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These healthy breakfast cookies will make up for everything your kids are missing during the pandemic

Need a family bonding activity that's jam-packed with hidden homeschool lessons? Children of all ages will learn through tasks like measuring ingredients (math), reading instructions (language arts), and learning to use the oven safely (whatever they've renamed Home Ec).

Start your day in isolation right!


2 cups flour

cup sugar

cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

3 large eggs

2 tbsp. powdered peanut butter

cup dry oats

2 brown bananas (best if previously frozen)

1 cup chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Assure your tween that, although you're unwilling to risk a trip to the store for flour, this activity is happening. Grab the Bisquick as he escapes to his bedroom/computer and accept the loss. You've still got the other one.

2. Set up the folding step stool for your younger child. (As always, "flock" is a good substitute F-word when you pinch your palm snapping the step into place.)

3. Combine the first seven ingredients in a mixing bowl while your child climbs down with plans to "go watch YouTube." It's probably best he doesn't get a look at the brown bananas anyway.

4. Defrost bananas in microwave for approximately 2 minutes. While you wait, respond to texts. Use this template: OMG (name redacted)'s Facebook pics are CLEARLY fake news!! She wrangled four kids into following a color-coded daily schedule? Please! Last Wednesday she was in marketing!! This is NOT her skill set!!

5. Cut bananas open with kitchen scissors and squeeze liquified fruit into mixture. Block this unappetizing visual with your body as your tween bolts into the kitchen to grab his favorite morning meal, potato chips. Remind him you are making healthy cookies here and potato chips aren't a good breakfast! As he drifts back to his bedroom, wish you had delivered this important message in a breezier tone rather than driving him away with a reflexive nag. Reflect on a hidden blessing of the pandemic: It's an opportunity to feel bad about yourself for your parenting fails.

6. Add another cup of Bisquick and a quarter cup more dry oats to save the mixture, which has become too soupy due to the bananas that weren't actually in the original recipe; you added them to make it healthier. Stress that you might have wasted all these ingredients you can't replace due to shortages, while stirring until well-blended.

7. Field nonsense questions from your younger child who has returned to fire them at you like the host of a high-stakes game show. Guiltily shoo him out of the room (remember, there's no hope of a monetary prize) and give in to the urge to turn on NPR, in case you've missed any critical pandemic developments during the previous 20 minutes you managed to pretend not to think about it. Listen to reports about "spreading disease" and "massive unemployment." Consider that homeschooling could mean you'll have to help your 7th grader with algebra. Embrace a complete sense of doom regarding your financial future. Sweat a little. Worry it's a sign you're developing a fever.

8. Add chocolate chips and stir.

9. Let gratitude wash over you as your younger child bounds in once more, announcing he will now count to one million and would like you to listen. Turn off NPR and give him all your focus. He is saving you right now.

10. Praise him at intervals while dropping the mixture by heaping teaspoonsful onto an ungreased baking sheet about 2 inches apart.

11. Bake 9 to 13 minutes.

12. Break up a sudden fight that erupts when your tween enters the kitchen to ask if a friend can come over, cutting off your now enraged younger child who was only up to, "Five hundred and forty-six, Mom! Did you hear me?" Explain in a reassuring grown-up voice that friends can't come over now or in the foreseeable future. Promise you'll come up with replacement activities for the coming days, weeks and maybe months to make this whole pandemic thing an exciting adventure he'll look back on fondly as an adult. Repeat when your oblivious younger child asks if his friend can come over, too.

13. Remove cookies from oven and cool. Do not intervene when your kids begin spontaneously shooting their Nerf guns at the TV. Praise them for playing so nicely together.

14. Stop the game before an essential source of entertainment is destroyed. The cookies are ready! Sample them as a suddenly united group. Agree that they're delicious and confide that they are "healthy," too. When your kids ask for more, say yes. All day. Every single time.

- Heather E. Schwartz

Heather E. Schwartz's authoring credits include licensed titles for Disney, Sesame Street, Time for Kids and the Smithsonian. Some of her books are featured on her website,, but she lacks patience for the tech it requires to upload more. She performs withThe Mopco Improv Theatre, and you can read more of her work or see her creative process in action onHeather E. Schwartz on YouTube.

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