Sunday, January 31, 2010

Amanda is Awesome

Since this is the Slutsky family blog I want to give credit where credit is due. Jest because Amanda is away at college does not mean she is any less a part of this crazy family, so when there is something to shout out about, I will shout.

Last week Jeff got his usual share of junk in the mail. One envelope looked to be the typical solicitation from the House of Representative's office. It was official in its' appearance, but almost got tossed before it was opened. Fortunately Jeff did not trash the envelope because it contained the important document notifying us of Amanda's place on the Dean's List.

"Holy Crap, Batman," I heard Jeff say as he read through the certificate. I am sure he did not fully convey his excitement and pride to Amanda herself, so I am outting him as being one happy daddy.

Thankfully we have the silly Slutsky family blog to give millions of folks the opportunity to share our joy.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Big Lots of Gluten Free Foods

When we tell people we keep a gluten free home the response is either, "Oh, wow, that must be expensive" or "Oh my, that must be hard to do." It is really neither of these things, so long as you understand and read labels, and stock up on non-perishable items when they are on sale. I usually do not even go into detail that we are High Fructose Corn Syrup and artificial dye free too, because that would cause most folks to think we are freaks.

I have been shopping Big Lots for years. I get shipping and packing supplies for my business and I find discontinued items there all the time. When a name brand introduces a new packaging or formula the discontinued stock ends up at places like Big Lots. This is where I stock piled the old version of Propel fitness water when the makers went to a slimmer bottle and added High Fructose Corn Syrup. I cruise through the aisles and sometimes stumble on a gem at Big Lots.

Today, the Big Lots haul was a plethora of natural, gluten-free and dye free products.Whoever thinks you can't find deals on these kinds of items, does not know where to shop.

Take a look at all this pasta.
This is the Sam Mills spaghetti and rigatoni in a one pound bag. This is a corn pasta that contains no GMO's, No Gluten, No Dairy or Eggs- it is an all natural corn pasta that is even Vegan and it made in a dedicated GF facility. Big Lots price: $1.20 a package!

These Mayacamas pesto sauce packets come in really handy on nights when we have a babysitter or when I run out of my homemade pesto cubes in the freezer. This dry pesto is made with all natural, gluten free ingredients and is mixed with water and butter or olive oil to prepare. Big Lots price: $.50 each.

My kids munch snack food all afternoon. These roasted and salted Edamame and Wasabi rice crackersare a hit. They are made by a US company, Roland, and are gluen free as well as MSG free. These bags were $1.50 at Big Lots.

The Silver Palate Cookbook has a line of fancy gourmet mustards.
The Dijon Mustard, Peppercorn Mustard and Wasabi Sauce are all labeled GLUTEN FREE. These are great for dips and dressings and they are affordable at Big Lots. These retail for more than $5 each at Dean & Deluca, but the Big Lots price: $2 a jar.

Honest Earth creamy mash potatoes are ideal for breading my homemade gluten free chicken nuggets. I use these powdered potato flakes as a substitute for bread crumbs on chicken and fish.These are all natural and have no chemical additives, no preservatives and only two ingredients, potatoes and butter. We do not usually eat them as directed because I am a mashed potato snob. This box contains 3 pouches and the Big Lots price: $1.80.

The Garden of Eatin snack chips are gluten free and organic.They are all natural and are dusted with sea salt. The 9 ounce bag at Big Lots: $1.50

Popcorn is naturally gluten free but this jar of American's Best is grown without chemical pesticides and is a high yield hybrid corn.I prefer to pop my own so that I can control the seasoning and exclude fats and MSG. That microwave popcorn is full of all kinds of crap. This 30 ounce jar earned the Good Housekeeping seal as if that matters. The Big Lots price: $2.

I am pretty picky about the drinks my children are allowed to have. Ideally they drink water, watered down 100% whole fruit juice or milks. I prefer that they do not drink any products with nutrasweet or high fructose corn syrup. This leaves good old cane sugar and or naturally sweetened sodas. Since we are gluten free and dye free our sodas must be all natural or colorless and this is where it gets tricky.

I found the Hansen's natural cans of sparkling water with flavor from pure fruit.
Since my kids do not get Coca Cola type products they do not realize that these are not as sweet and syrupy. Big Lots has the four can packs for $2 which is a great price.

The Steaz Organic sparkling green tea sodas meet my criteria and at Big Lots they have the four pack of 12 ounce glass bottles for $2.50 each.

