Monthly Archives: December 2012

Drink of the Week: Corpse Reviver #2

This is a delicious cocktail with one strange name. The Corpse Reviver #2 belongs to a family of cocktails (the “corpse reviver” family) designed to help cure a hangover (e.g. revive your corpse after a runaway). I wouldn’t know about that, but I can tell you this cocktail does a pretty good job getting the party started. In fact, it would be a good pick for a pre-festivities libation on New Year’s Eve.

Delicious and potent, this cocktail will give you new life after a day on Fernie's powdery slopes.

This cocktail will give you new life after a day skiing Fernie’s powdery slopes.

What sold me on the Corpse Reviver #2 — evidently the best-tasting of the Corpse Reviver cocktails — was the Lillet. I love Lillet Blanc. It’s a wine/liqueur that mixes a blend of French whites with citrus liqueur. You can drink it on its own chilled, or add it to a number of interesting (read: yummy and sour) gin cocktails, such as the 20th Century, the Campden cocktail or the Corpse Reviver #2.

I love you, Lillet!

I love you, Lillet!

I love this drink’s simplicity, and the fact that you can taste each of the four ingredients in every sip. There’s just a whisper of gin, the sweet-wine taste of the Lillet and a lively competition between the orange liqueur and lemon juice for top citrus flavour. It is very tart but still hits all the right sweet notes. One is more than enough — any more than that will guarantee you’re drinking one on New Year’s Day morning.

Corpse Reviver #2

  • 3/4 oz gin (I used Bombay Sapphire)
  • 3/4 oz Lillet Blanc
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau (I used Controy, an orange liqueur from Mexico)
  • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 dash absinthe (I wasn’t about to buy a bottle of absinthe for a “dash” so I subbed in a couple dashes of orange bitters, yum)

Shake ingredients together with ice. Strain into a chilled rocks glass and garnish with an orange twist, if desired. Serve straight up.

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I resolve to learn “Furbish” in 2013

Every year Christmas morning brings a parade of strange and annoying toys into our home. There are the skinny-creepy Monster High dolls (strange), whose hands and arms come off, and who have fins growing out of their legs; a Mouse Trap board game that evokes memories of childhood and will require my constant help in setting it up (it’s truly complicated = annoying); and a new book for Bennett, The Best Nest, that he will ask me to read to him 1,000 times in a row (annoying).

Meet the Furby.

Meet the Furby.

But the one gift that encompasses both these qualities — strange and annoying — has got to be Avery’s new Furby. What is a Furby, you ask? Let me acquaint you with our new unwelcome houseguest. Our purple Furby is a sort of interactive toy straight from the movie Honey, I Shrunk the Gremlin; that is to say it talks, moves a bit (not too much, thankfully), looks oddly like a gremlin-owl love child, and makes all manner of really loud squeaks and squawks that send Avery running to us to report on.

Meet the Furby's dad.

Meet the Furby’s dad.

Avery: “My Furby just said, ‘Ee-tay!’ Guess what that means.”

Me: “Hmmm … I don’t know. Maybe, ‘I’m all done playing, please put me in the closet for a week?'”

Avery: “Silly Mommy! ‘Ee-tay’ is Furbish for ‘No way!'”

Yes, I know. It's all kinda weird. There's even a Furby app.

Yes, I know. It’s all kinda weird. There’s even a Furby app.

Yes, of course her Furby speaks “Furbish,” a made-up language that sounds like what the Star Wars aliens in the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine spoke before the bounty hunter blew them away: “O0-nye toh-loo wee-tee! Hahaha!” The grating noises make a tired mommy wish she had a phaser she could switch from ‘stun’ to ‘permanently silence,’ though that would make Avery bawl like Chewbacca.

Not long after Avery opened her Furby I received an e-mail from a friend whose daughter Zoe is one of Avery’s besties. The e-mail contained a picture attachment of one of Zoe’s Christmas gifts: a black Furby. By now you’ve guessed where this is going. Yes, Furby playdates will be a reality in 2013. “Ee-tay!” Yes way! Obviously the joke is on me.

Playdates with Zoe's Furby will be a reality in 2013.

Playdates with Zoe’s Furby will be a reality in 2013.

What all this has illustrated rather glaringly is that not only do I not speak Furbish, I no longer speak kid (and also, after four hours, Avery speaks better Furbish than Spanish, the second language she’s been taking for the past four months). I don’t get the appeal of the Furby, the enchanting power it has over seven-year-old girls. The Furby box sums it up nicely: “Who your Furby becomes might surprise you!” it reads. The same can be said about your children.

Consider this our family Christmas card

It’s that time of year when Christmas cards arrive in the mail from loved ones and companies you may have done business with in the past. Sometimes the cards contain a cute write-up, with pictures, detailing what said family has been up to for the past year: the triumphs, the trips and the tedious parts in between (please edit those out of future letters).

