Not In Jersey: May 2018 May 2018 - Not In Jersey

9 Ways to Stay Healthy on Your Family Road Trip

Thursday, May 31, 2018


Family road trips are an awesome opportunity for some bonding time, and to get away from the daily grind of work, school and all the dramas of home life. But while it’s an exciting time, spending lots of time on the road can encourage an unhealthy lifestyle, which can find its way back into your normal home life if you’re not careful.

Here are 9 useful tips on how to stay healthy whilst on the open road as a family. Don’t worry; it won’t ruin any of the fun.

Stay Hydrated
There are not many worse feelings than being stuck in a car and having nothing to drink. If it’s hot outside, the air-conditioning dries out your mouth and body, and if it’s cold outside, the car heater is likely to do the same. Make sure you pack plenty of water on your road trip and keep hydrated for the duration of the trip. You’ll have more energy when you make your stop-offs, even though you might need to use the bathroom first.

Pack Your Medication

Whether it’s for you or your little ones, if you have any illnesses or allergies that are likely to come to fruition while you’re on the road, it’s a good idea to double check that you have packed everything you need before you leave. If there’s a chance the medication might be needed in a hurry, they should probably be kept in Mom’s bag in the front seat, or in the glovebox. That way
you can get to them quickly should you need them. Click here to find out more about cheaper alternatives to expensive medication. These options may come in handy if your adventure is for more than a few days and you’re running on a tight budget.

Have Plenty of Stops

You should try and incorporate plenty of detours into your road trip where possible. Driving for hours at an end isn’t great for anybody’s circulation, and being cooped up inside the vehicle isn’t much fun for little ones, either. You could find yourselves feeling lethargic, cramped and in desperate need of a stretch if you don’t get regular stops, so take a look at the roadmap and see if there are any interesting places to stop on the way to your final destination. Whether it’s an outlet mall or a small town to potter around for a few minutes, it’ll get the blood circulating around the body again.

Pack Healthy Snacks

Packing that cool box with drinks and snacks can be tricky, especially if your little ones get their way and choose what goes in there. Parents need to find a healthy balance between healthy foods and less healthy foods. Everything is good in moderation, so focus on providing you and the kids with something good in between the snacks. Bananas and apples make for great larger
snacks, while grapes and berries are great replacements for sugary sweets.

Make Exercise Fun

If Mom or Dad are getting tired of driving and want to stretch their legs, there’s a good chance that it might be met with some resistance from the backseat, especially if they’re halfway through a game of Mario Kart. You can make exercise fun by making a stop where there are amazing views - such as desert hills, lakes and mountains - or the chance of an encounter with some wildlife. The kids will be distracted by the fun, and you’ll have a chance to walk off the long drive.

Protect Yourself From The Sun

Whether you’re in the car, taking breaks, or at your final destination, you and your little ones need protecting from the sun. Even when you’re in the car, the windows can serve as a magnifying glass rather than protectors sometimes, and you can find yourself with burns to your face, arms, and legs if you’re not careful. Before you get into your car, add some sunscreen to those unprotected areas, and keep your sunglasses on when the sun is beaming through the front window. You don’t want to do long-term damage to your eyes from not protecting them.

Laugh a Lot

It’s not just your physical health that needs to be looked after on your road trip. Your mental health needs some attention, too. Long spells of driving can be dull, but nothing relieves the feelings of lethargy and boredom better than a good laugh. It releases endorphins and puts you in a good mood, so try and keep the energy levels up on the trip. Tell some stories, play some games, have a sing-along to the radio. You’ll find that the number of tantrums from the little ones will drastically lower, and you’ll have a much better time in the front seats, too.

Don’t Indulge at Mealtimes

Long trips in the car can make you seriously hungry, especially if you’ve been good and haven’t been snacking the entire trip. The problem here is that when you arrive at your destination or stop off for a bite to eat, there’s a chance that you might overdo it as a result of starving yourselves on the trip. This is far more likely to happen to the parents than the little ones, but if it does happen, driving on a full stomach won’t be much fun, and if you’ve arrived at your final destination, you won’t want to be doing much if you’ve eaten too much.

