Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Our Two Year Old BABY

I have been taking photos of Charlotte all week. I am trying to capture the perfect image to use as her two year old portrait photo. Since we are in NON SPENDING MODE still, I won't be taking her to a studio and I won't be hiring a professional to capture her cuteness. Even with coupons and discounts I am taking matters into my own hands. Charlotte's photograph is depending on me.

While these are not portrait style, they are my favorites quick snaps during all the busy activities this week. I will work on a posed portrait later in the week, so for now

this is my BABY, my two year old BABY.

Stay tuned for the fancy, girly, princess portraits- my baby is counting on me.

Monday, June 29, 2009

He's a Keeper

So far so good. I keep waiting for the new addition to do something wrong and after 5 days of genuine noise and torture by our kids he is doing his business outdoors, sleeping great, eating well, and being friendly with everyone. Can this be possible? I really want his placement with us to work out, so I am being realistic that he is a dog and I am sure this is a honeymoon phase. I am not totally delusional.

This boy is so sweet and mellow, especially for a Jack Russell. He reminds all of us of The Beetle dog because he is more like an Old Jewish Man than a stereotypical hyper JRT. Both Beetle and The Dog Formerly Known as Jack love to just hang out, snooze in the sun that streams in from the window, and be with their people. His swagger and short stocky build make him strong but his personality is a like a pint sized person. He adores the kids and is already just cool to sit back and watch over them. We took him to Lambton Park and as he surveyed the grounds for potential squirrels, rabbits and birds, and still managed to keep his eyes on the kids as they threw rocks in the pond.

We know he is not starved for attention or activity. Now I just add him to the list of "people" that I have to exhaust from mealtime to bedtime each day. Believe it or not, he has LESS energy than our children, so he is simple and easy to tucker out.

I think he is a keeper. Now we just have to settle on his new name.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

On The Road (again)

We schlepped the kids all the way to Indianapolis today. The drive is 3 hours each way so we are certifiably insane. Four kids, 6 hours, and the Willie Nelson lyrics, "I just can't wait to be on the road again" NEVER EVER entered my mind. Since the Levy side was having a mini family reunion we could not say no. We went.

I could bore you with all the details of the drive but this video pretty much sums up the highlight of the beautiful journey on I-70.

My kids were jammin to some Skynard. Let's face it my kids like music of all kinds. Jeff is pure classic rock and roll with some Broadway musical thrown in for his metro sexual side, Argenida listens to Latin Pop, Mitchell is into Hip Hop and Amanda has tastes all over the place, so when Sweet Home Alabama was cranked my children just rolled with it.

The kids had an absolute ball at the party. The cousins were in full bloom so our kids just blended in and joined in the festivities. What child would not love a home with a koi pond, lovely garden with a wooden bridge and a pool? These are things that other people have- not us, so going to visit relatives with pristine backyards is a treat for them and me.

The food was amazing because not only was it ready to eat when we got there, it was fresh, delish

and artfully displayed on the trays. I give Robin huge props for maintaining a weed free 1 acre lush zone, catering a luncheon for 50 people, and doing it all with a mother in law in ICU. She thinks having 4 kids under 4 is rough....nah, she's got me beat this week.

Hmmmm, perhaps we should put some Willie Nelson on the I-pod for the next trip, by then maybe the kids will have forgotten all about Leonard Skynard and will be humming along with Mommie, Daddy and Willie.

On the road again
Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
We're the best of friends
Insisting that the world be turnin' our way
And our way Is on the road again
Just can't wait to get on the road again
The life I love is makin' music with my friends
And I can't wait to get on the road again

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Garage Sale Fiasco- We are NEGATIVE $310.00

We got up at 6:15 a.m and put our sale together right on time. We were ready for the early birds and I predicted the traffic would start well before the designated 8:00- and I was right. It was garage sale-a-palooza!

The weather was a perfect sunny, clear 80 degrees and our garage sale was on track to earn us the big bucks.

I had a rolling rack with the brand new Ohio State University Pleather Jackets that I bought in KC for $3.33 each, various maternity clothes and a few of the Michigan Jackets to counter balance the OSU gear. There was something for everyone at the Slutsky Sale.