These tall 25 ounce bottles of Santa Cruz Sparkling Organic Lemonade are great.This is a size that accomodates our group at dinner. Everyone gets a dixie cup size serving and at $1.50 a piece at Big Lots, they are affordable.

I am now an official Big Lots Fan. Gluten free, dye free, all natural, dye free, MSG free can be done on a dime. You just have to know where to look.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Anonymous Posters and Spammers

All good things must come to an end. It is time for me to revise the comment section on my blog. Thanks to all of the nonsense and spam being left in the comments, I am now putting the special twist of word verification on the blog.

As much as I hate having to restrict people in leaving their opinions and two cents, I just can't keep up with the deleting of the bogus links about how the credit crunch has affected porn, or how we can get high return yields on our investments, not to mention all the url-s for male enhancement medications. I know, I know, you people reading NEED this valuable information and you turn to the comment area of my blog for it. Buh-bye spam and anonymous idiots.

This means if you really do have something to say, you will have to take a few extra seconds to make your point known. It is for the best really.

Now, c'mon- say it don't spray it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Queen in the Kingdom

I find it rather fitting that my children LOVE to go to the new indoor inflatable play place, Kingdom of Bounce. I am the Queen and it feels right to allow my kids to enjoy themselves in a Kingdom.

The Kingdom of Bounce is a mecca for all things that are remotely related to kiddie birthday parties. You would not want to be caught dead in there on school holidays or weekends when it is jam packed with snotty, sweaty and sassy children, but during the week it is civilized enough for this Queen and her Royal Subjects.

On weeknights during the school year Kingdom of Bounce offers pizza and bounce at a reduced price. The Real Housewives of Franklin County held their Mommie Meeting there tonight.RS, the one with the perfect hair and I were the only card carrying members there, but we represented well in our traditional all black or black with jeans ensemble. We rocked Kingdom of Bounce with our designer mini-vans and Venti Lattes from Starbucks.

Our kids had a blast. It was nice to let them expel every ounce of energy at dinner time.

During this cold winter month it is nice to have a venue for physical exhaustion.

This is Natalie with her wanna-be boyfriend, Jacob.She is madly in LOVE with him and like all Jewish boys, being persued by Nice Jewish Girls, he could care less. They make such a darling couple, and I have been encouraging this friendship for years.

So if you are in the Columbus area with a boat load of children, be sure to let them burn off their energy at Kingdom of Bounce. Bring your own latte and laptop and you might just survive it.

Here ye Hear ye, it is official, The Kingdom of Bounce is fit for a Queen!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bad Parenting Hurts My Head

As a concerned parent I am always learning about new ways to motivate, educate and enrich the lives of my children. I am also keenly aware that the choices I make directly affect my kids and their future. Since this blog is my legacy, I feel obligated to share every story that touches me, all the photo images that crack me up, and even the not so glorious situations that arise in my family as well as in the media.

In addition to learning new parenting techniques, I am constantly picking up where other parents have left off, good, bad and in between. I read and reviewed Larry Winget's parenting bible, Your Kids Are Your Own Fault and I see the big picture. I am not perfect but I feel confident that I am on the right path to raising responsible, solid citizens. I want to be proud of my accomplishments and I consider my family the top priority. I feel like parenting my kids is my full time job and I am at work 24/7/365.

In addition to listening to what Larry Winget has to say, I take advice from people who I respect in the parenting world. As a mom of multiples, I depend on the pioneers who are ahead of me in the journey. What works for singletons does not apply to the herd mentality of multiples, so it is crucial to watch what works for the multiple moms and it apply it accordingly. I do this with Michele S, and Jennifer Mullinax both who have triplets plus one 18 months or so younger. These are my mentors because they KNOW what I am dealing with on a personal level. While I may not agree with everything they say or do, I can learn and form my own opinion.

I hope that my blog can be just as helpful to other new multiple Mommies in their journey to raising responsible adults. You can see my version of how to "gitter-done" and adapt it to fit your style. I am an acquired taste for sure.

Imagine my shock and horror when Larry posted a facebook status update about Lynn Geter,the mom in Georgia who forced her son to kill his pet hamster with a hammer. She did this as punishment for bringing home bad grades. This is a prime example of bad parenting. I can't quit thinking about this, ever since I read it, I have been a little sick to my stomach. My head is hurting for that family.

How is it possible that this woman thought the punishment fit the crime? Did she even consider the innocent hamster in this scenario? I just can't grasp how committing an act of violence and animal cruelty would help the boy improve his grades? This boy is about two steps from becoming a serial killer, in my opinion.

