The bride and I will be having our first child in less than two months. It is an exciting and busy time filled with learning and new experiences. One of the first things we have learned is that we know nothing about baby stuff. I know what a crib is but I couldn’t tell you which one is a good one or a safe one. The last two weeks I have jumped in and tried to learn as much as possible so that I can provide the very best for my future child.
Of course the very best should include “America Made”, but unfortunately such items have been hard to find in the infant space. All of the “made in the USA” cribs are essentially hand made. This makes them very safe and very beautiful, but it also makes them very expensive. We can’t afford a $1200 crib. In the stroller department I honest couldn’t find one made here.
It took some digging but I found a great American company that makes some terrific baby products right here in the USA. Here is a video of their workers and their factory.
Evenflo has been in business since the 1920’s and as they near their centennial anniversary they continue pump out quality children’s products are know for their safety and reliability. The above video is only a few minutes long but it gives you a deep understanding of what American made is all about, good hard working people like you or I trying to create the best products possible.
Just look at the reviews on Amazon for their “Tribute LX Convertible car seat”. Over 1000 customers have weighed in and this car seat has an almost perfect score. The “Evenflow Tribute LX”car seat exceeds most of the federal safety and crash test requirements, in some cases by a factor of two. No wonder it is the number one selling car seat on Amazon.
It comes in a wide variety of colors and at $59.99 it is priced far below its Chinese made counterparts. A superior American made product at a better price. What’s better than that?
Everywhere I turn I see new iphone 6’s popping up. Back in the 2000’s everyone wanted a smaller phone, now we have made a complete 180. People essentially seem to want small tablets that also double as phones. I tend to agree with this idea, every year I use my phone for more and more tasks and the bigger screen will certainly aid in that effort.
I still have my iphone 5s, but my contract will soon be up and I will have to decide which handset I want to be my sidekick in life for the following 2 years. One thing I will not have to decide is which case to buy. I have had my Pad and Quill wallet case for over a year now and I can’t say enough good things about it. Not only is it hand crafted in America, but it has stood the test of time.
I have dropped this case, jammed it in my front jeans pocket, or bounced it around in my cargo short pocket during the peak of the summer. Now it sits in my jacket pocket on these freezing NY winter days. Everywhere I go my phone and that case have been with me. The leather hasn’t cracked or ripped and the wood looks as good as the day that I bought it.
If you are the proud owner of a new iphone you would be well severed by one of pad and Quills cases. Perhaps this “Bella Fino” case is your style. It comes in sever different color combinations, has room for three cards and a license, and includes a space for your money.
It sells for $59.99 and as far as I am concerned is worth every penny. Ditch your wallet and carry your life in one pocket. Buy an American made product that can handle what your life will throw at it.
Earlier in the fall I wrote about Ohio base furniture maker “Sauder Furniture“. Today I am happy to report that I am the proud owner of one of their products. While I didn’t buy their clever little adjustable coffee table that I featured in the September article, I did purchase one of their technology piers. Having received and assembled the product I would like to share some of my thoughts.
Assembly – I’m not going to sugar coat it, it’s a bear. I am a pretty handy guy, I can assemble most things with relative ease. I probably put in about 3 hours into this bad boy. You really have to bring your A game on this one and a second set of hand would be recommended.
Quality – The reason it takes so long to put together is because it is so well made. The quality of the build and the detail set this piece part form many in this class.
Value – At just over 100 bucks I think this piece occupies a very unique spot. The build quality puts it right up their with some of the higher quality furniture makers, but the price is in the particle board assemble your own category. So while it’s not an heirloom grade piece of furniture it stands head and shoulders above the Ikea crowd.
I’ve had my technology pier for over a week and I am pleased with my purchase. Before this I had placed my printer on a shelf under my desk, now it is out and easily accessible. My technology pier looks so good I am now considered buying a matching Forge Desk. What can I say, buying American is contagious.
Common wisdom is often wrong. It is widely believed that America can no longer manufacture small things. No profit in it they say. An airplane or a car can be made here because of the expense, particularly with shipping. Small stuff, don’t even bother. The Chinese can do it cheaper.
