Chocolate Chip Banana Bars

Don’t you hate it when your bananas go from ripe for eating to over ripe to quickly? Or you buy a big bunch because you were in the mood for bananas, but then never got around to eating them all?  Don’t toss them out just because they are browning. . use them to make this scrumptious treat your family will love!

This easy recipe I found on the Door to Door Organics website. Just another thing I love about their company. Each week they offer amazing recipes you can use to enjoy the produce they ship to you.  This one caught my eye and I had to try it. . and boy am I glad I did!!
Here is how you can make Chocolate Chip Banana Bars from your over ripening bananas.
Chocolate Chip Banana Bars
  • 3 ripe medium bananas, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 bag semisweet chocolate chips
  • ¾ cups butter, softened
  • ⅔ cups granulated sugar
  • ⅔ cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl cream the butter and add sugars slowly, beating until mixture is fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until blended.
  4. Stir in the mashed bananas to the cream mixture.
  5. In another bowl sift together the flours, baking powder and salt.
  6. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture gradually, beating just until blended.
  7. Stir chocolate chips in the batter.
  8. Spread batter into greased and lightly buttered 9x13x2 pan.
  9. Bake in a preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  10. Allow to cool completely in the pan on a rack.
  11. Cut into squares (or bars).
These bars (or cookies and I tell Dick and Jane) are easily frozen for on the go snacks or school lunches.  They taste amazing, just the right amount of banana flavoring and they are not all that bad for you 🙂
I hope you enjoy them as much as we have! Thanks for joining us!
<3 Dick and Jane

School Bullying – Teach your kids to make a positive difference

This year Jane started going to school. Something which she has been excited to do for a long time. We expected her to excel and make tons of new friends, we never expected what really happened.

We were only two weeks into school and one day, when picking Jane up from school, she asked me if I could teach her to snap her fingers.  I agreed and showed her how, not giving any more thought to her question.  Throughout the rest of the day I noticed her continually trying to perfect this new skill.  She was being very hard on herself for not being able to make a loud enough snap sound.  After observing her distress and seeing her self worth dimish, I sat her down to find out what was going on. Why was she being so hard on herself for such a silly thing?

Jane began to tell me how a little girl in her class had started a “club” and only those who were talented enough to snap their fingers could join.  She wanted so badly to be accepted by these other kids and felt that she wasnt good enough because she couldnt make a loud snap with her fingers like they could.  My heart broke. . how can these other kids be so mean and leave my baby out of their group for something that she cant do? 

As the school days continued I noticed a change in Jane. She was no longer excited to go to school, instead she whined about feeling sick and not wanting to go. When she arrived home from school, she was a different kid. The bullying that she was recieving at school was being mirrored onto her little brother Dick at home. It was like a cycle had been formed and it needed to be broken.

I was never bullied as a kid and I guess I just didnt think it would happen to Jane either, especially not in kindergarten! Like many other parents, I didnt know what to do.  My first instinct was to march into her school and tell those kids to be nice, but I realized that I cant do that (unless I want to be banned from the school premises forever). I decided that I would use this opporunity to teach my kids how to treat others and how to be a friend to those who are feeling left out since she now knows how bad it feels.

To get a better understanding of this issue and learn how to help Jane I turned to Matt Langdon from the Hero Construction Company. His company offers kids, parents and teachers the tools needed to build heros against bullying in all of us.  Here is what Matt has to say about the problem.

