with you on vacation or your bikes? You can walk with your furry friends around Lake Estes or have a fun family bike ride. When the fog and mists are down you almost imagine yourself in the Scottish Highlands (especially if the Scottish Festival is going on in mid-September, and you can hear the bagpipes over the lake!).

4. The Downtown River Walk

The Estes Park Downtown River Walk is a fun “hike” with the kids along the river. There are cafés and restaurants with tables set up should you need refreshment. Also, parents can peruse the gift shops as you walk, and kids can explore with another adult or take a rest at one of the many wooden benches with a fabulous view and sounds of the river running by.

5. Moraine Park Discovery Center Nature Trail

As you enter Rocky Mountain National Park, hold onto that map and newspaper the ranger hands you after you pay your fee to get in. The newspaper lists a ton of hikes and activities you can participate in during your visit. Certainly, take a look at your map if you need to, and head on over to the Moraine Park Discover Center.

After you park, you’ll find an easy half-mile trail the kids will enjoy just behind the Discovery Center. Before you begin, be sure to find a ranger in the center and get the activity booklet for kids to complete as they explore. You can get other great ideas from the rangers here for things to do with kids, and in the summer there are activities like Discover Days and Discover Hikes led by the rangers.

Another awesome program is the Junior Ranger Program where kids can complete a booklet, speak with a ranger, and earn a Junior Ranger badge. Lots of fun! For more information on the Junior Ranger program click here.

6. Sprague Lake

Sprague Lake trail

Sprague Lake, oh how I love you! Sprague Lake is located in Rocky Mountain National Park up Bear Lake Road. This is a fabulous place to go for a leisurely picnic by a stream. We like to go to Sprague Lake in the fall, generally mid-week when it’s less busy. Although, as long as you can find a parking spot there are many picnic tables and a nice path around the lake. We always have a good time whether it’s busy or not.

Estes Park hikes for kids, Sprague

First of all, you can enjoy your picnic, and then put your lunch stuff in the car. There’s even a well-kept bathroom with regular toilets during the summer, which is always important with kids! From there, head over to the path around the lake. It’s about 3/4 of a mile all the way around, and my kids love it! You’ll find log benches placed every 50 feet or so to sit and take in the magnificent views. Not only that, but it’s wheel-chair accessible, stroller friendly, and ready for the perfect photo op! A couple of weeks ago when we visited, my son stopped at every bench, rock, sign, flower, whatever, then plastered a smile on his face and yelled, “Picture!”

Sprague Lake view and tree

Therefore, take your camera or phone. You’ll get some great shots.

7. Bear Lake

After you finish at Sprague Lake if everyone’s still full of energy head up Bear Lake Road until you get to the Bear Lake Trailhead. The loop trail around Bear Lake is not to be missed, and even though it’s only about .6 miles, it’s a bit more challenging than Sprague Lake and others. I don’t mean it’s incredibly difficult, but it’s not completely level and may be harder for younger kids.

Word of warning. Bear Lake is INCREDIBLY popular all times of the year so I would suggest going early, or late in the day, mid-week. There are a lot of other fun more lengthy trails that start out here, but they’re more advanced. For example, Nymph Lake is only .5 miles away, but it has an elevation gain of 225 feet. You can look at RMNP’s list of trails here.

8. Copeland Falls

If you’re heading out of Estes Park to Meeker or Allenspark south on Colorado Highway 7, you’ll want to pay a visit to the Wild Basin Trailhead. It’s about 12 miles south of Estes Park, then turn right off of Colorado Highway 7 onto Wild Basin Road. From there, drive about half a mile more and take another right into Rocky Mountain National Park. Keep going to the Wild Basin Trailhead just a couple more miles from the park turn-off.

In our experience, this trail is not nearly as busy as some of the others. Moreover, it’s conveniently located near Allenspark and one of my absolute favorite restaurants, the Meadow Mountain Cafe, a rather fabulous gem you should definitely check out (read about it here in Estes Park Restaurants With Character). But enough tangent there, back to the hike!

So you’ve made it to the Wild Basin Trailhead. The trail will eventually take you all the way up 2565 feet and seven miles to Lion Lake. However, with the kids we like to hike to the Lower, then the Upper Copeland Falls, only about .3 to .4 miles up the trail. There’s an elevation gain of 15 feet so pretty manageable! From the main trail, you will want to branch off to the side trail to take you right by both parts of the falls. After you pass by the Upper Falls it will reconnect back to the main trail without having to backtrack down by the falls on the same path. There are more lakes, cascades, and falls the farther up you go, but it’s also a lot steeper so I’d wait until the kids are quite a bit older to tackle those.

Sprague Lake purple flowers

Now go hike!

There you have it! Those are 8 of our favorite hikes in and around Estes Park, Colorado. Give them a try and let us know what you think. OR if you have another kid-friendly hike suggestion in the area PLEASE let me know because we’d love to try them out!

Estes Park hikes for kids pin-

Easy DIY Pumpkin Decor for Fall

Easy DIY Pumpkin Decor for Fall

 This page contains affiliate links. Easy DIY Pumpkin Decor 

It’s fall! Are you ready to make an easy DIY pumpkin, or maybe 10, out of velvet or satin to decorate your space? I know I am! We’ve been pulling out the fall decorations and scents and are ready to celebrate the season!

The leaves are turning yellow, red, orange, and gold. There’s finally a chill in the air, I’m listening to a lot of Loreena McKennitt music, and Grandpa’s giving the kids giant warty pumpkins and Indian corn to decorate our front porch. Let me say it again, it’s fall!! Autumn is easily my favorite season, and I LOVE pulling out the scarves, earth tone sweaters, and pumpkin spice soaps and candles.

