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

    EmilyBMalone@gmail.com

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    A Look Back.



Made In America.

When I was pregnant with Cullen, I can remember obsessing over Amazon reviews and baby registry sites – feeling so overwhelmed and all-consumed by choosing all the right stuff for our impending bundle of joy.  It is funny to think back on now, as it all felt like such a HUGE deal at the time.  But like every new parent, I wanted to make what I felt like were the best choices for our baby, and so I over-analyzed and obsessed like (most) new parents do.

I remember laying on our couch in Fremont reading my local library copy of Baby Bargains, and reading the section all about choosing your baby’s crib.  For some reason I got completely hung up on the info about chemicals, toxins, and looking for cribs that were locally made.  I’m not sure why this particular item felt so important – maybe because I knew he’d (hopefully) be spending so much time in there? – but either way, I set out to find a crib that was made right here in the US of A. 

We ended up choosing the Land of Nod Straight Up Crib, which served Cullen well for two years and is now being put to good use by Graham!

land of nod crib

And while we have certainly bought and received products from all over the world in the two years we’ve been parents, I’ve done my best to look for things that are as environmentally-friendly and eco-conscious as possible.  Pickwick & Weller is an apparel company that specializes in clothing that is ethically made in the USA.  Right now they are hosting a Made in America campaign, asking people to remove one foreign made item from their closest and replace it with something made here in the US:

Did you know that 98% of the clothing in America is imported from abroad? Simply removing one foreign made item from your wardrobe and replacing it with an American made garment or accessory can create a meaningful impact on US job growth. In fact, if everyone in America spent just $20 on apparel made in the USA this year, we could create 62,500 jobs. Buying a small amount of American made clothing each year is one of the most surprisingly simple and immediate ways to put Americans back to work. We invite you to join the movement and take the Made in America Closet Pledge.  By removing one foreign made item from your wardrobe and replacing with an American made garment or accessory you’re supporting ethical working environments and keeping valuable jobs in our country.

In the spirit of their campaign to highlight American-made products, I thought I’d share some of our favorite children’s’ brands and products that are made here as well…

Green Toys

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These toys are all made entirely from recycled plastic, and there is a good mix of toys for all ages and stages.  In our house, we have the dish set to go with Cullen’s play kitchen, the dump truck to move mulch chips around in the backyard, and of course  – the trash truck!  For little guys like Graham, there is also a nice twisty teether and a colorful set of stacking cups!

Lifefactory

lifefactory

While we certainly have a mix of toys from all over, and a healthy mixture of plastic, cloth, and wood (and even – gasp! – electronics), I feel most passionate about the things that I know are going to be chewed and gnawed on.  I try to be really mindful of the teethers and chew toys we buy, and look for things with no PVC, BPA, and other harsh chemicals.  I really like these Lifefactory teething rings because they are made locally out of good materials, and they are a great shape and size for tiny fingers!

In addition to some of these “fancier” and sleeker newer brands, you might not realize that some of the kid classics are made in America too. 

Little Tykes, anyone?

While I have done my best to not let our house get completely overrun with neon colored plastic, I can also recognize the value in having fun things for Cullen to play on outside (or bring in during the winter!) that are easy to clean and durable in all types of weather.  I scored this ride-on tractor on Craigslist last year, and it was $20 well spent.  He’s been riding it inside all winter, and when friends come over they love to take turns riding in the back. 

tractor

And another amazing Little Tykes Craigslist steal – the Endless Adventures Tikes Town playhouse!  I spent all of last summer scouring Craigslist for a playhouse that wasn’t pink and purple, and ended up getting this awesome schoolhouse for $30.  Cullen absolutely loves it, and he even played inside when we got some snow last weekend. 

outdoor fun

Step 2 is actually the largest toy manufacturer in the United States – selling classic outdoor play items like playhouses, the cozy coupe car, and kids’ picnic tables.  We bought our adjustable sand and water table from Step 2 last summer, and it was a hit all summer long. 

