Not In Jersey Not In Jersey

What I’ve Been Reading #176

Friday, May 18, 2018


I have a few books that I’ve recently finished to share with you today!


51O3IyR5CnL._SL250_I received How To Walk Away by Katherine Center from SheSpeaks. I was so excited to have the chance to read this book because I have read and enjoyed books by Katherine Center in the past. How To Walk Away was so good that I called it my new favorite book!

“Margaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she’s worked for so hard and so long: a new dream job, a fiancé she adores, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in a brief, tumultuous moment. In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must confront the unthinkable. First there is her fiancé, Chip, who wallows in self-pity while simultaneously expecting to be forgiven. Then, there's her sister Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally, there's Ian, her physical therapist, the one the nurses said was too tough for her. Ian, who won't let her give in to her pity, and who sees her like no one has seen her before. Sometimes the last thing you want is the one thing you need. Sometimes we all need someone to catch us when we fall. And sometimes love can find us in the least likely place we would ever expect.”

I know it’s cliché, but this book literally made me laugh out loud as well as brought me to tears. The book begins with a riveting description of a horrible accident that changes everything for Margaret. Margaret is a strong and capable woman who has to deal with changes beyond her control. While she feels like she has lost everything in her life that is important, she learns to live in her new reality and finds new people who treat her the way she deserves. The relationship between Margaret and her sister Kit is a lot of fun to read, and the way they bond with Ian the physical therapist is heartwarming as well. I loved the ending, which was as funny and sweet as could be!

Click for more info about How To Walk Away!

51BgoE i2UL._SL250_Someone reviewed One Of Us Is Lying recently and after I read her review, I added it to my request list at the library. Then I couldn’t find the review! Which one of you read this? Anyway, I was excited when it was quickly my turn to read this book.

“Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
    Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
    Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
    Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
    Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
    And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose? Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.”

I wasn’t able to figure out the answer to who killed Simon until just before it was revealed in the book. I enjoyed guessing though! All of these students had things to hide and learning about each of them was entertaining. I enjoyed the descriptions of the teenagers and the friendships they developed with one another. If the description of the types of kids above sounds familiar, that is because the author was inspired by The Breakfast Club! The book is also compared to Pretty Little Liars, and I would say that it does have similar aspects to that show, but it is unique and fun in its own way.

51kgOTJWNXL._SL250_Finally, I recently finished Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I wanted to read this book because it is being turned into a TV series produced by Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon, who will also act in the show. I had heard mixed reviews, so I was worried that I would not like the book, but it kept me interested and I enjoyed imagining it as a TV show!

“In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides.  Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.”

There were a lot of characters in this book with a lot of back stories. Even the author / editor seemed to be unable to keep their stories straight, because a minor character was said to have been born in both New Jersey and in Maine. I would say that the background stories seemed a bit slow moving at first. The main event of the novel is revealed at the very beginning and the rest is a look back at what brought the characters to that place. I found the moral issues behind the custody battle to be interesting and I can see this being a good book club read. I can also see why Washington and Witherspoon saw this book as a good one to turn into a TV series. There is a lot going on that can be related to society, feminism, and the division between classes. I look forward to watching it when it airs.

What have you been reading lately?


A Day In The Life

Thursday, May 17, 2018



Today I’m joining in with some of my favorite bloggers to post a day in my life. I have always forgotten to take photos for day in the life posts in the past, so this time I gave myself permission to not photograph everything. I did take a bunch of random photos throughout the day, but when I didn’t, you’ll just have to trust my descriptions on what I was doing!

I decided to document Monday of this week. It was set to be a normal day, but things change, and a stay at home mom has to be prepared for anything!

The kids get up around 7 and eat breakfast. I was too tired to take photos of what they eat. Zachary overslept because he was on a youth group trip and he was charging his Fitbit, which wakes him up, so I had to get him up. By the time I took this, only Gabbie was still eating. The others eat faster.


Here is all of their stuff lined up by the door. They wait for their ride which comes at about 7:30.


