Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Ramadan and Eid

Growing up I definitely wished I could celebrate Christmas like the rest of my school friends. Eid was fun, but it didn't seem nearly as exciting as Christmas did. So I decided to change that for my kids. My goal with doing all these holiday activities was to encourage my children to love their own culture and religion, without feeling left out during the holidays that others around them may celebrate. We have now been doing a Ramadan Advent Calendar for two year and my son absolutely loves it! Holidays should not be only about decorating and getting gifts they should also be about the importance of our values and belief in God. With each holiday I do emphasize why we celebrate what we do. During Ramadan we explain the importance of fasting, how it benefits our body and also gives us appreciation for those who may have less than we do on a normal basis. We talk about how fasting is not just for food but for keeping away from activities we should always avoid and to redirect our focus on prayer and love for God. On Eid we talk about traditions of prophet Muhammad pbuh: going for morning Eid salaat, wearing new clothes, handing out treats and spending time with our loved ones. For Eid ul Adha we discussed the story of prophet Ibrahim pbuh, how he trusted and was so devoted to Allah swt

Crafts and Activities: masjid coloring pages, crescent/star hanging ornaments, make your own tasbeeh (prayer beads), sheep cupcake decorating party
For Others: collecting toys for new refugee children in the community, writing Eid cards to our cousins far away and baking cookies to give on Eid namaaz to our friends nearby. My kids are still very young (5, 2 and under 1), but as they grow older I do hope to continue with more altruistic activities.
Family Traditions: Praying maghrib namaaz as a family and reading our favorite Islamic books before bed. Listening to nasheeds on Spotify by Dawud Wharnsby and Yusuf Islam during car rides to school. Watching Baba Ali and Zaki videos on youtube to learn manners and stories from the Quran.

Making holidays fun for the kids really doesn't have to be expensive or a lot of hard work. I found some affordable vendors who I purchased adorable decorations from, but I also made a few trips to Michaels/dollar stores to make our own as well. I probably spent the most amount on Islamic books, but to me that was worth the cost. A great way to save on that is to do a book exchange with friends every Friday. This way your children can get exposure to new reading material without having to spend a lot.

I hope you enjoy a glimpse below into our holiday traditions. I will do a new post soon to tell you our reviews of the reading material!

Our Ramadan Advent Calendar Goodie Bags. Kids can open one bag each evening counting down to Eid, filled with treats inside.

Our nightly reading selection in honor of Ramadan/Eid. 

using the Snapchat Filter to wish all her friends!
We are big on banners in our house. This was recycled from last year, it came in a DIY banner kit from Target

Keeping busy during the day doing activities per our Rafiq and Friends guide. Rafiq was our version of Elf on a Shelf this year. Loved the book and activity cards he came with. Super cute illustrations and engaging stories.

Praying with Baba before we break our fast for the day.

Kept the Pom Poms, swapped out the banner.  Using Sweet fajr lantern template and Imaginaryart Masjid Template

Onesie by JasmineandMarigold Skirt from Amazon

coloring Eid Cards to mail to our friends. Cards from GupshupGreetings

gifts wrapped and ready to be opened after Eid prayer
Eid favors for our friends, labels courtesy of my good friend over at Gupshup Greetings
Sheep shaped cookie cutter purchased via Etsy to bring these adorable Eid ul Adha cookies to life!
Eid Trifle for our Chand Raat party, yes I know the D is off centered. Its bothering me too! 

We attended a Make your Own Sheep cupcake party!

Masjid Ramadan coloring page via Imaginairyart

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Ali's 5th Superhero Birthday Party!

How adorable does my little guy look!

Print POP/BAM signs here and Super Hero banner letters here all for freeee!

Here's the kid's tablescape, a shot of our photo booth backdrop (bought from Target) and a view of the dessert/party favor table. I got mostly all my decor items from the Dollar store, Walmart, and Target. 

Table sign and Super hero cupcake toppers found here and here for free!

