Not In Jersey: March 2018 March 2018 - Not In Jersey

Old Red Bridge Love Locks

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Old Red Bridge Love Locks

One of my favorite parts of the photography challenge I am doing this year is discovering new places to visit and photograph. Not every week affords a visit to a new place – last week I took a picture at the library and this week I plan to revisit somewhere I’ve been before – but I am trying to get to places I have not been before at least some of the time. A few weeks back, I came across the fact that Kansas City has a Love Locks Bridge – a place where people lock their love by attaching a padlock to the bridge, “pronouncing their unbreakable and everlasting love.”

With the theme of the week being Depth of Field, I could just imagine a photo of the locks on the bridge, focusing on some of the locks and blurring others, and thus demonstrating the concept of a small depth of field. This means I wanted to have a small focus area, with only a small area of the picture in focus and the rest blurred. That is why most of the photos I took are focused in that way!

Approaching the bridge.

The bridge that serves as the Love Locks Bridge is also known as the Old Red Bridge, because it is old and red! It was dedicated in 1932 by Harry Truman and is made of concrete, steel, and granite. There is now a new bridge that goes over the road, and this bridge is a pedestrian bridge which became the Love Locks Bridge in 2013.


I was rather amazed at all the locks on the bridge and how pretty they looked!


$10 at Target–3 Things We Needed and 2 We Didn’t

Monday, March 19, 2018


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 – I’m one of the hosts now so you just have to 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!

This month, I knew there were a few things we needed that I wanted to find while at Target. First though, I had to stop by the dollar spot. Are these gnomes not the cutest?


I resisted the gnomes, but I did not resist these adorable fake succulents!


As for the things we needed, I picked up new shower curtain hooks for the kids’ bathroom, a pair of black socks because mine got holes, and hand soap for the master bathroom!


The three things we needed were each around $1 and the succulents were $3 each. My total was $10.67!


I added the succulents to my spring entry way d├ęcor!

Now, if you shopped at Target this month, link up with us here!

What do you think of my finds?


What I’ve Been Reading #172–The Longest Silence

Friday, March 16, 2018


tI received a copy of The Longest Silence by Debra Webb from TLC Book Tours in exchange for my review. Being a new fan of the show Criminal Minds, I was excited that this book also features a character who is part of the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI. A mystery about a serial abductor, this book kept me guessing and even feeling like I could solve crimes myself.

“Joanna Guthrie was free. She had been for eighteen years--or so she needed everyone to believe. What really happened during the longest fourteen days of her life, when she and two other women were held captive by a dangerous serial killer, wasn’t something she could talk about. Not after what they had to do to survive. But when more women go missing in an eerily similar manner, Jo knows her prolonged silence will only seal their fates. She’s finally ready to talk; she just needs someone to listen. FBI special agent Tony LeDoux can’t deny he finds Jo compelling—he’s just not sure he believes her story. But with the clock ticking, Jo will do anything to convince him, even if it means unearthing long-buried secrets that will land them squarely in the crosshairs of the killer...”

I have not read the other books in the Shades of Death series, but that did not stop me from enjoying this 4th book in the series. In fact, it appears that the other books featured on Nick Shade, while this one only includes him briefly, towards the end of the book when he arrives to offer help. Instead, Tony LeDoux works with a former captive of a current unidentified subject, Joanna Guthrie, who proves to be worthy of being an FBI agent herself. The book details the search for two missing girls in the present, with some interspersed chapters describing what Joanna went through in the past, as well as what Tiffany is experiencing in the present. I will say that if you are sensitive to reading details about other people’s mistreatment, you will probably find some scenes in this book difficult. However, if you enjoy a good suspense novel, this one features likeable, well-developed characters and page-turning anticipation!

What have you been reading lately?


Harlem Globetrotters Game

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Harlem Globetrotters Game

I always thought it would be fun to see the Harlem Globetrotters play basketball and I recently got my chance! They are more a comedy act than a basketball team, known for their ball handling wizardry, slam dunks, trick shots, and fan interaction, and thanks to US Family Guide, we took the boys to see them play the Washington Generals.


The game moves quicker than a regular basketball game so no one got bored. Simon in particular thought they were hilarious! This player was demonstrating his backwards kneeling shot and his from the stands shot!


There was always a lot going on during the game.


14 Mom Fail Memories

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


This month’s topic for “How We” with Mix and Match Mama and A Little Bit Of Everything is “how we mom fail…and live to discuss .” I wasn’t going to write a post on this subject at first because I’ve never lost a child – although once Zachary thought we’d left him in a store so he left and we found him by the car – or caused a child to get hurt – although a few weeks back I told Zachary to stop cutting me off while walking and when he did it again (on purpose) I pushed him right over (by accident) – but then I realized I have plenty of these little stories that make me laugh now but were definitely mom fails when they happened. Let me start by saying if you have ever lost or hurt one of your kids, I’m not judging! These things happen, and sharing them and smiling about them is one way to move forward from our fails. Here are some of mine.

