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November 26, 2014
by Jennifer
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Keep An Eye on Baby with Motorola Digital Video Baby Monitor

Do you have little ones in the house. Or do you know someone expecting? I’ve got the perfect baby gift for new moms as well as veteran moms of toddlers! The Motorola Digital Video Baby Monitor MBP36S is the perfect monitor to keep an eye on your little ones.

As a new mom, I heard every single sound my babies made… but I never knew if I needed to go in to check on them or not. Plus, the static absolutely drove me crazy. I was afraid of waking them up but at the same time worried about missing something important.

On the flip side, I also found it hard rocking the baby to sleep while my toddler was in his room. Boy would I have loved a way to check in on him. It would have made me feel much more relaxed.

Here’s a quick peek into what’s in the Motorala Digital Video Baby Monitor package:

This Motorola Digital Video Baby Monitor provides crystal clear 2-way communication, so you can perfectly and assure babies or tell toddlers to get back into bed at nap time. And the full-color LCD screen means you can easily see what’s going on and if the baby is having a hard time falling asleep or just making noise. Plus, you can remotely pan, tilt and zoom to get a full view.

The infrared night vision means you can actually see into the baby’s room at night. And you can use the picture-in-picture feature to view two baby units and keep an eye on multiple rooms!

Some additional details that I really like about the Motorola Digital Video Baby Monitor include a room temperature display, 5 lullabies you can turn on, a sound-level indicator and a range of up to 590 feet! There’s a flip out stand on the screen so it will stand up on its own as well as low battery and out-of-range alerts, so you’ll always know the monitor is working.

To purchase this digital video monitor, please visit Buy Buy Baby.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

November 25, 2014
by Jennifer
14 Comments

Chicago Botanic Gardens Holiday Trains Wordless Wednesday

botanic2

 

Chicago Botanic Gardens puts on a wonderful holiday train exhibit that is sure to delight young children. In addition to the magical and extensive operating trains, volunteers have created a complete winter wonderland of Chicago buildings and destinations completely out of plant materials. It’s quite impressive! We have gone for seven straight years. If you are in the area during the holidays, treat yourself and come celebrate the holidays with the Chicago Botanic Gardens. botanic1

Wordless Wednesday on The Jenny Evolution

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November 25, 2014
by Jennifer
3 Comments

20 Delightful DIY Homemade Christmas Ornaments + $2,000 Cash Giveaway!

As the snow starts to come down, I am feeling inspired for all things Christmas. This week we started working on some Christmas luminaries, but today I’m talking about homemade Christmas ornaments. For me, when our Christmas tree goes up the holiday season has officially arrived. And nothing makes a Christmas tree stand out than the ornaments on it. I’m talking fancy ones, funny ones, dilapidated ones the kiddos made and, of course, simply delightful homemade Christmas ornaments such as these.

Turn up those Christmas songs and get ready for some fun homemade Christmas ornament making!

I’m also working with almost 100 other fabulous bloggers to bring you the best of the web for Christmas. Look for their Christmas round-ups farther down in this post to help you streamline your Christmas fun. Looking for more great Christmas ideas? Be sure to check out my collection of Christmas Crafts and Activities for the entire family.

And don’t miss out on our MEGA CHRISTMAS CASH GIVEAWAY! We’re giving away 4 prizes of $500 each. Scroll on down to enter today.

