USA Made

Pop-up shop tonight in West Seattle!

We have been having a blast doing the Starbucks outdoor summer events and meeting other friendly handcrafted neighbours like Wooden Clothespin. They are a handmade business using recycled fabrics and fun modern prints for coffee/tea cozies, quilts, bags and more. I have gotten a few mason jar drink containers with glass straws, cozies etc and I love it. I use it all the time.  I’m big time in using glass for our entire family.  Stuff just tastes better in it.

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Like this beauty.

If you are in the West Seattle area, you need to visit the pop up, grab a cup of good java from Bird on Wire Expresso!  They will have beer, wine, food and crafts!  How awesome is that? Here are the deets:

Every third Wednesday (and tonight)

Time: 6 – 9pm

Where: Bird on a Wire Expresso

Address: 3059 SW Henderson St., Seattle, WA

We are so thankful for your support and this is a way to shop and eat local and empower women in empoverished conditions.  You are AWESOME!

 

Friday Finds: Toy Edition

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Duplo

Our family digs Duplo.  We haven’t graduated to Lego yet because M likes to put everything in her mouth and Pax is not quite tidy enough to clean up all the little pieces. I love this rather sweet Winnie the Pooh set. If you check out Amazon Warehouse deals then sometimes you can score some good deals with Duplo.  Just search “Amazon Warehouse” and look to see what kind of savings you could score.  Lego has a good fair toy standards which is why we love lego because it’s also so versatile. Pax just loves to use the blocks to build houses, boats, dogs — you name it. It’s a great learning toy for children.

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Recycled green toy rocket made in the USA.  Love these toys.  Pax saw this at the toy store the other day and was playing with it the whole time. We have the boat which we use for the bath.  Great durable toy.

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Dsenyo works with women in Malawi to empower them with jobs and I’m inspired by the founder of this company and what she is doing.  It’s great.  I saw these plushies in person at a fair trade market place back in Austin and I have always loved the bunny one.  Love the mix of African fabrics here.  Great price!

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Yay!  Finally posted up our lovely plush toys handmade by near deaf/deaf women in China. I love these so much. Meira is now hugging both of them to sleep.  The detail on these are amazing.

Happy Friday!

 

Friday Finds: Shorts!

Friday finds, on a Saturday. I’m in vacation mode and I don’t have my computer with me so it’s bloggins on the fly — and I’m also taking care of 3 kiddos too. We are still having some great warm weather here in Seattle (actually I’m in Vancouver but it’s relatively the same!) and I found some cute shorts from One Mango Tree:

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Cute eh?  They are on sale from 36 to 21.60.  Act now! They’re a cool fair trade fashion line and have great colour and patterns to their dresses and tops.

I also came across some usa made men’s shorts which are great for the outdoor dude:

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$79

From a Colorado based company called Topo Designs. Nice clean simple lines. This one is a cotton/nylon blend so it probably dries quickly. Good length for men. All their stuff is made in the USA.  That’s vey cool indeed.  This kind of wear and look should be made in Colorado, right? I love all their backpacks and bags. It had me thinking about a backpack that I used to carry in my elementary and high school years. It was the same brand over the years because it was such high quality and at the time made in Japan.  When I saw their stuff, it reminded me of my school back pack I carried.

For the kiddos, I would check out Winter Water Factory for short pants.  I love their stuff. Meira has a couple of dresses from them.  Fun colours and clothes that are hip but they still look like a kid, you know?  I love clothes that are comfortable for play for a kid, stylish but not overly grown up. They are having a Fourth of July sale so hurry, it ends tomorrow!

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Summer is here: Made in the USA Swimsuits

paxsummer-1Phew, it was hot this weekend for Seattle!  90+? Yeah, that’s hot for us.  Our pale skins got a wee bit of a tan while we spent some time visiting the Museum of Flight this weekend. It got me thinking of beach summerwear for the family. It’s so expensive to buy bathing suits in the first place and I’m sure it’s difficult to find USA made or even fair trade bathing suits but since the 4th of July is coming up, I thought I would research and find USA made bathing suits for everyone.

