Not In Jersey Not In Jersey

Friday, October 21, 2016

What I’ve Been Reading #138–Fractured


I received a copy of Fractured by Catherine McKenzie from TLC Book Tours in exchange for my review. I loved this book so much that I’ve already read another book by the same author! But more on that next week. Fractured was part mystery, part family drama, and I could not put it down. Told in alternating view points and both from the present and the past, the reader is kept guessing as to what really happened throughout the entire story.

“Julie Prentice and her family move across the country to the idyllic Mount Adams district of Cincinnati, hoping to evade the stalker who’s been terrorizing them ever since the publication of her bestselling novel, The Murder Game. Since Julie doesn’t know anyone in her new town, when she meets her neighbor John Dunbar, their instant connection brings measured hope for a new beginning. But she never imagines that a simple, benign conversation with him could set her life spinning so far off course. After a series of misunderstandings, Julie and her family become the target of increasingly unsettling harassment. Has Julie’s stalker found her, or are her neighbors out to get her, too? As tension in the neighborhood rises, new friends turn into enemies, and the results are deadly.”

I enjoy books in which the main character is a writer. It adds the extra layer of a book within a book, which in this case added to the mystery. Julie’s book, The Murder Game, is based on her own experiences in law school, and leaves many people wondering if the book is more fact than fiction. Julie’s stalker certainly believes that Julie and her friends may have actually committed a murder. Meanwhile, Julie’s new life on Pine Street is plagued by misunderstandings, overbearing neighbors, and a hard time fitting in. Julie’s friendship with her neighbor John becomes even more difficult when an event occurs – an event that is not revealed to us as readers until the very end.

I am able to give away a copy of this book! If you would love to read it, just leave me a comment and I will pick a winner next week!

What have you been reading lately?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Falling For Fall Photo Challenge

Fallin for Fall 2

For the past month, I have been taking part in a photo challenge with Jessica, Stephanie, Amy, and Whitney over on Instagram. Following the Falling For Fall Photo Challenge prompts has been a lot of fun, and I made it through the challenge by being a bit easy on myself. Unlike in the past, I didn’t require myself to only use my real camera for the photos, and I didn’t force myself to take each photo on the day of its prompt. I am happy with how my photos turned out and I’m excited to share them here today! Under each, I’m including my Instagram commentary – minus any emojis! If you don’t already follow me on Instagram, please do!

Falling For Fall 1

1. Selfie
What I’d wear if it was actually fall weather today!

2. Comfort Food
My comfort food is a no-no right now – macaroni and cheese! I also love chili on cold days. But this morning and every morning my ultimate comfort is my coffee!

3. Colors
Apple Tree.

4. Outside
Here we are outside of Trader Joe’s!

5. Your View
Last night I looked out the window and saw this was my view. I had to run outside and take pictures!

6. Sweet Treat
Maybe not what you’d think of as a sweet treat, but I can’t get enough of them!

7. Pumpkins
Seen at Trader Joe’s…what’s next, pumpkin spice pumpkin?

8. Cozy
My new quilted vest from Old Navy is super cozy!

9. Orange
Some of my fall d├ęcor with orange for fall!

10. Starts With F
Waterfire Festival at the KC Plaza.

11. Craft
Simon made us this Rosh Hashanah card at school! Happy New Year!

12. Tradition
I’ve been offline due to celebrating Rosh Hashanah – a fall tradition!

13. Boots
I love wearing these boots in the fall!

14. Thankful
If you ask me what I’m thankful for, it will always be these silly, fun, lovable, three!

15a. Leaves
The leaves are *just* starting to change here! These were spotted over this past weekend.

15b. Leaves
Making up for yesterday’s lack of leaf color!

16. Warm Beverage
Fall weather = warm drink.

17. Flowers
Fall flowers.

18. Festival
Seen last Sunday at the Missouri Town 1855 Fall Festival – a man making kettle corn.

19. Sunset
Not from today, but still pretty!

20. Favorite Spot
My favorite place is my house!

21. Apple Cider
All the apples for all the apple cider! At Louisberg Cider Mill this past weekend.

22a. Decorations
This isn’t the photo I was planning to share for today’s #fallingforfallphotos prompt, but look how intent he is on decorating his pumpkin! I’ll share my other decorations picture later!

