Friday, December 31, 2010

Gluten Free Cocktails

As much as I dray about my martinis, is it any wonder I have not posted about gluten free cocktails? The truth is, I too have officially joined the gluten free bandwagon, and now that I am all aboard the gluten free lifestyle, it is time to discuss the plethora of options in adult beverages.

Mmmmmmm, cocktails. There is nothing smarter than a proper drink after all the lattes have worn off, and the kids are tucked nicely into their beds. It is my saving grace to unwind in front of the monitor with my swanky glass also known as Mommie's Sippy Cup. Blogging is better with liquid refreshment.

L'Chaim!

For the record, most distilled grain alcohol products are often gluten free. Distillation renders them so, and some manufacturers actually label their products accordingly. I buy into the certified label because it brings an awareness to gluten free and it guarantees that the company is not adding additional glutens to the elixir.

My new favorite Vodka is Tito's Handmade, and they proudly advertise Gluten Free, after a six time distillation recipe from 100% corn without adding any gluten by products. It is made in Texas and is available nationwide. It is moderately priced
and comes in the 1.75ml glass jug. You know how I like to buy in bulk, right?

For the most tasty cocktails, I highly recommend some Tito's handmade vodka mixed, shaken, stirred, blended or drizzled with the following:

Olives, olive juice with blue cheese stuffed olives= Martini
Grapefruit juice, Cranberry juice and limes= Greyhound
Kahula, Whipped Cream and a splash of coffee= after dinner coffee
Peach Schnapps, Vanilla Ice cream and a gf ginger snap garnish= dessert shake

Start with ice cold Tito's and you are assured a slam dunk cocktail concoction.

Happy New Year everyone. With any of the above listed gluten free cocktails, you will be ringing in the new year with style. My plan includes sleeping children, good friends, good food, good vodka and good times from the comfort of home!

Cheers!
xoxo,
the Queen

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Ladies Who Lunch

How cool is it to be able to go to lunch with your friends? It is even cooler when the moms have a mutual bond, like high order multiples. These are my friends. We are having lunch at the club.

Between the 6 of us, we have 24 kids. Everyone has triplets, plus some, and Bethany, the overachiever has quadruplets.

We met for a champagne

birthday toast for Lisa, and stayed for lunch and then coffee. It was glorious to be with the glamorous women, and even more glorious to be without our children.

No matter how long between our play dates, we always talk about the important issues. No moms of multiples meal is complete without discussions of tummy tucks, meal planning, scrapbooking, schools, and other hot topics.I have learned so much from these amazing women, and of the group, my triplets are the youngest, so I benefit from their experience.

I found out that this "club" offers two hours of child care a day for the members. There is a spa, work out facility, pool, restaurant and bar all on the premises. My wheels were turning and if this location were closer to home, I would be all over it. As a mom of multiples I will do just about anything to get two free hours- I would even fake working out. For now, I will just keep going to various Giant Eagles three or four times a week.

It used to be a long, leisurely lunch with friends, was followed by shopping cardio. Now, we linger over coffee, discuss sports camps, and make plans for our next escape.

We have called our little group "the ladies who lunch" because, really, a mom has to eat too.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dental Delight!

After all the dental drama with our children it was time for Jeff and I to suck it up and find a new dentist. Our previous dentist passed away and we had been putting off our own dental care in favor of treating the kids first. It was a financial priority not a fear of the chair.

After we fiscally recovered (?) from Eli's and Natalie's pricey dental surgery, we got slammed with Natalie's dental drama. The put it bluntly, the well was dry.

We all know finding a dentist is a big deal. There is the insurance issue, but more importantly, we needed a new dentist that made us feel comfortable, relaxed and was capable of treating us fairly, not price gauging us at the same time. Jeff and I do not have dental coverage, so we were left to fend for ourselves both in selection and cost. OUCH!

I scored a faveroo (on line coupon-certificate deal) for a dental visit complete with bite wing and comprehensive x-rays, exam, cleaning, fluoride treatment and the works. The offer allowed us to get caught up on our much needed dental care, but it also gave us the opportunity to try a new dentist we otherwise would not have used. For $79 we hit the jackpot.

