Not In Jersey: July 2018 July 2018 - Not In Jersey

Local Adventures In Camps and Learning–Local Tourist Link Up

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Local Adventures In Camps and Learning

It’s the last day of the month so that means it’s time to share our local tourist adventures! This month was all about local camps. While Gabbie and Zachary have both gone to sleepaway camp in the past, this year everyone stayed home and went to local camps through our neighborhood school system and through the local community college. Here are some of the awesome adventures they’ve had this month.


Zachary took a class on aeronautics that culminated with a trip to the indoor skydiving location, iFly. Parents were invited to watch the kids so of course I was there to take pictures! Zachary loved it!


It’s not so cheap to just go to iFly as an activity, so it was great that Zachary got to do so with camp.

Mural Making

Gabbie’s class at the community college was all about murals. I had in my imagination that they would head out to a local wall and paint on it, but instead they designed an art piece that is now hanging in the college hallway. Gabbie’s piece was the recycling sign and the pink ombre painting above it.


Inexpensive Day Trips

Simon also goes to a camp where they take local day trips, and one can get a lot of ideas for local adventures from the trips they take. Some of the places they visited included: The Berry Patch, Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, Scheel’s, Cabela’s, the Johnson County Museum, and Mahaffie Farm. On days without trips, they swim!

Goldfish Swim School

Speaking of swimming, Simon started lessons at our new Goldfish Swim School. I was so excited that they opened here after reading all of Danielle’s posts about her kids’ swim lessons at their local school! I love that although Simon is pretty much a beginner swimmer, he is in a class with kids his own age. I remember when I was a late swimmer, I was put in a class with preschoolers! Simon enjoys his lessons too.


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!


Do you ever feel jealous of all the fun things your kids get to do in camp? I do!


Unique Vacation Souvenir From Canvas Champ

Monday, July 30, 2018

Unique Vacation Souvenir From Canvas Champ

Whenever I travel, I find myself drawn to overpriced souvenir shops wondering what I should purchase with which to remember my trip. However, I have found that my photos are my best trip memories, and when Canvas Champ contacted me about reviewing one of their custom photo gifts, I knew I wanted to order something to commemorate our Disney trip. While of course Canvas Champ sells canvases, they also offer unique items such as wood and metal prints, photo calendars, photo books, photo mugs, and photo pillows.

I decided to use this photo that I took in the Magic Kingdom and had it printed on a 12x12 square pillow.


The pillows offered by Canvas Champ range from 12x12 to 26x26 in size, and you can also get a rectangle shaped pillow. The prices are reasonable as well, ranging from $11.45-$39.99 for the square pillows. It was easy for me to design my pillow by uploading my photo from my computer. I could have also done so using my phone. You can add photos to your creation from your phone, computer, Facebook, Instagram, or Google Photos. I chose black for my reverse side and did not add text, but text and a variety of color options are available. The pillows come with a removable cover that can zip on and off for easy cleaning as well.


I think my pillow will live on our living room couch, at least until one of my kids decides to steal it for themselves!

Want a personalized vacation souvenir? Or just a great photo of your family on a pillow or canvas? You can use the code PILLOW10 and Create Your Own Photo Pillow from CanvasChamp!

I received this product in exchange for my review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.


What I’ve Been Reading #183

Friday, July 27, 2018


51BZYGWUzdL._SL250_Our book group pick for this month was The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman. For some reason I wasn’t sure I would like this pick, but I ended up enjoying the book a lot. The book traces two brothers’ families from the time they are just married until their children grow up and the brothers are old.

“Brooklyn, 1947: In the midst of a blizzard, in a two-family brownstone, two babies are born, minutes apart. The mothers are sisters by marriage: dutiful, quiet Rose, who wants nothing more than to please her difficult husband; and warm, generous Helen, the exhausted mother of four rambunctious boys who seem to need her less and less each day. Raising their families side by side, supporting one another, Rose and Helen share an impenetrable bond forged before and during that dramatic winter night. When the storm passes, life seems to return to normal; but as the years progress, small cracks start to appear and the once deep friendship between the two women begins to unravel. No one knows why, and no one can stop it. One misguided choice; one moment of tragedy. Heartbreak wars with happiness and almost, but not quite, wins.”