There was no need to add balloons to our mailbox or even place a sign because I had the two firetruck toddler beds across the lawn to attract buyers. Nothing stops an array of garage salers like toddler beds with flashing lights on top. (Jeff was so please with me for selling these for $44 more than I paid for them two years ago)

After the first hour I was ready to put up a large sign that said:
No tools
No Fishing Gear
No Golf Stuff
No Camping equipment
No Jewelry
NO BATHROOM AVAILABLE. Seriously, who asks a random stranger to go inside their home (while they are outside) to use the facilities? Between 8 and 11 I had four different folks ask me. Our friend Judy stopped by and I let her go for 50 cents, but I know her.

Garage Salers are funny people. One lady bought $2 worth of misc. crap and only had $1.20 in her wallet (so she said) so I told her that I would just make it her lucky day and accept the buck-twenty. Fine. Good. The bitch got pissed off when I did not have a bag to give her for the stuff. C'mon woman this is a garage sale not Nordstrom.

I had an entire rack of the red and black OSU jackets when the sale started. There were all sizes at that time. Around noon a woman came back and wanted to buy a size Large. We had XXL and XXXL left. She had the audacity to say, "Well, when I was here at 9:00 you had a Large. True, True, we had a large but you did not buy it someone else did. Honestly, did she think we were going to just keep replenishing sizes like they do at Wal Mart? I was completely in awe and I wanted to say, "You snooze you lose!" but instead I just told her "Sorry".

My across the street neighbors were selling this wooden toy organizerwith all the buckets for ten bucks, so I got it. We will use this in the laundry room as a storage shelf to house the kids' socks, underwear and pajamas. It is perfect and for ten dollars cash I will be happy to fill it with clean clothes and skip going upstairs for the night time items.

At one point I noticed that I cut my legand was bleeding all over the place. This is the kind of glamour and glory you get from hosting a garage sale.

Slowly but surely we sold almost everything. At noon we were left with a few odds and ends and called it quits. We earned almost $800 from the sale of merchandise.
I did not have enough hours to weed through the rest of our old stuff or perhaps we could have made closer to my $2100 figure, but I was really, really, happy with $800.

When we finally came inside to re-hydrate and relax we learned that during our sale Eli escaped from the playroom, went into the basement, found an open bottle of Mitchell's grape flavored powerade, drank a few sips, and then poured the remainder of the 32 ounce bottle all over Amanda's laptop computer. Jeff and Argenida were tag teaming the kids while I was outside turning away people looking for items that Jewish people never own, and somehow with two sets of eyes on the kids, it happened.

The laptop was purchased last year for about $1100. Welcome to HELL. We have the laptop turned upside downon the kitchen table hoping the liquid drains out and it will reboot without issues. Yeah Right. Next year when the Home Owners Association schedules the garage sale, I will be sure to be out of town. I simply can't afford to participate.

The garage sale fiasco boils down to this:

Sales from Garage Sale Merchandise..... $800
Purchases from Neighbors.................$10
Cost to replace Amanda's Laptop........$1100

Final Fiasco Total, - $310.00

How much do you think I can get when I sell Eli to the highest bidder?

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Ultimate Gluten Free Shopping Spree at Costco

This week has been ape shit nuts around here. In addition to the heat and humidity we are in full garage sale mode, and oh yeah, we got a new dog. So with that in mind this Gluten Free Friday is a list of my all time favorite gluten free products from Costco.

These all natural cheetos are gluten free and dye free unlike the regular, stain your fingers version from our childhoods. These taste amazing and are priced right to feed a gaggle of kids.

These crunchy fruit and nut cubes are like the old fashioned peanut brittle only they are loaded with almonds, pistachios and dried fruits. Officially called trail mix crunch from Mareblu Naturals, these are great because they are just about two bite sized and they transport well in a dixie cup or ziploc bag. The flavor variety seems to vary and right now they have blueberry pomegranate available.
No gluten free home is complete without a freezer full of these amazing chicken tenders by Bell and Evans. They are not processed nuggets, but actual tenderloins of chicken in a gluten free breading. They are uncooked so you have to be sure to bake them according to the directions to be sure they are not raw in the center. These are a high quality chicken product and our kids love to dip them in BBQ sauce, but as adults we have sliced them and put them on top of a mixed salad- YUM!
Greek yogurt is a naturally thick and creamy style but it usually full of fat. This chobani yogurt tastes like it loaded with fat but remarkably it is fat free, gluten free and has no artificial sweetners in it. I love this over berries and gluten free granola as a meal.
I am not sure these chips should be sold and marketed in the snack aisle because they are more like a cracker than a chip. Food Should Taste Good makes these multigrain, gluten free snacky crackers in the jumbo bag. In our house we use these as a vehicle to get the hummus to our mouths. They are totally tasty alone but are strong enough to use with thick dips.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor do I play one on television. Please read labels and double check the packaging on these items just in case the ingredients change or they are in a new formula. Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The dog formerly known as Jack