We also love the Step 2 Van For Two car that we found on the side of the road in our neighborhood (and cleaned up!) earlier last year.  The quality of these toys is long lasting, and they can really hold up to hard use from toddlers, and even winters left outside. 

cozy coupe

Who wants to go for a ride?  :)

California Baby

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While I don’t think you can expect to do anything 100% naturally, I tend to be a stickler when it homes to beauty and cleaning products.  All those chemicals scare me, and even more so when I imagine them on the soft baby skin of my kids.  We love California Baby soap and bath bubbles, and it is our go-to sunscreen in the warmer months.  I have a tube in the car, one at one, and one in my diaper bag at all times!  Products are made in – you guessed it – California!

Last but not least, I thought it would be fun to include something that is not only made in the US, but is actually made right here in Yakima, WA – just outside of Seattle! 

Liberty Bottleworks

Capture

These awesome bottles are the only metal bottle that is made in America, and they are also the only bottles made entirely of recycled materials.  These drink bottles come in both kid and adult sizes, and you can choose from a variety of gorgeous patterns and cap colors.  Each bottle is designed by a different artist (many of whom are local to Seattle!) and their profiles are featured online along with their bottles.  Love!

So there you go – a short round-up of some of my favorite USA products, in celebration of the Made in America campaign.  Buying “local” can be as close to home as your neighborhood farmers’ market or independent shop, or it can simply mean checking the bottom of a toy to see where it was manufactured.  But every small purchase adds up to make a big difference for jobs, for our environment, and for our communities. 

This post was sponsored by Pickwick & Weller.  Thank you for your continued support of Daily Garnish!

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109 Comments so far
Leave a comment

RLR     at 2:16 pm

I’ve been looking for new water bottles for my kiddos (10 and 7), as we pack lunches every day. Off to check out Liberty Bottleworks. FYI – we use Laptop Lunchboxes for most of our lunch-packing. Safe, waste-free, and made in the USA :) Nope, I don’t get paid to say that!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Awesome — will check out the lunchboxes too!

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Susannah (The Early Bird Press)     at 2:34 pm

Huge fan of California Baby products here…and for any of your readers whose children suffer from eczema, they also have a great shampoo/soap specifically for babies/kids with eczema. It is a lifesaver!

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Michelle English     at 2:57 pm

I love this post, and it really couldn’t have come at at better time! We’re expecting our first baby in August and are working on our baby registry right now. We think we’re going to go with a similar crib from Land of Nod. It’s a challenge to source normal products all made in the usa, but I’m in a whole new realm now with baby brands I’ve never heard of. So fun though! I love the challenge!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Congrats on your baby, Michelle! We love that crib.

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Michelle English Reply:

Thanks Emily! Do you have any advice on rocker/gliders?

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Emily Malone Reply:

We got ours at BRU and love it. Brand is Dutalier. Best piece of advice on a glider is get one that RECLINES. Total game changer, and so uncomfortable without.

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Ella     at 3:36 pm

Cute post! Not sure I would call Yakima just outside of Seattle :) the Olympia native in me protests. But it’s cool to support the local!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Haha really? I feel like it’s pretty close!

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Heather     at 3:52 pm

Great post! I am always on the hunt for chem free products, but made in the USA seems to get lost in the mess. This is a great reminder. Thanks Emily!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Totally agree. But makes a big impact on so many different levels of the community!

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Anon     at 5:00 pm

What’s wrong with pink & purple playhouses?

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Emily Malone Reply:

Oh geez. Do we need to pick apart everything?

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anon Reply:

Well, you spent an entire summer “scouring Craigslist” to avoid those colors. That seems like a lot of time & effort to not buy something girly for your boys. Unless you have other reasons?

Honestly, you wrote about it & I don’t think I’m picking anything apart by pointing out that you went considerably out of your way for COLORS of a plastic toy for a toddler.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Shanna, why does this matter? My hope was that my boys would use something longer if it was in more neutral colors. I am not forcing gender roles on them. I am simply acknowledging some realities of adolescence.

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Anon Reply:

I seem to have struck a nerve. I’m sorry. I didn’t realize your boys would be using a playhouse until adolescence.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Good lord. I don’t mean they are going to use it as teenagers. I just meant I hope they get a few years out of it.