Don’t Stress

Chances are you have prepared diligently for your road trip, but when there are children involved, there are likely to be bumps in the road, figuratively and literally, and that can create a lot of stress and tension in the vehicle. This is good for nobody, so when you’re putting together your plans, try to leave plenty of time for any curveballs, and allow yourselves the opportunity to go a little off-piste if the occasion calls for it. You never know, it might turn out to be a better trip for everybody if you allow yourself plenty of flexibility. It’ll certainly be better for your stress levels.

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.

Best Places To Take A Nature Walk in Kansas City–Local Tourist Link Up

Best Places To Take A Nature Walk in Kansas City

Even though Memorial Day here felt more like the 4th of July with the hot temperatures, earlier in May I was able to get out on 2 hikes in nature. Taking walks seems to be more fun in new and exciting locations, so here are some places I’ve been, plus a few more I’d love to visit!

1. Jerry Smith Farm Park

This park consists of 40 acres of prairie that has never been plowed. It is the largest remnant of native prairie in our area. I blogged a bit about it here and here are a few more photos.


2. Overland Park Arboretum

The 300-acre Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is an educational, recreational and cultural resource for the Kansas City region. You may remember our recent visit I blogged about here! I will hopefully visit again because we didn’t see everything we wanted to!

3. Parkville Nature Sanctuary

The Parkville Nature Sanctuary is a 117 acre natural outdoor area made accessible by nearly three miles of hiking trails.  I really want to visit this area because of the trails and the waterfall!

4. Cave Spring Historic Site

We visited this 39 acre historic site and nature park which boasts a cave, a waterfall, and historic ruins in 2015. The kids were so small!


5. Indian Creek / Tomahawk Creek Trails

I live close to the Indian Creek Trail and we often ride bikes on it. I also recently walked on the part of the trail called Tomahawk Creek Greenway, and it was pretty nice too.


If you enjoy walking or hiking, you will be able to find many options in the Kansas City area!

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!



Our Day At The Farm

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


Every year we make sure to visit Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead. We usually go more than once per season if possible! I love going there in the spring when it is not too hot, but since it was freezing over spring break, we didn’t get there this year until our first day of summer vacation.

We love visiting all the animals!


We always walk around the whole farm and do our favorite things!

Zachary’s 5th Grade Continuation

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


Since our 5th graders stay in the same school for middle school, unless they choose to switch schools, they have a “continuation” ceremony instead of a graduation. Zachary’s was on the last day of school.

First, the band played a medley of Queen songs. Zachary has been playing clarinet this whole school year, and he may be taking band as an elective in middle school as well. I’m not sure when we find out for sure what electives he gets. I do think he plays pretty well, but he would not let me take a picture and kept hiding behind his musical stand, even though I told his friend next to him to hit him for me!


Influenster #CherishVoxBox

Monday, May 28, 2018


It’s been awhile since I’ve reviewed an Influenster box here on my site, and I thought this one would make for an interesting review. The thing is that I’m not really sure why I received it, because if Influenster surveyed me beforehand, which they usually do, I don’t think they would have chosen me for this box! In case you don’t know, Influenster is a product review site which sends out free boxes (called a Vox Box) to members and in exchange, members write reviews. If you aren’t a member yet, you can sign up here.

This Vox Box is called Cherish and here’s what was inside. (I received these products for free in exchange for my reviews).


Pantene Pro-V Daily Moisture Foam Conditioner


I was excited about this until I read the description! “For Fine, Flat Hair, Light Moisture, Zero Weight.” I’m the last person who you would say has fine, flat hair!

“Add air-light Foam conditioning to your next shower and volumize every strand with air-light nourishment. Our Pro-V formula is now infused with microbubbles, to boost strands for 24 hours! Say goodbye to the weigh down of traditional cream conditioners.”

Hmm. I’m not sure if I should try this or find someone who fine hair to pass it on to!

Dove Men+Care Dry Spray Antiperspirant Deodorant Stain Defense


This one is obviously for Dave to try!

