Monday, January 31, 2011

Snowmageddon

Apparently, we are expecting a monster winter storm that is hyped to be the storm of the century or something equally as scary. Our weather team seems to exaggerate for fear and panic and I secretly think they get kick backs from the grocery stores, who instantly sell out of milk, eggs and bread. It is a marketing thing. Supply and Demand.

I am done with Central Ohio winter, and I am dreaming of moving to where there are sunny skies, warm breezes and where the only snow you can find in on a cone.

Since the house is stocked with plenty of food, and we have enough diet coke to make it at least three weeks, I am safely tucked inside the house waiting for the onslaught of snow, sleet, freezing rain and frigid temperatures.

To double jinx myself, I did not pack the kids lunches or lay out their school clothes tonight. I am hopeful that this winter storm warning is a false alarm. By being unprepared we are sure to dodge the mess and will be scrambling to get everyone out the door on time. I want everyone out the door.

In the mean time, we play the wait and see game. We go to bed. We wait for the level III automated wake up call at 6:00 a.m. that tells us there is no school. I do not have a good feeling about this at all.

Snowmaggedon 2011, oh please spare me the pain.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gluten Free Bisquick Berry Coffee Cake

Oh good lord, what has happened to me? When I am excited to find Gluten Free Bisquick at the local Giant Eagle, it means I need to get out more. You would think I found vintage Chanel or something.

Long gone are days of cosmos and couture. Sure, I miss it, but buying gluten free bisquick is right up there with Fendi and Prada. Shudder!

I brought the box home and realized, Gluten Free Bisquick is not at all like the regular kind. Normal bisquick contains the fat necessary to make baked goods. This revised formula requires that you add a fat like oil, shortening or butter to create the recipes. It kind of took the wind out of my sails because really, this just makes it a gluten free flour or pancake mix. But if it works, so be it.

Here is my attempt at gluten free mixed berry coffee cake with struesel topping.

Ingredients:


For Topping
1/3 cup gluten free bisquick
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 c firm butter

For Cake
1 3/4 cups gluten free bisquick
3T sugar
2/3 c milk
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
2 cups mixed berries (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 and generously spray a cake pan with Pam. In a small bowl combine the topping ingredients and cut in the cold butter to make crumbles. Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine all the cake ingredients until blended. Stir in berries if desired.
Spread batter into greased pan and top with cinnamon struesel.

Bake until golden brown and cooked through by the toothpick test.

Cool slightly and cut into pieces. Store remaining cake in an airtight ziploc or freeze.

This was a total hit with the kids. I made a point of mentioning that I made this recipe using the berries that they picked last summer. We talked about that while they were shoving hunks of coffee cake into their mouths. Then, CJ asked me if there was coffee inside the cake? I shook my head and said, "No, just berries and love." He asked me, "Why is it called coffee cake if it don't got coffee in it?" I laughed and told him that adults drink coffee when they eat this kind of cake. He replied, "No Fair!"

Enjoy!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Nacho Momma

One of our favorite meals is make your own nachos. I can set out all the various toppings and each person can create their own masterpieces. It is fun to watch the kids custom make their meal.

With a gluten free child, and a weight watchers husband, nachos are a safe bet. Jeff can use the ground turkey, low fat cheese, beans, rice and fat free sour cream.



CJ loads up with guacamole and black beans- his favorites. Sure, it is a mess, but they eat a ton and I can sit back and relax since it is a buffet. I am nacho waitress!

I was teasing the kids at dinner. I said, "I am nacho momma!" "I am nacho waitress!" They just looked at me with blank stares. I repeated myself. I emphasized the NOT YO MOMMA. Finally, after the third time, Eli said, "Oh, you guys, Mommie is making a word joke!" She is saying not your momma that makes nachos. Get it? They all laughed and took turns saying, "I am nacho daughter, or I am nacho son!"

I am hilarious!
Love,
Your Momma

Friday, January 28, 2011

Laughing with Larry

I went to Barnes and Noble to redeem a store credit that had been in my wallet for years. I was afraid I would misplace the card eventually, and stopped in to spend it yesterday.

