How do I know?

It doesn't need to be said that, as parents, we will fight for our children. They are young, still learning. Often how they feel cannot be put into words. It is our job to make sure they succeed. It is our job to make them better when ill.

But how do we know when to fight and when to sit back and wait?

At 6, my son can give you all kinds of tips and tricks when playing Lego Pirates of the Caribbean.
Even though we are now on the same level. And I had to help him catch up to me.

He can name almost any construction vehicle, as well as explain what each one does.

He can draw a blueprint of something he wants to build and explain each step along the way.

What he cannot do is tell me why his head hurts.

Every so often, he complains of headaches after school. Sometimes he says they happen after gym or outside recess. But he cannot tell me why. He didn't fall. A friend didn't push him. He just has a headache.

At first I thought I should get his eyes checked. I know he will need glasses because, as of now, he is the only one without them in the family. But he shows no signs of needing them. He doesn't squint. His teacher hasn't mentioned him having trouble seeing the board from the back of the room. Hell, he can see things far away that I can't see and I wear glasses!

I want to fight for my child to find an answer, but I don't know where to start. Calling the doctor to say he has a headache seems a little silly. Some Tylenol and quiet time will clear that right up.

But what if there's more that I cannot see and he cannot tell me? Do I fight and risk sounding overprotective about something trivial? Or do I sit by and wait, hoping it's nothing?

How do I know?

Pour your heart out

Crack Bread

I have always been afraid of making bread. I associate making bread with yeast and needing things to rise. Those are scary concepts to me as I'm not a huge baker. Earlier this year I came across a bread recipe in a Food Network magazine my mother-in-law had laying around. I am so glad I made a copy of the recipe. It is super easy and there's a very good reason why I refer to it as Crack Bread.

Chocolate chip banana bread

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread


2 well ripened bananas
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs
1/2 cup cooled melted butter OR vegetable oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt OR sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon citrus zest (optional)

Preheat oven to 350
Lightly butter one 9x5 loaf pan or three 6x3 mini pans

1. Peel and mash the bananas. I usually use a fork for this. Set aside

2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl

3. In a medium bowl, whisk 2 eggs, butter/vegetable oil, yogurt/sour cream, vanilla extract and citrus zest. Stir in the mashed bananas.

4. Fold the egg and banana mixture into the dry mixture until just combined.

5. Spread the batter in the prepared pan(s). Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes for a standard loaf, 35-40 minutes for mini loaves. Cool 30 minutes in the pan(s) on a rack, then turn out onto the rack to completely cool.

Chocolate chip banana bread

My Tips

I use vegetable oil instead of melted butter because melting butter is just a pain in the ass. I also use sour cream because, like bread and milk, it is a staple in our house.

Instead of buttering the loaf pan, I line it with foil. After cooling for at least 30 minutes, you can lift the bread right out of the pan and you also have one less dish to wash. Genius, right?

I have yet to try this, but if you are feeling especially ambitious, you can also make a glaze by whisking 1 cup confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons milk, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Drizzle over the cooled bread and let set, 15-20 minutes.

This bread is so rich and creamy. If it wasn't for that fact, I could very well sit my ass on the couch and eat the whole loaf.

I have a list of other ways to make this bread using different fruits and vegetables, as well as other mix-ins besides chocolate chip. Let me know if you're interested!

*Have a recipe or craft you would like to share? I would love to feature it here! Contact me at eumbel at gmail dot com*

Creamy Beef Stroganoff - recipe

Last week I wrote a post about my son cooking dinner and the reaction I got when I bragged about it. It's still a sore subject, but I have moved on. At the end of that post I promised to share the recipe last Friday.

Last week, weekend included, was the week from hell. Crazy busy doesn't even begin to describe how I was. Because of that, I'm not sure if I can make it through Christmas. So before I completely lose my mind, I want to share this recipe for beef stroganoff that I found on All Recipes. Not only is it good, but it is so easy to make. So easy, my 6 year old made. Except for cutting up the beef and the onions.


  • 1 pound beef sirloin steak, cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (10 ounce) tub PHILADELPHIA Original Cooking Creme*
  • 1/3 cup fat-free reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 2 cups hot cooked noodles
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
*I used Italian Herb flavor Cooking Creme. The garlic flavor is good, too, but I would only use 1/2 of a tub mixed with 1/2 block of cream cheese. It is strong!


1. Boil noodles according to package directions.

2. Cook mean and onions in large nonstick skillet on medium heat 5 to 6 minutes, or until done. Remove from skillet; drain. Cover to keep warm.

3. Add butter to skillet; cook until melted. Add mushrooms and pepper; cook 5 to 6 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.

4. Add cooking creme; cook and stir 2 minutes. Return meat to skillet; stir in broth. Cook 5 minutes

5. Serve over noodles; sprinkle with parsley.

Serves 4

My Tips

I buy a package of pre-cut skillet steaks, roughly 1/2 pound. I cut each strip in half. This saves on time.

I also buy a package of pre-sliced and washed mushrooms. Again, a time saver!

If you decide to make this, I'd love to hear what you think of this meal!

hosted by Amy from Keeping up with the Schultz Family

Top 9 Christmas Songs

Because I can't think of a tenth. So sue me- I've been busy.

I love Christmas as much as the next person. I also love Christmas music. As long as it isn't played until after turkey day! Yesterday, KLZ from Taming Insanity posted a list of her top 10 Christmas songs. She listed some of my favorites, but it inspired me to make a list of my own.

With a twist of course. Enjoy!

1. The Grinch- because no one can be holly and jolly 24/7

2. I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas- Um... who wouldn't want that?

3. Dominick the Donkey - Hee Haw

4. 12 pains of Christmas - I may have quoted this song when putting lights outside last week

5. Walkin' Round in Women's Underwear

6. Christmas at Ground Zero - you can't have Christmas without some Weird Al!

7. Nuttin for Christmas - what my kids might get if they don't shape up!

8. The Chanukah Song - I can't forget my Jewish friends out there

And finally, Trans-Siberian Orchestra aside, my all time favorite Christmas song. Make sure your kids aren't within earshot, k?

9. Ho Ho Fucking Ho

What's your favorite Christmas song, funny or otherwise?