The 2010/11 Holiday/Winter Season

It's been a few months since I've posted anything here, so this will encompass November (including my deep fried turkey adventure) all the way through mid March! So, let's start with the family taking advantage of the last few warm days. We headed down to the Bill Goat trail in Great Falls, Maryland. This is a great hike with the kids. Plan for about 3 hours, but you could easily do all day if you explore some of the side trails.

Here's the family posing along the tow path along the canal that leads to the trail entrance.

This is a small little side trail that includes a bridge that goes right over some of the larger falls.

We picked this spot to stop and have lunch:

Once on the trail, there's plenty of great views too. Here's a few of them:

By the way, in some of those last shots, you'll notice that Catey and Chase have switched pants, and that there is blood all over the jeans Catey is wearing. We told Catey to put on jeans for this hike, since you do a lot of scrambling over rocks. But, she refused. I decided to let her learn the hard way, and sure enough, she scraped up her knees halfway through when she slipped on a rock. She ended up switching with Chase afterward, since he is a much better climber right now. Maybe next time, she'll listen to my advice. I doubt it, but I hold out hope. :)

Chrissie and me at one of the stream crossings:

The leaves are falling, and this was a great shot of the dogs under the Cherry tree with the leaves around them. Kevin is truly a "mini me" for Maggie.

We did Thanksgiving at my house, and we had over my parents, Chrissie's parents, her brother Richie, my sister and family, and Chrissie's brother Danny's family. I decided I was going to deep fry a turkey this year. So, after watching Alton Brown's show on how to deep fry a turkey, we ventured forth.

The first thing we did was brine our turkey, which is just a bunch of salt and brown sugar and water that you let the bird soak in over night. It doesn't make the bird salty, it simply makes it moist and sweet. Chrissie's father, Dan, bought us a turkey from Full Quiver, which provides free range turkeys. Our turkey was never frozen. And, since it was a pretty lean turkey, deep frying it would help add some flavor.

Below is a video of us prepping for the deep fry (Dan also bought the deep fryer, which was super nice of him:

And here's the turkey drop!

After we pulled the turkey out, we deep fried some mushrooms, brocolli and snickers bars!

Here's a shot of the final bird getting cut. It was a beautiful bird and was the best tasting bird I've ever eaten.

After a wonderful Thanksgiving, it was time to get our Family Christmas photo. After about 25 shots, we ended up with this one:

Christmas at my parents!!!

Catey loves her brother! It's Christmas!!

Catey and my niece Rory.

No, it's not wine. He just wants you to think it's wine.

Nothing like getting everybody together so they can play video games.

Lazy winter afternoon nap. Kevin has taken to sleeping on top of the couch... well, at least he hasn't fallen off yet!!

And with Kevin not sleeping in the cage, that leaves room for Catey to sleep there!

This year we've taken the plunge into skiing, and bought our own ski equipment. I bought year old close out models, which is a a great way to get the skis and boots you want without paying the high price. I tried to find used stuff, but it was taking forever, so we ended up going this route instead. For the kids, I did buy used stuff. And, while you might think it's a horrible investment, it actually is not. For $125 for each kid, I was able to get skis and boots that were only a year or two old. Considering that rentals for the kids were about $35 a day, and we skied at least 10 days this year, the kids skis were a great investment... even if I throw them away for next year. But, I'll probably only have to buy new boots each year for the next two years.

When we go skiing we like to rent a house with friends so that we can cook nice meals and drink good wine without paying to go out. Here's a pulled pork and three-color coleslaw I made on day. Threw the pork in before heading out to ski for the day, and when we got back... voila!!!

We took my nephew Mason with us to Wisp for a weekend. Unfortunately, it was his first time snowboarding, and he sprained his wrist pretty badly, but I'm hopeful he will come out again next year and this time with wrist guards! Here's the first day where we snow tubed... doesn't he look happy to be there!

It was really cold snow tubing, and the snow was really coming down. The kids were happy to take a break and warm up with some hot cocoa.

It's hard to get good pictures while skiing, but here's one of me and Chrissie bundled up.

And here's Chase with our neighbor Sophia at Liberty on a separate day trip. This was actually the day of the Super Bowl, and we headed to Liberty (only an hour away), and still made it back in time for tacos to watch the Big Game.

Shifting gears, Chase has joined cub scouts, which means... PINEWOOD DERBY TIME!!! Chase actually did most of the work on his car, which I think was really impressive. I helped guide him the whole time, but he did about 65% of the work. Here he is trying not to cut any fingers off.

I don't have any pictures of painting it, but after the paint job, it was time for the delicate task of putting on the wheels

And here's Chase the derby with his pride and joy!

Some pictures of the track, and Chase's car racing.

He did manage to win one of his heats, but it wasn't enough to beat out some of the faster cars. We'll get em next year though!

With the weather warming up, Chase was finally able to use one of his Christmas presents... a real rocket that he had to build. It's an Estes rocket, and it "can" go as high as 600 feet! Below is a clip of Chase's successful rocket launch.

I believe this next shot is the kids creating a special treat on valentines day for the dogs:

And lastly, Chrissie and I were invited to the Leukemia Ball at the DC Convention center. It was a black tie event, which included comedian John Heffron during dinner, and Diana Ross after dinner. There was also a silent auction for all kinds of neat things... with all the money spent going to the Leukemia Society. Here's a pic of Chrissie and me:

Chrissie standing by one of the Mercedes that they were raffling off. Each raffle ticket was a $100 and all the proceeds, again, went to the Leukemia Society.

Guitar signed by all five members of the Rolling Stones on auction!

It was a great night, and I hope we get to do it again next year! I can't wait for summer!