Hasbro Made in the USA

Hasbro

Find Hasbro products here.

 

Hasbro has recently really impressed me. I was strolling the game section at Walmart (Don’t judge me ;-)). My son is really into board games right now so I was checking out what I could add to our collection. To my surprise all of Hasbro’s games had the Made in USA proudly displayed on their boxes.

How did I not know that these games were made in the USA!? I feel like I’ve been living in a cage with this one, lol. Apparently, they made a conscious decision to move their manufacturing to America on their own accord.

It really impresses me when a company gives up extra profits to make a conscious decision like that. No doubt, that has led to more jobs here.

This company was able to create a manufacturing contract here and they have been making their products in the US since about 2011. Russ Davies of Hasbro is also encouraging other game manufacturers to bring their companies here as well.

I also like that they have kept their prices the same. Go Hasbro! I know I will be much happier purchasing their products knowing they are made in the USA.

I really enjoy their games. Some of our favorites are Connect 4, Jenga, and Sorry. They are quality and my kids enjoy each one. It’s the perfect way to spend a family game night. They are easy enough that the whole family can get involved, but not completely boring for mom and dad. In fact, I really enjoy playing these games with the kiddos. I find them entertaining too and it brings me back to my childhood days.

Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link which is a way I try to cover the costs of this blog. Find more info here.

Thirsties Cloth Diapers are Proudly Manufactured in the USA

Thirsties Cloth Diapers are Proudly Manufactured in the USA. I love that this company boasts being made in America when most of it’s competition is still made overseas and sold for the same price. You don’t often see this kind of commitment to conscious manufacturing.

I also personally love Thirsties Cloth Diapers. They are quality and fit very well. They have awesome leg gussets that can keep in the biggest of messes. Their two different size ranges for covers is unique and ensures you’ll get a great fit. They also offer newborn sizes of their all-in-one which is nice for those first few months.

They have multiple styles of cloth diapers to choose from. Whether its the ease of an all-in-one you want, the excellent absorption of a fitted, or just a cover and insert they have you taken care of.

I do wish their all-in-one had a natural fiber option. Currently it’s only microfiber, but it is quality and will last a long time. I’m just personally a fan of natural fibers.

I also suggest snaps vs hook and loop. I feel the hook & loop poses the danger of scratching a sensitive belly. At least that was an issue I had with my little ones. The top of the diaper tended to roll and touch their tummy. I also like that snaps seem to hold up better and last longer. That really is my opinion of any cloth diaper company. I guess I’m just a snaps girl 😉

Thirsties Cloth Diapers are also highly rated on Amazon. They really are a well-loved diaper.

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The best price is found on Amazon here. Tell me, what is your favorite style of cloth diapers?

(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here.)

 

Toy Sale: Anatex Deluxe Mini Play Cube $96.94 + Free Shipping

Toy Sale: Anatex Deluxe Mini Play Cube. Made in America. Great Sensory Toy!! Originally $129.00 currently on Amazon for $96.94 + Free Shipping!

Find on Amazon here: Anatex Delux Mini Play Cube

I seriously love Amazon’s free shipping!! With three kids at home I have to admit I order way more than I should on Amazon just to avoid going to the store. Such a great convenience.

Normally this toy is marketed to businesses for waiting rooms, but I for one would love to have this in our playroom. Toys like these children never seem to tire of. Plus, easy clean up, lol 🙂 I love the idea of having more wooden toys around. Something about the texture feels so primitive and natural. I also see this toy being great for fine motor skills. This would be great for quiet play time.

Peak your little ones curiosity with this great fidget toy!!

Round up of American Made Baby Carriers

I really really loved baby wearing. In fact, I still baby wear my just turned two year old. It’s getting a little tough but with some good carriers, I can still haul her around. She enjoys the connection and I enjoy having some hands free time while I cook or clean, or both. I feel like since little Elle has turned two she’s become eve MORE needy. Some days she doesn’t want to be put down. A good soft-structured carrier has been a life saver for me!

I was gifted a soft-structured carrier with my first child. That is a GREAT gift by the way for any new mom. I used that carrier a ton. My husband and I also discovered attachment style of parenting when our first little one was 4 months old. It really fit our family. Wearing our son became more of a bonding act than just for convenience. I started wearing my little one more and became interested in what other type of carriers were out there.

