Monday, June 25, 2007

Ramblings in sidewalk chalk

Simple toys are always our favorites, but even they aren't safe anymore. Lead paint on Thomas the Train toys shocked me. I've always worried that Made In China items aren't manufactured under proper guidelines, especially cheap wooden toys. But isn't Brio (and its subsidiaries) a brand mothers should trust?

The tainted dog food scandal has me questioning even the human food produced in China, especially Walmart's affordable organic products. Who can really know for sure, when things are made in a Communist country on the other side of the world?

I already make so many staples from scratch, from crackers to dishwasher detergent. Will these new threats require me to become a one-woman manufacturing company? It's hard finding the balance between cautious parenting and a small budget.

If you need me, I'll be out in the garage sanding a new set of blocks from non-pressure-treated wood.

17 comments:

marycelery said...

Well said, Meredith.

I am profoundly concerned about things made in China - especially food! I am still working out how to balance food safety on my very modest budget. I love the idea of the 100 mile diet, but I live in the middle of a desert!

Please blog about your choices and what you do to balance these two.

Blessings.

Miss Mary

Anonymous said...

My father and my husband both love to work with wood. I am lucky to have had a huge supply of wood scraps for years and have built a huge block supply for you day care children as well as my grandchildren to play with. All pieces are natural wood, and have been sanded to remove any rough spots. That's it. NO paint, no wax, no other harmful things that might go into little mouths. Over the years I have gathered more than 500 blocks of all kinds and sizes. They are the most popular toy in this day care. I keep them in a large wooden box my dad made for me....Roxie (in Texas)

Anonymous said...

I too worry very much about the food I feed my family and the food I feed these day care children. I know it is not a solution that everyone can do, but we grow a whole lot of the produce we eat right in our own back yard. We have a modest garden with plenty of veggies. As I am in Texas we can grow food almost year round. A lot of food also comes from the local farmers market. We got blueberries this week, a bit high at $3.00 a basket (quart) but well worth it for the muffins and pan cakes I made. I even had enough to hand the children to eat while I made the pan cakes. I try very hard to be aware of where our food comes from. I buy eggs from a local farmer. I buy meat too local. I think it is worth it to know I am feeding the children as best I can. I do keep the budget reasonable. I spend less than $100.00 a week to feed my family (4) and the 8 day care children. Roxie

Anonymous said...

As for food safety vs the budget I think this is where eating a large variety can help. This way any one food makes up a smaller percentage of your diet. How do you make your dishwasher detergent? It is so expensive to purchase. I detest the ammount detergents eat into my budget. Thank you for demonstrating to the world that frugal can be elegant.
-Melissa

2boysmama said...

How much time and money does it take to make your own dishwashing detergent? Just curious.

2boysmama said...

and what recipe do you use for your own crackers? That sounds interesting

Anonymous said...

Hi Meredith! I just wanted to let you know that I emailed you on your merchant ships address & didnt know if that was a regular email for you or not. I know I have 2 email accounts, my regular one that I've had for years(that I emailed you on) & one that came with bellsouth that I hardly ever go to.

Anyway, I hope you're having a great Monday so far getting your project done in the garage! Oh, also thanks for the tips about potential dangers of products & food.

Blessings!
Rosie(another TN mom!)

Meredith said...

Rosie, I don't think your email came through! I did have an email from RoseAnne in TN, but I replied to that one.

If you're not one and the same, try again : )
likemerchantships@yahoo.com

mama k said...

I too, am very concerned. We have toxic chemicals leaking in our baby bottles and sippy cups, lead paint on toys, even "organic" doesn't mean what it once did.

It is very hard to ballence budget, health and precious time!

{Karla} said...

i hadn't thought about this in these terms... now I am anxious to hear some of your recipes for your staples and how you balance it (like marycelery)

blessings,
Karla

Brandy said...

I would love the dishwasher detergent recipe...

Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

I think there is alot about the "made in China" items that would scare us all. But we keep paying for them because they're cheap. We're a culture stuck in the sale aisle at walmart. Well, at least most of us.

And I second the dishwasher recipe. Do tell.

nancyr said...

I would also love the dishwasher recipe. I make my own detergent, laundry stain treatment, shower spray, etc., but not dishwasher detergent.
Hope you have time to post your recipe some time. Thanks.

Donna said...

I so agree about the products from China. I try and not to use them because of the recent scares.

Honey said...

We don't have many painted wood toys-just alphabet blocks and Melissa & Doug animals. I am looking at our alphabet blocks with teeth marks in them and paint chipped off. :( I am going to try to find out where they were made. If there is any doubt, I will get rid of them. We have a small amount of plain untreated solid maple blocks from http://www.barclaywoods.com/home.htm At the beginning of the year, they discount their sets from last year. It is still outrageous but a great gift idea if everyone in the family will chip in. You have been one to encourage us to switch to natural. :)

Honey said...

P.S. You cracked me up when you said you'd be building your own, but then I thought "She just might do it!" On that web site http://www.barclaywoods.com/home.htm there are instructions for making your own actual standard unit blocks! (It looks like a lot of work, but if you have the wood and tools, and time, you can do it!). My 2 yr old comments on how the sizes fit together and doesn't realize he's learning math since they are standard unit blocks.

Marsha said...

My husband and I chose a long time ago to not purchase items made in China - especially toys and products related to Christian holidays - for reasons of economic and social justice. I couldn't stomach the thought of buying a toy for my children to enjoy that had been made by a parent who seldom to never got to see his or her children or by another child who would never have the opportunity to play with the things he or she made. And holiday items? The very idea of buying Christmas decorations made by a people for whom the choice to celebrate Christmas could result in vicious oppression or imprisonment was one that I simply couldn't justify by any means. And now, with so much safety-related news, we have all the more reason, sadly enough.

"Cheap" in the store aisle almost never translates to "cheap" in any other sense.