Baby Beverages #2 – Baby World Immersion

I’ve decided to make my Baby Beverages articles a monthly feature for the time being. As I take a look at all things going on in my and Mrs. Sip’s new life as parents, today we’ll tackle unsolicited advice, my balance of work and fatherhood with a newborn and some of the Sip Advisor’s favourite baby devices thus far. Let’s get things started:

When you’re a new parent, advice (good and bad) is coming at you from all angles. No amount of dodging, ducking, dipping, diving, and dodging will help you avoid all the voices. Not surprisingly, much of the information contradicts other tips and tricks you’ve been provided. My approach has been that while I will certainly make mistakes, that’s the only way to learn and become a better parent.

Baby Advice

Moving on, my work-life balance has been fairly good. Sure, my sleep per night (requiring my creation of the unit of measurement S/N) has been cut, but thanks to Mrs. Sip taking the bulk of overnight duties on work days, I’m still a functioning employee. Not fully-functioning, but I never really was to being with. I will say that sometimes it feels like I’m working two jobs: my typical work shift, followed by evenings with Baby Sip. Clocking in with Baby Sip is far more pleasurable, though.

Finally, we’ll wrap up with a look at some of the Sip Advisor’s favourite baby gadgets through the earliest stages. Since I’m on diaper duty whenever I’m home, I absolutely love our Diaper Genie. It was easy to set up and work with and gets my full seal of approval. I dare say diaper duty has been fun, minus the occasional mishap and mess. I also like the Graco Car Seat Adapter Mrs. Sip found on Amazon US. It was only $60 and has allowed us to move Baby Sip from vehicle to stroller and back with ease. The same product on Amazon Canada was a staggering $300-plus. Other items that have been essential to our child rearing so far are Baby Sip’s Fisher-Price Swing, Angelcare Bath Support, and various Sleep Sacks, among others.

Baby Beverages #2: Peer Pressure

Peer Pressure

  • 0.5 oz Triple Sec
  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • 0.5 oz Tequila
  • Beer (chase after shot, while people pressure you)

What will the next month of parenting bring me and Mrs. Sip? Only time will tell!

Advertisements

Mixer Mania #25 – Tonic Treatment

Tonic water is a polarizing mixer, but I have come to appreciate it in some drinks, specifically the Gin & Tonic. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best fictional tonics to ever be imagined:

Simpson & Son’s Revitalizing Tonic – The Simpsons

Created by Grampa Simpson, this potion will turn a loser into a lothario with one quick swig. After successfully using it, Homer decides that he and his dad should go into business together and sell the aphrodisiac to other men desperate for a quick pick-me-up.

The Simpsons has also featured other fantastical solutions, such as Brain & Nerve Tonic, which caused baseball star Ken Griffey Jr. to become addicted and overdose on the substance, causing gigantism. Lastly, there’s Dimoxinil, a hair regrowth remedy, which Homer used to improve his looks and life, only for Bart to knock over the bottle and spill the remaining cure.

Simpson & Son_s Revitalizing Tonic

Vitameatavegamin – I Love Lucy

Containing vitamins, meat, vegetables, and minerals, this health product was meant to provide users with their daily doses of each element in a single serving. The invention also contained alcohol, causing Lucy to start feeling the effects as the takes for the commercial she was filming began to pile up, with typically hilarious results.

Dr. Terminus – Pete’s Dragon

Snake oil salesman Dr. Terminus plays a key role in the original Pete’s Dragon movie. While the potions he’s selling are fakes and he’s been chased out of every town he’s tried to sell his wares, the “doctor” actually believes in his creations. As he sings: “Bites and burns and blue abrasions, got a pill for all occasions!”

Dr. Flimflam’s Miracle Cream – Futurama

Purchased by Dr. Zoidberg for an exorbitant price, the cream does provide Leela and Fry with superpowers, a listed side effect for humans. They form the New Justice Team with robot Bender and provide heroics to the city of New New York… at least until the cream runs out.

Mixer Mania #25: Desperation

Desperation.JPG

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Triple Sec
  • 1 oz Midori
  • Top with Tonic Water
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

There is also a long list of fictional erectile-dysfunction remedies, usual coming from sketch comedy shows, such as Saturday Night Live and Mad TV, parodying the industry.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
There are some interesting Tonic Water cocktails out there and I look forward to experimenting more with the mixer in the future. As for this drink, it was pretty good with the bitter tonic followed closely by the sweet flavours of orange and melon, resulting in a balanced beverage.

