Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Did you watch last night?

Last night on World News with Diane Sawyer, they highlighted The Great Made in America Christmas: Are You In?  If you missed the segment click here to view.  It was Diane Sawyer's reporting this summer on Made in America goods that inspired us to begin this blog, so we were interested in hearing what they had to report...

According to the newscast:
"The average American will spend $704 on holiday gifts and goodies this year, totaling more than $465 billion, the National Retail Federation estimates. If that money was spent entirely on US made products it would create 4.6 million jobs. But it doesn't even have to be that big. If each of us spent just $64 on American made goods during our holiday shopping, the result would be 200,000 new jobs."

Pretty incredible numbers, don't you think?  If everyone spent $64 on American made goods, it could REALLY make a difference for our fellow Americans.  One other thing the news segment pointed out is that with the $5.1 Billion of Chinese made goods we purchase at the holidays, we as Americans are supporting and holding up the exploding Chinese middle class...what's wrong with that picture?

We are taking the challenge, and hope you do too, to purchase at least one "Made in America" gift this season.  If you need ideas check out our categories on the right hand side of this blog that will automatically categorize our blog entries and give you some great leads on American made products.

And we ask you that as you shop this holiday season to comment on our blog or Facebook page when you find something you love that is Made In America...we are always looking for ideas!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Original Bench Swing

This picture is worth a thousand words.  What child (and many adults) wouldn't love swinging in an old tree on a perfect swing? Can't you just smell the fresh air and feel the breeze blowing through your hair?

Living in Phoenix, this is our best time of year to be outside and this swing looks perfect for our tree out back!  It is made by the company The Original Tree Swing.  Not only do they make this fabulous, perfectly crafted tree swing,  but they create a bunch of wooden toys made primarily from reclaimed wood.  So, Made in America and  eco-friendly...two of our favorite things.  We think this would make a fun and unique holiday gift for those little ones in your life!

This swing is made of ash or elm and 20 feet (each side) of 100% natural fiber rope.  To purchase this swing online, click here.  To find a local retailer that sells this swing, click here.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Portable water is big business and all the rage!  The environmentally-friendly notion of being able to re-use one container for sipping water during the day instead of purchasing and disposing of multiple plastic bottles each day is an idea we think is great...

That is why we love Nalgene bottles.  We use them, our spouses use them and our kids use them.  They are great to throw in the car so you can sip as you run errands, great to send with your kids to sports practices or school and great to pack with your lunch for work.  Best part is they are Made in the USA (you can read about the history of the company here)!  We also appreciate that they are made with FDA compliant colors and BPA free materials.

  They come in tons of fun colors and styles and we think they would make a great gift this holiday season.  They are affordable and there is something for everyone in their product collections.  Here are some of our favorites:

Please note, there are a few items that Nalgene imports from China: the tops on the on-the-go, on-the-fly and multidrink bottles as well as the stainless steel bottles.

You can find Nalgene bottles at many common retail stores (I bought mine at Target) or shop Nalgene's online store here.  Happy sipping!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Giveaway - Inspired Home Soy Candle

We blogged earlier this month about the most delicious, hand poured, Made in the USA candles.  In case you missed our review of Inspired Home's soy candles, click here.  These candles are made with pure soy wax, a lead free wick and have an incredible scent that fills a room almost immediately.  They would make a perfect gift for a teacher, your mother, your sister or anyone who loves a lovely smelling home.

Catherine Powers, artist and candle maker extraordinaire, has generously offered to give one of our readers a candle to enjoy for the holidays. The winner can choose either a Chocolate scented candle (decedent and delicious) or a Cranberry scented candle (welcoming and spicy).

To enter, leave a comment below that you have completed the following (see below for all the steps) and include your email address so that we are able to contact you (only one entry per person).

1.)  Like Inspired Home on Facebook and post that Star Spangled Mamas sent you.

2.)  Like Star Spangled Mamas on Facebook if you haven't already.

3.) Click Share under our Facebook post about this event to share on your wall.

Giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. ET Monday December 5, 2011.  For complete rules, see our

A great big thanks to Catherine Powers of Inspired Home!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Alex and Ani

I recently was on vacation with one of my husband's cousins who lives in Boston.  She had on the most adorable bracelet set and now I am coveting these fabulous bracelets.  She also told me that they were made in the USA...even better!  Living out west, I have not come across them yet, but out east she said they are all the rage!  Alex and Ani make these adorable bangles that are meant to be layered.  Here are examples of the layered look.