Blake and I have never sent Christmas cards (this explains why the number we receive seems to dwindle annually), but I like receiving them, with a caveat: if you’re taking the time to mail me a letter, would it kill you to write a personal note atop the picture of your cute kids? Just sayin’. (But please not too much information, unless you’re going to write the inappropriate bits.)

And now, not only am I going to show you cute photos of my kids, I’m going to write stuff too.

The Kadane-Ford family Christmas card

Lisa, Avery (age seven), Santa (ageless), Blake and Bennett (age five).

Avery (age seven), Lisa, Santa (ageless), Blake and Bennett (age five).

Dear family, friends and followers,

2012 was an interesting and exciting year for our family. We started off on the right note with a ski weekend in Fernie, B.C. that enabled us to dump the children in ski lessons/childcare and carve freshies grow closer as a family while enjoying powder snow and the great outdoors.

The only bandito we saw: don't mess with Hello Kitty!

The only bandito we saw: don’t mess with Hello Kitty!

A trip to Ixtapa, Mexico soon followed, despite warnings from friends and family that there were, possibly, banditos laying in wait to kidnap/execute us upon arrival. Fortunately, the only dangers we encountered were roaming crocodiles, stinging jellyfish, beach salesmen hawking hideous Aztec-patterned area rugs, a  wicked hangover after too many margaritas at the swim-up bar while the children were at Kids Camp, and a rogue wave that almost carried Bennett off to sea.

Hearing my little girl sing her first solo brought a tear to my eye. So proud!

Hearing my little girl sing her first solo brought a tear to my eye. So proud!

Avery, age seven, performed her first choir solo in May, singing a verse from Puff the Magic Dragon. She also enjoyed several summer camps with friends including an art camp at the Calgary Zoo where she learned about tortoises and made, like, 10 paintings of them, which I have since recycled.

It was a year of firsts for Bennett, age five. He achieved potty training success a mere week before he lost his first tooth in June. He also enjoyed his first trip to Texas to attend the Chromosome 18 Registry & Research Society’s annual conference. The highlight? “Eating guacamole.” Finally, Bennett also learned how to ski at Canada Olympic Park. He’s still working on his “pizza” stance and I worry he may plow into small toddlers on the bunny hill at New Years and we’re excited to ski together as a family.

Stopping is over-rated, right?

Stopping is over-rated, right?

We made it!

We made it!

Blake and Lisa spent the summer hiking in preparation for climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in September to raise money for Bennett’s special needs school, Renfrew Educational Services. The climb and following safari was a life-highlight and we are currently scheming ways to escape the children in 2013 we look forward to another African adventure sometime in the future.

Finally, it was been a year of growth for all of us. Avery is reading chapter books and doing math problems, Bennett is singing Christmas carols and sounding out letters, and Blake and I have become more patient parents — it must be all those cocktails Lisa keeps mixing up for her columns!. We love our kids dearly, but are going stir-crazy trapped indoors with them so far this holiday and love being around them this time of year when they are so excited about Christmas. If we could ask Santa for anything this year it would be continued good health, lots of travel, another record snow year in Fernie and a new Christmas tree box for the kids to play in — the old one is busted. Merry Christmas and all the best in 2013!

Boxes still make the best toys.

Boxes still make the best toys.

Drink of the Week: Rum Punch

Dear readers who suffered through reading about a large batch (nine gallons) rum punch I made for a fundraiser last spring and the fallout from the ensuing “rumaway,” I bring you a much more manageable version of one of my favourite cocktails: the single-serving Rum Punch.

It's strong but so yummy. And it's not often you get to  put nutmeg in a drink!

It’s strong but so yummy. And it’s not often you get to put nutmeg in a drink!

It was not my intention to blog about rum punch tonight — sometimes I worry I give Barbados’s No. 1 cocktail too many shout-outs. No, I had intended to create and then sample a different recipe entirely, a yummy-sounding number called It’s Fig’n Cold Outside. Appleton Estate sent me a bottle of the Appleton Estate Reserve along with a cute little recipe card for the fig drink. Sadly, they did not send me the star ingredient — fig juice — and it’s fig’n impossible to find it in Calgary (I tried Community Natural Foods and The Cookbook Co. No fig’n luck).

But that’s okay because I got excited thinking about trying the rum in my favourite rum drink. Besides, with nutmeg and Angostura bitters adding spice, I think this makes a great holiday cocktail. Blake and I sipped them after trimming the tree a couple weeks ago, and I think we’ll shake up a couple up on Christmas Eve. Just beware making a large batch for Christmas dinner unless you’re angling for a rumaway.

Rum Punch

  • 2 oz Appleton Estate Reserve
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz Demerara sugar simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Pinch nutmeg

Shake all ingredients with ice and then strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Add another pinch of nutmeg as a garnish.

Drink of the Week: Clark Griswold

Sometimes the holidays get away on you a little bit. Your redneck cousin shows up in his motorhome, the sewage line backs up into your house and you discover a rabid squirrel living in your Christmas tree. On those occasions you might want to mix yourself a nice strong Clark Griswold.