Flavour Revolution – Cinnamon

Challenge Him

For some reason, people are willing to do stupid challenges with food and drink, one of those being eating straight cinnamon for the amusement of others. Here are some food challenges that will leave you shaking your head in astonishment:

Cinnamon/Flour

Trying to consume a spoonful of cinnamon, without the use of any water, sounds like a sure-fire way to ruin your day. When you learn of the health risks associated with the stunt – burned/collapsed lungs, as well as the fact cinnamon is toxic to the liver and kidneys in large doses – it seems all the more stupid. Despite the warnings, the challenge has been popularized by shows such as Tosh.0 and even MythBusters. The flour version involves ingesting a whole ladle of the white stuff. Good luck with that!

cinnamon-challenge

Saltine Crackers

Mrs. Sip is a cracker fiend, but she likes to enjoy her crispy treats with wine and cheese. She would never attempt to eat seven soda crackers without the aid of a beverage. That’s because she’s quite intelligent and the average person attempting these challenges is… well, not. I have to ask: Why Saltines? What did this cracker do to draw the ire, ridicule, and persecution of the online world? Athletes such as Peyton Manning and Derek Jeter have been associated with this challenge and its competitive nature.

Ghost Pepper

It amazes me how willing people are to film themselves eating hot foods, despite the tears and tantrums – and sometimes much worse – that are surely to result, just for a few hits on YouTube. I’m equally amazed that people will actually watch these videos, wasting their precious free time. The Ghost Pepper is one of the hottest in the world, known to literally turn its victims into apparitions (there’s a long-standing rumour that this is how Casper the Friendly Ghost perished)… or viral fools.

Sprite-Bananas/Mentos-Diet Coke

Remember the vinegar and baking soda volcanos many of us made for grade school science fairs? These two food challenges are like that; only the volcano setting has been replaced by your stomach and esophagus. Aren’t unexpected chemical reactions neat… and gross!? If I was a higher-up at the Coca-Cola company, I’d be pissed that Pepsi and 7-Up haven’t been implicated in any of these witch hunts. A good PR team, though, would turn this into the discovery of new and alternative fuel sources!

coke-and-mentos

Milk

There was a great Mad TV sketch many moons ago, where musician and chicken restauranteur Kenny Rogers performs a number of Jackass stunts, including a ‘Dairy Challenge’. At the end, Kenny (played by Will Sasso) concludes that “Nobody wins in a dairy challenge!” I only have milk on cereal and sometimes with chocolate chip cookies. Why anyone would go about downing a gallon of the stuff, sans something edible, is insane. Now I just want that plate of cookies!

Raw Eggs

We have the Rocky movie franchise to thank for popularizing this food challenge and I don’t know what’s worse: Having to wake up crazy early in the morning to start training or drinking a cocktail of raw eggs prior to said workout. Rocky performs the task without fear (likely due to years of brain damage from his boxing), though. The practice is still debated to this day, as people try to balance the risk of salmonella poisoning against whatever positive effects the concoction may provide.

Peeps

The only way I like my marshmallows, is roasting over a fire, about to be merged with chocolate and Graham crackers in a S’more. Even then, I settle for one gooey treat and would never be caught stuffing two dozen (sometimes 100) yellow puff birds in my mouth over a short time span. If this challenge came about because someone hated birds, I would like to view their other brochures and promotional material. Otherwise, count me out.

Flavour Revolution: Hot Tamale

Hot Tamale Cocktail

  • Rim glass with Cinnamon-Sugar
  • 1.5 oz Jose Cuervo Cinge Tequila
  • 1 oz Triple Sec
  • 0.25 oz Campari
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

Despite the stupidity exhibited by all who try these challenges, we must remember that cinnamon plays a large role in many of the greatest desserts known to man. This includes cinnamon buns, Churros, and so many more. All would pair well with today’s cocktail!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This is basically a Margarita recipe with the only downside being the Campari. It’s not so bad, but I’ve grown to really detest the aperitif and anything it touches. The Cinge Tequila shouldn’t get the bad rap most are quick to give it. It’s a nice twist on the classic alcohol and perfect for playing around with.

June 6 – Baby Aspirin

Rockabye Baby

While wee little sippers are still a little down the road for Mrs. Sip and I, they are a subject that is often on our minds and that has inspired today’s article. Here are the Top 5 babies, some of which make having children seem like a great idea, while the others put a vasectomy at the top of the Sip Advisor’s “To Do” list!

