Monthly Archives: March 2012

Drink of the Week: Mango Daiquiri

I’m not sure whether a mango daiquiri will be on the menu at our Ixtapa hotel, but I sure liked this one from Barbados. I know, it’s blended (a no-no, in mixology circles), but the fact it uses fresh mango kind of necessitates a blender. Plus all that blending sure makes it photogenic:

No umbrella, but you get the picture. Me, a swim-up bar at sunset, and a mango daiquiri.

See the beads of condensation on the glass? It’s cold, which is what you want when it’s 32C in the sun. It also has that balance of tart and sweet that I love. I’m sorry, margarita, but sometimes a gal needs to order something girlier — and a wee bit sweeter — at the swim-up bar.

Mango Daiquiri

  • 1  diced mango
  • 4 oz water
  • 2-1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 1-1/2 oz dark rum
  • Scoop ice

Blend ingredients together in a blender. Pour into a hurricane glass, garnish with a mini umbrella and serve.

— Recipe courtesy Tramayne Primus, Hilton Barbados

On our decision to take the kids to Mexico

Poor Mexico. It’s been getting a lot of bad press lately, what with the escalating violence caused by its ongoing internal war on drugs. People have been killed in Acapulco (once a tourist Mecca), a Canadian woman was badly beaten in Mazatlan earlier this year and a freak explosion at a Cancun resort in 2010 killed five Canadians. Out of the above headlines, only the first is related to the country’s drug war problem. The latter two were bad timing and luck.

Still, the country’s violence has been enough for the Government of Canada to issue a warning about travel to Mexico, urging Canadians to exercise a “high degree of caution” when visiting Mexico, formerly known for its welcoming people, tasty food and deliciously dangerous margaritas. I mean, if you need an argument for visiting Mexico, the national cocktail is a really good reason.

Sip on a margarita and forget all about your -- and Mexico's -- problems.

So, keeping all this in mind, we decided that, for the average Canadian family visiting a safe tourist destination (Ixtapa) and mostly staying put at an all-inclusive resort, the risk of something happening to us while away seemed remote. (I think driving down Deerfoot Trail after a spring snow storm poses more danger.) And yet, you’d think we were taking the kids on holiday to Afghanistan for all the shock and awe surrounding this decision.

We were planning a spring break trip with some friends of ours and they let it be known that Mexico was off the table — they couldn’t believe we’d take our kids there. Even my mom, who joined us last year in Puerto Vallarta, said: “If you decide to go to Mexico, I don’t want to know.” Please don’t read this, Mom.

Here I am with Bennett at the beach in Puerto Vallarta last year, with nary a drug lord -- or souvenir salesperson -- in sight.

It’s a hot topic in the travel blogosphere, where writers are weighing in on whether taking the kids to Mexico is a good idea and offering tips if you decide to head south of the U.S. border. Namely:

  1. Lock up valuables and passports in your room safe, and only carry enough cash for the day’s excursion.
  2. Book excursions through the hotel.
  3. Don’t leave the compound at night.
  4. Beware buying an ugly gold embroidered Aztec-design rug from a beach vendor after drinking five margaritas.
  5. If you eat too many spicy street tacos, make sure there’s a bano nearby.
  6. Never, ever sit through the resort’s evening entertainment/song-and-dance routine or the bad performance will haunt you forever.

That about covers it. So, wish us a a safe trip down to Ixtapa. We’ll try and come back with a bottle of Casa Herradura tequila and only one gold Aztec rug.

Would you bring your kids to Mexico?

Attention-seeking kids and the digital era

There’s a line from the original Cat in the Hat book that my husband and I recite whenever one of our children wants us to watch what they are doing — however silly, and however many times we’ve seen it done before.

“Look at me! Look at me! Look at me now!”

It’s the part in the book where the Cat in the Hat is balancing on the ball, holding up a bunch of stuff — including the fish bowl — and he wants Sally and her brother to watch him add more items. For a cat on a ball, it’s impressive, but with our kids, they aren’t balancing dishes and cake and a boat and a rake. No, they want us to watch them do mundane things, like dance to Thriller, or run around the house in their underpants, or solve an alphabet puzzle. That was exciting stuff when they were two; at ages six and four, not so much.

Still, as dutiful parents, we watch, and take pictures, and sometimes even record video.

"Look at me! In the bathtub! With a bubble face!" Every moment of childhood is now easily captured, thanks to camera phones.

So, it’s no wonder our daughter has decided that filmed evidence conveys merit, and she has taken it one step further. She has recently started asking us to take pictures of her creations, no matter how ridiculous they are. Behold her squishie pyramid:

Awwww, a squishie pyramid! Just one example of how every facet of childhood, no matter how mundane, is in danger of being recorded for posterity.

Yes, it’s eight squishies stacked into a little pyramid. When she asked me to take a picture of this, I laughed.

Me: “Seriously? I’m not taking a picture of that.”

Avery: “Why not? It’s a squishie pyramid. Aren’t they cute?”

Blake: “You should take a picture of it, and then blog about all the lame things kids want their parents to take pictures of.”

And so I did. Sigh. But it got me thinking. When I was a kid my parents pulled out the camera, sure — on family vacations and at birthdays and Christmastime. But there were long stretches that zoomed by, unrecorded. Like a Super 8 film that goes splotchy in parts, my memory is the imperfect lens through which I view most of my childhood. It’s not a bad thing, really, and lets me look back at the era in awe and wonder.

I often wonder if today’s new standard of recording every accomplishment, however insignificant (example: the squishie pyramid), isn’t somehow cheapening our kids’ important milestones. I also wonder if we’re raising a self-absorbed generation that’s going to think it’s amazing for just flashing a smile. Shouldn’t things should be recorded for a reason, not just because they are? My daughter may well look back on this and say: “Why did you blog about my squishie pyramid, but not my solo in the spring choir performance?” Exactly.

How about you? Do you find yourself grabbing for the camera every time your kid strikes a pose, or builds something with Lego? Is this a good thing, or not?