Not In Jersey: April 2018 April 2018 - Not In Jersey

The Best Places to See Animals in Kansas City–Local Tourist Link Up

Monday, April 30, 2018

The Best Places to See Animals in Kansas City

The Kansas City area is wonderful for all sorts of family adventures and last month, I wrote a list of my top 5 places to visit in the area. This month, one of our adventures was to one of my top 5 places – the zoo. Obviously you can see animals at the zoo! I thought this month I’d give a round-up of a few other places in our area in which you can visit the animals.

1. Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead

I also wrote about the Farmstead last month, and there are some adorable animals to be found there! Last year, the goats were named after Harry Potter characters and we tried to find them all!

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2. Sea Life Aquarium

We have been to the aquarium a few times and I wrote a review of it here.

3. Lakeside Nature Center

I have been wanting to visit the Lakeside Nature Center for a long time but my kids are never interested! I might have to head there on my own one day soon.

4. Cedar Cove Feline Sanctuary

Another place I’ve been wanting to visit, Cedar Cove is devoted to the care and preservation of endangered large cats!

5. Scheels

This sporting goods store is not only home to an indoor ferris wheel and miniature bowling alleys, it also has a pretty nice aquarium.

6. Native Hooved Animal Enclosure

The one time I visited, I only saw one buffalo, but there are apparently deer, elk, and bison and you can feed them apples or carrots!

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I must admit, I’ve seen a lot of animals right in my own neighborhood, including a raccoon, a fox, an opossum, and ducks, but I’d much rather visit them in a controlled location like the zoo!

Now, if you visited a local area this month, link up with Lauren and me here!

Feel free to save our image and share it in your blog post so others can find the link-up!

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What I’ve Been Reading #175

Friday, April 27, 2018

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

bLove and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford is our current book group pick which we will be discussing in another few weeks. I had read Jamie Ford’s previous book, The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, and remembered really liking it, so I voted on behalf of reading this one.

“For twelve-year-old Ernest Young, a charity student at a boarding school, the chance to go to the World’s Fair feels like a gift. But only once he’s there, amid the exotic exhibits, fireworks, and Ferris wheels, does he discover that he is the one who is actually the prize. The half-Chinese orphan is astounded to learn he will be raffled off—a healthy boy; to a good home.’ The winning ticket belongs to the flamboyant madam of a high-class brothel, famous for educating her girls. There, Ernest becomes the new houseboy and befriends Maisie, the madam’s precocious daughter, and a bold scullery maid named Fahn. Their friendship and affection form the first real family Ernest has ever known—and against all odds, this new sporting life gives him the sense of home he’s always desired. But as the grande dame succumbs to an occupational hazard and their world of finery begins to crumble, all three must grapple with hope, ambition, and first love. Fifty years later, in the shadow of Seattle’s second World’s Fair, Ernest struggles to help his ailing wife reconcile who she once was with who she wanted to be, while trying to keep family secrets hidden from their grown-up daughters.”

While this book had a lot of interesting history, I didn’t love it. I found parts of it more boring than I would prefer as well. With that said, I still finished it pretty quickly. I look forward to discussing the book with my book club and possibly gaining more insight on it.


cI got a few books from the library that had been on my to be read list for awhile. First up was Good As Gone by Amy Gentry.

“Anna’s daughter Julie was kidnapped from her own bedroom when she was thirteen years old, while Anna slept just downstairs, unaware that her daughter was being ripped away from her. For eight years, she has lived with the guilt and the void in her family, hoping against hope that Julie is still alive. And then one night, the doorbell rings. A young woman who appears to be Julie is finally, miraculously, home safe. Anna and the rest of the family are thrilled, but soon Anna begins to see holes in Julie’s story. When she is contacted by a former detective turned private eye, she is forced to wonder if this young woman is even her daughter at all. And if she isn’t Julie, what is it that she wants?”

This book is told from the point of view of a mom whose daughter went missing years ago. Then the chapters alternate with chapters featuring women, each with a different name, and moving in reverse time. I caught on to the fact that the chapters moved backwards in time pretty quickly, but I imagine it would be confusing if you did not realize that. The story of what happened to Julie was compelling and took time to unravel. It wasn’t the best suspenseful book I ever read, but it wasn’t bad.


dNext, also from my list of books I’d wanted to read, I read Before The Fall by Noah Hawley. This was another book that travels back to discover what happened to cause the tragedy in the beginning of the book.

“On a foggy summer night, eleven people--ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter--depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are the painter Scott Burroughs and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family. Was it by chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something more sinister at work? A storm of media attention brings Scott fame that quickly morphs into notoriety and accusations, and he scrambles to salvage truth from the wreckage. Amid trauma and chaos, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy grows and glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, morality, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.”

