Not In Jersey: June 2018 June 2018 - Not In Jersey

Hooray, It’s Friday! Google Home and Swim

Friday, June 15, 2018


Time for another random Friday update!


Monday was one of the most hectic days I’ve had in awhile! My kids are in two different camp locations this summer. This week, Zachary was at one of them in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Simon was at that one all day, and Gabbie was there in the afternoon. Somehow it worked out that I never have to pick up two kids at the same time in different locations, but the schedule this week was busy! Especially Monday. I took Zachary to camp at 8 and then Simon to camp at 9. Then Gabbie had an orthodontist appointment. I picked up Zachary at 12 and brought him and Gabbie to their afternoon camp at 1. I picked up all 3 kids at 4 and brought Zachary straight to swim practice. Then Gabbie had dance at 5 and I had to pick up Zachary at 5, so I dropped Gabbie off at 4:45, picked up Zachary, and finally got to sit still for a bit! Gabbie got a ride home from dance! Phew.



This week we got a Google Home Mini from Wikibuy. The kids are really enjoying telling it to play music and asking it the weather. I like it, but it annoys me that I have to say Hey Google before everything, and it hasn’t let us set up Voice Match, so it doesn’t know the difference between us like it is supposed to. It seems like it’s some kind of Google Home issue. By the way, if you have every heard the saying “what does that have to do with the price of tea in China?” and you have a device with Siri, you should definitely ask it what’s the price of tea in China!


Zachary had his second swim meet this week. We are required to volunteer twice per season, and because I knew I had conflicts with the third and fourth meet, I signed up to volunteer at time trials and the 2nd meet (I didn’t do the first meet because I wanted to see how things went at time trials before I chose another shift and by the time time trials passed, the first meet shifts were full). At time trials they said they didn’t need me for the job I signed up for and yesterday I saw I didn’t get credit for it! I don’t think that’s fair because I signed up and was there, it wasn’t my fault that they didn’t credit me. So I sent an email and they gave me the credit. Phew. Anyway, at the 2nd meet I was a timer for two hours. It went pretty well. And Zachary swam four times – two in freestyle and two in back stroke.



Earlier this week on our nightly walk, we saw a beautiful sky post sunset. I didn’t have my camera with me but I couldn’t help taking cell phone photos – I usually don’t enjoy cell phone photos!


We also saw a deer dart across the street twice and narrowly miss getting hit by a car twice!


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


Have a great weekend!


Disney Favorites and Plans

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Disney Favorites and Plans

In light of our upcoming trip to Disney World, I thought today I would share a list of my Disney World favorite things. Instead of writing a bucket list like I did for our last trip, this is just a list of things we would like to do and hopefully will get to experience while we are there! Of course, some of these items were on my list from last time, because they are my favorites after all!

Disney Springs


I love starting off my trip with Disney Springs! I recently realized I haven’t been there since it updated during the day, so it should be fun to actually see it! While there, we will definitely be pin trading!

Disney Hollywood Studios

We did not go to DHS on our last trip. This time we will be there for half a day. We don’t have fast passes because the app only allowed us to have fast passes at one park and we have one later in the day for Epcot. These are the things I want to do at DHS:

Toy Story Mania
Muppets 3D
Tower of Terror – possibly just Dave and Zachary
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster – Single Rider Line


Possibly find Billy Joel’s handprint in front of the Chinese Theater



Epcot is a favorite all around. We will be going there in the evening and then the following day. It is where Gabbie is dancing. I was hoping to get on Test Track first thing, but I think we have to go straight to the dance show, so I’m not sure we will get to it. We have Fast Passes for Frozen, Soarin’, and Spaceship Earth. My favorites at Epcot include:

Photos in the Countries
Frozen Ride
Mexico Ride
Illuminations Show
The Land
The Seas With Nemo and Friends
Spaceship Earth


Photos by Epcot famous walls
Gabbie’s parade

Magic Kingdom


Obviously another favorite! We are spending a full day at MK followed by a second half day. We have Fast Passes for Seven Dwarves Mine Train, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Splash Mountain. Other plans include:

The new opening castle show
Space Mountain – possibly just Dave and Zachary
Buzz Lightyear Ride + Photo Recreation
Journey of the Little Mermaid
It’s A Small World
Mickey’s Philharmagic
Peter Pan
Winnie The Pooh
Haunted Mansion


Pirates of the Caribbean
Jungle Cruise
Tom Sawyer’s Island
Carousel of Progress
Zachary wants to go on the Main Street Vehicles


Castle pictures
Tomorrowland Wall pictures
Balloon pictures

Animal Kingdom

We have a half day saved for the Animal Kingdom. We have Fast Passes for Na’vi River Journey and Everest. We also want to go on the Safari and see the Lion King show.


