The Non-Housewives
Friday, October 18, 2019

7 Tips for Selling through Consignment

There is something so refreshing about cleaning out my closet. I especially love the time of year when I need to switch out my wardrobes. I have a small closet, so once we go from Summer to Fall or Winter to Spring, I need to do a closet swap to make room for each season's wardrobe.

I like to take this time to go through my clothes and get rid of things I'm not going to wear. My philosophy: If you didn't wear it within the last year, it's OUT! And trust me, I know what I did and did not wear last season. If the item is like new, I usually take it to a consignment shop to sell. I know there's Facebook Market Place, garage sales, etc., but consignment really does the hard work for you.

Consignment shops will take new and gently used items and sell them for a discounted price. Once your item sells, you get a percentage of the sale. The percentage you earn varies by shop. The consignment shop I go to, Trading Closets in Brighton, MI, offers you 50% of the selling price. They mark down items each month, and then after 60 days, you can either pick your items up if they don’t sell, or they will mark them down to 80% without any commission or donate them.

The first time I went I really had no idea what to expect. I gathered up about 10 items in my closet I no longer wore and brought them into the store. To my surprise, the store only kept one item! I was floored, and a little insulted, until the consignment shop employee pointed out the reasons she didn’t accept the other items. Slight discoloration…out of season…loose hem….after the run down I totally understood why they didn’t take the rest of my items.

I took what I learned from that trip and applied it to future drop offs, carefully inspecting every item before I left the house. Now, I usually have a 90% success rate when I bring my clothes, kids clothes, home goods and toys in!

Here are some tips to use when going through your closet and gathering items to bring in:

1. Check the store’s website or call ahead to find out what ‘season’ of clothes they are taking. If it’s March and they only want Spring/Summer clothes, you’ll be wasting your time if you bring your sweaters in. Usually they will be very explicit on what they are accepting.

2. Steam or iron your items before bringing them in the store. Most consignment stores look for items they can transfer directly to their racks. Presentation is everything.

3. Bring clothes in on hangers. Usually stores don’t keep them, but again, it’s all about presentation.

4. Some of the ‘signs of wear’ they look for: deodorant marks on the insides of the arms of tops, fabric balling up (sweaters tend to do this), snags, holes, broken zippers, loose hems, discolorations and stains, just to name a few. Also make sure your items are smoke and pet hair free.

5. Some stores have a special light they put the clothes under to help spot stains or discolorations. It’s helpful to bring your own clothes outside in the sunlight and inspect them before you bring them in. Sometimes indoor lighting can hide imperfections.

6. Depending on the store, they may also accept accessories (purses and jewelry), home goods, furniture, DVDs, kids toys, kids clothes and beauty products. Check out the website or store before you go in.

7. Don’t watch over the consignment shop worker while he/she is looking through your clothes. This is just nerve wrecking! Shop around while they are going through your items. You may find some hidden gems!

And remember, don’t be insulted if they don’t take your items! The consignment shop employees know what sells best in their store. They may already have 20 of the same type of item they can’t get rid of. If you find yourself returning home with items, you can always donate them to your local Purple Heart or Salvation Army.
Wednesday, October 9, 2019

5 Tips for Visiting Impression 5 Science Center in Lansing, MI


Before kids, I never knew hands on museums were a thing. Now, we travel far (London!) to visit the best ones! My friend Erin told me way back in the day that Impression 5 Science Center in Lansing was awesome, and we finally confirmed today, that she's not wrong! Although they call themselves a 'science center,' it's very much 'hands on' for kids and adults.

We spent about 2 hours at the museum and got to interact with just about every age appropriate exhibit. This spot is 2 floors, with the majority of the exhibits upstairs. Most exhibits are all extremely unique. Here are a few of our favorites:
  • "Throwing Things" area contains several different stations where kids can practice their pitches and blast targets with air cannons. Kids can explore and learn about kinetic and potential energy. 
  • The Bubble room is fun for all ages, even adults! Kids can enclose themselves into a huge bubble, and there are water tables for younger kids. Be careful though, the floor is slick in this area! 
  • 'Chew on This' exhibit lets kids take a deeper look into the human mouth, complete with a giant tooth brush and dental tools! There is also a play grocery store in this area, so kids can discover how the food you eat affects your teeth in an interactive grocery store. 
  • The Michigan nature area is also fun. My boys were able to catch one of the museum workers feed the frog and toad in the aquarium. You can explore natural environments found in Michigan with tools and challenges to help make learning fun! 

  • For older kids, the Spectrum exhibit can be a lot of fun. It has different light sources, lenses, prisms and mirrors for kids to experiment with.
There is also an enclosed room (with staff monitoring the door) for 4 and below kids. This is a nice spot to have your young kids in for awhile so you don't have to chase them. There's a play area and a water table section. You have to remove your shoes when entering this area, and if you go in the water area they have Crocs you can slip on.