We got off to a fabulous start when I called to schedule using our voucher. The receptionist was so nice, not treating as if we were second class citizens because we were redeeming our faveroo. She took the information, scheduled us together and suggested I do the official paperwork on the website. The ability to fill out our dental histories on line was top notch. I loved not having to arrive early to sign here, initial this and list medical history and deal with all that. Being able to submit our forms on line was a good sign that we were in the right place.

Jeff and I had our appointments and I am pleased to report that the Schneider Family dental group is the rock star dental office in the Columbus area.

Digital x-rays are the wave of the future. Dr. Matt Schneider has all the fancy technology beside each patient chair. My x-rays were on the screen almost instantly and I could look at the monitor to see what my hygienist was talking about. The mystery of black and white x-rays is so long gone. There was the element of whoa, that is cool.

I am pleased to report that we both found our new dentist that made us faithful patients. If you are in Columbus and need a dental office that is friendly, clean, state of the art, and amazing- look no further than Schneider family dental in Dublin. Dr. Matt was awesome, and coming from me, that is some serious praise.

Talk about thorough, they even took our blood pressure during the exam. WOW! Jeff and I joked that they should have adjusted the chair to offer colonoscopies, but alas, they are not THAT thorough. Thank G-D!

Jeff and I left smiling with dental delight. We also scored a great goodie bag filled with all kinds of fun dental prizes like toothpaste, floss, and some dental gadgets. It was like a party favor for the patients.

Forget google reviews, yelp remarks and word of mouth (pun intended) you can depend on me. Tell them Helene and Jeff sent you, that will let them know you are in the know.

Schneider Family Dental in Dublin- it is the ultimate dental delight.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Self Portraits

I was furious to find my prized digital camera on the floor of the playroom when I woke up this morning. Somehow, while Jeff was doing I don't know what, the kids got to my camera and used it to take some self portraits.

I use this camera for my eBay listings, and this blog, so it is a vital part of my daily routine. For some it is American Express, for me, I don't leave home without my camera.

When I saw the camera laying on the floor, I was furious. How could Jeff be so blind to the potential disaster? I turned the camera on, it powered up and seemed to be fine. Whew, we dodged that bullet.

Imagine how surprised I was to find these images on the memory card.



Obviously these little monkeys figured out how to turn on the camera, shoot the pics, turn it off, and act as if they were completely innocent in the situation.

How could I stay mad when I have documented proof of their shenanigans? I will treasure these self portraits forever. In the grand scheme of things, it could have been a lot worse. Self portraits- priceless.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hot Cocoa FAIL

Every once in a while, I surprise the children with some kind of treat. On a cold winters night, drinking hot cocoa from Mommie's latte mugs is a total splurge. These kids were loving it.

It was a cozy Christmas Eve in footed pajamas. CJ declared it was his best Christmas eve, ever- because he has rocked so many December 24th nights. He was giddy at the thought of Santa coming to see Argenida, and he was slurping hot cocoa like it was going out of style.

I decided to capture the sounds of their delight for a video. Lately, the kids enjoy hamming it up for the digital video, and they watch themselves over and over again for entertainment. Who am I to deprive them of such joy?

I was documenting the Hot Cocoa experience for the blog and in typical Slutsky fashion, we ended with: FAIL!



Please note the spilled hot cocoa on the famous **SHIT MY KIDS RUINED*** couch. Technically, this is a double fail. My children have always been overachievers.

FML!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sunday Songs

Every night when I put Charlotte to sleep, I plug my i-phone into the charger, play some tunes, and snuggle next to her and Pennylane. It is the sweetest moment of most days.

Normally, I tell her the name of the song and the artist as it is playing. We get about three songs into the play list before she is the land of nod. By song four or five she is sawing logs. I always play her choices first, then cue up my own faves.

She has become familiar with the many songs available and has clear favorites.

Over the last few weeks, Charlotte has been requesting certain songs from my music library. The girl has an opinion nowadays, and she makes it clear that she wants to hear specific songs. Fair enough.

This week she has asked for:

The Apricot Scarf Song
The Nobody Song
The Helping Hand Song

Like you, I was unclear as to the titles based on her description. Upon further questioning I discovered the real names of the songs.