“For anti-stain and anti-mark protection, try Dove Men+Care Stain Defense Cool antiperspirant deodorant dry spray. This invisible spray tackles underarm stains head on while giving you powerful 48 hour protection again sweat and odor. Our Dove ¼ moisturizer technology will also help to protect your underarms from discomfort and irritation. Dove Men+Care antiperspirants and deodorants are dermatologically proven to be tough on sweat, not on skin! Our subtle scents give you long lasting freshness and keep you feeling confident. Stay dry all day and get the added benefit of anti-stain and anti-mark protection with Dove Men+Care Stain Defense Cool antiperspirant deodorant dry spray.”

Mott’s Sensibles Apple Raspberry


I don’t love apple juice, but my kids do! I put this in my bag to let them try when we were on the go. Gabbie liked it a little bit but the boys loved it and wanted more!

“Finally, a juice that’s sensible! New Mott’s Sensibles contains no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners. It’s 100% juice with 30% less sugar compared to 100% apple juice. New and only available at Target! Checkout your local Target store and save 20% with Cartwheel in the Target app.”

Bark Box Sample Toy


A stuffed sushi? So cute! But I don’t have a dog who can play with it! I think we’ll be watching our friends’ dog again soon though, so I will give it to him!

“BarkBox is the delivery sure to make your pup howl for joy! Each box contains $40 worth of dog goodies – 2 original toys, 2 bags of all-natural treats, and a scrumptious chew. Every BarkBox is designed around a fun surprise theme that changes monthly, and plans start at $21 per month, including free shipping. What are you waiting for? Your dog will thank you.”

Sign up for a 6- or 12-month plan and enjoy a FREE EXTRA TOY every month. Standard monthly billing will resume month 8 or 14 of selected plan length.

Vera Wang Embrace French Lavender & Tuberose Women’s Perfume


Another not-for-me item, because I am sensitive to smells, this perfume actually surprised me and I didn’t mind it!

“French Lavender & Tuberose draws inspiration from intimacy, celebrating moments in time to be cherished and embraced. Embrace French Lavender & Tuberose is a dreamy floriental fruity fragrance. An exhilarating burst of sparkling Mandarin blends with charming notes of Tuberose, French Lavender and the irresistible warmth of Cocoa Bean and Vanilla.”

So, of these surprising items, I was able to enjoy a few of them, or I will pass them on to those who will! Are you an Influenster member? Have you tried any of these products?


Top Ways to Enjoy Luxury Family Travel on a Budget

Sunday, May 27, 2018


There is a common misconception that luxury and family travel doesn’t work unless you have a lot of money to spend. Although having deep pockets can help pay for some luxury destinations, there are also lots of ways to blend a slice of the high-life
with a family vacation. The key to fitting all this in your budget is planning. This preparation can help you grab a luxury destination at a fraction of the price if you know where to look. This doesn’t also just apply to flights and hotels; this could also
present opportunities to eat in the best restaurants and get access to attractions ahead of everyone else, with vouchers and offers specific to your vacation needs.

You can enjoy luxury breaks anywhere in the world, so take a look at some of the top ways to vacation for less this summer.

Research and compare everything

Getting the best deals do require some initial hard work but you’ll certainly reap the rewards once you find that perfect deal. There are heaps of options from luxury resorts or apartment rentals in destinations across the globe. For example, check out Viajacompara hoteles en Acapulco for beautiful sun-drenched holidays or if you have a destination in mind, narrow down your search for specific deals.

Try to vacation away from the main tourist spots

Selecting a location that is away from the main tourist hotspots will help you save money and offer you better quality accommodation for your budget. If you stay further out, you could also enjoy more space and take advantage of places with swimming pools, Jacuzzis and luxury leisure facilities for a fraction of the price of the main tourist traps.

Check for last-minute deals

If you’re looking for something spur of the moment, there is a host of last-minute deals to take advantage of. Flicking through these options may present a ton of luxury stays for the cost of a traditional getaway.