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SNC Reply:

Honestly, what’s wrong with someone NOT wanting a pink playhouse for their boys, and spending some time searching for a neutral instead? I highly doubt that mom buying a “boy” playhouse sends the message that they are not allowed to like “girl” things. People are so sensitive to this issue of forcing gender roles – sometimes (honestly, most of the time), it’s just someone looking for a cute toy.

Emily Malone Reply:

Thank you Stephanie. That is exactly what I meant. And I wasn’t just searching for colors – also styles, location, price, condition, etc. I am so tired of hearing the gender roles thing. He has a play kitchen as well as toy trucks. It’s about having fun and leaning toward his interests – whatever those end up being. This playhouse has a soccer net and a basketball hoop on the back, which I knew he’d love and hopefully use for a long time.

anon Reply:

You had me at soccer net and basketball hoop. I would have chosen that playhouse too.

I’m sorry for striking a nerve & obviously putting you on the defensive. I haven’t been reading comments here & I never read babble, so I had no idea you’ve been getting a lot of negative feedback about gender stereotypes.

My question was not meant to be judgmental, I was honestly curious about your reasons. This is the first time I’ve seen you react like this; usually you’re admiringly gracious despite the rudeness of commenters, which set you apart from the crowd. I’m sad to see that attitude going the way of your recipe posts. :/

Emily Malone Reply:

I appreciate that Shanna. Didn’t mean to get defensive, and I really do try to respond to comments graciously and appropriately (and never delete!). The internet “mom culture” has just gotten so out of hand, and I’m sorry if my frustration there fell on you.

Lara Reply:

If I remember correctly, Emily bought a purple stroller for Cullen. She is clearly not hyper-paranoid about genderizing. Cullen is getting to the age where is probably has opinions about things like that. Maybe he requested specific colors. Kind of silly to make assumptions based on one sentence!

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anon Reply:

I didn’t make an assumption. I asked a question to gain further information so I wouldn’t need to assume anything. Eventually, Emily gave her reasons: the playhouse she got was in more neutral colors & had cool extras the kids would love to play with.

I’m really not enjoying being jumped on for asking a simple question that I don’t consider any more inflammatory than asking her why she chose any other product she’s purchased.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Some food for thought. When you leave a comment as “anonymous” it sets a negative or accusatory tone (especially when you have commented in the past with your real name!). I will admit that anonymous comments spark a defensive reaction from me, as the intentions are not always immediately clear. I am happy to give you the benefit of the doubt here that you really just wanted to know why I cared about the playhouse color, but your initial comment on its own did not give that impression. Sorry this blew up into something so silly!

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Anon Reply:

Well, I have a fairly unique name and, with a new career, I’m trying to keep a low-profile on the Internet. You know who I am from my email address & that was enough for me. I’m not super thrilled that you used my name in your replies. I’ll probably switch to initials from now on if using Anon garners such a reaction.

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KC Reply:

Seriously? That is what you pulled out of this entire blog post? Wow! People never cease to amaze me.

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Laura@FoodSnobSTL     at 5:16 pm

Those pictures of Little Tikes make me long for spring and summer. It’s been a rough, long winter here in the midwest!

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c cohen     at 5:22 pm

I remember lying on our couch…

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Jesse     at 5:41 pm

oh my son would go bonkers for the trash truck!!

http://semiweeklyeats.blogspot.com/2014/02/tea-and-toast.html

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Kendall     at 6:20 pm

I’ve always been a huge fan of Daily Garnish, but this sponsored post takes it too far. I miss your recipes! This seems like such a pointless post, well except for the companies paying you for the keyword links. I’m disappointed in this content, and hope you decide to keep this kind of thing over at baby center.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Sorry Kendall. I do very, very few sponsored posts here, but they are a reality of how advertising and blogging media has changed. I really try to only pick things that matter to me and are relevant to my interests. Believe it or not, buying locally made products is important to me. And none of the companies mentioned paid me a single cent — those were all chosen because I personally use and like them.

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MissPinkKate Reply:

How do you reconcile a desire to buy stuff locally with your use of a service like Stitchfix, that delivers foreign-made clothes from delivery centers outside your local area?

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Emily Malone Reply:

Like I said several times in the post, it’s not an all or nothing type of thing. I shop at farmer’s markets and I also shop at grocery stores. I buy eco-friendly wooden toys, and I also have every single plastic Sesame Street figuring. Give and take.