This is the Apricot Scarf Song-
Your scarf it was apricot. Gotcha. I would have guessed it instantly if, Charlotte had asked for the clouds in my coffee song. Thank you Carly Simon and David Geffen(?) or is it Warren Beatty (?)Whoever it is, my daughter loves you, you're so vain.

I did not have a clue about "the nobody song" so I asked Charlotte to sing it, which she could not do. Then, in a moment of clarity, she told me, Nobody loves me better than you by Chocolate Khan. Chocolate, Chaka, what is the difference when you are three years old. This one is for you.
Chocolate Khan can really sing it- I know my friend Wende will love this butchering of the name.

As for the helping hand song, it took me days to figure it out. I kept probing Charlotte to tell me more since she repeatedly asked me to play the helping hand song. It clicked when she said, when you are in trouble and you need a helping hand song. Sure, BINGO, James Taylor, You've got a friend.
But of course, to brighten up even the darkest nights!

Tonight as I put my darling daughter to bed, I cued up these three songs first, so she could hear them as she fell asleep dreaming of Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain. It was song number four that did the trick tonight. Rupert Holmes and I both like the smell of the ocean and the taste of champagne.

Good night Sunday- we have enjoyed your songs.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

In honor of our Jewish heritage, and in the spirit of all things being Jewish on Christmas day, here are my little miracles modeling their Chinese silk pajamas.



Fresh from Chinatown in San Francisco, these jammies represent the yearly mecca to Chi Thai restaurant on December 25.

We have plans to join the other Hebrew families for Chinese food and Cinema later today. It is tradition. It is what our people do. Christmas and Chinese cuisine- it is like peanut butter and jelly for us.

Merry Christmas to all, and may your fortune cookie be bright!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Our Stay in the City by the Bay

After my good fortune and a successful business meeting in Los Angeles, we made it to San Francisco for the weekend. While it rained all weekend, the weather did not put a damper on my spirits.

Again, my Priceline skills came into play, and the folks at the Mark Hopkins wow-ed us with a stunning room with a view to die for. I looked out our window and saw cable cars, the bay, the Trans America building, Alcatraz and Grace Cathedral. Jeff even shared our beautiful view



with Silvan via Skype on the laptop computer. Not bad for the same price as a dump near SFO, thank you very much!

We saw our good friend Charles, who works and lives at Grace Cathedral. Charles and I have been friends since I was 16, so in the ten years we have known each other (wink wink) we have shared many memories and great times. He has so many connections in San Francisco and Jeff and I are entertained with all the stories he can share. Who else can tell us of dinner with Desmond Tutu and Ashley Judd? Charles was our tour guide and it getting a behind the scenes tour was awesome. There is something magical about the church sitting high up on the hill at Christmastime, with rain
and fog, it is still quite spectacular, even for a Jewish Princess like me.

Jeff and I had lunch in Sausalito with our friend, Susan RoAne. We were combining business and pleasure during our weekend and it felt great to rekindle our connections. We got caught up on all the latest and greatest speaker gossip, happenings and of course, Jeff and Susan shared ideas and brainstorms. To say it was a working lunch would be an understatement. The waiter had to practically kick us out because we sat there talking and laughing for so long.

I made sure we hit Chinatown. I needed to bring back a gift for the kids and I knew they would love some Chinese pajamas. With their admiration for Ni Hao Kilan, some red silk sleepwear was the perfect choice. I wanted a souvenir that could serve a purpose, as opposed to some crappy plastic toys or games.

We had the pleasure of taking Charles to Jeff's client, The Palomino Euro Bistro for dinner. We were blown away by the meal, the service and the view of the Bay Bridge from our window table. Charles and Jeff tossed ideas back and forth. They were busy thinking about all the concepts they could do to in promoting this fabulous restaurant with Grace Cathedral as the beneficiary. As we shared a delicious meal the creative juices were flowing. With Charles San Francisco contacts, Grace Cathedral connections and Palomino's great location and menu, it will be fun to watch things blossom. It is what we love to do.