The secret between the two sister-in-laws is quite obvious, and my book group wondered if the reader was meant to guess the reveal so early before it was told in the book. We concluded that it must have been written so obviously on purpose, because otherwise it would have been too predictable! The funny thing was that it was so obvious, we second-guessed ourselves and thought maybe there was an even bigger twist hidden in the book! Even with this plot point being predictable, the book was more character driven with the interactions between the various family members being the interesting and engaging part of the book.

51QMqLzvckL._SL250_I received a copy of How To Keep A Secret by Sarah Morgan from Harlequin Publishing in exchange for posting a photo on Instagram. I was really excited about this book because I have read Sarah Morgan’s romance books and really enjoyed them. This is her first women’s fiction novel and I have to say she did a great job with it!

“When three generations of women are brought together by crisis, they learn over the course of one hot summer the power of family to support, nourish and surprise.
Lauren has the perfect life…if she ignores the fact it’s a fragile house of cards, and that her daughter Mack has just had a teenage personality transplant.
Jenna is desperate to start a family with her husband, but it’s… Just. Not. Happening. Her heart is breaking, but she’s determined to keep her trademark smile on her face.
Nancy knows she hasn’t been the best mother, but how can she ever tell Lauren and Jenna the reason why?
Then life changes in an instant, and Lauren, Mack, Jenna and Nancy are thrown together for a summer on Martha’s Vineyard. Somehow, these very different women must relearn how to be a family. And while unraveling their secrets might be their biggest challenge, the rewards could be infinite…”

Although the description says the book takes place over one summer, it actually takes place starting in January and leading up to the summer. During that time, the women in this family become closer to each other and improve themselves. The secrets between them start to come out from the beginning and they find that the more they share, the easier it is for them to get along.

What have you been reading lately?


4 Ways To Boost Your Income

Thursday, July 26, 2018


Life has a way of becoming more and more expensive, especially when we have children to take care and provide for. So if there is a way (or more than one way) to boost our income, it’s tempting to think it can solve all of our problems. That isn’t always the case if we rush and pick the first seemingly simple way of earning money, but searching out the income boost that will work for you will help immensely. Here are four ideas to help you on your way:

Take A Second Job

Taking on a second job is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of making more money. It can be an excellent idea, but it comes at a price; you will lose family time. You need to weigh up and the pros and cons of a second job and determine whether it is right for you. It will depend on the age of your children, for example, and the availability of childcare. If you will have to pay someone to watch the children, will you be earning enough to make a difference?

Jobs that you could think about include driving for a company such as Uber or Lyft, taking in other people’s ironing, or even starting your own business. What you choose to do will all depend on where your skills lie.

Get Paid For Being Online

Although you won’t make millions using this method, being paid to be online can be a way to bring in a little extra money. You will need to download and install software that can track what you are doing, so you will have to be comfortable with that before you start. You can also be paid to carry out online surveys. Sometimes payment will be in cash, and sometimes it will be in the form of coupons or cashback on your shopping. It can be a great, quick way to get your groceries at least partly paid for, for example.

Make Investments

Investing is a long-term financial solution, so don’t expect to put your money into the markets one day and make a profit the next. However, if you do have ‘spare money’ that you can invest, and you choose the right place to invest it, you can make a good amount of money when you are ready to cash out. There are many different types of investment including real estate, stocks and shares, and other people’s businesses. It’s a good idea to use a financial advisor or robo-advisor to gain the most insight into the markets before you invest. If you opt the for the latter, make sure you read reviews first. There are Ellevest reviews here, for
example, as you need to ensure you truly are getting the best advice.

Sell Your Items

By selling items that you no longer want or need, you can make a good additional income. You can sell using online auction sites such as eBay, or you can place ads online or in the local newspaper. You could even arrange a garage sale if you have a lot of items to sell at one time. It is important to price these items correctly, and not be too expensive (because no one will buy) or too cheap (because you won’t make much money).

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.