The bangles can be bought individually and are meant to be layered. Here are a few that we love:

Alex and Ani also has a philosophy that we think is fantastic:

"Alex and Ani is a company dedicated to creating products of unparalleled quality and beauty that promote consciousness and unity.  Manufacturing in the United States and re-using and recycling materials is an integral part of Alex and Ani's mission as a conscious and eco-friendly company.  Alex and Ani's collections are not only eco-friendly, they are made up of powerful, meaningful, and spiritual pieces, which uplift and inspire all who wear them."

What a fantastic company: creating American jobs, eco-friendly and most of all inspirational!

To shop their entire collection, click here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I See Me books

When my son was born five years ago (where does the time go?), I received the most adorable book that spelled out my son's name.  
It was so personal and special and to this day he loves this book.  Then, when my daughter was born, she received the same book, but a girl version (see below).  Again, it is a family favorite.
 I See Me Books creates these adorable stories.  They have 13 books, all unique and delightful, that are personalized to include your child's name.  And great news, they are made in the USA (Minnesota, in fact).  They are hard backed, excellent quality books that will last a long time.  They even have some super cute ones about the holidays:
 Every child loves to be read a story about themselves.  As the author of I See Me Books writes, " Our mission is to increase self esteem in children through personalized books that celebrate the uniqueness of each child.  The goal of our books is to show each child how absolutely unique and special he or she is, to teach the child how to spell his or her name, and to build vocabulary skills."

What a perfect baby gift or holiday gift for your favorite little one.  To view their collection and shop, click here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cream City Ribbon

It's that time of year again when gifts start creeping into the mind.  I always try to get organized before the shopping rush begins by stocking up on wrapping essentials: tape, paper and ribbon.  There's nothing worse than needing to wrap a gift last minute for someone and not having what you need! 

This year I am so excited to try a new ribbon I found, Cream City Ribbon, that is made in the USA by a woman owned company (love that) in Milwaukee, WI (love that too, we grew up there).  Not only is the ribbon American made but it looks fantastic AND it's environmentally friendly (made from renewable, biodegradable cotton fiber, grown and processed with water based dyes and without chlorine bleaches).  You can actually recycle it or compost it after you use it.

It curls, it shreds, it strips and it folds...what more could you ask for! 
Here are some examples of Cream City Ribbon used...can you say super cute?

So, this year I am so excited to report that I will be moving up in the world of aesthetically pleasing wrapping from my usual stick-on bow to Cream City Ribbon!  I've ordered the holiday spool kit.  Can't wait to get wrapping...

You can read more about the Cream City Ribbon's history here and you can shop for it online here.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Inspired Home: Candle Review

There is nothing as pleasant as walking into a home and catching the waft of a fabulous scent reminding you of a holiday, a vacation, or a special memory.  With the right aroma you can be transported to a different place or season instantly.  That is why we love candles and tend to be very picky about which ones we purchase.  So, when Inspired Home generously sent us 2 candles to try, we were hoping for the best.  The result: we are in love with them both!

First of all, they come in the most beautiful boxes.  Add a bow to the top and they make a perfect wrapping necessary.   Here is a picture of the modern and elegant packaging. 

Next, the candles themselves are gorgeous and smell divine even before being lit.  We experienced the Lemon Fig and Coconut Lemongrass candles and both were fabulous.  The Coconut Lemongrass immediately took us back on our last beach vacation, laying on the beach sipping a Pina Colada.  The entire family loved the smell, even one picky husband!  Within a short period of time the entire bathroom smelled like the Caribbean.  If you closed your eyes you could almost hear the waves crashing...wishful thinking!  This would be a perfect candle to light while taking a hot bath (especially in the dead of winter as a little pick me up). 

Then there was the Lemon Fig candle: absolutely delicious.  This would be the most perfect kitchen candle, as it has a clean, yet appetizing scent.  Out with the lingering smells from last night's dinner, and in with the fresh, pleasant scent of lemons and figs.  A girlfriend stopped over the other day and could not get over how great not only the kitchen smelled but how great the entire family room also smelled all from this one simple candle.  We think this scent would really be perfect for any room of your house.