Jeff was high on life after his meeting with the client in San Francisco. We talked about all the unique opportunities ahead as we drove back to the airport. As I used the kiosk to generate my boarding pass,
this is the screen that always cracks me up. Who knew I would take on my husband's last name and get this kind of special treatment from the airlines. I just love it when the gate agent has to page me. They call me by my ticketed name, and it is sheer entertainment to hear them butcher it.

As I quit giggling, I noticed our flights were all messed up from the snowstorm cancellations in London, intense rain in California and the Christmas crazy. When it was all said and done we were going to miss our connection to Columbus no matter how they re-routed us. All the flights from SFO were delayed or cancelled. When the local news showed up with cameras, I knew we were screwed. The media always had to put the fear of getting stranded into the minds of people who are staying home watching the news.

Fortunately, I was able to whip out my i-phone, get a customer service agent on the line and rebook us through Dallas for the next day. I did all this while Jeff stood in line with a few hundred other irritated passengers. By the time he got to the agent all the flights for the next day were gone, and I was beaming with pride that I had already snagged our seats via my phone. We exchanged the boarding passes for confirmed tickets and grabbed a cab back to the hotel.

We made it back to Columbus a day later than expected but not a moment too soon.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Secret is Out

Last week, I snuck out of town with Jeff. Originally, he had business in Los Angeles on Thursday and in San Francisco on Friday. At the last moment, the client changed the plans so that the meeting in L.A. was on Friday and San Francisco client visit was moved to Monday. Since I make all of Jeff's travel arrangements, I felt it only helpful that I tag along to help him get through the weekend in California.

Really, who am I to deny him the pleasure of my company in a warmer climate? Obviously, I used my savvy skills and Southwest airline vouchers to maximize my portion of the trip.

When Jeff travels on business, his expenses are paid. Mine are not. Which is why when we travel together in these situations, we have to have separate checks, individual tickets, and receipts for everything little thing. I am a frugal travel planner and I rely on Name your own Price from Priceline, internet web airfares and deals on top of the deals. I could not go along with Jeff unless I was able to afford it. While doing it this way is a complete pain in the ass, it allows me to escape Central Ohio for pennies on the dollar.

In order to leave the happy homestead, say adios to Argenida and kids, I have to do some intense preparations. Argenida and Mitchell helped me with the transportation of the kids to and from school. I pre-packed the lunches, coordinated the clothing, and got the meals made in advance to keep things simple for those in charge back home. It takes me days to plan for my own absence and sometimes I wonder if it is worth it.

This time, it was totally worth it. TOTALLY!

We arrived in Los Angeles and thanks to Priceline, we stayed at the Intercontinental in Century City. Sure, we could have bunked at the Marriott by the airport for the same price, but in the spirit of saving our client money, I was able to work the internet for a better hotel at a better price. WIN-WIN, right? We are Street Fighters after all. We practice what we preach.

The Intercontinental, Century City is/was a beautiful hotel. The lobby was decorated with purple and white fake snow covered pines, and it was California festive with sparkling lights and twinkling trees. The entire staff was friendly and helpful. Our suite was gorgeous, and our outdoor terrace overlooked downtown LA. Jeff smoked a cigar out there while we waited for the bellman to bring us the luggage. I was already in heaven at the thought of sleeping in the King sized bed without any children.

David, our BFF bellman let us know that the lounge and restaurant in the lobby would be closed for a private event hosted by the hotel. As guests, we were invited to join the festivities at 6:00. He mentioned that the catering department was pulling out all the stops to impress the vendors and special clients of the property. He had me at the sound of the open bar.

Jeff and I arrived at the party and were blown away by the appetizers. The event was a smashing success complete with seafood martinis, lamb chops, tuna hand rolls, dim sum, and foie gras lollipops. I befriended the pastry chef and asked him to point me in the direction of the gluten free desserts. With my Makers Mark Manhattan in hand, I was giddy with excitement at the plethora of culinary delicacies. The food was over the top amazing, and I was so satisfied with myself for getting us included in such a swanky event.

I wore my Gucci platform sandals and my Dolce Gabanna suit. I did not look like a mom of 6 from Columbus, Ohio. I blended in just fine and I smiled at the thought of escaping runny noses, whining, and freezing rain. I was in my zone and it felt so friggin good.