  20 Delightful DIY Homemade Christmas Ornaments | The Jenny Evolution

Rustic DIY Christmas Ornament | Weekend Craft

Rustic DIY Christmas Ornament | Weekend Craft

Folded Paper Christmas Ornament | Practically Functional

Folded Paper Christmas Ornament | Practically Functional

Pour Painted Christmas Ornaments | Happy Hooligans

Pour Painted Christmas Ornaments | Happy Hooligans

Homemade Cupcake Ornament | A Mom's Take

Homemade Cupcake Ornament | A Mom’s Take

Ribbon Tree Ornament | Simply Kelly Designs

Ribbon Tree Ornament | Simply Kelly Designs

Melted Snowman Ornament | Occasionally Crafty

Melted Snowman Ornament | Occasionally Crafty

Colored Mercury Glass Ornaments | Architecture of a Mom

Colored Mercury Glass Ornaments | Architecture of a Mom

Paper Mache Snowflake Ornaments | Little Miss Celebration

Mixed Media Christmas Ornament | Sunshine & Hurricanes

Mixed Media Christmas Ornament | Sunshine & Hurricanes

Crystal Ornaments | Schneider Peeps

Crystal Ornaments | Schneider Peeps

Air Drying Clay Ornaments | The Mad House

Air Drying Clay Ornaments | The Mad House

FREE Paper Ornaments Printable | Picklebums

FREE Paper Ornaments Printable | Picklebums

Glitter Ornaments | Juggling Act Mama

Glitter Ornaments | Juggling Act Mama

Monogram Snowflake Ornament | Architecture of a Mom

Monogram Snowflake Ornament | Architecture of a Mom

Washi Tape Ornament | Here Comes the Sun

Washi Tape Ornament | Here Comes the Sun

Glitter Candy Cane Ornament | Simply Kelly Designs

Glitter Candy Cane Ornament | Simply Kelly Designs

Scrappy Stocking Ornament | Occasionally Crafty

Scrappy Stocking Ornament | Occasionally Crafty

Easy 3-Ingredient Cinnamon Ornaments | The Kitchen Is My Playground

Easy 3-Ingredient Cinnamon Ornaments | The Kitchen Is My Playground

DIY Snow Globe Ornament | Practically Functional

DIY Snow Globe Ornament | Practically Functional

Christmas Card Ornaments | The Chaos and the Clutter

Christmas Card Ornaments | The Chaos and the Clutter

Looking for more great Christmas ideas? Be sure to check out my collection of Christmas Crafts and Activities for the entire family.

Family-Friendly Christmas Ideas

I’m thrilled to be working with almost 100 other fabulous bloggers to bring you the best of the web for Christmas. If these posts don’t get your inspired and streamline your Christmas fun, then you may as well just go back to bed :)

 

Mega Cash Christmas Giveaway!

Mega Cash Christmas Giveaway! 4 Cash Prizes of $500!!! Win one of FOUR $500 cash prizes directly in your paypal account! This giveaway is open internationally. You must be 18+ years old to enter. Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. Winners will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen. Please see detailed terms and conditions below the giveaway for more info.a Rafflecopter giveaway

November 24, 2014
by Jennifer
0 comments

Tips for Teething for Baby and Mom

Cutting new teeth, or teething, can be a very frustrating experience for babies and their parents. Parents hate to know their baby is in pain but it’s not always obvious that an infant is teething. I’m sharing my experiences and tips for teething babies to help you so you know what to do when your baby is teething.

Tips for Teething Babies | The Jenny Evolution

What You Can Expect During Teething

Your baby can begin teething as early as 3 months old and the process can continue up to a child’s 3rd birthday or beyond. In most cases, when your baby is between the ages of 4 and 7 months, you will notice your child’s first tooth pushing through the gum line.

Typically, the first teeth to appear are the two bottom front teeth. And, let’s face it — it makes those babies even cuter! These teeth are the central incisors. Within 4 to 8 weeks, your baby’s four front upper teeth will begin to push through the gums. These are the central and lateral incisors. In another month, your baby’s lower lateral incisors will begin to come in. That is the two teeth on each side of the bottom front teeth. Next will be molars. Your baby’s back teeth are used for grinding food. Last but not least, your baby’s eyeteeth will start to come in. That’s the pointy teeth in the upper jaw. By your baby’s third birthday, they will usually have all 20 primary teeth.

Only in very rare cases does a baby get born with one or two teeth or begin teething within the first few weeks after birth. There is no reason for concern if this happens, unless the teeth are loose and pose a choking hazard.

When your baby begins teething you might notice they begin to drool more and constantly want to chew on things. Some babies experience no pain while teething, others may be irritable or cranky for weeks. Some babies experience crying episodes, not wanting to eat, and sleep disruption. If your child is too irritable, call your doctor to see if there is a problem.

