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Give the Gift of an Experience

Give the Gift of an Experience

Having trouble figuring out what to give someone.  Give an experience rather than some thing.

Our Directory is full of wonderful activities in The Arts, with The Environment, fun activities for kids and adults.

You can give tickets for a theatrical and musical production at local theaters like: 

Two River Theater or State Theatre or Hurdy Gurdy Music Club

In addition, there are all kinds of interesting activities in our Directory like:

Tewksbury Balloon Adventures and Grape Beginnings and Cape May Whale Watcher

There are gifts for all ages from all the unique companies in our Directory:

Garden State Rocks has indoor rock climbing

Liberty Science Center is one of the most popular places to go.

Similarly, there are even more scientific activities in places like the Alice and Leonard Dreyfuss Planetarium at the Newark Museum.  

Finally, there’s great fun to be found at:

TopGun Paintball or Delaware River Tubing or Sterling Hill Mining Museum.

Many businesses are giving holiday sales; most have gift certificates available.

Search our Directory for what interests you for what’s near you.  That’s what AwareNewJersey is for, Finding the Unique in New Jersey.

Winterize Yourself

Winterize Yourself

Tips to be more comfortable through the Winter

I’m not a winter person.  I don’t like to be cold.  Everything seems more difficult and to take longer during the Winter.

It seems like, this time of year, it’s necessary to change my personal care routine.  I suspect it may be the same for you.

Winter air is decidedly drier. Consequently, skin becomes drier and itchy.  Nasal passages are often dry and irritated.  Hair is drier, goes flat and fly-away.

Also, drier air often means static, giving us shocks, making our hair stand on end and making a variety of things cling when and where we don’t want them to.

Furthermore, dry nasal passages can lead to sneezing and even irritated sinuses, raspy throat and even nose bleeds.

So, what can be done?

First of all, recognize how cold, dry winter air affects you.

Skin care

For dry itchy skin get yourself a good body moisturizer and slather it on after your shower.  I prefer light lotions to the waxier types.

Be sure, when you wash your hands, you pat them dry, don’t rub them and apply hand lotion as needed. It’s good idea to keep one of those travel-sized tubes of hand lotion in your purse or briefcase.

Likewise, keep lip balm everywhere, in your purse, in your pocket; everywhere.

Nasal passages

Another good practice is to use a nasal saline spray in the morning and before bed to help keep your nasal passages moisturized.  If your nose gets sore from sneezing or wiping it, you can use a little moisturizing lotion on the irritated tissue to keep it from getting too chapped.

Hair care

You may want to wash your hair a little less often and use a little cream rinse to reduce static.  I find that synthetic, wool and even silk fabric for scarves and hats create static, so I like cotton.


Static is an electrical charge.  You’ve felt it, I’m sure.  Wool, acrylics and plush fabrics, even silk, create static.  It can make your hair stand on end or go flat and, every once-in-a-while, you can get a “bite” from static build up.  Cotton doesn’t conduct electricity/static very well and, consequently, is a great fabric for winter.

House and Car

I think it’s a good idea to keep a snow shovel in the car.  Likewise, a rubber squeegee, a scraper for frost, and a long-handled brush to get snow off windows and roof.  I’ve read that a spray bottle of 3 parts vinegar, 1 part water will remove frost and keep it off for a while.  Similarly, I’ve read the same about a like mixture of isopropyl alcohol; it does have a lower freezing temperature.

You might also want to keep an extra pair of gloves in the car and even a lap blanket, for emergencies.

Wet and dirty snow boots quickly create more work in the house, for that reason, you might want to have a boot tray in your entrance and a few, small, washable rag rugs to catch water and mud.


I keep throat lozenges around during the winter. 

I pay more attention to weather reports.

I leave more time to do most things because of having to wear layers of clothing, having to shovel snow, having to warm up the car or other things.

And, I practice gratitude and patience to counteract my automatic reactions to the inconveniences and discomforts of cold, winter weather.

*images displayed are reportedly public domain images.


A Public Service Announcement

Last week I tried to log into my online banking account on my computer and was greeted with a message that it was REVOKED, a scary word.  Therefore, I immediately called the phone number supplied and after a few minutes was told that there were no notes about the action.  I was told that I should visit my closest bank branch immediately because I may have been a victim of smishing.

