Friday, April 29, 2011

Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I can assure you, I'm probably going to be wolfing down 2 or 3 of these in the mini-van tomorrow morning at 6am on my way to work. They are that good. And with oatmeal in the name - they could be breakfast, right?


1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter - softened
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs

3 c. flour (I use King Arthur's White Whole Wheat)
4 1/2 c. old-fashioned oats
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 c. chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Convince Daniel to mash bananas with a fork; then run a stick of butter out to the table in the backyard to "soften" in the 86 degree weather.

3. Combine the first 5 ingredients in KAM (my name for my Kitchen-Aide Mixer - catchy, right?). Mix until smooth, then add the eggs.

4. Combine all the dry ingredients (minus the chocolate) in a large bowl - give it a whisk or two to fluff it all together.

5. Mix the dry stuff in KAM with the wet stuff and keep the mixer going until everything is mixed nicely together.

6. Open bag of chocolate chips and brace for the stampede of children running to the kitchen. Give everyone ONE chip to hold them over until the cookies are complete.

7. Mix in one cup of chips into the cookie mix.

8. Drop by cookie-scooper onto a parchment-covered cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Recipe bakes around 4 1/2 dozen cookies; yet, somehow, I only have 36 cookies remaining on the cooling rack.

Girls Day Out at the Mall

Megan's struggling a little bit with the difficulties of being in the first grade. She has a wonderful teacher and has been trying very hard, but things just aren't lining up for her as well as they could be. Fortunately, the transition to public school next year will bring with it the opportunity for some extra help for her. The first grade kids have do to 25 book reports through-out the year. She struggled with this all year long and finally completed the last book reports this week. To celebrate, I promised her we would go out together today.

I picked the kids up from school and went back to the house to leave the boys with Daddy and have Megan change clothes. Then we were off to the mall for a snack and to spend her Build-A-Bear gift card.
We enjoyed mini-blizzards in the middle of the mall near the fountain. Then as we were walking, I noticed Megan's shorts had a small tear in the back. We stopped into Gymboree and picked up a pair of shorts for a quick wardrobe change.

Back by the fountain for a couple of penny tosses.

Finally, what she's been waiting for.
We pretty much had the whole store to ourselves, and Megan took her sweet time trying to decide which animal to build. She decide on one of the new rainbow bears and it is so cute! She gave it a heart and a sound and stuffed it. And then gave it a bath.

She bought the bear a beautiful rainbow colored dress with wings, and a bear-care kit that contained brushes and a mini-hairdryer that actually works. She also got her bear a build-a-bear (toy) ipod.

The bear is called "Rainbow" and is as girly as can be. Except for the sound embedded inside the paw... Megan chose the Star Wars Theme as her sound chip for inside her bear.

We had a good time, and were home in time to make dinner. Megan went to her room to introduce her bear to her other animals, and so Daniel came out to help me make dinner.

In the time it took him to clean one ear of corn, I had all the others finished! But he worked so hard getting every last little silk off of the corn.

Joshua giving a thumbs-up for a good meal.

Megan enjoying her corn on the cob.
The kids had a blast buttering their corn with the corn butter-er. Seriously, this little thing created tons of entertainment.

Megan sneaking in for more cookies. I work all weekend and so had to get the grocery shopping done today. When I put the bananas on the fruit stand, I noticed the ones sitting there were looking rather sad. Daniel and I made them into Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies, and they are delicious!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Celebrating Springtime and Easter Activities

It's so wonderful to live so close to Grandparents. Keith's parents planned a nice brunch and egg hunt for the kids for Easter Sunday morning. I had to work on the holiday, but was able to be off for Saturday. We got up to a late start and missed attending the early service at church that day, but since we weren't racing to leave the house, I decided to break out the new muffin pan and make some buggy muffins.

Daniel enjoying a ladybug blueberry muffin. No ladybugs were injured in the making of the muffin.
How cute are these muffins! The muffin tin was a thank-you gift for helping with our church's Adventurers Club this past year. It certainly wasn't expected, but is very much appreciated. I see us getting lots of use out of this!

