Passports with Purpose: Win a stay at one of 180 U.S. campgrounds with Thousand Trails

Jersey Kids likes to do its part helping others, which is why we’ve been participating the past few years with Passports With Purpose. This blogger-run (and all volunteer) fundraiser chooses a new organization and project every year to raise much-needed funds for great projects.

For every $10 donation, you get the chance to win a prize and these Kenyans can get access to e-readers. It's win-win! Photo courtesy of Worldreader.
For every $10 donation, you get the chance to win a prize and these Kenyans can get access to e-readers. It’s win-win! Photo courtesy of Worldreader.

This year we’re working with Worldreader, and we’ll be raising funds to bring digital readers (like Kindles) to five libraries in Kenya. Each library will get about 50 e-readers each, providing 6,250 children, teachers and parents with access to more than 50,000 books. The books will be in Swahili and English, with fiction and nonfiction books.The Worldreader program trains the librarians, and also provides field-tested solar chargers to keep the e-readers charged if electricity is scarce. This one speaks to me because I love reading, and so does my son. I can’t imagine not having access to books.

PWP MountDesertNarrows_ME_Tent
Not a bad place to spend a week with the family! Take a vacation at one of 180 Thousand Trails and Encore RV Resort campgrounds this year. Photo courtesy of Thousand Trails.

So you’re probably dying to know who is providing an amazing prize for this fundraiser, and what you can win. You probably got a hint from the photo above. The answer is:

Thousand Trails Campgrounds and Encore RV Resorts, who is giving away a week’s stay at any of Thousand Trails Campgrounds and Encore RV Resorts’ 180 campgrounds across the country. You get to pick!  Continue reading “Passports with Purpose: Win a stay at one of 180 U.S. campgrounds with Thousand Trails”

Shopping at H Mart in Edison New Jersey

When I go to a foreign country, I make plans to visit a grocery store. I love seeing all the different products, since it tells you a lot about their culture (like what they eat). So on my recent trip to the Korean Island Spa in Edison, I checked out HMart, which is in the same strip shopping center. It’s a huge Asian grocery store. I’ll share some of my findings.


In addition to the grocery section, they have a mini-mall indoors, with a vendors selling Gangnam style socks (above), as well as make-up, household items, kids’ fun accessories and a dessert shop. Continue reading “Shopping at H Mart in Edison New Jersey”

Review: Island Spa (Korean Spa) in Edison

The last two summers I spent a day at King Spa Fitness in Palisades Park, NJ. It’s a huge Korean spa, and one for which non-Koreans like me need a culture lesson before going. I was thinking of going back this summer, when a friend told me that Island Spa in Edison just opened up this summer, in July. In the name of research, I went there instead.

The exterior of the charcoal island at Island Spa. Photo copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
The exterior of the charcoal island at Island Spa. Photo copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Island Spa and Sauna is on Route 27 Continue reading “Review: Island Spa (Korean Spa) in Edison”

Branch Brook Park Cherry Blossoms

We haven’t been to Branch Brook Park since 2011, to see the cherry blossoms. Each year we plan to go and then something gets in the way. We missed the festival (though to be fair, it’s super crowded) but went last weekend – a week after the festival – to catch the just-past peak trees. They were still gorgeous. This park has the largest collection of cherry trees in the country.


Continue reading “Branch Brook Park Cherry Blossoms”

The Great Falls in Paterson

Have you been to the Great Falls in Paterson? If not, it’s worth going. We took a trip over there this summer and it was gorgeous!

