Not In Jersey: September 2018 September 2018 - Not In Jersey

Top Five Things I Love About Goldfish Swim School

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Top Five Things I Love About Goldfish Swim School

I am partnering with Goldfish Swim School for this post. All opinions are my own.

After another month of lessons, we are still loving Goldfish Swim School! Here are some reasons why.

The Staff

At the beginning of the school year, we changed Simon’s lesson time by a half an hour. He was sad to leave his former instructor, who he really liked, but his new instructor is great too! Plus, if there is a time when his instructor isn’t there, or we do a make-up class, the staff has notes about each child and what he or she is working on. This way the continuity is not effected.



Switching Simon’s swim time to a half hour later was as easy as could be. We are allowed 12 make-up classes per year and so far we have used 2! This past Wednesday was Yom Kippur, so we couldn’t attend our regular Wednesday class. The same class is offered multiple times per week which makes it easy for everyone to schedule when they need and we rescheduled our class for Thursday with no problem.

Fun Events

Besides regular swim lessons, there are social events at our school. While many are on Saturdays which we cannot attend, there was one on a Sunday. Simon was so excited to bring Zachary to swim in the pool with him and to meet his instructors!


Parent Viewing Area

Although Simon is no longer looking for my approval after every time he takes a turn, I think he is still comforted that I am nearby when he is swimming. I also really like watching his lessons! It is also fun to watch the kids at different levels, from the cute toddlers to the expert swimmers learning their strokes!



Simon is still loving picking out a prize from the basket every week! Each week the prizes are different and it gives him something to look forward to after his lessons!


Simon is still doing well with his lessons. This week, his teacher said he is doing much better with his back float. He is still working on turning over from his belly to back, which seems like a difficult move to me!


Isn’t he the cutest little swimmer ever?


A Checklist for Family Wellness

Friday, September 21, 2018


When it comes to taking care of the health of your whole family, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by how big the task presents itself to be. However, it doesn’t need to be as difficult as you may initially think it is, as a lot of what you need to do is common sense once you are pointed in the right direction. To help you and your family out, this quick guide will walk you through some of the easy ways you can look out for your family’s health in all the right ways, so that you are all able to get on enjoying your life together.

Getting to the doctors

The first and most simple way you can make sure the health of your family is safeguarded, especially your children’s health, is by ensuring you go to the doctors and keep up to date with all the shots and vaccines they might need. For example, with winter fast approaching, making sure you all get the flu shot is an essential thing to do as it will prevent you all from being incapacitated and passing on the illness to others.

While it might not be something you considered, another way of looking out for the health of your family is by being vigilant for cases of medical negligence when you do visit the doctors or the hospital. Should you find that either yourself or a child have been given misinformation or insufficient treatment, it is important that you visit to gain advice about how to proceed to lodge a complaint and to get compensation for any negative side effects caused.

The importance of family dinner

Another way you can make sure you and your family are in tip-top condition is to look up healthy recipes for family dinners. Given dinner is the main, big meal of the day, where you can all catch up about the happenings of work and school together, it is also the perfect time to try and get everyone to eat their five pieces of fruit and veg a day. By looking up dinner ideas that use lots of different vegetables, you will ensure your family is getting all the right vitamins and nutrients they need to maintain high energy levels throughout the day while also being able to have a strong immune system in the long term. A basic rule to follow, if
you are stuck, is that the more naturally colorful a meal is, the healthier it will be.

Staying active

A final point to make is all about fitness. Physical activity is essential for staying in shape and having a healthy sleep cycle. It can be difficult to motivate yourself to exercise if it is only you doing it but by finding some family fitness ideas you can all participate in, the task of getting healthy will start to become fun. Something as simple and playing a game of catch or tag can help raise your heart rates and get fit together.

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.

Fall Bucket List


Well, it’s fall…according to the calendar anyway! It is still in the 80s or 90s here, so it definitely doesn’t feel like fall outside, and who knows when the leaves will begin to change. I have a theory that since it was still freezing out in April, it will probably still be super hot until the end of November. I had some trouble coming up with a Fall Bucket List this year because I felt like I was repeating the same things I say we want to do every year! Also, my kids have been less than cooperative with some of the things we do yearly, like apple picking. I hope they still want to go to the pumpkin patch!

