It's not a competition

Worrying if I am doing the best for my children is a constant struggle of mine. I know I am not alone in this. Not a day goes by when I don't see another mom, online or off, struggling with her role as a mother.

Along with raising our children to the best of our abilities, part of motherhood is also supporting our fellow moms. When another mom is struggling, we rally together to offer our support. When another mom is bragging about her child's latest accomplishment, we join in her celebration.

What motherhood is not is a competition.

Earlier this week, my son, who is 6, made dinner. And I'm not talking peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I'm talking this...

Beef Stroganoff

Aside from cutting up and cooking the meat and onions, he cooked the rest of the meal. And it was delicious!

Of course I had to share. I posted to Facebook and I posted to Twitter. I expected one of two things - congratulations or nothing at all. What I did not expect was a woman warning me about a cooking disaster her daughter had. This is not the first time this woman has turned my proud moment into a disastrous moment about her daughter.

I brag about my children because I am proud of what they do. I do not need my joy crushed with warnings of what could happen. If you want to share a similar story with me about your child, by all means, please do so. I would honestly love to hear it. But your child is no better than mine. And mine are no better than yours.

I wish everyone would stop and think before they speak, tweet, or comment. It's about supporting, not competing.

pour your heart out

Visit Shell for more PYHO links and come back on Friday if you want the recipe for this delicious stroganoff!


Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful. Thankful is something you should be all year, but this time of year it is stressed. I have many things to be thankful for.

Even if they are a pain in my ass.

I am thankful for...

Mount Laundry

Not a day goes by where I don't have one pile or another of clothes to wash. But every time I trip over one of those piles or leave a trail of socks behind me as I walk down to the laundry room, I am reminded of how thankful I am we are able to all have clothes on our backs. Or the floor.

Skyscrapers of dishes in the sink

Or on the counter. My daughter and I share the responsibility of washing said dishes. If I'm not complaining about the lasagna that burned to the pan and won't come off, then I'm bribing her to actually wash them at a reasonable hour. No matter how much whining and crying I do over those dishes, I am reminded of thankful I am we are able to fill plates with food each and every night.


Whether they are fighting or laughing, I know that they always have and always will love one another. I can't imagine my life without them. It is truly a miracle that the husband and I let them live this long created such beautiful creatures.

Creaky floors and leaky pipes

It is no secret that I hate this house. So many memories have been made here, but most days, it still doesn't feel like a home. Just a house. But no matter how I feel about this house of ours, I am always thankful that we have a roof over our heads.

Alarm clocks

Not a day goes by when I don't want to chuck them into the wall. Yes I said them. This chic loves her sleep! But since one of those alarms is on my phone, which I also love, I resist the urge to throw things at the butt crack of noon dawn. Instead of throwing, I remind myself that hearing my alarms every morning remind me that I am alive. And I am very thankful for that.


Do I really need to explain this one?!


I am taking the remainder of this week off to enjoy a day of good food, followed by a long day of shopping. I hope everyone out there has a happy turkey day.

May you gobble til you wobble!

pour your heart out

Come on get happy

Last weekend was my daughter's 10th birthday. As it is a tradition, I once again made her cake. Or in this case, cupcakes.

Browsing through Pinterest, my daughter and I came across 2 different cupcakes that she fell in love with. She decided on the sunshine cupcakes, and perhaps we will save the owl ones for another year.

With a little bit of patience,
sunshine cupcakes are so easy to make.

Sunshine cupcakes

Items Needed:

1 box vanilla cake mix
1 tub white frosting
Yellow food coloring
1 tube of black icing
Decorating tips
Candy corns

*I use Cake Mate tubes of frosting because the company also sells a pack of decorating tips that screw right onto the tubes. Super easy to use!*

Make the cupcakes according to the directions on the box. While the cupcakes are baking, empty half of the frosting into a bowl. Add 10-12 drops of yellow food coloring. Mix well. Frost your cupcakes once they have cooled.

Sunshine cupcakes

*Half a canister of frosting was just the right amount for 24 cupcakes. If you find you need more frosting, add some more to the bowl with a few extra drops of food coloring*

Once you have all of your cupcakes frosted, you can begin placing candy corns around the outer edge. I found that 6 or 7 candy corns were just enough. By placing the candy corns on first, you can now easily judge how much room you have to draw a face.