After they leave, I eat breakfast and drink coffee.


My first stop is the gym, but not before I start a load of laundry.


I also pile all the morning dishes into the sink.


After the gym, I went to the store and got groceries.


Put the load of laundry into the drier.


And took a shower.


Not a minute after I took this not so great mirror photo, my phone rang and it was the school telling me that Simon threw up and needed to be picked up. So I hurried off to pick him up. He seemed ok on the way home, and I settled him on the couch.


I worked on repacking Zachary for his school overnight trip.


And ate lunch.


I eventually washed these dishes.


Gabbie had an orthodontist appointment and luckily Dave could come home from work and stay with Simon while I took her.


Here Simon was still feeling ok, but soon afterwards he started throwing up non-stop for an hour or two.


In between all of that, I worked on my blog.


Zachary came home and I made him hang out in a different room from Simon. (Yes, Simon was in this room in the above picture, but he went back to the couch).


I made school lunches for Tuesday.


And Zachary’s regular afternoon snack.


I also cooked chili for dinner.


Simon finally started feeling better around 5 PM.


Gabbie had a dance meeting and Dave picked her up at 5:15. When they got home, we ate dinner and Simon cried because he wanted dinner too but we only let him have a piece of bread. Then he cried because I was taking the other kids to graduation. Our school is very small and many of the younger kids attend graduation even if they don’t have siblings graduating or even know the kids in the senior class well. Gabbie had three classmates with siblings graduating and Zachary had a member of his school family graduating – the kids are each in a family with other kids from other grades, approximately one per grade per family. So throughout their time at school they get to know those kids pretty well. Each of the graduating seniors speak about something that was meaningful to them during their time in school and I enjoy listening to their speeches. Last year, the graduating class only had 4 kids, but this year there were 14, so it lasted a bit longer!

When we got home, Gabbie and Zachary went to bed and I watched The Resident and Chicago Med, then I read a bit and went to bed myself!

Simon was better by Tuesday, but he stayed home with me as per the school rules! He went back to school yesterday. Zachary left for his class trip on Tuesday and he’ll be back today!



Tips To Save You Time Cleaning Your House

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


A common mistake many people do while cleaning their house is lacking a plan and not allocating time to be spent on each individual task. Often, they just clean until they are either bored or tired or out of time.

The problem with this approach is that it often results in housecleaning taking unnecessarily too much time or left midway because someone was tired.

There are housecleaning tricks to get you to clean in a shorter time span. The advantage is you will enjoy the activities since they don’t drag along infinitely until you fall asleep with a mop in your hand.

Have a plan

Have plan before you start cleaning your house. Do you want to go from room to room or from task to task?

With a plan, you when and where to start and when and where to stop. If you decide to go with task-based approach then if you start dusting the wall, then you dust all the walls in the house before moving to a different task like, say, wiping. In this approach, you’ll have to stop and find the Garbage Disposal Price if the sink is clogged and you are working in the kitchen.

If you are going room by room, then you thoroughly do all the cleaning work that that room needs before moving to the next room. Work on one room at a time such that there will be no lost time used running from one room to the other.

Assemble all the necessary tools and products

On the day you have set for your house cleaning, ensure you have all the necessary tools and cleaning products you need for the day.

This prevents wastage of time by going back and forth looking for cleaning tools and products. Get an apron with pockets big enough to hold your cleaning products as you move from one room to another instead of having a central storage point that you keep rushing back to when a task is completed.

A bucket can also serve the same purpose of holding your cleaning products.

Learning cleaning hacks
There are better ways to do a simple task that will give you better results than the methods commonly used. For instance, use a squeegee to have streak-free windows instead of the commonly used paper towels or used newspapers.

The better way to clean windows to clean using fiber-free cloth with soap and then using a squeegee to dry the water off. A microfiber cloth can come in handy when squeegee is not readily available.

Also, clean your windows from top to bottom instead of using circular motions.

Get rid of mineral deposits

Do not use brushes or metallic objects to clean pipes if mineral deposits are clogging your plumbing system since they might damage the faucets.

