about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

    Contact Emily



    What’s Cooking?

    Personal Bests

    5K - 23:28

    10K - 52:35

    15K - 1:38:14

    1/2 Marathon - 1:57:39

    Marathon - 3:50:58

    A Look Back.

A Weekend of Celebrations.

Just in time for another glorious weekend, I am popping in to tell you all about last weekend!  It was full of celebration and fun, and I felt like I needed one more day when Monday morning rolled around, just to come down from it all.

Saturday was our 6th wedding anniversary – I love the feeling of waking up on holidays just knowing there is a little bit more magic in the air.  It was a perfect sunny day in Seattle, and we decided to mix up our usual spots and head out to West Seattle to go to Alki Beach. 

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The kids immediately dug in (literally) and Casey and I sat back on a big piece of driftwood and sipped our coffees and it was wonderful. 

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Last summer I’d take the boys to the beach and everything about it was just so, so hard.  Cullen was 2.5 and still wanted (and often needed) my help with everything.  And Graham was like 7 or 8 months old and didn’t want to be held, but also didn’t want to be sandy (unless he was eating it), so I spent most of our beach days bouncing around with him strapped to my back or chest, while also trying to keep a two year old from diving headfirst into the Puget Sound.  I did it because I was stubborn and because in the summer you GO TO THE BEACH, but it was really tough.

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This one time, I took the boys to Carkeek Park beach and I was beyond overwhelmed and there was this mom there who had two boys who both seemed about a year older than each of mine.  And the mom was stretched out on a blanket enjoying the sunshine and the mountains while her boys dug around and zoomed trucks in the sand, and she sent me a few sympathetic smiles as I chased Cullen and tried to block every square inch of Graham’s body from the sun.

I promised myself that mom would be me next year.  I had to put in the work to get through the thing that is summer with a baby and a two year old, and if we could all survive it we were due for the best summer ever next year.

And you know what?  It’s totally going to be the best summer ever.

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These days Cullen completely entertains himself most of the time.  And when he doesn’t, all he wants to do is play catch (which is actually really fun to do).  He is also scared of the water – which I hope he grows out of eventually – but for now definitely makes beach trips pretty low stress.

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And now Graham is the fearless one who charges straight into the freezing water, will throw rocks for hours on end, and comes home with a ten pound diaper full of sand.  He’s still eating sand, but you can’t have it all, right?

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It was the perfect morning and a great chance for me and Casey to relax and enjoy this amazing little family we’ve created over our six married years together (and 10 total!). 

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For our “official” anniversary celebration, we decided to scrap the fancy dinner evening plans and trade them in for a daytime date.  There are so many amazing outdoor opportunities in the Northwest, and many of them are challenging to do with kids of such young ages.  All I wanted to celebrate our day was to spend some time alone together and enjoy a gorgeous day.  So we got a babysitter and headed into the mountains for an afternoon hike!

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In the interest of time (we said we’d be gone about five hours) we decided to spend less time driving and more time hiking, so we picked a spot pretty close to the city – Tiger Mountain right outside of Issaquah. 

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I did a bunch of research online ahead of time, and finally opted to hike to Poo Poo Point (which loses 5 points for a ridiculous name).  The guide said it was about 8 miles roundtrip, but most of the hiking reports claimed it was closer to ten.  It definitely felt like ten! 

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It was straight up, up, UP and I was really starting to fade when we finally reached a sign pointing us just another half mile to the overlook.  And then finally we reached it and I forgot my aching legs and shortness of breath when we stepped out and saw the incredible view in the distance. 

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The entire reason I chose this particular hike that was that I read it was a popular spot for paragliders to take off on nice, sunny days.  I crossed my fingers and hoped we would see them, and it seriously took my breath away when we did.

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We sat on this giant grassy green space and looked out at Lake Sammamish and toward the Cascades as paragliders just sailed out into the sky all around us. 

