I discovered Abe’s Market sometime last year when I came across a cardboard dollhouse with furniture that I knew my 7 year old daughter would just love. It ended up being a birthday present and my daughter still plays with it quite often. Even though it is made of cardboard it is still going strong.
This store is part Etsy and part Whole Foods with a mix of posh and sustainable toys as well as some handcrafted stuff. But they also have a little Amazon, Groupon and Home Shopping Network thrown in their to to make a really well rounded online store. Abe’s Market is about combining the best things that Grandpa Abe represented – health and wellness, mom and pop, reliability, trust, honesty, community and personal connection between business owners and customers. They also have great prices IMO. I recall that dollhouse being a real steal.
Well, the folks at Abe’s Market are celebrating their new “In the Know” video series by offering my readers a kickin coupon deal. The idea behind the series is to help consumers find out where the the products they are buying come from and the story behind them. This valuable background goes beyond what can be found on a label. Who makes the product? What’s in it? Where is it made? How? I recall watching their video about the dollhouse when I purchased it. I already thought it was an amazing idea but it looks like they are taking that idea even farther and adding educational videos on all sorts of other topics. This one below talks about shopping for natural, organic, eco friendly toys.
With Christmas coming up I thought a $10 off coupon might come in handy. Enjoy!
Visitthe store and use the special one-time only discount code “ENB-dk49hy” at checkout for $10 off a $30 purchase or more. Also visit @AbesMarket on Twitter and Facebook.
We have owned several cardboard toys from mini treehouses and castles to spaceships to actual child size play houses. I like cardboard because it is recyclable or compostable and durable enough for kids to fully enjoy it before it needs to be tossed. You can also paint them all sorts of groovy colors and customize the way they they look.
These days my kiddos are playing with a cardboard ice cream truck courtesy of Build a Dream Playhouses. They graciously offered to send us one on the house and I knew my kids would get a kick out the truck as opposed to their other (but equally fun) cardboard toys.
It came in a fairly large but skinny box and my kids loved playing with that too. I had my husband put it together cause that’s how I roll. It took about 10 minutes I would say. We noticed right away that the truck comes out of the box plain so that it can be an ice cream truck like we have OR an ambulance… it came with a few extra pieces for that, if you want to go that direction. That is why they call it The Imagine Wagon as opposed to the Ice Cream Truck.. pretty clever I think. This giant truck sat on our kitchen table for about a week while I painted in spurts.. with the kids helping of course. I picked the yellow and teal color scheme for the truck and my daughter chose the ice cream flavors.
We used water based acrylic paints and it dried very fast. It was also pretty easy to paint since we had it up on a table. The most time consuming part was painting the ice creams on the side of the truck.. the sno cone, ice cream cone, ice cream sandwich, and the popsicle. They had to drawn by hand but it was easy enough after I printed some vector images off the computer and then traced them onto the truck. Then I painted over where I traced and voila. I think they came out very well. My oldest son claimed that I was a big fat liar for claiming I was not artistic. Ha! I would not go so far as that but it was a nice if not slightly insulting compliment. They still need to paint the inside dash with markers and it will be all finished.
After it was all painted it hung out in the garage for far too long as we waited for a non rainy day to play with it. But that sunny day finally came!
They LOVE it! But I knew they would. I also figured it would draw other kids and boy did it. At least half a dozen other kids made their way over to play with it in just a few minutes. It was a big hit. They all took turns pretending to order their favorite items.
My only criticism is that the big Popsicles on top come off really easy when it moves or the wind blows. The sides can cave in a bit when kids move around it from inside, like they are driving. The design in those two ares could be a tad sturdier. Stickers would nice for parents that don’t want to hand paint the ice creams but in the end I am glad I had to paint them. It was a lot of fun.
There are many other options other than the ice cream truck too. My kids woulds also dig their lemonade stand, their play kitchen, and their space rocket. In fact we may need to buy that space rocket or Cosmic Cruiser as they call it, soon. I see a lot of open ended “pretend” play with these toys, which is the best kind. I also love that they were designed by a Cleveland Dad, very cool. These playhouse definitely get an enthusiastic thumbs up from us!
My ten year old loves to listen to music while he roller blades… which is usually a couple hours each day. He all but commandeered my older iPod shuffle so this week I decided to just gift it to him. Perhaps I was just sick of hearing my son’s music.. “We Will Rock You” in particular. Either way I got a new one for me and the husband. I use it at the gym and for meditation, he uses it while at work.
A new shuffle meant new headphones so I opted to get some of the new wooden earbuds I have been hearing about. The housing around the tip is Mohagony wood, the tips are plastic free silicone, and the cord is braided rope with wires on the inside. Supposedly the sound is supposed to be richer and warmer than regular earbuds but I couldn’t really tell much difference. Though I can’t have the volume very loud because my ears will start to hurt… a side effect of my cancer treatment was ear issues. The colon (what’s left of it) is okay but the ears are wacked, funny how that works. These earbuds do appear to be just a bit greener than other types and these particular ones have a lifetime guarantee, so hurray for that.
If you are in the market for any or your kids need some for school try some wooden ones. They work just as well and I think they are slightly cooler looking myself. You can buy some for anywhere from $20 to $50. Enjoy!
