I'm home!!! After a long trip- nearly 13 complete days from when I stepped out the front door until I stepped back in again, I am home from the US.
People asked me what I bought in the US and why those specific things, so I said- why not just make a post about it?
Here is all what I bought:
When deciding what to bring from the US back home, I decided to go with things that were either much cheaper in the US, or simply unavailable locally. At the same time, space and weight were a big consideration of mine as well, since I didn't want to "save money" bringing stuff from the US, and then end up paying extra for another suitcase or an overweight suitcase.
First off, I got my kids gifts. I know it wasn't easy on them for me to be gone for so long, so I wanted to give them a treat from me for when I got home. For these gifts, I went to Walmart.
I bought 3 packs of Hot Wheels cars- with 5 each. Hot Wheels are good quality, last long, and are about 1/10 the price in the US of similar quality toy cars sold here, and about 1/5 the price of lower quality toy cars sold locally.
I also bought a pack of toy dinosaurs, pretty cheap, but with many dinosaurs in the pack, so should provide lots of fun for all the kids.
For Anneliese, who loves to dress up, I got a doll with a matching dress and shoes for Anneliese. For her birthday I got her a doll with 5 dresses she could put on the doll, but the doll was really low quality- this is much better quality. And Anneliese got mad that she couldn't fit the doll clothes onto her, so I decided that if she has a matching dress to the doll, she'll probably be thrilled.
For the boys, who are OBSESSED with coloring, and go through paper SO quickly, I bought 2 packs of computer paper. These were on the heavier end, but so much cheaper at Walmart than they are locally, that I decided to go with it.
I also bought the kids cheap toothbrushes.
My favorite game is Apples to Apples- I bought a travel pack as a gift for myself and Mike- we enjoy playing it with friends. And I also bought a travel pack of Apples to Apples with pictures- which my kids hopefully will be able to play with us- and if not now, they'll be able to grow into it.
Another important stop at Walmart- the lingerie department. Bras are super super super expensive locally- a cheapo cheapo bra my size will cost minimum 45 dollars, and standard bras cost anywhere from 60 to 100 dollars apiece. I got 6 bras at Walmart- 3 of them nursing bras- for less than 65 dollars... Definitely worthwhile.
I stopped at Target after Walmart, and picked up an umbrella stroller for only 25 dollars. Even cheap umbrella strollers locally cost SO much more than that, so I decided to bring it. It's not shown in the picture because... :( Somehow, the stroller is missing 2 of the wheels, so if I can't figure out what to do about it, it'll end up just being trash...
My friend, Kelly, a blog reader who I met (up) with a week ago Saturday told me how she is loving making homemade laundry detergent. I told her that I stopped making it, because my husband, Mike, has this thing where he LIKES his clothes to smell perfumy and chemically... While I wish I could get my husband to agree on this with me, he's the one who does the laundry usually, so if he wants it smelling chemically and perfumy, so be it. Kelly told me that she adds something to her homemade laundry detergent called Downy Unstopables, which makes her laundry smell all perfumed, etc... So that was my gift to Mike. Totally selfless, because I would really rather he not use it, but oh well...
Saturday night, I went to Payless, and bought my husband a pair of 20 dollar sneakers and myself a pair of 10 dollar super warm fur lined slipper/shoes. Shoes are much more expensive locally, not to mention hard to find in my size...
I bought myself a bunch of makeup. Super light and compact, and a fortune locally, yet much cheaper in the US. No, I didn't buy expensive natural makeup. I wish I could afford that. I do wear makeup though occasionally- not daily, but regularly enough that it's worthwhile for me to have- and makeup is super expensive locally. I bought makeup on Amazon- lipsticks, lip stain, eye shadows, and eye liners- for ridiculously low prices, especially compared to how much they cost locally.
I had been looking for a candy thermometer for a while- only been able to find a meat thermometer locally, so ordered a 5 dollar candy thermometer from Amazon.com.
For a while, I'd read about many benefits of taking food grade diatomaceous earth, but it is simply unavailable locally. (You can somehow find non food grade stuff, but food grade you cannot.) And I was told that when shipped in the mail, customs doesn't always allow it in, so it's a waste of money. So I did an experiment, and bought a 1 pound bag of diatomaceous earth from Amazon, saying that if customs takes it away from me in the airport, I'd be ok with it, but customs gave me no issues about it. :-D So now I am excited to try it.
Another item I've tried finding locally but had no such luck is food grade lime. This is used in soaking corn to make masa harina, for making tortillas, and for making corn more digestible, among other uses, but that's why I wanted it. So I bought it from Amazon as well.
I also ordered a large jug of gluten free, chemical free soy sauce for much cheaper than I can get it locally. Locally, it is super hard to find gluten free soy sauce, and when you find it, it is pretty darn expensive. And it isn't even healthy- it has sugar and caramel food coloring, etc... If you look even harder, you can find the chemical and sugar free stuff, but its even more expensive, so I bought this also in the US.
Lastly, from a health food store I picked up a few packs of dairy free soy free Daiya cheese, some gluten free surimi (fake crab used in sushi making- I've looked for ages for a recipe to make homemade surimi but had no luck), gluten free wasabi powder, and quinoa flakes. All these are items that just are not available locally, for any price...
P.S. I know local people will probably tell me that I should have brought back kids clothes, as they are cheaper and better quality in the US- I did- I got them free as hand me downs from a few people, I just didn't buy them, hence their not being on this list. :-D
So, if/when you travel overseas, what things do you try to bring back with you, and why?