1. When Gabbie was a baby, she and Rudy (the dog) got locked in the car while it was running. The fire department had to come.

2. Zachary is the most unforgiving of my kids. When I neglected to tell him he could skip chess club to go to a 3 year old’s birthday party, he kept saying “why didn’t you tell me?” over and over and all I could say was “I made a mistake.”

3. Dave once forgot to buckle Simon into his car seat and didn’t know why he was crying and carrying on for a good 10 minutes. I wasn’t there, so dad fail, I guess! (He also once forgot to buckle Gabbie into her stroller when he picked her up at day care and she fell out!)

4. When Gabbie was in kindergarten she told me the next day was pajama day and I sent her to school in pajamas. It turns out pajama day was the following week.

5. I left my iPod charger plugged into my computer and Simon put it in his mouth. My computer was happy to inform me that he was an unrecognized device. He also put my iPod in his mouth and I had to have it replaced for water damage!


6. I pour the wrong cereals into the wrong bowls and give the kids the wrong snacks quite often. Surprisingly I’ve only put the wrong lunches into the wrong back packs twice that I know of.

7. Zachary probably needed naps more often than he got them – I have so many pictures of him sleeping in random places. Here’s a funny one:


8. Here’s one from my childhood – my brother asked my mom if he could color on the floor and she thought he was asking to sit on the floor and color – on paper. No, he meant literally could he color on the floor.

9. Did you ever put a diaper through the laundry? They explode! Luckily, the one that ended up in mine was unused.

10. Zachary once crawled under a table with a dog and the dog bit him. Luckily not badly!

11. Once I was eating a chocolate bar and Zachary asked me what I was eating. I told him it was nothing and he said, “I want nothing too!”

12. When we first moved to Kansas, Zachary kept throwing up everywhere. Every time I thought he was fine, he wasn’t. He even threw up in the office while we were signing the paperwork for our house.

13. Just this past weekend, Simon was telling us that he needed to memorize a list of Hebrew words and how to spell them. I told him he was wrong and the teacher would read out the words and they would have to write them down. Luckily I checked with the teacher – she did want them to memorize the list!

14. When Simon was little he got soaking wet at a spray park and I didn’t have a change of clothes for him. I drove home with him like this:

(He was wearing a diaper even though you can’t see it!)

If my kids complain that I did something wrong, I usually say something about how I’m the worst mom ever. They usually disagree. Then I feel bad for making them assuage my mom guilt! I think the best way to move on from your mom fails is to laugh about them. And if you’re in doubt about yourself, just remember your fails can’t be as bad as these.

What are some of your mom fail memories?


Sunshine Blogger Award Answers

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


I was nominated for a Sunshine Blogger Award by Joanne from Our Unschooling Journey Through Life. I thought for today’s post I’d go ahead an answer the questions she gave me in her blog post!

1.  When and why did you start blogging?

I’ve had a blog in a variety of forms since probably 1998 or so. This blog started on October 6, 2010, as a way to keep in touch with my family and friends after we moved from NJ to Kansas. We actually moved in November of 2009, so I guess it took me awhile to actually get started!

2.  Is the blog you currently got nominated for your only blog to date?

No, I had other blogs and online journals before this one.

3.  What is YOUR favorite blog post that you've ever written? 

I don’t know that I have one particular favorite post. I enjoy looking back at my travel posts and my interviews with the kids throughout the years though!

4.  Are you a hobby blogger or does your blog help support your family?

Definitely a hobby blogger, though if I earn anything from my blog I use it to support myself!

5.  Who are some of your favorite bloggers? 

Tamar and Janine are the bloggers I’ve been friends with for the longest, and some of the bloggers I’ve connected with more recently include Tanya, Johanna, and Crystal. Not to leave anyone out – if you see my comments on your blog, that means I like you!

6.  What is the best vacation you have ever been on?

Too many to choose from! Some favorites were Hawaii, Israel, Disney World, and Cuba.


7.  Where is the one place you have always wanted to travel to but have never actually been yet?

I want to go to all of the states and I have a few left! The next place I hope to visit is New Orleans, which would help me with my states list, as I’ve never been to Louisiana.

8.  Do you have a happy place?  If so where?

I think it would have to be Disney World!


9.  What do you like to do in your spare time?

Read, watch shows on Netflix, play games on my phone.

10.  If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would you pick?

Definitely some sort of pasta and as a side note, I’d be huge.

11.  What would you say is your biggest accomplishment so far in life?

Raising my three kids up to their current ages!

I just remembered I have won the Sunshine Blogger Award in the past! Here are my questions and answers from 2013 and another set from 2014. Now tell me some of your answers to these!


10 Spring Cleaning Tips

Monday, March 12, 2018

10 Spring Cleaning Tips

This month’s topic for 10 on the 10th with Perfectly Port is 10 Spring Cleaning Tips. I am not very good at cleaning so my first tip is not to do what I do! I’ve decided to make this post more of a collection of tips I’ve found on other sites (Pinterest!) and hope to use in the future.