Instead use white vinegar. Pour some vinegar on a cloth and clean the faucet. You only need to use a little of white vinegar, and your faucets will have their shiny look again.

This post was written by Bill Clark. Bill is a freelance journalist who specialises in writing about culture and the arts, however will write about anything that piques his interest including business, travel and lifestyle.  He can be reached on Twitter @BilboClark01.

Mother’s Day Gifts


When this blog was new, I often shared my children’s school work, and throughout the years I would occasionally share some of their special projects and show their growth in skills. I have not shared much of that sort of thing lately, now that they are older, but they did all make me gifts for Mother’s Day this year that I think are worth showing off! I did already share Zachary’s gift on Friday, but I will include it here again.

From Simon:


Here is what he wrote:

Dear Mommy,
I love you because you let me snuggle with you. You’re special to me because you play with me more than anyone else in the family. Thank you for taking care of me and for giving me dinner all the days you have. You taught me to play by myself. You are really the best mommy in the world.
Love, Simon

The other half is in Hebrew! And this is the cover of the card:


From Zachary:


Here is what the flowers say:

The best adjective that describes my mommy is: awesome.
Mommy, you are as pretty as: the sky.
My favorite Memory with Mommy is: when we went on a cruise to the Bahamas. (Except…our cruise didn’t go to the Bahamas!)
My mommy is really good at: being nice.
Mommy, I just want to say: You are the best Mommy.

The flower that is colored green says in Hebrew: Mommy, I love you very much. Happy Mother’s Day.

From Gabbie:

Gabbie actually picked out and ordered me a present from a shop on Etsy. She gave it to me on Sunday at her dance competition – very appropriate!

If you can’t tell, it’s a key chain which I attached to my bag.

Later that day, Gabbie had her class with a group of girls her age that she has been attending throughout this year. They get together and make a craft, learn something, and eat something. This time, they made Mother’s Day gifts.

The quotes on this are from Eshet Chayil, or Proverbs 31. She said she chose the quotes for me. The first is because I find good deals, the second is because I get up each day and get the kids ready for school, and the third is because the whole family likes me!

I also got these flowers from Dave:


Although we did not do very much on Mother’s Day to celebrate, I felt like everyone acknowledged me, which was very nice! How was your Mother’s Day, if you celebrated?


Favorite Summer Sandals

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Favorite Summer Sandals

I love shoes, especially sandals, but I don’t like to spend a lot on my shoes. Today I’m sharing my current favorite summer foot wear! Some of these links are affiliate links.


Apparently, my go to color for shoes is black. The shoes I wear the most often in the summer time are my Teva Olowahu Flip Flops and right now, the color I have is Pana Black / Grey.


The price of Tevas varies based on which size and color you choose, so choose your size first and then see what each color costs. For example, right now size 8 is $17.46.


Similarly, Sanuk Yoga Sling 2 Flip Flops vary in price based on color and size. I have two pairs – black with gold specks and coral, which I did not include in my photos! Right now, there are several colors in my size available for less than $20 and several more between $20 and $30.


One of my favorite places to buy shoes is Old Navy.  I recently bought these Lace-Up Gladiator Sandals, in black of course, but right now Blush, Cognac, and Taupe are on sale for $19. I also bought these Sueded Bow-Tie Slide Sandals. I like how they look but I walked a bit in them and one of my feet got bruised from where the shoe was pressing onto it!

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Last year, I got these cute floral flip flops from Target. They are surprisingly comfortable! It doesn’t look like they have them this year, but they do still have these Madlove Footbed Sandals that I also bought last year. I bought them too big though, so I wonder if I should buy a new pair that actually fits!


Target also has dupes for the Sanuk sandals I mentioned above, and imagine my surprise when I saw that they have a sandal called Dara!


In the above photo, you can also see my Toms, which I really wear on in-between weather days and not so much in actual summer. Same with my Converse, which are hiding in the second photo above!

What kind of sandals or shoes do you like to wear in the summer?



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