Tag Archives: Children

Banana Bread

We had a bunch of bananas that were getting a little over-ripe, so I was hunting for recipe ideas to use them up. I had a big smoothie for breakfast, but that only used one of them, so Xander and I experimented in the kitchen and came up with a lovely moist banana bread recipe that is surprisingly low in fat and calories.

Banana Bread
Makes 1 small loaf yielding 12 slices


  • 3 small bananas
  • 40g honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g margerine/butter
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice


  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  • Mash the bananas till they’re all fluffy, then add the honey and eggs and mix well.
  • Add the margerine/butter and mix well.
  • Stir in the flour and mixed spice.
  • Line or lightly grease a 1lb loaf tin and pour in the batter.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until the banana loaf is golden and cooked through.
  • Slice into 12 equal portions and keep in an air-tight container.

Nutritional info:
(per slice)

  • Calories: 127
  • Carbs: 22g
  • Fat: 3g
  • Sat Fat: 1g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Sodium: 19g

These values are based on the brands I used (Asda Smart Price flour, honey and eggs, and Lurpack Lightest). If you use different brands, your nutritional values may differ slightly. The values offered here are merely a rough guide for you.

I think this would also be really good if sultanas/raisins were added, but you’d have to adjust the values for that.

The Results:
A lovely moist banana bread that doesn’t really need anything on it! The honey lends an indulgent slight stickiness that is just gorgeous, and the banana flavour is light rather than overpowering. Just enough spice to give it a little extra flavour. Xan and I both enjoyed this and Xan LOVED mashing the bananas and stirring everything up.

I enjoyed mine with a glass of skimmed milk and I’ll be taking a couple of slices in to work with me this evening so my colleagues can try it out too!

Banana Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate On Top

Xander is really getting into making things in the kitchen, so when he begged me to make some cakes with him this afternoon, I couldn’t say no, and we headed through to experiment and make up a new recipe. Here’s what we came up with…

Banana Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate On Top
Makes 6 cupcakes

Banana peanut butter cupcakes topped with chocolate. Delicious!


  • 90g banana
  • 30g reduced fat peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 egg
  • 40mls skimmed milk
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 30g sugar
  • 18g chocolate buttons (3 buttons per cupcake)


  • Preheat oven to 200C.
  • Mash the banana and mix well with the peanut butter, vanilla essence, egg and milk.
  • Add the flour and sugar and mix well so that the cake batter is light and fluffy.
  • Spoon into six cupcake cases and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through and golden.
  • Remove from the oven and immediately place three chocolate buttons on top of each cupcake so that the chocolate melts, then spread it over the top of the cupcakes.
  • Cool on a wire rack.

Nutritional info:

  • Calories: 154
  • Carbs: 25g
  • Fat: 4g
  • Sat Fat: 4g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Sodium: 1g

A nice B-I-G bite!

These values are based on the products I used (Asda reduced fat peanut butter; Asda Smart Price eggs and flour; Asda chocolate buttons), so if you use different brands, the values may differ slightly, but as a rough guideline, this will give you an idea.

The Results:
These only have a very slightly peanut buttery taste, but the banana wasn’t so overpowering as to completely cover it – it was a very tasty combination. There was just enough chocolate on top to make it feel indulgent but without it being too much. Xander certainly enjoyed his! We had a lovely time making them together too!

On conquering fear…

You know how I’m terrified of spiders? And you know how I’m determined not to pass that phobia on to Xander? Well, there was a spider in the bath last week. I told Xander that he was just having a little wander around and then Daddy would rescue him when he got home. Xander then asked, “Why don’t YOU just rescue Insy Winsy, Mummy?”

So I got a piece of card and a plastic pot, and I guided that spider on to the card, trapped him with the pot, and released him on the veranda wall so he could “go home”.

Xander seemed impressed. He told me, “That was very kind of you, Mummy. Now Insy Winsy can go home to HIS Mummy and not be lost any more!”

Granted, the spider was only the size of my thumb nail, but this is a MAJOR step for me. My heart is beating so fast as I type this that it feels like it could burst as I was so scared. But I kept that smile on my face the whole time (thank Gods I’m a good actor!).

That day I was the bravest Mummy in the world, and my little boy doesn’t even know it!

This morning I had to remove yet another (significantly larger, this time!*) Insy Winsy from our bath. I did it without hesitation and without visibly wigging out. This, however, is not the reason I feel proud. No, the reason I feel so proud is that I’ve just realised it’s become so commonplace that I forgot to even mention it to Dale today. (Mental high-five to self!)

* By “significantly larger” I mean if was one of those where the body is about the size of the tip of my thumb and THEN there are the long legs. Not quite a fill-your-palm spider, but heading that way!

I’m proud of myself.

Today I Am Awesome!

Of course, that’s not to say that if another shows up and Dale is home, I won’t make HIM deal with it – they still make me feel sick with fear inside I’m just getting better at hiding that from Xan!

Kidspeak – Out of the mouths of babes…

Xan and I love lounging on the sofa together

My gorgeous son, Xander (who will be four years old in September – where has the time gone?!) has the ability to melt me with the simplest sweet nothing, or stop me in my tracks with some profound pondering.