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Lisa Reply:

I personally thought this was a very helpful post. I am expecting my first child in early August and am just starting to look into products and furniture for my baby. It is nice to know of brands that are made in America and used by someone I trust in this field. Even if I wasn’t pregnant I would still feel the same way. Emily, I’m sorry people are being so sensitive and nit picking your words. Please keep on doing what you do.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Congrats, Lisa! So exciting!

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Sarah Reply:

I have to say that I agree (sorry!!).

I love Daily Garnish and even read old posts every now and then but reading this latest post was a bit disappointing.

It did seem really pointless and just a way of making a few bucks. Bring back your usual fantastic content!

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Sue Reply:

Someone call Kendall and Kate a waaaaaambulance.

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Angie Reply:

Wow, what a juvenile response. You make Emily’s blog look bad by assuming this is how dissenting commenters are treated.

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Jennifer     at 12:23 am

You do very few sponsored post but its been 2 in a row. I always look forward to a new post but not when it’s a bunch of links to products. I guess if this is the new reality then there will be more in the future. Recipe posts don’t pay (except in traffic) so bloggers are putting up less of those and more of these. Thank goodness for archives, that’s all I read these days!

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Emily Malone Reply:

The Stitchfix post was not paid or sponsored. Just something I am using and doing for fun!

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Jennifer Reply:

You’re right, you did mention it wasn’t sponsored. What I mean is exactly what Tanner wrote below. I think she hit the nail on the head amongst all the constructive and non constructive comments

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Cara     at 4:17 am

I can understand (and applaud) trying to focus on buying more local stuff (not USA bound, so I think it’s not necessarily about buying USA products, but more about trying to reduce your footprint, supporting local economies, etc).
However, I find throwing away perfectly fine stuff to replace with the same (local) products stupid. Not saying that you do that, but since that was the prelude to the rest of your post, I felt the need to comment.

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Cres Reply:

I agree, Cara. I totally support local products but their campaign to discard a foreign made one for no good reason runs counter to my environmental concerns. Choosing local, for many people, has as much to do with the environment as it does with supporting local economies.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I definitely agree with that. Maybe the focus should be more on donating or repurposing rather than just “removing.” Good point!

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Katie     at 4:31 am

Glad you are posting more, however I have to agree that this post seemed so out of place. I understand bloggers do these types of things but some seem to weave them in better. One of my favorite blogs is Pinch of Yum. They do monthly income statements with tips for advertising. Of course they work a ton and have no kids, but they are doing really well and don’t do a ton of sponsored posts. Might be cool to check out how they are generating income. Blogs that do tons of sponsored posts seem to be the ones that get dropped from my feed, it just doesn’t feel genuine.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thank you for the constructive feedback, Katie. That is actually helpful. :) I totally agree with you, which is why it’s something I almost never do.

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Erika     at 6:44 am

Emily, as a newer mom, I liked this post and couldn’t care less if it’s sponsored. Based on what I know of you from reading your blog over the past few years, I think that you’re intelligent enough and have enough integrity that you wouldn’t accept sponsorships from products or companies you don’t believe in – otherwise, I wouldn’t read your blog. Keep on keepin’ on.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thank you, Erika. Congrats on your little one! I knew some people wouldn’t take well to the sponsored post, but I really try to make all my posts authentic. None of these brands paid or endorsed me — I just like them. Thank you for reading for so long!

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Erika Reply:

Well, my “little one” is 19 months now, but he’ll always be my baby. :) And THANK YOU – I can’t tell you how many times during my pregnancy and during these last 19 months I’ve looked back at your blog to get reassurance that what I’m going through – or what my son is doing at various points in his development – is normal.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I think the first one will always be a baby. :)

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Sarah Reply:

I agree with Erika, I found this post very helpful as a new-ish mom (9 month old) and I too have gone back through your old pregnancy and baby posts when I was curious about something. I’ve read some (and skipped over some) sponsored posts from other bloggers and I do believe that this one makes total sense for you and seems genuine to me.

One of my goals for this year was to buy more things locally and in general use more local businesses. Not going for perfection, just progress. Thanks for the inspiration :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Sarah! Appreciate it! I like that – progress not perfection. :)

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char eats greens     at 7:52 am

I love Green Toys!! We have star stocking blocks by them!!

