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Foodie Friday: The best pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting recipe ever

A couple of years ago, 9News’  reporter TaRhonda and photojournalist Chris came to my house to interview me for a story. I just “happened” to have fresh pumpkin scones with Epicurean Butter’s caramel sea salt butter, which they raved about before devouring.

This week, they both returned to my house for a pumpkin-related story and their first question was “where are the pumpkin scones?”

I confessed I had nothing. But a few minutes later, a savior on a white horse appeared bearing gifts. OK, so maybe it was my friend Kristen in her black SUV but I’m telling you, she delivered the most delicious Pumpkin Sheet Cake I have ever tasted in the history of forever.

It was so delicious Chris even videotaped us stuffing our face in its pumpkin-cheese-cakey goodness and good friend that I am, I begged her for the recipe, which I am now sharing with you. Enjoy!

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Foodie Friday: Use your Halloween candy to make these Snickers bar cookies

The question is the same every year after Halloween: What do we do with all this candy?

The first answer is obvious: eat it. But after the twentieth Twix, even my kids start to grow wary of sugar so we like to mix it up…with even more sugar!

One of our favorite ways to do that is to make cookies with our chocolate treats. We have made them with Milky Way and Twix but our favorite is Snickers. Simply take a mini candy bar and wrap about 1 tsp of cookie dough around it into a ball. Bake as normal and you have a delicious post-Halloween treat!

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Candyland is a real place, and it starts on top of my fridge

The chocolate in most mass-produced candy bars is as waxy and luscious as any pillar or stick at a mall candle store.

Candy corn tastes nothing like corn and it’s debatable whether it is worth bothering with calling itcandy.

Jaw breakers, lollipops, and gumballs are choking hazards.

Sweet tarts, Sprees, and Smarties are little disks of processed cringe, perfect for when you want to experience the feeling of your throat puckering.

And classic Tootsie Rolls? Reminiscent of cough medicine, cat poo, and cement.

I love them all.

Halloween is looming and with it parents find themselves ranting about all the candy that will be in the house. Some kids harvest quite a bit and we are no exception. In fact, with several kids of trick-or-treating age I anticipate at least a dozen pounds of pure evil perched on top of our refrigerator. I like seeing it there, knowing that at any time I can be the proverbial kid in the candy store. I smile when I find an empty candy wrapper in my pocket.

Candy is not evil in ounce form. A piece will not

10 last-minute easy Halloween treat ideas

Once upon a time I became temporarily insane and decided it was a good idea to spend eight hours making 200 cake pops for my kids’ Halloween parties and a church event.

My ambitions are much, much lower now and my sanity level is conversely higher. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

I truly admire parents who go above-and-beyond and spend hours on such creations but I’m an advocate of fast, cute and easy treats. I’ll be on 9News My20 on Friday talking about some of my last-minute favorites that you can make for your child’s classroom or evening party. Here are a few favorites:

Haunted Bones

No bones about it–these treats only require three ingredients. Simply put two miniature marshmallows on each end of a pretzel stick, dip in melted white or dark chocolate and you have your own haunted graveyard.bones

Witch’s Broomsticks

It doesn’t take much to pull this healthy-ish snack together: string cheese and pretzels. Cut your string cheese into thirds, cut the bottoms with kitchen scissors or a nice and insert a pretzel stick.

broomsmHealthy Pumpkins and Ghosts

I think these healthy treats have been pinned on Pinterest a minimum of a gazillion times. And for good reason.

healthySpider PB&J

Have fun with your child’s lunch with these Spider PB&Js. Simply cut out their sandwich in a circle and insert spider legs and eyes!

spiderpbjChocolate Crescent Witch Hats

Kids will love these chocolaty witch hats. Simply separate 8 Pillsbury crescent rolls, sprinkle some chocolate chips on the bottom of the triangle, roll once and bake. Sprinkle with powdered sugar when cool.


chocolate crescentDracula’s Dentures

These are a darling twist on the well-known apple bites with peanut butter and marshmallows. In this version, use store-bought or your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. Cut each cookie in half when cooled and cover with colored frosting. Place marshmallow teeth around the curved perimeter of the bottom cookie and press them together.

draculasdenturesGhost S’mores

These ghost s’mores are so fun and easy that kids can make them. Melt some chocolate, smear over a graham cracker and the back of your marshmallow ghost peep and stick them together.


Doughnut Roast

Why not try a Halloween roast, but with ghost Peeps and doughnut holes?

halloweenroastCreepy Doughnuts

Fangs, doughnuts and frosting is all you need!


Healthy Candy Corn

Who says Halloween needs to be completely unhealthy? Try these cute “candy corn snacks” with pineapple, oranges and whipped cream!healthycandycorn

Contest: Give your skin a makeover by winning an $89 m.pulse skincare treatment!

Busy mom confession: when it comes to taking care of myself, my face often takes a backseat.  I wash and moisturize every evening and wear hats and sunscreen during the day, but that is the extent of my regimen.

