"Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table." -William Shakespeare

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Birthday, U.S.A!

I am making a challenge today.

I don't have a nifty button or banner for it or anything, because I'm, um, packing.

And my three kids are just as busy as ever. And I'm not that techno-savvy. However, any of my readers who would like to put together a button for me... I would reward you. Somehow. Really, name your price. Proverbially, I mean, but name it.

On to the challenge. It's the

"Made in the U.S.A. Challenge."

OK, not that catchy, but that's the best I could do last night lying in bed at 2 am.

As I pack, I have been noticing how many things in my home are made in China. Taiwan. Cambodia. And how few things have been made here, in my own country. It has really been bothering me. I've been talking to my husband and my kids about it. These fancy organic clothes we were handed down recently (I am always grateful for hand-me-downs!). But how good is it for the earth to ship these fancy, chemical-free goods halfway around the world??? Not very. And when spending more for goods, why buy goods made somewhere else versus supporting domestic commerce?

So for 6 months, I am challenging myself and my family to buy nothing made in China, and whenever possible, to buy madein the U.S.A. Responsible companies a bonus.

Here were some of my worries:

Toothbrushes- but guess what? Walgreens has some cheap toothbrushes made in the States.

Dishes- if I need new ones after the move. Luckily, my favorites, Corelle, are made in New York state.

Appliances- I've been desperate for a good food processor. Well, if I can't find one made here, I'll wait 6 months to buy it or buy used. A friend of mine weighed in very strongly that buying used, even if made in China, should be OK on this Challenge because it doesn't increase China demand, and benefits local commerce. She sold me.

Will it get expensive? No. No, no, NO. I am thrifty above all else. Thrift almost always comes before ideals around here (I said ALMOST always). Ed and I have decided that if we really can't find a non-China-made item we need, we will just wait it out. Period. The most important aspect of this Challenge I am making myself is the opportunity to educate our 2 older children about the economy, about our dollars being votes.

They both understand more about it than I would have guessed. A proud homeschooling moment: discussing international business with a 7 year old and a 4 year old and learning something myself!

Last night we went shopping for a birthday present, a Baptism present, and make-up (for me). Guess what? Slinkys and Silly String are made in the U.S.A. I wanted an outfit for the Baptism gift and was shocked to find NOTHING in the several stores we visited. Not sure what I'll give instead- maybe some Burt's Bees? And I found non-China-made make-up. (However, it came with a free brush that was made in China; I didn't discover that till after I had already opened it, though.)

This also applies to food. Here is a book:
The Organic Food Shopper's Guidethat explains why produce from the U.S.A., even if non-organic, is a better choice than organics shipped in from Mexico or Guatemala. A VERY useful read.

Here is a website:
(UGH! Blogger give me my links- what is wrong with my links?!) Sorry, you'll have to capy and paste www.atoygarden.com for many inexpensive items made in the U.S.A. I recently ordered stocking stuffers from them. (Have I mentioned that I am an obsessive advance planner?)Use code MM5OFF for $5 off a purchase of $50 or more. (No benefit to me if you order from them, just an honest recommendation! Sonya is quite helpful.) Because yes, I'm committing to an American Christmas.

At first I was undecided whether to write about this Challenge on here. But BreadwithHoney isn't just about food. It's about life and integrity, about the glory of God's Creation and never-stop-learning. And our children. For me, this Challenge fits into those themes pretty snugly.

I plan to update on the Challenge once a month. I will share any items that I have been able to find thrifty Made in the U.S.A. substitutes for.

Will you and your children join us?

And please consider passing the word on to others.

(Photo credit: Isaiah Armendariz)

"Only Americans can hurt America."
~Dwight D. Eisenhower

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
~Abraham Lincoln

"Sometimes people call me an idealist. Well, that is the way I know I am an American. America is the only idealistic nation in the world." ~Woodrow Wilson

"Intellectually I know that America is no better than any other country; emotionally I know she is better than every other country."
~Sinclair Lewis

(Sorry, couldn't limit myself to one patriotic quotation....)


  1. I enjoyed your post. If you have a Kohls in your area I have found quite few of thier products are made in the USA like throw rugs and memory foam pillows and bedding. Also for an idea for the baptism maybe to look for something handmade on Etsy or Spots. Or a nice wool baby bonnet from Toy Garden
    Good luck!

  2. Steve and I have been talking about this too. It would be nice if there was a way to incentive and reward USA manufacturing again...if that darned EPA wouldn't regulate them so much maybe factories would make a comeback. somehow.
    I think your challenge idea is great! I'll try to participate but admit I don't have your same resolve but I'll try my best nonetheless. Although I have to wonder-will this be a bit stressful for you know as you are in the moving phase or maybe easier?
    Also, I really like all the quotes at the end-thanks for not limiting it to just 1 ;)

  3. i love this idea, but will have to think about whether i'll devote myself to really sticking with it. since i buy very few nonfood items, i have a soft spot in my heart for dollar bins-stickers, notepads, crap for the boys that buys a day 'o' fun.

    a couple years ago i got to pick the theme for the christmas family gift exchange on tim's side and picked "not made in china" for the theme.

    oh, and i completely agree that second hand doesn't count against.