Any time a parent hears their kid is being bullied, they want to know what they can do. It makes perfect sense. There is a common assumption that kids that are being bullied need to be toughened up or taught how to resist bullying. That’s misguided at best. The other common reaction is to storm into school and deal with the bullies or the school staff. As Mary notes, that’s also not a great idea once logic creeps into the thought process.
Bullying is a problem found in a community, not in an individual. Bullying can only happen when a community allows it. In this case, we’re talking about a school. Now, many will be nodding their head, thinking about how the teachers and principals aren’t doing enough to stamp out this behavior. Unfortunately, these easy scapegoats are not the problem. The group enabling these behaviors are the students themselves. When bullying happens at school, dozens of observers simply do nothing. It’s easy to do nothing. In fact, it’s the easiest option. Simply put, if the students that see bullying did something to stop it, bullying would disappear from the school. No need to assume the principal owns a magic wand.
For Mary or any other parent of a bullied child, this is not immediately helpful. And that’s frustrating. The brutal truth is that there is no quick fix here. Teaching Jane to snap her fingers loudly may get her into the finger-snapping club today, but the underlying problem of exclusion remains. What happens when the whistling club starts next month?
The challenge is to change the school culture. That can start with your child. Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Now, that’s a heavy load for your kindergartener, so you might need to help. Maybe you could get some parents together to share the idea with their children. A group of five or six kids can quickly change the classroom. The change you’re after in this case is to get students to do something when they see something wrong. That could be telling the bully that what they’re doing is wrong. If that’s too scary (and fair enough) it could be to ask the child being bullied to join them in a game or conversation. Or it could be to tell a teacher. Remember, the easiest thing for your child to do is nothing. You need to explain to them why they should take a slightly more difficult option.
You could, of course, get a program like mine into the school. An outside voice can help be the kick start a school needs. Many programs are focused on targeting bullies and victims, doing nothing to solve the underlying problem, so be careful when looking for one. Ultimately the only way to solve this problem is to get the students at the school to take action. How you do that is up to you and the school.
I’d like to finish with two important notes.

Firstly, every time you use the word “bully” to describe a person, you are creating a negative label. There is absolutely nothing to be gained by doing this and plenty to lose. Be careful how you talk to your kids about this topic. For much more on the problems with using the word “bully”, please watch this TEDx talk I did last year:
Second – I hope you can see that bullying is not limited to school or childhood. The same strategy works in adulthood and the workplace.

Thank you Matt for sharing with us! I hope that I can teach my kids to be the good in the world and allow others to be uplifted by my actions and never hurt. Very insightful thoughts today 😉

Believe there is Good in the world, Be the Good!

Thank you for joining us!  <3 Dick and Jane

Personalize Your Home – Fall Wreath Tutorial

A few months back I made a grape vine wreath for my front door and have gotten nothing but compliments on it.  Luckily, I took some photos during the creation process so I can share it with you!
What I used: 
Grape Vine Wreath ( available at craft stores such as Michaels for around $14.99 depending on the size you want. )
Spray Paint ( I used robins egg blue)
Wooden Letters (Also available at Michaels)
Felt Flowers or some sort of embellishment

My Method used:

First, I spray painted my wreath outdoors and allowed it to dry. 

Second, I used a hot glue gun to affix the letter by adding ribbon to both the letter and the back of the wreath.
Last, I added embellishments to the front also using the hot glue gun.
That is it! I love it. 
<3 Dick and Jane’s Mom

Feed the Birds – Easy Instructions

As fall is now in full swing and the leaves are turning beautiful shades of red, yellow and oranges here in Michigan the birds are beginning to find their way south to warmer climates.  Due to this migration, we are finding our yard full of birds all stopping for a bite to eat as they make their long journey.  Dick, Jane and I wanted to do something to help the birds and decided to make “bird treats” for them to snack on.

This simple craft took only a few moments to make, but must “set” overnight. To begin you will need the following ingredients.
– Water (1 cup)
– Knox Gelatin packets (QTY: 4)
– Small seed bird feed ( 3 cups)
– Wax paper
– Cookie cutters
– Ribbon or string for hanging

Begin by laying out wax paper to work on and set up your cookie cutters.  Add the water and packets of gelatin to a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring continuously.  Once the gelatin has dissolved, remove the saucepan from the heat.

Add 3 cups of birdseed to a large bowl and pour saucepan mixture over the top.  Stir to coat.
Carefully spoon the birdseed mixture into the cookie cutters, filling 3/4 of the way.  Next, add a folded over ribbon to the cutter creating a loop to hang your treat.  Cover the ribbon with more mixture to seal it in.
Allow the treats to cool and harden over night. Finally you can remove the treats from the cookie cutters and hang them in your favorite place.  Enjoy watching the birds as they feed on the very special gift you’ve given them.