We’ve done a lot of piddly stuff this weekend.
I answered over 70 emails that have been sitting there taunting me (still have over 30 to go), played some games, ate a lot food, and just generally took it easy.
Yesterday some friends of our stopped by from out of town. Last time they were here about 2 months ago, the boys were in desperate need of haircuts. So of course, now that these same friends stopped by, our boys still looked like wild children.
So today they visited Dad’s Barbershop, conveniently located in our bathroom.
Walt’s hair is the most different than his brothers. It is naturally curly and very, very dense. Much like a Brillo pad.
Today we opted for a buzz cut, mainly because Walt wanted me to mess with his hair.
This was then followed by the punk rocker look, which he really loves (right).
In the end I was left with one of my least favorite jobs, which is cleaning up the mountain of hair left on the floor.
The picture below does not do justice to the amount of hair. Plus, I almost always get at least one hair splinter in my foot from Walt’s Superman-like hair. They’re like barbwire, I tell ya’.
Below the picture of the pile of hair you’ll see the final products.
Sometimes I goof up on the haircuts and some days I do alright. Either way, I save us at least $50 by doing this ourselves. And since we also worked on Christmas lists this weekend, I think we’re going to need that $50.
Here’s Tommy’s haircut:
And Sam (who has the craziest cowlicks I’ve ever seen):
Today we decided to head to the park and walk around a bit. We only did about a mile, but with 4 boys, a dog, a pregnant woman, a priest, and a guy who needs to start running again, a mile was pretty good for us!
Afterward, the boys (and Father Roderick) got some time in on the playground. Here are some photos from the quick outing.
Given that we decided to experiment a bit this year with our side dishes, desserts, and even how we made the turkey for Thanksgiving, I decided to try to be additionally adventurous as the kitchen was being cleaned.
My mom has long made soups from what seems like just about any meat left on a bone. Ham soup, chicken soup, turkey soup, whatever.
I’d recently read or heard (can’t remember where) that the start to making turkey soup is simply to leave the turkey carcass in water and boil it for a few hours to make stock.
Since my mom was here for dinner, I asked for some first hand instructions.
First thing she told me was to not clean out the pan that we used for gravy. So once we emptied out the leftover gravy, without wiping it down, I put the turkey bones back in and filled it with water.
After a couple of hours, it only took about 15 minutes to pick off the remaining bones and I could have stopped there and still had a great turkey soup.
But while we made the turkey, we also cooked a ton of carrots, turnips, and onions all around and under the turkey, and then ran all those vegetables through a food processor to make a really tasty paste that sort of looked like baby food. Some of that went into the gravy, but the rest I poured into the broth.
Lastly, I chopped up four carrots, three stalks of celery, and a big ol’ potato and dropped them into the broth.
I’m not a big soup fan, but this is looking really good to me.
The only problem is I’m afraid it’ll make so much that we’ll be eating turkey soup for months!
I think I’ll be taking over some plentiful helpings of soup to my parents and Jennifer’s folks tomorrow!
Well, not really. But is it okay if I live vicariously through Vicky, our very first paid employee?
Vicky processed mail for us for quite some time (sorry, Vicky, I don’t remember how long) before she left for college. Now she’s a drum major for Georgia Tech’s marching band. They’re in New York right now for the Macy’s parade, and Vicky was interviewed on Fox & Friends.
Maria Johnson, who co-wrote all the episodes of That Catholic Show, is Vicky’s mom. And her sister Christy currently works for us processing Rosary requests for Rosary Army. You think Maria’s feeling a little bit proud after seeing this video?
By the way, please pray for Christy and her brother Jonathan. She just had schnozz surgery and Jonathan just had knee surgery. Talk about elaborate ways of getting out of helping with Thanksgiving preparations!
After bringing it inside, I cleaned it off, patted it dry, and mixed together a rub of a little salt, pepper, tarragon, thyme, rosemary, and a few other herbs. Smelled so good!
Then, using a trick I saw on Food Network, I dug into the skin and separated it a bit from the turkey meat itself. We always wondered why the dry rub never quite penetrated the bird in the past as much as we’d expect it to. Well, apparently that pesky skin gets in the way.
So after making enough space to get my hand in there, we poured in some vegetable oil between the skin and bird, then rubbed the herb mix in there as best I could.
Once that was all done, we stuck the bird in the oven for the first 30 minute round of heating.
Thanksgiving is under way!
Now I’m going to finally drink my first cup of decaf and relax a bit.
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!
After debating whether we should fry the turkey, grill the turkey, or just stick the turkey in the oven, we went with the original idea of putting the turkey in a brine and letting it marinate overnight prior to roasting. Apparently you can’t brine a bird and then fry it, so we decided to brine it and just doing the stand-by oven method combined with a really good dry rub that we’ve used in the past.
