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Dec 6, 2018

5 Great Activities To Do Indoors When It's Raining

In good weather, when it is dry outside, there is nothing better than the great outdoors to keep us all entertained. A picnic on the beach, a ballgame in the park or a stroll by the river, it’s easy to fill the days with fun and enjoyment. But what if it’s raining and wet? What do we do then?

Parents with young children on school holidays are especially challenged on rainy days. Without giving them free reign to watch TV all day, playing electronic games or worse, being endlessly on their smartphone, it does need some creative thinking to keep them busy and happy indoors without spending a small fortune. Here then are some suggestions.

5 Great Activities to do Indoors when it’s Raining: 

1. Cooking / Baking 

Christmas is near and it’s time to think about making or baking some festive food to eat at home over the holiday season and as gifts for friends and family. Enlist the help of your kids to make sumptuous chocolate truffles and wrap them prettily in bags with ribbons. Make a panforte as an extra to the traditional Christmas cake or get down to some pickling and preserving of the season's produce. In pretty packages or decorated jam jars, these gifts are usually much appreciated but they do take time and effort, so a rainy day indoors is perfect for getting down to it.
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2. Learning a New Skill Together

We come back to the festive season theme of making gifts instead of buying them. Perhaps this is the year when you and the family learn jewelry making, wood carving, screen painting, pottery, embroidery, etc. If YouTube doesn’t give you enough instructions, there may be workshops locally that would interest. For example, the Artsy Hive in Miami have walk-in pottery painting sessions. Anhinga Clay Studio in Miami offer winter camp days for children who want to be creative with their hands.


3. Dancing

There is no better way to break a sweat and it costs next to nothing. All you need is music. If you’ve never learned to salsa, now is the time. It’s raining outside so shift the furniture round and clear some floor space. Again YouTube can come in useful. Salsa, cha-cha-cha, foxtrot, get the kids to show you some hip-hop, teach them to jive!

4. Yoga

We’re sticking to exercise here. It’s slower than dancing but equally challenging, good fun and will burn up some energy. Plus, this will make you and the family feel so good afterwards! There are lots of beginners to advanced yoga classes accessible online these days, so if you don’t want to take a trip to your nearest yoga studio try a class together at home.

5. Museums

When you’ve had enough of staying at home, there are always museums to go to on a rainy day. Yes, this can be an expensive trip especially if there are a few of you but there are still museums that will offer free admissions.
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Some examples in Miami are the:

Institute of Contemporary Art - admission is always free with guided tours at 2.00pm.
HistoryMiami Museum - free all day every 2nd Saturday of the month.
Miami Children’s Museum - free admission on the 3rd Friday of the month.
Historic Homestead Town Hall Museum - admission is always free.

Don't let the rain put a damper on things. Enjoy the day indoors!

About the Author

Emily Dick is a mom of one, a young girl named Daisy. She is the inspiration behind Emily’s new venture into the world of writing – parenting website whooopsAdaisy. Here, she writes about a range of topics and reviews some of the best toys, games and gifts for children of all ages, from babies to school-aged children.
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Dec 4, 2018

All About Butter

If you are going to be cooking and baking this holidays season using real butter, you should take a look at this helpful infographic. You can also read more here regarding butter grades and standards. 

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Dec 1, 2018

How To Prevent Your Turkey From Looking Pale Without Overcooking It

We've all seen it all over social media. The curse of the pale turkey. It's not pretty at all. I admit that I panic every year when it comes to roasting a turkey. I have finally gotten a good handle on how to bake it to the perfect crisp, golden brown while making sure it's super juicy, and fully cooked.
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My first bit of advice it to ditch the baking bags or aluminum foil to cover the entire bird. Using either of those steams your turkey, and sometimes makes for a chewy, rubbery texture. The entire process really comes down to using the correct oven temperature, as well as baking your turkey with an oven-safe meat thermometer.