Although most of the main exhibits were geared towards older kids, my 2 year old, Xavier, played and interacted with all of them and a fun doing so.

Few tips when visiting:
1) Bring a change of clothes. If your kids like to play with water tables, even if they wear the smocks, they will get wet.

2) They don't have a cafe here, so make sure to pack snacks. There are snack tables and vending machines on each floor.

3) There's a large gift shop right at the entrance/exit, which is impossible to avoid, so set expectations early if you don't want to get guilted into a souvenir on the way out.

4) Bring hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes!

5) If you want to do lunch afterwards, about 1 mile away is Saddleback BBQ - its delicious and extremely fast. Mike and I tried the pulled pork and ribs (delicious!), and the kids ate mac and cheese and ribs, and we caved and also ordered their churro donuts, which were ridiculously good. I saw one high chair available and they do have outdoor picnic tables as well. Make sure to stop in at Blue OwCoffee, right next door, to get a coffee to go for your ride home.

Additional Impression 5 information:
Adults, children 2+ - $8.50
Seniors, Military members (and immediate family) - $7.00
Members, Children 1 & younger - Free
Museums for All (up to 6 guests with valid ID and EBT, medicaid, or WIC card) - $2.00

They also offer family memberships. Free parking is located behind the museum. They are open on Sundays from 12pm-5pm and Tuesday through Saturday from 10am - 5pm. They are closed on Mondays.

If you've already been to this museum, I'd love to know what you thought of it. If you have another hands on museum or science museum you love, please share it in the comments! 
Sunday, September 22, 2019

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Saturday, September 14, 2019

5 Favorite Truck & Tractor Books

We love a good kid's book! We try to read at least 2 books a night, in addition to a Bible story, and the boys read throughout the day. I'm going to start doing posts that are featured on books we like (or are on our wish list!).

This week, let's talk tractors and trucks! Our youngest son is really into farm tractors and monster trucks. Here are some of of our favorites and others that come highly recommended! 

The Big Book of Things That Go
My 2 year old is obsessed with this book. He has memorized all of the trucks, tractors and trains by color and type. It's so much fun for him. If you have a kid who loves planes, trains, automobiles...basically anything that can "go," they will love this book! 5-6 large pictures on each page with a description of each one. Be warned, this book is big! It's 11x14 inches.

Good Night Tractor
I'm adding this one our Christmas list. We say 'good night' to our Things That Go trucks and tractors each night. I also found Goodnight Digger too!

We love DK books like these. I like to call these kinds of books 'round up books.' They do a great job at focusing on a category and providing 100s of photos and descriptions. My youngest son loves going through the pages and naming off all of the trucks. 

Cars and Trucks and Things That Go
This book has great reviews - I think this may be a stocking stuffer this Christmas!

Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night?
How cute is this cover? This is a super cute rhyming story and even cuter illustrations! 
Monday, August 26, 2019

7 Tips for Back to School Preschool Prep

'Back to School' doesn't start at Kindergarten - it starts with preschool! 

Last year Max went to 4 year old preschool for 3 half days. This year, he's doing the 5 year program for 3 hours, Monday through Friday. I think the new routine will be great for him (exhausting, but great!). The structure will help him prepare for Kindergarten next year (well at least, that's the goal).

Here are my tips for preschool back to school prep:

1) Kid friendly alarm clock
No more sleeping in! Although my boys are early risers, once and a great while they will sleep a bit later. For those of you with kids who like to snooze in the AM, check out this kid friendly alarm clock to help getting your little ones out of bed and moving!

2) Dinner Help
The first weeks will be hectic for everyone. Not only do kids have to get use to this new schedule, but parents as well. Doesn’t matter if you stay at home with kids or go to work, school adds another layer of complexity to your day. Anticipate it being crazy and sign up for meal delivery for the week, so you don’t have to worry about dinner. I use Small Potatoes which is local to me in metro Ann Arbor Michigan. They have 3 entrees featured every week, along with a few sides, salad and dessert. Their menu is extremely healthy and they use fresh ingredients!

3) New school supplies! 
They don’t need that much for preschool (at least our school doesn’t send home a list) but I like to stock up on the following for writing practice and other homework:

Writing paper 
New crayons
Glue sticks
Kid scissors
Pencil box to keep supplies organized

4) Backpack
Need a new backpack? Check out Amazon’s selection and if you have Prime, get it in 2 days.

5) Fun after school snacks
Make them fun! Here are some ideas from Pinterest.

6) Antibacterial wipes & hand sanitizer
I try to make it a habit for my boys to wash their hands when they come in from outside or activities, and school is no exception. So many germs! 

