Toddler Thursday: What’s Your Religious Holiday? We Call Ours “Eid”

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Categories Diversity, Holidays, Parenting, Religion, Toddler ThursdayTags , , , 6 Comments

How to get toddlers involved and excited about a holiday when you are strung out from months of lack of sleep, the twins can’t stay up past 7:30 p.m., and are too little to really understand anyway?

First, some background on this holiday I’m talking about. Last week, millions of people across North America celebrated Eid-Ul-Fitr to mark the end of Ramadan, a month of daily fasting. There are two Eid holidays that occur within a few months of each other. The second one, Eid-Ul-Adha, marks the pilgrimmage to Mecca which millions of faithful followers perform each year.

These days, many Muslim families with young children are looking for ways to adapt the customs and rituals of Eid celebrations from “back home” and adding a North American twist.

Eid is usually celebrated by dressing in new clothes, going to early morning community prayers, visiting friends and neighbours, and noshing on delicious spreads of sweet, salty, and fried foods that you normally wouldn’t eat all in the same day! Growing up, the excitement of Eid was always in dressing up in cultural clothes, going to “Open Houses” where the aforementioned food would be laid out, and getting small amounts of cash in envelopes from older relatives and family friends, called an “Eidee”.

The first couple of Eids we dressed our little ones up in cute outfits, skipped the community prayer due to it being a logistical nightmare, and instead visited close family for lunch and dinner. When they became toddlers, I searched online for trendy, printable decorations to hang up on our fireplace to make things festive. They were only 2.5 years old that summer, but old enough to get excited about parties and Christmas. I found some adorable, free printables for Ramadan and Eid banners at Sakina Design.

Our first EId banner
“Eid Mubarak” (Happy Eid)

For the stairs, I wrapped thick, multi-coloured ribbon from Michaels around as you would tinsel. And of course, there were the gold star decorations which I bought from Christmas clearances past. (Anyone else buy shiny Christmas decorations and use them for other holidays?) When Mister and Missy came home, their reaction was “Wow, niiice” and “Star!” By the next day they didn’t take notice.

For Eid Year 3, I invested in some Eid-inspired cookie cutters from an online Ramadan and Eid decoration store called Eidway. They come in the shape of a five- and eight-point stars, moon crescent, lantern, and mosque, which are all recognizable symbols of the faith.

Eid and Ramadan cookie cutters by Eidway
Unique cookie cutters shapes by Eidway

Since Mister and Missy were experienced play dough shapers, they loved making shapes with the cookie cutters.

Twin Bakers hard at work
Twin Bakers hard at work
Mastering the cookie at three years old
Mastering the cookie at three years old

This year now that the twins are four and a half years old, Mister and Missy were very excited about making Eid cookies. The only problem was, lack of time! Although they are off school since it’s summer, we are still working full-time, and it’s been hard to find enough time (and energy!) to start the four step process of making the dough, rolling and doing the shapes, baking the cookies, then decorating. It took us a few days, but we managed to hold a few sessions of cookie cutting and decorating. All for four cookies which they get to eat all by themselves. (the rest I set aside and decorated for friends and family)

Other things I had planned which I didn’t get to do was make sheer korma (traditional sweet vermicelli in sweet milk dessert), make cookies for more neighbours, put up more Eid decorations including lights, and doing some craft activities. Oh well there’s always next Eid!

How have you incorporated a unique holiday or celebration into your family lives? What new traditions have you started (or are thinking about starting) as your children get older?

Ambereen is a proud Canadian-Muslim MoM of 4 year old BG twins. She is already making plans for fun activities to do with the kids for the next religious holiday. You can find her blogging at 2CuteBlog.

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Foodie Friday: Cooking with kiddos

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Categories Family, Foodie Fridays, ToddlersTags 5 Comments

We have always loved to cook. In fact, one of the reasons we fell in love with our house was the big, cooking-friendly kitchen. We used to cook big meals and have all our friends over. We would peruse Coo’s Illustrated for a fun recipe to try, or browse Cooking Light for something yummy.

Having twins changed that. For the first year or so, we stopped cooking very much and focused more on survival (Can it be made in 20 minutes or less? Is it reasonably healthy? Have we only had this meal twice this week?) but now that are babies are becoming toddlers, we are cooking more, and thinking ahead to including them in our cooking and baking. Krissy wrote earlier this week about making memories with your children—baking and cooking are memories I’d like my children to have. (Check out these older HDYDI twins, having so much fun cooking! What cuties!)

The moms of HDYDI have some fantastic ideas about cooking with small children.

Be prepared for a mess
Kids aren’t neat. Kids “helping” with cooking—-really, really not neat. Accept that before you start and everyone will have more fun. For an example of this issue,  see Sarah’s experience with Chex Mix here.

Start at the end of the recipe
Think about moms doing the first 80% of the work, and the kids doing the last 20% (and the most fun), such as frosting a cake, decorating cookies, adding chocolate chips to batter or putting sprinkes on cupcakes. Later on, baking can be a good activity with lots of things to measure and pour. Pizza is another good cooking together food—moms or dads can roll out pizza dough and kiddos can put the toppings on.

Start small
Very young kids can enjoy the smallest of “helping” tasks. One suggestion, sit the kiddos on the floor, on a towel and have them stir the frozen juice and water in a plastic pitcher. Or, have them sit in chairs at the counter, stirring their own (empty) bowls with their own spoons.

Include a lot of play
If you’re making muffins, you can let them play with the mix. Peeling veggies? They can play with the peel. Or, they can dump in the oil or eggs. (Breaking eggs can be lots of fun for the older ones!). Stir! And stir some more. Another fun activity is spooning muffin mix into the tins. Or setting the timer. Some kids have their own drawer in the kitchen with mixing spoons and other cooking implements.

Cooking’s about eating
Letting kids taste what you’re making is half the fun! (Obviously, if raw eggs are involved, you need to be careful with this).

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