Here is the simple breakdown of what I do 

Start with a fresh or fully thawed turkey. Remove the giblets and neck, and discard. Next,  wash the turkey with citrus juice (usually lemon or lime) inside and out. Rinse it well, and dry with paper towels. I use a heavy turkey roasting pan with a rack so that the turkey sits up higher, and the underside gets brown as well. Heat your oven to 325 degrees.

I blend together a small bowl of dry seasonings such as salt, garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, Complete seasoning, black pepper, cayenne, and a variety of dried herbs. I sprinkle the seasoning blend all over the outside of the turkey, as well as the cavity, and under the skin of the breast. I also rub some room temperature butter under the skin of the breast, and all over the bird. Next, you tuck your wings under the back, and insert your meat thermometer in the deepest part of the breast. Place your turkey on the rack breast side up, and pour one can of chicken or vegetable stock in the bottom of roasting pan. I also add some rough chopped onion and celery on bottom of roaster, and inside the cavity for extra flavor.

Now you place turkey in preheated oven and leave it for the first hour. Baste with the drippings from the bottom of pan every 30 minutes until your thermometer reaches the correct temperature for turkey which is 190 degrees. I tend to loosely cover the breast area and wings with foil to prevent over browning. For a turkey between 15-18 pounds, it should take around 3 and 3/4 to 4 hours to fully cook. When you remove your turkey from oven, cover completely with foil and let it rest for a good 15-20 minutes before carving. I use the drippings to make homemade gravy.

If you are planning to roast a turkey this holiday season, follow these directions. You will have a perfectly juicy, golden-brown masterpiece you will feel proud to serve your family and guests. I freeze the drumsticks, and wings for later use to make soup. I hope you and your family have a great holiday season! Thanks for stopping by.



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Nov 27, 2018

Top 6 Benefits To Visiting Japan

Japan, the land of the rising sun, is a nation that was rich for its warriors, spirituality, and technological marvels even when the rest of the world was still technologically impaired.

Even today, Japan is a country rich in culture and history unlike any other nation in the world. Thankfully, travel has never been easier, or cheaper than it is today, so if you’re craving intrigue and adventure, Japan may be where you seek.

Here are the top six benefits to visiting Japan:

Tradition Meets Modern

From the very second a tourist steps off the plane, one may find themselves both captivated and alluded by the unseeing marriage of ancient traditions of perfectionism and honor married with modern technology and pop culture.

What may appear as a chaotic combination, you’ll soon come to realize that japan is anything but, everything serves a purpose, often rooted deeply in tradition but designed to fit the constructs of the 21st century.

Cherry Blossoms

In the early weeks of April, both natives and foreigners alike come to Maruyama-Kōen park in Southern area of Higashiyama to witness the blossoms of Japan’s legendary yet beautiful pink cherry blossoms.

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Visitors will be graced with the simplistic and understated elegance of nature on the small footpaths that lead through the parks forest to a small pond in the parks center which is guaranteed to lend a moment of silent meditation and the possibility of sudden enlightenment.

Mount Fuji

If you wind yourself in Japan during its optimal cloning months, ranging from early July to the end of August, one may consider attempting the historic and mysterious mountain of Fuji. 

The mountain itself has ten levels to reach the summit, starting at the base of the mountain, and spanning to the tenth level at the summit. For first time climbers, there are plenty of buses and tours that will take you half way up the mountain to the Yoshida Trail, which is a moderate level trail that gives adventurous hikers five to six hours of unparalleled beauty high above the clouds to the summit of the mountain.

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For more seasoned hikers and adventurers, there is the old Yoshidaguchi trial which is a 19 kilometer hike from the town of Yoshida to the summit.

There are several other paths you can take depending on if you’re coming from Osaka or Kyoto but it’s advisable to start small and work your way up a more populated pathway until you’re familiar with the terrain.

Oku-No-In

For the spirituality and philosophically minded, the temple of Oku-No-In is said to be one of the most beautiful and spiritual places in all of Japan.