As a Mommie Blogger I post on a variety of subjects, topics and parenting issues. My goal is to provide a thought provoking journal of my childrens' life from my perspective. Some days are cute stories and funny photographs, some days are links to my other Momma bloggers and other days are like today when I can't stop thinking about the boy in Georgia.

Bad parenting is easy to spot, it is the really awesome parenting that is more difficult to do and recognize, and I am trying.

See kids, I did try to learn the best possible ways to motivate you. I never made you harm Lenny to teach you a lesson. I used a make shift tot clock to help you understand the art of telling time. I schlepped you to museums, parks, and libraries so you would be well rounded. I did my best under the most stressful of circumstances. Even when I was sleep deprived and cranky I loved you enough to keep educating myself on your behalf. Thanks, Love, Mommie.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Chihuly Then, Chihuly Now

Over the years I have been fortunate enough to travel and appreciate the finest art the world has to offer. Dale Chihuly is one artist who has shown exhibits at various milestone moments in my life. I have the fondest memories of seeing Dale Chihuly collections.

About ten years ago in Jerusalem I spent hours in the King David Museum gazing at the modern glass sculptures of Dale Chihuly against some of the oldest relics in the world. It was old (the then) meets new (the now) right there in the heart of the Holy Land. It was a milestone moment as I toured the history of my people and spent time with my friends.

I remember posing for these photos as if it were yesterday.

Ten years ago I was single and went to Israel for the wedding of some friends. I longed to be married and have my own family and I admit I was a little jealous of the major party like shindig that was taking place in Israel. Looking back to that trip, it does feel like it was yesterday.

About eight years ago in April I had my first, blind date with Jeff. We met in Las Vegas and while I waited for him to arrive for our dinner date I busied myself with shopping. My day included seeing all of the Dale Chihuly glass fixtures and ceilings in the Bellagio Hotel as well as a stop at Jimmy Choo. Both became memorable events in what turned out to be one the most important days of my life. I went to the dinner date with Jeff knowing if it were a total train wreck, I at least, would go home with a fabulous pair of shoes and the images of the art glass. That weekend feels like it was yesterday.

Yesterday I was at the Chihuly exhibit with the same fabulous Jeff, the blind date that changed my life and became my own husband and the father to our four kids. I posed for similar photos

as I stood there in awe of the milestone moment. If you had asked me ten years ago, if I would be in Columbus, Ohio at a Chihuly exhibit with my husband and triplets plus one, I would have thought you were insane. But fast forward to now, and chalk up another milestone for me with Dale Chihuly. My whole afternoon in the Franklin Park Conservatory seemed a bit surreal.

Here are the highlights of the children at the Chihuly exhibit.

I felt compelled to take over a hundred photos to document the day. I had this gnawing feeling that there is another milestone in the making. It has been my experience that when my mommy gut instinct is calling I should listen. So I captured the day with Dale Chihuly, my husband and my four beautiful babies.

Chihuly then, Chihuly now, Chihuly in the future.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Our Own Tot Clock

As I mentioned, the kids have been waking up way too early. WAY. As in Wayne and Garth, Way, No way, Way. I had been frequenting an on line Mommie Forum and found out that I am not alone. this is a common problem.

In fact, it is such a common issue with parents that there is a product designed to help children understand the basic concepts of telling time. Many moms mentioned using an item called a Tot Clock. Tot Clocks are highly praised for helping teach children about time.They use a color system to indicate time cycles. For example, the clock turns yellow when it is morning and it is time to wake up. There is color for all times of the day. Tht tot clock costs fifty bucks so before I plunked down the dough, I needed to make sure my darling angels would be willing to follow the rules.

While I think the original Tot Clock system is great on so many levels, there are not any reviews from moms of multiples. This means that the tot clock is great for SINGLETONS. Can you imagine how quickly my herd of wild animals would have this $50 gizmo destroyed? I would bet that CJ would stay up all night tinkering with the damn thing so that the face plate was yellow all day. Mr. Engineer would hand over a new and improved tot clock by the wee hours of the morning. NO THANKS.

I studied the concept of the Tot Clock and I went out on a basic street fighter limb. I decided to implement the strategy of the Tot Clock only on my own terms. I rigged a small lamp in the hallway outside the zoo, errrr, I mean, children's bedrooms.
I had Jeff install a light timer to the lamp so that it turns itself on at 7:00 a.m. My grandmother used to have one of these light timers to foil the burglars in her neighborhood. When she was out of town the front room lamps came on automatically at 5 p.m. and it appeared as if someone was home. Same timer different purpose.

