karonadrummond

Because We Love Children

Blueberry Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Okay, I know it’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere. I have a friend on vacation in Australia right now. It’s winter there. Doesn’t that sound lovely? Aaaaaah…. But I digress.

Anyway, I don’t get in the kitchen a lot in the summer. But when we had blueberries, bananas, and chocolate chips in the house at the same time, I couldn’t resist. I braved the kitchen. I turned down the a.c. a bit and went for the prize.
The outcome would be worth it. I was going to modify a banana bread recipe, make it healthy, and create world peace!
Well, at least I hoped to get my kids eating a treat that also happened to be healthy. That might be the first step to creating world peace, right? Right!

So I challenge you: Bring in some bananas, blueberries, and semi-sweet chocolate chips into the house. Then create something amazing and eat it. As you wipe the blueberry juice and melted chocolate off your children’s faces
(and yours), keep smiling because you just had a sweet treat that’s too healthy to feel guilty about. Enjoy!

Karona’s Healthy Blueberry Banana Muffins

Ingredients:

3 medium ripe bananas, sliced and mashed
1/2 cup softened Smart Balance buttery Spread or 1/2 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Stevia in the Raw granulated sweetener for baking (zero calories and all natural!)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar (You can use all dark brown sugar if you don’t have the Stevia)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups whole grain flour ( I used Bob’s Red Mill Oat Flour)
1 cup (preferably fresh) blueberries
1 12 oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl, stir together ingredients in the order listed above. Spoon
mixture into muffin cups, filling 3/4 full. Put in top or middle rack of oven. Check at 15 minutes. Muffins should be
come out clean when a toothpick is inserted. It will probably need about 20 minutes. Let muffins cool. Enjoy with a cold glass of milk or some frozen vanilla yogurt.

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Close a Screen, Open the World -Part One

One of our family goals this year is to turn screens off more often. Television screens, computer screens, I-Touch screens, hand-held game screens. All these screens make me scream! Hee, hee. Here I am typing this blog, staring at my computer screen.

I love email, blogging, and typing my words on a forgiving computer instead of a typewriter that leads me to endless
torrents of correction fluid. I devour a good movie and let it nourish me for days. Screens are part of my life.
But we need a balanced diet of activity.

While I seek the screen/non-screen balance in my life, I search for the balance in my children’s lives as well. When we turn off the screens, we see the world, we hear the voices coming from real humans present with us. We can hear our own voice. Or maybe we can be still long enough to listen until we can hear our inner voice once again.

I came upon a book recently that fits into this screen-closing experience. I browsed through it as I sat in the serenity
of our local library. The book is called: Unbored by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen

Unbored is jam-packed with all kinds of ways for kids and families to get busy doing, creating, and learning.
I can’t recommend every activity in the book, but there is a lot of great stuff. It’s so full that it is hard to know where to begin. A few examples of the contents are: “Make a Kumihimo Braid”, “Circus Tricks”, Popsicle Stick Harmonica”, “Backyard Forts and Shelters”, and “Make a Secret Book Safe.” Unbored gives bunches of fun facts as well, broken up into easy to read bites.

My screen time is just about up. It’s time to pack up the kids and head to the bookstore. I hope you and yours enjoy your screen time. Then close the screen. Open up the world.

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A Little Christmas Gem of a Book

I was searching for some good books to read to my third graders when we had a few extra minutes to fill. It is tricky because I teach at a homeschool enrichment program. We only meet twice per week. I needed something short and sweet. And fun.

Enter Mr. Putter. If you have children who are learning to read, you’ll want to get to know Mr. Putter. He is the creation of Cynnthia Rylant (author) http://www.cynthiarylant.com/
and Author Howard (illustrator). http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Arthur-Howard/1515471

Mr. Putter is the grandfatherly gentleman who lives with his dear old cat, Tabby. Mr. Putter adopted Tabby because Tabby is old like him. But just because they are old does NOT mean that Mr. Putter and Tabby don’t have fun. In fact, fun is what they do best. And who better to share the fun than Mr. Putter’s kind, grandmotherly friend: a.k.a. next-door neighbor, Mrs. Teaberry. Mrs. Teaberry and her good (hearted) dog, Zeke, are always up for a new adventure with Mr. Putter and Tabby.

As I was looking for fun Christmas books to read to my third graders, I remembered Mr. Putter and Tabby Bake the Cake. Mr. Putter loves Christmas! But he has a problem: What to get Mrs. Teaberry? “Mrs. Teaberry liked strange things…like coconuts made into monkey heads and salt shakers that walk across the table. And (bleh) fruitcake.”

Mr. Putter had never in his life made a cake. But he decided to do just that for Mrs. Teaberry’s Christmas present. He would make her a “light, airy cake that would not break a person’s toe” (like a fruitcake might). And as for the rest,
well, you’ll have to read the book.

Even though Cynthia Rylant’s books are shelved with the easy readers in the library, they are still entertaining as a -third grader…or a thirty-forty-something-something. 🙂

If you don’t have time to run out and get Mr. Putter Bakes the Cake before Christmas, you could still check your local library after Christmas and read it as you reflect on your holiday. Or go take a look at the other Mr. Putter books. The gentle humor and delightful illustrations will surely bring a smile to your child’s (and your) face.

Merry Christmas!

Karona Drummond

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Super Sibling Series

If you have little ones, be sure and share this super series of picture books by Rosemary Wells. Max and Ruby are siblings;
brother and sister rabbits to be specific.Rosemary Wells illustrates her books as in addition to writing them.
The artwork is colorful, playful, and appealing.

Bunny Cakes has been around for quite awhile, but it’s still one of my favorite Max and Ruby books. Ruby is the bossy big sister and Max is the sweet, impish little brother. It’s Grandma’s Birthday. Ruby sends Max running back and forth to the store umpteen times. But Max still manages to prepare an impressive worm cake. Grandma, being the loving soul that she is, finds equal delight in Ruby’s edible cake creation and Max’s inventive (though less edible) cake.

Read to Your Bunny is another of my favorite of Rosemary Wells books.  Rosemary gently instructs us that if we spend 20 minutes a day reading to our little ones, the payoff will be big.

In Rosemary Wells’ speech about Read to Your Bunny, she says, ” Reading to your little one is like putting gold coins in the bank. It will pay you back tenfold.”

You can find this speech and much more on Rsoemary Wells’  helpful website for teachers, parents, and kids. She offers coloring pages, Bunny Money to print (This relates to her book, Bunny Money), and videos in which she describes some of her books for older children and the writing process involved. Check it out at rosemarywells.com

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Wholesome Mashed Potatoes

It’s been a packed week here. How about you? But we did make time for some comfort food. Mashed potatoes!

Here’s an easy way to make mashed potatoes better for you:

Cut and boil 5 lbs. potatoes. Call the kids. With them helping: Add a healthy buttery spread . Use Morton Lite Salt with 50% less sodium. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher.  Get out your blender.Put one 16 oz. container of fat free cottage cheese in the blender. Blend it on high until creamy. Stir all the creamed cottage cheese into the mashed potatoes. Get out your mixer. Let your kids take turns whipping those taters into a blissful fluff.

Enjoy! And don’t feel guilty. You have reduced the usual fat and sodium content of regular mashed potatoes. You have made them creamy without the cream Instead of fat, the cottage cheese added protein.

Blended cottage cheese also works great in dips for chips and veggies. Have fun experimenting!

This

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