Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Going Bananas for Valentine's Day

Last week Baby Bear’s Tot Rock instructor announced that we’d be celebrating Valentine’s Day the following week. We should each bring a Valentine for the other children.

At first I was excited—I had been anticipating doing crafts with my child since I found out I was pregnant. But what exactly could a nine-month do?

I didn’t want to just buy those chintzy cards with a licensed character on it and sign her name. I also didn’t want to give the other tots candy.

Instead, I decided to go off the old Valentine saying, “I’m bananas for you.” I made banana bread and put a slice for each child in a small bag. Then I took a picture of Baby Bear holding a bunch of bananas and wrote “I’m bananas for you. Happy Valentine’s Day.” I printed multiple copies on regular paper with the saying next to it and taped them on the bags.

I later realized that I could have had Baby Bear participate in the baking after all. Since the bananas need to be mushed, I could have put them in a large freezer Ziploc bag and had her pound away. Of course, older kids can have fun making banana bread, stirring the batter and pouring in the measured amounts.

Another spin on giving out candy-less Valentines that doesn’t require any baking would be to buy oranges. You could then take a picture of your child holding an orange with the saying, “Orange you glad we’re friends?” and print them on large mailing labels to stick on the oranges.

There are so many different phrases you can play on with this. Older siblings can even help think of puny sayings and ways to “pose” your baby.

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day.

Here’s my favorite banana bread recipe.

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 ½ mashed overripe bananas
1 container vanilla yogurt (6 oz)
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 ¼ tsp b. soda
pinch salt

(for the topping)
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a loaf pan.
2. Cream butter and sugar.
3. Add in eggs, banana, vanilla, and yogurt. Mix.
4. Stir flour in, a little at a time. Then add in baking soda and salt, and mix again.
5. Pour batter into loaf pan.
6. Mix together cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle on top of loaf.
7. Bake for 60 minutes. Check if done with a knife or toothpick in the center.
8. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan.

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