Eco-Friendly Toy Companies

We are going to try this again! I apologize for the first draft, I was having technical difficulty with the site!

As I look around our playroom, I see so many toys that are broken and destined for a landfill someday. I decided that this year, for the twins, we are going to ask for Eco-friendly toys for Christmas. They are better quality, safe, and much better for the earth. Before I started researching, I had no idea how many sustainable toy companies there are! And the best part is that almost all of these brands are sold on Amazonwhich makes things much easier when giving Christmas lists to our families. Most of these companies are unfortunately not based in the USA, it seems that Europe has a head start in the area of sustainability.

Hape- Hape specializes in developmental, Eco-friendly toys. They are based in Germany, and provide high-quality toys made from sustainable materials.

This rocket ship is a little pricey but Santa may have to bring it for Will!

Hape Discovery Space Center

This clock is one that we will be adding to our preschool supplies!

Hape – Happy Hour Clock – Time Learning Puzzle

Plan Toys- Plan Toys is based in Thailand and has been offering sustainable toys for forty years. They use rubber wood, which is used after its latex producing cycle. Previous to using it in toys and furniture, plantations would burn them down and replant them, which is why this wood is considered highly sustainable.

How cool are these water blocks!

Plan Toy Water Blocks

Haba- Haba is another company that is based in Germany, and all of its wooden toys are made from reforested timbers. They also use water-based lacquers instead of paint.

I really like these blocks because they are wooden and actually fit together!

Haba sticky bricks (sticky building blocks) 13 Piece

Melissa and Doug- Melissa and Doug are the most recognized sustainable toy manufacturer based in the USA. They have shipped their manufacturing to China as they have grown though. They still have the widest variety of toys in this group that you can feel good about.

This band set is on our wish list!

Melissa & Doug Band in a Box

KidKraft- KidKraft has been around for a long time, and although all of their products are manufactured overseas, they are still a decent choice for sustainable kids’ furniture.

We bought this train table for Luke about four years ago and it’s still going strong!

KidKraft Ride Around Train Set and Table

Be sure to check out these other sustainable toy brands!
Holgate
Green Toys
Maxim Enterprise
Begin Again

What are your favorite Eco-friendly toys? I’d love to hear your opinions!!

*This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links

Until our next adventure,
Moving Mommy

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Clean Eating on a Budget

With my Why Organic post, I told you why I choose to eat organic. Today I’ll tell you how I manage to eat mostly organic with very little processed food on a $150 per week budget for a family of five. When I first started on this real food journey, I didn’t think we would ever be able to do it. The prices of organic foods are much higher than traditional and take more time to prepare than processed foods. Once I built up my pantry and freezer, I realized that it is possible. It just takes time and effort to get there.

I can’t say that we eat 100% organic or even that we have no processed food in the house (I face some resistance from my other half:)). We have to make sacrifices in some areas to be able to splurge in others, but I still feel good about what we are eating. Everyone’s priorities with food are a little different. Some will buy conventional produce but not meat. Some will buy conventional dairy but not produce. What is important is what you think is best for your family. Many will not agree with the way I do things, but it is what works best for us. So here are some tips to get you on your way!

1. Start to build a whole foods pantry– I began buy purchasing mason jars, organic oats, and organic brown rice cereal. Each week I would make room in my budget for a few more things, like raw honey, organic sugar, whole wheat flour, and organic raisins. All of these things can be used frequently and still last a long time.

2. Buy in season or frozen fruits and veggies– I shop at the farmers market as much as I can, but it’s sometimes hard to even get there with three little ones! Right now, organic apples are inexpensive. My grocery store had them for $1.25 per pound this week. Things like berries are really expensive right now and their quality is poor, so we skip berries this time of year. For smoothies I buy organic frozen mixed fruit. The same goes for veggies like corn.

3. Eat a lot of greens– Lettuce, kale, and Swiss chard are all inexpensive organic options, so we eat a lot of those.

4. Stock up when meat is on sale– We cannot always eat organic meats, it gets really expensive to do so. A couple of weeks ago, organic chicken breasts were on sale for $2.99/lb, which is incredibly cheap so I stocked up and put it in the freezer! I also buy a whole organic chicken each week and cook it in the slow cooker. It generally makes two meals for us and is usually around $2.29/lb.