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Janelle     at 9:00 am

I like the content of this post. I hope that your blog is still up when I eventually have kids, because there has been so much helpful / interesting information on here! There’s so much information out there, and it’s nice to feel like a thoughtful friend is sharing her recommendations with you. It’s lovely that you are able to post more regularly again!

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Tanner     at 9:15 am

I’m a long-time reader but rarely comment. I want to start by saying how much I have enjoyed reading your blog over the years! I genuinely enjoy all of your posts, whether they be baby updates, parenting strategies, vacation/holiday recaps or delicious recipe posts – I even enjoy most of the sponsored ones because I love learning about new products. I also just had my second baby (a couple weeks after Graham), so I enjoy reading about how you are adjusting to life with two little ones because I am right there myself!

I think the issue that some of the readers had with this particular post is that, for several months, you have been posting very infrequently (which is totally understandable with a newborn!). And, most of the posts that you do write are baby updates and recaps – based on the comments that I have read for several months now, many of your readers have been asking for more recipes and more posts with a higher level of content. (I’m not trying to criticize here, just pointing out what I have seen.)

So, when you do start posting more often over the past couple of weeks, and those posts are either sponsored posts, posts talking about a product you got for free in exchange for a review, or posts with affiliate links, I think it just kind of leaves some people with a bad taste in their mouth, that’s all. I read lots of blogs and really have no problem with sponsored posts, as long as they stay true to the writer’s voice and preferences, and as long as I’m not bombarded with several in a row. I think the StitchFix and Made in America posts side by side (and so soon after the Rockaroo one) was what made things a little awkward. Too much at once.

Finally, I have always admired how professional you have been in regards to comments, even when it is clear that someone is baiting you to respond negatively or just plain being rude. I will say, however, that I have noticed you firing back at unnecessary comments with your own comebacks (sometimes equally as catty) and this is disheartening to see; I’m referring to this site as well as on Babble. You are better than this. I’m not saying you shouldn’t defend yourself – by all means, do so! But do it in a professional and kind tone and don’t stoop to their level. Since this is supposed to be a professional space, I think all comments (however ridiculous or mean-spirited they may be) should be handled in a professional manner or not addressed at all. Easier said than done, right?

Anyway, I don’t want to sound like I am lecturing or being negative at all. I think most of the people who have offered constructive criticism have done so because they care about you and want the best for your blog. Take care.

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Aimee Reply:

I wholeheartedly second all of the above, specifically Tanner’s last point. I’ve read your blog for years– since the M, M and M days!– and you’ve lost a sense of graciousness that I really respected previously. Such reactive, often rude comebacks eliminate opportunities for productive conversation and make you look exceedingly unprofessional.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Wow, I can’t believe you’ve been reading that long! Thanks so much! I’m sorry you think I’ve lost some graciousness – that makes me sad. I really, truly believe that I have tried to keep an honest communication flow here, and have kept my responses professional and polite. There are a few instances where I have probably lost my cool – most of them being comments where people have directly attacked my kids. That’s not something any parent (or child!) should have to tolerate. But I appreciate the feedback, and I will continue to pause before I react too quickly from now on. Thank you!

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Sheena Reply:

Hi Emily,

I, too, read and enjoy your blog regularly. I just want to empathize with how difficult it is to be your best self when you are tired (tired being a euphemism for the bone-deep exhaustion that comes with caring for children all day and night!). It’s not an excuse – well, I try never to let it be an excuse for my own less-than-ideal behaviour – but it is a fact, and probably a fairly relevant fact for you right now. Remember to be gracious with yourself too!

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Amy Reply:

This is a great comment.

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Anna Reply:

Yes, this. All of this.

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Laura Reply:

Totally agree.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Tanner, like many others said above – this is such a GREAT comment, and I really appreciate this feedback. This is the type of thing that really makes me think and want to respond, rather than just react. I am well aware of the frustration with lack of posting, and I take that as a big compliment to the fact that people like this blog. That said, I can see how prioritizing something sponsored can leave a bad taste. Definitely something I’ll consider before I accept another opportunity, although I also have to balance the opportunities to make money that helps provide for our family.