In my post on Healthy Cookware I mentioned that I was trying a new-to-me brand of safer pots and pans called Xtrema by Ceramcor. They sent me a skillet a few weeks back and I have now had a chance to use it in the kitchen. Their pans are high temperature ceramic that is non-scratch and easy to clean. I don’t see a non-stick claim on their site but in my opinion they are very much non-stick. They can be used on stove top, oven, under broiler, freezer, frig, microwave and on a barbeque grill. The company recommends that you use nylon, silicone, or wood cooking tools with these pans but as you can see in the photo above I used a metal spatula for cooking eggs. I don’t like plastic or silicone spatulas and wooden ones are too thick for flipping eggs. It didn’t scratch the pan but for all other types of cooking I used wood spoons.
For fried eggs this pan was great. They cooked like a dream and they flipped very nicely without sticking. The pan was also a snap to clean. I also used it to make some fresh fish for the kids, and also to saute mushrooms and onions for other dishes. IMO it took a bit longer for food to cook with this skillet than in my stainless steel skillet. That said, I must also share that I recently went from cooking on an electric range to a gas range again and I am NOT digging the cook times for gas, so that could be the issue as well.
This isn’t my new favorite pan or anything but it is very nice for cooking eggs on weekday mornings, or browning up some mushrooms for lunch… when I don’t have too many people to cook for. It is super easy to clean, which makes me VERY happy and it is a nice looking skillet as well. I am happy to give this healthier skillet a home. I would like to try the Xtrema Wok and give it a nice test run as well.
Why Its Healthy:
* Handmade using natural gas, clay and water
* No trace metals or chemicals leach from the cooking surface
* There is no harmful PTFE coating and it produces no harmful PFOA gas which can occur with most popular petroleum based non-stick coatings.
Why Its Green:
* Materials are inorganic natural minerals from our earth’s crust
* The non-scratch ceramic cooking surface on the Xtrema cookware is non-reactive and 100% non-toxic
* Durability – These pans will last for a long time and cannot be scratched… even if you use steel wool. There is even a 50 year warranty.
A couple years ago I compiled big lists of BPA free kids cups. Most of us were used to giving our kids plastic sippy cups to avoid spills but when we found that BPA or Bishpenol A had the potential to harm our children we sought better options. Our demand for better products was so loud that MANY companies reformulated their products to offer safer cups and many new companies popped up to fill this need as well. Still for many moms, myself included, there was still something missing.
Yes we had safer cups but they were made of plastic.. which frankly can have other issue besides BPA. While I gave moms who wanted plastic options they needed I scoured the net for stainless steel cups and I bought up small mason jars at thrift stores for my own kids. With out mix of stainless steel tumblers and little glass jars we made do, but I DID miss the sippy cup option!
Now a company has stepped to the plate to provide an answer for us picky moms… a glass cup with plastic sippy attachment, and a sleeve to prevent breakage. It is quite simply the most awesome safe sippy cup I have yet seen. I am really loving it… the EIO Glass Cup for Kids.
The design is similar to what we now see in glass baby bottles. It has a silicone sleeve that prevents breakage of the body.. which is glass. The top portion is BPA, Phthalates and PVC free plastic with a small hole in the inclined area. There is no spout or valve that is impossible to clean or that allows for mold growth. It is dishwasher safe. The BEST part though is that the lid fits on to virtually any 8 ounce canning jar!!! Yes… if your cup breaks (which is unlikely IMO) you can replace with a canning jar, easy peasy! I just love the whole concept, especially the part where I do not have to buy another cup if the part most likely to break, does in fact break.. I can just use a caning jar I already have. The top plastic part is very sturdy and unlikely to break IMO. The sleeve is nice but not really a necessity.. if it were to rip somehow, the cup would function just fine without it.
Up until we got the EIO cup we were just using open cups (both metal and glass). We had lots of breakage, which was no biggie really but the spills were getting out of hand. Since we have started using the EIO that issue is gone, thank goodness. We have the green cup but there is also purple and orange and I am considering getting one for my 6 year old too because the cup does not have a babyish appearance and it would help with dinner time spills. This cup is great for older kids too.
I don’t like using plastic or buying new plastic but I will buy “smart” plastic. Something that will be reused over and over again, that will last, and that makes it easier to use less plastic overall. This cup definitely qualifies.
All in all, I am pretty excited about his new innovation. Some companies see a need and they do the bare minimum… like take the BPA out of their existing cups. Other companies see moms who are concerned with not only the chemicals but also the reliance on plastic and the move towards other materials and they come up with a solution. I love the EIO cup but I also love the fact that one company stood up and took notice of what I (and other moms like me) wanted in a kids cup and they delivered. It should be no surprise to anyone that is was in fact a mom who invented this cup… a mom that wanted to empower her kids to use REAL, earth friendly dinnerware at the table.
Much thanks to Kathy Haskell of EIO for the awesome product and for sending me a sample cup to review at my request.
Hi there! I am a green, paleo, crossfit mom of three. I am concerned about health, wellness, and sustainability issues. This is my life. This what I am passionate about. Come get to know me and feel free to connect. Enjoy!