Consider all-inclusive

Weighing up the options of all-inclusive could mean you get to use the money budgeted for food and incidentals on upgrading your stay. With this option not only do you get food, drinks, and activities included on your break; you might be enjoying
life’s little luxuries in spectacular accommodation.

Ask for a freebie

Even if you have booked a traditional family vacation, there’s nothing wrong with asking for an upgrade. Most of the time you shouldn’t just expect this will happen, but on the off chance, some hotels or flights might be able to accommodate moving you
up a level. This is more likely to occur if you have booked middle of the range flights or accommodation and not opted for the budget choice in the hope of moving up to first class.

Luxury travel doesn’t have to mean jetting off to sunny climes, as there is a host of beautiful destinations closer to home that offer a slice of heaven for both parents and children. Researching and planning is the best way to get the most for your money and could give you that special break you all deserve.

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.

Hooray, It’s Friday! Last Day of School and Mama Jewelry

Friday, May 25, 2018


Time for another random Friday update!


Yesterday was the last day of school. Zachary finished 5th grade, which means he finished lower school and next year he’ll be in middle school. Same building, just upstairs. So his class had a “continuation” ceremony. I will be writing more about it soon. Simon finished 2nd grade and Gabbie finished seventh. Let’s see if they grew this year!

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I asked the kids their regular end of school interview questions:


What was your favorite part of school this year? Field trip to the Nelson. (it was this week, I guess he was thinking about it!)

What did you learn? Multiplication.

What are you looking forward to when you go back to school?  Seeing my friends.

What do you want to be when you grow up? A person that stays home like Mommy.


What was your favorite part of school this year? Everything. (He was looking at his phone and not really paying attention…)

What did you learn? A lot of stuff. (He copied that from Gabbie’s answer)

What are you looking forward to when you go back to school?  To get Chrome Books.

What do you want to be when you grow up? An engineer.


What was your favorite part of school this year? Art.

What did you learn? A lot of stuff.

What are you looking forward to when you go back to school? Getting my Chrome Book back and seeing my friends.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Teacher.


Just like last year, Dave’s birthday was on the last day of school. I got him a selection of mini sized whiskey.



I am loving this ring I got from Mama’s Jewelry! It is a birthstone ring representing each of my kids – April (Diamond), June (Alexandrite), and August (Peridot). Mama’s Jewelry has been designing rings and pendants for moms for 30 years. The company is committed to creating exceptional mothers pendants, rings and earrings at affordable prices.



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




Have a great weekend!


How to Plan the Perfect Holiday with Kids

Thursday, May 24, 2018


Despite being fraught with the additional responsibility of keeping children safe, happy and engaged while abroad, family vacations are one of the most genuinely rewarding parts of parenting. Whether jetting off for a week in the sun or getting abroad a cruise ship to sample many different destinations, the best way to ensure these trips are hassle-free is to plan every detail adequately. This includes both the holiday and the adjustments you’ll make for your children so that you’re never left regretting a lack of foresight. Here are some things to bear in mind while planning your next family vacation.

Destination and Route
If you’re a parent who was used to adventurous or ‘adult’ vacations in the past before you had children, you’ll need to adjust your expectations and planning specifications when there are little ones in the picture. This much you’ll know instinctively, although there is a chance you may still end up in a distant land as the sun is setting, without a hotel booked in a busy and confusing city,
with your children crying at your side. Ironing out any possibilities like this is an important step to planning a successful and memorable family vacation.

You may also want to think of new types of holiday in different types of destination then you used to visit as a young adult. Backpacking around India is simply too difficult to achieve with children in tow. Likewise, a tour of European castle towns might be exactly what you’re excited to do next time you fly off for a holiday. However, you’ll need to bear in mind that children will get bored and need some things in your holiday plan to keep them interested, whether that be a trip to a waterpark or simply the inclusion of some child-friendly activities.

What to Pack

Your children won’t be able to pack for themselves; you’ll need to make sure that all the stuff you take on your trip is packed in advance and with your children’s and family’s needs in mind. Often, this will mean no particular adjustments to your own packing regime, though you may find that your kids’ wardrobes are lacking in comfortable summer or holiday-type clothing. If this is the case, head over to Nickis to purchase some stylish kids’ clothing for their upcoming holiday, ensuring they’re going to be comfortable and photogenic while you travel.