But definitely too much at once, and I can see that. I had a series of deadlines that were not set by me, but I probably should have managed better. I’m sorry if you think my comment responses have been catty. I will make sure to pause a bit more going forward. I have really, really tried to maintain my composure over these past few years. Parenting culture on the internet has changed a lot recently, and people are very brazen and often very rude. It can be hard to remain positive and gracious after hearing the same things (often from the same people). I strive to keep a balance between open communication and professional courtesy, along with standing up for myself and what I believe in. Food for thought that I will continue to think about over the next few days. Thanks again for the helpful feedback, and I appreciate you reading for several years!

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Jessica     at 12:10 pm

Hi Emily!
Great posts, just glad to read them and appreciative of the advice. Sorry for all your recent unconstructive feedback!

My brother has a small USA -only made/manufactured clothing business called pharnorth.com. Mostly ski and mountain bike clothing and no kid clothing but still has a great mission and never outsources!! Their home base is Bozeman, MT. Thanks for putting USA made out there.

Enjoy the snow. We have had white stuff on the ground since Oct here in Wyoming. I’m ready for green grass again.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Very cool!!

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Lara     at 12:57 pm

Wow. Sorry for all the negativity on what is actually a pretty informative post, Emily. I have no problem with sponsored posts as long as they are genuinely products/brands you believe in, which you clearly do. I thought this was a nice mix of personal anecdotes/helpful recommendations with the sponsorship information (which helps keep the blog going, people).

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Lara! :)

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RW     at 12:57 pm

I used to read this blog for recipes and meal ideas, but I actually work full-time in addition to raising my children so I have little time to “scour Craigslist all summer” for the perfect toy, nor funds for Barre clases weekly or expensive eco/USA-made clothing. I work too hard for my money to buy a $30 thin t-shirt. Thrift shops for me, and resale fairs for my son. That seems like a more true form of recycling/upcycling. I choose to sock the money I don’t spend on that sort of stuff into my son’s college fund. That’s the gift I want to give him, in addition to him seeing a confident working mom with a career of her own outside the home. I’m all for locally-grown etc etc but often products are marked up as if “locally grown” is a brand. Often, there’s no real evidence of the extra money going back into the hands of those who actually crafted the product, spun the thread into fabric and on and on.

And, dare I say so (but this is a public blog), but doesn’t your husband ever do anything to tick you off. Ever? From reading your blog it seems as though he may be in the running for the best husband, best father award….24/7. Maybe I missed the post where you get real and get a little irritated, or admit you do from time to time.

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Erika Reply:

Wow – judge much? I work full-time, too, and give massive credit to moms who stay at home with their kids. I personally think it’s significantly harder to be a SAHM in a lot of ways.

And Emily wrote a post a while back about challenges she and Casey have experienced adjusting to married life with a child/children. And so what if she never had written that post? We all see a tiny glimpse into her life – what she CHOOSES to share in the best interest of herself and the people who read this blog. What she choose to exclude about her personal life is none of our business.

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RW Reply:

My point being, I think this blog may not be relevant to me anymore. Where are the recipes? I agree that being a SAHM is tough work, not more so, just tough. I guess at this point in my life I need less canned posts with giveaways and wildly expensive “locally sourced” product endorsements and more “real” and honest writing about life. Flaws and uncertainty; honest, candid, raw and real. It’s my opinion. Erika, you seem to be her spokesperson. It wasn’t a comment intended for you directly.

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Erika Reply:

Not trying to be Emily’s spokesperson or drag this out any more – this is actually one of the first posts I’ve ever commented on in the years I’ve been reading. I personally have gotten a lot out of Emily’s blog and just wanted to chime in with my support. You and others have every right to a different opinion, and I completely respect that certain posts don’t resonate with everyone. Your original reply just came off as a personal attack against Emily with unnecessary judgements about her life, her finances, and her marriage. No, it’s not my job to defend Emily, but I also have a right to speak up when I feel like someone is being unfairly judged.

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RW Reply:

I’m sure Emily is capable of speaking up for herself. I think dissenting opinions and comments are healthy. I much prefer that than to have everyone pat my on the back and tell me how perfect I am all the time. I’d rather know why and when someone disagrees with me.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I really appreciate that Erika. Thanks for reading for so long!

