Family · General · Recipes

{I Heart My Family}

This Saturday my immediate family gathered in Pella for some much-needed family time at my brother and sister-in-law’s! Once a year in the fall we try to get together to either attend or watch an Iowa game, as we are all big Hawkeye fans. And even though the Hawkeyes aren’t playing so well this year, we still have a great time hanging out, enjoying food and watching football! And we are still cheering on our Hawks!

Pella is a beautiful city full of Dutch culture, so it’s always fun to go visit and soak up my heritage.

Home of the Dutch!

In the afternoon the ladies (me, my mom, my sister and my sister-in-law) headed to downtown Pella to do some shopping. We found my mom some skinny jeans to go with her new tall boots. So excited for her – she looks great!

This trip I wasn’t on a shopping mission like I usually am, but I did find some steals on tops at Maurices and got these babies for 50% off. Yes, 50% off! I especially love the purple top as it has a Chevron style to it. Love adding something fun to my wardrobe!

Love my sale items!

For this family gathering I was in charge of the dessert. I wanted to come up with something fun and seasonal to make. It’s easy for me to get stuck in a dessert rut, so I decided it was time to find a new recipe! Naturally, where do you go to find a new recipe? Pinterest, of course! As soon as I found these Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars which originated from tj’s test kitchen’s blog, I knew I had to make them. Super easy and incredibly delicious, you have to make a batch. You won’t regret it!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars

Serving Size: 18 bars- 3PP each OR 24 bars 2 PP each!

1 box angel food cake mix (1 step kind)
1 15 oz can pumpkin
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 8 oz package reduced fat or fat-free cream cheese

Add in a few tablespoons of water with the cream cheese to thin it out a little bit. (tip: leave the cream cheese on the counter to soften. I mixed the cream cheese and water with my hand mixer.)

In a separate bowl, mix the cake mix, pumpkin, water and cinnamon together until it is smooth and well mixed.

Spray a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish with Pam, and add HALF of the cake/pumpkin mix. Smooth it out with a rubber spatula. Drizzle half of the cream cheese over the top and take a small spatula to smooth it over the top. Add remaining cake/pumpkin mix and the remaining cream cheese making layers.

Finally, take a butter knife and stick it into the mix swirling it back and forth in the cake by making figure “8’s” to blend it.

Bake for 35 minutes at 375 degrees OR until a toothpick comes out clean.


Seriously so good. They are like melt-in-your-mouth-kind-of-bars.

To top off the night we went out for pizza at George’s Pizza downtown Pella. It was a fun treat to share lots of laughs with my family around a table. Brings me back to the good days of childhood! My siblings are seriously hilarious, and I am grateful to have a family where we can hang out and enjoy life together.

With that said, how did I not get any photos of my family on Saturday?! Oh well, there’s always next time!

What did you do this weekend? What are your favorite things to do with your family?

Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start!



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