Here are a few of his latest that have made me laugh, smile or shake my head in disbelief:


Do small kids know something we don’t?
After my in-laws’ dog, Ellie, passed away, Xan started asking questions, but stunned me with his own idea of what happens when we die…

Xan: Ellie died, didn’t she?
Me: Yes, she did.
Xan: Why did she die?
Me: She’s been alive for a very long time and was very unwell and her body wasn’t working properly any more. She was in a lot of pain, so she just stopped living and now she doesn’t hurt any more.
Xan: Oh. That’s a good thing then, isn’t it?
Me: Yes, I suppose it is.
Xan: She’s buried in the garden, isn’t she?
Me: Yes, she is.
Xan: But that’s just her body – Ellie isn’t really in there any more.
Me: Is that right?

Later that day…
Xan: Mummy, if I died, you and Daddy would cry forever, wouldn’t you?
Me: Yes, I think we would because we would miss you so much.
Xan: But it’s OK, because I would just go to be a baby again. I just wouldn’t be YOUR baby any more!
Me: Is that right?
Xan: So, has Ellie gone to be a puppy again?
Me: If that’s what happens, then I think she must have done.
Xan: That’s good. Because Ellie was a nice dog.

More on life after death…
While walking home from nursery, Xander suddenly came out with this…

Xan: Mummy, I used to be a grown up, you know.
Me: Is that so?
Xan: Yes, I was a Daddy. But I wasn’t married – she had to go to be a baby again.
Me: You were a Daddy? Did you have boys or girls?
Xan: I had ten boys and one girl, and YOU were my little girl, Mummy! But now I’m a little boy again and it’s YOUR turn to be MY Mummy!

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
Our morning routine seldom varies, and it was time for me to get myself ready to face the world…

Me: I’m off to do my face.
Xan: Why?
Me: To make myself look all beautiful.
Xan: Mummy, you don’t need to paint your face.
Me: Oh, I do, darling. I need to make myself all pretty.
Xan: You DON’T need to paint our face to make yourself pretty, Mummy, because you’re already beautiful!

Overcoming fears
I’ve always been terrified of spiders – even the tiniest ones – but I’m determined not to pass that phobia on to my son, so I’ve been very brave and am now able to get quite close to small ones, but they still wig me out on the inside. Today there was a spider the size of my thumb nail in the bath tub. I was so brave and my son will never know it!

Xan: Mummy, look! Incy Wincy spider is in our bath! I think he can’t get out!
Me: That’s alright, darling, he’s just having a little wander around and Daddy will rescue him later when he gets home from work.
Xan: Why don’t YOU rescue him, Mummy?
(Big gulp and minor panic on the inside whilst still smiling on the outside!)
Me: Alright, I’ll just get something to help. (I get some card and a plastic container) Come on, Incy Wincy, you can walk onto the card and I’ll take your outside.
Xan: Why do you need the card and pot for him, Mummy?
Me: That’s so we don’t scare Incy Wincy. We’re a lot bigger than he is and we don’t want to scare him, do we? (Xan shakes his head) So we let him walk onto the card, then we pop the pot over him – see? It’s clear so he can still see where we’re going and not get scared, but he won’t fall off either. See? He’s not scared at all because he knows we’re helping him and being careful!
I deposit said spider on the veranda
Xan: That was very kind of you, Mummy – now Incy Wincy can go home to HIS Mummy!

What has YOUR kid said that made you smile today?

Kid-Speak Sunday

Being a Mum is the best job in the world and sometimes there’s the added bonus of hearing your kids come out with an absolute gem…

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Movie Review – Let Me In (2010)

Film: Let Me In
Released: 201o
Director: Matt Reeves
Stars: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloë Grace Moretz, Richard Jenkins, Elias Koteas

Owen is 12 years-old, his parents are no longer together and he has no friends. He’s also being bullied at school and lives a dreary existence. Late one night he meets Abby, also 12, who has moved in next door. She doesn’t say much about herself and doesn’t go to school. Meanwhile, a detective is investigating a series of murders where people have been drained of their blood. Owen and Abby are lonely souls who find comfort in one another and Abby gives him the strength to face his tormentors. Abby has secrets as well that touch directly on the police investigation.

What I thought of it:
With this being a vampire movie and rated a 15 in the UK, I was surprised at how gentle this film was overall. Yes, there is some blood (you’d expect that, wouldn’t you?) and some violence (you’d expect that too), but there’s nothing terribly graphic and the main story focuses on the burgeoning friendship between a twelve-year-old boy and the seemingly similarly aged girl next door. It shows how a strong friendship can give a person the strength to overcome so many things, in this case the main contender is bullying, but there is also a pressing family situation which needs to be dealt with, not just for Owen, but for Abby too.

The two young leads give very subtle and moving performances which show promise of great things to come (they’re certainly both very busy with upcoming movies at the moment!) and their relationship is both touching and tentatively played.

There are some slightly uncomfortable moments – the relationship between Abby and her “father” verges on the sexual with some of the caresses – but there is nothing overt and it is made very clear to the viewer who is in charge in their relationship.

I enjoyed it. The idea of child vampires isn’t new (see 1994’s Interview with the Vampire for one notable example), but it’s played to great effect here and we look directly at how a doomed relationship between a vampire and human has to end – with the human always aging and their vampire friend forever young.

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Kid-Speak Sunday

Being a Mum is the best job in the world and sometimes there’s the added bonus of hearing your kids come out with an absolute gem…

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