I always knew my kiddos were teething when the drool went above and beyond what was normal. Because babies can’t actually tell you what’s going on, you’ll need to pay attention to minor changes to know if she’s teething or not.

Tender and swollen gums can cause your baby’s temperature to rise, but generally teething does not cause high temperature in babies. You should call your doctor if a high temperature do occur, because there is probably another cause for it.

Photo Credit

Tips for Teething Babies

Here are my tips for teething babies for you mommies out there managing infants who are cutting their teeth.

1. If your baby drools excessively, wipe their mouth often or it could cause rashes. I personally used Eucerin that comes in a tub to help with the skin rash — it was gentle enough for my babies skin but tough enough to help the skin heal. (BTW — we still use it during the winter for the boys! It can be pricey but lasts a really long time and is worth every penny.)

2. Give your baby something to chew on that is large enough that they cannot swallow it and something that won’t break or cannot be chewed into small pieces. Place a wet washcloth in the freezer for thirty minutes and let them chew on that. Rubber teething rings are another good choice. There are even teething necklaces you can wear so you baby can grab it and chew on it while you’re holding her.

3. Rub your baby’s gums with your finger. This can help relieve the pain. Acetaminophen or baby Motrin may also help relieve your baby’s pain. Always consult your doctor before giving them any medication and remember, never give a baby aspirin.

Photo Credit

Good Dental Hygiene for Baby Teeth

Even though these teeth are not your baby’s permanent teeth doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work on preventing tooth decay!

Good dental hygiene for your baby is extremely important. These teeth are not permanent and will eventually fall out, however, lack of proper care can cause them to drop out prematurely, leaving gaps. If that happens the other teeth may try to fill the gap, causing bad alignment in the baby’s permanent teeth.

While it may be tempting to let your baby fall asleep with a bottle while she’s teething to sooth her, don’t do it. The milk or juice can pool in her mouth and cause tooth decay and plaque.

Even before teeth come in, you should start caring for the baby’s gums. Wipe their gums off with a washcloth or gauze or use a baby-sized toothbrush without toothpaste. When the first tooth appears, brush it with plain water.
The American Dental Association recommends that children see a dentist by age 1, when six to eight teeth are in place, to spot any potential problems and advise parents about preventive care. That said, most parents I know took their kiddos to the dentist for the 1st time around age two.

Around age three, when your child is old enough to spit it out, toothpaste is okay to use. Make sure the toothpaste contains fluoride but use very little for small children. Do not let them swallow it. Overdoses of fluoride are dangerous for children.

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November 21, 2014
by Jennifer
1 Comment

Lego Star Wars 2014 Advent Calendar Review

Walking the toy isles last year, I stopped dead in my tracks. Could this be? Sitting right in front of me was a Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar. My boys would go absolutely bananas for this! I took the plunge and decided to get each of them their own Lego advent calendar, where each day they open up a window and create a mini character.

I knew these advent calendars would be popular with my boys — but I had absolutely no idea how much they would freak out over these. Before I could even open my eyes in the morning, the boys were excitedly showing me what they had created for that day.

So while holiday toys are mainly meant for Christmas day itself, an advent calendar is the one exception! Instead of choosing candy, why not opt for something a little more creative this year? The Lego Advent Calendars are exactly that, with a fun new Lego model to unveil each and every day in December, up until Christmas. And trust me, they Lego Advent Calendars are awesome for both boys and girls.

Lego Star Wars Advent 2014 Calendar | The Jenny Evolution

What Do You Get With The Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar?

  • Advent calendar box/stand with Star Wars theme
  • 24 windows with Lego gifts
  • Features 7 and 3 droids, including an exclusive holiday-themed mini figure
  • Vehicles include an AAT, AV-7 Anti Vehicle Cannon, Vulture Droid, Jedi Star fighter, TIE Fighter, Luke’s Land speeder, Snow speeder
  • Also includes a Christmas Speeder Bike and an Imperial Shuttle and a fold-out playmate

How Does The Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar Work?

