When I was a kid I had a skateboard; probably the first mode of wheeled transportation I actually owned. Made from pressed wood with a sandpaper surface so your feet wouldn’t slip, it featured the worlds most unforgiving, rock-solid wheels that never seemed to miss a pebble.
Skateboards and longboards have come a long way since those days, both in design and materials. For a company called Beercan Boards the secret to success is using recycled plastic and aluminum cans and making the boards here in America. This small company out of Douglas, GA is trying, in their own words to “take over the world, one skateboarder at a time and we have just gotten started.”
Owner Joel Rawlins was a once-promising skateboarder who, at the age of 15, had a run-in with a car that made him rethink his direction in life.As an adult, he got into the automotive aftermarket and had success supplying components for classic cars, some of them showing-up in movies like The Fast and Furious. In 2012, the idea struck him that he could use the recyclable aluminum and plastics from his business to fabricate skateboards, and suddenly, he was sharing an old pastime with his kids. There was a lot of work required to design, prototype and refine the boards while trying to maintain his Made-in-America goal, but the end result was definitely worth it.The great thing about these boards ( besides the cool graphics and the company’s goal to be eco-friendly) is that you can recycle your old board and get a new one for a reasonable fee. If you want a different look, the deck of the board can be swapped out and you have the option to purchase bearings for life.
I wish I was a teenager again!
This year, don’t forget to support the programs that get toys into the hands of needy kids. There are lots of children who would really love to find something special under the tree this year. We support the Marine Corp’s Toys for Tots, which was founded in 1991 and uses only 3% of donations on operating expenses, sending 97% to the kids.
Disclosure: We’ll get a small commission if you buy these toys through the Wamart links in this post: Please do!As always, we’ve made a point to purchase items made in America for our donation to Toys for Tots. This weekend, we went to our local Walmart where we found the classic American building set, Lincoln Logs, along with a K’nex “Thrill Ride” set, Crayola Crayons and “My Very Own Tool Bench” from American Plastics Toys Inc.
It really didn’t take us a long time to find these Made-in-USA items, just a little determination and legwork around the toy department. Our local firehouse is a drop-off point and we’ll be heading there tomorrow.
Just a word of advice, if you want to participate, do it soon since collections are usually over by mid December. Leave your toy unwrapped – they need to see the toy to get it to the right kid!.
The best part: taking a moment on Christmas morning to think about what these gifts might mean to a young person in your community.
Paul and Kathy
Today is “Giving Tuesday,” a time to hit the pause button on frantic shopping and do something good for someone else. We decided to combine our Giving Tuesday efforts with our Made-in-USA efforts by purchasing American-made items for our local Toys for Tots campaign.
Since 1995, Toys for Tots has been an official activity of the U. S. Marine Corps and an official mission of the Marine Corps Reserve. Over its life span, the program has distributed over 512 million toys to over 237 million children.
We also threw in a bit of Shop-local Saturday by going to a store in Morristown, New Jersey, called The Teaching Room, which is also a Learning Express franchisee. Unfortunately, neither of their websites has a reliable way to search for Made in USA merchandise.We picked up some items from Green Toys, including the Scooper on the left……and a helicopter boat.We also picked up a couple of packages of Thinking Putty.There were a few other Made-in-USA items to choose from, including Spooner Boards…Tinkertoys,…and Lincoln Logs.
Hope you observe Giving Tuesday in your community!
If you want your family to wear holiday-themed PJs on Christmas morning, many people will tell you that you should have shopped in September. There are still some American-made sleepwear choices out there now, but you’d better grab ’em quick.Dad will look great in these Sleepy Jones tops and bottoms (sold separately) from Todd Snyder.And Mom will look chic in her Bedhead “Holiday Shopping” print pajamas, exclusive to Neiman Marcus. For the “Christmas at the cabin” look, you can get these unisex plaid pajamas for youths……or adults.Bedhead Pajamas used to make all of its wares in the USA. Now, some items are imported. Check the description of each item for “Made in USA.” Nordstrom normally carries Bedhead too, but the holiday patterns are either all sold out or on their way – if you get stuck, check this link again later. Also, check Neiman Marcus Last Call, which sometimes has Bedhead items on sale.
Some of their older holiday patterns are available at a discount on Amazon. When purchasing, be sure to ask if the item you’ll be sent is American-made. These holiday patterns for women are, from left to right, Eiffel Tower, partridge, and candy cane.
We found some kids’ sizes in the candy canes pattern as well.The Cat’s Pajamas has some California-made flannel PJs in prints like “Reindeer Games” “Vintage Santa” and “Mistletoe.” All of their garments are Made-in-USA except for the cotton blend knits, which are made in Peru.
A pair of moms created the idea for Two Crows for Joy, a company offering American-made and organic clothing, bedding and gear for kids. According to their site, the company was envisioned a place for parents, grandparents, and friends to get high quality, sustainable products for children while supporting American workers. Sounds good to us.
The designs are utterly joyful, as the name suggests, and you’ll love seeing the kids running (or crawling) around in them.
The product line includes adorable baby sleepers, blankets, sheets, diapers and more, along with clothes and toys for older kids. If you’ve got kids, or you have to pick out a gift for a kid, give Two Crows for Joy a look.