The clearance books are always my first stop. I noticed an entire section of Holiday books and gifts that were marked with a big red dot of a sticker. These red dotted items were now $2 regardless of the original retail price. Sadly, there was nothing I needed, wanted or liked on the entire banquet sized table.

I stumbled upon my friend Larry Winget's book,in hardback. I quickly called Larry to see if he wanted the reduced priced inventory. Being married to an author myself, I know that sometimes, the in store clearance price is cheaper than wholesale. I bet when Larry bought his own inventory he paid more than two bucks a pop.

It wasn't until I called Larry that I even noticed the product placement. Here he was right next to The Sex Starved Wife. I had to laugh and wonder if this section was called self help for a "reason?"

I know It is called work for a reason, and clearly, as I blogged before,
My kids are my own fault, and that People are Idiots, but in this case, I needed to shut up, stop whining, and get a life. I am just smiling and laughing with you, not at you Larry.

And no, I did not buy either of the $2 self help classics.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Observations from Cold Stone

CJ got a $10 gift card to Cold Stone Creamery from the tooth fairy. I did this as a life lesson for him, but as it turns out, we can learn from the entire experience.

First, when CJ found the gift card under his pillow he was thrilled. He showed it to all the kids and everyone was totally jealous. I gave CJ a chance to do a mitzvah with his new found reward. I told him the card was worth ten dollars, and he could go to Cold Stone and buy himself a few scoops of ice cream, or he could use a coupon from Mommie's purse and buy all the kids a scoop of ice cream. Thankfully, he chose the latter and all that is wrong in the world became right.

I told CJ that he was sensitive, generous, and that sharing was a good deed. We talked endlessly about not being selfish and I used this as an example until I wanted to throw up a little in my own mouth. I milked this (pun intended) for an hour or so to get my point across to the others. Concept learning, a total success!

I just hope that the others paid enough attention to his kindness. They better return the favor when the tooth fairy brings them some love.

CJ paid for the ice cream with his card. We told the clerk how he lost a tooth and was sharing his tooth fairy present with his brother and sisters. By the time I was done preaching, she wanted to throw up too.

The kids sat and enjoyed their ice cream. CJ even got a topping on his, which I never do.

He felt really special and that was the point. It was an out of the norm indulgence.

Much like the mashed potatoes at dinner, he was able to squish the ice cream through the wide open toothless part of his gums. Ahhhh, the fun of being five.

As I was waltzing around Cold Stone, I saw a fishbowl drawing on the counter. Always one to pay attention to cross promotions and marketing, I took a closer look at the offer. I laughed out loud when I realized that a gym was giving away a trial membership to the winner. The sign should have said. "If you eat at Cold Stone all the time, you will need to get your fat ass to the gym!" Seriously, I guess they found the target audience for new members.

While we were there, I overheard a conversation from the chatty teen age girls next to us. They ordered some chocolate peanut butter milk shakes.As they were sipping them, they were teasing each other about the caloric content. Laughing and carrying on and on about the fat grams, I made a mental note to check their facts. I am disgusted and repulsed to say, these skinny girls were right. If they keep drinking these shakes, they won't be thin for long.

The peanut butter chocolate milk shake at Cold Stone has 2,010 calories -- equivalent to eating 68 strips of bacon or 30 chocolate chip cookies. It has indeed topped a list of the 20 worst drinks in America compiled by Men's Health magazine.

The Cold Stone PB&C milkshake, made with peanut butter, chocolate ice cream and milk, contains 68 grams of saturated fat and 153 grams of sugar, according to nutritional details on the company's website.

I guess if you are going to eat a days worth of calories with more sugar and fat than normal, this would be the way to go. Ewwwww, gross. Who wants to eat yet alone drink, 68 strips of bacon? And yes, I realize that you do not go to cold stone to stay on your diet, that is obvious. A health conscious individual would avoid or use portion control to satisfy the cravings. Knowledge is power when it comes to ordering food, and in this case, now you know.

So when the future holds more visits from the tooth fairy, that skinny bitch better find another merchant with available gift cards. The real lesson in sharing just got bigger. Literally.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Tooth Fairy Commeth

When CJ lost his front tooth two years ago, it fell out after a playground mishap. Technically, this did not count with the tooth fairy. You see, our neighborhood has one bad ass tooth fairy.