Tree of Life photos
Flamingo photos

Boardwalk Area


We usually stay at the Swan or Dolphin hotels and enjoy exploring the Boardwalk and the Beach Club! We also like swimming in our hotel pool!

The last thing I always like to do is to look for Hidden Mickeys! Have I missed any favorites that you recommend?


A Guide to Moving Home When You Have Kids

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


Moving home is high on the list of most people’s least anticipated events that are a necessity, and it can be even more stressful and frustrating if you have little ones running around the house while you’re preparing to move.

Fortunately, there are ways to prepare for the big move that will take away at least some of the pain away, and get you into that new home with the family’s sanity full intact. Here are some top tips for moving with kids:

Prepare in Advance with Pre-Packing and Labeling

The big day doesn’t have to be 24 hours of last-minute craziness. If you prepare for the move weeks in advance, it can go fairly smoothly. Two ways to ensure that things go to plan is to pre- pack in the days, weeks and even months before the move, and label your boxes clearly and on multiple sides so that everything can be stored, moved and unpacked in the right way. It will save you so much time and effort, and give you more time to keep the little ones from getting bored and in your way.

Get Your Little Ones Involved

This depends on the age of your kids, as babies and toddlers are unlikely to be much help with packing. However, if your little ones can get involved in the move, it will get them engaged and prevent them from playing up on the day of the move, which can slow you down and get even the most tolerant of parents blowing smoke from their ears.

In the lead up to the move, ask the kids to start packing the clothes and toys they don’t use that much, and (if you can trust them not to leave a ‘Goodbye’ message on the wall) give them a bold pen and ask them to help with the labeling.

Hire a Professional Moving Company

Why not take the stress away from everybody and get a professional moving company quote? These companies can pack, move and unpack your entire home, and can even store some of your items in their facilities while you find your feet in your new home. This is particularly useful for long-distance moves, where family and friends aren’t able to help out with the little ones. If your children are very young, it will take a huge weight off your hands and allow you to concentrate on getting your family to the new home instead of worrying about the big move from your old one.

Call in Some Favors

Parents can be forgiven for making their home a children free zone during a stressful day such as the big move. With some breathing space from tantrums, potty breaks and everything in between, you can concentrate your efforts on getting from your old house to your new home with as little stress as possible. Call in those favors to Grandpa and Grandma and ask them to look after the little ones until you’re ready to introduce them to their new home.

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.

Summer Break Weeks 1 and 2


Around here, summer break officially starts with Memorial Day Weekend. However, I decided to hold off on posting a summer bucket list until just before the first day of summer, which is actually next week! I did know from the start of break that I did not want to make every day a huge activity and I wanted to work on just hanging out at home and at the pool as much as possible. With that in mind, our first two weeks of break were a little less adventure filled as our previous school breaks, but we still did some fun things!

1. We finally made it to a Royals game! I moderate our synagogue’s message group so when someone posted they were giving away free tickets, I was able to be the first to reply and claim them! We lost the game, but played well, and I always enjoy watching the Royals!


Thoughts On Bullying and 13 Reasons Why

Tuesday, June 12, 2018


Last week, Danielle shared the story of how she was bullied in high school for being too thin. Like many people, I too was bullied in middle school / high school. I am sure that if we had social media when I was a teenager, the bullying would have been much worse, as when you can hide behind a screen, you tend to become more brave. Although I sometimes wish we had phones and texting back then, I am glad the only way the bullies had to reach me was by calling my house and saying things about me while I listened.

I will admit I only watched part of the first season of 13 Reasons Why before it mad me too angry to continue. I did read the book though, and in part of my review, I wrote “I just did not find Hannah’s reasons for killing herself to be believable. She had many of the same problems as any average teen does (rumors spread about her, for example).” I also felt that the book depicted suicide as an appropriate escape from or solution to difficult issues. Suicide is not something that should be glorified or encouraged. One of the biggest problems I had with the book and the part of the show that I watched is that Hannah’s parents were not around and she did not seem to have adult support. She approached her school counselor, who did not help her.