The premise behind this Lego advent calendar is the same as all other advent calendars. The Lego pieces are divided between 24 sealed windows, one for each day before Christmas. Every day your child can open up a new window and get a new Star Wars-themed Lego model.

Most of the models are extremely easy to assemble, or are already assembled, so no instructions are necessary. There’s simply a small image of the finished model on the inside of the window once your child has opened it up.

When your child has opened up all 24 windows they’ll have an excellent collection of Star Wars-themed Lego models and figures to play with. These will take them well beyond Christmas, and can be added to their existing Lego collection.

Should You Buy This Lego Advent Calendar For Your Child?

Priced at around $70, this is going to cost a little more than your standard advent calendar. However, as all parents who have bought Lego before will realize, this is actually good value for a themed set that provides minifigures for less than $3 each that last way beyond the advent period.

But wait. There’s more! There are even more version of the calendars!

LEGO City Advent Calendar #60063

LEGO Friends Advent Calendar 41040

Remember, Lego comes with many small parts that present a choking hazard, so isn’t suitable for children under three years of age. The manufacturer recommends this toy for any kids aged between 3 and 14, but in truth it’ll appeal to anyone who likes Lego. These sets are very collectible, and there may even be an adult in your life who would enjoy receiving this as a special pre-Christmas gift!

Anyone who knows Lego already knows the quality of their product. You can’t really go wrong with the any of the Lego advent calendars, as long as you know your child likes to play with this kind of toy. It’s good value and will provide your child with something new and fun to look forward to every single day before Christmas!

November 20, 2014
by Jennifer
11 Comments

Friday Flash Blog No. 94 {Plus Features}

Friday Flash Blog is a flash mob of blogs, highlighting the best of bloggers from the week. Be sure to check them out (and the ones I’ve featured) as well as link up your own.

Weekly Thought: I’m not sure which is worse — have my kindergartener home sick with the flu for 5 days or the bitter cold in the single digits (and it’s not even December, folks). In the end, we all survived and that’s what life is all about — getting past the cruddy weeks to enjoy the good ones. Bring on Thanksgiving!

Whimsical Christmas Decor Ideas from All The Vs

Whimsical Christmas Decor Ideas from All The Vs

20 Gorgeous Christmas Cupcakes from This Silly Girl's Life

20 Gorgeous Christmas Cupcakes from This Silly Girl’s Life

50 Green Thanksgiving Crafts. Round-Up by Best Toys for Toddlers

50 Green Thanksgiving Crafts. Round-Up by Best Toys for Toddlers

Caramel Apple Pizza Recipe from Butcher's Niche

Caramel Apple Pizza Recipe from Butcher’s Niche

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November 20, 2014
by Jennifer
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Budget Family Night: 6 Cheap But Fun Ideas

With the economy suffering, and most people finding it harder than ever to make ends meet, keeping the kids entertained isn’t always easy. Whether your kids are young or well into their teens, they’ll often turn to you for ways to be entertained. And I’ll bet you aren’t getting out for as many date nights as you used to, either. It’s time to reinvent family date night with a budget family night. It doesn’t have to be expensive — it just has to be fun but cheap!

Budget Friendly Family Nights. 6 Cheap AND Fun Ideas | The Jenny Evolution

Family Games

Games are some of the best sources of fun for the whole family. Board games are an excellent example. If you’ve got any board games lying around, get them out and give them a whirl. Games like these encourage interaction between family members and help with bonding, which we often find ourselves doing too little of these days.

Apart from board games, other alternatives include card games (cards are readily available and cheap to get hold of. If you don’t know any good card games, it’s also easy to find the rules for some on the internet) and activities like charades. Family games are great for children of all ages – even teenagers will often take part (with a bit of resistance to begin with!)

Kids sometimes moan about board games being “boring,” but I have yet to have a night where we get the game going and we don’t all have a great time. To make the games interesting, feel free to add in your own twist on the rules — better yet, let the kids pick a fun rule for the evening. Be inventive! Try anytime someone roles a 6, you have to run around the table once.

