Tag Archives: learn

Purim Cookie: Haman’s Ears

They go by many names – and many spellings – but the Jewish festival of Purim has one standout sweet treat in this cookie.

Hamantaschen are triange-shaped cookies that can be filled with a variety of ingredients such as poppy seeds, prunes, dates, apricots, or even chocolate.

They get their name from the villain of the Purim story, Haman, who convinced the king of Persian to allow the murder of all the Jewish people in his kingdom. The Jewish people were saved by Esther, the king’s wife, who was also Jewish, although the king did not know this until she bravely came forward.

Here’s a recipe from JewishRecipes.org that you might like to try.

There are so many ways to make these cookies that the possibilities for filling, folding, and displaying them are nearly endless. Here are some ideas to get you started.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I also found a great article in the New York Times about one woman’s history with Hamantaschen, and her quest to make the “perfect” Purim cookie. You might enjoy reading it here.

Advertisements

9 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Food and Fun for St. Patrick’s Day

St. PatrickIrish or not, St. Patrick’s Day is a great excuse to have a laugh, eat some good food, and chase the snakes out of Ireland.

If you can’t make it to Ireland this year (which would be a relief for the snakes), you might as well settle for the first two tasks.

The laugh part is easy. The Irish are known for their wry sense of humor and genial wit. And no doubt your children are just looking for an excuse to repeat all the great knock-knock jokes they’ve heard on the playground. In honor of the day, check out some websites with great, kid-friendly jokes that you can use to get your kids into the spirit of the day. Here’s one to get you started:

Knock, knock
Who’s there?
Thistle who?
Thistle have to hold you until dinner’s ready.

Corned Beef and CabbageWhile you’re laughing, take some time to cook with your children. One of my favorite recipes for St. Patrick’s Day is a slow cooker version of corned beef and cabbage. The corned beef you purchase in your local grocery store comes with a flavor packet. Put the corned beef in the bottom of your slow cooker. Add diced cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. Empty the contents of the flavor packet on top of the ingredients and pour either a 12-ounce can of beer or 12 ounces of a liquid such as water or beef broth to the slow cooker. Set the slow cooker according to the directions and in about 6 hours you have a fork-tender Irish meal to enjoy!

But if – like me – you’ve exhausted the allure of corned beef, why not try something new?

Cooking Light has several recipes for entrees your family may enjoy. As a soup lover, this is the one that caught my eye: Irish Colcannon and Thyme Leaf Soup.

At the end of the meal, recite a real Irish blessing or make up one of your own. Here’s one I thought was a good fit.

An Old Celtic Blessing

May the blessing of light be on you—

light without and light within.

May the blessed sunlight shine on you

and warm your heart

till it glows like a great peat fire.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Eat, Holiday

In the News: Japan

Japanese earthquake and tsunamiThe earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan on Friday, March 11 has also led to a crisis with several nuclear reactors in that country.

The news has been full of videos, first-person accounts, and statistics about the situation and children are understandably upset and concerned.

One of the best things parents can do in these circumstances is to turn the TV off. Repeatedly watching the same footage can give children the impression that an event is happening over and over again.

At the same time, it is important to talk to children about what they have seen and heard. They may have questions about what is going on – and whether or not it will affect them, their family, and their friends.

Try to reassure your child that you are prepared for an emergency should it arise close to home. Involve your child in a discussion of what you would do in an emergency. Go over your family plan in cases of an emergency such as a fire, flood, or storm. If you don’t have a family plan, consider creating one.

Enlist their ideas about things you can do to feel more secure. They may suggest storing fresh water and non-perishable food items for your family in case of an emergency.

Talk about ways your family can help the victims of these disasters in Japan. You may want to donate money through the Red Cross or another relief organization. You may have friends or family with connections to Japan who can offer other suggestions. It may help your children to pray for the Japanese people in these difficult times.

It’s understandable to want to shield our children from the sad things in life. But if we talk to them and help them find ways to cope with how they feel we’re actually helping our children become more resilient – and therefore better able to cope with the challenges that life often presents.