Here is the best of what I found online:

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$152

After two kids, I rather have a one piece.  This is cute and flatters the body.  Although — I do like the two piece in the sense that I could get different sizes since I have the smaller upper body and bigger lower body thing happening so if there was a two piece that covered my belly, that would be key. Company is called Tara Grinna from South Carolina.  Nice stylish suits for women.

Blue-Swimwear-198x300 NoNetz_Model_1024x1024$40 and $47

 

From a company called NoNetz in NYC.  Chafe free for the boys in your life.

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$40

From Bella Bear Wear — they were funded by kickstarter and the special thing about their suits is that it snaps right off so it’s convenient for mom/dads to change their kids diapers quickly and snap back into their bathing suit.  Their suits also have a skin protectant. I really like the idea of this for my wee babe — and I like this plaid pattern.

Gotta jet — Happy Canada day to my fellow canadian friends. It’s so hot in the house that my kids are a little crazy so I think I need to get them out and cool them down somehow.

Friday Finds: Summer Dresses

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$104

It’s hot here in Seattle.  When I mean hot, I mean about high 80’s.  Okay, it’s not Austin TX where it reaches 105 by 8am but for my weak Pacific Northwest body, it’s hot enough.  The kiddos and I were at the beach and I saw this really class looking mum wearing a beautiful tunic style dress and it got me thinking of the perfect summer dress that is stylish and can handle the wear and tear of being around kids.

Always a favourite in my bookmarks is People Tree based in the UK.  This Orla Kiely heart dress is super sweet and if you add thick black plastic frames, then you’ll definitely be the hippest lady in town. I was wearing my People Tree stripey shirt until someone had an explosive diaper.  Oops!  Well, a good washing will fix that right up.

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$40

It’s on sale! I like this dress because you can put a tie on and it looks like a completely different dress but you could also leave unbelted and it makes a lovely swishy kind of light summer breezy dress. I like the circle detail.  I would get it in the mauve colour.  This dress is from Fair Indigo.

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$45

I love me some stripes.  This is also the perfect 4th of July kind of dress or maybe France perhaps? I love the colour blocking, the colour combo and it’s made in the USA.  I found this dress on Mod Cloth. Looks like it’s a nice travel dress, doesn’t wrinkle up and has some give to the fabric.  Lots of good reviews on Modcloth.

I still have a pouch from my two babies but I’m determined to get slim and fit into one of my green retro looking Peopletree dress that I got eons ago.  It’s still a little tight but it’s getting closer!  I’ll have to show you all the results when I can just lose that last 10 lbs!

#FTSummer

Happy Monday! I want to ride my BICYCLE!

What did you do this father’s day?

It was Papa’s birthday and we went to have gluten-free pasta at Maggiano’s.  Boy.  Was it busy there! My pasta was yum num num and I love getting the classic pastas and bringing one home.  Yes!  I have lunch options the next day.

conquer cancerWe also went to cheer on my brother on his ride to conquer cancer.  Epic bike ride from Vancouver to Seattle.  So happy to see him roll in.  He’s the one holding his camera phone to the finish line.  It’s pretty cool to see how he has really gotten into this long distance bike riding.  He’s eating healthier, working out and looks great!

There were some fancy looking bikes and it even got me all excited about biking.  How about a handmade bamboo bicycle made in Seattle?

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Photo courtesy of Monsoon Cycles

There is this company called Monsoon Cycles in Seattle that makes these cool bamboo framed bicycles.  There is a huge bike culture here in the Pacific Northwest and I think this would be a cool bike to test out.  Made in the USA, using renewable materials, and reducing your carbon footprint.  What’s not to love?  I first saw this bike at local shop as a displayer and it looks oh so very cool.  I have yet to test it out.  I think that would be something T has to check out since he’s more of a bike rider than myself.  I’m more the leisurely stroll biker.

