Not In Jersey: 2018 2018 - Not In Jersey

What’s Up Wednesday–May

Wednesday, May 23, 2018



I’m a little bit confused as to whether today is the right day for What’s Up Wednesday! I feel like May isn’t over yet so it’s a little strange to be recapping the month already, but yet it is the 4th Wednesday of the month, so here we are. It’s been a busy one Here’s what we’ve been up to!

1. What we’re eating this month…

This past week I tried these Cheesy Bean Enchiladas which I thought came out pretty well!

I posted a picture of my daily lunch salad in my day in the life post. Here it is again!


2. What I’m Reminiscing About…

This school year, which is over tomorrow! I can hardly believe it. I’ll be sharing some end of the year posts within the next week or so.

3. What I’m Loving…

It made me so happy that the weather turned to spring. I got to take a few walks and take some photos too! Here are my last 4 weeks of 52 Frames photos.


[body parts + extra credit – black and white minimalism]

[negative space]

[something I dislike]

4. What We’ve Been Up To…

I attended the circle drive dedication at school, Gabbie had her dance recital, we visited the arboretum, I decided to sign up Zachary for swim team and he starts next week, we celebrated Mother’s Day, Simon had a sick day, Simon had his poetry café, Zachary went on two overnight trips, and we reached the end of school.


5. What I’m Dreading…

Entertaining the kids over their summer break! We do have some camps lined up, plus our Florida trip, so I’m sure it will be fine, but you know I always have to worry!

6. What I’m Working On…

Summer plans, getting things done before summer break, etc.

7. What I’m Excited About…

My kids enjoying their camps and still excited for Disney in June!

8. What I’m Watching / Reading…

I started watching the Harlan Coben shows on Netflix. I think there are 3 of them on I’m on the 2nd.

As usual, you can see my latest book reviews here.

9. What I’m Listening To…

Just my regular soft rock.

10. What I’m Wearing…

I just got these shorts from Old Navy and I’m a fan!


I’m also wearing my sandals!

11. What I’m Doing This Weekend…

Memorial Day BBQ at a friends’ on Monday. Maybe we’ll go swimming if it’s warm enough!

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

Disney World!

13. What Else Is New…

Coming up before the end of the month…Dave’s birthday, swim team starts, and our first week off of school!

What’s up with you lately?


8 Tips For Renovating Your Family Home

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


One of the most important parts of raising a family is providing your loved ones with a beautiful home to enjoy and feel comfortable in. Your property should be a space where you get to spend quality time with your nearest and dearest. It should be a comfortable, cozy, and calming environment that helps to bring everyone together. If this is not yet the case, now is the time to make a change. By working your way through the following eight tips, you will be able to complete a home renovation project to be proud of.

Get your family finances in order

Before you push forward with your property project, it is essential that you get your finances in order. If you are taking your family along for the ride, you need to make sure that you are adopting a sensible approach. You can achieve this by looking through your savings accounts and establishing a strict budget for your renovation. Don’t worry if your funds fall short, you can go online to secure an empréstimo pessoal. This is a great way for you to get enough cash to cover your costs. Then, by the end of your project, hopefully you will have raised enough funds to pay back your loan.

Take your renovation project one room at a time

You can also take control of your finances by taking your project one room at a time. Not only will this allow you to keep a close eye on your costs, but it will also help you to maintain a fairly normal family life. Instead of forcing your loved ones to give up their entire living space, they will only need to make a few compromises. This should prevent arguments from breaking out, as your family members will still have all the space they need to get along.

Make the most of your outside space

Another great tip is to make the most of your outside space. If your renovation project is taking place during the summer months, it is likely that your family members will want to escape to your backyard for a bit of peace and quiet. That is why you should get to work introducing raised beds, water features, seating areas, and sweet smelling flowers. If you have young children in your family, you should also be on the lookout for fun garden accessories such as tire swings and climbing frames.

Rethink the purpose of each room

If you have spent a number of years in your family home, it is possible that you are set in your ways. However, a renovation project is the perfect excuse for breaking free of tradition. Rather than using all of your rooms for the same purpose, you should rethink the layout of your property. Perhaps you no longer need a study space, as you can now move your laptop around your home. Why not use this free room as a walk-in wardrobe or a snug for your teenagers? Or, you might find that your family members want to switch around their bedrooms. This might result in a few tense discussions, but eventually you could settle on an even better layout than before.

Encourage your loved ones to streamline their possessions

The next tip is to encourage your family to streamline their possessions. A renovation project can be overwhelming, so it is vital that you keep things as simple as possible. Why waste your time and energy moving around items that could easily be recycled? Whatever you do, don’t tolerate hoarding! Set your loved ones the challenge of sorting through their belongings and getting rid of the dead weight. If you find that you have a significant amount to give away, you could always host a yard sale. This could be a wonderful opportunity for you to clear your home, while bringing in some extra money.

Get your loved ones involved in the interior design scheme

If you are going to get your family on board with the process of streamlining their possessions, you will need to give them a strong incentive. One of the best ways for you to do this is by getting them involved in the interior design scheme. As project manager, it is natural that you would have final say. However, you can still listen to your loved ones and take their advice whenever possible. This is especially important when it comes to the design of their private spaces. Whether you are tackling bedrooms, a homework area, a den, or a man cave, it is essential that you include plenty of personal touches. Although it is admirable to aim for perfection, it is even more important that your family feel at home.

Invest in your security measures

You should also do everything in your power to keep your loved ones safe. Why not use this renovation project as an opportunity to update your security measures? You could do this by installing smart technology into your property. This is an extremely modern way for you to monitor the activities going on in your home. You can even sync up your system to your smartphone and check in with your property from different locations. In addition to this, you should opt for traditional security measures such as safety locks, security alarms, and strengthening your windows and doors.

Consider running a green home

Finally, you should consider running a green home. If you are determined to teach your loved ones to be thoughtful and responsible, this is a fantastic way for you to do it. Simple steps such as investing in your insulation, fitting solar panels, and starting a compost heap could make all the difference. You could also replace all of your light bulbs with energy saving alternatives. Of course, your focus should be on saving the environment, but running a green home will also help you to save money and increase the value of your property. There really aren’t any downsides to taking this eco-friendly path.

This post was written by Alec Neufeld, a retired builder, now freelance writer and part-time general fix it man. He has strong opinions on the use of alternate energy and is also an avid sports enthusiast.

$10 at Target–Disney!


For awhile now I have been participating in the $10 at Target challenge. The idea is to spend $10 and only $10 buying items at Target. We link up our finds on the 3rd Monday of every month, so feel free to head to Target, spend $10, and share your finds – scroll to the end of this post and you will find the link up! I always love checking out what everyone else decided to get!

I’m posting a day late this month because yesterday I was not online due to a holiday. I was going to skip it all together, but I’m excited about what I ended up finding this month!

Did you know Target has a new Disney line? I didn’t know, and I was excited when I saw it!

Lots of water bottles

IMG_4661  IMG_4664IMG_4665  IMG_4666
Kitchen items / Jewelry, beauty items

There were also shirts, shoes, and more that didn’t make it into my photos. So what did I buy?

Hair Tie bracelets for $4. I love the little Mickey heads and that you can wear them as a bracelet until you’re ready to throw your hair up.

And a Mickey ear headband for $5. I can’t wait to wear these in Disney, and hold them up and take a photo of the castle through them!

Now, show us what you found at Target this month!

What do you think of my finds?


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!