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It was so perfect and so beautiful, and most importantly just so special and wonderful to have that time with Casey.  We couldn’t have asked for a better day!

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We came home after an awesome afternoon of hiking and tucked the kids into bed, before retiring to the backyard patio for a delicious dinner of cheese, crackers, dips, olives, bread, and more.  Oh, and giant slices of cake from a local bakery.  We had definitely earned them!

The next day was Mother’s Day and I woke up to lots of smiles and hugs and sweet words, followed by amaaaaaaaazing homemade (by Casey) vegan biscuits and gravy.  Seriously delicious. 

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Gorgeous flowers for mom!

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We spent the morning doing exactly what I asked if we could do – getting plants for this year’s garden!  We went to Swanson’s and picked out all the veggies and herbs for our backyard, as well as some pretty flowers for pots out front. 

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I am so excited to garden this year, and I hope we have as much success as we did with last year’s first garden.  I’ll definitely post all about it again as the plant and grow. 

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I spent the afternoon outside eating yummy food, pulling weeds, and prepping the garden. 

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And listening to Pandora on our new bluetooth speaker <— obsessed!!

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My Mother’s Day gift from Casey was probably not very traditional, but was completely perfect for me.  This is our beloved patio that has finally all come together just in time for summer.  We sit out here almost every night under the lights and talk and listen to music, but I’m usually wrapped up in blankets.  Casey surprised me with this amazing propane heater that means we can sit out there for much longer this year – happiness!

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The hooks and hanging baskets and twinkle lights were actually part of my birthday present this year too.  This area of our home makes me so happy every time I look out there.  It has changed so much in just two short years!

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Dinner was prepared salads from PCC because I didn’t feel like cooking. 

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I sure do love those wild goofballs that have made me a mom, and I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.

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A happy (belated) Mother’s Day to all my fellow mamas out there, and a very happy to weekend to you all!

Scoping Out Seedling (+ Giveaway!).

A few weeks ago I talked a little bit here about toy storage and organization, and how we try to go for the “less is more” approach when it comes to filling up the playroom.  But of the toys we do have, I feel like the kids barely even play with them anymore.  There are, of course, the favorites like the garbage trucks and a handful of others.  But most of the time my two are throwing balls back and forth or asking to paint or color or do things that are more activity-based.

As Cullen is getting older, I can definitely see that he’s much more interested in learning new skills and doing things that feel purposeful, and I’m doing my best to provide lots of opportunities for new experiences. 

Let me introduce you to my latest online shopping discovery – Seedling

Seedling is an amazing online collection of imaginative and creative toys and activity kits for kids.  Here are a few things key things that Seedling offers:

  • Activity kits provide an experience that encourages creative play and exploration, and are designed for kids between ages 3 and 13+!
  • The Pocket Money Collection – with price points $1-$15 – are fun, novelty things that kids can save for and choose themselves.
  • Awesome gift ideas – creative, beautiful packaging and all-in-one kits and gifts that are gender neutral and good for many ages.
  • Recycled and recyclable materials in product design and packaging wherever possible, and made of first class materials and tools in Auckland, New Zealand.
  • The philosophy behind every Seedling product is simple: to help fuel imaginations and open new paths to discovery.

I was able to choose a few different things from Seedling to try, and the first thing my eye went to was the Junior Gardening Kit.  This is one of the Activity Kits, and includes children’s gardening gloves, a terra cotta pot, three garden tools, and wooden planter signs. 

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With all the gardening fun we had last summer, I knew Cullen would absolutely love this kit.  But I also knew that one set of gloves was not going to cut it, so I ordered an extra set for Graham from the Kit Collection. 

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We started working on our garden over the weekend, and the kids were super excited to bust open the kit.  Cullen immediately chose the red gloves and got to work. 