First posted at Lil’Soak + Friends

#FTsummer

 

Friday Finds: What would I buy for my dad?

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starts at $40 for an 8 x 8.

Have you all heard of Woodsnap?  They put prints and illustrations on wood. I can attest that it’s the most awesome personal gift you can give to your dad.  It’s a good way to involve your kiddos too.

Our 3 year old loves to snap photos from our phones and also my DSLR.  He has taken some pretty good snaps, and I think it would be great to take a few of those and get an 8 x 8 print done on wood to put a collection together.  Your kids would be so proud to have their art up and it’s something personal for the whole family.

I got one done for T for his birthday which happens to hit right on Father’s Day.

We don’t have any family photos and so I asked my good friend Lil to illustrate our family and it turned out so good!  I already gave it to him early because I was just too excited to wait until his birthday.

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I would buy this for my dad.  Mend has a line of bags and accessories made by women in Northern Uganda.  100% of the profits goes towards Invisible Children‘s mission.  Sweet.  Check out their goodies because it’s really well made and stylish.

I hope we gave you some good ideas for your dads on his special day.  Enjoy your weekend!

#FTsummer

 

Father’s Day Ideas: BBQ. Enough said.

What celebrates your Pa more than a good old fashion bbq?  It hits on that time when the sun shines longer and you get to eat food outside and relax on your deck.  Even if you don’t have a deck, you can even go to a nearby park/beach bring one of those cheap coal bbq sets and it’s still a great way to celebrate your big guy’s day.

Our suggested meal plan:  burgers, roasted sweet potato fries or roasted veggies, drinks, ice cream,

Hamburger Recipe

Forget buying frozen prepped patties, you can make your own and it’s simple!  We our picky about our meat so we have started ordering all our meat from a butcher in Walla, Walla Washington called Blue Valley Meats. They have 100% grass fed beef and are even starting to introduce meat that are gluten free — meaning that the food/feed that they are feeding their animals have no gluten in them. Their chicken, well it tastes like chicken.  Sounds silly but these days, with our food being so processed, sometimes things just don’t taste how they should taste.  Prices are very reasonable for happy meat.

  • 1 lb of  ground chuck (should be a little fattier)
  • half an onion chopped finely
  • red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste
  • Buns (I like brioche buns but Tim is gluten-free.  Rudi’s makes a good gluten free bun)
  • cheese (We are partial to cabot cheddar cheese. So tasty!)
  • tomatoes (there are fair trade certified ones sold in PCC Health Markets or Whole Foods)
  • Lettuce
  • Condiments to your liking

Put the ground chuck in a bowl. The cut should be fattier because it makes a juicier burger. Add the chopped onion, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  I would be aggressive with my salt (2 tsp) to bring out the taste of the burger.  Mix all the ingredients together by hand but do not over mix.  Form patties the size of your palm. Toss it on the grill.  Cool one side for longer about 5-7 minutes and then the other side for about 2 to 3 minutes.  It shouldn’t take all that long to cook if you have loosely packed your patties.  Add your cheese after you have flipped your burger so it will be all nice and melty.

Toast your buns,  TOAST!  I can’t stand a soggy bun! Add it to the grill just a minute before you need to take the burgers off the grill.

Top it off with tomatoes, lettuce (we liked those boxed organic mixed lettuces) and smear it with your condiments.  I like mayo and dijon on mine.

Ice Tea Recipe

When I lived in Austin, I loved Zhi Tea’s peach ice tea.  It’s fair trade and organic and it’s probably the tastiest peach tea I have had so far. You can get their tea online. I’m obsessed with tea and the amount of tea I have can fill a whole pantry shelf.  Yikes.

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$15.95 for 3.5 ounce tin

Peach Sweet Ice Tea

  • looseleaf tea
  • sliced peaches
  • sliced lemons
  • sugar syrup (we use a fair trade certified cane sugar that you can buy even get from Costco!)

