Not In Jersey: March 2017 March 2017 - Not In Jersey

Friday, March 24, 2017

What I’ve Been Reading #150–The Orphan’s Tale


I received a copy of The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff from TLC Book Tours in exchange for my review. Remember when I reviewed Number The Stars and The Nightingale and I mentioned how interesting it is that there are so many stories from the time of the Holocaust and that there is always more to learn? This book was yet another example of that, telling a story about something I never knew existed during the war – a circus. What’s also funny is that many important scenes in the book take place on or near a train and I keep thinking of this book as The Orphan Train – which is a different book entirely!

“Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night. Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.”

The scene in which Noa finds the boxcar full of babies is harrowing. She acts on instinct and later wishes she’d been able to save more than one baby. Instead, she saves just one. And yet, by doing so, she changes that baby’s fate as well as her own. Noa meets Astrid, a Jewish woman who hides her identity as a member of the circus, and they become close friends. The scenes of the trapeze performances are as suspenseful as the ones that address the war going on around the circus family. The variety of complex characters was welcome and interesting. The ending was unexpected, but satisfying.

This book is on a variety of lists of historical fiction books that one should be sure to read and I have to agree with that recommendation.

What have you been reading lately?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Simon’s Chag Siddur


This school event happened exactly a month ago and I’m feeling guilty that I haven’t posted about it! Chag Siddur is when the first graders are presented with their first prayer books. First, the kids sing songs and do a few dances, and then their teachers present them with their new books. This was our third and final time seeing the 1st graders in this performance! It is only slightly different from the performances that Gabbie and Zachary did when they were each in 1st grade.


Simon is one of the taller kids in his class so he was in the back row! His class is quite big, so it was hard to get them all in a picture together.


The boys do a sweet dance together (the girls have a dance too).


Here they are saying a prayer that you cover your eyes for the first line. For the rest, they did various hand motions to act out the meaning of the prayer, which is in Hebrew.


Simon got to turn the page of the large prayer book.


And he said a line in Hebrew with his good friend.


Here he is after receiving his prayer book.


And after the performance! The kids wore clown hats because they ended with a song celebrating the new month of Adar, which is a happy month because of the Purim holiday.


He was also in a silly mood.


This is his paper doll that was used in the decorations. I helped put the dolls together!


Simon and his sweet teachers:

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The Chag Siddur is a wonderful milestone for the 1st graders and they feel so special receiving their first prayer books!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

How and Why I Let An App Dress Me

How and Why I Let An App Dress Me

When I first heard about Cladwell’s new app called Outfits, I was intrigued. Cladwell asked me what I would do with 15 minutes of extra time in my day – the time that it takes to choose an outfit each morning (or the night before, if you’re prepared!). Every morning, Outfits for iOS sends you outfit ideas based on what you currently own, what the weather is like, and how often you wear an item, thus saving you time – even 15 minutes back each morning adds up! So now I am wondering how I can use my extra time? How can I live in each moment? How can I balance the pieces of my life well?


I took the #TakeTheTime Outfits Challenge by letting the Cladwell Outfits app dress me for 3 days!

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After I downloaded the app, I started by adding items to my closet. There are a lot of options and they don’t have to be exactly what you have, but you can choose the options that most remind you of what you own. I added 35 items to my closet to begin with. Each day, the app will create an outfit for you to wear based on the clothes that you own, and the weather! How smart is that? Also, the discover tab shows you outfit possibilities with pieces you don’t yet own, and you can add them to a wishlist tab as well.

Day 1:


The app gives you three choices each day. The first outfit included shorts – yeah, it was supposed to be warm out, but shorts? For the second, my Toms are actually that green color of the cardi, which I have in grey, and I have a longer one in teal…, and I don’t have pants like that but I chose them to stand in for leggings. The third outfit is nice, but I wore that shirt the day before! So outfit number 2 was the winner.

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Day 2:


For Day 2, my choices were all cute, but I decided to go with outfit 2. I do have a t-shirt in that green color, but I prefer the lighter green one for the fit. One thing I wish the app had available was the ability to add one t-shirt and then to specify the color you actually own it in.

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Day 3:


Day 3 was going to be another hot day. So my options were to wear shorts, to wear long sleeves and long pants, or to wear short sleeves and long pants but with tall boots? None of them really make sense! I wish that I could take the suggested outfit and change out one part of it within the app. Instead, I have to do that on my own. The other thing is that I made a mistake when I added shoes – I only have one pair of grey flats but I added two different ones, as you can see in outfits 1 and 2 above! This happened on day 1 as well, but I did not realize. Also, I had not added in any sandals, because I couldn’t figure out which ones matched the ones that I have. Another option I wish was available on the app would be to add in my clothes manually. Anyhow, I went with outfit number 1, but I switched out the shorts for jeans.


My favorite thing about the Outfits app is that it uses what I have in my closet and therefore the outfits it puts together are things I like! I was frustrated that I could not see my outfits the evening before, but there is a way to adjust when your notifications become live, and I just changed mine to come the night before, so hopefully that will solve that!


Now that I have extra time saved by letting an app dress me, what am I doing with my extra time? I’d have to say I’m using it for blogging and promoting my blog! Do you like the outfits that were chosen for me? If you were given extra time in your day, even 15 minutes, what would you use it for?