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Unfortunately, the gloves were a little too big for Graham (which is understandable, since they are aged for 3+), so he used some hand me downs.  But he didn’t seem to mind one bit because he was too busy yelling “SHOVEL! SHOVEL!” and leaping for the gardening tools. 

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The tools are really good quality and made of nice wood and painted metal.  I can tell they will hold up to kiddo abuse and Seattle weather!  I am so so SO excited about gardening this year. 

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But beyond gardening we also checked out some of the Pocket Money items.  I like the idea of small toys that are more activity based and not just tiny junk that gets lost in the bottom of toy bins.  I picked out a Ready to Grow Dino Egg that I thought would be really fun for the boys to do together.  They can check back on it over the course of two days and watch it hatch and grow (and then fight over it when it’s hatched!).  We haven’t done this one yet but I think they will love it. 

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Another Pocket Money choice I made was the Glow-in-the-Dark Marine Animals collection.  My idea for these was to get them all charged up and ready to go, and then to let the boys take a “special” bath in the dark (close the blinds, turn off lights, etc.) and drop these into the tub with them.  So fun, right?  They are going to go nuts! 

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Our last Pocket Money selection was the I’m Just A Bit Blank paintable puzzle.  Cullen has always loved puzzles (just like me!) and I think he’ll have a lot of fun with this one.  I’m saving it for a rainy day and thinking up all sorts of fun ideas of puzzles that would be fun to paint together.

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And last but not least, our other Activity Kit was another painting item – the Design Your Own Birdhouse kit!  I love how nicely everything is packaged – these would make for such beautiful gifts 

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I wanted to space out using all of our new things, so I didn’t tear into all of them right away (which was not easy!).  I put a few away in the hall closet, but I couldn’t resist the birdhouse.  After naptime it was gross and drizzly outside, and Cullen’s eyes lit up when he saw the kit!  Graham is really into coloring right now, so I knew he was going to love it too. 

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To avoid mass paint splatter and a brown birdhouse, I got the boys set up to paint next to each other and let them work together to paint one color at a time. 

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They were both SO INTO IT!  It was amazing to watch, and even more amazing to watch them actually work together on something.  Usually Cullen just paints on paper, so it was interesting to watch him approach an object.  He quickly decided he wanted to paint the roof red, and Graham seemed to understand and followed suit (aka copied everything Cullen did, as usual). 

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I have struggled to get Cullen to be more interested in art projects and drawing, and I felt like this activity showed me a different side of his creativity.  I tend to change up the materials, but always suggest we create things on paper.  Now I can see how much better he responds to something 3D that he can hold and manipulate.  I’ll definitely use that going forward, and I’m already planning to go get a few more flowerpots that the boys can paint and then plant together!

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Color by color the masterpiece came together…

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And after setting out to dry for a bit, we all went outside to check out the final product.  I could tell that both boys were so proud and excited, and my heart totally melted over each smudgy swipe from the paintbrushes.

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One of the first things Cullen asked this morning was, “Can we go outside and see if the birds have moved into our house!?”  Looks like I need to invest in some bird food…

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One of the things I am most excited to use Seedling for going forward is for sending gifts.  I love to send themed packages, but it can be hard to come up with all the right little coordinating items.  The Seedling kids and accessories are a perfect solution, and there are so many choices for different ages and interests.

If you are interested in checking out Seedling yourself, they are offering a generous 25% discount to Daily Garnish readers!  Sign up here and use the code SeedlingDaily to receive the discount! 

But wait – there’s more!  We’re also offering a great giveaway as an extra thank you to all of you guys for reading and supporting Daily Garnish and partnering businesses. 

One lucky reader will win a $100 gift card to Seedling!  Click over and browse the Activity Kits and leave a comment with your favorite one!  Winner will be chosen 5/20 (open to US readers only).  Good luckk!

Up next, a recap of our wedding anniversary and Mother’s Day weekend – it was a good one!

This post is sponsored by Seeding.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.  As always, thank you for your continued support of Daily Garnish. 

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