Review of the “Good Duck”

 

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(above photo taken from website)

I want to start out by saying: what I do will never get old. Every day new people join my group & bring new knowledge to the conversation. I knew of no made in USA rubber ducky to recommend in my “safe bath toys” album (which is very, very small: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.573628525986125.145435.397517646930548&type=3). One day, “Good Ducks” came up when someone asked about safe bath toys. It’s amazing how something that is not a big deal to many, is a big deal to me. I get really, really excited when I find out about a company A: exclusively offering a made in USA option for this category where no other options exist and B: bringing back something that started here, went overseas and now is back. I was sent a “Good Duck”, it’s your typical-looking rubber ducky design. This is in contrast to their “CelebriDucks ” which are super cute & popular and modeled after celebrities. The Good Duck is $11.99

The benefits of this duck are:

100% made in America! PVC Free – Phthalate Free – BPA Free Medical and Food Grade Materials.

One of the safest rubber ducks for babies to teethe on

Completely sealed to keep out water so never any mold issues

Soft to the touch

Floats upright

Recyclable

Paint Free

Latex Free

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So what ARE they made of:  “these ducks are age graded to 0 using FDA approved food and medical grade materials…..you could virtually eat them!…. Technically, it would be call a synthetic rubber…..or TPR….TPE…..using medical and food grade resins….nothing safer!… “

ABOUT THE COMPANY: With a desire to create some of the safest rubber ducks in the world, CelebriDucks has just released their new ground breaking Good Ducks, now some of their most popular products and one of the top baby shower gifts on the market. It is considered by many the only rubber duck that a baby should ever teethe on and all manufacturing, design, and 100% of the materials are made in the USA.  It is PVC Free, Phthalate Free, and BPA Free using the highest grade medical materials available and comes in a very cute gift box in yellow, pink, and blue. The link below has pictures of both the ducks and babies teething on them. Babies absolutely love them. http://celebriducks.com/index.php/made-in-america/

The rubber duck was actually an original American invention before the whole industry moved overseas. CelebriDucks is pleased to lead the migration of The Rubber Duck industry back home to The United States. At www.CelebriDucks.com you can read more and view all of their limited edition Celebrity Rubber Ducks that were voted one of the top 100 gifts by Entertainment Weekly. They have sold millions of their products over the years and are now considered the top custom duck manufacturer in the world.

Craig Wolfe, CelebriDucks president remarked, “We consider The Good Duck our highest achievement as no other country has been able to do what we have done. The response to this product has been nothing less than amazing. Through listening to Mommy Bloggers we became convinced that there were no rubber ducks on the market which were safe enough for very young children to put in their mouths. None of the ducks were made from tested food grade and medical grade materials. Mothers complained that even the PVC free ducks had questionable materials which smelled like “chemicals,” had peeling paint, did not float upright, and were much too hard for babies. Parents spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on cribs, clothing, toys, etc. for their new born and are more than willing to spend a few dollars extra for a toy that their baby will have in their mouth day and night.” Mothers also complained that the natural latex ducks on the market caused allergies, degraded over time, took on water, and were often found to have black mold growing inside. Finally the moms did not trust the integrity of overseas manufacturing facilities.  Since the folks at CelebriDucks always listen to our Mothers, we created The Good Ducks to address all these concerns.”

 

The thing that I love the most about Craig, and all other made in USA manufacturing devotees I’ve met over the years, is their determination and pride at being able to make their dream into a reality! I love that a dream can still become reality, with enough hard work & determination! The Mom that told me about these duckies for the 1st time (then several others chimed in that they also had a ducky from this company) let me know that her daughter loves her ducky so much, that she takes it everywhere she goes, even sleeping with it. So the Mama was going to be placing an order for another ducky which would be devoted to the bath tub only. Craig also shared the same story with me, he was very happy & proud to know that his target audience was enjoying his product. He, and all others, take a big risk in bringing their product into production. My kiddos are definitely enjoying their duck. They take a bath every other night generally, and ducky has been a part of that bath since it arrived.  From Craig: “in terms of risks….you know I could spend all the money necessary, but what if my end user did not like our product….the babies!  What if they did not like the look or feel of our product…it’s not like we could do market research to ask them, eh.  That’s why it has been so amazing to see the response from the actual babies who LOVE them…..makes it all so worthwhile!!!!” I couldn’t help but chuckle at his sign off: may the bath be with you!

