Not In Jersey Not In Jersey

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What’s Up Wednesday–July

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I joined in for What’s Up Wednesday last month and figured I might as well do so again this month! Here are the questions:

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1. What we’re eating this month…

I shared a few recipes that we made this month, here they are again!

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Now, it seems that all I’ve been eating is salad. I really need ideas for easy, healthy meals that aren’t salad!

2. What I’m Reminiscing About…

A year ago this past weekend my friend and I were in Block Island.

3. What I’m Loving…

Not to brag or anything, but I’m loving the dance photos that I took for Gabbie. I have to make a post and share them all, but here are a few:

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4. What We’ve Been Up To…

Zachary was away at camp for 4 weeks and we went to visit him for visiting day, which was week before he came home. Now that he’s back it’s like things are back to normal here. Simon is still in day camp this week and then he has soccer camp next week. Gabbie was in art camp last week and this week she is too, then next week she is going to a sewing class.

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5. What I’m Dreading…

Well…the last few weeks of summer can be stressful, especially once all the kids are done with camp. And getting ready for back to school always stresses me out too!

6. What I’m Working On…

I still have lots of posts to write and share about all of our travels this summer! I’m also working on getting all the supplies that the kids need ready for school.

7. What I’m Excited About…

I’m really overwhelmed about a lot of things right now, but one thing I’m looking forward to is the solar eclipse on August 21. We are close to the path of totality so it’s going to be really cool!

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8. What I’m Watching / Reading…

I finished watching Pretty Little Liars and I’ve been watching The Handmaid’s Tale and House of Cards. Both of those have a lot of real world parallels! I need recommendations for what to watch next. For what I’ve been reading, click here.

9. What I’m Listening To…

Check out yesterday’s post for my ultimate road trip play list!

10. What I’m Wearing…

Nothing exciting. Just shorts and t-shirts!

11. What I’m Doing This Weekend…

I don’t have any plans right now.

12. What I’m Looking Forward To Next Month…

Maybe things going back to normal after school starts.

13. What Else Is New…

I got myself a bike. Some friends were moving and were giving it away. I rode it already but it needs new brake pads so I have to take care of that soon! And then I need more motivation to go for rides!

Bonus Question: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT SUMMER?

I guess just the more laid back days, waking up earlier, not worrying about homework every afternoon, etc!

What’s up with you?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

My Ultimate Road Trip Play List

My Ultimate Road Trip Play List

Nothing makes a road trip drag on longer than no music to sing along to, am I right? I used to download a lot of music and have amassed a bit of a collection – while I really don’t have very much new hit music, I do have a lot of songs that I like to listen to. I used my iTunes search to make a play list of songs with a “travel” theme – either songs about traveling or about various locations, etc. Here’s what I came up with (in no particular order…)

  1. Allentown – Billy Joel
  2. Born in the USA – Bruce Springsteen
  3. Mississippi – Dixie Chicks
  4. New York Minute – Eagles
  5. Outerspace – Evan and Jaron
  6. Once Upon a Time in New York City – Huey Lewis
  7. Man on the Moon – R.E.M.
  8. American Girl – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  9. New York State of Mind – Billy Joel
  10. Surfin’ USA – Beach Boys
  11. Satellite – Dave Matthews Band
  12. Carolina In My Mind – James Taylor
  13. Take It Easy – Eagles
  14. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Elton John
  15. The Distance – Evan and Jaron
  16. Friends in Low Places – Garth Brooks
  17. Somewhere Over The Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
  18. California Dreamin’ – The Mamas & The Papas
  19. Walking In Memphis – Marc Cohn
  20. Horse With No Name – America
  21. Movin’ Right Along – The Muppets
  22. Move Along – The All-American Rejects
  23. Boys of Summer – The Ataris
  24. Tennessee – Arrested Development
  25. Boston – Augustana
  26. Roam – The B-52’s
  27. Walk Like an Egyptian – The Bangles
  28. Copacabana – Barry Manilow
  29. Kokomo – Beach Boys
  30. In a Big Country – Big Country
  31. Lost Highway – Bon Jovi
  32. Ohio (Come Back to Texas – Bowling for Soup
  33. Rainy Night In Georgia – Brook Benton
  34. Leaving On A Jet Plane – The Carpenters
  35. Life Is A Highway – Cars Soundtrack
  36. Omaha – Counting Crows
  37. Ohio – Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young
  38. Home – Daughtry
  39. Hotel California – Eagles
  40. Rocket Man – Elton John
  41. Midnight Train To Georgia – Gladys Knight & The Pips
  42. Get Out The Map – Indigo Girls
  43. Mexico – James Taylor
  44. Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffett
  45. Take Me Home, Country Roads – John Denver
  46. Sweet Home Alabama – Lynard Skynard
  47. Graceland – Paul Simon
  48. Istanbul (Not Constantinople) – They Might Be Giants
  49. Home – Phillip Phillips
  50. On Top of the World – Imagine Dragons

What do you think of my choices?

Linking Up With:
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Monday, July 24, 2017

Hike For Grayson and Cure Tay-Sachs #hikeforgrayson

Hike For Grayson and Cure Tay-Sachs #hikeforgrayson

Today I’m participating in a campaign to raise awareness about a disease called Tay-Sachs. Felicia is a blogger at Family Trail Time and her son Grayson has a terminal, degenerative neurological condition called Infantile Tay-Sachs Disease. There is no known cure for Tay-Sachs. I have been aware of Tay-Sachs for quite awhile, as in the past it was primarily a disease that effected those of Eastern European Jewish descent (1 in 27 Ashkenazi Jews are carriers compared to 1 in 300 in the general population). Before we were married, Dave and I were tested to see if we were carriers for a series of genetic diseases including Tay-Sachs. Because of screening for these diseases, less and less Jewish babies are born with Tay-Sachs, but non-Jewish couples don’t receive the same screenings and therefore the majority of babies now born with Tay-Sachs are not Jewish [source].