Fast forward to this afternoon at the library, when CJ told me his tooth was wiggly. I looked inside his mouth, had him use his tongue to show me, and sure enough, we had a very loose tooth. I got a photo of him just before the wiggler came all the way out. CJ was beaming with pride because he was the first of the triplets to have a tooth fall out. The competition is fierce over here.

The howling and whining was gawd awful. Natalie was downright pissed off that CJ lost his tooth first. She was throwing a complete hissy fit about the unfairness of it all.

She was complaining that CJ got to get glasses and she didn't. Wahhhhhhhhhhh! Now, he lost a tooth and she didn't. Wahhhhhhhhhhhh! This poor child is so mistreated I tell you. How utterly unfair! It was bedlam at the library during her tirade, but I just smiled and nodded at the absurdity of the situation. When Natalie realized her behavior was not going to change anything, she gave up. My inner tooth fairy stayed strong through the pain.

Here is my guy after a few minutes of tongue thrusting on the bottom row.

That sucker came out with very little pressure, it was hanging in his gums. It looks absolutely adorable with his gaping space on top and bottom.

At dinner CJ showed his siblings how to squirt mashed potatoes through the hole. Good times.

Tonight, the tooth fairy will make her debut. Oh, the pressure to do this right. I am not sure there is a wrong way to do it, but sheeesh, the dynamics are complicated. If the fairy only brings something for CJ there will be mass hysteria in the morning. If the fairy brings a trinket for everyone it takes the WOW factor away from the person who lost their tooth. What to do...what to do?

I do not even know the going rate for baby teeth these days? Here in New Albany the kids probably get a c-note under their pillow. Like that will be happening? No way. Do you think the tooth fairy could leave a Cold Stone Creamery gift card?

I have a few hours to decide, but in the meantime, the tooth fairy is going to pour herself a smart cocktail and ponder the options. One thing is for certain, the tooth fairy commeth!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

You owe me an Apology

Lately, there have been several times when I have said, "You owe him/her an apology!" At age 5 it is obvious when you have wronged your sibling, or parent, and saying you are sorry is a life lesson.

Last night, Natalie was the worst offender. She was in one of her drama queen moods- I have no idea where she gets that? After all the bickering, whining and downright nastiness, I told her to sit in the corner until she was ready to behave like a solid citizen.

The howling continued from the corner. Magically, she perked up, quit whining and asked me for a pen and paper. I brought it to the naughty corner and was pleased that she gained her composure enough to entertain herself quietly while being punished.

A few minutes later I was handed this:

Ahhhhhh, yes. My methods are working. Apology accepted.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Keeping up with the Siblings

Please understand the parody in this title and know that I am not attempting to confuse you with Keeping up with the Kardashians, Oh GAWD no, never! FEH!

Charlotte is keeping up with her siblings, especially the triplets. For a three year old girl, she feels the need to hold her own. Who needs three sisters with K spelling names? Not my Charlotte, not when there are triplets 18 months ahead of her and two grown role models in Mitchell and Amanda.

In addition to learning right along side the kindergarten clan, Charlotte has decided to do what they do. She does not want to be left out. EVER! Keep in mind that Eli and CJ have names with very few letters. Our three year old has NINE letters in her name and she has already mastered writing it.
By herself. At age three! Holy Smokes.

Move over Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe- Charlotte is right there with you, and Amanda and Natalie, all sisters, all just keeping up.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Biaggi's Gluten Free Dining in Fort Wayne

Jeff and I had the pleasure of spending a "romantic getaway" in Fort Wayne Indiana this past weekend. While you may not think of Fort Wayne as a hot spot, for us, it was delightful. We left the kids at home and spent time with Uncle Silvan.

We discovered that Biaggi's at Jefferson Pointe has a gluten free menu. I was really surprised at the choices and variety. They even offered a gluten free flat bread
with the salad course, and it was a tasty, crunchy alternative to the regular breads.

I ordered a Caesar salad from the gluten free menu. Thankfully, I am avoiding gluten for my intolerance, not because I have Celiac disease. I spotted several regular croutons in my salad, despite having specifically ordered it without. For me, it was okay to just pick them out and deal with it, but for CJ it would have been catastrophic.