It’s amazing I look this good, right? 🙂

In all seriousness, taking care of my face should be serious business and that is why I’m thrilled we’re partnering with mPulse to offer you a fantastic giveaway!

What is m.pulse?

m.pulse is a chain of medical spas providing cutting-edge, results-oriented skincare services with expertly trained, licensed aestheticians who work under a medical director and develop personalized treatment plans designed to target each client’s unique concerns. mPulse offers everything from IPL Hair Removal to Acne Therapy to Botox to Fillers to Microdermabrasion to Microneedling.

I’m fortunate to be acne-free (two torturous teenage rounds of Acutane will do that do you) but as a strawberry-blonde, I’ve always had a freckled, blotchy skin. I’ve taken a c’est la vie approach because my skin is also very sensitive (don’t ask me about my one-and-only leg waxing experience). But upon sitting down with an aesthetician at m.pulse, I quickly realized just how empowered I could become through my own beauty and there all all kinds of options for any kind of skin challenge with different price points.

I scheduled two visits with their Cherry Creek location. The first, for a facial. The second, for a Photofacial.

The Facial.

I have had a handful of facials in my lifetime and I love them so much I prefer them to massages. I’ve always walked away  feeling extremely relaxed with fresh, clean skin. I’m here to tell you that m.pulse offers the Superbowl of facials.

My skin was not only deeply cleansed but treated with SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser and Oxygenated Cleanser. Then, there was the facial massage with the m.pulse Hyaluronic Acid Serum and the scrub, m.pulse Bamboo scrub (for exfoliation) and SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Gel (after extractions). 

“Do you like the smell of pumpkins” Seabron asked? I told her my entire life is all about pumpkins and I LOVED their Pumpkin Enzyme Masque.

Many steps followed and despite my prayers for it to never end, Seabron applied a SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion SPF 50 and sent me packing, but not without some awesome samples.

mPulse Photofacial

mPulse Photofacial

Photo-facials using IPL (Intense Pulse Light) Technology

Chemical peel. The mere words made my sensitive skin shudder but when I heard of the popular new technology, Photo-facials using Intense Pulse Light Technology, I was all-in.  This treatment boasts younger-looking skin at the speed of light that uses a non-invasive skin care technology to correct uneven skin tone and provide a rejuvenated glow to your complexion. IPL Photofacials use intense pulsed light which aims to restore your skin with no down time. IPL photo facials can effectively reduce or remove redness, wrinkles, and hyper-pigmentation.

Prior to receiving my treatment, my aesthetician warned me:

“Don’t go in the sun the next 24 hours.”
I had my bike stashed in the car and was planning to go for a bike ride.

She also cautioned: “There is a likelihood that before fading, your redness and freckles and will become more noticeable before fading.”
I was stepping on a plane the new morning for a 20-year reunion.

I need not have worried. I won’t say the treatment was painless because it was like a short pin-prick on my skin. But despite my visions of chicken-pox-like marks, my freckles temporarily broke up into what she referred to as “coffee grounds” (little brown specks) before fading significantly.After only one treatment, my ruddy complexion wasn’t completely gone but it definitely evened out my skin tone. m.pulse recommends 3-6 treatments between 4-6 weeks apart.


m.pulse is partnering with Mile High Mamas to offer you a $89 Skincare Treatment (which would include the choice of a microderm, any of our facials, or any of their currently offered peels. You may enter as many as five times. Contest deadline is November 10, 2014. Be sure to follow them on Facebook.

Deals: Halloween discounts and free days

No tricks here, just lots of treats. Hallo-ween can be frightfully expensive, so here are some ways for frugal families to scare up savings.

Pumpkin patch kids

Get the kids even more excited for the big day with a pre-Halloween visit to any Famous Dave’s Colorado location. The barbecue restaurant gives kids 12 and younger a real pumpkin and a free meal on Oct. 28 between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Peanuts party

Little ghosts and goblins can enjoy Halloween with the Peanuts gang at Bass Pro Shops. Through Oct. 30, the sporting-goods store hosts an “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” celebration daily from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Kids can make crafts and get a free photo of themselves with life-size Peanuts character cutouts. (The first 100 each weeknight at the photo station get a free pair of glow-in-the-dark glasses, too.) On Halloween, the fun starts at 4 p.m. and includes a costume parade and trick-or-treating throughout the store. Parents get the best treat, because it’s all free. Bass Pro Shops is in Northfield at Stapleton, north of I-70 at the Quebec/Northfield exit.

Bargain “boo”-ritos

Even ghosts don’t like an empty belly. Don a costume and stop by Chipotle on Oct. 31 for a burrito, bowl, salad or order of tacos for $3. The not-so-scary deal is from 5 p.m. to closing, leaving plenty of time to haunt the town.

Petrifying pancakes

Kids will flip over this sweet treat. On Halloween, IHOP serves a free “Scary Face” pancake to kids (12 and younger) from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. at participating locations. The “face” includes an oversize buttermilk pancake, with a whipped-topping mouth and strawberry nose.

