The Non-Housewives
Saturday, July 7, 2018

DIY Birthday Party Banners

I love shopping on Etsy, especially for personalized items, but the problem is, they aren't available on Amazon, and it would be impossible for them to offer 2 day shipping. So, for last minute birthday party planners like me, have to look elsewhere for fun party decorations. 

Pinterest had me falling in love with burlap birthday banners, but anything customized with my son's name was going to take at least 2 weeks to receive via Etsy, and of course, I started planning decorations for my son's party the weekend before. Typical! So, I had to get creative. 

I went to Michael's and found two different kinds of banners. The key was getting a set that I didn't have to cut! Check out my 3 different banners below and everything I purchased to make them! They were so easy and a lot cheaper to make than buying them off Etsy. They were a fun touch for our family birthday party celebrations! 

'ONE' high chair or door banner

What I used:
Fabric strips (choose colors or patterns that match party theme)

I stenciled the letters first with bright colored chalk. Once threaded on the burlap, I spaced them out evenly and tied my fabric strips. You can buy pre-cut fabric strips, or, choose a fabric that fits the theme of your party, and cut it into strips. This banner took me about 1 hour to make.

'Wild One' Burlap Birthday banner

What I used:
Burlap banner + string/twine  (they usually come with this)

Painting within the stencils was just as easy as using the chalk. I did one coat of paint, then let it dry for a few minutes, then put a second coat on to make sure letters really 'popped.' When using the paint, you'll have to be able to set the stencils aside for at least a few hours to let them dry before stacking them up again (it's the inevitable, paint gets on the actual stencils when using them this way). This banner took me about 30 minutes to make.

Chalkboard Name Birthday banner

What I used:

I didn't want to use the fabric strips for this banner since it was going to be hanging over the desserts. Instead, I used different colored ribbon, tied in knots, between the letters, to add some color. This banner took me about 30 minutes to make.

There were so easy to make, I was wishing I had time to make more DIY decor. I would love to hear about other DIY birthday decorations you've done - please share in the comments below!

*Post contains affiliate links 
Tuesday, May 29, 2018

National Water Safety Month with Goldfish Swim

May is National Water Safety Month, and our household is ready! Between weekly lessons at Goldfish (check out my swim lesson review here) and practicing water safety while out on the boat, we are ready for a fun summer of swimming and water fun.

We received a special package from Goldfish Swim School this week, and Max was extremely excited to dig into it.

Here's a clip of Max's unboxing...

Here are some important water safety reminders:
  • Never let anyone swim alone. Even the most experienced people need a partner. 
  • Pool noodles, plastic inner tubes and pool toys, etc. will not protect against drowning. Make sure everyone needing a life jacket has a coast guard approved jacket and it properly fits. 
  • Make sure to have a 'designated watcher' while kids are swimming. The 'designated watcher' should be watching kids at all time - no cell phone distraction allowed!
  • Keep toys not in use away from the water so they don't accidentally fall in.
  • This isn't swimming specific, but if outdoors, wear sunscreen! Make sure to reapply after swimming. 
As I mentioned in my review, Goldfish Swim School has been amazing for my son. Not only do they teach a strict swimming curriculum, but I wish I would have started him sooner. We started lessons with Xavier (10.5 months old) and he's having a blast. It makes me feel good that swim lessons is not only a fun activity/sport for my boys, but also something that is extremely important for them to learn and feel comfortable doing.

I'd love to hear any additional water safety tips you have in the comments below! 

*Goldfish sent me this box to review, but all opinions are my own

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Goldfish Swim School Lessons Giveaway

A few weeks ago my son wrapped up 2 months of swim lessons at Goldfish Swim School in Ann Arbor, and I couldn't be happier with the experience we had there and how much he's learned. You can read my swim class review here.

If you're interested in experiencing Goldfish Swim School for yourself, you can enter below to win a free month of lessons from Goldfish Swim School Ann Arbor location. Contest ends Friday, May 18th. Enter up to once a day - Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

* Giveaway sponsored by Goldfish Swim School. Once I choose a winner, the winner will have 48 hours to respond with their contact information. If I do not hear back, I'll select a new winner. Good luck! 

Monday, April 9, 2018

Goldfish Swim School - Ann Arbor Review

We've just wrapped up 2 months at Goldfish Swim School in Ann Arbor, and I couldn't be more proud of how far my little man Maximus has come!

I'm not going to lie...our first few lessons were rough. Max would start crying about not wanting to go to swim class before we even left the house, which would continue in the car ride and into swim class. He was so afraid to go under water, I think the fear made him stress about the entire class. His coach, Blair, was so great with him though. He'd go in to the pool area crying, and come out smiling and raving about how much fun he had. I was definitely able to see the progression of Max's comfort in the water. After a few lessons he was going underwater for rings (something he was terrified to do the first two lessons), and swimming from the ledge to the platform on his own.

