46 In Articles/ Recipes

JELLO Jigglers & Frosted Banana Bars

Mondays are usually a little challenging. Moving from “weekend mode” to “weekday mode” usually takes us half a day. I can’t imagine what I’ll do next year when Morgan actually has to be somewhere on Monday morning. I usually try to do something fun with the kids on Mondays to keep the house somewhat tidy before our small group arrives at 6. In order to stick to my “keeping it real” campaign I thought I’d show y’all my miserably failed attempt at a fun Monday project: JELLO JIGGLERS.
I will preface my picture show of events by saying that I talked this up big time! The girls watched me make the jello on Sunday night as I carefully followed the “jiggler” instructions. I told them of all the fun we would have, of how we would use cookie cutters to cut out fun jello shapes. They were ecstatic {and I secretly was too!}.
So yesterday afternoon with firmly set jello we gathered up the cookie cutters & lined the counters with wax paper.


I sat the baking sheets on the counter and because my sink was full of dirty dishes I couldn’t sit them in lukewarm water so I placed our jello-laden baking sheets on warm towels so the jello would separate from the pan. I believe this step caused the whole thing to go drastically down hill. I melted the jello. When you’re dealing with a 4 & 2-year old telling them “Mommy has to put it back in the fridge for a couple hours” doesn’t fly. So we pressed on with our jello.


And attempted to cut shapes out.


That wouldn’t “cut out”.


It was more like trying to cut shapes out of grape jelly. There was no, “Morgan hold up your shape so Mommy can get a picture!”


It was more like, “Morgan if you want to eat your jello, hold your hair back and slurp it off the counter!”
Then something happened that set the Raiger off. I can’t even remember what it was. Something small. Something not worthy of meltdown. But when you’re two… jello is a HUGE deal. Especially when Mommy ruins it!




Oh well… you win some you lose some! This one we lost but at least the toys in the playroom stayed picked up!
On Monday nights I serve coffee from a percolator. While I’m getting that percolator ready, JM is usually busy tidying the cabinets. The percolator is old and nothing fancy, but I love it! I’m actually permanently borrowing it from my mother-in-law. I’ve never used one before. I’m not sure if I just like it, it’s name, or how you can simply press down the little tab and piping hot coffee comes out. Or maybe I like the idea of making a LOT of coffee and having others to drink it with. No matter the reason… I love a percolator.


When the percolator comes out… it also means dessert will be served. The majority of the time it’s “slice ‘n bake” cookies but occasionally I get a wild hair and fix up something a little more…. ummm, involved.

Last night it was Frosted Banana Bars.

When we were 14, Erika and I both worked as servers. Is that even legal? We rode our bikes to get there. Anyway, it was a little cafe in our small town which was tucked inside a much larger town. It was called the Herb Garden Tea Room. Unfortunately it only survived for about 5 years. It was in Anchorage, KY, a tiny little neighborhood town tucked inside Louisville, KY. So, for several years every Saturday and all summer long I spent my time at the Herb Garden. We had a fairly angry chef named Bo, who I eventually got used to. Occassionally he’d drop the “f-bomb” in a sentence that was directed towards me, at first I would feel the tears well up and my throat would tighten, it only took a few weeks and I could just cut my eyes at him and think, “Oh please, I know your not ticked off because they don’t want mayo and you put mayo on there because you didn’t read the order right!”. I wasn’t too fond of him but I loved all the other employees, all 4 of them. The Herb Garden was only opened for lunch and they had a WONDERFUL menu. Sandwiches, soups, salads, desserts…. oh, and of course, they had at least 100 different teas to choose from, which we served in beautiful tea pots. If I had to place my order right now, I’d have a Ginger Peach iced tea, a cucumber & dill sandwich with pasta on the side, and I’d have a hard time deciding between Granny’s Chocolate Cake & Frosted Banana Bars.


Sometimes I hope no one will eat our bananas so they will overripen and I’ll be forced to make these delicious little gems. They melt in your mouth. The bar is similar in consistency to banana bread, but not quite as dense, and it is smothered in a cream cheese frosting. I can guarantee this recipe. If you don’t like it, call me and I’ll come pick it up from your house.