Sunshine cupcakes

Finally, you can place your happy cupcakes in your brand new, super cool cupcake/cake carrier. Or maybe that's just me. I may only use this thing twice a year, but it was definitely worth the purchase!

Sunshine cupcakes

One more thing, If you are not eating the cupcakes right away, I would suggest putting them in the fridge until ready to serve. I'm not sure what happened, but some of the candy corns were slipping off of the cupcakes by the time we got to my mom's house for my daughter's party.

Do you make cakes for your child's birthday? If so, what have you made?

If you have a recipe or craft you would like to share, I would love to feature you! Contact me at eumbel (at) gmail (dot) com

Safe, but at what cost?

My oldest recently turned 10, but even when she was a toddler, I knew I didn't want to be a parent like my dad was. Don't get me wrong, my father was a great man and a great parent, but we definitely had our moments. One thing him and I disagreed on was a certain friend of mine. Her and I formed our bond in third grade. As high school approached, she had numerous piercings and watched shows like 90210 and Melrose Place. He deemed her a bad influence.

I never wanted to be a parent like that where I told my children who they could or couldn't be friends with. In light of recent events, I fear this may have to happen.

A few Fridays ago, GG's friend called asking her to join her at a high school football game. It had been a while since the two girls hung out so I helped GG bundle up, shoved a few bills in her pocket, and sent her on her way. Little Dude was upset he couldn't join the girls. It had been a long day and I just wasn't up for dealing with the noise of the game along with the chilly Fall weather. I didn't realize until later in the evening that this game was the last of the season.

Little did I know that our high school football team would win that last game and make it the playoffs. The following Friday, GG's friend called once again inviting her to the game. Once again I bundled her up, shoved a few bills in her pocket, and sent her on her way.

Immediately after I turned to Little Dude and told him to bundle up as we were going to the game as well. When Little Dude and I arrived at the stadium, I asked him to pick a seat. We would try to find his sister, but that didn't mean we would sit with her and her friend. It's a struggle for me, but I am trying to give my daughter more independence.

We spotted GG and her friend a few sections over. We made our way over to let her know we were there. As I sat down, I began to look for her friend's father. I assumed he had gone to the concession stand for treats or hot chocolate. Perhaps he even went up the hill behind the bleachers where you are allowed to smoke. As the first quarter of the game came to a close, the friend's father had yet to show.

This was when I made the realization that he had dropped the two then 9 year old girls at the stadium by themselves. This was also the time I began to freak out.

We have been to our high school's football games in the past. It is a very family friendly environment and being a small community, most people know each other. Regardless, "you never know who is out there" and "it only takes a second" kept running through my head. Especially when the girls went off the play with friends behind the end zone where it's not as well lit. I know our team won the game and I did see some of the big plays, but for the most part I was keeping an eye on the girls.

I know this family has been through a lot over the past few years. This friend and her sister lost their mom to cancer. It is now just the girls and their dad. But that doesn't make it right to let them have free reign to do as they please, without the supervision of a responsible adult.

Sadly, because of other things I hear these girls are permitted to do, I don't feel that talking to their dad would make much of a difference. Right now I feel my only option is to limit where my daughter is allowed to go with her friend. My daughter, at 10, still sees the world as a perfect place. Yes, she knows there are bad people out there, but she has yet to understand how serious and how devastating it can be to run into those people.

I only want to keep her safe, but I do not like some of the decisions I have to make to ensure that.

pour your heart out

How do you supervise?

Supervise - to oversee during execution or performance; superintend; have the oversight and direction of. Also, to watch over as to maintain order.


According to this definition, supervise means more than just watching over something. It also means keeping things in order and in line. I'm pretty sure, after what happened last week, that I need to show this to the PTA at my kids' school so they can paste it on any and all permission forms. Let me explain...

This elementary school, in particular, the PTA, does a lot for the students. We have a Halloween Dance, Ornament decorating night, and family bingo. This year the officers decided to add a monthly family movie night.

The month of October held the first family movie night. There were a few bumps during the evening, but being the first of such events, it was almost expected. Last week was our 2nd movie night - Cars 2.

