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    Emily Malone

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

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    A Look Back.



Fun Friday Finds.

I’ve been working on my recap of our Florida vacation this week, but apparently I took about 4,000 photos that I am still editing and sorting through – oops!  In the meantime, I thought I’d pop in with a fun Friday post for you.  Since I tend to not post as often anymore, I feel like I’ve been holding out on sharing some of my favorite finds that we’ve been using and loving, as well as other randomness.

So here we go!  Still loving my Costco membership, and I think we’ve been averaging going down there 1-2 times a month depending on what we need.  My current favorite Costco find is this giant bag of dry roasted almonds. 

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Seems like such a simple thing, but it is the perfect amount of salt and they are so easy to just grab right out of the bag in the pantry.  The whole family snacks on them all day long!  I’m trying really hard to focus getting in more good fats and less empty carbs, so these are a good start.

I mentioned a while ago that I stopped shopping at Trader Joe’s for a bit.  It wasn’t really intentional, but the Costco thing happened and then I just never found myself there anymore.  Well Graham and I were killing some time before picking Cullen up this week, and I decided to head there for a few of our old staples that we were out of.  While we were there, we grabbed these treat temptations. 

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Do you know what these mean?  POTTY TRAINING.  Graham has been very ready to officially potty train for a long time, but I was being lazy about it (basically trained at home but not out of the house), and I didn’t want to deal with it before we went on vacation.  I told him that there were no more pull ups when we got home from Florida, and he’s been in undies all week.  Still definitely learning the whole “ask to pee out of the house” thing, so I decided to bribe him with candy. 

TV and chocolate chips didn’t work, so I’m really pulling out the big guns here.  A friend recommended these gummies, and so far they have helped a lot.  He gets a gummy for pee or a lollipop for poop (#momlife), and he is so excited to choose his color and show the whole family.  I also got Cullen involved since he was feeling a bit left out, and he earns a gummy if he encourages and helps praise Graham, as well as helping him with setting up the stool and potty seat. 

I actually have a post in my mind that I’d like to write all about SUGAR and kids and my thoughts there, but that’s for another day.  Today, I’m bribing my kids and celebrating what might be the end of our diapering days.  I’ve been wiping butts for 4.5 years now, so this is worthy of a celebration. 

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Another interesting Trader Joe’s find – this fresh turmeric!  I am not sure what I’m going to do with it yet, but I love imagining the possibilities.  Turmeric is super healthy and we use the spice blend on roasted vegetables and scrambled eggs all the time.  I could even see putting this fresh turmeric in smoothies, as well as soups, curries, and more. 

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I had seen this Riced Cauliflower around the interwebs, but hadn’t actually picked up any yet.  I’ve been making cauliflower crust pizza for the family recently and we are all loving it, but I’ve just made my own with a head of cauliflower.  I’ve mentioned before that Casey is doing a lower carb, and higher fat diet these days, and while no one is eliminating carbs entirely, I’m trying to be more mindful of it too.

I think I’ll try using this for more pizza crust, as well as stir-fries and maybe even a fried rice substitute?  We’ll see how it goes!  Depending on the seasonal price of cauliflower, I thought this was a bit pricey ($2.49) considering it is very simple to make your own. 

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Moving along to some new Whole Foods finds, I’ve been seeing Califa Farms almond milk for a while but still hadn’t tried it.  I’ve been on the search for the perfect almond milk for a while, and until now have been buying the 365 Brand at Whole Foods.  This was only 50 cents more per bottle, which didn’t seem significant if the quality and taste were better.

I tried some today and thought it was delicious!!  Excited to give it to the boys tomorrow morning for breakfast.  Also super excited to try this coffee creamer.  I have a serious coffee creamer problem, and have hated all the coconut and almond varieties I’ve tried so far, so I’ve stuck with soy.  But I’d love an alternative, and hopefully this is it!  I will report back. 

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I’ve been eating these Late July chips since last summer, but I picked up a few more bags today.  I kid you not – the Mild Green Mojo tastes exactly like a Dorito.  It is HEAVEN, and while definitely not health food, still way better than actual Doritos.  Don’t tell me differently. 

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I’ve written about these before, but I have to do it again.  These Hardbite parsnip chips are everything.  Cannot believe how much I love them, and am really hoping my Whole Foods gets their act together and gets the other varieties in stock at some point!

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I have seen this Purely Elizabeth brand before, but finally grabbed a bag today.  I have been looking for a granola that was much lower in sugar, and the “grain-free” variety caught my eye.  Like I said, we certainly aren’t avoiding all carbs entirely, but it’s good to make modifications where possible.  Plus I love adding extra hemp and chia to our diets!  I already had a bowl of this at lunch and it was amazing.  Love the saltiness and big clusters!