 

I hope you’ll support this made in USA ducky for your kiddos bath time fun. If they’re older & past the rubber ducky stage of their life, they’d made an excellent gift!!

http://celebriducks.com/index.php/made-in-america/

 

 

 

 

 

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Origin: FINALLY, a made in USA stainless steel baby spoon!

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(above photo taken from Origin website)

Review of a stainless steel baby spoon,  mostly made in Waukesha, WI (with components made in MN)!! As most of you know, finding anything stainless steel AND made, not just designed, in the USA is very, very tough. It’s one area that I will compromise my made in USA mission as I do feel stainless is a great option when glass (my 1st choice) isn’t an option AND the vendor conducts 3rd party testing to make sure the stainless is the real deal (free of heavy metals). So of course I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to pass along the great news that there finally is a made in USA option for this one category at least! Most of us take the 1st utensils our babe’s will eat from very seriously! I was sent this to review before it’s even available to purchase, but that date is coming up very soon: http://www.originutensils.com/products/the-origin-baby-spoon?variant=12933245319

About this spoon: “BPS, BPA, phthalates…it seems like every month there’s something else to avoid. How do you know what you’re using is safe? The fact is that when it comes to food contact, some materials are just better than others. Plastic and silicone may be fine when new, but after normal washing and use, dishwasher heat cycles and scratches, are they still hygienic? Is the material breaking down and becoming part of the meal?  Is today’s “safe” plastic tomorrow’s material to avoid? The Origin Baby Spoon is made of food-grade, 316 (18/10) stainless steel. This material is time tested and universally recognized as safe for food contact and preparation.  It’s not just BPA free, its everything free – and it won’t add little bits of plastic to your baby’s meal or emerge from the dishwasher looking strange.”

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(above photo taken from Origin website)

There is some great info in this link as to why the spoon was designed as it was: http://www.originutensils.com/pages/design

No, this spoon is not cheap at $33, but I assure you, they did not randomly choose that amount. That is the cost of bringing a stainless steel spoon made in the USA to market, and that is why you don’t see many such offerings. I know may not be able to swallow that price tag, but I do know that many of you can, and will, to show your support with your purchase of this product. We vote with our dollars, and if enough people can vote to show support for products like this, we will see more of them. 1st baby spoons turn into an heirloom item for many families. Will a plastic spoon be handed down from generation to generation? No. But this one surely can, and will be!

I will remind y’all when this has officially launched in the coming weeks, and hope this company meets great success so they can bring more products to the market!!

http://www.originutensils.com/

Just B: Made in USA Board Book Review

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Here’s the message I received from Melody, the Mama behind the book: “Thank you for providing a website dedicated to safe products for children made in the USA.  When my son was born I was very disappointed that almost all of the board books we purchased were manufactured and printed in China.  Thankfully one day while playing with my son, I had an ‘ah-ha’ moment and was inspired to write a board book and have it manufactured and printed in the USA.” That’s one thing I love about the people who bring a made in USA product into a reality. They had an ‘ah-ha’ moment one day, and they made that moment into a reality, for the benefit of all of us who hold similar values!

You can see the pdf of the covers here: cover

About the book: “Just B was created with those short attention spans in mind. The illustrations are bright, simple, and each page displays one object a baby may recognize on a daily basis, all that begin with the letter “B”. It’s a perfect first book to add to your baby’s library. Just B is printed in the United States by Pint Size Productions in Sanborn, New York. Every product complies with the CPSIA and ASTM safety testing requirements to ensure everything is safe in those adorable little hands.”