7) School Year Kick Off Gifts for Teachers
Don’t forget about your teachers! Kick off the new school year with brownie points and buy/make your teacher a gift. I bought Max’s teachers Tim Horton’s gift cards. I know Target is pretty popular as well. Or maybe buy your new teacher some fun school supplies like Flair pens or fun colored Expo markers.

I'd love to hear any tips, tricks or mom hacks you have for back to school prep. Please share in the comments!
*Post contains affiliate links
Saturday, August 10, 2019

Day trip to Saugatuck


Mike and I just did a day trip to Saugatuck, MI and it was a blast. Since we usually plan long weekends last minute, a day trip to Saugatuck was the only option, since Airbnbs and hotels book up fast on the west side of the state (sometimes a year in advance!). Mike doesn't mind driving, so a day trip did not seem daunting, but more of a fun adventure.

When Max woke up at 6am we told him we were going on a mystery trip, and he was all smiles. I packed our bathing suits, swimmies, sand toys and diaper bag the night before, so we were able to get out of the house super fast once the boys woke up.

Here was our itinerary:

7:30am - Stop at Tim Horton's and get coffee to go! 

7:45 - 10am - Drive time. Xavier ended up falling back to sleep (weird!) and I taught Max the universal sign for getting a truck driver to honk his kept him busy all the way to Saugatuck!

10am - I came across The Southerner on Google Places and it had great reviews for breakfast and was on the water...sold! When we arrived there was no wait, but just after we left there were people waiting for a table. We got a table in their screened in porch which overlooked a marina with beautiful yachts. It was an amazing view to kick off our beach day. We ate at a picnic style type table which the boys found very fun. They had games you could bring to your table to help keep busy. I tried to teach Max Uno but he wasn't that into it.

11am - We decided to venture to Oval Beach, which was around 10 minutes from our restaurant. It was $10 to enter the park and you could you come and go all day. Since we were there early, we had no problem parking and finding a great spot on the beach. Once we unloaded our wagon and beach toys, the boys got sunscreen on and were ready to play. The water was freezing, so I think they only got about waist deep before running out of the water happily squealing. Mike and Max walked the dunes and down to the pier, which was a much longer walk than they anticipated, but they had blast spotting fish and turtles in the water.

1:30 - 1:45pm - After running, swimming, and digging in the sand for a few hours, we were a hungry bunch. We packed up super quick since all we had was our wagon (highly recommend this Red Rider wagon with a cover), and we were off! As we were leaving cars were lined up around 20 cars deep to get into the park. This is the advantage of having early rising kids - no waiting for our adventures!

1:45 - 3pm - We passed a restaurant downtown, called Grow, when we were driving through town in the morning. People were waiting outside for breakfast so we assumed it must be a good spot. It had great reviews on Google Places so we decided to give it a try for lunch. The menu was very simple for breakfast/brunch/lunch. Mostly a few unique salads and sandwiches. We got a shaded table outside and ordered quickly (close to nap time!) and the food came out ridiculously fast. The avocado toast, Cuban-ish sandwich, The Club sandwich and kids cheeseburger were phenomenal. The boys inhaled their burgers!

3-5:15pm - Head home + nap time! Luckily, both boys fell asleep for the entire ride home. When we pulled in our driveway Max said "that was a lot shorter trip on the way home!" Aka, he slept the entire ride.

Have you been to West Michigan yet? If so, what's your favorite beach/lake town? 
Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Grand Rapids Children's Museum

We took a spontaneous trip to the Grand Rapids Children's Museum a few weekends back and were NOT disappointed. It was perfect for our boys' ages (1.5 and 4.5) and an easy day trip from metro Detroit.

The museum sits in downtown Grand Rapids, which is really a blooming downtown area. There are tons of restaurants around the museum and a nice outdoor eating area where you could also have a picnic.

The museum is two floors. The first floor has a stroller parking area and a gift shop. Also on the main floor is a play grocery store, a few push cars for younger kids, and a play car with it's 'engine' exposed.

Upstairs is where we spent 95% of our time. There is a ton to do and see! The first thing that our boys wanted to do on the second floor is the bubble station. They had 2 bubble tables perfect for my youngest son, and then they had a larger bubble station with a platform that you can stand on, and then put yourself into a bubble. You really have to see it to understand what I'm talking about.

There was also a full doctor office and play "MRI" machine which looked to be sponsored by Stryker. It was SUPER cute. They had an arts and crafts table, Legos and trains, and a ton of hands on tables that kept my 4.5 year old’s attention for a long time.

We stayed for about an hour and a half (we had a birthday party to go to) but could have easily stayed 3 hours here. They don’t have a cafe here, so plan on eating at a nearby restaurant or pack a picnic lunch.

I highly recommend this museum for a day trip to Grand Rapids with kids. Have you ever been to this museum? If so I’d love to hear your kids’ favorite exhibits!