Monthly Archives: May 2013

Drink of the Week: Live Basil Gimlet

The heat is on to complete the fundraising for the new playground at my daughter’s school, which means I’ve returned to my one constant companion through the madness: gin. Our playground committee communed over G&Ts this week, but I kicked it up a notch last night with this tangy, savoury number, a Live Basil Gimlet.

A garden fresh drink to celebrate spring (and to help forget about playground fundraising).

A garden fresh drink, with basil, to celebrate spring (and to help forget about playground fundraising).

I came across the recipe on after Googling “cocktails with basil, lime and gin.” Traditional gimlets call for sweetened lime juice (e.g. Rose’s Lime = yuck) and a copious amount of gin. In contrast, this lovely recipe shakes a more modest bit of gin with fresh lime juice, muddled basil and simple syrup. I decided to use honey syrup, with great success. It’s a softer, more natural-tasting syrup, that works well with the other ingredients, like the deliciously fresh basil we are growing in our little herb container this year (pictured above).

The Live Basil Gimlet would be a nice drink to headline the 5th annual Inglewood Kitchen Party fundraiser, taking place June 8th at the Inglewood Community Hall to raise money for the aforementioned playground, given that the theme is patio lanterns. Unfortunately, the signature cocktail I made for last year’s party got everyone hammered, so we’re sticking to beer (so people will remember to spend money to support the playground). But do try one of these at home!

Tart and herbaceous, thanks to the gin and basil.

Tart and herbaceous, thanks to the gin and basil.

Live Basil Gimlet

  • 5 large basil leaves, including one for garnish
  • 1-1/2 oz gin (I used Bombay Sapphire)
  • 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz honey syrup (in a mason jar, combine equal parts honey and hot water; screw on lid and shake until honey is completely dissolved and then cool)

Gently muddle four basil leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add the gin, lime juice and honey syrup. Fill with ice, shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with the remaining basil leaf and a lime wheel, if desired.

The road ahead

As I sat in one of the Adirondack chairs at  Nellie Breen Park this past weekend, cold beer in hand (civilized, right? And thanks again fellow Inglewoodian who shall remain nameless), watching my children play completely unassisted while I chatted with neighbourhood moms and dads, a thought occurred to me: I have arrived!

It was the first time I was able to actually relax at the park, without worrying about Bennett falling from the top of the slide platform, or him needing my help navigating across the boulders by the gazebo or balancing on the spinning ring apparatus. Meanwhile, Avery played with a gaggle of her girlfriends; occasionally Bennett would chase them down and they would run off screaming. For two hours this went on and I think I stirred from my chair maybe four times. It was liberating.

I love this adapted bike from Renfrew -- makes it a lot easier to learn to ride. At Nellie Breen park in Inglewood.

Gotta love this adapted bike from Renfrew — makes it a lot easier to learn to ride. At Nellie Breen Park in Inglewood.

Bennett and I returned to Nellie Breen on Tuesday morning with his physical therapist, who brought along an adapted bicycle for Bennett to ride. Apart from his habit of looking in every direction except straight ahead (and thus veering off-road), he did great. She’s thrilled with his progress this year and can’t believe all the things he can do by himself (I’m a proud mama). The fact that he’s five and just learning how to ride a bike is a non-issue — I’m happy he’ll even try. And I’m ecstatic that he wants to climb on everything. Hooray!

After my story in Swerve came out last week I was inundated with supportive e-mails from family, friends and strangers. Some people shared their own stories and struggles with me; everyone wrote words of encouragement. My sister-in-law, a social worker, wrote this:

“I ran a support group for a couple of years for parents dealing with “ambiguous loss” (as I called it); mostly those who adopted children and later found out they had FASD and were mourning the “loss” of their dreams/expectations of that child’s future. Very hard. We talked a lot about how the child may be completely happy in their future world they and their parents created for them, but it was the parents who had to change their expectations of what the child’s future “should” look like, as “normal” may not be the reality for them or make them happy. However, “normal” is different for everyone (and usually only an illusion anyways)… Whatever works the best for the child to reach his full  potential in life is all we can hope for. They are all  so different, and I’ve heard of so many “hopeless” cases that have turned out fabulously with futures with jobs, great homes, even marriages and children. So never lose hope.”

I love her perspective, and found it fitting that one of my mom friends whose daughter also has autism, chose to share this inspirational e-card yesterday:

We're travelling a different path, adapted bicycles and all, and I'm choosing to embrace it.

We’re travelling a different path, adapted bicycles and all, and I’m choosing to embrace it.

The road ahead looks clear — if different than I dreamed it would be — and, hopefully, easier to navigate than it’s ever been.

When I say my kid is special, I mean “special” special

My story in today’s Swerve magazine was inspired by this blog post I wrote last June. I thought I’d share it again.

Drink - Play - Love

On the outside, my son Bennett looks like any typical four-year-old boy. He’s cute, has a naughty streak, loves to jump on the trampoline and relishes tormenting his big sister. But all is not as it appears in his school picture.

Bennett also has a genetic condition called 18q- . He’s missing a small piece of one of his 18th chromosomes. This means he has been slow to hit milestones like walking and talking; it also means he has a difficult time playing and interacting with peers. On the whole his symptoms looks a lot like global developmental delay or autism (which he has also been diagnosed with).

Only one in 40,000 children in North America are born with a Chromosome 18 abnormality. When my husband and I decided to try for a second child and play what we used to half-jokingly refer to as “genetic roulette” (because we were, at…

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