It’s my first party, please be nice!

I have decided to throw a kids birthday party, a first for me, and it only took seven years to feel strong enough to commit myself to a few hours of crazy girly excitement. My daughter will soon celebrate her birthday and she has formed quite a nice group of friends so I thought it would be a good idea to invite a few over so she could revel in that wonderful childhood feeling of being special for a day because it’s her birthday. Do you remember that feeling? Waking up on the morning of your birthday and just feeling different; today was all about you, you were one year older and people would acknowledge you more than others making you feel something near to VIP status. If there was a party involved you were usually surrounded by the kids desperately trying to be your best friend so they could be invited – at least that’s what happened to me; I’ll never forget one girl being ridiculously nice to me just so she could be invited and once it was all over she returned to being a bully. She was never invited again!

Although there are 20 kids in her class there’s no way I am holding myself responsible for that many kids so we capped the number at 5, which I think is a good enough number, plus family. If everyone says ‘yes’ we are looking at a combined party of about 14 bodies so it will be a well attended party me thinks. We have also decided on a Hello Kitty themed party – surprise, surprise – so I managed to find favors that will make little girls gush with giggly excitement (thank you Party City!) I don’t want to go overboard on the theme so decorations and stuff will most likely be pink and white. As for activities my daughter has requested a Pinata, Pass-the-Parcel and Pin The Tail on The Donkey – although we’re changing that to Pin The Bow On Hello Kitty. I’m also thinking of doing an art themed game where kids each have a canvas and paint to doodle whatever for 20 seconds before changing to someone elses painting for 20 seconds, change, etc. By the end each child will have a painting that each friend contributed to. (I hope that’s a good idea because sometimes artistic talent causes meltdowns if someone else adjusts it in any way!)

As I’m planning I’m actually getting more excited than nervous; when I was originally asked if we could host a party my anxiety levels rocketed but after a good old-fashioned think through I didn’t see why my feelings should get in the way of my daughters fun. My mum hosted parties for my brother and I a few times and we always had a blast so it would be nice for my daughter to have those memories too.  Even my son is excited that his sister invited him to her party, bless him! Oh, did I mention the party is at our house? YES! We are opting to be utterly mad and host the party ourselves and not choose to be lazy and have a ‘party’ at a kids playground! Don’t get me wrong, that can be fun but there was recently a ‘party’ in which there was no reservation made at a local kids play arena and the birthday girl and mother (who was stoned into another dimension) arrived over an hour late leading to much confusion and quiet ridicule. I will attempt some form of Martha Stewart-esque party and keep my fingers crossed I’m not overstepping my abilities. I’ll let you know how it goes next week!

Next Sunday, 2-4.30pm, our house. The invites are out – it’s game on!

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Has anyone seen the Banana Bread?

What's left of my baking!
What’s left of my baking!

I’m fairly sure I just made a loaf but I seem to have lost most of it already! As you can see from the photograph I needed an apple to help prop up what is left of something not even 24 hours old. This recipe is a firm family favorite and is so easy to make. I’ve made it for school occasions and every time I’ve had teacher come and ask me for the recipe because the kids devoured it in a matter of seconds. The house fills up with the gorgeous scent of baking and I don’t even have to tell anyone what I’m doing as they will suddenly get a whiff of baking banana bread and come running through to the kitchen to ogle the oven.

I know I mentioned this delicious treat in a previous post when I wrote about healthy foods for my kids but I thought I’d go one step further and share with you the recipe. This will give you the basic banana bread but you can jazz it up by adding fun things like chocolate chips or nuts to it, even changing vanilla essence for almond essence as I’ve sometimes done. This recipe makes one loaf of bread and good luck keeping it more than a day!

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 ripe bananas, mushed
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • optional: 1/2 cup chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, toffee chips, almond slivers, or raisins

Step One: Pre-heat oven to 350/190

Step Two: In a large bowl combine all ingredients except flour. Mix well then add flour.

Step Three: Pour batter into bread tin lined with parchment paper or greased with butter and dusted with flour.

Step Four: Bake bread for 50-60 mins, turning loaf halfway through. At around 45 mins start checking your loaf to see how it’s doing; everyone had a different oven and some cook faster/slower than others so you may find some need more or less time in the oven. Your loaf should be a beautiful golden brown.

Step Five: Remove from oven and allow to cool before turning out onto a wire rack. Slice and enjoy!

Like I said, if you have small kids who love a good snack this is a champion! I’ve had fun experimenting with different versions and naturally the chocolate chip version is a favorite, hotly followed by the toffee chip version.  This is also a great addition to lunch boxes if you want something a little less processed and a lot more made-with-love-at-home. If you try it let me know how it worked out for you. I also love to hear if you jack it up in your own way!

Have fun!