I agree, it is a perfect book for the youngest kiddos who are just beginning to be able to identify the world around them. It has very bright, bold pages with familiar objects for most babe’s. My 3 year old really enjoys being able to name objects, she really likes this book a lot! And of course, I absolutely love knowing that hard work & determination led to it being printed in NY, not China.

About Melody: “One day while playing with different consonants with my 6 month old son, I noticed many items he interacted with the first few months of life began with the letter “B”. I believed “B” was a great consonant to work with because it was easy for many babies to pronounce. It was then that I thought a great first book for babies would be one with illustrations of all the “B” items. Since then, one of my son’s favorite things to say is “Bah Bah Bah”. Enjoy and have fun making connections in the never ending learning process with your little ones. I am a mom to my amazing son, Garrison; wife to my wonderful husband, Rick; an avid yogi and planet earth lover. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Ecology and am presently writing my second children’s book inspired by my family and love of nature.”

I hope you’ll agree that supporting small businesses dedicated to keeping production of their product here in the USA is worth your vote with a purchase. This would be a great gift for a new Mom if you kiddos are past this stage of life. Thank you!

It’s available on Amazon for $7.95: http://amzn.to/1XVpeOs

And here’s her Fb page, where her most recent post was giving a shout out to me after she found my site! https://www.facebook.com/Just-B-Babys-First-Book-of-Objects-429542997166943/

 

 

Homemade Betty Product Review

Homemade Betty Product Review by page co-admin Jolene Marty

I was given the opportunity to review two products from Homemade Betty, a new small business that makes great products with fabulous ingredients! I was able to sample their Ink Slinger Balm – Tattoo Balm, and their Super Green Face Mask.

First, the company is owned by a really nice lady named Rebecca and she hand makes organic, vegan & fair trade skin care products. When asked about her process she has this to say:

“I started with making a body butter for my son who developed eczema. After perfecting the process, I asked, what else can I replace that we have? I started making everything that we used in our household! Everything that I sell has been tested on me & my family! I also try to make little impact on my carbon footprint as much as possible. I only make products when they are ordered, I only use glass jars that can be recycled or up-cycled. I also reuse all the packing noodles that are shipped to me to use for my customers. I try to make a full circle as much as possible. I am currently in the process of getting my bunny certificate and getting my EWG cert. I have also started the process to getting my USDA organic cert. but I see that happening in a year or two. Ninety-nine percent of my ingredients coming in are certified organic from either the USDA or Oregon Tilth. Plus, my products don’t have more than 5-6 ingredients in them.”

As you can see this is a wonderful company, that offers full transparency on their products, and are made to order. I really admire their goals of not only producing organic, vegan, and fair trade products, but also in trying to leave as small of a footprint as possible.

Now I know you are curious how much I liked the goodies I was sent, so on to the good stuff!

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The Super Green Face Mask came in a 4oz mason jar with a little wooden spoon attached so I could easily scoop the green powder into my hands. Of course it is made with safe and simple ingredients (Organic Bentonite Calcium rich clay & Organic Matcha Sweet Green Tea Powder) that also work well together. The powder was very easy to mix and apply. It also did not over dry my face, like most masks do. A little goes a long way with this powder so the 4 oz mason jar will last you a nice long time. I have used this a handful of times already and each time, it helped the smoothness of my face as well as the tone. It also helped to clear up some blemishes that were being stubborn in addition to some redness that was being very stubborn on my pale face. If you already have dry skin, or combination skin, this is your perfect match!

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Ok guys let’s talk about Ink Slinger Balm for a minute. I chose to review this one because I myself, as well as a lot of our readers, have tattoos. Mine tend to fade pretty quickly and when I try to ‘freshen’ them up a bit with lotions or creams, it is usually very, very temporary and then the older ones go back to looking really faded. I was truly impressed with this for tattoo care because it really did freshen up my ink and for much longer than anything I had tried before. I am applying in the morning and night and see a huge difference in my newest as well as my oldest one from over a decade ago. As a surprise test, since they also advertise that you can use it on freshly healing tattoos, I gave some to my father who happened to stop by my house with a fresh tattoo only a few days after I received my box of goodies from Homemade Betty! I scooped him some in a new mason jar and sent him on his way with the instructions of: use this instead of that junk they tell you to use from the tattoo shop! And he did! He told me this from using it, “I really liked using the cream you gave me. It soothed it and felt much nicer on my skin that what I was using. It also healed perfectly.” He told me next time he plans on getting a tattoo he will let me know so I can order some more!