1. Make a plan. Part of my problem is not doing what I’m supposed to and procrastinating! I do much better with having a schedule to follow. Here is a 28-Day plan from Simple Green.


Or if you only have a day, you can use this schedule from Oprah:

2. Here is a graphic on how to clean your kitchen with every day ingredients from lifehacker:

3. For bathrooms, Picky Stitch has an article with 12 Bathroom Cleaning Hacks from cleaning the shower with a dish wand to getting rid of hard water stains with lemon to how to clean your porcelain sinks. And here is a graphic from For Rent.

4. Clean and Scentsible made a printable bedroom spring cleaning checklist and provided instructions here. For me, I didn’t believe the amount of dust I found under the bed!


5. Want to clean grout between tiles? Here’s how you can do it with vinegar.

6. You probably want to declutter while you’re cleaning, and Premeditated Leftovers has tips for that.

7. Got stainless steel? I do! Here’s how to clean your appliances with baby oil.

8. I also have a leather couch – here’s how to clean it with olive oil!

9. Our dining room has wood floors. One Crazy House has a post with 15 Wood Floor Hacks!


10. My last tip is to enlist help. Whether that means hiring someone or getting your family involved, cleaning is much easier with others involved. The Intentional Mom has a fun post on how to make cleaning fun for your kids!

Adorable kids brother and sister at home

What are your best spring cleaning tips?


10 on the 10th link-up-2

Plan a Cross-Country Trip with National Geographic

Friday, March 9, 2018


National Geographic has done it again! Every time I pick up one of their books, I am thrilled with the information and photos included. With two books, you can have your cross-country scenic and state park road trip completely planned. I received these books from TLC Book Tours in exchange for my review.

r“The fifth and latest edition of National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways provides more than 300 possibilities for spectacular getaways in your local area and throughout the 50 states. Whether you’re looking for a short day trip close to home or a several-weeks-long vacation, you’ll find a host of ideas in this beautifully illustrated, detail-packed book, which celebrates America's regional diversity, rich history, and jaw-dropping splendor. Suggested drives include Maine’s rocky coastline, the Southeast’s mystical swamplands, the Southwest’s striking red-rock plateaus, the West’s majestic mountains, and many more. Veteran National Geographic authors with deep knowledge of each area employ superb storytelling techniques to enliven your journeys. Each drive features mile-by-mile directions, as well as all the practical info you'll need to make your next road trip an experience to remember.”

This guide is divided into sections based on regions of the United States from New England to the Far West. There are way more scenic byways in this country that I would have imagined! I quickly flipped in the book to Kansas, where I discovered two scenic routes – from Manhattan to Cassoday KS on Kansas 177 in the Flint Hills and the Wetlands and Wildlife Scenic Byway in central Kansas, which is also designated as one of America’s Byways. Each description includes details about the route, information about the areas you will pass through, places to stop along the way, and hints about what to look for as you drive. Now I really want to go on this Wetlands and Wildlife route to see shorebirds, pelicans, prairie dogs, and whooping cranes!

As I looked through the book, I noted that my favorite part of Hawaii is included – the Onomea Bay Scenic Route, which is part of the Hamakua Coast Route from Hilo to the Waipio Valley. We turned onto the scenic route by accident, but I’m so glad the book points it out on purpose! If you’ve ever wanted to know what is on the roads known to be scenic routes and to discover even more you did not know about, this book is great!

sWith the National Geographic Guide to State Parks, you can discover more than 950 parks in all 50 states. “Bask in the spectacular beauty, thrilling terrain, and quiet peacefulness of the country’s finest state parks, hand-picked by park directors and National Geographic editors. This fully updated fifth edition includes 750 additional off-the-beaten track destinations. Beautifully written descriptions tell the stories of the parks, from their wildlife, natural features, and history to their most popular current activities such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, water sports, and rock climbing. Vivid images inspire your next getaway, while detailed information--including 32 detailed maps highlighting sites, trails, campgrounds, and more--helps you plan your next excursion. From free to low-cost, from Florida to Alaska, from the six-acre Iao Valley to the 204,000-acre Baxter, use this essential guide to plan a day visit or a weekend escape.”

Again divided by region, I turned to the Central Plains, which includes Kansas. From the map, it looked like the closest state park to me might actually be in Nebraska! However, in the “more great state parks” section, I saw that there is a park called Hillsdale in Paola, which I know is not far from me! Also, I would really like to visit the prairie dogs in Prairie Dog Park! Each description includes background information, what to do and see in the park, and information about camping and lodging. The next time I make a visit to another state, I will definitely be consulting this book for ideas on where to visit!

Of course, there are many state parks omitted from the book, but it is definitely a great starting point, especially when searching the web gets overwhelming! You can always go back to the web after you get ideas from either of these two books.


Delta Flight Museum

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Delta Flight Museum

While we were in Atlanta, we decided to check out the Delta Flight Museum, located right next to the airport. It is actually located in Delta’s original 1940s hangars. The museum features exhibits and items from Delta’s history and about the future of flight. You can also do a Boeing 737 flight simulation for $425 if you are so inclined!