Build Camps

For younger kids, something fun to do is building indoor camps. I’m not talking about the ones you pull together in five minutes, either. Oh no! It’s time to get the big guns out! Get some clothes pegs, some strings and some bed sheets and you can help your kids build their own bedroom camp. Take over a big corner of the room!

Once built, kids will often play in these for hours. You can have story time in the fort or even have a picnic dinner there! Many kids also love to sleep over in their own home-built camp. Why not turn it into a whole night?

Arts And Crafts

This is a classic, but it’s a great option because arts and crafts can be really cheap. And there are so many options, it’s hard for arts and crafts to be boring. Why not go on a walk with your kids and get them to collect interesting sticks, stones, shells, feathers etc. Once home, you can get them to string them together to form hanging ornaments, or use them to decorate home-made picture frames and so on.

Need some inspiration, check out my Pinterest boards.

Playing Ball

Another classic, ball games are great when the weather is good. And it’s so easy to overlook just having a great game of catch. Balls are cheap, and generally provide a lot of entertainment, as well as giving kids (including teenagers) a chance to blow off steam, use up energy and get some exercise all at once.

Make the game even more interesting and have the kids create their own game. Last time, my kids designated two trees as bases and created their own version of wiffle ball.

Invite Friends Round

Turn the evening into a “double date” with another family. But don’t let the kids run off while the grown ups chat. Make the evening interactive with the kids. Play a game of charades against each other — kids versus adults! Or have a talent contest — mom against dads and let the kids be the judges.

And if you really want to make the most of the opportunity, why not let your kids plan the dinner and bring something along to eat they made themselves?

Get Cooking

Some kids will be more resilient to this idea than others, but many kids enjoy cooking once they get started. So why not try and teach your kids a bit about cooking? Make it fun for them in the process, and they’ll love it. Pizzas are a great option as kids can decorate them any way they wish with the ingredients you’re using. We make our own pizzas at least every other week because the kids can put on their own sauce, cheese and toppings. Then they can check the oven as their creation bakes!

Having a fun family night doesn’t have to be expensive. With just a little forethought, you can easily pull together a budget-friendly family night that everyone enjoys.

November 19, 2014
by Jennifer
0 comments

Scrapbooking for Beginners

Scrapbooking has been around for ages, but it has recently experienced a surge in popularity. People from all walks of life have discovered the joys of creating albums to showcase their treasured photos and keepsakes. But with all the elaborate scrapbooking techniques and myriad embellishments available, getting started can be intimidating.

The truth is, anyone that can use scissors and glue can scrapbook. And you don’t have to spend ridiculous amounts of money to create attractive pages. With some basic supplies and a little imagination, you can create lovely scrapbooks that will be adored for years to come.

Scrapbooking for Beginners | The Jenny Evolution

What You Need

You can get started scrapbooking on a small budget. Here are the things you’ll need.

* An album – Scrapbooking albums come in all shapes and sizes. The most popular are 8 1/2″ x 11″ and 12″ x 12″. They can be found at most craft supply stores if you don’t have a scrapbooking supply store nearby.

* Paper – Scrapbooking paper can be found in a variety of solid colors and patterns. This will be the basis for each page. You may also use scrapbooking paper for journaling and to create your own photo mats and embellishments.

* Cutting tools – You can easily get by with just a good pair of scissors. But an Exacto knife might make photo cropping easier. And if you’re no good at cutting straight lines, you might want to invest in a paper cutter.

* Adhesives – There are all sorts of adhesives one could use for scrapbooking. Glue sticks and double-sided tape are quite popular. Some scrapbookers also use rubber cement or glue dots for certain applications. But when you’re getting started, just use what you’re most comfortable with.

* Photos – Beginning scrapbookers often start out with old photos that they’ve accumulated over the years. This makes for a nice, nostalgic album. Of course you can also take new pictures for your scrapbook. A digital camera and photo printer are two modern conveniences that make scrapbooking easier, but they are not necessities. Photos taken by a film camera work just as well.

When purchasing scrapbooking supplies, it’s important to make sure they are acid-free. This will keep them from harming your priceless photos.