I'm so impressed with the structure of Goldfish Swim School. Each class level has a list of skills the kids have to "master" before moving to the next level. It's a set "curriculum" that all the coaches follow which I think is great for a kid like Max, who needs consistency. The last few minutes of each class the lifeguards call the parents in to watch their child demonstrate what they learned that day and at this time the coach will provide parents feedback. Last week was 'test' week, and Max earned his way into the next level of swim class (Junior 2!). I almost cried when the coach went over Max's swim report card with me. I was so proud! Below is a video of him during his test.

Here are some of the other awesome things I love about Goldfish:
1 - The classes are small. At the most, there were 4 kids in each of Max's classes.
2 - The waiting area is very comfortable. There are plenty of seats along with the window so you can watch your little fishes. Parents are not allowed in the pool area so the kids are not distracted.
3 - There is also a play area for little siblings to hang out in while lessons are going on.
4 - They have several showers inside the pool area for kids to rinse off at before getting changed.
5 - There are several private dressing rooms (along with a large one with hair dryers and swimsuit dryers) and they are really clean.
6 - The staff, from the front desk, lifeguards to coaches, is super friendly and accommodating.

Class schedules are extremely flexible. You can pay for one, two or three lessons a week, or do a drop in class just to 'test the waters' (pun intended). They offer classes 7 days a week, which as a working mom, is amazing within itself since we can always find a time that works for our schedule! If you have more than one child in lessons, you can usually find a time that overlaps for both or back to back times.

I can't wait to see how much Max learns before summer. I'm so excited for him to test out his new swim skills this summer at the lake!

*I was hosted at Goldfish Swim School in Ann Arbor. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Super Easy Baby Food Cookbook Giveaway


Hey Friends! I was lucky enough to review The Super Easy Baby Food Cookbook last week, and now I'm partnering with the author, Anjali Shah, to give one lucky reader their chance to win their own!

The Super Easy Baby Food Cookbook has a variety of recipes for infants through toddlers. I was so inspired by some of the veggie combination purees that I ran out and bought vegetables to prep for Xavier - he loved them all!

Please use the widget below to enter to win. Once I select a winner I will contact them via email. If I don't hear back within 2 days I will select another a winner.

Good luck!
 - A

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Last Minute Fun & Practical Easter Basket Gifts

If you're like me, you've waited until the last minute to buy Easter basket fillers! Below are some non-candy fun (and some practical) Easter gift ideas that you can get in 2 days via Amazon Prime...happy shopping!

Activity books
I think these are a win/win for both parents and kids! I personally love the Kumon activity books (and so does Max) but there are also ways to incorporate your child's favorite characters + learning too!

Is my kid the only kid that gets SUPER excited for new shoes? Crocs are so easy for toddlers to put on, they make my life so much easier!

Hygiene items
New toothbrushes, toothpaste and bandaids. You'd be surprised how quickly a Spiderman toothbrush can make nightly brushing a fun activity!

It's Spring in the Midwest, which means Summer is just around the corner! I would be buying the boys new swimsuits anyways, so why not include them as part of their basket?

Craft sets 
These are great for rainy days! With my help, Max built and paint the 3 wooden cars in the Wooden Cars craft kit from Made by Me! It was so much for him to build these from scratch, paint and then be able to play with his own creation.

*Post include affiliate links
Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Super Easy Baby Food Cookbook Review

I use to pride myself in making Max his first foods. I'd buy the freshest fruits I could find and blend them, package them, and stack them in the freeze for future meals. After I perfected pureed bananas, pears and apples, I realized Max would soon be getting sick of the same 3 options, and I wanted to try more fruits and veggies. The problem was, I had no creativity when it comes to cooking, so I was forced to buy the rest of his food at the grocery store.

Fast forward 2.5 years, and I have Xavier starting solids even earlier than Max did! I am still the puree queen of bananas, pears and apples, but I wanted to try new things, and still make everything fresh. Lucky for me, a talented co-worker of mine just published a baby food cookbook, and it's just what I needed to provide me much needed inspiration!
The Super Easy Baby Food Cookbook contains healthy homemade recipes for infants through toddler years. The author, Anjali Shah, also provides tips for starting solid foods, shopping lists, meal planning charts and labels each recipe clearly to help with food allergies.

I knew I wanted to start incorporating more vegetables for Xavier, so I skipped right to Chapter 4 for 'Creamy Combination Purees.' Since I had a ton of frozen banana puree in the freezer, I was excited to make some pureed zucchini and combine the two. Xavier loved it! We also tried zucchini and squash, and banana and zucchini. Xavier loved them all, even zucchini by itself - I was shocked! I would have never tried to feed him zucchini, let alone mix it with sweeter fruits. The puree mix and match chart was super handy to see what would work well together (again, I'm not creative!). 

I'm hoping that starting Xavier this young with different flavors will help open his palate to trying new things as he gets older....and then maybe he can rub off on his older brother!

I highly recommend this cookbook to help with more advanced puree combination ideas and ideas for homemade finger foods. This would make a wonderful (and unique!) baby shower gift for a new mom. Definitely a gift that would keep on giving! It's available on for the Kindle or paperback. 

I'd love to hear about your creative baby food recipes in the comments below! Also, stay tuned for The Super Easy Baby Food Cookbook giveaway this week!