Not In Jersey Not In Jersey

Hooray, It’s Friday! Email Newsletter Tips and Randoms

Friday, October 19, 2018


Time for another random Friday update!


First up, do you have an email list for your blog? I don’t, and I rarely sign up for any because I get enough email as it is! According to Campaign Monitor, email newsletters are an excellent way to enhance engagement and 90% of consumers prefer to receive updates via email over updates on social channels! If you are creating an email newsletter, this infographic gives you 11 Elements for an Epic Email Newsletter!



Our past few weekends have been full of canceled plans. First, when I was supposed to go to the WaterFire Festival and I was hoping to go to picnic at the zoo, both were rained out. (The zoo picnic happened indoors, but we didn’t go). Then last weekend Zachary had a party in Fort Leavenworth and I thought we might all go for the ride, but Simon didn’t want to go, so I stayed home with him. We took a walk, watched part of Home Alone, and went to meet our state representative at the bagel store! Simon was really excited to have met the man whose names is on so many signs in our neighborhood!


It’s the time of year when the weather changes and I realize my kids have nothing to wear. I realized Simon had almost no sweatpants, and I knew Zachary needed school pants, so I placed a Children’s Place order. Then I realized a bunch of Zachary’s sweatpants were too small and could be passed down to Simon, so Zachary was the one who actually needed sweatpants! Another order placed and they are both set with pants for the winter. I really need to take the too small clothes out of Simon’s closet though!


This is a sad one, but I felt like I should copy this from my Facebook page. A friend of mine passed away last week, leaving two little boys who aren’t in my kids classes, but are part of our school community.

There are some people who exude kindness, who always make you feel liked, and who provide a bright light wherever they go. Aviva Stacey Solomon was one of those people. I remember the exact place and moment that we first met. It was December 2010 and I was nursing Simon at a wedding. She introduced herself to me and was so friendly, I knew I liked her immediately. She said she would always remember his name because Simon was her maiden name, but the truth is, she never forgot my name either. And she was this way with everyone. Every time I open Facebook I see more friends talking about how she effected their lives. She knew and touched a huge amount of people and really made a difference in this world. Even the weather is crying at this loss. Another friend suggested doing an act of kindness in her honor and I would like to request the same from my friends - do something for someone else, no matter how little, and think of Aviva.


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

boots  disneypinszachary

Have a great weekend!


Kansas Largest Easel and Sternberg Museum

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Kansas Largest Easel and Sternberg Museum

The last day of our road trip had us driving from Colorado to Kansas – and then all the way through Kansas to where we live. It’s a long and somewhat boring drive, so we broke it up with a stop in Hays at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History. We’ve actually been there before, on a previous drive from Colorado back home, Gabbie was there on a school trip, and Zachary will be there on a school trip this year as well!

Before the museum though, I wanted to stop at a location I found on the Roadside America website – I love that site for finding random roadside attractions! The World’s Largest Easel is in Goodland, KS and features a Van Gogh inspired sunflowers painting. Van Gogh is my favorite and I love sunflowers!

Can you spot Simon? That’s how big it is!

There was a guest book to sign and a geocache nearby as well.

The museum in Hays kept us busy for a short stop, and could have lasted longer if we had the time.


The kids especially enjoy the Discovery Rooms that some of these museums have, where they can measure things and open drawers to find things, etc.


In the entry hall is this large spider with a photo opportunity and the boys had a lot of fun with it! See if you can spot Zachary’s random body parts in these pictures!


That concludes our trip to Yellowstone and beyond! Thanks for following along!


Portrait Session With Zachary

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


Long time readers will know that of my 3 kids, Zachary appears the least often in photos. He often hides from the camera or yells at me for taking his picture. So that’s why I decided he should be the focus of this week’s photo challenge, which was “portrait.” And he was willing! I could only choose one of the pictures to submit, but figured I’d share the rest here today!


What do you think?


Disney Pin Trading Tips

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Disney Pin Trading Tips

As you probably know, or as you may have noticed from our Disney trip pictures, we are fans of pin trading. It provides just a little bit more fun on our Disney trips and it is a fun way to collect Disney souvenirs. We have been pin trading for awhile now, and while our collections are comparatively small, I have a few tips I’d like to share for those of you looking to do some pin trading yourselves. (If you’d like to read a past post I wrote on this topic, you can find it here!)


1. Disney pin sets are pretty expensive, so a good way to get started is to order a pin lot from eBay. I have done this twice and have been happy with the pins we received. Deciding who gets which pins can be exciting in itself! It seems that a lot of the pins you see available for trade at the parks are similar to the pins in these pin packs, but we have definitely gotten some keepers in the packs we received. Of course, if you aren’t prepared ahead of time, your kids might convince you to buy them a lanyard with pins on it to start their collection. There are packs that come with the same 4 pins so that you can keep one and trade the rest. Personally I have a hard time trading away pins that we’ve purchased because they cost a lot more than eBay pins!

2. As far as purchasing pins, I try to only buy special pins. It is easy to want them all! On our past trip, Gabbie got a Minnie Mouse ballerina pin since we were there for her dance performance! Zachary got a set of Animal Kingdom pins as well.