It’s a good thing for us and their employees that Hopkins did listen to that bit of advice. They make well reviewed quality snow brushes right here in America. I bought one, I haven’t used it yet, but it seems fine. I got it on Amazon and they have cut the price since then. You can have it for $3.39. That is not a type, for less than 5 bucks you can have an American made snow brush.
Another incorrect bit of common wisdom is that American made stuff cost more. Looks like they were wrong again. If you need a snow brushes I an;t see why you wouldn;t buy one, at that price, buy it and out it in the closet until you do. Buying American couldn’t get any easier.
Electronics, regardless of brand or intended purpose they all have two things in common, you shouldn’t get them wet and its probably not a good idea to drop them. It’s great that you new camera has 23 megapixels and can take 12 pictures a second, but if it isn’t protected then you are setting yourself up for disaster.
You need a strong, solid case. As a professional TV news camera man I have been using “Pelican Cases” for many years. From my small “1020 Micro case” that I use to protect and transport my personal point and shoot digital camera to much larger cases that I use for my professional camera gear, theses cases stand apart from most of their competition.
Pelican products are used by professional photographers, police, firemen/EMT’s, and the military, occupations where expensive equipment is often places in extreme conditions.
Theses cases are water proof, crush proof, and dust proof. Best of all they are made in Torrance California and have been since 1976. Another great American product for buyers who value quality.
It seems like no one has a set of jumper cables. I found this out the hard way in New York City back in 2006. My work SUV was very old and ran out of juice. For over an hour I stopped dozens and dozens of cars. I didn’t have cables and neither did anyone else that I asked. Finally an FBI agent that I stopped took pity on me and gave me a jump. The take away, if you car is more than 4 years old, you need to keep a set of jumper cables in the trunk.
Jumping a car is a simple process, but it can go horribly wrong. This is usually caused by operator error, but it can also be caused by faulty cables. You are essentially directing a powerful current of electricity with wires you hold in your hands. You want to have good well insulated wires that won’t fray or crack over time. This is not a time to get cheap.
Some quality “American made” cables from Quick Cable are just what you need. The “Rescue” line of cables that are tangle proof, perform well in subzero temperatures, and are constructed with fine stranded copper for maximum conductivity. They retail for $33.18 and are engineered and manufactured in the good ol U S of A. If you have an older car you should probably consider buying a pair. Keep them in the truck, they’ll be waiting for you when you need them. Who knows, you might be giving a stranded Piggy Bank Builder a jump one day.
Going green is more than just a trendy slogan, its even more then being environmentally friendly, its about making healthy choices. The last two decades have seen huge change, a questioning into what we put in and on our bodies. When I go food shopping I check the ingredients and I am always comforted by a very short list. If I pick up a bottle of iced tea and it reads “black tea leaves, sugar from sugar cane, and citric acid” I feel good about buying it. I don’t want to eat a chemistry experiment or have one touching my body.
My Bride is even more aggressive at this than I am. When we first moved in together she was very critical of my cleaning products. I reluctantly switched. When a choice didn’t work, we switched to something else. Despite my reservations, I am happy with this decision. I feel that all of the alternate products that we have adopted have worked out just as well as their chemically counter parts.
One of the most common brands that we have started using is “Seventh Generation“. It’s a relatively new brand, founded in the early 1990’s. Until about 2 years ago, I was unaware of it and as I mentioned prior, I was skeptical. I am happy to report that I was wrong. I enjoy their products and would recommend them to others.
As my wife and I move towards starting a family, I have kept an eye out for products that would work for us. One of the first products you are going to need if you are going to enter parenthood is diapers. Seventh Generation make chemical free, hypoallergenic diapers right here in America.
A 144 count pack sells on Amazon for $43.96, even less if you are an Amazon Mom or subscribe and save member. The reviews are very strong, it seems like many parents are opting to go chemical free and I agree with them. A safe, American made product will be at the top of my Daddy grocery list. If you are a new parent you might consider doing the same.