#5: Muppet Babies

What do you get when you take the awesome Muppets and turn them into little babies? One of the most imaginative, adorable shows ever conceived, of course. This version of the characters sees Kermit and the gang as youngsters living in a nursery and being watched by the never-seen Nanny. Each episode saw the future variety act stars learning life lessons through their vivid imaginations. The Muppet Babies theme song is an absolute classic that I still find stuck in my head every so often.

#4: Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm – The Flintstones

It would be criminal to not include these two tykes; especially given the Sip Family has named cats after them. Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm go from little neighbours, brought together by the friendship of their respective parents, to dating as teenagers in the sequel series, The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show. Eventually, the pair even got married and had twins. Now, if that isn’t a case of love at first sight, I don’t know what is!

#3: Stewie Griffin – Family Guy

While he’s much more intellectually-advanced compared to others on this list, Stewie is still a baby… and he can be a naughty little baby, indeed. For quite some time, his main objective in life is to murder his own mother. While this desire eventually fades, Stewie hasn’t completely changed his tune and is often getting up to some level of mischief – sometimes in different generations throughout history –  thanks to his time machine and other inventions.

Stewie Drinking

#2: Rugrats

The adventures of the Rugrats gang typically revolve around the babies learning the ways of the world. This included potty training, first trips to the public swimming pool, and going through the naked phase. Led by the seemingly fearless Tommy Pickles, the other youngsters include the oft-terrified Chucky Finster, and wild twins Phil and Lil DeVille. Tommy’s cousin Angelica was always around to stir up trouble for the babies, who we later got to see as pre-teens in the show All Grown Up.

#1: Maggie Simpson – The Simpsons

Mrs. Sip and I absolutely adore Maggie, who despite never uttering a word (aside from calling Homer “daddy” in one episode) has found herself a titular character in many of the family’s escapades. With pacifier always nearby, Maggie is capable of so much more than most youngsters her age. Hell, she has already been involved in the attempted murder of Mr. Burns and has also saved her father from the mafia. She even has an arch-enemy: the uni-browed Gerald. Not bad, for an infant.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Baby Aspirin

  • 0.5 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Triple Sec
  • Splash of Orange Juice
  • Garnish with a Sour Soother

It’s funny how many classic characters have been thrust into a series where they are babies or kids: Tom and Jerry, Scooby Doo, the Looney Tunes gang, the Jungle Book animals, the Archie teens, the Flintstones, and many others. Well, time to put the little ones off to bed and have some adult time!

May 9 – Last Goodbye

Finale Fail

It’s bad enough when a TV show you enjoy has been cancelled, but it’s even worse when that show isn’t given the opportunity to wrap up their storylines, leaving viewers and characters together in a dark void. I think a charity should be set up to fund series finale episodes for shows that have been abruptly cancelled or given their notice after a season has already been completed. Mrs. Sip has an even better idea, where networks should have to write into contracts a clause that allows any cancelled show one episode to tie all their loose threads together and end shows on the right note… or at least close to that. All this leads to the Top 5 TV shows that deserved a finale:

#5: Undergrads

After a short 13-episode run, Undergrads was no more, leaving a number of hanging storylines. Whatever happened with Nitz and the gang as they traversed the rigors of their undergrad education? Did Nitz ever finally realize his true feelings for Jessie? Shows that involve characters going off to college, should be given four-year contracts minimum to do a proper job on the experience. From time to time, there have been rumblings of a movie or second season to wrap up the series, but to this date, nothing has ever come of the talks.

undergrads_group

#4: Boomtown

This critically-acclaimed series, showing each story through numerous perspectives, just couldn’t win over enough viewers and was cancelled abruptly, six episodes into its second season. I urge everyone out there to seek out the first season of the show (it was available on DVD at one point), for some of the most amazing storytelling you could find on network TV. I kind of wish they had kept the series at just one season, as there was some closure in that final episode. Instead, they went for season two (which was originally fantastic news) and changed their formula and cast a little. Then, they were cancelled abruptly and we all lost out.

#3: Titus

Everyone I’ve ever talked to about this comedy, starring stand-up comedian Christopher Titus, says they loved it. Despite that, the show was cancelled after three seasons and 54 episodes, apparently due to Titus’ refusal to split himself and girlfriend Erin in the storyline. I can’t really blame him, given he was still married at the time to the real-life Erin. The show sort of faded out, as a result, with no true resolutions. Starting in 2010, there were rumours of a new Titus series, which would have seen him divorced from Erin, his father having passed away, and Titus experiencing a new, normal girlfriend, but those plans were cancelled in 2014.

