This week is Tu Bshvat! I only know because I saw the display of dates and carob being set up in my corner grocery late Friday afternoon, which is when I ran in so I could start cooking an hour before Shabbos, if you want to know how I roll.
It reminded me to bring the kids to the store to choose a new fruit. That’s been our tradition so far – feeling the fruits, checking the price (math), choosing one to bring home to cut open at supper. Pro tip: I make sure to get an ugly rambutan and discuss how it looks vs how it tastes.
It used to be no biggie for me to take two and then three kids into the store. It was our daily afternoon activity, straight from the bus.
These days I do deliveries only and have different bus and pickup schedules. I’ll have to consciously make time to get us all out into the store, AND I even caught myself thinking of making fruit kabobs.
That thought gave me a huge laugh (internally. I didn’t laugh on the street like a weirdo, although I did dictate this email to my phone) because I distinctly remember posting this on Instagram 3 years ago…
At the time, my oldest had started preschool and was turning 4. The toddler was 18 months, and the newborn 13 days. You bet I wasn’t doing anything, let alone anything special. (I probably started the shopping tradition the following year.)
That’s the thing about these family traditions. You gotta be up for actually doing them. Or, the tradition really depends on the family.
When it comes to special days on the calendar, you can decide how you want to celebrate it in your house. For me, it’s been more about my bandwidth than any inherent connection or appreciation or even acknowledgement of the day.
It gets a little hazy with a “minor” holiday that doesn’t really have obligations* but does have a lot of cute craft potential. In other words… lots of Pinterest-y pressure! Or Instagram. Or Whatsapp status. Or wherever you get your daily dose of insufficiency from.
If your kid is in playgroup or school- good news! Morah’s on it. I’m a really big believer in the importance of the home environment, and I’m also really happy for my kids to have experiences with a teacher whose face lights up just talking about her sensory bins. It takes a village, and all.
If your child is too young for school, they can celebrate it in the future. Exactly one year from now. When this day magically appears again.
→ So if you’re a mom who wants to forget about this day… do it guilt free.
(*It is customary to eat fruits from Israel – olives, dates, grapes, figs and pomegranates – and make a shehechiyanu on a new fruit.)
→ If you’re a mom who loves to be extra, go do all the extra.
→ Not sure whether to go zero or 100? Here are some simple ideas to help land you in the middle:
Educational, with no extra effort:
- Cut open an orange and discuss whole, half, quarter
- Discuss how a fruit looks outside vs tastes inside (works best for the weird exotic ones)
- Compare fresh and dried fruit (grapes, apricots)
- If you bring your child to the store – involve them in the process, including choosing quantity and weighing it on the scale themselves
- Throw plastic fruits into the bathtub (we actually love these sensory rocks in general) and do color matching with stacking cups
- Cut up a fruit salad
- Serve a charcuterie fruit board, ie a deconstructed fruit salad with cocktail picks or fancy toothpicks
- Make fruit shish kabob (grapes, apple chunks, orange slices)
- Give kids fruits and knives (we have a crinkle cutter and these plastic ones) and let them practice their skills
- Super ambitious, and not for me this year- make fruit leather (Google for a recipe)
- Make a fruit sensory bin – sooo not me, Google for ideas
- If you’re feeling fancy, try this chicken recipe with dates – this is a beautiful dish when hosting, btw
I’m going to err on the side of realistic and add a bunch of fruit to my online order, just in case we don’t make it to the store all together. Real life!
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