The best part of the book for me was the harrowing escape from the plane wreckage taken by Scott and the four-year-old boy. The rest of the book focused a lot on unlikeable characters and was supposed to make us wonder why the plane crashed. With a little more revealed in each chapter, it becomes clear what occurred, but it was not a huge twist or all that surprising for me in the end.


eLastly, I read Choker by Elizabeth Wood. Gabbie had read the book and liked it, so when I needed another book to read, she handed it over. It is meant for young adults, but it was well-written enough for me to enjoy it too.

“Zoe and Cara were as close as friends could be—until Zoe moved away in fourth grade. Miserable without Zoe, Cara grew into an unhappy sixteen-year-old, tormented by the popular girls and nursing a hopeless crush. Then one day Cara returns home from a miserable day at school to find Zoe sitting on her bed. Shocked and delighted, Cara agrees to hide Zoe from troubles at home and the two resume their friendship as though no time has passed. Zoe even helps Cara get up the courage to stand up for herself and talk to her crush. But when one of the popular girls winds up dead, Cara begins to suspect that Zoe is responsible, and her questions only feed Zoe’s anger. As Cara searches for answers, she is forced to confront a deadly truth….”

Somewhere in the middle of the book, I told Gabbie it was obvious what was going on. A few chapters after that, I realized what was actually going on! It was a twist, but it was one that I was able to figure out. As a quick, easy read with an ending meant to surprise, I think young adults would definitely enjoy this one.

What have you been reading lately?

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Trip to L.A. for the Scandal Finale

Thursday, April 26, 2018

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Last week, I took a very quick trip to L.A. I left here on Wednesday evening and flew back on Friday morning, so I was really only there for one full day. Originally I was going to stay longer, but the friends I met up with couldn’t stay, so we all went home on Friday and that worked out fine for me. So, why the trip to L.A.? Well, we got tickets to the Scandal Finale Live Table Read. The finale was on TV that same night, but we watched the cast read their parts out loud, on stage. It was kind of awesome.

But first, L.A.

The first thing that happened after we arrived and picked up our rental car was that I realized I didn’t have my camera battery. I’d decided to charge it up before I left and somehow neglected to return it to my camera. Luckily Best Buy carries the battery and it was in stock, so one of our first stops was to Best Buy to buy a new battery! Unfortunately, the battery didn’t come fully charged, so I had to limit my picture taking in order to avoid it going dead!

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What’s Up Wednesday–April

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

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April was a loong month. My photo folder is overflowing with all the things we did! Here’s what we’ve been up to!

1. What we’re eating this month…

The month started out with Passover and matzah. Since then, it’s been basically back to normal and nothing special.

2. What I’m Reminiscing About…

We’ve been thinking about our Disney trip because this week we were able to make our FastPass reservations for our trip. So I’ve been thinking about some of our past visits!

3. What I’m Loving…

You can read more about my first quarter of 52 Frames here. Here are my last 4 pictures.

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[in the kitchen + extra credit – vintage]

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4. What We’ve Been Up To…

The month started with spring break. We went swimming at the community center.

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Gabbie turned 13. We went to the zoo and we went to the Art of the Brick Exhibit.

Zachary and Dave went on an adventure and then I went to L.A. with two friends. I will be blogging about it tomorrow, but here is a sneak peek at the event I attended:

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Gabbie had a dance competition and she has another one this coming weekend as well.

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5. What I’m Dreading…

In May, the time to the end of school always flies by! I want to make sure I do what I need to before summer break!

6. What I’m Working On…

Not getting overwhelmed by my photography themes each week.

7. What I’m Excited About…

Disney in June.

8. What I’m Watching / Reading…

I got into the show The Imposters recently, it’s good! I am also catching up on Madam Secretary.

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

9. What I’m Listening To…

I’ve been listening to regular radio stations instead of Sirius lately. Just my regular soft rock.

10. What I’m Wearing…

For most of the month it was still cold! It’s finally spring-like now, so I’m wearing short sleeves and sandals finally!

11. What I’m Doing This Weekend…

Gabbie has a dance competition and that’s my only plan right now.

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

The end of school happenings.

13. What Else Is New…

I think that’s it!

What’s up with you lately?

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6 Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

6 Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas

Teacher Appreciation Week is from May 7-11 and that week is always a great time to give your teacher a handwritten thank you note or a cute gift of appreciation. We often give our teachers gifts at the end of the year, so I don’t have a plan for this year’s gifts yet, but I thought I would share a few of the things we have given in the past.

1. Drink Themed Gift

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I bought some cute cups, reusable ice balls, and drink mixes. A cute saying to go along with this gift would be “thank you for quenching my thirst for knowledge” and I got my original inspiration here. My post about this gift is here.

