Monthly Archives: June 2013

The open road

Summer break is almost here and I jump-started road trip season with a jaunt up to Red Deer from Calgary to dump the children with their grandparents (my amazing in-laws) for a long weekend while I flew to Saskatoon for a conference.

On the drive up I let Avery play with my iPhone and she took this picture of Bennett with it:

Big prairie skies and fertile fields -- road trip eye candy.

Big prairie skies and fertile fields — road trip eye candy. Photo by Avery Ford.

I love this shot. Bennett’s just looking out the window, watching the fields and farms go by, as if absorbed by the vast prairie sky and endless pastures. He spent most of the drive looking out the window, occasionally pointing out horses or cows or a lone windmill. After awhile, we sang some songs (thankfully, not 100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall). And then, just like that, we were in Red Deer.

So often, as parents, we plan our road trips around DVD players, iPad or LeapPad games, or an endless supply of snacks. Feed them Pixar movies, rounds of Angry Birds or junk food to keep them busy, we think.

Why not fill their eyes with beautiful Canadian scenery instead? That’s what this image says to me. Its also means my kids are getting to ages where they’re able to appreciate the journey as well as the destination. Hooray! Bring on summer (and more road trips)!

Drink of the Week: Vodka Martini

It’s Father’s Day on Sunday, which means there will likely be a Dad in your life (your father, or the father or your children) who wants nothing more than to chillax in his Dad Chair and toss back a couple stiff drinks. So why not put in a little effort and shake up a vodka martini?

Why a martini, you ask? Because it’s boozy and means business, and our favourite manly man (that would be James Bond) drinks his vodka martinis shaken — not stirred — just like the Luksusowa recipe, below.

Happy Father’s Day!

This manly martini is heavy on the vodka and features three olives.

This manly martini is heavy on the vodka and features a snack: olives. Image courtesy Luksusowa.

Vodka Martini

  • 2 oz Luksusowa vodka
  • 1/4 to 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • Crushed ice
  • Olive, onion or lemon twist garnish

Sparingly atomize the inside of a martini or rocks glass with the dry vermouth (less vermouth equals a martini that is drier. Gently shake (or stir, if you must) Luksusowa vodka with the crushed ice in a stainless steel shaker, or glass pitcher. Immediately fine strain into the glass. Garnish with the olive, onion or lemon twist.

— Recipe courtesy Luksusowa

“Don’t French the dog!”

There are certain phrases that, before you have kids, you can’t imagine you’ll ever say, like “Stop goosing your sister,” or “We don’t flush underpants down the toilet.”

“Don’t French the dog” is one of them.

Bennett and Piper share a special moment. Again.

Bennett and Piper share a special moment. Again.

Lately, whenever the room goes eerily silent, it’s because our son is making out with the dog. I’ll find him crouched down by Piper, mouth open and tongue out, soliciting slobbery kisses.

Their puppy love began several weeks ago, after Bennett had warmed up to our family’s newest member. He discovered that she liked to lick things — hands, fingers, feet, his neck; it was all fair game. It soon progressed to Piper licking Bennett’s face; specifically, his lips. And, just like two teenagers caught in the act by disapproving parents, the more we yelled, “Ewww, gross! Bennett! Don’t kiss her like that!” or “No, Piper! Stop it!” the more they tried to do it, to spite us.

Conversations between Blake and me about this particular topic now go something like this:

Me: “I can’t believe Bennett has gone to second base with the dog.”

Blake: “I thought second base was feeling boobies.”

Me: “Oh yeah, you’re right. Well, he has touched her nipples when he rubs her belly.”

Blake: “And nipples are like the gateway to third base.”

We all know what base comes last, so let’s not even go there.

When we got a dog I knew we’d have to police her around furniture and shoes to prevent her from chewing them. I knew we’d have to make sure Bennett didn’t pet Piper too roughly, or pick her up by the neck. I did not foresee PDA patrol between human and canine.

I’m sure Bennett will eventually tire of trying to play kiss tag with his new best friend. My only hope in the meantime is that he doesn’t get worms.