To say I became obsessed with baby carriers (and cloth diapers, ahem) is an understatement. I wasn’t satisfied until I tried every single type of carrier. Often selling a carrier so I could purchase another type. I have used different styles of carriers for different purposes as well. Some were good for errands, others for more long-term wear, and I had my favorite for hiking. I liked the stretchy wrap for the newborn stage, soft-structure as they got older and for walks. I dabbled in woven wraps as well.  Although a woven carrier is seriously beautiful, I discovered it wasn’t my favorite. I liked the Mei Tai because I could really get a custom fit on the go.

I really can’t pick a favorite type of carrier since I find they all have their pros and cons. If you can afford a couple of different styles, it really is nice to have a couple of options. If you can only choose one, I would pick something that can be used from newborn to toddler. A soft-structure, like the Becco, or a Mei Tai, like the Baby Hawk, both go from newborn to toddler.

I was excited to find that there are several carrier brands made here in the US. All of which are high quality and carriers that I can highly recommend. They are very close to the price of their foreign-made competition as well.

My roundup of american made baby carriers: 

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Becco Baby Carriers are made in the US. They have a lot of options to choose from. I like that the back straps criss-cross for extra ergonomic support. They also have a toddler carrier that is in my wishlist 🙂

Baby Hawk Carriers make one of the best Mei Tais. They are sturdy, comfortable and gorgeous. They also make an Oh! Snap soft-structure buckle carrier. Although, I only found one on Amazon. Maybe they are scaling back production? I certainly hope not, but you can always find them on ebay and used baby carrier sites. They also make a toddler sized Mei Tai and you can customize your colors.

 

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Next up is Happy Baby Wrap. Not only are these wraps adorable and oh so stylish, they are very affordable. They are the same price, and can be less, as their foreign-made competition. I often go to their website and just drool over their cute patterns and bright colors. Best of all these wraps are made of a bamboo blend making them soft and breathable. Great for discreet nursing. This is my top vote for a baby shower gift!!!

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Last but not least is Sweet Pea Slings. Ring slings are handy to throw on and off. It’s very easy to get baby in and out and can range from newborn to toddler. They just aren’t great for extended wear. The ring sling was the favorite of all three of my children. Once snugged up in their sling tight to my chest, they would calm right down and even when needing comfort as a toddler, the sling helped snuggle them onto my hip and shoulder.

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Happy Shopping!

Carrie Ann

How to Save Money on American Made Clothing

It’s not a secret that american made clothes cost more. It can be quite the sticker shock when you start to become more conscious of what you’re purchasing. American made clothing costs more for good reason. Their workers are paid a fair wage. The working conditions are safer. If their fabric is from america too, then it costs more for them to manufacture the clothes in the first place.

There are ways, however, to cut down the costs and make buying in america more affordable. You don’t need to break the bank to make more conscious purchases. It can still be a challenge and I’m not saying you will be able to buy everything 100% made in america, but each purchasing choice makes a difference.

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Here are my three solutions on how to save money on american made clothes:

1.  Shop the Sales

That’s the beauty of online shopping. You can search all the american made clothing sites and see what bargains are available. I also post sales here if you don’t want to spend the time to dig around. After all, time is precious. I have found some killer sales on american made clothes. Discounts well over 50% off. Sales like that make buying american made clothes very affordable. You would spend the same amount on something made in China. Need I say more?

Also, check out your local boutiques and see what they may have on their clearance rack. Nordstroms and Downeast Basics both carry american made clothing. You can also do a search on their websites.

2.   Less is More

This next suggestion I have is pretty straight forward but may be hard for you to hear. Buy less, but buy well. That’s it. You don’t need as much as you think you do. We have been trained from early on in our society of consumerism that buying stuff = success. Guess what? It’s a lie. Looking great doesn’t mean your closet needs to be over flowing with clothes. It’s a trap. You also have to store and care for all those clothes.

Buying higher quality items that last longer can save you money in the long run.

I know my kids just wear the same thing over and over. If they have too many clothing items in their drawers, they get overwhelmed and they literally just toss them out of their drawers and all over their room looking for their favorite clothing items. I’m still questioning why I take the time to fold their clothes.

I usually have to bribe them to put on a different outfit. “No, you can’t wear that shirt for the third day in a row.” Is a typical statement in our home.

How do you buy less? It’s a paradigm shift. It means creating new habits and learning to be content. A great way to start is to buy your staple pieces this way. Clothing that doesn’t go out of style quickly, but that you need in order to have a well-rounded wardrobe. Then, as budget allows add some fun pieces.

Check out this post by Becoming Minimalist for some inspiration: 7 Things that Shouldn’t Impress us Anymore

3.   Create a Monthly Clothing Budget. 

Honestly, clothes are a necessity. We need them for work, school, errands, or that home school co-op. It doesn’t mean you have to fill your closet with the latest trends, but refreshing things is a good idea. You still want to look as though you take care of yourself. Because you totally do, right? (Totally guilty here. Still working on this). Taking care of yourself is  important. It also models to our children how to look appropriately presentable in certain environments.