#2: Married with Children

Given its 11-season run and how much it helped establish the Fox network as a viable option to the “Big 3” (NBC, CBS, ABC) in the channel’s infancy, it’s shocking that the show was so disregarded and cancelled without any respect for fans. Sure, there was the reunion episode a few years back that went over the show’s history, but we still never got to wrap the family up and see them move to the next stage in their lives. Perhaps it didn’t need the nice neat bow on the package send-off that other shows require, but they didn’t even air the last taped episode in the proper order and instead, what is now regarded as the “series finale” is just an ordinary episode.

#1: Deadwood

The final episode of season three ended in one of the most anti-climactic scenes I have ever witnessed. With tensions raised sky high between the citizens of the Deadwood mining town and the despicable George Hearst, the end result was… absolutely nothing! Given that episode turned out to be the end of the series, it was one of the most disappointing viewing experiences of my life. There was an agreement to wrap up the story with two made-for-TV movies, but those never came to fruition and most involved with the show consider it to be a dead subject.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Last Goodbye

  • 0.5 oz Cognac
  • 0.3 oz Cherry Brandy
  • 0.25 oz Triple Sec
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Others that may have made this list, save for movies or series reboots that were made years later, include: Firefly, Alf, Twin Peaks, Veronica Mars, and Gilligan’s Island, among others. Community was supposed to be the most recent TV tragedy on this list, cancelled last spring after already airing its season finale, but miraculously, it was picked up by Yahoo! Screen for a 13-episode sixth season.

April 4 – Easter Basket

Easter Eats

Every year, I put together an Easter candy hunt for Mrs. Sip. Yeah, I know, I’m the greatest husband in the world! This surprise holds two benefits: I score major points with the missus and I have a plethora of Easter treats to enjoy for myself. It’s like guilt free and all! Here are some of my favourite Easter goodies!

#5: Chocolate Eggs

Whether it be Snickers, Oh Henry, Butterfinger, Crunch, or some other option, these are some of the most satisfying Easter treats and you can’t stop at just demolishing one. Sure, it’s basically just the chocolate bar in a flat, egg shape (which you pay more for than a full-size treat), but there’s something to be said for small sizes and being able to eat more of a variety of things, than just one option. This is why Halloween is so awesome, too!

Easter-Chocolate

#4: Reese’s Products

While any Easter entry from Reese’s is delicious, the topper is the company’s eggs, which are incredibly similar to their traditional peanut butter cups. I’m also a fan of their mini-cups (wrapped of course in pastel colours) and smaller foil-wrapped eggs. They even have peanut butter stuffed chocolate bunnies, which should have the entire population of chocolate bunnies cowering in fear. I smell a massive chocolate rabbit cull on the horizon…

#3: Jelly Beans

Every once in a while, I get a massive craving for jelly beans, which I only sometimes act on. While most around the world have to settle for other jelly bean offerings (Jelly Belly, Starburst, Jolly Rancher, etc.), us folks in this part of the world (that would be British Columbia) can enjoy Purdy’s jelly beans, which are the softest, tastiest confections ever devised. I say “settle” for the other companies, but they all have their own positive attributes. Eat on, my little sippers!

jelly bean diet

#2: Cadbury Crème Eggs

For some reason, Mrs. Sip isn’t down with Crème Egg candies, but that doesn’t stop the Sip Advisor from picking up a pack or two for himself! There’s just something fun about cracking one of these open and dealing with the creamy goo in whatever way you choose fit. Capitalizing on the popularity of Cadbury Crème Eggs, other companies have released similar products, with mixed results. Some are decent to good, but nothing compares to the original.

#1: Mini Eggs

While some knockoffs have popped up on the market, nothing beats the true version of Mini Eggs from Cadbury Chocolates. Ma and Pa Sip seem to always have a bowl around at their place and it is incredibly difficult to behave yourself and stay away from said bowl. I try to only have one of each colour every time I visit the bowl, but there are certainly times when I can’t pry myself away from the treats, especially after a couple Easter drinks!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Easter Basket

Easter Basket Shot

  • Rim glass with Coconut Shavings
  • 0.75 oz Cherry Liqueur
  • 0.25 oz Triple Sec
  • Splash of Milk
  • Dash of Grenadine

I have to include a couple items in my honourable mentions that Mrs. Sip enjoys, while the Sip Advisor doesn’t at the same level. This would include Whopper’s Robin Eggs and Peeps. Malt balls and marshmallows don’t totally work this guy, but I appreciate how happy they make Mrs. Sip!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
You can either add green food colouring or sprinkles to the Coconut Shavings to get that Easter basket grass effect. I wish I had used some other Easter candies for my garnishing, but I didn’t have any on hand. You know, the whole healthy lifestyle thing. The shot was highlighted by the sour taste of the Cherry Liqueur, but I wasn’t overly thrilled with the entire recipe as a whole.