This was our first time brining the turkey, so we weren’t sure what we were doing.
After research and talking to our friends Linda and Jeff (who first introduced us to a brined turkey last Thanksgiving), as well as suggestions we got from our radio show yesterday, we went out and bought a 5 gallon bucket with a lid from the hardware store.
The brine itself was really easy. We just filled the bucket with 1.5 gallons of water, a cup of salt, and 3/4 cup brown sugar.
Before we even started cooking the turkey, the brine solution already smelled awesome.
After making the brine, we added the bird to the bucket and added a bunch of ice.
Below is a photo of the turkey in the bucket with brine just before we added ice.
After the turkey was done and Jennifer finished prepping a few other things for tonight, we packed into the van and headed to Jeff and Linda’s.
See how Linda is a blur in the photo below? Yeah, that’s really how she is. She’s like the Flash in the kitchen. Amazing hostess extraordinaire.
Here we’re all waiting to dive into the food. My folks are on the left and Jennifer’s mom is the one talking to Jennifer.
Father Roderick enjoying a beer and waiting for the food, as well.
Believe it or not, this picture was actually taken before all of the rest of the spread was added to the table. Food a’plenty!
My first plate. A photo of my second and third plates would have been redundant.
Lots of fun, lots of food, and more in store tomorrow. I’m tellin’ ya, I love Thanksgiving.
“Hey do you still have your H4 recorder?” he asked me.
I directed him where to find it, and next thing I knew we were recording one of Fr. Roderick’s infamous travelogue podcasts.
He’s uploading it as I type over at SQPN.com.
It should be a fun little episode. We talked a lot about food, took a drive over to my parents’ house to get Tommy, and then back again. It’s amazing how many things you can find to talk about on a short half hour drive.
Along the way Father asked me about how I use my iPhone to update this website. Basically, I use the free web app from WordPress, take photos with my phone, and upload via the WordPress app.
To demonstrate, I took these two pictures of Fr. Roderick.
So if you listen to the podcast and look at the pictures at the same time, it’ll be like a real multi-media event!
This week Ben and Tom have been fighting and yelling a lot this week. As a result, the strikes have been adding up against them for Family Fun Night. Sam and Walt have earned zero strikes, but Ben and Tom have been racking them up left and right.
As a team, the boys have 30 potential chances over the course of the week to lose Family Fun Night. Anytime they do something we don’t like, or they don’t do something they’re supposed to, they’ll get a strike on a chart we keep on the fridge. That’s basically one strike per kid per day.
Last night Tom and Ben used up 4 in less than 5 minutes.
So now, with Family Fun night at risk at less than 15 strikes remaining before Friday, this morning Sam presented me with the fancy schmancy document you see in this picture. It was titled, “The Family Fun Night Compromise” and reads as follows:
On Nov. 28th, is the next Family Fun Night. If Ben and Tom keep getting striks(sic), it will not happen. So I subject that if they strik (sic) out, and me and Walter don’t get any the whole week, Ben and Tom will go to bed and me and Walter will have family fun night. But if we get any, then no fun for anyone.
He tried to get us to sign it. But considering that their brothers often fight and do other stupid stuff right in front of the older brothers, and the older brothers rarely try to stop them, this “compromise” would go against the spirit of teamwork Jennifer and I are trying to foster.
In other words, Sam, tough luck. 🙂
We’re going over to the house of some friends of ours tonight (Captain Jeff and Linda!) for a pre-Thanksgiving get together.
Last year we saw this recipe being made on Food Network and Jennifer never forgot about it.
We were asked to bring heavy hordeuvres. Jennifer just finished making the heart-pounding Pesto, sausage, cheese roll in this picture.
I imagine this week I’ll be taking a lot of random photos while Father Roderick is visiting. Also, since he’s actually sleeping in the studio, we’ll be trading off on different computers so he can check his email and stuff.
Anyway, here’s Father, minutes before we go live on today’s edition of The Catholics Next Door.
Father Roderick has arrived and the kids have been swarming around him since he walked in the door.
Pork chops for dinner. Woo hoo!
Here’s the video we talked about on today’s program. If you have questions about Reconciliation, be sure to check out the Catechism starting with paragraph 1422.
I’m at the doctor right now with Tommy. So far the tally is:
Walt’s tonsils removed today.
Sam has strep.
Ben has strep.
Tommy has strep.
Jennifer and I both wonder if we should get tested again, but it’s too late on Friday for the doctor.
*UPDATE: I managed to get to a doctor today and tested negative for strep, so once again, it’s all the boys. They’ve all been medicated and are already feeling better. And now that they’re all in bed, Jennifer and I are feeling better, too. Long day today.*