The Non-Housewives
Sunday, October 23, 2016

Toronto with a Toddler


A few weekends ago we spontaneously packed up the car and headed to another country for the weekend…Canada! We just received Max’s passport in the mail so we wanted to take it for a trial run.

We left Friday afternoon to head to Toronto for a long weekend. I grew up going to Toronto for vacation. It’s such an easy drive from the metro Detroit area and there is a ton to see and do.  My husband has really only driven through, so I was excited to show both him and Max all the fun Toronto has to offer.

Here are the toddler-friendly highlights from the:

We stayed downtown at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel. It was a great location. Our room overlooked Nathan Phillips Square.  There has been an ongoing art show there (Nuit Blanche Toronto exhibit) and in the center of the square, as part of the art show, there was a large white ball that changed colors at night. My son was obsessed with this, and is still talking about it as his favorite thing from Toronto. The hotel had 2 different late night stores open that we had to use to get milk for Max. They also had a coffee shop inside, serving Starbucks - great for early morning wake ups!
Saturday we got up early, grabbed some Tim Horton’s, and explored Nathan Phillips Square. We then made our way to the Ripley’s Aquarium and were one of the first families through the door that AM.

This is a fun place to visit with kids (or no kids!). I haven’t been to a lot of aquariums, so I don't have much to compare it to, but I thought that all of their exhibits were well set up with lots of walking and viewing room, and were spread out enough to give kids room to run.  There was one portion that went through a long tunnel tank, with several sharks swimming next you and overhead. I was so creeped out by seeing shark teeth up close and personal!
They also had a huge ‘playground’ inside, or as Max likes to call it, the ‘fishy play place.’ This was right next to a cafĂ© where food and drinks were served. There was also a water play section where kids could touch and play with sea life (safely, of course). They also had a crawling tunnel that when through a huge tank, that kids could crawl through. Max probably played at the 'fishy play place' for an hour, and when we left the aquarium, he feel asleep within minutes in his stroller.

Toronto Zoo
We've been to a lot of zoos, and so far, this is on the top of our favorite list. We were the first ones through the gate and went straight for the Tim Horton's right inside the front gate (bonus points for that!). Once we got our coffees we headed to the main exhibit, the twin Panda Cubs, Jia Panpan & Jia Yueyue's, 1st birthday celebration!

The pandas were so stinkin' cute. I just wanted to cuddle them. Apparently 2015 was a busy year for the zoo animals, because there were also baby polar bears, lions and rhinos! I really thought that all of the exhibits were set up so well. We saw most of the animals really close up.

The jaguar and baboons were two of our favorites. The jaguar laid right up against the glass and was in a deep sleep the whole time, and the baboons were pressed up against the glass and were cleaning each other, clearly putting on a show for us viewers.

About half of the food stands were closed for the season, but they still had Tim's, Subway and a few other hot dog-type stands. You can also bring your own food and snacks into the zoo. We saw a lot of people camping out on the grass with lunch.

The only bummer is it's about a 30 minute drive outside of the city (about an hour and 15 minutes via mass transit). It's totally worth the drive, just make sure to drive during non rush-hour times.

Jamie Bell Playground at High Park
Max loves a good playground these days. So, we searched for the best playgrounds in Toronto and came across the Jamie Bell playground at High Park. We drove here after the zoo and Max wore himself out running around this massive structure for an hour or two. There were slides, wooden castle structures, swings, bridges and more. It was really sunny out so it was packed with families trying to enjoy the last nice days of Fall.

We had one of the best breakfasts ever at Lady Marmalade. They are known for their 'Bennies,' aka, eggs benedict. My husband ordered the brie, avocado and bacon Bennie, and I think Max and I ate most of it. They also have a bin full of kids toys you can borrow during meal time, and a chalk board wall kids can write on their way out.

We had several meals at the hotel restaurant BnB and thought they were all extremely good! Most were room service orders. Their sweet potato fries were amazing.