5 Comments

Filed under Learn

Japanese-Americans Standing Up for Muslims

Here’s an interesting article from the Washington Post about how Japanese-Americans, who remember how they were treated in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, are responding to House Homeland Security Chairman Peter T. King (R-NY)’s decision to hold hearings about Muslims in America.

It’s wonderful to read how times of crisis can bring what we think of as disparate groups close together. And it’s definitely a message worth sharing with our children.

In school, at the playground, and in life they may be the only people available to stand up for someone else. Especially in this time of heightened awareness over bullying, it’s important to recognize that the skills they develop to deal with it in childhood will be useful to them throughout their lives.

Leave a comment

Filed under Learn

Talking to Kids About Egypt

For the past two weeks, Egyptians have been protesting in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, calling for the end of President Hosni Mubarak’s thirty years in power.

Close on the heels of a similar – but more quickly resolved – crisis in Tunisia, the situation in Egypt has been fascinating to watch on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and – oh, yes – the evening news and in newspaper accounts.

Those accounts have shown that children have been involved in the protests – almost from the beginning – and that they are playing a role in Tahrir Square as well as in their own homes, pushing their parents to join the protests.

This is not a revolution being waged by children, but it is clear that they have something to say – and it’s a great way to encourage greater understanding of power, politics, and personal freedom in your own children.

If you’d like more information on what’s happening in Egypt, read the Washington Post (yes, a daily newspaper) timeline here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Learn

Food, Family, and Chinese New Year

There are few better – or cheaper – ways to introduce your child to other cultures than through food.

With so many great ethnic restaurants, it’s easy for parents to get children accustomed to foods from different countries from an early age.

However, parents may be unsure of what to order that’s kid-friendly.

In honor of Chinese New Year, which runs February 3-15, over the next few days KidCulture will provide some suggestions to help parents choose food in Korean, Japanese, and Chinese restaurants.

In each of these countries, people celebrate Chinese New Year by sharing good food with their families and friends – and that’s a custom worth adopting.

So stay tuned for some fresh, fun, food ideas to help you introduce your child to other cultures.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Eat, Holiday

Books About Chinese New Year

Here are some suggestions for children’s books about Chinese New Year. Enjoy!

Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn, Cornelius Van Wright, and Ying-Hwa Hu

My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz

Happy Chinese New Year, Kai-lan! By Lauryn Silverhardt, Jason Fruchter, and Aka Chikasawa

Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year Lift-the-Flap Book by Joan Holub and Benrei Huang

The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale by Ying Chang Compestine and Sebastia Serra

 

1 Comment

Filed under Learn, Read

25 Days of Cookies

Kid eating cookiesBecause the holidays make us all a little crazy – but in a good way;

Because nothing says “special occasion” like baked goods;

Because the cookie is now and always shall be a universal harbinger of happiness for young and old;

And because there are just so many fantastic cookie recipes out there;

I am committed to sharing one cookie recipe on KidCulture every day from now until December 25.

Don’t get too excited – I’m not promising to bake them all myself – but I bet that through my research I come up with at least a few new bites to add to my holiday cookie jar this year.

So preheat your ovens, pull on your Santa oven mitts, and flour up your rolling pins: it’s going to get a little sweet around here for a while.

1 Comment

Filed under Eat, Holiday

Autumn Books

Mouse's First FallReady for the end of summer? Eager to jump into a pile of fresh leaves or go apple picking? One way to build excitement for the new season upon us is through books. Here are a few suggestions for books that may get your child – and you – in the spirit of the autumn season.

Clifford: Apple Picking Day by Samantha Brooke, illustrated by Jim Durk

Mouse’s First Fall by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Buket Erdogan

Apples, Apples, Everywhere: Learning About Apple Harvests by Robin Koontz, illustrated by Nadine Takvorian

Busy Animals: Learning About Animals in Autumn by Lisa Marie Bullard, illustrated by Nadine Takvorian

Leave a comment

Filed under Read

In the Lunch Room

I read this very interesting article today in the Washington Post about a project called Mix It Up, which promotes racial integration through the lunch room.  It encourages students to sit with a new crowd at lunch, which often means with people from different races or cultural backgrounds.  Although the project had mixed success, according to the article, it’s nice to know people are thinking about this.

Leave a comment

Filed under Learn