A center of Japanese Buddhists, visitors are greater by a massive alpine forest where the ancient stone path begins, bordered by a seemingly endless amount of stone lamps, also know as stupas, all of which lead to a massive Shingon Buddhist temple which houses the remains of what the Japanese call “the waiting spirits”, which also is home to over 200,000 graves, some of which are the final resting places of feudalistic warlords and legendary monks who were a part of the spiritual revolution of japan.

If you’re feeling adventurous, once at the temple, just off the path, visitors are greeted by the Miroku Stone, which is housed in a small cage.

It is said that if a visitor can lift the stone from the lower tier to the upper platform with one hand, the purer the soul of the person, as it is stated in legend that the heavier the stone, the more malevolent the soul.

Jigokudani

Jigokudani, translated to “Hell’s Valley” due to its boiling hot springs and steam vents that emit from the surrounding landscapes, situated in a frozen valley surrounded by steep and jagged cliffs.

Aside from the hot springs and vents, Jigokudani is home to a native species of Japanese snow monkey that move down from the heights during the freezing winter weather to warm themselves in the parks hot springs before retiring to the cliffs after they get their fill.

Himeji Castle

A classic example of ancient Japanese architecture, Himeji castle is considered one of the most beautiful and preserved structures of antiquity from the feudal era of Japan.

The castle has survived and been rebuilt after countless attacks over the centuries, it and its fortifications still stand over the surrounding landscape like a bird of the prey.

Visiting Japan

Japan is an island nation is blossoming with culture, history, and beauty where a traveler won’t find anywhere else. So take a step back and forget what you thought you knew, because this is a land unlike no other.

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Nov 25, 2018

The LEGO® Movie 2: The Second Part – In Theaters February 8

The much-anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed, global box office phenomenon that started it all, “The LEGO® Movie 2: The Second Part” reunites the heroes of Bricksburg in an all new action-packed adventure to save their beloved city.  It’s been five years since everything was awesome and the citizens are now facing a huge new threat: LEGO DUPLO® invaders from outer space, wrecking everything faster than it can be rebuilt.

The battle to defeat the invaders and restore harmony to the LEGO universe will take Emmet, Lucy, Batman and their friends to faraway, unexplored worlds, including a strange galaxy where everything is a musical. It will test their courage, creativity and Master Building skills, and reveal just how special they really are.



Reprising their starring roles from the first film are Chris Pratt as Emmet, Elizabeth Banks as Lucy (aka Wyldstyle), Will Arnett as LEGO Batman, Charlie Day as Benny, Alison Brie as Unikitty, and Nick Offerman as Metal Beard.  They are joined by Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz, and Arturo Castro as, respectively, new characters Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi, Sweet Mayhem and Ice Cream Cone, and by Maya Rudolph.

“The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” is directed by Mike Mitchell (“Shrek Ever After,” “Trolls,” “Sky High”).  It is produced by Dan Lin, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and Roy Lee, the team behind the LEGO film franchise since “The LEGO Movie” debuted in 2014, and by Jinko Gotoh.  The screenplay is written by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, based on LEGO Construction Toys.

Serving as executive producers are Jill Wilfert, Keith Malone, Matthew Ashton, Chris McKay, Zareh Nalbandian, Ryan Halprin, Will Allegra, and Chris Leahy. Patrick Marc Hanenberger (“Rise of the Guardians”) is the production designer, and Claire Knight is the editor.  The music is composed by Mark Mothersbaugh (“Thor: Ragnorak,” “The LEGO Movie”).  Trisha Gum is the animation director.

The film opens nationwide in 2D and 3D on Friday, February 8, 2019.

Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Animation Group present, in association with LEGO System A/S, a Rideback/Lord Miller/Vertigo Entertainment Production, “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part,” distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

LEGO, DUPLO, the LEGO logo, the minifigure and the brick and knob configuration are trademarks of The LEGO Group. ©2018/2019 The LEGO Group. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
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