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Nov '06

Thanksgiving Weekend 2006

Thanksgiving weekend was a wonderful time at the BatesCentral Compound. It wasn’t the most boisterous Thanksgiving on record, we did not have any visitors from the East Coast and it was not the same without Uncle Tee here, but we still had a great time!

New Turkey Recipe

I tried a new turkey recipe this year. I brined the bird. For those of you who do not know what that means, I soaked the turkey in a salt water solution for about 8 hours. The brine I used was more than just salt water, it was made up of vegetable stock, brown sugar, all spice berries, candied ginger, peppercorns, and plenty of salt (kosher salt to be precise). After you brine the turkey, there is no need to baste the bird, because the juices are locked into the meat.

Bill with brine

The funny part of brining the turkey is that you need a non-reactive container large enough to hold the brine and the turkey. We had a 19 pound turkey this year, not the largest one we have cooked (we had a 28 lb. turkey more than once), but it is still a large bird. A five gallon bucket from the Home Depot worked very well!

I thought that the turkey came out very nicely. I wasn’t blown away by the results, but I also made two grave errors. One, I did not realize that I used low sodium vegetable stock, so my brine was not as salty as it should have been and two, I left the turkey in a bit too long. It was not overcooked, but I think I should have taken it out about 20 min earlier. I will try the brining again for Christmas and then make a final decision on whether this will stay part of our tradition.

As for everyone else’s review… they all thought the turkey was good. No one was blown away by the results, but people did say they thought it was juicer than our previous turkeys.

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving was not as hectic as previous years. We have traditionally spent part of the day making a Christmas themed craft. That worked out well when Jenn’s parents were in charge of dinner, but since the holiday moved to our house, it has been difficult to do! We won’t skip our Christmas crafts, we’ll just do them closer to Christmas.

We watched some football, but the hit of the day was playing hangman with Casey and Quinn. The kids have an art easel/chalkboard/whiteboard that we brought into the living room. We used the whiteboard side and played hangman as a family. It was a lot of fun and even Casey and Quinn were able to play!

While we were at at the dinner table I asked Quinn what he was thankful for. He replied, “I am thankful for all of my family and being together.” Even with family members scattered across the country, it was a good way to sum up the day!

Thanksgiving Weekend

The Friday after Thanksgiving was a very mellow day. We relaxed around the house. I have been working crazy at work lately and Jenn has been doing the same. It was good just to have a break for a day. Than night, Jenn’s parents watched the kids and we went to a movie.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving was a major “let’s eat leftovers” day! Mimi & gramps and Matt & Sanne came back over later in the day to watch the USC vs. Notre Dame football game. We also preformed the traditional ritual of cooking up plenty of bacon to make turkey sandwiches! Three pounds of bacon to be exact!

The other tradition that we have is to decorate the Bates Compound for Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving. We no longer get a real tree. They are beautiful, but a real pain in the butt to keep up (and clean up after). We found a fake tree a few years ago that looks really good. We only got about 50% of our decorations up, but the tree is done, which is a big project.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving was another semi-rest day. As Quinn and Casey like to say, Sunday is football day! It was a big game this year, Patriots vs. Bears. Wow, the game was sloppy, but the Pats pulled it out! Some say it is a SuperBowl preview, but I don’t think so. No offense to the many Bears fans in my family, but I do not think they will make it past the NFC Championship game (and I have a feeling that they could go out first round). I think the Pats have a shot, but more realistically, it is a Colts year.


Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone and we managed to have a great time. I did not add any pictures to our online gallery with this post. Honestly, I was so busy all weekend, I only took a couple of pictures.

Posted by Bill on November 27th, 2006 at 7:57 pm
Nov '06

Halloween 2006 (and the Rest of October)

Well, it has been a very active time since my post last month. Let me try and catch you up…

All of the pictures that correspond to the events in this post have been put in the BatesFamily Gallery: Halloween 2006

Dad’s Birthday Week

Both my mom and Dad had birthdays in October. My dad held to a long standing tradition and had dinner at The Maui in splendid Brockton, Massachusetts. The Maui should be your first stop for fine Chinese and Polynesian dining! 😉 Well, at any rate the teriyaki strips and scorpion bowls are pretty good!

Dad has been going there for easily the last 20 years on his birthday. I wish that I could have been there. I love you dad!

Mom’s Birthday Week

My mom had a big birthday milestone this year and it would be ungentlemanly for me to reveal any more than that! 😉

My dad orchestrated a huge surprise this year; he flew me out for the weekend. Dad tried to get Jenn and the kids out as well, but the expense of the short trip and schedules didn’t work out.

