Wooden play kitchens have gone mainstream! Just a few years ago, I couldn’t find a wood child’s play kitchen for under $250. (I’ll admit I didn’t look too hard after my initial search proved so disappointing.) So what did I do? I picked up something similar to this Alex Toys In My Kitchen Set at a consignment shop for $12, tricked it out with some IKEA pots and pans, and voila! I had an inexpensive little play kitchen for my child. (Here’s the original post I wrote about this slap-dash effort at creating an affordable wooden play kitchen.)
This year I looked around and found several darling wooden kitchens, many of which were under or around $100!
Alex Toys in My Kitchen Set $53.85
Maxim Wooden Kitchen Center $98.98
Educo My Creative Cookery Club $104.64
Kidkraft Suite Elite Kitchen $109.99
KidKraft Silver Retro Kitchen $169.99
Does your child play with any of these wooden kitchens? How do they hold up in real life?
Looking for more wooden gift ideas? Check out last year’s post: wooden toys for babies and youngsters.
Pregnant women need pampering. Why? Because when their feet are massaged, when their tongues are bathed in dark chocolate, and when they are immersed in honey bubble bath, their babies are enjoying an atmosphere of relaxation and contentment as well. Those bambinos will be getting piles of presents in the months to come, but new and expectant moms deserve some special thought as well.
After trolling the Internet for the perfect gifts (and remembering my own pregnancy cravings), here’s what I came up with:
The Microwaveable Flax Seed Filled Neck Pillow or Momma Earth Herbals Aromatherapy Packs are perfect solutions for driving away winter chill while luxuriating in relaxation. (Please consider a few free foot massage coupons to accompany these lovely gifts!)
No matter what strange cravings your pregnant pal may have, chocolate is always a good bet. Endangered Species Rainforest has a line of chocolates that sound smooth and lovely–and they’re eco-friendly! If you want to make a bit more of an investment in the hard core European stuff, splurge on a box of Leonidas Belgian Chocolates.
Deep Steep Organic Honey Bubble Bath blends the scents of grapefruit and bergamont with thick, abundant bubbles. Afterwards, she can slather herself with Earth Mama Body Butter just to soften that skin and prepare her for a relaxing snooze.
Most of us spend the first few days or even weeks after baby’s birth in pajamas. Aimee Bra-less nightgowns have gotten rave reviews and make a nice transition between maternity and early motherhood. Belabumbum also has some lovely empire waist nightgowns that are specifically designed for maternity and nursing. If she loves flannel comfort, go for the basic Frankie and Johnny Pajamas, Sleepyheads, or Nick and Nora sets in larger sizes that will accommodate a post-pregnancy shape.
I would have LOVED any of these gifts in the tired last stretch of my pregnancy, but I also would have enjoyed restaurant gift cards or meal deliveries. Now that I have made it through two pregnancies, I am passionate about supporting women as they transition from pregnancy to motherhood. What do you do for pregnant friends? What were some of your favorite gifts as an expectant parent?
Congratulations to the winner of our Sealy Naturalis Crib Mattress with Organic Cotton giveaway! Catherine Alley will soon be receiving a very large package in the mail thanks to Kolcraft, our giveaway sponsor. We hope your baby enjoys the unexpected holiday gift Catherine!
You may have savings on hand for heirloom green gifts, but if money is tight this year, consider some creative thrift store gifts that any child would love. (They’ll be just as cherished and even more eco-friendly!)
The whole thrift store gift idea may seem downright depressing to you if you’ve never cruised through your local secondhand shop. But used gifts offer an opportunity to give something that’s more personalized, less expensive and greener than just about any other option. Plus, you’ll be able to purchase more on a limited budget. Have you braved the aisles of your local thrift shop lately?
You could be the lucky winner of a Sealy Naturalis Crib Mattress with Organic Cotton! Go to our organic crib mattress giveaway post to enter multiple times. We are looking forward to randomly selecting the winner after midnight PST tonight and emailing them with the news. What a fantastic holiday gift for you or someone you love. We’ll post the winner’s name in the next few days. Great luck!
When the rain hits around here, cabin fever quickly descends unless we seek creative indoor entertainment. Luckily we have a huge supply of cozy kid-friendly fall activities for those chilly afternoons indoors.
If you’re still waiting for that first baby to arrive, you can while away the time with our DIY baby mobile made of beautiful paper birds. Or, you can whip up a few homemade hemp diaper liners to fill out your cloth diaper layette. Don’t forget to buy or use your library for free access to books! Check out our practical little publication, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide for some entertaining and eco-friendly reading.
Those of us who already have a few little helpers will enjoy our homemade Play-dough recipes. You can even combine playtime with snack by making Edible Play-Dough! While you’re mixing up play clay, make some salt dough for Baked Dough Christmas ornaments that can be slipped into stockings in just a few weeks.
Clove oranges are another great craft that can later be used for homemade seasonal gifts. You’ll enjoy pomanders as all natural air fresheners that will bring those spicy scents into your home before the holidays hit.
Even if it isn’t quite time for snow, you can make some elegant paper snowflakes with your children on those long cold afternoons and then string them in the windows! And one of our favorite creative recycled playthings is the DIY Cardboard Dollhouse made of a box and a few furniture catalogues.
And when this list runs out, you can always get the kids outfitted in PVC-free children’s raingear and hit the puddles! Have you had any cold weather fun yet this year? What is the temperature at this time of year where you live?