Paterson Falls

This place has a lot of history, going back to Alexander Hamilton’s time, when he envisioned Paterson as the country’s first planned industrial city. He wanted to use hydropower from the Passaic River’s Great Falls. Hamilton and the Society for Establishing Useful Manufacturers (a real mouthful), started this in Paterson in 1792. Since then, Paterson’s industry became known for fabrics (silk spinning, cotton, textile machinery, jute, weaving, dyeing, etc.). When I posted a picture of the Falls on my personal Facebook page some time back, one of my friends said her first job was working in textiles in Paterson, and she’s not even old! You can read more of the history of the Great Falls here. Continue reading “The Great Falls in Paterson”

Zumanjaro Drop of Doom Opens at Six Flags Great Adventure

I am super disappointed to miss the press preview of Zumanjaro Drop of Doom tomorrow at Six Flags Great Adventure. It opens to the public on Friday, and to season pass holders on Thursday. My kids are not going to forgive me for missing this one.

This is the world’s tallest and fastest drop ride, at 415 feet and 90 miles per hour. It’s 41.5 stories high, and is nestled into the middle of Kingda Ka (the world’s tallest and fastest roller coaster). Eight riders go up for 30 seconds on three gondolas. The ride down is 10 seconds, and the gondolas descend together as well. In case your little ones are wondering if they can go, the minimum height requirement is 48 inches. And no, you can’t wear your mountable GoPro camera on it.

Zumanjaro Drop of Doom at Great Adventure is the world’s tallest and fastest drop ride.

Continue reading “Zumanjaro Drop of Doom Opens at Six Flags Great Adventure”

Sleeping with the Fish: Overnight at Adventure Aquarium in Camden

We joined the scouts for an overnight at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden. This was our fourth overnight, so we’ve had lots of experience seeing how they’re run in different facilities. This one was very well organized, and we slept better than at others. Even if you have no intention of sleeping over at the Adventure Aquarium, read on because there’s lots of great information about the animals in this post, and some awesome pictures too, if I say so myself.

View of Philly from the Adventure Aquarium.

Continue reading “Sleeping with the Fish: Overnight at Adventure Aquarium in Camden”

Review: The Other Josh Cohen

I have to admit, it was fun going into the Paper Mill Playhouse to see The Other Josh Cohen and knowing nothing about it. So if you want to do the same, skip the review, but know that it’s a really fun show.

We went on press night, though we were not there as official press (we bid on our tickets at a silent auction). Paper Mill Playhouse – please put me on your press list! And I have a few recommendations for Paper Mill, but I’ll put those at the bottom.

The plot

The musical is about a NYC man named Josh Cohen who is trying to get his life together. He’s underemployed, loveless, poor and feels the world is out to get him, but he’s also a mensch. In a quirky twist, the narrator is an older version of Josh Cohen (and it’s not the OTHER Josh Cohen). Josh Cohen gets a big check from a mysterious person, possibly a relative, possibly a mistake. What will he do with the check? I won’t spoil that for you.

The Other Josh Cohen at Paper Mill Playhouse; Photo by Jerry Dalia
The Other Josh Cohen at Paper Mill Playhouse; Photo by Jerry Dalia

Why it’s unique Continue reading “Review: The Other Josh Cohen”

Review: The Grounds for Sculpture

The Grounds for Sculpture had been on our bucket list for the past few years, and we finally made it there this summer (on a very hot, muggy day – with a rain interlude while we were eating lunch). If you haven’t been, you must go. This is a place you could go to multiple times and not see everything. Why? There are more than 260 sculptures spread out over 42 landscaped acres.sculpture2

It’s located on former New Jersey State Fairgrounds land, and was started by J. Seward Johnson, whose work you will see prominently. More to come on him. It was Seward’s idea to make a sculpture garden open to the public, to introduce and make others comfortable with modern sculpture. The Grounds opened in 1992, financed by public bonds, private institutions and Johnson’s foundation. It transitioned to a nonprofit organization in 2000. Read more of the history of the Grounds for Sculpture here. 

This is supposed to resemble Monet's garden and bridge - which it totally does. They pipe in the smoke/fog for effect.
This is supposed to resemble Monet’s garden and bridge – which it totally does. They pipe in the fog for effect. You can walk across it. It looks a bit like a painting itself!

The name “Johnson” certainly rings a bell in Central New Jersey. For good reason. Continue reading “Review: The Grounds for Sculpture”