Trapped or Wrapped for the Holidays?

This may sound ridiculous, but every fall I work myself into a tizzy because I feel TRAPPED with stress around the holidays…

  • Trying to please family members on both sides.
  • Buying gifts when we didn’t have the money.
  • Finding the time to shop when I worked full-time.
  • Feeling the pressure of having to travel every holiday.
  • Not being able to relax when staying in someone else’s house,
  • Spending an extraordinary amount on shipping presents in the event we didn’t travel.
  • Writing all these Christmas cards because my husband thought we had to.
  • Using my vacation time to physically exhaust myself rather than receive the rest I needed.
  • Never having the chance to celebrate Christmas in my home.

I know, I know… I could have done a secret Santa with just one gift per family. I could have worked smarter. I could have given to charity. But I felt compelled to follow traditions on how to do Christmas, and I was never able to get family to agree to even a few concessions.

Have you ever felt trapped during the holidays?  

Honestly, I was trying so hard to please people. And for some reason, I had tons of trouble saying this one little word…. N.O.

I could have stood up for myself, but I was afraid of the consequences. I feared the approval of men and loss of their love.

And you know what? This dilemma actually made me physically sick. For about ten years, I contracted a serious case of bronchitis every December.

Finally, my doctor sat me down and stated the obvious, “If you continue to get this sick, you will require stronger doses of antibiotics, and there are only a few antibiotics left that you can take. You must start thinking about how to take better care of yourself. Otherwise, your life will be over.”

Do you realize that sin can actually make you sick? I had been sick on the inside for years, but now it was affecting my physical health. God was using this bronchitis to force me to say “no” to those things that weren’t good for me.

And in doing so, I was saying “yes” to God. He wanted me healed. He desired to deliver me from that stress. It didn’t happen all at once, but I learned that God didn’t require me to carry those burdens… especially at Christmas. I had to make a conscious choice to change.

Galatians 5:1 says

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

I know you don’t often hear that verse during the holidays, but now instead of being trapped…
I am exhaling all that bad, and breathing in the goodness of God.
This Christmas I am surrounding myself in His love and choosing to fully experience His joy and peace.

No longer trapped, I am wrapped in Christ.    

So this advent season… why not let Jesus “gift-wrap” you?     

Merry Christmas!



download a pdf of this recipe here: dec 3

still need the cover for the cookie book? download it here: cover


A friend of mine, Jeanine, organizes one of the best cookie swaps about one week before Christmas. Truly, it is a joy to receive this invite and attend.

As soon as you enter into her house, you feel the warmth of her beautiful home decorated for Christmas. You are welcomed with the most delicious gourmet dinner with exquisite table settings. After dinner you play a few Christmas games, and you share the secret recipe about the scrumptious cookies that you made that year. And you may win a prize for the best Christmas apron.

Yes, we are the COOKIE QUEENS!

Who wouldn’t want to join in the fun? The only catch is that you have to personally make 12 cookies for each lady that attends. That’s at least 144 cookies ‘cause you know there must be extras for your family to taste test beforehand. Then, when all is finished, you need to package these goodies so that they can be lovingly transported to their next home. And of course, you leave with 12 types of exceptional one of kind treats for the upcoming holidays.

Yet, this is a lot of work the week before Christmas! Now do you see why I am calling myself Crazy Barb?

Fortunately, Jeanine does not put pressure on anyone to make the most time-consuming awesome cookies. You can just bake your favorite cookie and make sure it is unique from all the others. But last year, I wanted to try making something incredibly special for all these beautiful ladies who have blessed me every year with their spectacular creations.

Therefore, I decided to try my culinary talents to create Homemade Cake Balls. I learned they are easy to make but very time consuming. But they sure did turn out great and you can do it too.

And here’s how…   

Cake Ball Ingredients:    Choose whatever cake and frosting combinations that you would like!
– One box of your favorite cake mix….. chocolate, lemon, red velvet, etc.
– One can of frosting… chocolate fudge, cream cheese, vanilla, lemon, etc.
– Chocolate or white chocolate for melting
– A couple of tablespoons of Crisco as needed to make sure the chocolate easily coats and sticks.
(This recipe makes about 50-70 individual cake balls.)


  1. Bake your cake following the directions on the box.  (I use a 9″X13″ pan.)  Allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes.
  2. To make the cake ball mixture, crumble your cake by hand or in a mixer. Then add the can of frosting and mix again.
  3. Allow the cake ball mixture to harden in the refrigerator for at least three hours or overnight.
  4. Next, using a teaspoon, form 1 inch cake balls and place them on a cookie sheets lined with wax paper. Once the cookie tray is filled, freeze the balls for 1 hour.
  5. As the cake balls are hardening in the freezer, start melting your chocolate. You can use either dark chocolate or white chocolate, and you can even use food coloring in your white chocolate.I like to use a double boiler because it keeps the heat consistent and the chocolate won’t burn, but some people like to use their microwave.  Using the microwave is easier, but it can be tricky if you are not careful because chocolate can burn if overheated.
  6. Add about 1 tablespoon of Crisco to your melted chocolate to help it coat the cake balls. Over time, the chocolate could dry out, so you may need to add another 1-2 tablespoons of Crisco into your chocolate if you find it isn’t coating properly.
  7. Then, roll your cake balls in the chocolate. I like to use a little teaspoon, but you can also use a toothpick or an Easter egg dipper. Use whatever will work best for you.
  8. When fully coated, place your cake balls on another cookie sheet lined with wax paper. When the tray is filled, place it in the refrigerator until the chocolate hardens.
  9. After the chocolate has hardened, carefully separate cake ball from the wax paper using a knife. In some cases the chocolate dipping spreads beyond the ball shape, so I trim the chocolate off and place the ball in a mini-cupcake wrapper. And voilà… they are ready to serve.
  10. Here are three of my favorite cake ball combos to enjoy.
    • Dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate fudge frosting covered in semi-sweet chocolate.
    • Red Velvet cake with cream cheese frosting covered in white chocolate.
    • Lemon cake with lemon supreme frosting covered in white chocolate.

3 responses to “Trapped or Wrapped for the Holidays?

  1. Sounds yummy, Barb! Will have to try these! And, yes, I also am one of those that does waaayyy too much during the holidays, leaving myself grumped out and exhausted! Not this year, though!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Maria. Just in case you are interested, here’s a prior post I did on how to make Cake Balls with pictures. They are a lot of work, but sure are yummy. Merry Christmas to you girl!


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