22b. Decorations
This is the decoration post I was planning to share! I made this flag bunting for our sukkah. (No, we have not put the roof on yet!)

23. Layers
Layered up on the way to the library and the mall. Too much?

24. Fire
They lit this pile of wood on fire! It was kinda crazy. (Two weeks ago at the Waterfire Festival).

25. From Where I Stand
This looks like fall.

26. Apple
Yum, apples.

27. Hayride
Standing on the hay bales!

28. Moment
A moment in time with these kids of mine.

I am going to miss posting fall photos every day! I really enjoyed these and I hope you did too!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

All About Sukkot


I was invited to participate in a blog collaboration called “I’ll Show You My…” with some friends I met via Instagram – Christina and Katie. This month’s topic is “religion,” which fit right in with my post today all about the holiday we are currently celebrating – Sukkot. I have written a lot about Sukkot over the years because it is one of our favorite holidays with a lot of symbolism and fun for the kids. I thought I would once again share some of the background on the holiday as well as this year’s pictures of our Sukkah.

“Sukkot has a dual significance: historical and agricultural. Historically, Sukkot commemorates the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, living in temporary shelters. Agriculturally, Sukkot is a harvest festival.”


“The word ‘Sukkot’ means ‘booths,’ and refers to the temporary dwellings that we are commanded to live in during this holiday in memory of the period of wandering. The Hebrew pronunciation of Sukkot is ‘Sue COAT,’ but is often pronounced as in Yiddish, to rhyme with ‘BOOK us.’ In honor of the holiday’s historical significance, we are commanded to dwell in temporary shelters, as our ancestors did in the wilderness. The temporary shelter is referred to as a sukkah (which is the singular form of the plural word ‘sukkot’). Like the word sukkot, it can be pronounced like Sue-KAH, or to rhyme with Book-a.”


“The sukkah is great fun for the children. Building the sukkah each year satisfies the common childhood fantasy of building a fort, and dwelling in the sukkah satisfies a child’s desire to camp out in the backyard. The commandment to ‘dwell’ in a sukkah can be fulfilled by simply eating all of one’s meals there; however, if the weather, climate, and one’s health permit, one should spend as much time in the sukkah as possible, including sleeping in it.”


“The ‘walls’ of the sukkah do not have to be solid; canvas covering tied or nailed down is acceptable and quite common in the United States. A sukkah may be any size, so long as it is large enough for you to fulfill the commandment of dwelling in it. The roof of the sukkah must be made of material referred to as sekhakh (literally, covering). To fulfill the commandment, sekhakh must be something that grew from the ground and was cut off, such as tree branches, corn stalks, bamboo reeds, sticks, or two-by-fours.”


“It is common practice, and highly commendable, to decorate the sukkah. In the northeastern United States, Jews commonly hang dried squash and corn in the sukkah to decorate it, because these vegetables are readily available at that time for the American holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving. Many families hang artwork drawn by the children on the walls. Building and decorating a sukkah is a fun family project.”


“Another observance during Sukkot involves what are known as the Four Species (arba minim in Hebrew) or the lulav and etrog. We are commanded to take these four plants and use them to ‘rejoice before the Lord.’ The four species in question are an etrog (a citrus fruit similar to a lemon native to Israel; in English it is called a citron), a palm branch (in Hebrew, lulav), two willow branches (aravot) and three myrtle branches (hadassim). The six branches are bound together and referred to collectively as the lulav, because the palm branch is by far the largest part. The etrog is held separately. With these four species in hand, one recites a blessing and waves the species in all six directions (east, south, west, north, up and down), symbolizing the fact that God is everywhere.” [source for all the information].


Aside from our family meals in our sukkah and meals with friends, we also look forward to “hot dog in the hut” at school, the community gathering at the synagogue sukkah, and the Cub Scout camp out in the sukkah! It’s a very exciting week around here!