The ratio of tea to water is usually 1:1 but the size of spoon you use depends on how large the tea leaves are.  For larger leaves, I like using about a 1/2 tbspn.  For smaller leaves I would go 1 tsp.  For this brand I would go for 1 tablespoon.  Boil 8 cups of water and add your tea leaves.  I like to simmer my tea leaves for about 5 to 6 minutes.  Strain the tea into a jug, put it in the fridge to cool.

To make the sugar syrup, for this amount of water, I would add a half a cup of cane sugar  and half a cup of water.  Boil until a pot until the sugar dissolves.  Add it to the tea.

Just before serving, add 1 peach sliced and half a lemon sliced.

If your man likes beer than I hear there is a fair trade beer from Peak Organic Brewing Company.  How is it fair trade?  Apparently, one of their brews uses fair trade coffee mixed with beer.  That is one crazy combination.  I have no idea how that would taste!

Last but not least.  ICE CREAM!

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Ben and Jerry’s is FAIR TRADE certified!  I just bought this on sale at Safeway for $2.50.  I was hankering for chocolate.  I can’t wait to try it.  GMO free, not owned by a huge food conglomerate .  I read that Unilever (which owns most ice cream brands) aquired Ben and Jerry’s in 2000 so it’s not a family owned company.  Unilever is however committed to sourcing responsibly in their pantry food brands and teas in a certain timeframe.  Good news for that!

After this post, I feel like having a bbq myself.  I just need to get myself a bbq.

#FTsummer #Father’sDay

Father’s Day Ideas: super athlete edition

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$25 -$125 (depending on what kind of good, better, best ball you want)

Tim would be paying attention to this post.  Your dad or hubby an health nut?  Does he love to cross-fit, training for a triathlon or just get that giddy look in face when he is about to participate in competitive sports? Well, we have found some goodies for you.

Senda Athletics is a company that makes fair trade soccer balls. The founder loves the sport and see just how much joy a simple ball can bring communities together, in the love for the spirit of the game.  He decided to make the balls fair trade because in order to support the non-profits, bringing soccer to poor communities, these balls themselves should be made in the most fair conditions so that the ball is enjoyed by all.  You can be assured that the ball you are kicking around was made in safe working conditions and paid a fair wage for their work.

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1. Barefooters Shoes           $100                                           2. WSI Peformance Shorts    $19.50

We are big purveyors of running barefoot.  Let me tell you it’s VERY hard to find shoes that are not made in China.  All the barefoot ones are made in China and while I know there are factories in China that are good and fair, I haven’t begun to research that in terms of the barefoot shoes but these barefooters happen to be made in Italy and even though they call it a post workout shoe, I think I would wear it to work out in.  I mean, right now, I wear converse type shoes to run and do my sports and this looks like a shoe you could run in.

WSI Sports specializes in men and women’s performance athletic wear.  All made in the USA.  Some pretty great work out gear.  Simple, sweat wicking and has style.

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1. Land’s End Durable Goods Tee $29.00  $19.99

It’s on sale!  Land’s End Durable Goods line are all home spun cotton and all sewn in the USA. This is great, brings jobs back to America. They have it in a variety of colours but I love this green.

Now go outside with your dad and kick the ball, shoot the puck or whatever will get you outside playing sports in the sunshine!

#FTsummer

 

Father’s Day Ideas: Hipster Edition

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I just moved from the most hipster part of America: Austin, TX and I can so see these on these dads over there.  I love the Krochet Kids company. They started out with crochet hats (very much hipster too) and their artisans from Peru and Northern Uganda sign each hat they crochet.  I love that personal touch.

They even have hair accessories for the ladies but may not look so good on the hipster dad but how about:

 

A super quality waxed canvas made by the good folks at Moop.  Been drooling over their bags for men/women.  They handmake all their bags in their Pittsburgh.  Super sweet! Made locally here in the US.   Your Pop can put his ipad in his bag, sling it over his shoulder,  stroller over to his handy bike to ride to work or study.

Just add a pair of skinny jeans from Gustin and a hipster plaid shirt and done.  Happy hip father’s day!

#FTsummer

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