Saturday, July 26, 2014

Traveling on a Budget? Check Out These Kid-Friendly Attractions in Washington, D.C.!

Washington, D.C.'s Smithsonian Institution provides some of the most visited museums in the world, and they cover a wide variety of topics to suit any person's interests. Their vast collections have something for everyone, including the kids! Here are two of the best kid-friendly attractions in our nation's capital. Bonus: Both offer free admission!

Smithsonian National Zoological Park
Also known as the National Zoo, the Smithsonian National Zoological Park is home to more than 400 species of animals. They offer daily tours and interactive exhibits just about every day out of the year. Stop by the Asia Trail to see the famous giant pandas, clouded leopards, and sloth bears. Go on safari through the African Savanna exhibit to find cheetahs, Cape buffalo, black rhinos, and more. The National Zoo is dedicated to providing a fun learning experience for everyone who visits, so admission is always free!

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
See for yourself why the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History is the most visited natural history museum in the world. The kids will never grow tired of the more than 126 million natural science specimens and cultural artifacts. Enjoy a guided tour that will take you back in time, or set your gaze upon the world famous Hope Diamond. The little ones will love to walk among mummies and grow their minds with one of the richest collections of historical artifacts in the world. The museum is open 364 days a year, and admission is free of charge.

Shop Trendy, Colorful Accessories at Charming Charlie

For the latest trends in jewelry and accessories, check out Charming Charlie in National Harbor. You might be overwhelmed by the extensive jewelry selection at first, but the goods here are arranged by color, so go right for your favorite color (or colors) and start shopping!

You'll find an assortment of on-trend jewelry and accessories, as well as original and unique costume jewelry—all at wallet-friendly prices. (Regulars say that you can’t beat the price considering the decent quality of the items.) Whether you’re looking for necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, watches, or headbands, you’ll find it here. Charming Charlie also stocks pricier handbags, clothing, and shoes. No doubt you’ll be charmed by Charlie’s creations and leave with a few pieces that’ll have people talking.

Check the website for hours and more information.

Charming Charlie
162 Waterfront Street
National Harbor, MD 20745
(301) 567-3191

Walter C. Pierce Community Park: A Quintessential DC Neighborhood Park

If you love the feel of a neighborhood park, check out Walter C. Pierce Community Park in Washington D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood. The park is a small urban park, but offers plenty of family friendly activities including a playground with swing sets and slides. There is a multi-use playing field for soccer and other open area games, as well as a basketball court. There are plenty of picnic tables and benches to enjoy an outdoor lunch, or bring your chess set for an outdoor match on one of their chess tables. The dog park is a big draw for area residents and their furry friends.

Walter C. Pierce Community Park
2630 Adams Mill Road NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 588-7332

Happy 4th of July

We hope everyone has a safe and happy day as we celebrate America's Independence. Happy 4th of July!

Anacostia Park: A Natural Haven Since 1926

Though technically a part of D.C., Anacostia Park is a mere drive from Maryland—a trip that's well worth the time, if you enjoy exercising in the fresh air.

The park was born in 1926 of a decision by Congress. It decreed that this site, a flood plain at the time, could be repurposed as a recreational area. It was the first flood plain in the nation to be awarded this honor, and the team who designed Anacostia Park was obviously well aware of the importance.

Not only is Anacostia Park home to hundreds of acres' worth of space for outdoor play, but also it serves as a source of protection for the Kenilworth Marsh and Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. You can feel free to visit these sites on your way to the 18-hole golf course, driving range, or the pavilion, the latter housing 3,300 square feet of open space used for various events—and sometimes even roller skating.

Anacostia Park
Washington, D.C. 20020
(202) 575-0306

Expect American Fare With an International Twist at Infuse

Infuse features a chic, modern ambiance and a flavorful fusion menu of food and drink.Here, the focus is on American fare with an international twist. Expect your favorite American dishes, but with the flavors of Italian and Asian cuisines.