For dessert, you need to check out Sweet Jesus ice cream shops around the city. They have extremely unique flavors and mixes. The 'Sweet Baby Jesus' is the most popular and best!

Last, but not least, there is a Tim Horton's on what seemed like every corner of Toronto. Dream come true! All in all, Toronto is an amazing and fun city, for both adults and kids! We didn't even put a dent into everything there is to see! I'd love to hear your must-see's for Toronto - what should we check out when we go back? 
Sunday, October 16, 2016

Currently Loving...Fall Blanket Scarf Trend

I've always been a fan of scarves, but this season scarves have gotten bigger and better. They are the size of blankets, and I'm loving every cozy second I can wear them. I just bought this plaid blanket scarf from one of my favorite online accessory sites,

I like to wear mine like a shaw and tie it in front. This scarf comes in 18 different styles and are on sale for $12.99 right now on

What trends are you loving this season?

*This post contains affiliate links
Thursday, October 13, 2016

Fri-yay Giveaway!


How about another giveaway to end your work week? A group of Michigan bloggers (including me!) came together to sponsor a PayPal cash giveaway - all you have to do is follow us on Twitter to enter!  Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Friday, October 7, 2016

$50 eGift Card to The Container Store Giveaway

Fall is such a great time of year, especially in Michigan. Apple orchards, Halloween and cooler weather are such a nice change. It's nice to get out the sweaters and scarfs that have been packed away for the last 6 months. I usually take time to clear out all of the items I 1) didn't wear last year, 2) don't fit and/or 3) I don't like, and take them to consignment and Purple Heart.

I have a small closet, so not only am I making more room for new fall pieces, but it helps me to re-organize and better see what I have available for both work and casual wear.

Do you plan on 'fall cleaning' any portions of your house right now? You know what would help? A trip to The Container Store! I was able to visit the store opening in Novi and was impressed with their creative solutions for storage and closets. They can definitely help make you more creative with your space.

I'd love to help one of my readers out with their fall cleaning or organizing project, so I'm going to give one lucky reader a $50 eGift card to The Container Store! I will announce the winner Monday, November 10th. One lucky winner will receive an e-gift card delivered to their email (after verifying the correct email).

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Family Friendly trip to Chicago


Chicago is a fun, big city weekend getaway when you live in Michigan.  My husband has family in Chicago that we like to visit, and this past weekend, one of his cousins got married. It was a kid friendly reception so we were able to bring Max with us. There are so many fun things to do in Chicago - here are some of the must sees for kids...

Maggie Daley Park
This park is 10x what the Brighton Imagination Station is. I love our little downtown park, but this one is amazing. It's across from Millennium Park in downtown Chicago. The park has several sections with different activities, including a rock climbing wall, tennis courts, picnic areas and our favorite, the Play Garden.

The Play Garden is pretty amazing. It has about 6 different sections that have fun themes clearly marked for specific age groups. We mostly hung out at The Harbor and The Watering Hole.

The Harbor has a large wooden structure with wooden boats suspended from chains that rock, rubber walkways that are fun to run on and a shaded gazebo-like structure for shade and snacks.

The Watering Hole was a splash pad with 3 different fountain areas. It was a perfect way to help cool Max down after playing in the hot sun.

Lincoln Park Zoo
First of all, it's free! So if you go and only spend 30 minutes or an hour and have to leave for nap time, you don't have to feel bad, because you didn't pay for a ticket!

Shedd Aquarium
We didn't make it to the Shedd Aquarium on this trip, but I've been before, and it's worth the trip. Definitely on my to-do list next time we visit with Max.