This month’s Girl Chat topic with some of my favorite bloggers is Fall Buckets Lists, and since I’m posting a day late, I was able to get some inspiration from some of the bloggers who shared their posts yesterday – so thanks!


Fall Bucket List

Family Bike Ride
Annual Pumpkin Patch Pictures
Get Pumpkins For the Porch
Wear Scarves and Boots
Walk Around The Lake
Hot Chocolate Treat
Light A Fall Candle
Add Taco Soup Back into Dinner Rotation
Knit More
Celebrate My Birthday
Look For a New Door Mat
Go to WaterFire Festival
Bring Back Family Game Night

I set out our fall décor last week, so I have to share it here!


By the way, we completed everything on our Summer Fun List except for visiting the Steamboat Arabia Museum. I guess that will be something we have to remember we wanted to do the next time we get bored! What’s on your Fall Bucket List?

Also linking up with:
Fall Goals Link Up | Autumn Bucket List



Yellowstone National Park Day 1

Thursday, September 20, 2018


After our afternoon, evening, and overnight in Cody, WY, we set off to visit Yellowstone National Park. We planned to spend two days in the park and since the road through the park is approximately a figure eight, we would be doing the east side on the first day and the west side on the second, spending the night in West Yellowstone in Montana.

We entered at the East Entrance, followed the road into the center and then around the loop going north and then west, and exited at the West Entrance.

We got the boys Yellowstone shirts the previous day and they wanted to wear them in the park!

We stopped in various places along the way to snap photos and take in the landscape! There are a lot of different types of land features in Yellowstone, including rivers, canyons, forests, springs, and geysers.

Tips on Caring for an Elderly Relative in Their Home

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


A care home isn’t always the best choice for a relative. Often, your relative will want to stay in their own home as long as possible and receive care, which is a kinder option. If you have an elderly relative, whether it’s your mom, dad, or grandparents, who can no longer care for themselves adequately, learning what home care entails can be important. It can make a big
difference to both their lives and yours, especially in their twilight years. If you think that caring for them in their own home is the best option, here are some tips to help you. It’s important to note that it’s not going to be the easiest of tasks you’ve undertaken, and the road ahead may well be a rocky one. However, there are also plenty of aspects that will be
very rewarding.

Ensure Their Home is a Safe Place to Be

If your relative has decided they want to stay in their own home, you may need to make some changes. The first thing to do is to make sure you remove any clutter that will have gathered over the years. Also, get rid of any unnecessary furniture so that they can move around their home freely. This is important if they are going to be using walking aids and mobility devices. Consider installing grab bars near the toilet and shower and make sure there is a rail going up the stairs as mobility aids. Cables and wires should be tucked away to prevent them being a trip hazard.

Consider Hiring Someone

With working and caring for your family, unfortunately, it may not always be possible for you to visit them in their home. You could live a long distance away, for example, or work unsuitable hours. Whatever the reason, a way to get around the problem is to hire a
professional carer. There will be several agencies in your area you can look for help. You may only need an occasional companion to start with, but as your loved one gets older, they may require more care.

Make Sure They Get Regular Exercise

Research has shown that older people who exercise regularly can stave off a number of diseases. They also function the same as a person 10 to 15 years younger. When a person gets older, it can be easy to slip into long periods of inactivity, but even people using walking aids or mobility devices can enjoy light exercise. As well as regular walks, yoga and meditation are good forms of exercise for seniors. Don’t forget - a healthy, balanced diet is also important.

Talk About Finances

Talking about money issues is not always easy, especially if it’s your parents that are in need of care. It’s important to have discussions about money and help them avoid any financial stress. Be open with them, ask for their advice and look for ways that will work well for both of you. They may be happy to sign their financial affairs over to you. However, they may want to retain control of it themselves. It’s a fine balancing act, but if you talk about it, you’ll be able to reach a compromise.

