Archive for August, 2012

If you love pumpkin and cream cheese, you are going to adore these pretty pumpkin cake balls. These do take a little time and effort, but the result is well worth it!


Dump ingredients into a bowl and mix well on medium speed until blended.


Pour into a greased cake pan or baking dish and bake at 350 until lightly browned and edges pull away from the pan.


Once the cake is done, remove from oven and let cool completely. Spoon in half a can of frosting and mix well.


As in completely obliterate the cake while mixing in the frosting. When you are done with this, you’re ready to form the mix into balls.


Roll into balls (or scoop) about 1 inch in diameter (or make bigger ones if you want to dip less). If the balls seem a little smooshy, pop in the freezer for a few minutes.


Use a pretzel stick, dipped in almond bark, as a handle.


Dip away then decorate with edible glitter, sprinkles or food gel!

Pumpkin Cake Balls


1 vanilla cake mix

1 egg

1 small can of pumpkin

½ cup evaporated milk

½ cup sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 can cream cheese frosting

1 package candy coating (Almond Bark)

Sprinkles or other decoration

Pretzel sticks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix cake mix, egg, pumpkin, milk, sugar and spices until well blended. Pour into a greased 11 x 176 baking pan. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cake is lightly browned and a finger poked in the top bounces bake. Cool completely.

In a large bowl, break up entire cake then mix in 1/2 the can of frosting. You may have to get your hands into the project to get it thoroughly mixed and you most definitely will get hands-on- involvement when you form the balls. The size is totally dependent on how big you want to make them. I’d stick in the ballpark of between one to two inches diameter.

If the cake seems too moist, pop in the freezer for a few minutes and the balls will be easy to form. If you are more talented than I am with a melon baller you can use it or form them by hand. Once they are formed, melt the candy coating, a little at a time. Pop it in the microwave in 20-second intervals until it is melted. Do not reheat it as it gets gunky and icky very quickly. Use it up then melt the next round.

When  the candy coating is ready, dip in the ends of the pretzel sticks then stab them into the balls. Let them sit until the coating is nice and firm. This is very important. If you don’t do this, your sticks may fall out.

Once the balls are ready for dipping, use a spoon to swirl coating over the balls. Tap the edge of the stick lightly on the bowl to get off excess coating. Cover the ball in sprinkles, food glitter, whatever sounds good and looks tasty. Rest the balls on a wire rack sprayed with non-stick sprayt until the coating is good and firm.

Repeat until all balls are coated. You can put these in the freezer, wrap in individual cellophane bags or share them as soon as you are finished.

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A couple of weeks ago, I drove five hours to arrive at this awesome cabin owned by my lovely cousin Julie and her husband.

During the next few days, I spent time in the company of Julie along with my cousins Nancy and Twylia and our beloved Aunt Robbie.

Every year, we make a point to get together for a couple of days, connect, shop, eat, laugh, cry and connect. It is something I look forward to all year.

We started this tradition a few years back at as a one-time get together. But we enjoyed it so much, it has become something we all look forward to each year. Here us a highlight of our past excursions as Gallivanting Goddesses.

Aunt Robbie calls our trips the gathering of the Sisterhood. It’s a fitting name, since these warm, loving ladies are so close and dear to my heart.

The first morning, Aunt Robbie and I sat out on the deck and watched the sun come up.

It was glorious.

Having not seen Julie’s cabin before, I had not envisioned the posh accommodations right on the edge of the golf course that we were treated to.

The air was crisp, clean and scented with pine. The skies were blue and the temperature, while hot, was pleasant for the most part.

I felt spoiled and pampered as the youngest member of the group (as I always do when I’m with them.)

We ate a leisurely breakfast at the cabin then ventured into town for a day of shopping, eating and gabbing.

Dinner on the lake was fantastic and, of course, yours truly didn’t take her camera with her so no photos to share. But believe me, it was something to see!

I love these four marvelous women so, so much. They have helped me grow more than they can ever know. They listen to my fears, encourage my dreams, share my tears.

And they make me laugh. A lot.

Love you, ladies of the Sisterhood!

She Who is Blessed to Know These Women

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If, like me, you love to look at photos of gorgeous kitchens and bathrooms and dream about what could be at your own home, there’s an amazing new magazine you need to see.

Hearst Publications recently introduced  Kitchens & Baths, a new collection with the best of the best from Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Country Living, and Woman’s Day, that gives you all the information you need to make your dream room a reality. A variety of style options – from classic and country to contemporary and eclectic – are covered as well as ideas on everything from complete renovations to some easy touch-ups. Kitchens & Baths is a great resource to help you get the look you want.

 The magazine offers a plethora of ideas and inspiration as well as photos showcasing how real homeowners turned their formerly drab spaces into beautiful places with step-by-step makeover tips.

A product guide offers tips in the latest and greatest home appliances, cabinets, tiles and more.

 Bright pops of color bring a touch of whimsy to this kitchen.

Clean and simple lines make even the smallest bathrooms look airy and open.

My favorite photo in the magazine was this kitchen with the barnwood island. It looks exactly like something one of my Grass Valley characters would have in their kitchen. I absolutely love it!

From glorious kitchen makeovers to beautiful bathrooms that made me want to say “Calgon, take me away,” Kitchens & Baths is a wonderful escape, a fabulous planning tool, and fantastic resource for ideas.

Some articles include topics such as “how to make the most of every square inch in your kitchen” and “simple solutions for a clean, clutter-free vanity.”

The last page offers a timeline for what to do and when to do it if you are planning a project (be it remodel, construction, etc.)

If you love home ideas and beautiful photography of kitchen and baths, definitely check out this latest Hearst Publication.

Kitchens & Baths is available for $9.99 and can be purchased at your local supermarket, newsstand or bookstore. A digital edition is also available at Zinio.com or Nook.bn.com. For even more photos and inspiration, check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/hearstspecials and on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/hearstspecials.

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With school starting, Labor Day around the corner and summer drawing to an end, think about hosting an end-of-summer party.

Make it fun and casual with a barbecue or a simple make your own theme (like pizza or tacos or even deli sandwiches).

Give the party an Ode To Summer theme and have all your guests send you one or two of their favorite songs (either a list or links).  Play all the tunes and let guests vote on their favorites.

The music will add a fun, festive flair to your party and keep things lighthearted.

As a finale to the evening, grill summer fruit on the barbecue or have a fire pit to make S’mores.

The main thing is to gather with friends before the busy days of school, routines and then the holidays approaches. Take a laid-back approach  and enjoy time spent together.

She Who Is Humming ‘In The Good Old Summertime’


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