If you don’t have a budget, I highly suggest one. That way you know you will have a certain amount of money each month to spend on clothes. Especially since kids wear out their clothes pretty darn fast. That means you can buy those absolutely adorable american made leggings for your daughter without feeling guilty. A good rule of thumb is to budget about 3-5% of your take-home pay for clothes. If you can comfortably budget more, go you! I’m jealous 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

City Threads Holiday Sale Going on Now

City Threads still has an amazing Holiday Sale going on. It ends January 4th. You can also purchase their items through Amazon Prime. Somewhat of a convenient feature. I love their clothing. It is quality, made here in the US and right now up to 50% off! This is a great time to buy if you’re on a tight budget or you just like really really good deals.

When my son was little and we lacked for hand-me-downs, I would go to Babies R’Us and hit their after holiday sale. I would buy my son’s entire wardrobe for a year because the sale prices brought the cost down to thrift store prices.

This is a great way to purchase clothes and sales like these make it possible. Does anyone else do that? Or am I the only crazy one here?

Now that my son isn’t growing quite as fast, I’ve slowed down on the clothes purchasing. Now, we’re replacing clothes because he wears them out so darn fast! We also like to keep his wardrobe simple.

I’ve noticed that kids tend to have their favorite clothes they wear over and over. Then, they toss the rest around their room. Such a waste of time folding those clothes. So instead, over the years, I’ve watched which clothes are my son’s favorite and tend to purchase similar clothing.

We usually have about 4 pairs of pants, 10 shirts, socks, and underoos of course. Anymore than that and I’m just cleaning up messes all day long. It keeps laundry simple and it’s easier for my son to get dressed without getting overwhelmed with choices.

Hoping to stock up on some inexpensive items with this City Threads sale as well!

www.citythreads.com

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TinkerToy Made in USA

TinkerToy has been around for a long time. I remember playing with them as kids. I was surprised and happy to find they are made in the US. As my kids are getting older, these creative toys are the ones that last and actually get played with in our home. Toys can actually be a good thing, not just clutter and chaos. TinkerToy helps with fine motor skills. Our oldest is in Occupational Therapy and I’ve been learning more and more that play matters and how they play can actually make a big difference. We’ve started to invest in more creative thinking and fine motor skill building toys.

We have been trying to keep screen time limited. It’s a challenge. It makes it easier with toys like these around because I can sit down and play them with my kiddos (and not be bored out of my mind). We can build something together and I can get them engaged in something else besides screen time or writing on the walls 😉 That seems to be my four year old’s new favorite past time.

I know they say 3+ plus, but unless you want teeny tiny pieces everywhere in your house, I would say realistically 5+. However, if your child is more mature for their age than go for it. I’m totally jealous if they are.

I’ve seen TinkerToy at Toys R’Us before. I’m not sure if they’re stocked currently. You can also find them on Amazon of course. Another website I’m really fond of is Fat Brain Toys.  They have a huge selection of toys and they’re usually discounted below retail price. I also appreciate that Fat Brain Toys has an American Made section right on the top of their page. You don’t have to do much digging which I like.

Tell me, have you ever played with TinkerToys? Is this something you think your children would enjoy?

 

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New Year’s Resolutions Anyone?

I’m not one to make New Year’s Resolutions usually. I’ve generally avoided it over the last several years. I figured what’s the point since I know I won’t be keeping them past the first few weeks. Okay, let’s be realistic. I rarely make it past the first few days into the New Year without breaking my resolution.

Despite my failed past attempts, I’ve recently had a change of heart. I’ve been learning about the importance of setting goals. Plus, New Year’s Resolutions are somewhat of a fun tradition here. Even if you don’t end up keeping them long-term, at least it helps you stop and think about the future.

Thinking about the future and planning to improve it is always a good thing. It can be a growing process. Maybe some of you actually write your resolutions down! It really is a great exercise in goal planning and keeping.

This year my husband and I actually planned some resolutions for the upcoming year. Changes that we would like to see and goals we want to accomplish for our family. A New Year’s Resolution provided the motivation we needed to talk about what we want to see happen for our family. The years seem to be racing by. It was nice to stop and actually think ahead about what we want for the coming year.