The school counselor at the school my kids attend actually sent out multiple emails about the show 13 Reasons Why this year. She wrote “This is a fictional story based on a novel and is meant to be a cautionary tale, not a real-life depiction of what should happen when things get difficult. There are healthy ways to cope with the topics covered in the show; acting on suicidal thoughts is not one of them. Most individuals are able to go on to lead healthy, productive lives even when faced with adversity after reaching out to others and finding ways to cope. In spite of the show’s portrayal of a serious failure in treatment by parents and school personnel, this is not typical. Treatment works and there are many options of support for life challenges, distress and mental illness. If the sources of help you try are not effective, keep trying until you find the appropriate source of help.”

In the article 13 Reasons Why Discussion Guide, it says “While 13 Reasons Why portrayed a suicide death that already occurred, it’s important to know that suicide is known to be a tragic but often preventable health outcome. The vast majority of people who face the challenges portrayed in 13 Reasons Why find ways to be resilient.” The good thing about the TV series is that it is bringing up many issues that teens face and is a step in beginning communication about these issues.

I don’t really remember what ways I used to cope with bullying in my teenage years. I know my parents were supportive and one time that my bullies called me on the phone to taunt me, my father even yelled at them to leave me alone. Of course, this led to more teasing, but I appreciated him doing that for me. At the same time, I still have residual issues left over from these bullies. The person who treated me the worst had formerly been my closest friend. I think the way she treated me contributed to my difficulty forming close friendships for years afterwards. My self-esteem was effected as well.

I know that what I went through is much worse for many people, and I imagine 13 Reasons Why was trying to show some of the worst bullying that a teen can experience, but for me, the book (and the beginning of the show) fell short of really displaying that. Instead, it placed blame for a teen’s suicide on other teens who probably were bullied themselves. From what I read, it seems that maybe Season 2 of the show is addressing that issue.

Here are some of the sources that our school counselor shared with us:
13 Reasons Why Discussion Guide | Talk To Someone – Crisis Information | Tips For Parents For Talking to Their Children About 13 Reasons Why And Suicide

Were you ever bullied? Do you watch 13 Reasons Why?


10 Favorite Places to Travel

Monday, June 11, 2018


This month’s topic for 10 on the 10th with Simple Purposeful Living is 10 Favorite Places to Travel. You know we love traveling and we love exploring new places as well as returning to some old favorites.

1. Disney World


Obviously the first choice of a favorite! We have traveled to Disney many times since having kids (and Dave and I even went once without them!) and will be returning in just a few weeks! Our last visit was in December of 2016.
Magic Kingdom 1 | Magic Kingdom 2 | Epcot 1 | Epcot 2 | Epcot 3

2. South Florida


We like to go to Florida for winter break. My parents live there and Dave’s parents are there in the winter as well. We love the restaurants, the beaches, the weather, and seeing family!
Beaches | Alligators | Wynwood Walls

3. New Jersey


Since leaving NJ, we have been back many times to visit family. Last year, we spent almost all of June there. We love visiting our friends and family members that live there, as well as going to some of our favorite NJ places!
NJ Part 1 | NJ Part 2

4. New York City


Growing up, I never really enjoyed NYC, but now that we don’t live close, I kind of love going back to visit! There are a ton of awesome museums to visit, as well as plenty of stores and more to check out! I also went there by myself last year in May!
Chelsea & The High Line | The MOMA & More | Stores | Science Museums

5. Israel


We have family in Israel so we visit for special occasions, like my nephew’s bar mitzvah, which Dave and Zachary attended in April.  Prior to that, we all visited in August of 2015 for our nephew’s wedding. We were there for three weeks and visit many places!
Israel Posts

6. Caribbean


I love a good island beach trip! Preferably on a cruise! It’s been awhile, but we did a Disney cruise in January 2014. I’ve been to the following Caribbean Islands: Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Grand Cayman, Martinique, Puerto Rico, and St. Thomas.

7. Atlanta


My brother lives in Atlanta so we’ve been there a few times and it’s a really fun city!

8. Arizona

My grandmother lived in Arizona and I always loved visiting her there. I would love to get back there some day even though she is sadly no longer around.

9. Las Vegas

Such a fun city! I’ve been there a few times but the most recent time was for my cousin’s wedding. I want to go back!

10. Somewhere New!

I love visiting places I haven’t been yet, so I can’t really list them here! This summer, we’re hitting three new states – Montana, Idaho, and Utah!

Where are your favorite places to travel?



What I’ve Been Reading #178–The Widow’s Watcher

Friday, June 8, 2018


51WJ3awpuLL._SL250_I received a copy of The Widow’s Watcher by Eliza Maxwell from TLC Book Tours in exchange for my review. Although the characters in this book had each been through a tragedy, their subsequent relationship with one another was heart warming. Surprisingly, the main relationship in the story is not romantic, but rather a father-daughter type relationship.