We have been talking endlessly about the hallway lamp. We explained that all children must stay quietly in their rooms until the lamp is on. When the lamp comes on, they can come out and get us, or go downstairs. If they wake up and the hallway lamp is off, it is too early to get out, and they can read books, do a puzzle or play quietly without waking everyone else up. This method is working. They understand the basic principle and are following the rules. This morning at about 6:44 I heard Natalie open her door, and say, "Not yet, the hallway is still dark." My method is a success so far. I wonder how long my training will take before I can adjust the lamp timer to 8:00?

Tot Clock, Schmott Clock, I just saved us $45 and many hours of precious early morning sleep. Here is a review from a mom of multiples- save yourself the added expense of the real tot clock and hit Home Depot for a lamp timer. There. Done. Good Night Sleep Tight, wait for the hallway Light.

Updating the Blog

I have been updating the blog. I have been writing and uploading photos all week, into this weekend, but my priorities have the blog on the back burner so my efforts in updating are still in draft mode.

I have been really focusing on money making endeavors, which bumps blogging back a few notches. I am gearing up for another selling season with Chez Ami, in addition to all the other Mommie related nonsense lately.

For some reason the kids have been waking up at the ungodly hour of 5:30 a.m. lately. Regardless of what time they go to bed, they are waking up, thus waking us up at 5:30. I have been waiting to report my solution to everyone, because, quite frankly, I did not want to jinx myself with the amazing results.

I will update the blog with all my drafts when the kids go to bed tonight. I have so much to say and so little time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Date Night on a Dime

Let's face it, when it comes to dining out with my husband, the nights alone are few and far between. This is primarily because we lack the funds to blow a hundred bucks on ourselves. Every so often a deal will present itself, and we are able to take advantage of the savings and each others company. Enter the concept of Date Night on a Dime.

Last night was one of those nights. It is officially, Restaurant Week in Columbus. Restaurant Week gives us the opportunity to enjoy the very best restaurants Columbus has to offer at irresistible price points. From $15 - $35 per person, these unique three course menus are designed to tempt your taste buds at unheard of prices.

Reservations are highly recommended as many restaurants will quickly book up. This is a great week to experience places you've been meaning to try. Plus, you'll be supporting the local restaurant industry and the Mid-Ohio Food Bank which will receive a $5,000 donation on behalf of participating restaurants and (614) Magazine.

It was really nice to sit and linger at the dinner table at Cameron Mitchell's "M" in the Miranova building. It was a swank

and lovely scene made even cozier since it was a date night. We declared that this was our own personal New Years Eve Celebration since we chose to stay home and pocket the cash 3 weeks ago. To save some serious bank, we skipped cocktails and wine at M, and stuck with the pre-fix Restaurant menu. The food was simply sublime. It was so beautifully presented and tasty that I totally forgot to take photos. Picture this: I was too busy snarfing it down to photograph the food served as art or maybe it was art in the form of food? Regardless, I was too busy shoving gourmet bites into my pie hole to whip out my digital and ruin my moment. I am truly sorry. Forgive me.

Back in December Jeff bought his staff Cameron Mitchell Gift Cards when they were offering a special promotion. A ton of restaurants offer incentives to buy gift cards in December and the Cameron Mitchell offer included a $25 bonus card when we bought $100 worth. We gave out the other gifts and pocketed the bonus cards for ourselves. Last night we were able to redeem the bonuses toward our delicious date night at the M. Woooo Hoooo.

Even more exciting than dining on a dime is that Jeff's "other" best friend, Steve Rizzo is visiting us starting tomorrow. I would hate to jinx myself on my blog, or worse yet, out loud, but we might end up with back to back date nights. Oh, the insanity of it. Stop the madness, I can't eat another bite, not even a wafer thin mint.

Don't worry, I will take you with us, and I will force myself to have marvelous time. Stay tuned, dining on a dime continues tomorrow, I hope. Hmmmmm, where should we go, in the spirit of celebrating Restaurant week, of course!

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Red Box

I used to be foolish to think that the Red Boxwas a surprise bauble from Cartier. Oh my, how times have changed. That was then, this is now. Now when someone is talking about the Red Box I immediately assume they mean theDVD vending machine. What has happened to me? Eeeek Gads, I am getting so weak.