Some of our most important resolutions were: getting out of debt, clearing the clutter and chaos from our home (both emotional and physical), creating routines and getting healthy. There, I wrote them down! Ha! I also have a serious sugar addiction I need to get under control. I can’t expect my kids to control their sweet tooth until I do. More is caught than taught.

According to About Travel these are the Top 10 Resolutions people make each year:

1. Spending time with family & friends.

2. Getting fit.

3. Loose Weight.

4. Quit Smoking.

5. Enjoy Life More

6. Quit Drinking

7. Get out of Debt

8. Learn Something New

9. Giving to Charity.

10. Get Organized.

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I was surprised to find that my husband and I had come up with a few of those resolutions in our brain storming session about what we wanted for our family this year. Now, the issue is keeping our resolution. We might not be able to keep all of our resolutions, but I did like the idea of trying to improve ourselves and family this year.

Plus, we basically just created a new tradition for our family. We try and do monthly family meetings. That would be a great time to discuss how we are doing on our resolutions. A New Year’s Resolution is at least something fun to do and discuss this time of year.

Another resolution that has come to mind is buying more American made products. Obviously, my family has made a commitment to looking into US options first and see what’s out there before purchasing something. However, I feel we can do better.  I am going to add buying American made clothing to my resolution list this year and see how well I do! My dream is a total wardrobe with american made labels and this might be the year I accomplish it.

How do I plan to buy more American made items?

Online shopping is really making this resolution doable, as well as affordable. Plus, it just helps keep life easier with three children. I have been surprised to find that there are some american made gems hiding in local places.

I was in our downtown area not too long ago and stumbled into a new boutique.There hanging on the clearance rack were two jeans made in america. Originally $200 jeans that I picked up for $25 each.  I also found a marked down T-shirt. I now check in there every once in a while to see what treasures they may have.

I was able to support an american company at the same price range as Old Navy. I’ve also found American made items on the clearance rack at Downeast Basics. You don’t necessarily need to break the bank to start buying american made.

The tricky part for me is I don’t actually shop. I rarely buy clothing for myself. That’s going to change this year. I’m adding clothing to our budget which also goes along with our resolution to paying off debt. Budgeting really is the best tool to get back on track financially.

What about you? I would love to hear from you what your resolutions are this coming year.

Carrie Ann

 

I’m Letting go of Unrealistic Expectations

Is anyone else overwhelmed with the amount of toys your children received for Christmas? (My hand is certainly raised). I have no idea where we will even put all the toys they received. However, from here on out I’m letting go of unrealistic expectations.

The over consumerism of Christmas used to make me sick.  Children really do love simplicity. Even though I’ve let my ideals go a bit, I still think simplicity is best.  We’ve noticed our children get way too stressed with too many toys. It just becomes chaos and chaos isn’t really fun.

We wanted and still want to teach our children that life is not about what or how much you can buy. That consumerism can be a dangerous trap. That you don’t need the newest and greatest whatever.

With that in mind, we used to get really stressed about the holidays. When family doesn’t share your view or opinion, what does one do?

I have been unable to convince my family in our way of thinking. I’m not perfect by any means, but I figured if you were going to purchase toys, you might as well buy American made, non-toxic, and preferably battery free toys. No pressure, right?

I was surprised when my family didn’t share in my enthusiasm for handmade wooden toys. I spent the first few years of parenting in absolute frustration by the amount of imported (and toxic) toys we received. Lead paint recall anyone?

My son is now seven and I realize I won’t be convincing the whole world or even my family anytime soon…or ever. You know what, that’s okay. I’ve come to terms with it and I’ve also opened my mind a bit on the issue. It’s amazing how much we start to relax as parents over time. Our expectations seem to become more realistic.

Our family enjoys picking out toys off a shelf and honestly, they are really good at thinking of my children’s interests when they purchase toys.  Normally, they’re based off a TV show or a general interest like pirates, dragons, and now princesses.  It’s everything I cringe at, but my children love
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It’s hard to change and I found on this issue, I was the one who had to.

I was teaching my children to be ungrateful. I wanted only certain gifts and my concern about it permeated into my holiday attitude. All I can do is offer the information and be grateful for whatever we receive. And also be grateful for the relationship my family has with our children.

I wish I would have learned this years ago, but at least now I’ve let it go. I really enjoyed watching my children rip into their presents this year.

The good news is, I also know that in a couple of months my children will have completely forgotten about all these toys and they will sit un-played with in a corner or forgotten at the bottom of a toy bin.

This doesn’t seem to bother my family one bit. They tend to know this as well, that interests change. I used to hold onto these toys out of guilt because so and so bought them. That is just overwhelming to my children (and me). This mom has gotten older and wiser (at least I’ve been trying to) and now I know that these toys can be whisked off to Goodwill and our children are none the wiser. It has really surprised me that so far not a single item has been asked for.