5. Eat breakfast for dinner– Eggs are high in protein and organic eggs are only around $4 per dozen.

6. Make your own snacks– I make granola bars, cinnamon raisin bread, apple chips, and apple sauce most often. This not only saves money, but cuts out a huge amount of processed food that we used to eat. There are tons of recipes on Pinterest!

7. Shop at a wholesale store– We shop at BJ’s Wholesale every week, along with our trip to the grocery store. They have their own organic brand, and it’s much cheaper for spices, frozen fruits, and tons of other stuff.

8. Buy a water filtration system– I used to go through two cases of water per week, which was around $10. I bought a filtration system to go on my faucet for around $30 and I only have to change the filter every four to six months.

9. Stay on the perimeter of the grocery store– everything in the middle aisles is processed. When we first started making the switch, I realized how much all of those boxes of macaroni and cheese and potatoes add up. It will really save you money. We shop the perimeter first and then go down the organic aisle for anything we need that is processed.

Right now, we buy regular milk. My kids drink a lot of it and organic milk is really expensive. I make sure to buy milk that is labeled antibiotic/hormone free. This means that it likely contains GMOs but at least my kids won’t be hitting puberty at 10 or getting an antibiotic resistant infection because of what they are eating. I do the same thing for beef.

That’s how we do it! We are far from a perfectly clean eating family, but I do feel good about what we eat for the most part.

Do you have any clean eating tips or recipes you’d like to share? Leave me a note in the comments!

Until our next adventure,
Moving mommy

Why Organic?

Since i started blogging, I have had several people ask me about my changed eating habits. I wasn’t exactly a healthy eater for the majority of my life. I used to eat boxed macaroni and cheese and all sorts of other processed stuff. We ate fruits and vegetables, but most of our side dishes came out of a box. I knew they weren’t really healthy, but I also didn’t think that they were unhealthy. I mean, a box of dried up potatoes is just a box of dried up potatoes, right? Nope, not even close. There are probably 50 ingredients.

I stumbled upon 100 Days of Real Food about a year ago. I wanted the twins to be healthy eaters from the very start, and figured that I would have less trouble with them being picky in the future. The problem was, I didn’t really know what to change to be healthier. So I started following different blogs and websites for ideas, and I was shocked at what I found. I didn’t really know what to believe, so I started researching…a lot.

There’s a lot of conflicting information out there, but I made the decision that I thought was best for my family. When our parents were little there was no such thing as organic. That’s because everything was organic. There were no genetically modified ingredients and produce wasn’t doused in pesticides. Those things have only developed over the past 50 or so years. GMOs were first introduced in the mid-90s, and now nearly 90% of soy, canola, cotton, corn, and sugar beets are GMO. Approximately 70% of all processed food contains GMOs. Are GMOs safe? The FDA has approved them, but there were no long term studies. You aren’t going to keel over and die if you eat something genetically engineered to produce an herbicide, but what are the long term effects on our bodies? We don’t really know. 64 countries, including Australia, Russia, China, and the UK, require GMOs to be labeled. New Zealand, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Luxembourg, and France ban GMOs. They are neither banned nor labeled here in the US. I could talk about this for hours, but I’m not an expert.

Here’s what I do know. Food and skin allergies, auto immune disease, autism, and cancer are all on the rise and no one knows why. Is it GMOs, preservatives, vaccines, pollution, chemicals? Probably a combination of a bunch of things. That’s why I’m trying my best not to put things into our bodies that don’t belong. It can’t hurt to avoid pesticides, GMOs, preservatives, and chemicals in my food.

This is why I choose to eat organic and avoid processed food as much as possible. I encourage you to do some research, there’s tons of info out there!

Do you eat organic? Why or why not?

Until our next adventure,
Moving Mommy

Sources:
Encyclopedia Brittanica
The Earth Institute- Columbia University
CDC
Just Label It
Natural Revolution