The Non-Housewives
Monday, November 28, 2016

$45 PayPal Cash Giveaway

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Happy Cyber Monday, Friends! I know everyone can use a little extra cash around the holidays, so how about a chance to win $45 PayPal Cash? I partnered with several Michigan bloggers to launch this giveaway - enter below!

The giveaway is open to US residents, ages 18 and older with a valid Twitter Account. The giveaway will end on 12/4/2016 at 11:59 pm. Good luck!
Sunday, November 20, 2016

Save Money this Holiday Season with Ebates

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Make sure you save money with Ebates this holiday season!

Shopping season is just around the corner...unless you already started! I love Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday. I think it's fun to see all of the retailers battling promotions and  I love finding that perfect gift for a loved one.

As a savvy online shopper, I always spend extra time price comparison shopping and trying to find the best deal or coupon. It's time consuming, but I love the feeling of finding a 'good deal.' My friend Justine wrote a post last week that reviewed her top 3 grocery shopping apps, so to kick off the holiday shopping season, I thought I'd share my hidden shopping secret: Ebates.

If you shop online, you NEED Ebates. Last December I signed up for Ebates and received $50 cash back in 2 weeks. You can still use all of your retail coupons and take advantage of promotions, but also get cash back (via a check or Paypal). No minimum amounts need to be met. They pay out at the end of each month.

Here's how to use Ebates:
1 - Always go to Ebates.com first, before shopping
2 - Search Ebates for the retailer you want to shop with. For example, let's say you want to buy a personalized gift from PersonalCreations.com, you would search on 'personal creations.'
3 - If the retailer partners with Ebates (Personal Creations does), Ebates will list all of their current promotions, and how much cash back you will receive if you shop with them (for Personal Creations, it's 15% cash back on your purchase!).
4 - Make sure to click through to the retailers site from Ebates, and voila, you'll earn money back for shopping!

Moral of the story, sign up for Ebates, and start there first when shopping online. Also, keep an out for double cash back days and other promotions for the holiday. Sign up today and get $10 cash back once you make a purchase through Ebates!

*Post contains affiliate links
Monday, November 14, 2016

Top 3 Coupon Apps for Grocery Shopping

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Post by fellow Non-Housewife, Justine!
If you’re anything like me, you’re always looking to save some extra money when it comes to grocery shopping. Whether that extra money is for the upcoming holiday season, a dream vacation, or just a little money in your pocket, you want to save as much as possible, while still keeping your fridge full and your pantry stocked.

I have always been a bargain shopper and actually enjoy cutting coupons out from the newspaper. While I still rock my scissors and coupon section, I have also started exploring the world of coupon apps. Over the past 2 years, I have jumped into virtual couponing and love it! I’ve received over $200+ dollars in my pocket since I started using these apps and that’s on top of using regular coupons and special store promos!

Here are my favorite three coupon apps:

This is the one I’ve been using the longest and the most often. What’s great about this app is that the coupon savings are not limited to groceries; you can find coupons for clothes, restaurants, and craft stores! If you’re looking to grocery shop, you can select your particular store and all the available coupons will pop up. Once you click on a coupon, you unlock it, and it is now available for you to redeem. After you grocery shop, you click on the redeem button in the app, scan the products, and then capture a picture of your receipt. It’s that easy! The money goes into an account through Ibotta and can be “cashed out” once you’ve hit $20.00 

To get you started, you’ll get $10 for signing up and redeeming your first coupon! Referral code: aropcus. Use this link to get started! 

Pros
Can be combined with traditional coupons (yay for double savings!)
You can receive your “cash out” via paypal or a variety of gift cards
App is very organized, so if you want to just search for produce coupons, you can do that
Generic coupons are available for many grocery staples
You can earn in-app bonuses for your everyday purchases
Earn money for referring your friends- they earn money, too! 
Can unlock coupons before or after grocery shopping

Cons
Sometimes you have to watch a short video (20 seconds) to unlock some of the bigger coupons
You have to wait until you reach $20 to cash out
Have to redeem in time, or the coupons will expire (like regular coupons) 

Unlike Ibotta, Checkout 51 focuses primarily on groceries, with the occasional restaurant coupons thrown in there. However, this app packs a ton of coupons with big savings. Some upwards of $2.00 off an item! With this app, you simply click a little star next the coupon you want to “clip” and it’s ready for you. Like Ibotta, it is also organized by store, so it cuts down on scrolling past items you aren’t interested in. Additionally, you can sometimes claim more than 1 item (while offers last)! New offers appear weekly, so be sure to check in often.