There is one other use that I want to talk about for Ink Slinger Balm. Many of you know that my oldest, who is 10, suffers from a LOT of allergies and some pretty bad eczema. Lately the backs of his knees have been getting out of control. They itch, and sting, and hurt like crazy. The stuff we had been using we had just ran out of, and I thought that because the Ink Slinger Balm had some seriously amazing ingredients (Organic Raw Shea Butter, Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil, & Organic Baobab Oil) I decided why not give it a go on his legs. I applied the balm to the backs of his legs for three nights in a row and as you can see…it’s a little miracle worker. By the 5th night of applying it, there was no trace of his eczema at all. He was so happy to not be suffering, he has now requested this be his go to. He has been having horribly chapped lips as well. So of course we had him use it on his lips and they are so much better.

As you can tell it’s not JUST for tattoos. It is this mama’s little miracle worker and I rarely find a product I am so incredibly in love with but, this one for sure makes it to the top!

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Homemade Betty makes a plethora of great products with simple and nourishing ingredients. She is easy to get a hold of for questions and has a passion for making remarkable skin care products. She even offers bamboo toothbrushes in addition to her sunscreen, toothpaste, men’s care line, body butters, and a ton more! Be sure to go take a peek at her website and then go like and follow her on her social media!

Website: www.homemadebetty.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/homemadebetty07
Instagram: www.instagram.com/homemade_betty
Twitter: @HomemadeB
Email: rebecca@homemadebetty.com

Bannor Toys: Inspired Toys for Inspired Kids Review

It’s been a couple of years since I 1st did a review of Bannor Toys: Inspired Toys for Inspired Kids from my neighbors to the East in Iowa. At that time they had a pretty small, basic line, they were just getting started & sent me a couple of cars to review which you can read about below. Recently Stacy Bannor reached out to me to see if I’d like to update my review which of course I was thrilled to take her up on. She gave me a very generous gift certificate so I could pick out my own goodies which is always fun! They have added a LOT in the last couple of years, you can find these categories: rattles, plush gift sets, wooden toys, teethers, puzzles, matching games, learning tiles, blocks & Easter toys. I just love the assortment & of course that they’re wooden, battery-free, leaving your child to use their imagination to no end!

Since it was just a couple weeks before my Son’s 5th Birthday as well as Easter I headed for their Easter category 1st. I picked out 4 personalized bunny wands for my kiddos as well as my niece & nephew. They’re adorable & my kiddos needed some wands to go with their superhero capes they love to chase each other around in. The Easter matching toy is a fun game for my 3 year old, it has several different Eastery designs to match up. To make it more challenging you can flip them upside down to make it into a memory game.

PUZZLES are one of my absolute all-time favorite toys. We have a variety of them & I was so happy to pick up a few more to add to our collection. I love that these are 2-sided, so you get 2 puzzles in 1! We have the fairy tale as well as the monkey & lion, for $14 ea, I think these are steals!  Thankfully there’s a tile included to show you what they’re supposed to look like, as I was struggling myself, since they’re 2-sided they really aren’t easy, which is great for your kiddo who is a bit older. They’re fun, challenging, entertaining, all you want in a toy! I got the alphabet learning tiles which are perfect for my year old working on learning her alphabet. Each tile has the letter in upper & lower case one one side, and the flip has a photo of an object beginning with that letter, these are $28. I got the sight words matching game for my Son as well as my Niece. I’m working on reading skills with my 5 year old, these are great- $26. Half of the round tiles have photos, the other half words so you work to match them up. We have a basket full of our cloth bags from Bannor Toys with these puzzles & matching games inside, and we grab one, sit down & work on them together.