I caught Megan sneaking after more when she was really supposed to be brushing her hair for church. She wanted to see if a butterfly tasted any different than a snail.

We went to church in time for Sabbath School. Keith was on duty for scanning kids into the attendance book, and there was another teacher lined up to teach in my room, so I went to the sanctuary to enjoy the service. Perhaps waking up later than I had planned had put me in a grumpy mood, but I just didn't enjoy the service as much as I had hoped to. I've typed and deleted a half a dozen different things to say, but I will leave it at this - I am really missing our Kodiak church and how big it encompassed the community, yet how humble and real it was. I'm missing something, and I just can't figure out what it is.

We came home from church and our usual post-church lunch (when we don't go to Grandma and Grandpa's house) is to make sandwiches out by the pool. We had a great time and swam and napped and enjoyed the day. Then after quiet time, we decided to color some eggs.

Can you see Joshua's name? I taught the kids if they colored with a white crayon before dipping the egg in the coloring then the color won't stick to that part of the egg. They were making all sorts of designs.
Imagine our surprise when the eggs had a Bible verse in them. Which resulted in a chorus of "This is the day...this is the day...that the Lord has made....that the Lord has made...we will rejoice...we will rejoice...and be glad in it...and be glad in it....".
The craft above was made by Joshua at church. While we waited for the paint to dry on the eggs, Joshua read the First Easter story to the little kids while I washed the table, floor and counter tops (that egg dye sure did seem to travel in our house!).

After the eggs were dry, the kids colored them with markers.
Daniel's eggs are all people.

Joshua's eggs are decorated very nicely.

Megan got very detailed with her eggs.

Once the eggs were put away, we had a yummy dinner. Then for dessert, we made resurrection biscuits also known as empty tombs. We've made these every year and the kids really enjoy them.
A quick recap...pop open a can of Grands refrigerated biscuits. Roll out each biscuit and place a marshmallow in the center. The marshmallow is Jesus. The kids then anoint the marshmallow by brushing it with melted butter and sprinkle a little sugar and cinnamon on top.
Fold the dough around the marshmallow so that it forms a tight seal. You have to remember to seal up the tomb, or this won't work.

Then, while the tombs cook, take a quick dunk in the pool (you won't need to wait 3 days before looking inside your tomb, just about 15 minutes at 350 degrees in the oven will work).

Meow-meow on the porch, this is as close to outside as she gets.

When the timer goes off, pull the biscuits out and let them cool for a few minutes. Then cut them open and you will see that Jesus is gone. We talked about how people might have felt when they saw that Jesus was gone.

And then we ate our yummy snack.

For more information about this activity, see...

Or here for really fancy ones...

Young Author's Night - Joshua's Book Award

All of the second graders wrote and illustrated a book this school year. Then they each won a trophy for completing their work of art. A ceremony was held in the school gym to distribute the awards.

After we found our seats, we realized we were just a bit early. Daniel wasted the time away playing some Angry Birds on Daddy's phone.

The program was very nice. A local author came out and talked about all the steps it takes to have a book published. Then she read the first book she had published - I can't remember the name, but it was about an old woman eating alot of Thanksgiving dinner - it was a spoof of There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.

Then it was time for the awards. The kids sat so patiently, and then got up to accept their awards from their teachers.

Joshua and Mrs. Deforest, his second grade teacher.

Joshua was so proud of his book. The room then arranged themselves into small groups while the children shared their stories.

Joshua's book is "I'm as Spiky as a Bearded Dragon" and it's inspired by another similar book by Audrey Wood.
My little lady watching Joshua present his book to the group.

One of my favorite pages!

The cover of this classic.

Awww...Daddy got a little misty-eyed, when Joshua said the book was dedicated to his Dad. Keith is the one with the tongue hanging out.

A group shot in the school gym.