Pros
A large variety of grocery coupons
Can be combined with traditional coupons (yay for double savings!)
Can “clip” before or after grocery shopping.
Organized by category (popular, produce, pantry, etc)
Organized by store
Check mailed to you once you hit $20.00

Cons
No referral program
You have to wait until you reach $20 to cash out
Have to redeem in time, or the coupons will expire (like regular coupons)

 
MobiSave focuses only on items found in the grocery store. I’ve found this app to also throw out some bigger coupons like Checkout 51. When using this app, you have to plan ahead because you have to “clip” (or save) the coupons before you shop. Once you “clip” a coupon, it goes into your saved offers. In order to redeem a coupon, the item must be in your saved offers before grocery shopping. After you grocery shop, you click on the redeem button in the app, click the products, and then capture of a picture of your receipt. Your savings are automatically transferred into a paypal account, so no waiting until you reach a certain amount of money before the cash is in your pocket!

Referral code to enter when you sign up: YMSSPHSC. Use this link to get started!

Pros
A large variety of grocery coupons
Can be combined with traditional coupons (yay for double savings!)
Organized by category
Money is transferred into a paypal account after each redemption
Referral program
No scanning of products required

Cons
You must “clip” your coupons before you shop, or you cannot redeem them
Have to redeem in time, or the coupons will expire (like regular coupons)

I hope everyone can take advantage of saving some money on groceries, especially with the holidays just around the corner. If you have a favorite grocery saving app, please let us know in the comments below!


*Post contains affiliate links
Sunday, November 6, 2016

Easy Play Dough Recipe

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I was inspired by one of my best friends last week. Beth runs a daycare out of her home, and threw a Halloween party for the kids last week. On top of fun games, goody bags and treats, she made pumpkin spiced play dough for the kids to have some Halloween themed creative play. I really have no idea how she does it all. I was so impressed with how good the play dough turned out, I had to try it for myself!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of boiling water
2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of salt
2 Tbsp of cream of tartar (you can find this in the spice aisle or buy online here)
2 Tbsp of Oil (I used EVOO, but vegetable oil works too)
food coloring (optional)
pumpkin pie spice (optional)
essential oils (optional)


Instructions:
Step 1: Mix all of the dry ingredients together (flour, salt, cream of tartar) in a large mixing bowl
Step 2: Add oil to the dry ingredients and stir
Step 3: Add in boiling water
Step 4: Mix all ingredients really well. I used my hands when the mixture got really thick to make sure everything was mixed in. It should feel like a thick pizza dough.
Step 5 (Optional): Add in food coloring, spices and/or essential oils and mix in. Beth's Pro Tip: Only make one color at a time - when kids mix multiple colors it turns brown.

Before I added the food coloring, I split the dough up into 5 smaller balls, which makes it easier to work in the coloring evenly. After working through the coloring I added 2 tablespoons of pumpkin spice and 10 drops of Thieves Young Living oil. It smells amazing!

Why make your own play dough? Here are a few reasons:
  • If you have multiple kids, or run a daycare like Beth, this allows for each kid to have a lot of dough to play with (without breaking the bank)
  • In my opinion, play dough can get gross after awhile (crumbs, pet hair, etc. stick to it) so you won't feel as bad when you have to throw it away. 
  • It's cost effective. Once you have all of the ingredients, you can make several batches.
  • You can be creative with colors and scents by adding spices and essential oils. Lavender is a good essential oil to add for calming. And I can't wait to make mint color play dough with Peppermint oil for the holidays!
I found the cute little tupperware cups at Marshall's (pictured above), which hold the perfect amount for a play dough play session. The dough usually lasts up to a month and may keep longer when kept in the fridge. 

Have you made play dough before? If so, how did it turn out? what are some other DIY things you make for kids creative play?

*This post contains affiliate links
Saturday, October 29, 2016

Fall Fun at Spicer's Apple Orchard

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A few weekends ago we went to Spicer's Orchard in Fenton. We are early birds and arrived shortly after they opened. It was still moderately busy but not overwhelming.

The kids play area is epic there. $2 for each adult, kids are free. There are several large play structures, swings and slides. The petting zoo is also in this area. Max was a little overwhelmed at first, but then settled on the giant wooden ship with slides. There are bounce houses that cost tickets, not sure how much, since Max is still a little frightened of them.

Max had so much playing in the kid area that we lost track of time, and before we knew it, an hour and half went by! We didn't even pick apples because we spent so much time here. We went into the market afterwards and bought donuts and cider and had a picnic on the lawn. We picked pumpkins out afterwards and were on our way home for nap time.

Petting zoo

Large drain tile slide

Choo-choo!

Climbing ship

So many pumpkins!


Posting this so I can compare to next year's height

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Toronto with a Toddler

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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.

Food
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

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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, Jane.com.

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 Jane.com.

What trends are you loving this season?


*This post contains affiliate links