We loved the two scents we tried but there are many more to choose from.  Here are a few other scents we think would be totally yummy, not to mention a perfect holiday gift...

Catherine Powers is the artist behind these luxurious candles and her talent is abundant.  She not only hand pours each candle here in the United States, but she is also a poet and an artist.  Check out her Inspired Home website to view her other art forms.  It is Catherine's hope "that others will find inspiration within the worlds of fragrance, color and words as these elements have been blended and created with the intention of adding joy to your life and home."  We love her philosophy!

To purchase one of these fabulous candles, click here.

Thanks Catherine for sharing these beautiful candles with us!

Monday, November 7, 2011


My son just turned 5 this weekend and it was all about superheros.  Little boys (and girls) love superheros and want to save the world!  I love the imagination little ones have when they are in costume.  I have been searching for a superhero costume for my little superhero.  Something that is good quality, cute, personalized and made in the USA.  I found the perfect one and plan to order it immediately for Christmas!  Does it get any cuter then this?

The company is called BabyPop Designs and it is owned by Sherry Aikens, a mom and superhero creator!  She started her business after leaving the corporate world for motherhood.  To read about her story, click here.  They make the cutest superhero products: masks, capes, gloves, tee-shirts, etc.

And for the little ladies...

To shop BabyPop Designs for your own little superhero, click here.

I cannot wait for my son to open his this Christmas.  (shhhhhh....don't tell him, it's a secret)  He is going to be the cutest superhero!

Friday, November 4, 2011


Zipfy pronounced zip' fee

Now this looks like FUN!  "This is the easiest, safest, most exhilarating downhill sport ever!" (Zipfy's website) We have had an abundance of holiday toy magazines clogging up our mail lately and the Zipfy sleds keep showing up on the pages.  Clearly they are the hottest luge/sled right now!  And the coolest part is that they are manufactured in New York.  They are lightweight and they claim to be very safe since they are easy to stop and steer.  The Zipfy Classic comes in many incredibly vibrant colors that stand out in the snow.  It is recommended for ages 5 and up, and can hold an adult up to 250 lbs.  Wow, the whole family can enjoy!  Now the question is, who will have more fun: the kids or the adults?

Here are a few examples of the fabulous color choices:

To get your cool Zipfly, click here!  Have an exhilarating time!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

32 Degrees Hats

It is downright blustery in the Midwest today.  A wet, windy chill is in the air reminding us that winter is just around the corner...ugh!  That means getting out all the full-blown winter garb...hats, boots, gloves, etc.  All these scattered pieces of clothing will soon take over front and back hallways everywhere. 

Well, here's a little good news to balance the cold weather...we found the cutest hats EVER made by a company called 32 Degrees.   They are soft, cozy and adorable!  The material is high-quality and some of them (including the one I have for my infant daughter) are adjustable in the back.  We love that it is a company started by a mom in her kitchen in Massachusetts and that she continues to be committed to manufacturing in America!  They make hats for kids but also a OSFM (one size fits most) size so adults can join in the fun too. 

Here is the one we bought but in aqua:

Here are some others we love:

You can shop their website here or look for a retailer here
Stay warm out there!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

For All Your Little Bobby Flays

We know that Christmas is a ways off, although with Christmas decorations on display in the stores since before Halloween how can the holidays not be on your mind just a little bit!  You may have already begun to consider what gifts to buy your children/grandchildren this year and in the next few months we will try to offer great ideas of Made in America holiday gifts.  To start off, here is one for the kiddos...

All of our children, boys and girls, love(d) play kitchens.  Our favorite (which is the one in our home) is the Little Tikes Grillin' Grand Kitchen and I would highly recommend it for your kids.  My kids love this kitchen set.  And I love that it keeps them busy and happy, it's pleasing to the eye and it's Made in the USA!  

Some of the my kids' favorite features are: the grill lights up and makes a "sizzling" sound when the knobs are pressed, the burner makes a cooking sound when the knobs are turned, the grill rotates at a 90 degree angle, the ice machine in the fridge dispenses fake ice, there is plenty of storage for the other accessories, and the coffee maker has a little pot.  

Here are a few more pictures of the kitchen set:

We have had ours for a few years now, it has been played with almost everyday...and it is still in excellent condition.  These kitchens are sold at Toys R Us stores.  So look for a coupon and get one early!
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