Get corny

Sonic Drive-In offers corn dogs for 50 cents each all day on Halloween. There’s no limit, so your entire brood can get corny and each enjoy a dog or two for just a few bucks. The scary good deal is available at participating locations.


Bite into this sweet Halloween freebie. Krispy Kreme gives costumed customers a free doughnut on Oct. 31. There are two locations: Lone Tree (7514 Parkway Drive) and Thornton (1051 E. 120th Ave.)

Monstrous freebie

Whether they’re a superhero or bejeweled princess, costumed kids can pick up a free Halloween treat at the Lego Store, while supplies last. (Last year, it was a Lego Monster Fighters keychain.) There are two locations: Colorado Mills (14500 W. Colfax Ave. in Lakewood) and Park Meadows (8401 Park Meadows Center Drive in Lone Tree)

Too many spirits?

The Sawaya Law Firm sponsors free cab rides from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2. It’s simple — just take a cab ride home and get a receipt. For reimbursement (up to $35), send your receipt, along with a copy of your valid Colorado driver’s license to: Holiday Free Cab Ride Program, The Sawaya Law Firm, 1600 Ogden St., Denver, CO 80218. You must be 21 or older. The deal is good only for a one-way ride home, and your trip must be within the metro Denver.

Laura Daily and Bryan K. Chavez

Free days this week

Oct. 27: Denver Museum of Nature & Science,

Nov. 1: Denver Art Museum,

Nov. 2: Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls & Toys,

Halloween costume drama: This hilarous viral-video family nails it

Oh, the drama of Halloween costumes. I should know! My daughter wanted to be the  Lady of Lothlórien from the Hobbit and insisted I buy her a beautiful white wedding dress from the thrift store. whitelady

This would have been swell if she had not later decided she already had a dress that she liked better than the costume we bought.whitelady

Did I mention the wedding dress was non-refundable?

In keeping with our theme from the Hobbit, my son begged to be Smaug, the gold-thirsty dragon.


Yeah, right. If I had one ounce of ambition in textiles, I would have taken on the challenge but I’m the mom who has yet to sew on his cub scout badges six months after he received them.skeletonb

So, I convinced my son that a skeleton (like this one) is kind of like Smaug, only much scarier.

We’re all familiar with costume drama and but Kim and Penn Holderness, of Raleigh, North Carolina, famed for their family friendly viral-video parodies, took the adventure in stride with “Kin and Moose,” a spoof of Snoop Dogg’s 1990s hit “Gin and Juice.”

Let’s h0pe they figure out where that hair came from sooner than later.

The Holderness clan’s other video parodies include “Christmas Jammies” (Will Smith’s “Miami”) and “Baby Got Class” (Sir Mix-A-Lot’s famed “Baby Got Back”).

What will your kids be for Halloween?

The Tooth Fairy is busted as daughter’s letter goes viral

It’s the moment parents dread: when our kids prematurely figure out when some childhood magic isn’t real.

 Redditor willsanderson posted a photo of the note his 9-year-old daughter Lexi left on her pillow where exi informs her parents that “I know it’s you who gets the money and puts it under my pillow.” She then softens the blow — “I’m sorry if this is hard for you, but I’m 9 now.” — before revealing that she doesn’t believe in Santa Claus either and, “Daddy, I knew it was you, last easter, hiding my easter eggs!”


At what age do you think is best for kids to find out the truth?

Foodie Friday: Kelsey Nixon’s Delicious Honey Corn Recipe

Do you love caramel popcorn? Then you will love Kelsey Nixon’s twist on an old classic, which is the perfect compliment to your Halloween treats!

[yumprint-recipe id=’45’] In case you missed our Skype interview with Kelsey about lunch and dinner tips from her new cookbook Kitchen Confidence, go sure to go here.




“The Best Shirt” ever has been found!

The Best Shirt Ever has been located.

The family of 12-year-old Joe Archibold, of Longmont, recently sent out a social media solicit, looking for a specific blue, white and gray polo shirt — in the same style Joe has worn for every school picture since second grade.

He outgrew the hand-me-down shirt in small size, and then in medium. He couldn’t find the large. He grew nervous that his five-year tradition would be ruined.

His family’s simple Facebook pitch went viral and was picked up by media outlets across the country, including the Daily Camera and Longmont Times-Call.

And now it looks as if Joe will be able to wear his favorite blue polo for another school picture, and then some.

Angela Houchin, of Fort Collins, saw a story about Joe’s hunt and jumped out of her chair.

“It was crazy. Wait a minute, I recognize that shirt. No way,” says Houchin, who has two sons a few years older than Joe. She says she checked her older son’s closet. “Sure enough, I found it.”

In an extra-large, too — so Joe’s safe for a few more years of growing.

Best of all for Joe, who has nine brothers and sisters and is therefore quite accustomed to hand-me-downs, Houchin says the shirt CLICK TO KEEP READING