Hollywood Studios Morning

Hollywood Studios Morning

On our first morning in Disney World, we were up early and on our way to Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

We were lucky enough to be in Disney World with Gabbie’s dance school. The trip was through a program called Dance The World and 14 girls from the school were there with us (there were supposed to be 15 but one got sick – so sad!). Two of the girls and their families are good friends of ours so when I mention our friends, that’s who I’m referring to!

Through our Dance The World package, we had four-day Park Hopper passes, which I’ve never had before. It was convenient to be able to go to two parks in one day! On our first day, Gabbie had dance practice in the middle of the day, so we planned to go to Hollywood Studios in the morning, take a mid-afternoon break while she went to her practice, and head over to Epcot in the evening.


One of the best things about the Swan and Dolphin Hotels is the location! It is about midway between Hollywood Studios and Epcot and it is walkable to both. There are also boats to both, but the boat to Hollywood Studios was closed when we were there and there was a bus instead. We opted to walk over. The Swan and Dolphin are only sort of Disney hotels – you get a lot of the benefits of staying on site, but you don’t get Magic Bands. I purchased bands for the kids and that was a good decision because that way I didn’t have to juggle their park tickets and Dave and I just had to hold on to our own!


We got to the Studios before the park had opened, but they let people in up to certain points so you don’t have to contend with the rush to the rides from the entrance, but rather you wait at your designated spot for the ride you are headed to. We did not have any Fast Passes because I made a Fast Pass reservation for Epcot in the evening and the program wouldn’t let me make advance Fast Passes for multiple parks on the same day.


Our first stop was Toy Story Midway Mania, one of our favorites. We were there about a week before the new Toy Story Land opened. They had been working on the line for Toy Story Mania but luckily the ride was open when we were there! They had us lining up mostly outside the building instead of on the inside, but the line moved quickly.


We passed this area while in line:




Whenever possible, Zachary liked to ride alone. Gabbie and Simon rode together on this one and I rode with Dave. I beat him!


Next, we checked our app and saw that the Tower of Terror only had a 20 minute wait. Zachary really wanted to go on it but Gabbie and Simon didn’t. For some reason I forgot that I don’t like the ride and I decided I should go on it with Dave and Zachary. Gabbie and Simon waited outside.


When the ride ended, Zachary said “that was awesome!” and I said “I’m going to barf.” What I should have done was get in the single rider line for Rockin’ Roller Coaster while Dave and Zachary went on Tower of Terror, but it’s ok because that’s what I did next while Dave took the kids back to Toy Story Mania and they rode it again in the same amount of time it took me to get through the single rider line.


When I came out of Rockin’ Roller Coaster it was starting to rain and it felt so nice! The weather was so hot and humid! I met Dave and the kids at Starbucks and we stayed in there for a little while as we waited for the rain to slow down again. We were heading for Muppet Vision 3D but somehow decided to wander into the Frozen Sing-Along show. It was cheesy. We saw our friends in there and it was fun to run into them!


After that we continued on to the Muppets. I’m a huge Muppets fan and this is a must-do for me! We must have gotten there just as the previous show started so we were waiting for a little while and I got to check out some of the fun decorations in the waiting area.


Inside the show:


We didn’t have much time in the Muppets store because we needed to get back to the hotel!


From there, we left the park and hopped a bus back to the hotel so Gabbie could get ready and head off to her dance practice. We ate lunch in our room and we felt like we were rushing but there were others in the group who were waiting for buses at other parks that got there much later than us!


So, if you’re keeping track, we were at Hollywood Studios from 9 AM – 1 PM and rode Toy Story Mania (all of us), Tower of Terror (me, Dave, Zachary), Toy Story Mania (Dave, Gabbie, Zachary, Simon), and Rockin’ Roller Coaster (me), and watched the Frozen Sing-Along and Muppet Vision 3D! We were actually completely done there and would not have been able to spend a whole day there. It might be different now that there are two more rides in Toy Story Land, but it definitely wasn’t a full day park for us!

There was still more of the day after Gabbie’s practice, so come back next week to find out what we did that evening!