Hiking with family is an activity that Grayson’s family knows he loves, so they are encouraging others to get outside and hike, see the beauty of this earth, and explore places Grayson never will have the chance to –  hike for Grayson and support the Cure Tay-Sachs Foundation.

The hike for Grayson challenge:

  1. Make a tax deductible donation to the Cure Tay-Sachs Foundation (CTSF) (curetay-sachs.org);
  2. Go on a hike and snap a photo;
  3. Post photo on social media (FB/Twitter/Instagram/etc.) with #hikeforgrayson (public post, please); and
  4. Tag @curetaysachsfoundation + challenge at least two friends to hike for Grayson!

I love hiking and although my kids aren’t huge fans, we do get out on a hike from time to time. On our way back from NJ, we stopped at the West Virginia Botanic Garden in Morgantown, WV and enjoyed checking out some nature together.

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This was called the meditation garden, so the kids were pretending to meditate:

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Simon enjoyed following the trail signs marked on the trees:

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We dedicate this hike to Grayson and his family and we encourage you to take a #hikeforgrayson today!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Hooray, It’s Friday! Sales and Royals Games

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Since I review books on Fridays, I don’t always get to write a “Hooray It’s Friday” post. I have all these things that I want to write about though, so I figured I’d just add a second post today!

This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

[one]

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Gabbie’s dance team is going to perform at Disney World next summer! We are participating in a fundraiser to help offset the cost of the trip. We are selling Yankee Candles and much more! If you want to help us out, click here, enter the group number 999969679 and the seller ID Gabbie6, and start shopping!

[two]

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I’ve been looking for a new subscription box service to check out and I just signed up for the My Lavender Box referral program. Each box contains bath bombs, teas, soaps, lotions, relaxation accessories, and much more to help you unwind. Sounds nice, right? You can get $10 off with the code MYLAVENDER10!

[three]


Gymboree is ready for back to school with fun new Back To School lines. Check out Cosmic Club for girls and boys! It makes me so sad that Gabbie is now too big to wear clothes from Gymboree. Both of my boys still get clothes from there though!


[four]

I went to two Royals games this week! Gabbie and I wanted to go to the game on Tuesday because we liked the t-shirt they were giving away, but Dave didn’t want to come, so I just took Gabbie and Simon. Sadly, we lost the game. We did find this new mural at the stadium!

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Then last night Dave decided to go to the game with people from work and at the last minute he got a ticket for me to attend too. We tailgated and the people from Sweet Baby Ray’s came and gave us all free barbecue sauce. I’m wearing the t-shirt I got on Tuesday too.

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The Royals did awesome in this game, scoring their highest amount of runs this season at 16, and for the first time in Royals history they scored 4 runs in 4 separate innings! However, our seats were at the back of the bottom section but under the top section and there was no breeze there at all. It was soooo hot we were all dying. My clothes were soaked with sweat! So we didn’t stay to the end of the game. Oh well!

[five]

In case you missed it, this week I posted about:

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the_water_cycle  cleveland_museum_natural_history

My Heritage | Book Review – Secrets of the Tulip Sisters

Have a great weekend!

Linking Up With:
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What I’ve Been Reading #157–Secrets of the Tulip Sisters

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qI received a copy of Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallery from TLC Book Tours in exchange for my review. I knew that I had previously read a book by Susan Mallery but I could not remember which book or when I read it. It turns out that it was The Girls of Mischief Bay and I read it back in March of 2015! I did remember that I liked the book, so I was happy to read another book by the same author. I think I may have liked this book even more than the one I read previously!

“Kelly Murphy’s life as a tulip farmer is pretty routine—up at dawn, off to work, lather, rinse, repeat. But everything changes one sun-washed summer with two dramatic homecomings: Griffith Burnett—Tulpen Crossing’s prodigal son, who’s set his sights on Kelly—and Olivia, her beautiful, wayward and, as far as Kelly is concerned, unwelcome sister. Tempted by Griffith, annoyed by Olivia, Kelly is overwhelmed by the secrets that were so easy to keep when she was alone. Olivia’s return isn't as triumphant as she pretends. Her job has no future, and ever since her dad sent her away from the bad boy she loved, she has felt cut off from her past. She’s determined to reclaim her man and her place in the family…whether her sister likes it or not. For ten years, she and Kelly have been strangers. Olivia will get by without her approval now. While Kelly and Olivia butt heads, their secrets tumble out in a big hot mess, revealing some truths that will change everything they thought they knew. Can they forgive each other—and themselves—and redefine what it means to be sisters?”

Olivia moved away when she was 15 and hasn’t spoken to Kelly since. So both sisters begin their new relationship with certain pre-conceived ideas and memories about each other. It doesn’t take long for them to reconnect and start anew with one another, which is admirable of them. Of course, not everything is smooth and it takes time for the family to move on from the past.

I loved basically all the characters in this book, except for those I was meant to hate – but I loved how things worked out for those characters as well! My favorite character may have been Helen – Kelly’s best friend who has a secret of her own. Helen is a huge Billy Joel fan, as am I! While Helen was  a secondary character, I appreciate that even secondary characters are well-developed by Mallery.

Another thing that I enjoyed in the book was that most of the characters had interesting careers. Griffith’s job as a tiny house builder might have been my favorite. Olivia showed off her many skills in running a town fundraiser and Kelly’s tulip farm made me want to visit Washington State when the tulips are blooming!

This is definitely a great book to pick up this summer if you get the chance! What have you been reading lately?