Basic Techniques

You don’t have to know a lot about scrapbooking techniques to create an attractive album. Just a few simple techniques will suffice.

One of the first things many scrapbookers learn is how to mat photos. This can be accomplished by simply cutting a square or rectangle that is about a half inch longer and wider than the photo you want to mat. Then glue the photo to the center. To make a photo really stand out, double mat it by cutting out a shape a half inch longer and wider than the first mat, and center the matted photo on it.

Journaling gives scrapbook pages a nice personal touch. Simply write a note about the photos on a page, telling what was happening or sharing your thoughts on the subject. Use paper that coordinates with the background, and be sure to write with an acid-free pen.

Adding borders to your pages gives them a finished look. You can make them out of strips of coordinating scrapbook paper. You don’t have to border all four sides. A strip along the top, side or bottom will do. For easy embellishing, use some stickers.

There’s no need to throw in the towel if you don’t have the time, money or know-how to create elaborate scrapbooks. Just start off simple, and learn new techniques as you go.

November 18, 2014
by Jennifer
24 Comments

Museum of Science and Industry Chicago Wordless Wednesday

The main lobby of the Museum of Science & Industry is quite an awesome place. Not only will you be awestruck by Sue the Dinosaur, be sure not to overlook the impressive architecture.

Wordless Wednesday on The Jenny Evolution

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November 18, 2014
by Jennifer
4 Comments

The Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake Copycat Recipe with Pecans

It’s really hard to properly enjoy a dessert like this after a full meal. That’s why they hope you’ll spend 6-8 bucks on a slice, or better yet take home a whole cake. But you can make it at home for a fraction of the cost, and you can be assured that your ingredients are the freshest and healthiest too. Even though this is supposed to be a “copycat recipe” of The Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheese, it’s superior in many ways because you choose where the ingredients come from, and you know they’re the fresh and the real thing.

The Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecans Copycat Recipe | The Jenny Evolution

5.0 from 1 reviews
The Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake Copycat Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Love The Cheesecake Factory's Pumpkin Cheesecake? Then you'll love this Pecan-Topped Pumpkin Cheesecake Copycat Recipe!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 12 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 2½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2¾ cups sugar
  • Salt
  • 2 pounds room temperature cream cheese
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
  • 6 large room temperature, lightly beaten eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, ground
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves, ground
  • 2 cups whipped cream, sweetened
  • ⅓ cup roughly chopped, toasted pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit with rack in the center position.
  2. Using some of the butter, coat a 10-inch springform pan.
  3. In a bowl, mix the rest of the butter with the graham cracker crumbs, ¼ cup of the sugar and a pinch of salt.
  4. Packing it tightly and evenly, press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
  5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. After cooling on a rack, wrap the outside of the springform pan with aluminum foil.
  7. Place the wrapped pan into a roasting pan.
  8. In a medium pot, bring water to a boil.
  9. While waiting for water to boil, using a mixer; beat the cream cheese until smooth.
  10. Add the rest of the sugar and beat until just light. Scrape down bowl sides and beaters as needed.
  11. Whip in the sour cream.
  12. Add the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, 1 teaspoon salt and the spices.
  13. Whip until just mixed and once done, pour into the cooled crust.
  14. Without pulling the rack out, gently place the roasting pan in the oven.
  15. Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes about halfway up the side of the springform pan.
  16. Bake the cake about 1 hour 45 minutes, or until the outside of the cheesecake sets but the center is still loose.
  17. Turning off the oven; open the door briefly to let out some heat.
  18. After leaving the cheesecake in the oven for 1 more hour, carefully remove the springform pan from the roasting pan.
  19. Cool on a rack for at least an hour.
  20. Run a knife around the edges to loosen it somewhat, and then cover pan and place in refrigerator for at least 8 hours or even overnight.
  21. minutes before serving, bring the cheesecake to room temperature.
  22. Unlock and remove the springform ring.
  23. Place a spoonful of the whipped cream on each slice.
  24. Top with a sprinkle of the toasted pecans.

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