I’ve been meaning to post something brief about these things for some time now, but seem to keep forgetting to do so.  These are a couple of finds that have made my life a little easier in the past few months.

Trying to find toddler dishes that are easy to clean, microwavable, non-toxic and difficult to break is surprisingly difficult.  Melamine is dishwasher safe but can’t be used in the microwave (and cracks and shatters when dropped or thrown onto tile floors).  I try to avoid using more plastics than necessary because they inevitably melt or develop grooves from having food cut on them, as well as being less than environmentally friendly.  Stainless steel dishes are cute and durable, but obviously not microwave safe.

Enter Corelle.  Yes, that Corelle.  The stuff most of us had in college because it was dirt cheap, but which can not usually be accused of being overly stylish.  I read the suggestion on some green parenting site, and since they sell plain white Corelle plates at the BX here, I figured it was worth the investment of $2 per plate to see if it worked.  Seriously, this stuff is indestructible.  Stephen has dropped it (intentionally and inadvertently) onto our hard tile floors several times with nary a chip, crack, or hairline fracture appearing.  It’s dishwasher safe, microwave safe, and totally eco-friendly.  As an added bonus for anyone who, like me, resents the pervasive use of branded characters and images on every possible child-related item, Corelle has no trademarked characters of any kind on it.  I have six small bowls and four small plates, and they get used daily.

Another favorite recent discovery is these steel drinking cups from Life Without Plastic.  Stephen loves drinking from a “real” cup at the table, and the melamine tumblers we had for that purpose all cracked within a month of purchase.  I tried some metal tumblers from Amazon.com, but they weren’t real food grade stainless steel and the mysterious metallic coating started to peel within a week of using them.  They also had a curled-in lip, in which water and bits of smoothie tended to get caught.  These new tumblers and mugs are fantastic — a nice smooth lip, just the right size for Stephen to hold, completely unbreakable and dishwasher safe.