Other than clothing, it’s a smart idea to pack some essentials that get frequently used at home, perhaps wet wipes, toilet roll, ketchup for fussy eaters, or night lights for kids’ sleeping. Also include some games or activities for your children to do in the inevitable downtimes in your trip, like waits in the airport or trips in buses or on trains that are boring and irritating for children. Pack a little more than you expect you’ll need, and make sure there’s enough to keep bored kids occupied.


Nearly all holidays require some form of a medical kit, whether it be just a few painkillers and plasters or something more substantial, but when children are in the picture, it’s best to pack a large assortment of emergency medical materials, and especially those that apply to children. For example, if you are heading to a sunny climate, ensure the correct sunscreen goes with you, and
one who will protect your little ones delicate skin too.

Medical kits vary from holiday to holiday but knowing your children and the risks associated with the country you’re visiting will dictate somewhat the contents of your pack. You may decide to take some anti-inflammatories if visiting a country with stinging or biting insects; anti-histamines for heavily-pollinated countries; or pills to help with dodgy tummies if you anticipate that your children might not take too kindly to the food.


As with any trip taken abroad, you will need passports for all travelers. Children’s passports go out of date faster than adult ones, and so it’s crucial that ahead of time you check the validity of your documents to avoid disasters just before you fly. That’s as well as sorting out some reliable and all- encompassing insurance to keep you and your family safe in the peace of mind that, in the worst of eventualities, you’ll be able to get medical support without breaking the bank.

Then there are visas to sort out, with photocopies of passports, visas, passport photos, and all other documentation stored reliably in a documents wallet to avoid any disastrous losses caused by theft or damage by rain. It’s no fun being all at sea when it comes to holidaying with children, a time when you’re meant to be showing your adult parenting prowess, so make sure you’re watertight on your documentation to avoid embarrassing and disruptive slip-ups.

Try New Things

Having children can open you up to a host of new experiences that you wouldn’t have really considered when you were a single young adult or even when you traveled with a partner or with friends. You may have once turned your nose up at heading to waterparks or theme parks, or to hit up lovely family-friendly hotels and child-friendly restaurants, but now that you have children, you might find that trying all these things actually comes as something of a pleasant surprise.

The best family holidays have the right balance of what the parents want to get out of it and what the children need to keep them entertained and engaged. There is simply no use taking young ones to see some 14th-century cathedrals or some Pacific island battlefields; you can’t expect them to be all that interested. However, if you research a place you’d like to visit, you’ll easily be
able to plan some adult excursions with child-friendly rewards dotted around them, so that the whole family tries new things and enjoys them, too.

Family holidays go off best when there’s little stress or disasters involved, from start to finish. Use these tips to plan your next unforgettable excursion with your children, making memories for the whole family to reminisce over.

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.

Simon’s Poetry Café


One of the highlights of second grade is the poetry unit. Throughout the year, the kids collect poems on a variety of topics and share them with the class. They learn to discuss what they like about the poems. They also write their own poetry. Last week, Simon’s class shared their original poetry with their families at the Poetry Café.

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The kids get two books to keep – one is an anthology of the poems the students wrote and the other is the collection of poems they shared with the class throughout the year.


The poem Simon wrote was called “Swimming” and was a haiku.

Splashing at the pool
On a burning summer day.
Water cools me down.

Simon and one of his friends | Gabbie also came to Poetry Café. Zachary might have come to but he was away on his class trip.

New this year was a recitation of poems about science, shared via computer. Simon is the 2nd from left in this photo.

Each child had a turn to read their poem. Then they chose an adult and a fellow student to say what they liked about their poem.


Later, Simon had a chance to say what he liked about another student’s poem.


As always, when Simon has a school event, I enjoy remembering his older siblings participating in the same event! Gabbie shared a poem about dance at her Poetry Café, and Zachary shared one about Chanukkah!

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2nd grade Gabbie and Zachary!