“Living in the shadow of a decades-old crime that stole his children from him, reclusive Lars Jorgensen is an unlikely savior. But when a stranger walks onto the ice of a frozen Minnesota lake, her intentions are brutally clear, and the old man isn’t about to let her follow through. Jenna Shaw didn’t ask for Lars’s help, nor does she want it. After he pulls her from the brink, however, Jenna finds her desire to give up challenged by their unlikely friendship. In Jenna, Lars recognizes his last chance for redemption. And in her quest to solve the mysteries of Lars’s past and bring him closure, Jenna may find the way out of her own darkness. But the truth that waits threatens to shatter it all. When secrets are surrendered and lies are laid bare, Jenna and Lars may find that accepting the past isn’t their greatest challenge. Can they afford the heartbreaking price of forgiveness?”

I found Jenna’s infiltration into Lars’s life a little surprising in that she is not part of his family but somehow becomes enmeshed with them so much that she is the one who uncovers the mystery Lars has been living with for years. The family members seem to accept her without question, while I would have expected more suspicion at her sudden appearance. However, her presence does provide the answers and the healing that the family obviously needed.

I did not guess the twists or the answers in this book and I’m not sure if that was due to lack of hinting or lack of paying attention on my part. The reveal did make sense and offered the characters healing which was hopeful and uplifting to read. The unique plot made me wonder what I would do in the characters’ situations and kept me reading this book quickly.

Do you think you would like this book? Just let me know in the comments and I will enter you to win a copy!


How Well Do You Know Your Brother? Zachary is 11!

Thursday, June 7, 2018


It’s time for another round of How Well Do You Know Your Sibling, this time featuring Zachary, in honor of his birthday today! First up, we will hear from Zachary’s siblings, and then we will hear his answers so we can see how well Simon and Gabbie know him. Zachary felt that since he is 11 now, he should have 11 questions about him. So he made up the 11th question himself.

Simon’s Answers

[June 2017]

1. What does Zachary eat for breakfast every morning?

French Toast Crunch, yeah.

2. If it was Zachary’s turn to choose a game for family game night, what would he choose?

What’s it called? Can I go see it? Ticket To Ride.

3. What does Zachary like to talk about?

Cars, Teslas.

[July 2017]

4. What is Zachary’s favorite food?

Pizza. I think so.

5. What is Zachary’s favorite color?


6. What is his favorite animal?


[August 2017]

7. If Zachary could travel somewhere, where would he go?

Switzerland, no he already did that. The world of doggies.

8. What does Zachary like to play with you?

Legos, I guess.

9. What is something Zachary is good at?

He’s good at watching YouTube for 8 hours or more.

[September 2017]

10. What would you get Zachary for his birthday with any amount of money?

A chicken. No, an iPhone X.

11. What was Zachary’s favorite thing he did in his whole life?

Be born.

Gabbie’s Answers

[October 2017]

1. What does Zachary eat for breakfast every morning?

French Toast Crunch and half a cream cheese sandwich.

2. If it was Zachary’s turn to choose a game for family game night, what would he choose?

Ticket To Ride.

3. What does Zachary like to talk about?


[November 2017]

4. What is Zachary’s favorite food?

Grilled Cheese.

5. What is Zachary’s favorite color?


6. What is his favorite animal?


[December 2017]

7. If Zachary could travel somewhere, where would he go?

Anywhere outside the country.

8. What does Zachary like to do with you?

Nothing, he likes to watch YouTube on the couch.

9. What is something Zachary is good at?

Reciting facts.

[January 2018]

10. What would you get Zachary for his birthday with any amount of money?

A gift card so he can get what he wants. Or a Tesla.

11. What was Zachary’s favorite thing he did in his whole life?

Going to Israel with Daddy.

Zachary’s Answers

[February 2018]

1. What do you eat for breakfast every morning?

I eat French Toast Crunch with a cream cheese sandwich.

2. If it was your turn to choose a game for family game night, what would you choose?

Ticket to Ride.

3. What do you like to talk about?


[March 2018]

4. What is your favorite food?

Daddy’s famous mac and cheese.

5. What is your favorite color?


6. What is your favorite animal?


[April 2018]

7. If you could travel somewhere, where would you go?

A trip across the whole world, every single country.

8. What do you like to play or do with Simon and Gabbie?

Nintendo Switch.

9. What is something you are good at?


[May 2018]

10. What would you get for your birthday with any amount of money?

A Tesla.

11. What was your favorite thing you did in your whole life?

Every time I went to a country that’s not the U.S.

Happy Birthday Zachary!