The party included a casino night and a raffle for prizes. Jeff chose to go upstairs to our suite, go over the data and prepare for his meeting. He got comfortable and took a shower, while I stayed at the soiree and partied with the patrons. I played some black jack, made friends with the Australian consulate. I hoped that I would win a spa day or something pampering from the raffle. Mama needs a new pair of shoes? NO, mama needs a deep tissue massage and a facial.

As the general manager drew tickets from the fishbowl the prizes got bigger and better. They started small with spa treatments and hotel stays and worked their way up to destination vacation packages. I felt lucky but was completely shocked when they drew my number for the grand prize of the entire evening. I won two, round trip, business class tickets to Bangkok Thailand, and 5 nights at the Intercontinental Hotel there. I could not believe it.

I practically forced the concierge to call up to my room. I demanded that Jeff get his ass back down to the party. After getting re-dressed he was pleasantly surprised at my extreme good fortune. I am so lucky. First J-date, now this. JACKPOT!

Not only did I score a deal on our room, but I walked away with the grand prize. I slept so well that night. I had dreams of Thailand and spending five nights with my guy in a deluxe hotel.

We were only in LA for a day, and I think I maximized my opportunities. I was doubtful that our remaining days in San Francisco could top our 36 hours in Los Angeles.

So now the secret is out. I am gearing up for a trip to Bangkok. Do you have any idea how much pre-meditated planning this is gonna take? I bet if I start now, we could leave in March.

Anyone need a sales and marketing trainer for a keynote, break out session or boot camp in Bangkok? I have the plane tickets and hotel stay already paid for and fully covered. I would be delighted to get separate receipts for the rest of the expenses, now that the secret is out.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Blowing a Gasket and other explosions

We all know I have a short fuse for stupidity and idiots. Thankfully I am fully medicated, and blowing my gasket takes some real doing. This week was a true test of my pharmaceuticals.

Worse then me blowing a gasket would be, my handy dandy, trusted GE profile HE front loading washing machine blowing a friggin gasket, and it did.

Picture the scene because in my absolute panic, I did not reach for my camera. Piles and piles of laundry are sorted and ready to be cleaned. The first load is in the machine when all of a sudden water is pouring onto the floor. We have gushing water, soaked piles of both clean and dirty items, and no remedy in sight. Standing water on tile is something to be dealt with- so I dealt with it.

I shuffled the wet clothes into baskets and piles. Dry dark, wet whites, and so forth. I scheduled a service call and hoped it was something minor.

Nothing says eff you like finding out the gasket is not covered under warranty. I did not shoot the messenger since the messenger was the repairman.

So, when everyone and their uncle is giving posh gifts, I am paying for a service call and a new gasket. Must. Have. Gasket. The washing machine does not function without one, and our home with 9 people does not function without it either. Bye Bye $265, hello clean clothes and towels.

In addition to the new gasket, I made a grocery store run to stock us up for the holiday week/weekend. I found diet coke and various other toxic soda pop on sale in cans. I was pleased to haul a van full of it home for my husband. I stocked the garage fridge full, only to discover that the sub zero temps were taking over the inside of refrigerator.
In addition to the blown gasket, I have blown cans with frozen soda spew. Delightful.

At the risk of sounding completely perverse, is there anything else left to blow?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Famous or Infamous- you decide

Remember when I posted about our debut on the Shit My Kids Ruined website? Apparently, our girl, Miss Natalie is now featured in the best selling book by the same name.

Imagine my surprise when I saw the paperback book on the check out counter at the book store.
I quickly thumbed through it, smiled, and immediately spotted my unique sofa along side my sweet daughter.

Simply turn to page 127 to see my daughter trying to clean the leather couch with a baby wipe. Newsflash...sharpie marker and leather do not mix. Period.

Now, Natalie's father is a little jealous. He has written and published 9 books, and at age 5 his daughter is featured in a national bestseller.

Famous or infamous, only you can decide.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Five Years Ago

On December 18, 2005 Jeff and I hosted our family and friends for the triplets Brit Milah and Naming ceremony. The day was filled with emotion and excitement as we proudly embraced our Jewish heritage and tradition.