Both of my kids were so excited to see this movie, but especially my son. Every student in his class won 2 free tickets for being the class who brought in the most Box Tops. I dug out of popcorn bowls, my son grabbed one of his favorite blankets, and off we went.

The first half of the movie went off without a hitch, but during the second half, all hell broke loose. Some of the younger kids (Kindergarten and 1st grade) were growing restless and began to run around the gym where the movie was being shown. A few thought it was funny to stick their hands in front of the projector to block the movie. One boy was having a grand time smashing a candy necklace all over the floor. Where were his parents? Neither myself or the 2 women in charge ever figured that out.

In the back of the gym, another boy was running back and forth screaming. This boy is a first or second grader. He was also trying to scale the walls and when he was bored with that activity, eh began to smash Pop Rocks on the floor because "he liked the sound they made". Where was his mom? Again, not sure. She got up and walked out at one point. It was assumed she had to use the ladies room or stepped outside to smoke. She was no where to be found. Until 30 minutes later when she returned. Stumbling through the door, slurring her speech.

I could see by their faces that I was not the only parent annoyed with the children in the front of the room causing a disruption. With some of those troublesome kids, their parents did nothing but watch them bounce to and fro. Or look on as another student told them not to touch something, like the projector.

Regarding the boy in the back of the gym, 2 families spoke to the women in charge. They felt this child was causing too much of a disruption and they had decided to go home because of him.

It clearly states on the permission form that parental supervision is required. I guess the exact definition of supervision needs to be made clearer.

I have mostly enjoyed the first 2 movie nights, but if situations like this continue, I fear movie nights won't last long. It would be a damn shame if a large group of children have to miss out on something fun because of a handful of troublemakers.

The proof is on the paper

People tell me I am Super Mom.

I am not only a member of the PTA, but I attend each and every meeting. I volunteer my time at school functions. I am a Girl Scout leader. I make home made Halloween costumes. I crochet Christmas gifts. I do crafts with my kids. If I am not running here, I am running there. I have so much on plate, but seem to get it all done.

I can also pretend. I may appear to be Super Mom, but if you look closer, you will realize I am not.

My house is a mess. My list of unfinished projects is almost as long as those I have finished. I have a smile on my face, but I may not be truly happy. I yell at my children. Oh, how I yell.

My children could care less about the projects I have not finished. They could care less about the mess, which most often leas to the yelling. And the yelling they care about.

Sunday night. Just home from my in-laws and a mountain of things to do before the kids went to bed. My son didn't finish putting his toys away before we left, but now he was "too tired" to do it. My daughter needed to wash some of the dishes. I needed room in the kitchen to bake the following day. The dry skin on her elbow hurt and the soap only makes it worse.

I asked. I pleaded. I began to yell. They wouldn't have time to play with glow sticks in the tub if they didn't finish their chores.

Things were beginning to unravel, but they finally finished their jobs.

My son played in the tun while my daughter practiced her flute. But he finished his bath first. He quickly dressed and ran downstairs to pester her. Already being frustrated with her flute practice, she began to yell. I yelled at my son as I stormed up to the bathroom too prepare my daughter's bath.

All was calm while she played, but when the last drop of water drained from the tub, tempers flared again. I was tired. I had enough. I yelled and scolded for the things they have not done. Daily chores that are ignored. Too many toys taken out that take too long to put away.

"Why do I have to keep reminding you? Why do you make me yell? I am not happy! I am very disappointed!"

My children shuffled off to bed while I escaped to the couch, holding back tears. I heard what I said and I didn't like it. My children went to bed upset and I did not like it. I needed to apologize and let them know just how much I love them.

I returned to the steps and began to climb. As I reached the top step I realized it was not my children who had disappointed me. It was me who disappointed my children. The proof was sitting on the floor outside my son's room.

No Mom

Mom not alawde
(Mom not allowed)

Pour Your Heart Out

This may very well be the hardest post I have written. I want to be the kind of mom my kids look back on as adults and think how great their childhood was. I try. I really do. But on this night I failed. Lately I feel like I fail more than I succeed. The proof is on the paper.

Just sand

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle,
When 24 hours in a day is not enough;
remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly,he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and started to fill it with golf balls. He asked the students if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course the sand filled up everything else. He asked the class once more if the jar was full.