Just an AWESOME day at the park, light breeze no humidity. Tampa winter weather FTW!


 What more can a kid want than a party in the park with his buddies, some facepainting and balloons?


Photo Booth Fun: All the masks were printed from here and here, just need a colored printer! To make them fancier/sturdy I glued them onto poster paper and taped them to wooden dowels found at Michael's/Walmart. 

Spiderman (and a few imposters) with his posse!

The boys loveddd this. Spiderman did 30 minutes of stunts/backflips and posing with everyone. The kids got to ask him all sorts of crazy questions like how do you eat if you have no mouth lol it was great.

Now a closer look at the food/dessert table:


Snacks: Thors Hammers with cheese, Spidey Dip with chips, Avengers Cheez Its, PopBAMcorn,  Entrees: Chicken/Egg Salad Sandwiches, Pizza, Baked Ziti
Dessert: Cupcakes, Brownies and Cake. 
Simple yet perfect for a fun birthday party. 
I really loved how the cake turned out. The girl who did the cake was amazing, it tasted so good the fondant wasn't super hard and the cookies and cream filling was delicious. Success. 

Food labels from here and water bottle labels from here again all for free!!

check out that glowing smile, my little guy soaking in all the singing just for him!

Because I didn't have the heart to throw out the banner/signage I worked so hard to print/cut/paste, I decided to reuse it as... Door Decor!

Behind the scenes: 

Favor bag designs printed from here

Also, inside each favor bag I had Ali draw a picture (of course he draws Sully and Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc instead of superheros!) and write thank you to all his friends using this template  then we filled it with the usual superhero party favor items you can find at Walmart/Target.

Another Win: Post Halloween, these Avengers/Spiderman kits were on sale at Target for 75% off, I knew they'd come in handy. Kids thoroughly loved the glow sticks! 

Since Ali is blessed with an accountant mama I had a budget for everything before I started working on it. I knew we didn't want to spend a ton, but I did want to make it super fun. Here's how the finances all panned out:
Facepaint/Balloon/Spiderman  $275
Superhero Cake 50
Park Shelter Fees 50
Party Favors 50
Food 150
Paper Products/Table covers 50
Total Cost $625

The main things were the entertainment, cake, and venue. To me it was worth seeing Ali's excitement to pay for Spider-man and the cake was something he was really looking forward to so I got very lucky to find a girl who made the fondant cake for so cheap! The park location (Ballast Point Park in South Tampa) was also important to us, this park had a kids splash area (ended up being a little to chilly for water play but on a sunny day this is ideal in Florida), a really big non messy playground (no mulch!), big covered shelters (it randomly rains in Tampa a lot) and this beautiful pier/dock area where lots of families went post party to take pictures. It can get very crowded on a nice day, so I'm glad we booked the shelter ahead of time. 

I purposely kept the menu very simple/affordable, because being so pregnant I didn't have a ton of energy to cook up a storm plus I knew with being outdoors it had to be easy finger foods that didn't require a lot of effort to prep or eat. I think overall everyone enjoyed the food. I did bake the cupcakes and brownies myself along with the sandwiches and pasta. Ali's talented dad made the Spidey dip. We had plenty of food to feed 40 adults and 35 kids. I also used a lot of paper products leftover from previous parties. I'm probably over estimating in my cost of that. I only did the themed matching items for the kids table.

Printing out the decorations really saved us a TON of money and made everything look way fancier; it was a relief not to pay the prices some people were charging on Etsy for these same items! The boys superhero costumes were old Halloween costumes, I got the Superman bow tie from H&M on sale a long time ago and held onto it for this event. The reversible Batman/Superman cape I wore was a gift my mom gave Ali years ago. I also decorated the cake table with Super hero figures Ali had been gifted in the past (you can find them all at Target/Walmart though). I got mine and hubby's shirts from Walmart, $7.99 each I think? So yeah it was very easy to stay within budget for me and thankfully everything turned out great. Kids had a blast, what more can you ask?