Latvia – Siberian Sunset

Did You Know?

For a country of under two million people, Latvia has still managed to make some significant contributions to the world. Here is a collection of lesser known facts for the nation that has also gone by the names Livonia, Courland, and Lettland:

Birth of a Nation

A Latvian myth states that their national flag was created when a 13th century chief was wounded in battle and wrapped in a white sheet. Blood from his injuries made the two dark red stripes on either side of the sheet, while the middle remained clean. Another interpretation states that the flag depicts Latvians willingness to fight and lose blood for freedom and liberty. The Latvian flag is sometimes mistaken for Austria’s pennant, despite the difference in red hues.

Latvia Location

Freedom Fighters

In its entire history, Latvia has only enjoyed independence for a total of 44 years, over two stints (1920-40 and 1990-present). The country has been ruled and occupied by the Germans, Swedes, Russians, Nazis, and Soviets, to name a few. Their most recent run of autonomy began with the fall of communism. In 2004, Latvia achieved two of its greatest accomplishments as a sovereign nation, being accepted into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU).

Party Time

Latvians technically celebrate two independence days. The first, Proclamation of the Republic of Latvia, occurs every November 18th, while the second, on May 4th, is known as Restoration of Independence Day. That means double holidays! I’d be all for the Canadian government letting other nations take over for the day, if it meant a few extra days off each year!

Forever in Blue Jeans

One of Latvia’s greatest contributions to the world is something most of you might be wearing as you read this article: jeans. Latvian immigrant Jacob Youphes (known as Jacob Davis after moving to North America) created the first pair of denim workpants with his soon-t-be patented rivet, holding together Levi Strauss’ denim. The two went into business together and revolutionized the fashion industry. The orange stitching that appears on jeans is also the work of Davis.

Jeans Washed

Ice Capades

Hockey is the most popular sport in Latvia. Helmuts Balderis was the first Latvian to play in the NHL, when he was drafted by the Minnesota North Stars in 1989. Because this was the first year Soviet players were allowed to be drafted, Balderis earned the distinction of being the oldest player to ever be selected at age 36 and when he scored his first NHL goal, became the oldest player to score his first goal, at the age of 37.

Crocodile Hunter

It blew the Sip Advisor’s mind to learn that the character of Crocodile Dundee was actually inspired by a Latvian. Arvīds Blūmentāls made his way from Latvia to Australia in 1945. Once there, he hunted reptiles, studied Aboriginals and mined opals. Crocodile Dundee went on to become a smash hit film in 1986 and Blūmentāls’ home in Coober Perdy is a tourist attraction. Back in Latvia, a crocodile monument was constructed in Blūmentāls’ hometown of Dundaga.

Crocodile Dundee

Ring Bearer

Many Latvian men wear a Namejs Ring, which helps them identify each other around the world. The four braids of the ring’s design signifies the solidarity of Latvia and its citizens. The legend behind the ring is that it was worn by Namejs, leader of the Semigallian tribe, which was fighting off the German crusaders invasion of Latvia in the 13th century. He gave this ring to his son, hoping he would be recognized upon his return from battle. It is also a sign of friendship and trust.

Strapped In

Another popular piece of Latvian attire is the Lielvārdes Josta, a red and white woven belt, featuring 22 ancient symbols. The belt serves many purposes throughout the wearer’s life, including being used to hang a baby’s cradle, all the way to eventually carrying and lowering a casket at the end of life. The belt is said to have special protection powers and is worn during special festivities and family events. It can also be used to identify which region of Latvia a person may hail from.

Latvia: Siberian Sunset

Dec 25

  • 1.5 oz Stoli Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Triple Sec
  • Top with Grapefruit Soda
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Supervillain Dr. Doom is the ruler of the fictional country, Latveria, which one would have to assume is partly based on Latvia, at least by name. Thankfully, the real Latvians don’t have to deal with an evil dictator like Dr. Doom anymore and can thrive in their freedom.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
The Stoli Vodka drinks go two-for-two with this nice entry. I used Grapefruit Soda instead of juice, as I`m prone to do. The Maraschino Cherry serves as the sun streaking across the sky and makes for a nice little bonus at the end of the cocktail!