With a convenient spot right outside of Giant Eagle, our RedBox is my newest little splurge. For $1.00, I can rent a DVD without unbuckling my kids and schlepping them into the store and being convinced that we NEED candy and sodas for twice the suggested retail price. The RedBox is my new friend. If you have never tried it, here is what to expect.

You need a credit or debit card to activate a rental. After selecting the movies you want, you swipe your card and take home the red hard plastic sleeves full of entertainment. You have 24 hours to watch and return your selections or the $1 goes to $2 and so on. The vending machine of DVD's dispenses the choices, spits them out, you take them, watch them, return them to the machine and that is it. It is so simple, easy and cheap. You do not have to talk to an idiot clerk or be swayed into buying other stuff.

During the check out process there is place to enter your promo code. Redbox Codes are the way to get free DVD rentals from the beloved Redbox. Redbox which is owned by the Coinstar companyand their partners create these codes to get more people into their stores and use their services. You can google the phrase Redbox Movie promo codes and find them posted on line. You can also sign up for perks and one free movie on the RedBox website.You simply need to enter the coupon code from the main screen or just before checkout at your local Redbox kiosk. When you do, you will receive a one-day free rental. Any additional days you keep the movie will be charged at the usual $1/day.

The new release movies are there along with other genres including kids choices. The selections vary by location and demand, but you can actually reserve your picks on line and then be guaranteed they are available for you. For example, just the other day the kids needed some down time. I knew they would love to see the animated show called UP, so I went online and snagged it. I popped over to the red box, rented UP, shoved it in the van and they watched it from their car seats while I hit a few drive through errands. This is a refreshing way for me to get some stuff done while the kids are mildly entertained. I added some Trader Joe's Kettle Corn (individually bagged like snack size potato chips) for an added movie feel. Now, they expect this kind of ride everyday, honestly, who wouldn't?

Jeff and I watched Julie & Julia last night. I spent a dollar on the DVD from the RedBox kiosk. It was totally worth it, although now I am craving anything in a creamy Buerre Blanc Sauce or slathered in butter. Perhaps I should have rented 30 days to a better butt instead of a Julia Child flick that was focused on food. Oh well, Butter? Better Butts? It is all right there at the RedBox.

Bon Appetit and Enjoy the Show.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My Dancing Fools

I have posted short dance videos before. My dance party action is tough to beat on a dreary day. It is amazing how entertaining an XM Radio channel, a few costumes and four preschoolers can be.

It ia all about the right beat. Calliente, check. Fuego, check. Salsa, check. Hurabno sounds, check. If there is a Latin sounding music channel, my kids know it. Here is the sight and sound of an average dance show in my family room. Aye Carrumba!

at the request of my family, the video has been removed

Thank goodness they were not listening to Tina Turner's Private Dancer, that would have made this little dance seem wrong. But, OMG, I just watched this video and realized Charlotte is naked. Holy Crap, she is so going to have this clip on her Bat Mitzvah video, that will be pure justice. Should I be scared that my girls dance (semi-clothed) or is this still just cute? Either way, I am in soooo much trouble.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Caffeine and Cages

I am surviving the cold winter days. I am getting by day to day. This cold, wet weather is awful when you have four kids that NEED to go somewhere every day.

I am back to basics over here. I am falling into the trap of doing what it takes in survival mode. This means caffeine for me, and cages, tubes, slides and tunnels for my kids. I dare you to walk in my shoes, I double dog dare you to judge me.

For about a buck and a half,I can get fully Mc Cafe jolted while the children exhaust themselves playing indoors.

Yes, we are back to frequently being found at the Westerville, McDonalds.

I am half curious if any of my kids will become strippers? We already know they can wrangle themselves out of pajamas in 20 seconds, even the one=piece, footed jammies, zipped up backwards with the zipper in back. Aside from being able to shed their clothes quickly, my crew knows how to work the pole.

This could end up being valuable in terms of jobs skills, in case 3 years of preschool, Chanel preschool and good genes seem to fail them.

So if you wonder why the blog posts are getting delayed, I think the answer is obvious. I have NOTHING to report. I am just sucking down anything with gobs of caffeine, and I am supervising my caged animals. Anyone in Southern Florida or Arizona wanna do Mommie Swap? You know I can handle your kids action! I promise your darlings will learn valueable life lessons, like pole dancing. BRING IT ON!

Blog Archive

The older crowd

The older crowd
Amanda and Mitchell

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