The most important thing to remember is that the best way to care for an elderly parent or senior is by being there for them when they need you.

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.

Tick Tock Escape Games Review and Giveaway


When some people think of escape rooms, they think that they are actually locked in a room from which they will have to escape. Maybe they even envision themselves being tied to their friends, handcuffed, or blindfolded. That is not what happens in an escape room at all – at least not the ones at Tick Tock Escape Games here in Overland Park, KS! Instead, the idea is to work together to solve puzzles, decipher codes, and unlock locks which will reveal more clues, which lead to more puzzles, locks, etc. until you solve the last puzzle and escape the room.


At Tick Tock Escape Rooms, the rooms have missions to complete. I was recently given the opportunity to invite my friends and take part in the Central Intelligence Escape Room. The story behind this room is that a top level CIA field office has been compromised and your team has been selected to investigate and complete the top-secret mission. My friends and I thought the room was well-done, entertaining, and very high tech. When we solved puzzles and entered codes, there were technological results, such as drawers opening automatically and other revealed secrets. I later realized that the other two escape rooms at Tick Tock – Beasley’s Billions and Pyramid Paradox – are even more high tech and filled with exciting features.

Last week, I got together a group of 5 couples including Dave and myself and we worked together to solve the Central Intelligence room. About half of us had done escape rooms before. My number one tip for escape rooms is to look at everything! If you find seemingly random objects around, collect them because they may be useful later. Of course, if you’re like me, you might go a little too far at thinking that things are important – some things may really just be there to mislead you!

My group of friends all knew each other well, but an escape game is a great way to bond with others. You will find that you will split off into groups to work on various problems. It is fun to switch off who you are working with at different times during the game. The best part of having a large group play the game together is that various people have various skills. For example, some people are good with seeing scrambled words clearly, others are good at math, etc.


One very cool thing about Tick Tock Escape Games is that two of their rooms are duplicated, so if you have a large group, you can split in half and race against each other to solve the rooms! Dual room races would be a great opportunity for team building, birthday parties, men versus women, older family members versus younger, and much more. These games are also family friendly – Tick Tock can even make games easier when the room is being played by a group of kids – how fun is that?


After our game – which by the way, we finished with 2 minutes and 15 seconds to spare – we spent some time talking to the creator of the game we played. He was so proud of his creation, and was happy to spend time answering some of our questions about how things worked. He designed and built the room as well as the app that he uses to control it. The company itself is family owned and not a franchise and the rooms were designed and developed in the Kansas City metro area using local resources.

You know I love to take pictures, but you can’t take pictures inside escape rooms due to spoilers! If you want to see the room yourself, you can book directly at their site, by calling (913) 396-9144, or you can enter to win the giveaway below!


Then you can look just as happy and proud of yourselves as we did here! My friends all had a great time and I heard such comments as: “It was awesome!”, “We had a blast!”, “We had tons of fun!”, and “It was so much fun!” The giveaway will give you an Escape Game experience for 8 which must be used by Nov 18th, 2018.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

One more thing: if you win the giveaway, will you take me with you?


Facts and Fiction from National Geographic Kids

Monday, September 17, 2018

Facts and Fiction from National Geographic Kids

I received this product for free from Moms Meet to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

Did you know:

1. Whistling or saying the word “pig” on a ship is believed to bring bad weather.

2. Pointing a laser beam at an airplane or helicopter is illegal. The beam can reach all the way to the aircraft and make it hard for the pilot to see.

3. Stone carvings of jaguars that date back 500 or more years have been discovered in Mexico.

These three facts are just a sampling of what you can learn about in the National Geographic Kids Almanac 2019! The most popular kids almanac on the planet, some of its features include Cool Things for 2019 on various themes from the 19 cutest animals to 19 amazing facts about Vikings and more.

This almanac is filled with all kinds of facts about everything and is perfect for Zachary, who is a self-proclaimed lover of facts!


We have been a fan of National Geographic Kids books for many years now and this almanac is a new favorite, with its bright and engaging photos and text written in varying colors and heights to keep interest.