2. Orange You Glad?

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This was a gift for winter break with orange and warm items inside. It could certainly be adapted to relate to summer or the end of the school year!

3. You Measure Up

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I gifted our teachers measuring cups and this post includes a free printable that says “As a great teacher, you measure up.”

4. Dollar Spot Bags to Canvas

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The Target Dollar Spot occasionally has small bags with characters on them – in this case it was The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I wrapped them around art canvases and gave them as a gift to our kindergarten teacher.

5. I Couldn’t Have Picked A Better Teacher!

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This gift idea never made it to my blog. I filled a basket with flower related items and attached the above image as a gift card. Feel free to save and print!

6. The Influence of a Good Teacher Can Never Be Erased!

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This also was never published on my blog before, and can also be saved and printed. Our teachers appreciated some dry erase markers to add to their collections!

Small gifts with notes of appreciation go a long way, I think!

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Customize Invitations and Thank You Notes With Basic Invite

Monday, April 23, 2018

Customize Invitations and Thank You Notes With Basic Invite

If there is one thing that my mom taught me that I have neglected to pass on to my children, it is the importance of sending thank you cards for gifts. Gabbie wrote thank you notes for her bat mitzvah gifts and my kids make sure to say thank you when they receive a gift in the mail so the sender knows we got it, but sending thank you cards for birthday presents is something I regret that we have not done consistently. So when Basic Invite invited me to try out their stationery, I made sure to order samples of cards that we can use to write thank you notes.

One of the best things about Basic Invite is that it offers almost unlimited color options with instant online previews. So when I found thank you cards on the site that I liked, I was able to choose my own colors for all of the elements of the cards. You can also change the fonts when you want even more customization. Envelopes are also available in over 40 colors. Foil cards are available in gold, silver, and rose gold. Customers can choose flat or raised foil on all of Basic Invite’s foil designs.

For this Subway Bar Mitzvah Thank You Card, I changed the font color from the top image to the bottom image. If I had wanted, I could have also changed the background, the line, and the star colors.

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These Watercolor Ombre Bat Mitzvah Thank You Cards are pink on the site, but I chose to change them to teal so that any of us can use them. I also removed the personalized “from” line.

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Basic Invite allows customers to order printed samples of their actual cards, for save the date cards, wedding invitations, wedding programs, thank you cards, and any other card offered on the site. The samples cost a minimal amount and come with a color chart and foil samples as well. This way, you can see your invitations or cards how they will print before you have to place your final order.

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Basic Invite offers an address capturing service that allows customers to simply share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media to request their friends and family’s addresses which will be stored in the customer’s account and can then be selected during the design process. Basic Invite offers recipient address printing at no cost on all Christmas card orders.

With graduation approaching, Basic Invite would be a great place to order graduation invitations 2018 as well as thank you graduation cards. Right now Basic Invite is offering 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51

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For more information on Basic Invite, visit:
site | facebook  | pinterest  | instagram  | twitter

I’d love to know what you think of the thank you notes I chose!

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Hooray, It’s Friday! Proud Mom and More

Friday, April 20, 2018

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It’s been a long time since I’ve written a Friday update post! I had a lot of books to review over the last few months, but today I don’t have a book review scheduled, so here are some random things that have been happening that have not yet made it to the blog.

[one]

I’ve been a proud mom lately because Zachary and Gabbie both received honors – Zachary’s science project was in the regional science fair and received a silver ribbon and Gabbie received her award for her button design in remembrance of the shootings here 4 years ago.

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[two]

At the end of the SevenDays commemoration, there is a walk, which we attended. Gabbie was able to get a photo with a large version of her pin. Also, she got her braces that day!

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[three]

We haven’t gotten to go to a Royals game yet this season. A few weeks ago, our school sent an email that the mother-son event would be to attend a Royals game. I was all yay! And bought tickets. Then they said they were postponing the game due to a scheduling conflict. A few days later I got an email from the Royals that they were having $5 tickets in the outfield plaza area, which was cheaper and better seats than I’d previously bought, so I bought those. The game was this past Sunday. We drove out there with our coats and hats and blankets because it was freezing outside, paid for parking, went in, and then they canceled the game. Supposedly we can use the parking pass later in the season and the postponed game is when we’re away, so supposedly we can apply the tickets to another game…but who knows!

[four]

Last week, Zachary went on a big adventure with Dave. They went to Israel for our nephew’s bar mitzvah, with a stopover in Switzerland on the way.

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2 of my favorite pictures – the Alps and Zachary with my great-niece, who we hadn’t met before this.

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

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Have a great weekend!

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