Preppin’ for my birthday party

How do I look?

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‘Once in a blue moon’ this New Year’s Eve!

Lock up your kids and keep mom away from the Danish liquor!

‘Once in a blue moon’ this New Year’s Eve!

Brrrrr. It’s cold outside!

Hey, have you noticed it’s been freakin’ cold in the morning?

Yeah, this week has been warmer, but it’ll get cold again. Winter isn’t even officially here yet. (Give her a couple of more days.)

I stumbled across a helpful post from Productivity 501 that shares 50 ways to winterize your home.  Even if you only put one more of these tips to use, you may have a warmer winter (and possibly lower heating/electricity bill).

Enjoy!

Grandpa Huff’s Backyard Railroad

This afternoon we got a great view from the train’s perspective of the El Dorado Timber and Mining RR.

Andrew and Photo Booth

Andrew has been busy lately. He’s an aspiring movie star/director–mostly he loves to perform. Makes me wonder what videos I would have created had iMacs and Photo Booth been around in the early ’80s.

Why I hate new year’s resolutions, but make them anyway

I don’t like new year’s resolutions because if I don’t follow through with them, I feel like a failure the rest of the year–usually, that’s about 11 months.

I make resolutions, however, because I’m an optimist. Because I know I’m not alone. According to Jonathan Fields in his blog, 75% of this year’s resolutions are the same as last year and will be broken within two weeks.

Not me. Not this year.

This year, I’m focused on commitments in five areas: family, running, writing, giving and health. Below is the framework to my commitments. As time passes, you will see the actions I’m taking to meet them.

Family. With my second son just under one month old, I’m re-doubling my efforts to be the best dad and husband possible. Be in the moment. Family game night, not family TV night. Make dinner with them, not re-heat mine alone.

Running. My goal is to complete 100 runs in 2009. They can be anything from a 3-mile quick jaunt, to a 26.2 mile marathon. Just as long as I run 100 days.

Writing. Get better. Find my voice. This will only happen if I practice, put myself out there. Be read. Believe it or not, this may be the most challenging of all my commitments. But will be the easiest for you to gauge my progress.

Giving. I’m going to give to charities. Give my time to those in need. Volunteer my services without expecting anything in return.

Health. I’m going to make better choices. Pay attention to what goes into my body–both in terms of food and my thoughts.

I’m going to keep the specific goals for most of my commitments to myself. Rest assured they are for significant improvement over last year. But I don’t think I’ll be sharing them here.

What are your resolutions for 2009? Are they similar to mine? Just curious.

Keep one final thought in mind as I leave you now to figure out how to turn my commitments into successes.

“Acting without thinking is like shooting without aiming.”
– B. C. Forbes

I better get thinking.

How to bake a turkey and eat it too

Tired of eating microwavable turkey loaves for Thanksgiving?

Have you always wanted to bake your own turkey but were afraid to try–fearful your efforts might turn out like the severely over-cooked, dried-out, turkey jerky from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and turn up in an episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos?

Worry no more.

My father-in-law just passed along directions to bake the perfect turkey. He’s very process-oriented and from past experience eating his foods, these instructions will be right on target.

Here’s how to bake your turkey:

You need to let your turkey defrost in the fridge about two (2) days prior to the day you will be cooking it. After you take it out of the fridge, you may still have to let it sit in some hot water to soften the inner cavity as that is where the neck bone, gizzards, etc., is usually placed. Also in the neck (top) portion of the turkey, there may be things in there that also need to come out.

If you plan on NOT stuffing your turkey, be sure to read the cooking time listed on the plastic covering. It all depends on the size of the turkey. Now, be sure to use tin foil to cover the wings and the legs as they will burn before your turkey is done. The tin foil can be removed about an hour or so BEFORE your turkey is done. I also spray the bottom of the pot with non-stick spray so the turkey won’t stick while baking.

You can use some butter or olive oil to coat (lightly to medium) the inside of the cavity to help with its staying moist. You can also do the same for the outside of the turkey itself. I have also made some slits on the turkey breast (about 1″ long and about 4-6 slits depending on size of the turkey) These cuts are made to the skin itself. Then place some butter in those slits so that the butter goes under the skin. This will help baste the turkey while it bakes.

When you place the turkey in the oven, you also want to cover the entire turkey with tin foil unless you have a pot with a lid. I check my turkey about every hour or so and use a baster to get any drippings from inside the pot to baste the turkey with its own juices.

After the turkey is done baking, you want to let it sit for about 15 minutes before you try to cut it. This way it finishes baking using its own heat and will cut better when it has “settled” a little while.

That’s it… enjoy!

P.S. I’m not really going to tell you how to eat your own turkey. Just remember to stop eating when you feel 80% full. It takes your mind awhile to catch up with your stomach… or is it vice versa? Well, that’s a blog post for another day. Continue reading