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Emily Malone Reply:

I like to think that I have a good balance of real and raw life here. In fact, if you look back at my posts through the past few months you’ll probably sense a general trend of me being overwhelmed, tired, disorganized, etc. I’ve been pretty honest that the transition from one to two kids has not been a walk in the park. With that said, I also think it’s understandable that I choose to focus on the positive things in my life (of which there are many), rather than constantly (publicly!) dwell on what could be better.

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Amy Reply:

LOL, good for you. Your trophy’s in the mail.

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Amy Reply:

I’m sorry, but I’m so entertained by this comment that I wanted to come back and thank you especially for writing the sentence about giving your kid the gift of a college fund and a working mom. I can’t remember the last time I read anything smug enough to even approach this masterpiece. You are a delight! Thanks for the laugh.

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Ashley M. [at] (never)homemaker Reply:

While I agree with your thoughts about thrifting and frugality, recycling/upcycling, and that “local” isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be for the premium (wholeheartedly), I feel compelled to chime in:

What you’re listing off, RW, are a bunch of personal choices you have made in your life that you feel works best for you/your family in your particular situation. Your comment, unfortunately, just works to perpetuate the whole bullsh*t mommy-wars that I, personally, am growing very tired of and know that sentiment is shared times a million. We all deserve an award and recognition for the “work” — whatever it is — we do as mothers.

Have you seen this? http://herscoop.com/posts/empowering-photo-series/

We — mothers, fathers, people of Earth — all do the same, CHOOSE, for ourselves and our families, with no one choice being superior or better than another. It all comes down to values, for which you have clearly stated yours, and they are to be respected. However, all values are different and painted through innumerable sets of subjectivities . . . it’s both pointless/impossible to compare and stack against one another.

I, for example, worked outside the home for nearly a decade after college . . . and now choose to work nearly full-time from home (degree in Writing allows this) as an “example” for my child. My mother stayed home and didn’t work — and I think she provided an excellent example as well. Point being: There are lots of CHOICES, no one choice is a better example than another in my opinion.

That all being said, you may also CHOOSE to not read Emily’s blog if it no longer fits into your life. Of course Emily writes for an audience, which may change over time as life/circumstances change, but she has absolutely no obligation to provide you with the sort of blog you “need . . . in your life.”

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RW Reply:

Another cheerleader for Emily.

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Ashley M. [at] (never)homemaker Reply:

You obviously missed the point. So, it’s not worth re-hashing.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thank you, Ashley. :) You said this a lot better than I could, which is why I love your writing so much!

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Emily Malone Reply:

I’m not going to address all your points here, as it sounds like to some extent you just generally have a problem with me, or my lifestyle. To speak specifically to this post, I think that is great to get things at resale fairs and thrift stores. We shop consignment here in Seattle as well. That wasn’t really the point of this post though, but rather to feature some brands and products that are made here in America. I believe I am giving my children lots of gifts (including saving for college funds too), one of them being my time with them. To each his own.

I don’t even know what to say to your comment about Casey. I have no idea what that has to do with this post (or really anything?), and while parenting has certainly challenged our marriage (which I have mentioned previously), I would never air our personal issues in a space like this. For what it’s worth, he actually IS a really great husband, and a great father. Not perfect, but pretty great.

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LM     at 2:34 pm

Such a helpful post – I’m pregnant and have been wondering your stance on some of this and greatly appreciate the suggestion of specific brands!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Congrats on your pregnancy!!

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KC     at 3:07 pm

I for one loved this post! I think it is a great reminder to try and support American businesses. We are so quick to buy something because it is cheaper… but it will cost us so much more in the long run. I cannot believe how sensitive your readers have become. I have been reading your blog for years and the reason I have done so is I can relate to you on so many levels. My son and Cullen are a few weeks apart and loved following you through our first pregnancy together. I am also vegetarian. And like you, I am doing the best I can. When you stop sticking up for yourself and having the backbone to disagree with your commenters is when I will stop reading this blog. Keep up the good work. I don’t know when we got to this point in our culture where if you disagree with someone you are being prejudice, antigay, a hater, or whatever the case may be. If we all had the same view of the world I would be bored out of my mind.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Love that our kiddos are so close in age! Thanks so much for reading for so long. I will always engage in what I consider to be a healthy discussion here, and I’m not one to delete or ignore comments. But like you said, I will also stick up for myself when appropriate. Thanks for your support!