Other kid friendly tips for Chicago:

  • Chicago is a walking town. We parked our car when we arrived and didn't use it until we were ready to drive home. We only took a cab once.
  • We stayed at the Sheraton Grand Chicago right on the river, and walking distance to great shopping, restaurants and the above mentioned Maggie Daley Park. We had a suite with a connecting double bed room. It was the perfect set up for the 3 of us and our in laws. 
  • If it's your child's birthday or a special occasion, there are so many fun shops for them to pick out their own present. American Girl, Disney and Lego store, to name a few. Also the perfect city for a pizza party - you have to get Chicago deep dish! 
  • Other fun (and some touristy) things to do are a horse and carriage ride, architecture boat cruise, or a trip to the top of the Sky Deck (tallest building in western hemisphere). 
If you've ever been to Chicago, please share your favorite things to do in the city in the comments below!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Healthy Grape Salad Recipe (with True Goodness by Meijer)


I'm always looking for fun, easy, fast snacks to make my son. He loves grapes and greek yogurt, so when I had this grape salad at my work cafe, I knew I had to recreate it for my son. I went grocery shopping and found True Goodness by Meijer products for 3 out of the 4 ingredients I needed. Score! I'm a huge fan of Meijer's True Goodness line. They are wholesome and organic items that you can save money on (make sure you check your mPerk app before shopping, True Goodness items are featured frequently). Below are the ingredients and steps to make a fun healthy snack for you and your kids!

  • Grapes (green, purple or both, just make sure they are seedless) - I used half a pound of both green and purple
  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 1/8 cup of honey (or more if you want it a bit sweeter)
  • 1/4 cup of walnut or pecan pieces (I left these out of my son's portion)
  1. Slice grapes. Make sure to slice them ‘long way’ for kids (see instructions here for the safe way to cut grapes and for a 'grape cutting hack' video)
  2. Add grapes to a large mixing bowl, along with Greek yogurt, and stir
  3. Drizzle honey over the mix and continue to stir
  4. If you are making these for kids (like me!) I set a portion of this mixture aside and added chopped pecans to the rest
This is a great snack for kids and/or a fun dish to bring to a potluck or holiday side dish. The honey gives it just enough sweetness that it can pass as a dessert.

You can learn more about the True Goodness line here, as well as some great recipes! If you have other fun, healthy snack ideas, please list them below in the comments!

*This post was sponsored by Meijer. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Finding Time for Fitness

It's hard enough working full time and finding time for a workout, let alone being a mom and finding time for a workout! Gyms with daycare are great, but at the end of the day, I don't want to drop Max off at a daycare after I've been away from him all day.

I've found that in home workout sessions are the easiest way to get in a workout. I either wake up early before Max gets up, or workout after he goes down for bed at night. I do a mix of kettlebells, body weight and running workouts. Here are a few resources I use:

Zuzka Light
Zuzka charges $9.99/month to view her premium workouts in the 'ZGym.' They are great for at home workouts. She doesn't use a ton of equipment and has a large library full of workouts that focus on different body parts, types of workout (kettlebell, jump rope, body weight, etc.) and length of workout. I can do her workouts anywhere I have my phone or laptop, and most are do-able in a hotel room when I'm traveling. She has great 15-25 minutes workout that will make you sweat!

Online Running Programs
So, I'm not a runner, but I secretly want to be one.  It's great cardio, and when I'm traveling, it's a double bonus to get both a workout in and to explore new cities. My goal is to be able to run 20 minutes straight. I'm currently using this program on to help me meet this goal in 10 weeks. I love outlines like this to help keep me on track and accountable. I either get up really early to run at home or run after Max goes down to bed when Mike is home. I'm looking forward to less humid weather in Michigan to run in!

Online fitness groups
For me (and I'm guessing quite a few other folks), motivation is key. I think this is why Beachbody programs are so successful...they hold people accountable! Whether it's signing up for a 5k or Fitbit challenge, get a group of friends together who have similar fitness goals as you and start a challenge.

I do Fitbit Challenges each with friends. I have an ongoing challenge with one of my best friends each work week. It's such a motivator when I'm debating to take the elevator or stairs, or to get up early for a run or sleep in.

How do you find time to workout? How do you stay motivated?