It was a huge surprise just to have me there and dad capped it off with a surprise dinner with a small group of family. Mom and I went out one morning for a mother-son breakfast. Mom and I have not been able to spend time like that in a long time. It was a great time. I love you mom!

While I was there I also got so spend some quality time with my brother and his family, especially my Godson Christian! Boy is he getting big!!!!

Pumpkin Palooza 2006

Pumpkin Palooza 2006 was a multi-weekend event this year. While I was in Massachusetts with Bates East, the rest of the Bates West was making Halloween crafts back in California. Jenn’s sister, Jackie, was out for the week from Washington DC for business, but was able to find a good amount of time for family. Jackie and the gang had Pumpkin Palooza Part I and made a great assortment of crafts.

I had our digital camera in Mass, so I am not sure if anyone took pictures of the first part of Pumpkin Palooza 2006. I will post pictures to our gallery if I dig any up.

Pumpkin Palooza Part II was a low key event this year. Last Halloween we had spooky punch, beer tasting, scary snacks, and more. This year we had spooky punch and only carved pumpkins while Jenn’s dad cooked pumpkin seeds. Even more subdued, it was still a good time. Since there was not a lot going on, I didn’t get a lot of pictures this year, but I posted the best in the gallery. Including a shot of all of our Jack-O-Lanterns.

Fall Festival 2006

The biggest event at Casey’s school is the yearly Fall Festival. It runs from 5pm until 9pm and there are games, food, contests and more for kids and their families to take part in. It is and event that is meant to build relationships throughout the school community between families, staff and administration. It is a great time and a MASSIVE event.

Guess who was in charge of the event this year? Jenn. Yes, Jenn was the co-chair of the Fall Festival with a friend of hers, Faith. Jenn and Faith did an incredible job we all had a wonderful time!

I didn’t get a lot of pictures from the Fall Festival, but I did get a bunch of video clips of the kids. I haven’t posted the videos in the gallery yet, but the pictures are there.

October Cub Scout Pack Meeting

We had to leave the Fall Festival a little early because Casey had a Pack Meeting the same night! So, we dropped Quinn of with Gramps (Jenn’s dad) and Casey and I ran over to the meeting. I am the Activities Committee Chair for the Pack, so I had a few responsibilities of my own.

Since I was so tied up with my duties at the Pack Meeting, I only got a couple of pictures. They are in the Gallery.


Well, Halloween finally came! Casey was Darth Vader and Quinn was Obi-wan Kenobi. To Quote Quinn, “Not the old one, the new young Obi-wan.” Apologies Sir Alec Guinness. Anyway, Halloween was a good night, except for one thing. Quinn was sick! He had been throwing up that morning, poor guy. He still went trick-or-treating. I pushed him house to house in a stroller. He still had fun, he just couldn’t have any candy Halloween night. He felt crummy enough that no having candy did not bother him at all.

Our house looked pretty good. We had cobwebs and spiders all over the front porch. The jack-o-lanterns were out, we had a dancing pumpkin guy my mom got us a few years ago among other decorations. Aunt Sanne took some two by fours, kids pants, kids shoes, big styrofoam balls and some white sheets and made what looked like a little kid wearing a ghost costume. Sanne made three of these “ghost kids” and we put them out front. They looked like three kids standing there wearing costumes. At night, it was quite disturbing to see these three kids just standing in front of the house. They were AWESOME!

To cap it all off, I had a smoke machine and spooky music hidden in the bushes. The effect was great! We had a pretty spooky front yard! It was hilarious to see kids and grown-ups carefully walk past the “three ghost kids” waiting for one to jump out at them in the fog!

In fact, people kept taking pictures of our house all night! I didn’t intend for it, but we ended up having “the picture house”! I posted some pictures of the house in the Gallery. The pictures do not do it justice. I also took some video that I will post.
Uncle Matt and Aunt Sanne came out with us and the kids Halloween night. While we were out trick-or-treating, Uncle Matt snuck a jedi lightsaber out with him. While Casey was walking back from one of the houses, Uncle Matt attacked Darth Vader! It was pretty funny to watch and Casey was happily surprised! I posted a couple of pictures of the lightsaber battle in the Gallery.


Well, as you can see October was a pretty full month for us. Add on soccer, work, school, den meetings, working around the house and all of the other daily life tasks and I am not sure how we got it all done! I am especially impressed with Jenn and her handling of the Fall Festival. She was awesome!

I hope you all had a great October as well. As I said, I posted pictures to the gallery (main link at the top of this post). Here is a direct link to the Halloween Albumn. I’ll post the video clips soon.



Posted by Bill on November 13th, 2006 at 3:35 pm

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