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I’m planning to pay a brief visit to our son, Mark, tomorrow. He’s living and studying at a university campus about an hour’s drive from home; so it’s close enough to personally deliver the occasional care package.
Mark is mad for bananas, always has been. During his high school years, he could easily polish off four or five as an after school snack. So it’s not surprising that of all the muffins I make (and I seem to make a lot of muffins), banana chocolate chip are his favourite.
Knowing I’m going to see him tomorrow, I thought I’d take a batch along. This is a recipe I got from my sister, and the only modification I make is that I usually substitute whole wheat flour for the all purpose variety. They’re fast and simple and make a tasty snack or a nutritious treat for a breakfast.
Here’s how to make them:
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chocolate chips
1/4 c. oil
1/4 c. milk
3 medium bananas, mashed
Place first five ingredients into a large bowl. Mix thoroughly, then make a well in the centre.
Beat egg until frothy. Mix in oil, milk and mashed bananas. (I like to just throw the oil, egg, milk and banana into my mini-blender and blend.) Pour mixture into dry ingredient well. Stir only to moisten. (Batter will be lumpy.) Fill greased muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 – 25 minutes.
Yield: 12 – 14 little tastes of home!
“My disclaimer.” That’s what I called it. For years it hung in our front hall, in a place of prominence, where anyone who entered our home would see it. It hung over a long wooden shelf with hooks – that my father had made for us – the place where my husband and I would toss our keys or the mail, and the kids would hang their coats and backpacks.
I stitched it – when our oldest, Stephanie, was only two and our second, Mark, was just a baby – from a cross-stitch kit, as a creative diversion. But mostly, I stitched it because I loved the words. They read:
Some houses try to hide the fact that children shelter there.
Ours boasts of it quite openly; the signs are everywhere.
For smears are on the windows, little smudges on the doors.
I should apologize, I guess, for toys strewn on the floor.
But I sat down with the children and we played and laughed and read.
And if the doorbell doesn’t shine, their eyes will shine instead.
For when at times I’m forced to choose the one job or the other,
I want to be a homemaker. But first, I’ll be a mother.
All under the heading:
It served as an excellent reminder for me during those “growing-up-years” of what I wanted my priorities to be. I had friends and neighbours who were much better housekeepers, and at times I’d find myself succumbing to the peer pressure of their immaculate standards. But I was never able to figure out how to keep a spotless home without completely stressing out my family, so I’d keep those feelings at bay by reading my disclaimer.
I’ve read those words so often I doubt I’ll ever forget them.
But there is a time for everything. And two years ago, after we repainted our front hall, I knew my disclaimer’s time had come. It had served its purpose. My children were no longer small – in fact they were teenagers – and to imply that I’d only recently “sat down” with them and “played and laughed and read,” would be not just inaccurate but dishonest.
So I packed the stitchery away thinking that perhaps one of my daughters might want it some day, and I began to think about what should take its place on the wall in the hall above the shelf.
That space remained empty for more than a year. Inspiration is not easily found or replaced, and I knew I wanted something that would be just as affecting for my family’s next stage of life. But what would fit a family home that now regularly experiences more arrivals and departures than Grand Central Station?
Last summer, I found it. Covered in dust, high up on a wall in a small bookstore, I read the words of promise and blessing engraved on this wooden plaque:
“Journey” it says. And then, this verse from Psalm 121:8, “The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”