The recipe makes a LOAD. You use the same “jelly roll” pan you use for the Texas Sheet Cake and mine has a handy little cover… if you’re going to go buy one… make sure it has a cover! The bars are thin, bake really quick and your whole house will smell delightful.


Once again, I very selflessly tested the bars before I served them to our small group. If you ever come to my house to eat and a small part of what I serve is missing, you can go ahead and thank me for testing it for you. 🙂

I posted a printable version of the recipe: HERE. Bookmark it, print it off, save it… you’ll want to make it! I PROMISE. I’m off to have some now!

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  • Emily
    May 19, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    I just noticed the faucet in your fab kitchen. Where did you get it? Do you like it? I’ve been looking for something similar. Thanks!

  • Amanda
    May 19, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    That is so wierd…I have had “percolator” on my mind all day…b/c I am having a coffee get-together for a good size crowd Thursday and was thinking I needed one but I am scraed I won’t know how to make the coffee in it, is it hard?…I think I will make the bars as part of my menu and don’t worry about the Jigglers – they nevr work out for me either and the kids love the fun of making them/eating them regardless, right?!

  • Margo Sexton
    May 19, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    i think the trick to the jigglers is where you live. I grew up in Chicago and every christmas eve we would have them. After they were made we set the sheet pans out in the garage for almost 24 hours. It was the perfect cooler. I live in birmingham, AL now and all my friends laugh about how our garage was an extra fridge/cooler for stuff. With your parents now living up in Illinois I have always wanted to ask how they ended up there and how you ended up at Auburn since I am always answering that question myself! thank always for your fun blog!

  • erika
    May 19, 2009 at 1:37 pm


    Does that sound familiar? And make your blood pressure rise?

    And you worked in the kitchen because you didn't like the stress of serving after one summer… funny.

    Now I want some rotten bananas.

    Love you,
    mommasis & the baby

  • andi
    May 19, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    HEEEEHEEE! I wonder if metal cutters would work better??????????
    LOVE a percolator and the sounds it makes, the smells it makes, it just yells: Fun times!
    Poor Raiger, life can be just so hard! Thanks for keepin’ it real. 🙂

  • Anonymous
    May 19, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Just curious if you have ever tried previously frozen over-ripe bananas for this recipe. I have a bunch in my freezer and this recipe sounds so yummy that I don’t think I have the patience to make for bananas to brown…

  • Ashley
    May 19, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Great post!! Maybe next time you can get the Jello Jigglers to work, because they looked FUN! Hope your small group went well 🙂

  • the sweet life with olives
    May 19, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    well at least the jigglers make you flawed like the rest of us! kidding… but seriously, most moms have been there… excited kids, frustrated kids, disappointed kids, sugared up kids eating junk from the counter. been there and done that and it almost always ends in tears! i think i actually did something similar yesterday that involved a cake that turned out after much hard work and mess to be well, inedible at best! i plowed the kids with popsicles to try and make up for lost efforts, needless to say the ‘storm’ passed quickly. better luck next time. here’s to mondays!

  • Surrounded By Boys
    May 19, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    I always wondered why you call that sweet little girl “The Raiger!” The pictures are great!

  • Susie Mae
    May 19, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    What a yummy post! I don’t think I’ve ever been able to make successful jello jigglers, they get eaten before they can be cut out.

  • Allison aka HaselBride
    May 19, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    Love love love your real life take on things. Sometimes fun projects just don’t end up being fun! I’m excited to try this recipe – I have overripe bananas just waiting for this one. Can’t wait!

  • julie
    May 19, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    yumm-O!! i woudl like to lick that cream cheese icing from my screen {kind of like morgan and her jello}

  • Katherine
    May 19, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    you’re from anchorage? i live in louisville and my mom is from anchorage! small world.