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And perhaps the most random Whole Foods purchase of all – workout capris!  I saw these today and couldn’t resist giving them a try – figured I could always return them if they didn’t work.  They are Threads 4 Thoughts brand, soft as butter, and fit perfectly.  Better yet, they were $48, which is by no means cheap but still significantly less expensive than most quality active wear on the market.  Also loving the pattern!

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On a totally unrelated note, here are a few kiddo tidbits.  I’ve posted this on Instagram a few times but haven’t mentioned it here.  We are obsessed with Art for Kids Hub on YouTube.  A good friend recommended it, and I feel like it has had a significant impact on Cullen’s drawing (and even writing!). 

It’s a dad and his kids doing very step by step (line by line) drawing tutorials for characters, animals, vehicles, seasonal things – you name it.  Instead of asking to watch TV most mornings now, Cullen asks for a drawing video instead.  Check out the one he did this afternoon – I mean, he did this completely by himself while I was working.  So cool!

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Graham can’t follow the directions yet but he loves to watch, and sometimes I’ll do them with them and offer to “help” Graham (meaning I draw the whole thing and he watches).  Can you tell we are into Inside Out right now?

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Okay last but not least, the most random of all!  I am strongly considering moving the kids into bunk beds sooner than later.  I think it’s something that will happen eventually anyway (because Graham’s room is miniscule), and I feel like the boys would really love it. 

I assure you this does not mean I’m pregnant (I’m not), but it does open the possibility of having room for a 3rd if that happened.  My current plan for that space is to turn it into a little play area upstairs with the play kitchen, maybe the legos or trains, and a reading corner.  I think Cullen will be done napping entirely by the end of this year, and if Graham is snoozing in their shared room it would be good to have a space like this for Cullen to play. 

So here are the bunks I am considering.  We have to do a “low bunk” option because the bedrooms upstairs all have slanted ceilings due to the roof line.  I like the low bunks better anyway because there is less far to fall in the event that someone does (fingers crossed that’s not an issue). 

The two bunks I’m eyeing are super similar, which is probably why I’m having a hard time deciding.  This Camaflexi bunk has the ladder on the side of the bed, and smaller slats on the head and footboards.

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The other one – that I am leaning toward – has the ladder on the end instead, and slightly wider planks on the frame.  It is also about $100 cheaper which is an obvious plus. 

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I like how they can be separated into two beds if we wanted to start out that way, and also the drawers underneath would be critical for the boys to share, as there isn’t room to move in a second dresser.  Obviously the top bunk would be just for Cullen, and I feel like he’s a cautious and responsible enough kid to be able to handle that.  The question is – can I keep Graham from climbing up?

Any bunk bed or room sharing advice from experienced parents is much appreciated!  Hope you guys had an awesome week, and have a wonderful weekend ahead.

We have t-ball, the Seattle Tilth edible plant sale, veggie garden planting, and I have a six mile run planned for tomorrow morning!  Going to be a busy one!

Worth adding – none of the brands or things mentioned here are partnerships or products I have relationships with – just all things we are trying out ourselves!



It’s Electric (Boogie, Oogie, Oogie)!

Happy Earth Day (one day late – internet issues while traveling!)!  On this greenest of days, I thought I’d share one of the ways our family has been a little bit more environmentally conscious this past year or so. 

This zippy little number, is my adorable all-electric Nissan Leaf!

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We got it back in October 2014, so we’ve had it a year and a half now.  When we originally got it, it was supposed to be Casey’s commuting car.  His bus commute was sucking way too much time out of his already long work day, and the alternatives like Car2Go were adding up to be pretty expensive when used daily.  It was also becoming more challenging to be a one-car family as the kids got older and schedules changed. 

When we picked this car, there were Washington state and federal tax credits, so we got a really good price.  We chose the base model without the extra options and upgraded interior.  And so it was a really affordable way for us to transition from a one-car to tw0-car family – I believe our payment is $220 a month. 

Casey drove the car for about a month before I totally fell in love with it.  The first time I drove it I couldn’t believe how light and speedy it felt – with no heavy gas engine it just floats over the road, and it is completely silent.  So silent, in fact, that it actually beeps when you back up.  Feels a bit absurd, but safety first I guess.

For some reason I’d had it in my mind that a mom driving kids needs ROOM and SPACE.  I always talked about needing a big cargo area for all the things I needed to haul.  But what were those things?  And did I ever actually do that?  At the same time, I was the one driving all over the city each day exploring with the kids in a big SUV – using the gas and adding up the miles.  Casey was simply going back and forth to the office – four miles each way. 

Around this same time, Casey started traveling a lot.  With his car just sitting there in the driveway half the time, I found myself strapping the kids into backseat of the Leaf more often than not.  It was SO much easier to park in the city, and I figured there was no sense wasting gas and mileage if I didn’t need to.  And after a few weeks, Casey’s new car became my new mom-mobile.

I realized pretty quickly that the hatch back was surprisingly roomy.  I can fit my giant double BOB stroller, as well as groceries, scooters, my yoga mat, the huge Lululemon bag of beach toys, the dogs – whatever else needs to be back there. 