The contents include Your World 2019, Amazing Animals, Science and Technology, Going Green, Culture Connection, Space and Earth, Fun and Games, Awesome Exploration, Wonders of Nature, History Happens, and Geography Rocks. Each of these sections includes articles and information about a large variety of subjects. There are also quizzes, instructions for projects like making your own lava lamp, sections on how to research and write essays, and even a section of games and jokes.

For more information about the almanac and to enter an art contest with a chance to win $500 to host a lion conservation party, visit the almanac site!


If you thought National Geographic was only all about facts, you might be surprised that they have published the first book in their new Explorer Academy middle-grade fiction book series – The Nebula Secret. One minute 12-year-old Cruz Coronado is an ordinary kid, and the next he’s among a select group of students at the coolest school on the planet—a ship that travels the world! A fact-based fiction book inspired by the real adventures of National Geographic explorers, this book contains not only a story that encourages observation, reasoning, and problem-solving, but also features code-breaking and puzzles within the story. As well, the book features a Truth Behind the Fiction section that profiles the real-life explorers and their work. These books feature diverse kids from around the globe. I know Zachary is looking forward to reading it!

Want to read an excerpt and play a code-breaking games? Visit!

To celebrate the launch of Explorer Academy, one lucky family will experience a spectacular ship-based expedition, just like the students at Explorer Academy. The grand prize is a family trip for four to Alaska’s Inside Passage from National Geographic Expeditions. Enter the sweepstakes at!

For more information on these and other National Geographic Kids books visit:
site | facebook | twitter

And look for these books wherever books are sold!

Do your kids love facts? How about learning about exploration through fiction?


Little Letters

Friday, September 14, 2018

Today I normally would have written a random Friday post, but for some reason I don’t have a lot of random things to share this week. It just so happens that the 2nd Friday of the month is the Little Letters Link Up with Taz and Belly, so I figured I’d join in for the first time.


Dear Weather: 70 degrees is good, 80 is really too hot at this point. Maybe we can try 60 degrees someday soon?

Dear Fall Shows: I’m so excited for some new TV to watch. Both A Million Little Things and Manifest look really good and I also want to check out FBI and New Amsterdam.

Dear Internet: Why must you run so slowly? I don’t understand.

Dear Former Blogger Friends: Just because you stopped blogging doesn’t mean we can’t stay friends and follow each other on Instagram…or does it? I was hurt that you unfollowed me, but if that’s how you feel, I’m happy to return the favor.

Dear Nephew: Please stop reposting my Instagram photos to our family WhatsApp group. If I wanted to post them there, I would!

Dear Middle Child: I know it wasn’t easy, but you didn’t need to make it so hard for me to be away last for a few days. The constant texts asking me to come home were almost amusing!

Dear Camera: Sometimes I wonder why I try, phone pictures can be good too.

Dear Weekend: Hope you’re a good one!


Cody, WY–Glamping and Rodeo

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Cody, WY–Glamping and Rodeo

This August, we took a family road trip to Yellowstone National Park. We set out on a Saturday night, stayed over in Lincoln, NE, continued driving on Sunday and stayed that night in Casper, WY, and finally arrived in Cody, WY on Monday. Cody is the closest city in WY on the east side of Yellowstone.

As we got close, our driving views looked like this:


We stayed at the Cody Wyoming Trout Ranch, where we got to camp out in tipis – it was glamping and so much fun!

An Evening At The Farm

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


This summer, I tried to spend time one on one with each of my kids. The number one thing that Simon wanted to do was to go fishing at the farm. The one night that they had free fishing, we went but there was lightning in the area and they had to close down. All summer I kept promising him we would go, and when we finally did, we found out that the fishing isn’t open in the evenings (I guess only on the free fishing nights!). Luckily, Simon wasn’t upset for too long and we enjoyed an evening at the farm together.


Baby ducks! I love them!


Hey Mr. Pig, you are supposed to drink your water, not stand in it!


Want to find out if Simon ever got to go fishing this summer? Come back tomorrow!