I am a consignment store freakazoid through and through when it comes to shopping for kids. Chances are VERY high that if you peruse our house or admire something one of the girls is wearing and inquire about where it came from – I’ll tell you “the consignment store”. We have everything from a pretend kitchen for Beckett, the sandbox out in the backyard, the ergonomically correct mary-jane shoes that Beckett lives in, the two organic cotton pajamas Camden is wearing (not simultaneously!) from Hanna Anderson and even the stroller we pack around for every walk.
The consignment store is my first stop for almost everything “kid”. I am too cheap to shell out more money than I need to, I love the name-brand deals and the hunt is kinda fun. And, truthfully, I feel really good about breathing new life into already loved clothes and keeping just one more new thing from being made. But, I have made the occasional and unregrettable splurge that was expensive, or at least more pricey than gently used kids’ gear. Below is my list of fave purchases that were worth the dollars and definitely worth this shout out. I admire the companies. I believe in the products and I’ll say it again – the money is most certainly worth it.
When we began this project as a family, I slowly started transitioning Beckett to organic. When she moved into a big girl bed, we snagged an organic mattress and wrapped it in an organic mattress cover. For Camden, we purchased organic bassinet sheets, but couldn’t stomach the investment of an entire organic bassinet made from natural materials. We had a perfectly good one (and consignment store find I might add!) that Beckett had used. But, the mattress was dreadful. It was a horrendous piece of foam lined with a PVC-based waterproof covering. The thickness was less than half an inch and it was a sorry excuse for any baby’s sleep surface. I didn’t know what the solution was.
Then I looked into Naturepedic and the bassinet mattresses they offer. There was a wide range of sizes and shapes and each is built to their exceedingly high standards, but there wasn’t a single one that was just the “right” size for our oddball oval bassinet. So, I ordered a custom one. Yes, a custom mattress for our bassinet for the same price as one of the premade ones. I sent them the original foam mattress and less than two weeks later – I received the perfect fit for our bassinet. Like all Naturepedic products – it’s organic cotton, all-natural and completely chemical-free. The cost was less than a $100 and the quality is exceptional, both inside and out.
Boba Organic Baby Carrier
I have always been a huge baby-wearing fan, but with the birth of Camden, the mere thought of tying up both my hands while needing to watch/wrangle/tackle Beckett sent shivers down my spine. Camden’s lifestyle has resembled that of a marsupial from week one. And, truthfully – baby-wearing gives even the most hesitant new parent confidence because the fussiest of babies are naturally soothed by body motion. Late nights with a cranky baby were spent mopping in the quiet house and the always crazy grocery store trip with two kiddos is possible because my hands are free. I was gifted a cheapo pack for Beckett when she was an infant and it was a good solution for a child who hasn’t reaching a back-breaking weight. I needed something that could handle the weight of big baby and carry us well into toddlerhood. My new option for Camden is the perfect solution for the littlest of babes and will work through the toddler years, too (when I’m still chasing Beckett…).
It’s the Boba Organic carrier. It offers the necessary back support to last the longest of hikes and heaviest of kiddos. The fabric is soft and smooth and just the perfect medium for the natural baby rubs and caresses as Camden dozes. The craftsmanship is truly beautiful and a testament to how much bang you get for your buck. The carrier runs around $125 but it’s a childhood investment – from 7 pounds to 40 pounds. I also appreciate that the design allows for a single person to load and unload the baby. The Boba has allowed me to feel like this whole two-kid thing is doable – as long as I’m hands free.
Puddlegear by Abeko
I am about to state the obvious. It rains in Washington. A lot. But, we don’t let it slow us down. We garden in the rain. We take walks in the rain. We even play at the park in the rain. The key to making it work is staying dry. Even the hardiest of Washingtonians will wilt with soggy feet, shriveled up hands and moppy hair. One of the best investments we’ve made for Beckett has been high-quality rain gear. It’s taken her through fall and winter and into the spring that just won’t arrive.
Her new rain gear is from Puddlegear (love the name!) by Abeko and it’s worth every penny. Puddlegear makes extremely high-quality rain gear for both children and adults. It’s functional with high-visibility striping and fun children’s colors. But, the quality is unreal. It’s the type of craftsmanship you expect from professional grade gear and it’s made for your children. The material is completely free from PVC and Phthalates (read: no shiny suits with new-shower-curtain-smell and NO chemicals). This make-up leaves it soft and supple with a breathable warmth that repels water 100% and keeps kiddos dry and warm. No wet hands, head and feet mean Beckett can play for hours without getting cold complaining whining going inside.
I planned on using Puddlegear for the fall rainy season, but actually really fell head over heels in love when winter rolled around and snow blanketed the ground. I was able to bundle Beckett up in warm clothes and then layer her Puddlegear over top. The Puddlegear mittens went over her knit ones and the elastic straps held them over her coat sleeves. After endless hours throwing snowballs, jumping and leaping through drifts and just enjoying the cold white fluff – Beckett kept ticking. She wasn’t cold.
If you are looking for chemical-free rain gear for your kids and appreciate awesome quality, extreme durability and know the importance of waterproof protection – you must check out Puddlegear. It’s worth the investment and an excellent addition to your outdoor gear.
Where to buy? Check out Puddlegear’s website to purchase and for locations. I’ve seen it around our neck of the woods, too, but I can’t remember where. Get socially connected: Become a fan of Puddlegear on Facebook and Twitter.
Autonomie: fair trade fashion & footwear
There was a period of my life where Converse Chuck Taylor’s were the only shoe I would wear. It was sometime during those awkward middle school years with sky-high teased bangs, speech stuttering braces and pock-marked faces. If you remember a particular childhood fetish, you can imagine my delightful reminiscence when Beckett received a pair of these pink sneakers for her first birthday. She literally ran them into the ground and it wasn’t an option to keep them for baby #2 – Camden.
But, double my delight when I found the classic sneaks I’d love in my youth with an eco-mama twist. Enter the Ethletic shoes from Autonomie Project. Autonomie Project makes fashionable clothing and footwear that is completely vegan, organic and sweat-shop free. The two things we own have made it through one child each and are ready and waiting in the bin for the next little one (just to be clear – there is NOT another on the way).
The shoes I found have classic styling through and through, but are made from 100% fair-trade certified organic cotton canvas, all natural and sustainable rubber and colored with safe dyes. I made sure that a certain rolly-polly man in a red suit delivered a pair to our Christmas tree this last year and while I was at it, I snagged an adorable playsuit for Camden. The tongue-in-cheek message “STOP THE WAILING” made me laugh out loud for a much-needed holidrama break and I knew it’d keep me giggling well into the new year.