My entree was fabulous, and the penne with pesto sauce on the side was delicious. The rice pasta was cooked al dente, which is rare in a restaurant. I inhaled the dinner and enjoyed the company of two of my favorite guys.

The Biaggi's dinner was the perfect way to conclude our 40 hour escape from the chaos that is our life. If you are dining gluten free in Fort Wayne, try a meal at Biaggi's. Just be certain your server is aware of your needs.

Bon Appetit from me to you.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Insurance Claims R Us

If there is one thing I have gotten really good at, it is filing and following up on insurance claims. No one has less patience than I do for the whole process. I have a system for handling all this mishigas, and in the last five plus years I am still learning.

After the premature birth of our triplets I became keenly aware of how utterly bogus the whole insurance industry has become. We had three babies in the NICU at the same time and some of the charges and coverage for the exact same services were different. It was an eye opening experience for me. I took notes, filed EOB sheets, documented who I talked to and got written confirmations on anything and everything. It became like a full time job.

Now, five years after the triplets and many hundreds of claims later, I still spend way too much time dealing with the idiotic paperwork associated with health insurance claims and payments. I can press one for this and two for that like the next moron, but actually dealing with and getting resolution takes some skill.

This week alone I have dealt with a bill collector on the Synagis shots from the triplets first RSV season. Of course our shots were pre-authorized and ordered from an in network pharmacy. We received the vials of Synagis for December 2005 and January 2006 via the mail order process. Somehow, our pharmacy changed participation in 2006 and our coverage was considered out of network for January, unbeknownst to us. After hours of research it turns out this was the only pharmacy that could deliver our medication and the insurance company allowed them to fill the order as if they were in network. Can you smell the disaster yet?

Here we are five years later and the collection agency has an unpaid balance of $4533.29 for Natalie. Only Natalie. This means that our insurance company paid the correct portions for two of the three patients. I have all the documentation and files upon files of paperwork relating to this matter. At this point, I do not have the time or inclination to spend any energy pleading my case. I am done. I have filed complaints with the insurance commission and I refuse to pay a dime for something we do not owe. It is crazy.

The whole matter just makes me furious. If that was not enough to ruffle my feathers this week, I also discovered a mistake on our prescription claims for 2010 with Amanda. Now, I have to retroactively file reimbursement claims for every single prescription she had filled. The only bright side is that we are owed about $1500.00 for medicines we paid out of pocket when there was coverage had the information been correct in the system.

In order to process the forms for our money, I had to request copies of all the receipts for the filled drugs. I did get a smile from the sight of the pharmacy stubs. Every time I see SLUT in mass quantity, I laugh. This four letter abbreviation is my motivation.

I am not really laughing, but I am thinking of opening a new business called INSURANCE CLAIMS R US. Just press one if you are a doctor and marke dos para Espanol.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Who needs J-Date?

Chances are if you are a regular reader of this blog, you must be somewhat entertained by my warped sense of humor. Since we are all friends here, let's do something fun today. Let's trump J-date and play a little internet game of matchmaking.

Who needs J-date? Who is considering Match.com? Do we have any readers contemplating e-harmony? I never miss the chance to toot my own horn, but lately, my matchmaking radar is ON! Who needs J-date when they have me.

Imagine this: One of my ex boyfriends tells me he is getting ready to start back to internet dating. He mentions updating his profile and getting back out there. This happens the same day one of my facebook girlfriends, posts a status update about trying J-date. I did the math for about 2 seconds before I stepped in and offered my help.

SHAZAM. We are back in business people.

Of course I could not leave well enough alone. I emailed them both and suggested they consider each other first. I mean really, they have me in common so clearly they are warped and sick, right? They have to be somewhat crazy to go with my scheme, and they did. Now I am living vicariously through their on line romance.

Things are going so amazingly well. The happy couple is scheduled for the first BIG in real life date in two weeks. I wish I could be there to see the chemistry in person. While I know they do not need me to be there, I really want to kvell over the success.

In this particular case I am over the moon. Move over J-date. Bye Bye Patti Stanger. The Queen has waved her magic wand and there will be some mitzvah notes happening soon. If you want my help, leave a comment below and I will scan my database. I am open to fixing up anyone, no project is too big or too small. I am an equal opportunity kind of yenta.