The students responded with a unanimous "yes".

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured then into the jar, effectively filling the empty spaces between the sand.

The students laughed.

"Now", said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things - God, family, children, health, friends, and favorite passions. Things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the things that matter, like your job, house, and car. The sand is everything else - the small stuff."

"If you put the sand into the jar first", he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life."

"If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff,
you will never have room for the things
that are important to you..."


Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Play with your children.
Take time to get medical check-ups.
Take your partner out to dinner.

There will always be time to clean the house and fix the dripping tap.

Take care of the golf balls first-
the things that matter.
Set your priorities.

The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled. "It goes to show that no matter how full your life may seem, there is always room for a couple cups of coffee with a friend."

Quick pasta carbonara (how to)

Philadelphia cooking cremeThat, over there? The cooking creme? It's my new best friend!

How I have never thought to use it before is beyond me. But now that we have met, I am trying to find as many recipes as I can just to use Cooking Creme.

Recipes such as Quick Pasta Carbonara. I'm going to share my version of this dish with you. The only vegetable in the original are peas. I have 2 kids and we all know how much kids love peas!


1 box or bag egg noodles, approx. 1 pound
4-6 slices bacon (I went for 6!)
1 tub Philadelphia Cooking Creme, Italian Cheese & Herb flavor
1 bag frozen vegetables (I chose a broccoli, cauliflower, carrot mix)

1. Cook pasta as directed on package. Meanwhile, cook bacon is a large skillet until crisp.

2. Remove bacon from the skillet with a slotted spoon, reserving 2 Tbsp drippings. Drain bacon on a paper towel.

3. Add vegetables to the skillet. Cook until they are heated through. Add the Cooking Creme and let simmer for 5 minutes.

4. While the vegetable mixture is simmering in the skillet, crumble the bacon. Add the bacon to the skillet in the last minute to heat through.

5. Add the vegetable mixture to the noodles. Serve and enjoy!

Quick pasta carbonara

I have decided to make sharing a recipe or craft a weekly Friday feature. I can't possibly come up with something to share every week. I am opening up this blog to guest posters. If you have a recipe or craft you would like to share, contact me at eumbel (at) gmail (dot) com.

Can't You See?

I don't always understand those around me and the decisions they make, but I make it a point to learn, empathize, or hopefully begin to understand. Lately, I have run into more people that I care to count who can't seem to look past their noses. They assume I, and my loved ones, would do things the way they would. They assume that we will side with them and turn against flesh and blood. I do not understand those who can't see around themselves. No matter how hard I try, I don't think I ever will.

I will never understand my aunt's claims to be the victim. No matter what she says, she will never make me believe. She is not the victim. She is the controller. She is the one who drives people away. Playing victim to those too kind to tell her the truth will never be acceptable to me.

I will never understand those who think I can drop everything to cater to them. My family and I were invited to a wedding. My mother-in-law planned for months the outfits she would buy my children only to find out last minute they are not invited. Upon my mother-in-law's request, or demand depending on your point of view, we opted out of attending this wedding. Because of those I failed to mail back my RSVP. My MIL, who has been avoiding their calls out of hurt for a week, finally caved and picked up the phone. She explained to the bride's grandmother my family and I cannot go to the wedding because no one is available to watch our children. The grandmother asked if my mother could watch them for the night.

How lovely it would be to have my mother, or anyone, available at the drop of a hat so I can have a much needed night out with adults. But that is not my life and she shouldn't assume that it is.

I will never understand those who believe a charitable donation should only be given to a certain group of people.

My borough is small, yet at the elementary level, it is divided in two. My children's school tries every year to raise money for a local family in need. It is a game for the students. A game they greatly enjoy. And they are all made aware of what they are doing - helping those in need. The family we are helping this year lives on the other side of the borough. How crass of someone, a teacher, to say we should help a family on our side of the borough instead. To me, that is like saying we should only support troops overseas who come from our town.

Quite often I judge and I do so too fast. I keep those opinions to myself so I can open my ears, not my mouth. My judgements may be wrong, but I will never know unless I give the time to learn more about those around me. But no matter how hard I listen, some people I will never understand.

Pour Your Heart Out