I watch my kids play and I would never take away a favorite toy. Toys that become forgotten and then turn into just clutter are the ones we send to Goodwill. Eventually, we want them to join us in the decision making process. Not there yet though.

Until more American made toys are able to be found and purchased more easily, my husband and I will continue to buy American made toys whenever we can and we will let the rest go. In fact, I purchased the Little People barn set for my daughter’s birthday. I had total purchasing guilt afterward and I just had to let it go and realize we can only do our best. Could I have purchased a wooden barn locally, most likely and if I had a do-over that’s what I would have done. Just like everyone else, I got caught up in how cute the bright red barn and chubby characters are.

Little People were once made in America and it’s a long shot, but I hope their manufacturing returns to the US.  Right now, I’m choosing to let go of perfection and high expectations.
I’m planning on enjoying the relationship our children have with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. That is far more important than where their toys come from or what they’re made out of.xmas-present-1443388-640x480

For example my daughter received a voice changing megaphone… ahem, thanks grandpa she loves it. I thought of re-gifting it to my worst enemy, but I couldn’t think of anyone unfortunately. Grandpa had a whole lot of fun listening to her enjoyment and all our children spent an evening of belly laughs being entertained by our four year old. My husband and I laughed too. It’s been two days and she has already forgotten about it, even though it’s sitting out in plain sight. We sure did enjoy seeing Grandpa’s face light up.

The wonderful thing is their grandpa also purchased them some lasting toys that they will play with for years to come. A wooden block set in a wagon and Lincoln Logs. They have played with the wooden blocks every day since Christmas. Way to go Grandpa!

I’m choosing from here on out to be grateful for grandparents and family that want to love on our children and truly enjoy their excitement over Christmas. We are also using it as an opportunity to teach our children about giving. We talked about children who may not receive very many toys or any at all.

My daughter picked out a gift and told me we can give it to someone else. She felt she received so much, she didn’t need it! I guess an over abundant Christmas with battery operated toys won’t ruin them after all 😉 This mom of three is slowly learning to let the little things go.

Several years from now our children will not remember what they received for Christmas in 2015. They will remember the love they received and the family traditions we created. The more we focus on those two things, love and family traditions, the less important the toys and stuff become and the less I can stress about what happens to be under the tree come Christmas day.

What about you? Do your kids receive a lot of gifts on Christmas or does your family keep it simple? How do you feel about the issue?

5 Easy Ways to Play with your Kids

We all know it’s super important to interact with our children, but sometimes we can just get sooooo busy. Here are a few games I play with my kiddos to connect with them and give them the play time they desperately need. These are also helpful when bad weather has struck and everyone is going stir crazy! The great thing is each of these games only take about 10 to 15 minutes. Keep the laughter rolling in your home with these 5 easy ways to play with your kids every single day.

1. Hide & Seek: This one is just classic. My kids never tire of it. To switch it up, we will turn off all the lights, grab some flashlights, and play hide and seek in the dark. This is my oldest kiddo’s favorite way to play. I have to admit, I enjoy it too.
2. Hide the Thimble: It’s a variation of hide and seek. It’s also old fashioned. This game really never goes out of style. Back in the day, an actual thimble was used. Now, I just grab a small item I can hide and as they search for it I tell them whether they are warm, hot, cold or freezing.
3. Go Fish: Another classic! Can you tell I like my classic games? When I’m not in the mood for a full on board game or I just don’t have the time, I can pull out the Go Fish cards and the kids are just as happy. Even though we’ve played this game a million times, they still act like they are overwhelmed with suspense ever.single.time.
4. Get the Socks: This game I got from the book Playful Parenting by Lawrence J. Cohen. This one gets us all laughing. You put on socks and make a circle in the middle of your living room or open space. Then on the count of 3, you try to get each other’s socks off. Whoever is the last to loose their socks wins. It can get pretty silly!
5. Inside Tag: When I can tell the kids just need to be silly I start a game of tag. I like to surprise them randomly and will tap one say “tag” and run away. Instantly the game is on! It’s actually really fun in the house. It’s really the only time my kids are allowed to run around inside. We have been known to jump over our couches a time or two. I don’t end the game until everyone is squealing and laughing with delight.

Bonus! If you let your child pick what they want to play, even if it’s something you do not enjoy. Set a timer for 15 minutes and give it your all!

There you have it. Those are the simple ways we play with our kiddos each day.

Carrie Ann