Sunday, November 18, 2007

Public Service

Thought, care and strategy...

I think the Shopping Code goes something like this...
1. Rethink.
2. Reuse.
3. Recycle.
4. Homemade.
5. Buy local.
6. Buy organic.
7. Avoid products that are imported from a country with a disregard for child safety and a terrible environmental record.

Not easy. I know. A lot of people have no problem with this, but some of us are weak consumers, on a budget, eager for cheap thrills, short of time and creative juice... Truthfully: Selective shopping, making things by hand, buying local and organic, spurning cute and affordable toys and decor, in favor of nothing or something from a boutique, well... it's a luxury. Still, I think it behooves each of us to at least think about what we consume, why we consume and how we consume. Hey, this ain't no sermon... I am trying to pump myself up here.

So, the other day, when I was watching Anna Maria on Martha, I was happy to see a *how it's made* kind of segment at the Nordic Ware factory. Alex and I remember driving by the headquarters last summer on our Twin Cities Tour. I love those segments on the Martha Stewart Show when she features industry, craftsmanship, skilled people, workers... and I loved realizing that there is a wonderful American product, still made in the USA! Yay for Bundt pans... tee hee!

What else is made at home? And if not in the USA, at least in countries that haven't had a year of recalls and scary track records... So, I am on a mission to be on the look-out for options, choices, & possibilities. I am not a person that relishes shopping... I like to get out of the house, sure... and I like finding something I have in mind, but usually I count on a few stores I find reliable and then I am in and out. But, as long as I am in a store, I am going to make an extra effort to find things that are made somewhere other than China, and then I am going to pass along the tip here at Chickenblog.

My boys might insist I start with their all time favorite product, company and lifestyle... have you guessed? LEGO and it's bricks and blocks are, for the most part, not made in China. We breathed a huge sigh of relief about this, because LEGO has never failed to make the top 10 of all three boys' wish lists. The everlasting, creative, engineer training toy is a fantastic product. We can't say enough good things about LEGO bricks.

As for me, a sentimental favorite is PLAYMOBIL... I cannot resist those charming details and themes, especially the little chickens, bunnies, farmers, kitchens, hats and tractors. Like LEGO, they are pricey, but again, like LEGO, they are a toy that lasts, and one set can provide plenty of play fun for many years.

It was a happy discovery when I learned that Mad Libs is made in the USA! Is it just us? We love these silly books. And, really they aren't just silly, they are a sneaky learning device that any home-schooling family would appreciate. We bring Mad Libs out often, and always enjoy the fun.

Who remembers "Yes and Know Invisible Ink Books?" I always found these so intriguing, and the couple of times I got to play with them, they filled some slow time with a little amusement. You may have a super-sleuth in the house or someone that loves to puzzle and learn, and "Invisible Ink" books are made in the USA.

Holly. Holly, dare we give you another puzzle? There are a lot of really beautiful puzzles and I was happy to see there are many made in the USA and Germany. A click on the Ravensburger website even brings up an article about their safety testing standards.

Wow, I found quite a bit and I haven't finished going through my list. I am going to take a break for now... all this shopping has worn me out.


Anna Banana said...

You said it, Natalie, shopping is important! (8-)

Tracy said...

What a great, thoughtful post, Natalie! Very appropriate for this time of year especially. Finding thing actually made in the USA seems harder and hard, but so reassuring when we do come across them! Mad Libs...Oh, I remember those--wow! Glad to know they're still around, and made in the good ol' USA. Happy Days ((HUGS))

Missy said...

Thanks so much for the information Natalie. I'm thrilled to hear Playmobil and madlibs are USA products...those are in hiding here for the big day. ;-)

nikkipolani said...

That image of Mad Libs sure brings back memories. Memories of teenagers giggling and guffawing as only teenagers can.

Jennifer said...

And we so love MadLibs, too! Of course! Yeah, I'm having a hard time myself these days -- feeling the crunch of the ticking clock and the expectations on the part of recipients who might not be thinking that the handmade gift route is quite so charming.... It's feeling hard here, too. Thanks for this sleuthing, though. And I KNOW we're making a difference when the folks at Toys R Us feel the need to send me long, loving emails all about how hard they are trying to keep everything out of the recall list, about how much they care about safety, about how they'll take back any recalled item (even without a receipt!); if they weren't scared, they wouldn't bother.

Tabby said...

I loved Yes and Know invisible ink books, and they were a special treat because we couldn't get them very often - we didn't live in the US.

Thanks for the reminder!

kimsherrod said...

I have been shocked at the vast amount of objects with the made in China sticker on them. Now that I took the buy handmade pledge (see my blog sidebar)and am strictly trying to abide by it, I find myself dismayed and disappointed that our economy is so dependent on Chinese goods. or should I say "bads"? Its rough. How can we change that as a Nation? I have been wanting to blog about it but you are far more eloquent than I and make the point- Buying American is possible and the right thing to do. I was disappointed that two of my favorite companies make their stuff in China- Dept 56 and Seasons of Cannon Falls. I was at Home Goods and practically wept. My buggy had a Bundt cake mix and a Martha Stewart Baking Cookbook and was otherwise E-M-P-T-Y!!! I better get busy sewing- eh?

Julie said...

Thank God for LEGOS and Playmobile! They've made up the bulk of the gifts Santa has brought to our house in the last few years. Who knew we' be looking at them this year to avoid the made-in-China trap.