  • The Cribb Family
    May 19, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    I don't remember how I cam across your blog, but I love it. Your family is precious. I love your faith in the Lord, our God. It is so inspiring to read about the lives of other Christians in their daily stuggles & joys. It has been refreshing. It is my new obcession. You and many others are part of my daily devotion. I love the Jell-O posting today. Especially having your daughter slurp it off the counter…that sounds just like me. Have a wonderful day. I pray that the Lord continues to bless you and your family.
    In Christ –
    Jill G. Cribb

  • Susan
    May 19, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Oh how I wish my jelly roll pan had a cover! I did not even know they could come with covers and that, I bet, is a HUGE life saver. I’m definitely missing out . . .

  • Becky Brodbeck
    May 19, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    LOL! I love you and all your honest adventures-Thanks for sharing the melted jello post:-) I have totally messed up jigglers before…and I wish you still were close enough to bike to the tea room b/c then you could bike right over to my house too!

  • Shireen
    May 19, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    Save us some!!! 😉

    Oh, that sweet, pitiful little Raiger crying face. 🙁 It just cracks me up to think that you stopped to take a picture of her in crying mode! 🙂

  • Amanda @ Serenity Now
    May 19, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    Cool recipe!! Love the picture of her slurping up the Jell-O…funny! 🙂

  • Mandy
    May 20, 2009 at 4:19 am

    Sounds good….I love the jello idea…a little scared to try it…can’t wait until I am done teaching in the mornings for the summer and I can attempt to make some of these thigns with Kendall Gail and Charles Patrick! I am going to sift back through your blog and capture some recipes to make…Hope you are well…Your kids are precious! Have a good one…Mandy

  • Mandi
    May 20, 2009 at 4:31 am

    I just recently found your blog and love it! Your honesty is refreshing,and as a mom of 2 small ones myself, I relate so well to what you write about. I have tried the jigglers too, with very similar results 🙂 Thanks for the banana bar recipe. When we lived in Knoxville there was a wonderful tearoom we used to frequent that served banana bread sandwiches with cream cheese in the middle, and they were to.die.for! I’ll have to try this one now. Thanks!

  • heather
    May 20, 2009 at 5:47 am

    Greetings from Louisville. I don’t remember the Herb Garden Tea Room, but I love Anchorage…such a quaint area.

    I’m sure the Jello-jigglers tasted good even though they fell apart! ha!

  • Brittny
    May 20, 2009 at 5:51 am

    I’ve NEVER been able to get jello jigglers to work! sorry it was a disaster!

  • Shauna
    May 20, 2009 at 6:51 am

    This makes me think of the professor who works across the hall from me. If you ever ask him how he is doing, he will answer “percolatin’ well” EVERY time. I get to hear this exchange anytime someone comes to his office… and I smile to myself each time.

  • Erin
    May 20, 2009 at 7:00 am

    Poor Raiger! How sad she looks! I loved the Herb Garden! I remember Anchorage so well…we had some good times. I really want to make the bars but I need some brown nannas! Have fun this weekend!

  • JMW
    May 20, 2009 at 7:40 am

    I so admire how you engage your children in the cooking activities. I need to do more of this now that my daughter is 4 (little guys is 2, not quite ready yet). Also, I spent two summers during college working at a country club in Anchorage. Small world!

  • Katherine
    May 20, 2009 at 8:33 am

    Hi! I really love your blog! I was reading through some of your old posts and was wondering how those “huggable hangers” worked out. I am thinking about doing some closet reorganization this summer 🙂

  • Carrie Robles
    May 20, 2009 at 8:39 am

    I absolutely love your blog. I just stumbled upon it one day and find myself each morning wondering what your wonderful family is up to today 🙂 I love the story about the jigglers..I too have had a disaster with them.
    Also love the house…my grandparents live in Dothan so I enjoy seeing what you are exploring back “home.” I wish I were back there! Keep up the great work. Thanks again for allowing me to peek into your wonderful family.

  • megan
    May 20, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Too funny; slupping the jello off the counter and the jello melt-down, of Paige, not the actual jello. 🙂

    Thanks for another recipe!

  • Christie
    May 20, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Those banana bars look really, really good! I will have to give them a try!

    Even though the Jigglers didn’t work out, you still got some great pictures of your kids! I am sure they enjoyed slurping jello off the counter — they don’t get to do that every day!