If you follow this blog daily, and you read yesterdays post about the block party you are not too surprised to see the title of this post, are you? Ahhh, you know me so well, don't you?

He is all ours now. It is official. This amazing guy is 4 years old, sweet as sugar, and we got him the minute the shelter opened this morning.

We know his history because his owner died and he was surrendered to the shelter. This dog hit the jackpot lottery today. I would think that being a dog in a nice Jewish family is a slam dunk in terms of canine lifestyle. He will never know bad weather, he will have the finest medical attention and when it comes to eating, G-d Forbid he should want for anything.

The only thing we need to do is re-name him, according to the shelter his name is/was Jack. Having a Jack Russell Terrier named Jack is just too cliche for me, and besides, Jeff and I have a nephew named Jack Slutsky so that is nixed. Our previous Jack Russells had names related to the Beatles, and while we could go there again, we are letting the older children assist in the selection of his new and improved name. (Unless Mitchell continues suggesting Ohio State players and random streams of conscienceness)

So, NU, he is a Jewish boy now and we will announce his name on the eighth day. I guess since he is neutered we can skip the circumcision ceremony and go straight to the brunch. I am open to suggestions for names, so take a look at his precious smiling face, and leave a comment. We have seven days left to make our decision.

Mazel Tov to our new dog formerly known as Jack. Brunch is next Thursday at 11:00.

Now this is what I call a Block Party

Okay, so after the neighborhood party tonight I need to apologize to the members of the home owners association. These fine folks may be a little pesky when it comes to the appearance of the properties, but man oh man can they throw a party. So while I am still annoyed at the hoops you have to jump through for their approval, I do think they are rock stars when it comes to celebrating within the hood.

Somehow the block-slash-neighborhood summer party was held behind the pool on the green space and it was underwritten by Sunny 95 and some of their local advertisers.

This meant the whole event was F-R-E-E and provided food, prizes, games, mascots and all sorts of fun for kids of all ages. My children thought our neighborhood was having a birthday party,

complete with two bounce houses! We had lots of photo opps with Bob Evans' dogs Biscuits and Gravy

Stinger from the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Mr. Sunny from Sunny 95.

Each vendor got a crack at marketing their products and services to all the residents in attendance and I am sure they were there to drum up business- so as a marketing and advertising angle this was a great place to get in front of 400 families who live right around the corner from their establishments. Smart and Savvy- thanks guys- my kids LOVED going from booth to booth to score the giveaways and trinkets. We are set on toothbrushes, tee shirts, pens, bags, and stickers.

We even stopped by the Franklin County Animal Shelter's booth and I made the mistake of telling them we were dogless at the moment. Before they could hand me an application for an adoption I opened my big mouth and said, "We are Jack Russell people and we would love to rescue a Jack Russell Terrier someday!" Both the volunteers at the booth were wide eyed and grinning, and before I could say another word, they showed me a 4 year old Jack Russell whose owner died last week. He has been at the shelter for a few days and is housebroken, trained to do some tricks
and is adorable. I dragged Jeff over to the tent and practically forced him to meet the dog. Hopefully (fingers crossed) if all goes well tonight I will be blogging about our newest family member tomorrow. Some things are just meant to be and this sweet boy needs us!

The kids love to see our friends and neighbors in social situations.
They freaked out when they saw their "other brother" Danny.

So I guess I jumped the gun when I blasted my peeps at the HOA. I won't be complaining anymore as long as they keep throwing parties and giving my kids tons of promotional giveaways. Now this is what I call a block party! Anyone want to buy plans for a missile silo?

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The older crowd
Amanda and Mitchell

A blast from the past...makes it all so real now