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The hatch opening is also great for diaper changes or wiggling kids out of sandy bathing suits.  And like most cars, the seats can fold flat to accommodate bigger items if necessary. 

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The backseat isn’t enormous, but it is plenty big for our needs.  And without carseats, it’s actually quite spacious.  I have a Chicco Nextfit for Graham and a Diono Radian RXT for Cullen, and a plastic bin of books that sits perfectly in between them. 

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One thing I actually really like about having a smaller car is that I can reach most things if needed.  I can easily pick up dropped books at red lights, or pass the kids their water bottles if needed.  When we had the SUV, once something was dropped it was in no man’s land until we stopped,which usually led to screaming and tears.  Everything in the Leaf feels close enough but not too close.  My understanding is that with the right configuration of narrow-profile carseats, you can also do three across here, but we haven’t needed or tried to do that.   

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And as for the front of the car, it is roomy and has everything I need.  Again, I think there are fancier options that can be added, but even with the base model we have heated seats, a heated steering wheel, bluetooth connections, push button start, a back up camera, and lots of cup holders. 

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Can you tell I am a maniac car cleaner?  Usually once a week I pull my car all the way to the back of the driveway, and use the shopvac from our garage to totally vacuum and clean it out.  Kids are so hard on cars – snacks, leaves, sand, dirt – where does it all even come from?  A clean car brings me all sorts of type A control-freak happiness.

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And so what about the most important part of all?  The part that makes it so different – the fact that is has NO gas!  I get so many questions about this, and I admit that when Casey first suggested it I felt skeptical.  My naturally anxious nature didn’t like the idea of a car that could fizzle out on me.  But I learned quickly just how awesome it is, and how easy it is to manage.  The car itself comes with a basic charger that can be kept in this battery pack in the trunk. 

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And it plugs right into this charging port on the front of the car – so easy.  (And yes, we desperately need a trip through the car wash!)

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Would you believe that it charges with just a basic three-prong plug?  Pretty cool.  We used this charger for the first few months.  Some of the premium models have super-charge batteries, but our basic model charged at regular speed.  Using this charger it took about 12 hours to get a full charge of 90 miles.  This was fine, but we hoped to upgrade it eventually to something a bit faster. 

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A few months later Casey’s parents visited us in Seattle, and so Casey and his dad installed this super charger on the side of our house.  It looks just like a gas pump, and the charger itself cost about $500.  It has the same type of electric hookup as a dryer (220V).  I think it’s kind of hilarious and awesome that we have an electric car charging station on the side of our 1905 farmhouse.

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When I first heard that the average driving range on a Leaf was 90 miles, my reaction was – that’s not very far.  But in reality, 90 miles is a long way!  Obviously it depends on where you live and how you drive, but it is the perfect car for a place like Seattle.  While we are a big city by population, the land mass is actually quite small since we are locked in by water on most sides.  And while you can sit in traffic for 40 minutes, you might only actually drive four or five miles.  If the car is sitting idled, the range doesn’t drop at all (unless you are blasting all the internal systems of the car).

The range does drop a bit in the winter months, as running the high heat in cold temps uses a bit more electricity.  But for us it only drops by about 5-10 miles overall – nothing too significant for a mild Seattle winter.   

Most of the things I do around town are within five miles of our house.  And even on days when we have trips planned further out, we are very rarely driving over forty miles each way.  In fact, I tend to only charge the car every three to four days.  Once it gets down into the 20/30 range, I usually plug it in, but otherwise I don’t worry about it. 

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There have been two or three times where I’ve cut it close, and in those cases you can option into “eco mode” in order to conserve electricity.  The other cool thing is that in Seattle, there are actually charging stations all over the city.  The airport, the local pharmacy chain (Bartell’s), most parking garages, and many more places all have electric car parking.  The navigation feature on the dash also shows all nearby charging stations while you are driving around, which is helpful if you need it (although in two years I’ve never had to stop and charge the car, but good to know just in case!). 

I think electric cars will be a big part of our future.  In a city like Seattle, the Leaf and even the Tesla are seen regularly all over the city, and cars like the Prius and the Volt are offering some partial plug-in options.  For us, its a great option for all the day to day city drives, and we can all load into the truck if we need to do a longer road trip. 

It’s worth saying I guess that I have no relationship or partnership with Nissan or the auto industry in general.  I just really love this car, and think it’s such a great choice – both for the environmental savings for the planet, and personal savings for reducing spending on transportation and maintenance.  I’m excited to see how battery technology evolves and these driving ranges get even longer.

If you are someone who spends a ton of time commuting and money on gas, it might be a great choice for you.  And if I left anything out or you have questions, please ask in the comments!

We just landed back in Seattle after an awesome vacation (that I’ll share next).  It was a great week and we’re missing our family, but it also feels good to be home, snuggle with Indy, and get back into our routines!  Have a wonderful weekend!

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