The Velvet Pumpkin

It’s also that time of year when the catalogs start pouring in from the mailbox, and I’ll admit I look forward to seeing all those fall colors and holiday preparation guides. There’s one catalog, in particular, I read from cover to cover and look forward to receiving multiple versions of every fall. This year I prepared my mug of tea and snuggled in on the couch after the kids had gone to bed to enjoy my catalog (it’s the little things). One item that jumped out at me was a beautiful burnt orange velvet pumpkin, and of course, that voice in my head said, “Oh! I would love several of those to put around the fireplace in the living room!”

Then I looked down at the dollar mark, and the sensible voice from the other side of my mind countered with, “That’s silly. You could easily make those for a quarter of the price!” The next day, I shared this idea with my 8-year-old daughter who thought it was a fabulous plan, and we got to work! So here we go, easy DIY pumpkin decor…

Easy DIY Pumpkin Decor pin

Make your easy DIY pumpkin decor with me today!

Easy DIY Pumpkin Decor in grass

1. To begin, gather your craft supplies together

You know you’re going to be at a craft, fabric store, or even Wal-mart to get costumes ready. Pick up a couple things for yourself while you get everything ready for the kids.

2. Cut out a circle of fabric

After you have your supplies set out the fabric you’ve chosen for your first pumpkin. I tried several, and if you can get some burnt orange velvet or velveteen, you’ll get sort of a vintage look. Other fabrics work great too, such as satin or simple cotton.

Easy DIY Pumpkin decor - tape measure

Fold your fabric in half so you only have to cut out a half circle. Then take your tape measure and mark a 9-inch radius. Basically, you’ll have 9 inches from the center of your circle all around. In order to do this, I placed my tape measure at the folded edge and used a Sharpie to mark 9 inches all the way around the half circle. For a smaller pumpkin try 7 inches or for a larger just increase to 12 inches or whatever you like.

Easy DIY Pumpkin decor - cutting the circle

Once your pattern is marked, cut out your circle and unfold it.

Easy DIY Pumpkin decor - circle

2. Gather and sew your pumpkin

Now, take your needle and thread it with a thread at least a similar color to the fabric. Then knot the end of the thread and begin to sew about half an inch from the edge of your circle. Weave the needle back and forth to make half-inch stitches.

Easy DIY Pumpkin decor - sewing to begin

Don’t forget to tighten the stitches so it gathers the fabric as you stitch around the entire circle of fabric.

Easy DIY Pumpkin decor - scrunched on the needle

You’ll see it start to look like the picture below, sort of a hat or little purse shape. As you finish going around, leave the last several inches loose so you have a big enough hole to fill your pumpkin with filling or newspaper.

Easy DIY Pumpkin decor - unstuffed pumpkin

3. Stuff your pumpkin

While I don’t get a physical newspaper anymore, my parents get one daily. If you have any sitting around, this is a great way to reuse them! For a 9-inch radius pumpkin, I used 5 double sheets of newspaper wadded up and stuffed them into the empty pumpkin velvet skin. Use more or less to your preference, but shape it as you go. If you prefer, you can use the poly or pillow stuffing from your local craft store (or here on Amazon if you want – Poly-Fil Fibre Fill).

Easy DIY Pumpkin decor - stuffing the pumpkin

Next, tighten the stitches and knot and finish off your thread so it looks like the picture below. In the center, you should have the perfect small hole for the stem to fit into.

Easy DIY Pumpkin decor - no stem

4. Cut out the stem

Once the pumpkin shape and fabric is secure, take your stem fabric and cut out a right triangle (a triangle with one 90-degree angle) or as close as you can get. It definitely doesn’t have to be perfect as you can see from my example below! I used about a 5 by 10-inch right triangle.

Easy DIY Pumpkin decor - stem triangle

5. Make the pumpkin stem

When the triangle is cut out, begin from the wide end. Roll it up tightly so it spirals up and the stem is thick at the bottom and becomes thinner the taller it gets.

Easy DIY Pumpkin decor - rolling up the stem

6. Attach the stem to your easy DIY pumpkin decor

You’re almost done! Again, thread your needle folding the thread in half to make it double strength. Next, tuck the edges of the velvet pumpkin fabric inside. Then sew from the stem to the velvet pumpkin fabric about half an inch from the edge. The extra half inch is what’s pushed down inside the pumpkin to make a clean edge. Sew all around the stem, from the stem to the velvet each time, to secure the stem. If the pumpkin will be used and thrown around by kids you may want to sew around the stem twice!

Easy DIY Pumpkin decor sew stem to pumpkin

7. Finish the pumpkin stem

From here on the finishing touches are up to you! If you like the stem as it is, leave it that way. I trimmed mine down and sewed the tip closed on this pumpkin, as you can see in the picture. Also, I bought some ribbons to attach around the stem but then decided I preferred the plain and simple. Play around with it, be creative, but have fun!!

Easy DIY Pumpkin decor, sewing the stem

Easy DIY Pumpkin Decor pin2

Enjoy the season!

Do you love fall as much as I do? Then I really hope you try this project out and have fun with it. It is pretty easy for a sewing project, and even my 8-year-old daughter was able to do almost the entire thing herself. You don’t even need a sewing machine! She did need a little help sewing the stem to the pumpkin, but that was it! You know, they also make great gifts. My son took one (very proudly) to his preschool teacher, and said maybe she’d like to put it on her desk. She loved it, and it made his day.

While you’re in the fall spirit, light those pumpkin spice candles, plan a fall hike in the mountains, find a new book, buy some new hot teas, and pull out your favorite sweater. Well, at least that’s what I plan to do!

 

What other fall traditions do you and your family have?

One of my favorite places in the world in fall is Estes Park, Colorado

Estes Park Restaurants feature

Craft supplies for easy DIY pumpkin decor:

   
 

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