Stay tuned for more juicy details. When my ex and my friend get engaged I get the ring. That is how I roll.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

An Invitation from Eli

I was presented with a formal party invitation from Eli. He told me that he and his friend Abby were hosting a fun party. This is the wording on the invite:

Translated from Kindergarten speak, it says, Welcome to come for the party.

Emily Post it is not, but for age 5, I think it is brilliant. So look out Colin Cowie, here comes Eli Slutsky.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Jewish Kindergarten- FAIL

I knew it would happen sooner or later. My children would say or do something at school that would showcase our non observant ways. Let's face it, when it comes to practicing Judaism, we are on the lighter side of the spectrum. The Chanel School is hard core.

This week the kids were learning the Parsha, Beshalach. They learned that in the desert G-d gave the Jewish people Mon(Manna)to eat every day. He gave them two on Friday so they would have one on the Sabbath. This Mon arrived from the heavens and had the taste or flavor of whatever the people wanted. If only this would happen right now- I am hankering for some cinnamon dolce latte flavored Mon.

Anywho, after learning all about Mon in the Beshalach, the kids were all asked a question. "If you ate Mon, what would yours taste like?" Simple enough. Natalie answered with cherries, bananas, oranges and mango. How sweet. Eli suggested that his would taste like pink cotton candy. Nice, and YES, his favorite color is still pink. CJ, my gluten free Jewish child, said his Mon would be just like a pepperoni pizza with extra cheese. FAIL. He might as well said his would be a ham sandwich or a cheeseburger with bacon. I could just curl up and D-I-E of being mortified!

So tonight, as I crawl under a hole of Jewish Day School embarrassment, I am going to be dreaming of my own delicious Mon. Perhaps when I wake up in the morning Jeff will have gone to Starbucks for my Cinnamon Dolce Latte Mon, and the pepperoni pizza response will have just been a dream?

Jewish parenting FAIL!

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Mad Scientists

With Nana and Papa in tow, we spent the entire day at COSI. I took over 100 photos documenting our adventure in science. After reviewing all the images, I concluded that in addition to being little gourmands, my kids are truly mad scientists.

I am not sure who had more fun today, the kids, or Papa.



After all, COSI is a children's science museum, and there is not a bigger child that my father. My mom spent a good portion of her day keeping track of Papa so he would not wander off or be left behind our group. I felt her pain.

The gecko installation began this week and it was full of information about the creatures.

The kids went from case to case trying to spot the various geckos. It was like Where's Waldo or I Spy only with real live animals.

We saw the LIFE exhibit which featured a display case filled with the actual size conception to birth models. I showed the triplets all the visuals and pointed out that they were born at 27 weeks, or in the 7th month of gestation. Seeing that fake fetus kind of freaked me out a little. Flashbacks much? The kids were mesmerized though

and they loved seeing how small they were at birth. Charlotte was quick to make mention of her large size at birth compared to the triplets. She gets that she was the biggest of my babies, and the last one born.

Without question, the highlight of the experience was the gadget cafe. We made a reservation for two tables, and at 1:00 we were given a real computer to take apart. There were tools and goggles used to disassemble each computer.





The kids were loving the idea, but Papa stole their thunder. He insisted on doing most of the labor, and at one point all the kids were at one table working and Papa was left to his own devices. No one wanted to play with Papa because he was not sharing.

It was so thrilling to watch the kids clipping wires, unscrewing panels and removing the guts of the computer. Papa on the other hand, was micromanaging the recycling process because he felt the parts had a resale value. Whatever. Nana and I just laughed.

Thankfully, we were not responsible to putting the machines back together. This was just an adventure in science and gadgetry. The fun continued in other areas of the building. We had to drag Papa out of the place and promise him Jeni's ice cream as a bribe to get him to leave. He is my mother's problem, not mine. THANK GAWD.

The afternoon concluded with a scoop of ice cream and the promise of another visit to COSI very soon. I think I am going to sign Papa up for summer camp. I wonder if they have a session for seniors?

I survived taking all the mad scientists to COSI. Barely. Mommie's next field trip is to a day spa. The only science I want to discover includes aromatherapy and reflexology.

Tomorrow- SCHOOL FOR EVERYONE. Amen.

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