3. Younger kids can go a little crazy with their trading and make a trade with every cast member they meet. You don’t have to make trades and it’s ok to ask cast members to see their pins and not trade with them. The rule is that you can trade up to 2 pins at a time with each cast member and the cast member must agree to trade with you. There are more rules over here, some of which I didn’t already know! The cast members will help you if you make a mistake, but an important rule to remember is to put your pin back on your pin when you hand it over – it’s for safety reasons!

4. We find that pin trading is more fun when we have a goal. Some of us like to collect pins featuring a certain character, or pins from a certain theme. Zachary collected a set of cruise pins when we were on a cruise, and he has also collected a set of flag pins. This past trip he was looking for pins shaped like Vinylmations (those snowman shaped pins). Gabbie likes food shaped pins (donuts, cupcakes, candy apples), and Simon likes Mickey heads!


5. Simon also likes mystery pins. I used to think upside down pins on cast members’ lanyards or pouches were not for trade, but they are actually mystery pins. They may be special pins but they may not be. The only way to find out is to ask to trade for one! If you don’t like it or already have it, you can always trade it away to someone else. Some cast members might show you their mystery pins if you answer a trivia question, or if you at least try to answer a question! We had two trivia questions on our past trip – what is the northernmost Disney ride and what is the tallest Disney ride.

6. The cast members who have pins either work in merchandize or Disney Vacation Club. You can also find pin boards or books in many merchandize stores, at every Disney resort in their stores, in every country in Epcot, and at guest services locations in each park and at Disney Springs.These are larger collections of pins and you can look at all of them and sometimes find some gems! The pin trading stores also sometimes have special times when their large collections come out.

7. We have found that talking to the cast members you are trading with can be beneficial! I think this is more likely in the resort stores that are less busy, but twice we have received free pins just by talking about our pin trading experiences. Gabbie told someone that she’d lost a similar pin earlier in our trip and he gave it to her without taking a trade. And a cast member gave me a pin that my kids told me to get even though I said I didn’t have anything to trade for it.

8. If you have keeper pins – pins you love and know you don’t want to trade or pins you’ve paid a lot for – you can get locking pin backs. We bought a set of locking pin backs after losing one too many pins! They fall off of lanyards somewhat easily, so try to pay attention to the pins in case the backs get loose. And then lock the ones you are sure you want to keep! My kids have pin lanyards, but on our recent trip, Gabbie and I carried pin books and I also carry a small bag that holds pins we want to trade. You can see how I made my own pin book here.

9. Find a way to display your pins at home! I like keeping mine on my shelf in my office. Gabbie and Zachary put theirs on bulletin boards and have them in their rooms. Zachary’s is the one pictured above and here is Gabbie’s:


10. Have fun! Trading pins should be a fun part of your trip, not a stressful one!

Do you pin trade?


Let’s Talk Boots

Monday, October 15, 2018

Let's Talk Boots

Back in May, I shared my sandal collection. I often joke that I only own sandals and boots, and since it’s getting to be boot weather, I thought today I would share my boot collection. These links may be affiliate links which means if you click on them and make a purchase, I may receive a small incentive.


1. Let’s start with my favorite – I love my Bearpaw Emma Tall Winter Boots in black and I’ve been wearing them for a few winters already! They are great at keeping me warm and I think they dress up my outfits a bit.


2. Last winter I got a second Bearpaw boot, the shorter Abigail Boot in Charcoal. Secret time – I actually have these in a youth size 5, which is equivalent to a women’s size 7 but costs less. I only just now realized that the youth version only has one side button and the women’s has two. These are my daily winter boot.


3. For actual snow boots, I have a pair of Land’s End Expedition Snow Boots, also in a kids’ size. I get a ton of compliments on these!


4. As far as fall boots, I have a pair from Target that are similar to these Ellie Chelsea boots. They are getting a bit scuffed from age and wear, so I should probably replace them.


5. I once had a Kohl’s coupon and went looking for tall boots. While there, I found these adorable Mudd Girls’ Wedge Boots in Cognac, marked down from $54.99 to $10.99. They just happened to be available in my size. This link to Amazon is for a youth size 12, but they are only $20.99 if you have a girl that wears that size and might like them. I get a ton of compliments on these!


6. On that same shopping trip, I found the tall riding boots I was hoping for, and they look similar to these Raylene Girls’ Boots. These are great for fall weather and I really like them.


7. Finally, my most recent purchase were these Lucky Brand booties. I really wanted a fancier boot with the holes, but I don’t normally like such a high heel.

Now that I’ve shared the boots I own, I’m hoping someone out there can help me find the boots I want. I’ve been looking for these boots for years. They are below the knee in length, look like a shoe on the bottom with stretchy material for the shaft, and are not high heels. I have found many similar boots that do not match all of my specifications, for example:

Too tall

The shoe part doesn’t have a separate style from the shaft part

Heel is too high, and I don’t love the zipper

These are pretty close to what I want, but they are too expensive.

Does anyone have any suggestions for me?