Posts Tagged ‘wooden toys’

Toddler Gift Guide

Monday, December 12th, 2016

Curious what to get the sweet toddler in your life, or need ideas for well-meaning family members? As a mama of a four-year-old, a two-year-old and a six-month-old, I have a few ideas to help!

Here’s my timeless toddler gift guide:

Melissa & Doug | Wooden Play Food


I am the world’s biggest fan of all things Melissa & Doug. Their toys never fall into the “annoying” category and the longevity of playability is incredible. I know that whenever one of my children is gifted anything from Melissa & Doug, it is a gift for all three. I specifically chose this toy, because my 4 and 2-year-old are very into all things cooking at the moment. I suspect my baby will enjoy this in the future as well!


Hape | Blocks 30th Anniversary Edition

It’s no secret that toy longevity and playability matters to me. I am a minimalist by nature so I want a few things that can be used in a lot of ways for a lot of years. Enter- blocks! My kiddos have a set of these and it’s always what comes out when friends are over. Also, for this set of blocks, Hape is donating a toy to a child in need in Afghanistan, Syria, Nepal, China, Zimbabwe.

Green Toys Tool Set BLUE

Now, I must give the caveat that my older children are boys. But they love, love, love playing with toy tools and pretending to be just like their daddy and their grandpa. Again, a toy that is shared and loved by all and will continue to be enjoyed for years. They even have a pink set for those handy girls out there!


Green Toys | Watering Can

My husband and I have just started dipping our toes into the world of gardening, but our kids are more than happy to help! Any way we can get them involved in one of our projects is a win for us as a family. Toddlers love to be included and they love to have their own gear. I think this is a great gift for any toddler!

I know any of these gifts will be a hit for the toddler in your life! Happy holidays!


Kara Garis is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to two active boys and a baby girl. She lives with her husband in Oklahoma and loves running, cooking, traveling, reading and teaching herself how to braid. She blogs very infrequently at 

The Cost and Value of Natural Living

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Today’s post is brought to you by guest blogger, Amy. In addition to being a loyal fan and costumer at Mom’s Milk Boutique, Amy writes a consumer’s guide for environmentally conscious living at The Mindful Home. Her blog is dedicated to helping people with busy lives find eco-friendly products. I invited her to be a guest blogger this month in honor of Earth Day on April 22. Amy shares with us her thoughts on….

The Cost and Value of Natural Living:

At first glance, one might balk at the price tags of wooden toys, cloth diapers and all of the other consumer goods associated with a natural and sustainable lifestyle. This reaction begs the question – what are we really paying for as consumers? What are the costs and ramifications of focusing on quantity for cheap over quality? What impact do those decisions have on our health, on the lives of others, and on society in general?

Let me start by saying that we have been surviving on my husband’s income as a carpenter, and are by no means living the high life. Yet we are compelled to make conscientious decisions as consumers, and try to adhere to a “less is more” principle when it comes to purchases, as well as avoiding plastic unless it’s absolutely necessary

When you talk to parents who prefer to buy toys made of natural materials like wood for their children, the general consensus seems to be that it is far better to have a handful of well made, heirloom quality toys that will inspire lasting, age-limitless imaginative play and endure for generations, over stacks of breakable, seemingly disposable plastic toys. While my daughter is only approaching her 3rd birthday, we have still only had 3 toys of hers break, and all of them were able to be repaired with a little wood glue.

The less is more way of life doesn’t just apply to toys. Do we own stainless steel, insulated sippy cups that cost the same as 6-10 plastic ones? Yes, but we own two. Two that we rotate each day, and a third uninsulated bottle for water – that’s it. Do we own some pricy tempered glass plates to heat my daughter’s meals on? Yes, and again, we own two. There’s no overflowing cabinet in our home with stacks of throw away cups and plates. Now I will admit we only have one child so far, but I know we would still make it work with whatever we had, and the few items we do have will last for many children

Besides buying less, we have found plenty of other ways to make up for what can at times appear to be a higher cost of say, a wooden teether vs. one made of PVC from Target. Making as much as we can from scratch is one way, but I realize not everyone has the time to do that. However, even busy lifestyles could perhaps try out the biggest way we save, which is by reducing our use of disposables. Unpaper towels, cloth diapers and wipes, mama cloth, part time use of family cloth, reusable food storage over plastic bags… all an investment up front, but the payoff is huge and if you ask cloth users, every single one will tell you that a couple extra loads of laundry a week is doable no matter what your schedule, and entirely worth it. My daughter grew very quickly, and now that she’s 2.5 we’ve been using our large sized cloth diapers for well over a year and a half. Hopefully we won’t have to much longer, but even so, I cannot even calculate how many times each diaper has been used. So when I look at a diaper for $20 that I can use for close to two years and they are shockingly still in great shape for another child, I can only think of how many one-time use diapers I’d get for $20? Furthermore, we’ve had all of our velour cloth wipes since day one, and they are barely worn and would easily last another couple of years for a second child. Forty cloth wipes at $1.25 each vs. the number of disposable wipes to diaper 2 children start to finish? I’ll take the cloth wipes any day!

The greatest driving force for us is the repercussions of living a plastic-based, disposable lifestyle. From the bodily harm that chemicals like BPA, phthalates, PVC and flame retardants can present, to the ramifications of using plastic – polluting the earth, often poisoning its inhabitants during both the production and the disposal, and using up natural resources – the costs are too high for us. There are ways to avoid plastics, and we are extremely passionate about that decision in our own lives.

I fully acknowledge that there is a little extra work involved, like doing the research to seek out safe products (something I try to help people with in my own blog), or having to order products from some obscure online store rather than picking it up at the local Target. But for us, we feel that every purchase is a means of promoting change. Whether it’s supporting a smaller retailer over a big box giant, casting a vote by increasing the demand for organic and eco friendly goods, or showing the powers that be that consumers want non-toxic products, we are very deliberate and thoughtful when it comes to our purchases. The planet is not a giant trash can, and we feel like the least we can do is think about the things we’re responsible for leaving behind, and make sure they’re really needed, valued and used to the fullest.

Thanks Amy! If you want to learn more about Amy and her eco-friendly lifestyle check out