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Single tile next to & above puzzles shows what’s on the flip side. I couldn’t find the Easter matching game when I took the above photo, of course just as soon as I packed the above up, I found the Easter matching tiles, they are below:

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I’ve followed Bannor Toys Facebook page for a couple of years now, and have witnessed both their family & their business grow. Especially at Holiday time, a crazy time of year for all retailers, you really get an impression of what it’s like to be a small, truly family-run business. You’ll see pics of their kiddos at work with them, playing in a play area of the shop while Mom and/or Dad sand down or cut some toys. You’ll see posts from midnight by Stacy, after her kiddos are in bed & she’s working on filling orders. There’s something very special to me about knowing where & whom my dollars are going to support. I work hard for my money, and I know they do too so I feel great about purchasing from them, and recommending them to you!

Here are some facts from their website:

Where are your Toys Made? 

All of our wooden toys are 100% made here in the United States.  Our workshop is in our hometown of Des Moines, Iowa.  All of our lumber is sourced from Iowa and the Midwest.  The few parts that we do not make ourselves such as wood rings are made by a company in Texas, Illinois, South Dakota, and Maine.

 

Are your Toys Really Organic?

Yes, our wood is natural, we do not stain it.  We use Maple, Cherry, and Walnut woods and their natural colors.  Our finish is an organic beeswax and flaxseed oil mixture that is all natural and nontoxic so it is the perfect finish for baby’s mouth.  The oil brings out the color and the beeswax provides durability.  Our glue and paint are organic as well made from a company in the United States.  They are 100% safe, lead free, no VOC’s, and non-toxic. Our teethers are left “naked”, there is no finish on them.

 

What about Shipping Costs? 

Shipping is based on the weight of your order, for both domestic and international orders. For a domestic order, fill your cart up with as many toys as you want, your shipping will never go above $6.99 (excludes the purchase of large/oversized items like the toy boxs).  There is free US shipping on orders of $75 or more.  Shipping outside of the US is charged at cost, we know shipping is expensive overseas, we try hard to keep it low and will refund you if there is an overage of more than $2 for international shipping.  We have international shipping set up to Canada, Australia, and the UK.  If you are anywhere else please email us so we can set up a custom listing with the correct shipping.

How is Bannor Toys Eco-Friendly or Green? 

When we say we are eco-conscious we mean it.  Our number one raw material is wood.  We order our lumber from a company that provides FSC certified wood which means the wood is responsibly harvested and replanted.  We also have a zero waste policy with our wood.  We use every bit that we can for our toys and we use the small left over scraps to heat the workshop in the winter.  We even use the saw dust in our compost pile.  That’s right, we have a huge compost pile and a large family garden with rain barrels growing right outside the west side of the workshop.  In addition to using wood to heat the shop, we have fully insulated the shop to cut down on utilities and we also installed an insulated shop door this year as well.  We use energy efficient lighting and other systems in the shop where possible as well.  Besides the wood, we use environmentally friendly finishes, adhesives, and supplies as well.

 

Please follow this link to see some photos of them and read a great letter from each of them. Really, truly, your money is going family-to-family when you purchase from them: http://bannortoys.com/pages/about-us.

I hope you’ll take a look at their website to view their lovely products, and there’s a tab to sign up for their newsletter where you’ll be the 1st to learn of new products, sales, etc. I appreciate you taking the time to read my thoughts on this great family making toys in the Midwest of our great country. When I started my mission to find made in USA products 4 years ago, this was exactly what I had in mind!

My original review from wow, May 3 2013, 3 years ago to the very day, I had no idea!!!

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Bannor Toys is  one of the toy companies on my Made in the USA safe toy list. One thing I really like about doing reviews is it gives me an opportunity to learn more about the business and the products they make. Here’s a little bit about their family-owned & operated business located in my neighboring state of Iowa.