  • Katie
    May 20, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Hmmm…I think I have rotten…err…ripe bananas that would perfect for this! Can’t wait to go home and try it 🙂

  • Tegan
    May 20, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Hey Darby! I haven’t left a comment in a while, but I still read daily! I just use my blackberry all the time and it’s too hard to leave a comment! I just wanted to tell you that I made your fudge pie this past weekend and it was awesome!!! I have my friends turned on to it as well. Super easy and soooo good! I still love your family and love hearing about every detail!!

  • Caroline
    May 20, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    I made the Banana Bars today!! I haven’t tasted the finished product yet but the batter was delicious. Julianna liked helping me mash the bananas…. I happened to have exactly 3 borderline overripe/rotten bananas. They were perfect!
    My favorite part was that I had everything I needed to make this recipe already at home!!!!

  • Rebecca
    May 20, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    We live in Louisville! Like 10 minutes from Anchorage in JTown!!! Crazy! And your Jello disaster sound like my “lets melt your broken crayons in a 400 degree oven” disaster! 🙂

  • brianna!
    May 20, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    AW, the idea for the JELLO Jigglers was great!! Sorry it didn’t work out as you planned ..that’s always a bummer!
    I’ve randomly came across your blog a view times really enjoy reading it! You have such beautiful children! God bless yall : )

  • Jess
    May 21, 2009 at 8:42 am

    great recipe for the banana bars…after reading your post i looked over and saw some ripe bananas! minus one egg, wrong pan and without the frosting…the recipe is still wonderful! and all gone already! -jess

  • Jessica {lovely jubbly london}
    May 21, 2009 at 9:21 am

    oh, I’m going to have to try the banana cake! looks divine!

  • The Harris Family
    May 21, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Just catching up on your posts! Girl I’m drooling at the summmer recipes! I can’t wait to get my house in order (just moved) to make some of these prizes! Also the post on the size tag! Perfect! Thanks! 😉

  • gertrude
    May 21, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Thank you so much for your lovely blog. I find myself saving it for my “mommy needs a few minutes to herself” treat. We have four kids: a boy, two girls who are close in age (like yours) and a baby who might be almost the same age as John Martin so I get a big chuckle over the similarities in our day to day (especially the bit about hold your hair out of the way while you slurp the jello… been there with syrup and ice cream more than once). Its great to find someone who sees the humor in the chaos and is thankful for the ride.

  • Sarah's Fab Day
    May 22, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    I have some ripe bananas on the counter as we speak. My boys (5 & 3) love to help me in the kitchen and usually we make banana bread with a crumble topping, it's to-die. But I'm thinking the frosted banana bars would be perfect for the Memorial Day weekend. Thanks for the recipe.

  • The 5 Bickies
    May 29, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Made the frosted banana bars and my entire family LOVES them, just as you said.

    They are for a church fundraiser tomorrow night so they each got a taste. I’m sure they will be the first to dig in tomorrow.

    Thanks for sharing such a great recipe!

  • Jacquelyn
    June 16, 2009 at 10:23 am

    Darby, I still can't remember how I found your blog, but I live in Pewee Valley, Ky., just down the road from Anchorage. So excited to see it mentioned on the blog!

  • Haley
    October 5, 2009 at 8:58 am

    I made the banana bars this weekend. Very easy, very delicious.

  • Kelly
    December 24, 2009 at 1:40 am

    I just made these and the frosting alone is so yummy. Thanks for sharing…I only wish I had the right size pan. Where did you find this with a lid?

  • Jennifer
    April 16, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Seriously, I will never make banana bread again!!!! These banana bars rocked our Friday night. My 3 little ladies, age 5, 8, 10 and (one 42 year old husband 🙂 devoured these! Thanks for the recipe. ~Jennifer

  • Christine
    May 11, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Just made the heavenly bars! They are so delicious they don’t even need the delicious frosting! And to be nice, my husband will share them at the office tomorrow! Thanks for your fun blog 🙂

  • Brenda
    January 18, 2012 at 2:04 am

    OMG! Thank you for sharing this recipe! I was looking for something to make tonight and these hit the spot. Delish!