It's pretty, boozy and yummy.

Mmmm…gin-nog. It’s pretty, boozy and yummy.

The good folks at Bombay Sapphire have updated the modern eggnog recipe by adding gin, Amaretto and chocolatey Creme de Cacao, and renaming it after Christmas Vacation’s star character. You will drink it quickly, forget all about your first-world problems and be ready to embrace “the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse.”

Clark Griswold

  • 1 oz Bombay Sapphire gin
  • 1/2 oz Bacardi Oakheart spiced rum
  • 1/3 0z Amaretto Disaronno
  • 1/3 oz Creme de Cacao
  • 2 oz eggnog
  • Shaved dark chocolate garnish

Combine all ingredients with ice. Stir briefly and fine strain into a rocks glass. Top glass with ice, garnish with shaved dark chocolate and serve.

— Recipe courtesy Bombay Sapphire

Little orphan Avery

It’s amazing how you spend your time when you have kids: Avery and I “enjoyed” a morning at Value Village last Saturday looking for an orphan costume. Her choir was performing two numbers from Oliver — Food Glorious Food and Consider Yourself — during the Christmas concert this past Tuesday night, and she needed to look like a street urchin from 1800s England. I pictured a child chimney sweep wearing rags, but I saw my vision was off base after the choir director e-mailed everyone this photo for guidance.

Cute, right? I'd adopt this kid for sure.

Cute, right? I’d adopt this kid for sure.

Just like English aristocracy, Victorian-era orphans looked smart. And evidently, coloured clothing didn’t exist back then. For some reason I figured Value Village would stock an assortment of drab, threadbare capris and vests, each for $2.99. Wrong. There was exactly one pair of olive-hued clam diggers, one cream-coloured turtleneck two sizes too big (orphans’ clothes never fit properly, right?) and two appropriate vests (Avery would borrow my brown corduroy newsboy cap). Not a great selection, but we took the items to a dressing room.

Little orphan Avery rocks her $10.99 rabbit fur vest.

Little orphan Avery rocks her $10.99 rabbit fur vest.

The first vest, according to Avery, made her “look like an old man.” She was clearly gunning for the second vest, a stylish brown number made of suede and rabbit fur, with a $10.99 price tag to match. It was just the kind of coveted item that would have drawn unwanted attention from rival street urchins back in the day.

It looked a bit rich, but we were already pushing the envelope with a turtleneck (a 1970s invention, I believe), so why couldn’t Avery go all out and be a poor little rich orphan?

Clearly the fur vest didn’t go over very well with Avery’s castmates because she wasn’t wearing it when she took the stage for Food Glorious Food. Backstage after the performance I inquired why she hadn’t worn the vest.

The orphan choir -- nary a fur vest in sight.

The orphan choir — nary a fur vest in sight.

“They wouldn’t let me, Mommy.” “Why not?” I asked. “One girl said it was too nice and orphans didn’t wear that kind of thing.”

Sigh. Was it like that in Oliver’s time? Fellow orphans sabotaging his chances for adoption success?

No matter. Avery still rocked the songs and now we have a chichi fur vest that she can sport in Fernie over the holidays. I hear the poor little rich ski bunny look is all the rage this year.

Bennett tries new things

When Bennett was three the psychologist at his school created a social story for our family called Bennett tries new things. The book showed Bennett holding a hockey stick, trick-or-treating and swimming; in short, things he doesn’t do very frequently. The idea behind the story was that if I read it to him a lot he would become more open to doing things out of his comfort zone.

Eighteen months later I think Bennett has finally taken the book to heart (yes, change in an autistic child sometimes happens at a glacial pace). This weekend he hit three milestones and we are incredibly proud parents.

1. Bennett skied! For real, at Canada Olympic Park. Under the expert tutelage of COP instructor Eric Gerstenbuhler, Bennett got the hang of his French fries on the bunny hill. He still needs a lot of work on his pizza (it’s kind of important for that skill called stopping); fortunately he has another private lesson with Eric next Sunday. I am writing all about Bennett’s first lesson for Snowseekers and the story will be up later this week.

See what I mean about the French fries?

See what I mean about the French fries?

2. Bennett hung ornaments on the tree for the first time! We are so happy our little guy wanted to be part of the tree trimming tradition this year, though it looks like he inherited his sister’s knack for hanging 10 ornaments all on the same branch.

Bennett hangs an ornament!

Trimming the tree.

3. Bennett had a conversation with Santa! He has sat on the fat man’s lap in previous years and suffered through the experience. This year, however, he actually answered Santa’s questions.

Santa: “What do you want for Christmas?”

Bennett: “How about a cookie?” (In truth he had spotted another child eating a cookie.) Still, it’s progress. Way to go, B!

Santa is stoked he only has to bring Bennett a cookie!

Santa is stoked he only has to bring Bennett a cookie!