I had never heard of smishing.  But, I did, immediately, go to the bank where the bank officer also could find nothing wrong with my account and had to call up the chain to find out what was wrong.  She had been away so was not up-to-date on the fact that my bank had frozen a group of customer accounts who “may” have been targeted by smishing.

At that point, I asked about smishing and was given an explanation.  We reset my online banking ID and password and, after 24 hours, I was back to normal.

After talking with several people, I found that nobody I talked to had heard of smishing.  So, I’m posting this information.

First, a few definitions:

Phishing is the criminal practice of sending phony emails containing links to websites that, then, attempt to collect personal information from you.

SMS is the acronym for Short Message Service which is how text messaging works on your cell phone.

Hence, the word smishing combines SMS with phishing.  It is fraudulent text messages that usually contain links to a website that, like phishing, attempts to get you to reveal online IDs, passwords, your social security number and other personal information.

DO NOT respond to text messages that are not from a recognizable source.

Fortunately, I ignore text messages that don’t come from somebody I know or appear to be advertising, etc.  I don’t even answer cell phone calls that don’t have ID or are from people I don’t recognize.  I ignore them and let them go to voice mail.  As a result, I’m rarely subject to telemarketers.

More on smishing

“In many cases, the smishing message will come from a “5000” number instead of displaying an actual phone number. This usually indicates the text message was sent via email to the cell phone, and not sent from another cell phone.”   – Webopedia

“Put simply, smishing is any kind of phishing that involves a text message…. Another option used by smisher is to say that if you don’t click a link and enter your personal information that you’re going to be charged per day for use of a service.  …  Never install apps from text messages. Any apps you install on your device should come straight from the official app store.”  -Norton

Apparently, another technique “… makes consumers think their financial accounts may be compromised, and therefore they follow the fake URL or call a fraudulent phone number even if they suspect it is a scam. But identifying the scam is a consumer’s first defense from becoming a victim of the crime.”  -Kelly Santos, Credit.com @ Yahoo Finance

My bank recommends changing banking IDs and passwords every 6 months.  It’s a pain but, “better safe than sorry.”

In conclusion, be aware of smishing and phishing and other scams and devise your own procedures to try to avoid them.

I hope this was helpful.  Stay smart, stay safe.

All images shown here are reportedly public domain images.

After Thanksgiving Leftovers

Depending on how you celebrate Thanksgiving and what you serve for the meal, there are often a lot of leftovers, so even if you give some of them to family and guests to take home.  Turkey and potatoes seem to be the largest volume.

Over the years, I’ve accumulated a few simple recipes that make use of some of these leftovers.

For breakfast, both turkey and potatoes can be used up:

Mashed Potato Pancake


1 C. mashed potatoes

1 egg

1 ½ tsp flour (I like Wondra)

A generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

1 T. vegetable oil or a butter substitute like Earth Balance


Beat the egg.  Put the mashed potatoes into a bowl, sprinkle with the flour and grated nutmeg, mix in well.  Add the beaten egg and mix thoroughly.  Form into small pancake no more than ¼ inch thick and fry in the vegetable oil or butter substitute until slightly browned.

Very nice served with a little applesauce.


Turkey/Smoked Cheddar Omelet

Ingredients (per omelet):

2 eggs

½ C. shredded or finely chopped roasted turkey meat.

½ C. grated smoked cheddar cheese

1 T. butter or butter substitute such as Earth Balance


Beat the eggs.  Heat the butter over medium heat.  Add the beaten eggs and cook over medium until half set.  Sprinkle the turkey meat and grated cheese over the egg and continue to cook until the eggs are mostly set.  Gently fold the eggs over the filling to make the omelet.  Reduce or turn off the heat and let set.  Serve.


Then there’s lunch.

Roast Turkey Sandwiches

Ingredients (per sandwich):

2 slices of your favorite sandwich bread.

Thinly sliced turkey meat, whichever you prefer, light or dark meat.


Jellied cranberry sauce, or even some un-jellied.

Iceberg or Romaine lettuce leaves.


Spread the slices of bread with cranberry sauce.  Spread mayonnaise on top of the cranberry sauce.  Layer slices of turkey on one slice of bread.  Add lettuce leaves on top of the turkey slices.  Place the other slice of bread on top.  Cut the sandwich as you like it.  Enjoy.

Most importantly, enjoy.