Looking back at the photos it is hard to believe these three peanuts were so small. When our guests commented on how tiny the babies were, I shrugged my shoulders and said they are more than twice the size they were at birth, so they look enormous to me. Oh how I meant that.

You have no idea how jaded I was at the time. I thought these guys looked BIG. To me they were, they were 77 days old, just over 5 lbs each, it was all relative at the time.

I was so busy taking the photos









and chatting up our guests, I did not have time to freak out about the drama of the actual goings on. Oh, and the valium got me through it. I was in the zone so to speak.

I made sure to get photos of the babies with our special guests. I wanted to capture how joyous and festive the day was- we were so proud of these miracles. I made sure to get the facial expressions of Mitchell and his friends.To me it was priceless. Nothing captures the moment of circumcision like these boys' faces. Oy vey already. You can't make this stuff up.

Natalie was named for my mother's father, Norbert Kellmer. Her name is Natalie Kate and she shares her initials with his, so my mom held Natalie during the service. Likewise, William Eli is named for my father's father, Walter Eichenwald, and Eli is W.E. for that reason. Papa was so proud to hold his grandson during the event. Jeff's mom, Charlotte was also of a blessed memory, and at the time Caleb James was our way of honoring Charlotte Jean. Mitchell volunteered to hold C.J. for the blessings, and agreed that Grandma Charlotte would have wanted it that way.

We had no idea that we would be lucky enough to honor Grandma Charlotte again, 19 months later with a girl. These special members of our family are aptly named for their ancestors. Each child has unique qualities that make our name choice ever so important. Each of our children have grown into their names and the history that they represent.

The days are long, but the weeks fly by. It is my daily mantra.

Five years ago today, seems like yesterday.

Friday, December 17, 2010

From the mouths of babes

Charlotte is coming into her own. Now that she is attending preschool without the other three triplets, her whole personality is taking center stage. There is still a sweetness about Charlotte, if you can get a word in edgewise.

With all the winter weather here the van is almost as dirty on the outside as it is on the inside. Almost. There is sand, salt, grime and that grey coating of ick all over the exterior. As we drive through the grey slush and muck, huge boulders
of frozen debris accumulates under the wheel base. It is so gross. Frozen street dirt mixed with snow is nasty.

Charlotte witnessed one of these huge chunks of frozen grey slush as it made a huge kerplunk and thud when it fell off the van.She painstakingly stared at the big filthy blob and said, "Mommie, our van just pooped!"

Ahhhhh, yes, it did. Thank you sweet baby girl for making my day.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Free Glasses Offer is BACK!

Since we are talking non stop about vision and eye glasses, I found it fitting that Coastal Contacts, the online optical store, is offering the free glasses promotion again. How timely.

I blogged about my experience here, and you can be assured that for the price of shipping, you will get some decent additional accessories for assisted vision.

This offer is open to the first 10,000 people who have not done the free offer before, and it starts this Friday December 17 starting at 9 a.m. EST, with the code FREE4All. The early bird gets the worm. Read the rules and regulations but basically, you get single vision glasses for the cost of the shipping. Any upgrades like bifocals or tints are extra. It is a real deal for those of us with big families.

I did not think CJ's first pair of corrective lenses should be bought out of sight, pun intended. Ordering online frames and lenses seems fair for adults who have worn glasses before, but I am not ready to chance it on my boy. Although, I am tempted to order CJ a spare pair on this offer, as back up. It couldn't hurt.

Speaking of glasses, look at my handsome guy

getting fitted for his specs. This little ham was the center of attention in the place, he was so cute trying on the different styles and frames. He was totally posing and playing it up.

He is so excited that he gets glasses and the other kids don't. When you are a multiple, this is HUGE.


Special treatment of any kind is golden. Clearly, CJ was having a blast being my only child at the time.

We went ahead and ordered a package that includes frames, lenses and a one year warranty. There is no way in hell I would buy frames that were not guaranteed to last or be replaced. We chose some wire rimmed, flexible, kid proof frames that made Caleb James a dead ringer for Jeff Slutsky. Add a diet coke can and he is a mini me.

If CJ could figure out how to log onto Coastal Contacts and order himself free glasses he could be my mini me.

Happy Shopping, and let me know if you score some sexy specs for yourself. It is always fun to share a deal.

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