Get your motor humming in the a.m. with a Breakfast Burrito, Biscuits and Gravy, Steak and Eggs, French Toast, Pancakes, Waffles, Frittatas, and Omelets. Their "8 meals under $9 in 10 minutes" is great for people on a busy schedule. Choose from a Chicken Quesadilla, Classic Burger, Fried Fish Sandwich, Turkey Balsamic Sandwich, and Steak and Cheese. Dinnertime is when you can kick back with a cocktail and an entree like Roasted Chicken with herb jus, Broiled Crab Cakes with Cajun remoulade, Mixed Grill with grilled shrimp and sirloin steak, Center Cut Pork Chop with apple sauce, and Fish and Grits with blackened tilapia. Sides include Mashed Red Potatoes, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Rice Pilaf, Steamed Broccoli and Sauteed Spinach.

6339 Allentown Road
Temple Hills, MD 20748
(301) 449-9000

Commit These Must-Know Kitchen Terms to Memory

Knowing the proper kitchen terms can mean the difference between your cake rising or flopping, your casserole baking or burning, and your steak tasting juicy and flavorful instead of dry and bland. Here are a few cooking terms that every at-home chef should know.

  1. Al dente. Though you’ve likely seen this term on the menu at your favorite Italian restaurant, do you know what it means in terms of cooking? Al dente literally translates to “to the tooth,” which describes the tender yet firm way that pasta should feel after cooking.
  2. Blanch. To blanch something, like an egg or greens, means to completely submerge it in rapidly boiling water and cook it just slightly.
  3. Caramelize. Caramelizing involves heating sugar enough for it to turn brown and have a special crunchy taste. This is normally applied to desserts, meats, or onions.
  4. Clarify. To clarify means to remove the solids from a liquid until said liquid turns clear. For example, when you skim the foam from the top of a pot of broth or remove the milk fat from butter.

Glossary of Basic Cooking Terms [Les Petites Gourmettes]
Cooking Terms [Recipe Goldmine]
Glossary of Cooking Terms [UMN]
Glossary of Cooking Terms [Better Homes & Gardens]
Culinary Terms []

Happy Father’s Day!

Today we want to take time to wish all the Dads out there a very happy day! We hope all the Fathers near and far have a great day relaxing with loved ones!

Family Fun Doesn’t Break the Bank at Temple Hills Skating Palace

Strap on your wheels and head to Temple Hills Skating Palace to get your groove on in a fun, active setting. What better fun than to roll around a rink with friends to hip hop and R&B tunes?

Skating is a great activity for a family outing, birthday party, date night, or outing with friends. Better still, reasonable prices mean you don’t have to break the bank to have fun! Special times are set aside for family skating, adult skating, and teen skating. Having a birthday party or other special event? Turn it into a skating party and make it a smash success. They give lessons, too, if you don’t know how to skate.

See the Temple Hills Skating Palace website for pricing and schedules.

Temple Hills Skating Palace
3132 Branch Avenue
Temple Hills, MD 20748
(301) 505-6490

Ride the Mini Train and Antique Carousel at Watkins Regional Park

Most modern children grow up immersed in technology, but Watkins Regional Park enables entires families to explore in the fresh air with its back-to-basics approach to outdoor recreation. The antique carousel is a big draw, outfitted with vintage ponies that bob up and down, much to the delight of their riders. But the old-school mini golf course also reigns as a popular attraction, with retro touches like a stunted lighthouse and red cottage acting as obstacles for golfers.

No visit to the park would be complete without a ride on the miniature locomotive, a replica of a C.P. Huntington train that chugs around the fringes of Watkins Regional Park. The train was handcrafted in Wichita, Kansas, and it's actually the second train that's lived here. The first train was retired (but it's still in storage, awaiting another chance at the rails).

For the more conventional park-goers, the park also plays host to trails, tennis courts, and baseball fields. There's also plenty of space to spread out a picnic, so stock up your basket before making the trip.

Watkins Regional Park
301 Watkins Park Drive
Upper Marlboro, MD 20774
(301) 249-9220