A wooden spoon? A secondhand rattle? A children’s museum membership? A ribbon? What are you planning to wrap up for your tot this year? If you opt not to give her a gift, don’t worry. She’d most likely play with the wrapping paper anyway. (Unless you decide to whip up a batch of homemade holiday fabric gift bags!)
We also love buying gifts of experience. Since they were activities rather than objects, they didn’t have to be stashed in baby’s tiny room and they always provided great memories.
Our baby was just six months old during her first Christmas and had no idea what was going on so she received a few secondhand playthings plus gifts from family and friends. Now that she’s older, we’ve found some amazing garage sale deals including a dollhouse and wooden pull toy, but she won’t be getting mounds of loot. How are you handling the holidays with your baby?
The dark has descended, the cold has hit, and the looming holiday lists are here. In the midst of the short term pressures in my life including boundless laundry, a floor that I sweep 17 times per day, and alternating screaming fits from both my children, it is critical that I remember the spirit of this upcoming holiday. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.
The more we’re grateful, the less we get impatient about what material and situational things we can’t have–which usually don’t provide a true sense of lasting joy anyway. When I feel myself getting “the gimmies” (a term that I found in a Berenstain Bears book and instantly loved), I try hard to work on gratitude, even for those things that don’t at first seem to be gifts.
Gratitude while I nurse my 17 month old at 4am each morning. I try to keep my eyes open long enough to notice the curve of her cheek and the curl of her hair instead of grumpily wondering when, if ever, she will sleep through the night.
Gratitude for this tiny but cozy house that has to be cleaned about 137 times each day. I’m thankful there isn’t that much more square footage to pick up, and that it naturally limits the stuff that we collect.
Gratitude for that pile of dirty diapers that both my children have worn, that won’t make it to a landfill for years, and that has saved us heaps of cash to spend on other more interesting investments. (Such as dark chocolate and family vacations)
Gratitude for my spirited, hilarious, and endlessly creative kids. Although I am often humbled by the enormity of this job, I am also honored to be their mother. Also, so thankful to have a supportive husband! (I bow before all single parents in admiration and awe!)
Finally, I’m filled with gratitude for this green journey we’re taking together. For Rebecca, my first and most important green parent pal, and all we’ve managed to do for the last three years. For this blog, for our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide that went from being a distant dream to a real accomplishment, for all of you, our loyal and supportive readers and fellow green parents, and for our limits. (Both real and self-imposed). They help us appreciate what we have, respect our planet, and raise these babies with a sense of responsibility and appreciation. Have a wonderful week of gratitude and Happy Thanksgiving in advance!
(Those are my family’s feet. Yes, my toes are green and yes, my feet are the largest of the bunch. Did I mention that I’m grateful for having immense feet?)
In search of the perfect holiday present for the newest member of the family? We’d be remiss if we didn’t recommend The Eco-nomical Baby Guide first thing! But what if you have our masterpiece already, or you want to spend more than $13.95 on your baby’s gift? Here are some more eco-friendly choices:
First you might want to check out Joy’s baby splurge posts, in which she reveals the top three convertible high chairs and the best eco-friendly strollers. Looking to spend a little—or a lot—less this year? Perhaps your baby would enjoy one of the top ten baby board books this year. Goodnight Moon is always a classic!
Pat the Bunny is another popular baby board book
In this older post, we offer a whole slew of green gift ideas. Favorites from this list include the Melissa and Doug food groups set (which my daughter has played with weekly for the last two years), and the Monkey Foot Designs wet bag for parents to use with their cloth diapers.
We found a Melissa and Doug cutting fruit set at a garage sale for just $3. Audrey can play with it for hours!
Our Green Baby Guide’s green gift repository from 2008 has a few gems, such as Pedoodles shoes (so cute!) and our favorite baby accessory: Fuzzibunz pocket diapers and Happy Heiny’s pocket diapers.
Pedoodles shoes are made from leather remnants
In search of a gift for the pregnant woman in your life? This post has some ideas for making a gift basket for a new or expecting mother. The eco-friendly Lassig diaper bag would make the perfect present.
The Lassig eco-friendly diaper bag
Happy holiday shopping!
We like the emphasize that most babies will be utterly content receiving a cardboard box this holiday season, but if family and friends insist, we do have some excellent ideas for green gifts.
Looking for stocking stuffers for baby? Baby Legs are inexpensive, adorable, and long lasting. They come in just one size that can potentially be worn from infancy through the preschool years. And there’s no need to take them off when changing your tot’s diaper or setting your babe on the potty. Natural teething tablets are also a great addition to baby’s holiday loot.
The best present you may be able to give, is a full night of sleep for a newborn baby’s parents. And it costs nothing, has no packaging and requires no shipping or handling. We hope you find the perfect gift for the baby in your life this year!
A massage? A full night’s sleep? A box of truffles? What are you hoping to unwrap this year?
What do I long for? Slippers. I’m not even kidding. Mine are tattered after just one year of constant use and I want a sturdier pair to warm my feet for the long haul across these cold hardwood floors.
What do I recommend for those who have no idea what to ask for? Teething Bling pendants are a fantastic invention–elegant, chewable jewelry that soothes your baby’s aching gums while you look fabulous. And we’ll now shamelessly mention our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, for a quick, educational read that will save you thousands.
If your family is on a limited budget you could ask for regular foot massages, loaves of homemade bread, free babysitting sessions, or prepared meals. (Actually any of the things on the free list would make me far happier than anything material at this point!)
Please share what you’re longing for this holiday and inspire the rest of us to bulk up our wish lists!