Bannor Toys is a small family-owned company that believes in education and development through quality, safe, and fun toys. Where do they get their wood: “All of our products are made in IowaAll of our wood is bought from two local lumber yards.  Both of the companies we buy from offer FSC certified domestic hardwoods (maple, walnut, oak, cherry, etc.)  We do buy a small amount of exotic wood (purple heart, yellow heart, etc.) for our “Woods of the World” building blocks and a few other toys.  We buy our exotic wood from the same two local companies that we buy the domestic wood from.  Most of our exotic wood is grown in forests in Central and South America.  We have been assured it is harvested and replanted responsibly. None of our products are made in China, me and my wife personally build every single item we sell here in Des Moines, Iowa.  None of our wood comes from China, and 95% of the toys we build use domestic woods grown and responsibly harvested in the U.S. All of our wood is hand-picked one board at a time to ensure quality and all of our finishes and paints are non-toxic and safe to be handled by children. Every product is inspected for safety. We believe that wooden toys are not only beautiful in any home; they also stimulate a child’s imagination. Their fabric rattle balls are handmade with a variety of fabrics including vintage chenile, broadcloth, flannel, minky and other textures that babies and kids love.

As with several other small family-run businesses I’ve done reviews for, these generous entrepreneurs donate a portion of every, single purchase to children’s charities such as Toys for Tots, and the Make a Wish Foundation! I love the spirit of giving back that I’ve encountered!

They sent me the 2 super cute cars that you can see in the attached photo, which arrived in a very cute fabric bag that can be used for storage or travel. My toddler (who recently turned 2) has had lots of fun pushing these cars around the house, and now that Spring has arrived, they’ve made it outside to the driveway with us. They are ffinished with Bannor Toys own beeswax and flaxseed oil finish, which is 100% organic and 100% non-toxic and it looks beautiful. You are able to choose between walnut, maple or cherry wood. These cars are very well-made & durable, and I have no doubt they’ll be around for many years for my next child to play with, and then to pass on to another family when we’re done with them! I absolutely love simple toys such as these that do exactly what this business has set out to do: help stimulate development through quality, safe, and fun toys.

They don’t have a huge line, but as I always state: quality over quantity is what’s important, and there surely is something for every babe/toddler! Categories of offerings include: Wooden Toys (several different stackers, a balancer, driving set, building & alphabet blocks ranging from $28-$45), Cars & Trucks (several makes & models ranging from $12-$38 for a set of 4), Baby Rattles (several great wooden ones, and several soft balls, ranging $10-$23 for a set of 2 balls), Block Sets with several great options (ranging $15-$45), Baby Gift Sets (love this category, great for your registry $24-$50) and Maple Teethers in many cute shapes & sizes ($12).

Please visit their website & FB pages for more info and to browse these quality, hand-crafted products yourself:

Website: http://www.bannortoys.com/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/MyBannorToys?fref=ts

The search for the best bubble bath

By page co-admin Jolene Marty

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Natural Bubble Bath / Ingredients of concern (main concerns, there could be others that are of concern but to a lesser degree)

1. Poofy Organics/ none, 2 options here: https://ecofriendlyusa.poofyorganics.com/search.aspx?searchterms=bubble

2. Bubble & Bee/ peppermint essential oil (most sources say to avoid in children under 6)/citric acid (many find it to be drying to skin)

3. Honest Company Bubble Bath/ Sodium Benzoate

4. BabyGanics Bubble Bath Fragrance Free / Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxythenol

5. Aveeno Stress Relief Foaming Bath / Fragrance, Formaldehyde, Polysorbate-80

6. Dolphin Organics Bubble Bath / Potassium Sorbate

7: Rainbow Research Organic Herbal Bubble Bath / Natural Fragrance, GSE

8. Burts Bees, Tear Free / Fragrance

9. California Baby / Sodium Benzoate

10. Nature’s Baby Organics / Sodium Benzoate

11. Baby Mantra 3-in- 1 / Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate

12. ThinkBaby Bubble Bath / Sodium Benzoate

13. Acure Organics Yummy Baby / Potassium Sorbate, Natural Flavors

14. Kiss My Face Kids Bubble Wash / Potassium Sorbate

15. Everyday Shea/ phenoxyethanol (used to a top choice, until they added the preservative)