One of the biggest purchases you will make for your home is furniture. Practically ever time I turn on the TV I see a commercial for bargain bottom priced furniture sets from odd looking pitchmen. Some use cartoons, some us flashes graphics, but they all have the same theme, cheap is good. Low prices are all they talk about. Not quality, not durability, not even stylish looks, cheap cheap, cheap.
About 10 years ago I fell for that trap, I bought a cheap bedroom set from some big box store. It looked nice enough and I thought I got a deal. Three years in and it started to fall apart. Now ten years out and I need a new set. If I had bought quality the first time I probably wouldn’t be in this situation.
In my quest for new furnishings I have been searching all over the web. I found a few places I like, but one of the stand outs is the “Maine Cottage”. Their products really are impressive, from their bright and exciting color options, to their simple shaker design. They offer handcrafted pieces that will last you a lifetime, perhaps even more then a life time.
They start with solid white maple wood and a skilled craftsman takes that wood and turns it into something truly beautiful. They offer you an impressive selection of colors and materials that will allow you to select a unique and personalized piece that will fit perfectly into your home decor. In a world of cheap particle board and mass production, Main Cottage stands apart.
Personally I like their“Island Bed”. Its simple design and clean lines really draws me in. I can picture it in my bedroom and I know it is a sturdy solid item. It sells for $2290, which I realize is pricey, but if you want quality you have to pay for quality. I don’t have that type of cash on hand, but if and when I do I will certainly look at Maine Cottage, I might even take a drive down to their showroom.
If you are in the market for some furniture, ditch the particle board and the flimsy design for some hand craft American made quality.
Wooden ABC blocks are a truly timeless toy. You probably played with them, it’s likely that your parents did as well, and its possible that your children will do the same. Simple classic toys like theses are education and fun. They promote coordination in really young ones and an introduction to the alphabet as they learn and grow.
So many things are made of cheap plastic that wooden blocks almost seem luxurious. “Uncle Goose” hand craftstheir blocks in their Grand Rapids, Michigan factory. The craft and detail is quite impressive and the bright colors and patterns will surely catch your child’s eye. The blocks are carved from basswood and are adorned with safe, non-toxic ink.
A set with a storage and carry bag seeks online for $36.95, a bargain price for a quality “American made” toy that will entertain and educate your child for many years.
I want to begin by apologizing for my recently absence. Between my plumbing adventures and a recent bout of food poisoning I have not had the time required to write. All is better so here I go.
My shower is from the 1960’s and I can only guess that back in the day people didn’t have as much complexity in their daily bathing routines. No luffas, no facial scrub, no conditioner, or moisturizers. I believe this because my bathtub has one small self, for a single bar of soap. That’t it, everything else has to sit on the edges of the tub where they randomly get knocked in or out of the tub.
After nearly three months of this I said enough. I need a shower caddy and I set about finding one. I started my search where I always do, Amazon. To my surprise the #1 rated bathtub/shower organizer was “Made in America” by a companycalled Zenith. Now, don’t get me wrong, it makes sense that the best product was made here as I have often found that to be the case. What struck me was that an American company still made such an organizer. I had honestly thought that the never ending flood of cheap Chinese products had pushed out domestic manufacturers long ago. I am pleased to see that I was wrong.
The surprises continued to come when I saw the Price of the Zenith Shower Caddy, $13.39. I was sold. I ordered it and two days later it arrived. I will warn you, the assembly is a little tricky and the instructions are not very helpful. Here is another tip, the caddy is designed for a shower stall. If you have a tub you need to leave out the bottom section. That last part stumped me for a bit.
Now that its in I really like my Zenith shower caddy. All of our stuff fits nicely on it sand I no longer have to worry about my soap turning to mush in our soap dish. Another great American made products in my home, certainly worth the 13 bucks I paid for it.
Any articles on this site should not be taken as financial advice. Please consult your financial advisor for specific recommendations regarding your personal situation. All references to interest rates, giveaways, deals, products, and websites can change without notice. I try to keep the information on this site current, but things change, deals expire, circumstances may be different now than when they were first published. Finally, all the pages on PBB are monetized by VigLink.