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Theresa     at 3:14 pm

Just want to point out that “Made in America” does not necessarily equal “Made Without Sweatshop Labor.” Definitely not trying to criticize Emily here, just want to dispel a common misconception about conditions for garment workers here in the US.

For example, here is an article about a US Department of Labor investigation into sweatshop conditions at garment factories in Los Angeles: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/12/federal-sweep-of-downtown-garment-businesses-finds-widespread-violations.html.

I went to the website for Pickwell & Weller, which sources their clothing from factories in Los Angeles, and could not find any information about the wages that workers earn or any other data about conditions. If these clothes are truly ethically made, that’s great, but I’m always skeptical when I see a company making claims without providing any evidence to back them up.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Good point, Theresa! One of my personal favorite made in USA brands is American Apparel, but I didn’t include them here because I know their business practices (and leadership) are considered controversial by some. It’s definitely important to look beyond just the label and dig for more information.

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Emily E.     at 6:45 pm

I don’t mind posts like this at all! I have a baby just a week older than Graham and I always enjoy learning about cool new products. In fact, I just ordered the teething rings from the post. Emily spends time writing her wonderful posts and I don’t think there is anything wrong with having sponsored posts that might generate some income, as long as they are products she actually uses and recommends. I think it’s pretty selfish of people to want her to tell all the details of her personal life and spend her time coming up with complicated new recipes but not get any financial reward for her time!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Oh yay, you will love those teething rings — so easy for the little guys to grasp. Thanks, Emily!

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Tamara     at 8:55 pm

I love posts like this. My kids are passed this stage but it keeps me in the loop for shower and new baby gifts :)

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Robyn     at 7:56 am

I love the Green Toys, and California Baby products. My little guy has the school bus and is getting the airplane for his birthday soon. His daddy travels often so I think it’s fun that he can have an airplane for reference.

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louise     at 11:08 am

I literally never comment on any of the multiple blogs that I read. However, I just want to chime in that I’ve been a reader for many years and enjoy your posts. I think it’s wonderful when one has a blog that can eventually generate a little income. I’m a mother/baby educator and often speak about the many different choices we as moms have to make. We choose what is best for our families. And you have absolutely no reason to air your dirty laundry – anyone who is married and raising kids together knows that it is hard work and of course, we all have bad days. People have many blogs to choose from and if you don’t like this one, move on. No need to belittle, berate and judge Emily’s decisions. Completely ridiculous and uncalled for. She’s a kind person who is raising kind children.

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Mylene Reply:

I wholeheartedly agree with this! I also read many blogs and it certainly isn’t my expectation that I will love every single post that gets written.

I adore your blog Emily. I loved it when you posted more recipe ideas, but I also love it even more now that you are so open about this wonderful (and challenging!) transition in your life. As a mom of 2 young ones, I can certainly relate.

It’s truly unfortunate that someone would choose to attack you on a personal level when they could’ve simply chosen to be gracious about it and just move on to another blog that suits then better. I hope you don’t let comments like that put you down. Keep up the great work!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Louise! I would love to hear you speak! :)

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sarah cross     at 12:21 pm

Im exhausted after reading just a few comments from this post. I can only imagine how you feel. Im sorry for all of the negative feedback. Keep doing what your doing – there are people who love reading your blog!!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thank you Sarah! I know you have been reading for a long time, and I really appreciate it. I love this community!

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Crystal     at 1:34 pm

Is Pickwell and Weller supposed to be Pickwick and Weller? When I googled Pickwell and… all I found was Pickwick and…

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Emily Malone Reply:

Goodness. Yes, and thank you so much. I need a nap.

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Gabrielle     at 6:43 am

I love this post – I’m all about buying USA made, but it can be so hard! And as for colors… I don’t have children, but cats, and a dog, and trust me, when I buy toys, leashes, collars, whatever, for them? It has to be a color I want to live with. ;)

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