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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    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.



Getting Crafty with Kiwi Crate.

Despite my best efforts, I just haven’t been able to get into the whole Pinterest scene.  For one, it’s totally overwhelming – but to be totally honest, it makes me feel bad about myself!  I am a good cook, a loving mom, a decent runner, and a pretty badass parallel parker.  But I am not crafty.  Not even a little bit.

I never used to really care about this until I had kids.  Now I feel like not only should I be hand-crafting all sorts of amazing party decorations and valentines, but I should also be crafting with them.  My own mother is enormously talented and creative, and actually owned a small craft business for many years of my childhood.  I have wonderful memories of making things with her.  I can still almost smell the hot glue.

My two-year old is really into typical two-year old stuff right now – sports, balls, trucks, animals, etc.  But outside of his play-doh garbage truck, he hasn’t really shown much of an interest so far in arts and crafts.  And I am sure that part of the reason is that I never really go beyond basic paper and crayons.  I would love to do more creative and original projects with him, but I lack both the talent and the time to research and shop for supplies.

Enter – Kiwi Crate

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Kiwi Crate is a monthly subscription service that provides all the materials to inspire creative, educational fun for kids!  Each crate includes 2-3 hands-on projects – art, science, games, imaginative play, and more.  And each one includes supplies, instructions, and additional fun like sticker charts, and interactive kids’ magazine.

Each box has a different theme, and they start at $16.95/month (plus free shipping)!  Our first box had an adorable camping theme (if only I was brave enough to take two kids camping!). 

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The packaging is absolutely beautiful, and each item is clearly and cleverly labeled for both helping parents and for older kids who can work independently.  The boxes are designed for children ages 3-8 and tested to ensure that they are developmentally appropriate, fun and universally liked (by both boys and girls!). 

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Since Cullen is only two and a half, he needed a good amount of parent-involvement, but that just meant it was a fun project for us to do together!  We don’t get as much one-on-one time these days, and it was a much more fun use of Graham’s morning nap time than building yet another tower of legos. 

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Our camping crate contained two main projects – a homemade “campfire” along with a little hand-painted backpack!  The crate was clearly divided into the two projects, so picked one and got started.

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We opted for the “glowing campfire” first, as I figured anything that involved paint should probably be saved for last.  The instruction book had a cute legend at the bottom showing skill level, grownup involvement level, and types of skill sets that would be challenged. 

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Our first time using modeling clay! 

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I tried to do as little as possible, as I really wanted Cullen to feel empowered to create something himself.

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And just like that – it was time to roast our marshmallows!  He had a good time pretending to eat them, and later in the day his Sesame Street characters continued to gather around the fire to keep warm. 

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For the purpose of sharing Kiwi Crate with you guys, we went ahead and did both of our crafts in one day.  But since the box contains several crafts and things like coloring books, etc. – I’d probably typically spread these over different days.  I can see Kiwi Crate crafts being a breath of fresh air during the long rainy winter afternoons or when dad is traveling.

Our second craft involved painting, so while I grabbed things like paper towels and aprons, my little Monet channeled his inner artist. 

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He wasted no time slapping layers of blue and green onto his little backpack.  It was nice that – other than his apron and the grocery bag I placed underneath – everything else was included (paint cups, paints, brush, bag, etc.). 

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The final step was placing some nature shapes on the bag and setting it out in the sun to dry.  Such a cute and clever idea, and something I never, ever would have come up with on my own.  He loved it!

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Even after we had finished the crafts, Cullen continued to play with the remaining items in the crate.  He colored pictures in the activity book, and discovered a page with his very favorite thing – hidden pictures!  Anyone else’s kid love these?  I remember doing them when I was little, and it is so fun to watch him get into it too. 

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And before I finish, can I just tell you my favorite feature?  We don’t need this quite yet, but if the interaction between my two boys at their current ages is any indication of what is to come – well, I need a nap just thinking about it.  There is a sibling add-on option called the “no fight crate” for just $9.99.  You get all the materials to make two of everything – pure genius. 

The creative minds at Kiwi Crate have offered a generous discount for Daily Garnish readers!  Save 25% on your first month subscription with code [DG25]!  Note: Promotional code excludes sibling add-ons.

Many thanks to Kiwi Crate for providing a fun and engaging experience for me and Cullen, and for helping me find my craftier side.

This post is sponsored by Kiwi Crate.  As always, all opinions are my own.  Thank you for your continued support of Daily Garnish! 

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172 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Jen     at 7:53 pm

I used to love reading your blog it was inspiring and from the heart. I could feel how much you loved writing, eating healthy, running and learning about nutrition pregnancy and motherhood. However in the last few years not only have things changed dramatically in your life as they do it feels like, besides the running which is a fantastic achievement your interest in this blog has become purely for the purpose of making money, advertising products and exploiting your kids with milestone updates and photos when you can’t be bothered writing. I don’t have a problem using your blog to make money, it’s the way you use your family and the the contradictory information that you have provide over the last two years which makes me question how truthful some of the information in these posts are…I feel some things are exaggerated in a dramatic fashion to make posts interesting, I also feel a lot of what you say you like is paid by companies, there’s no effort in many of the posts which are slapped together just to get by week by week, I feel that your blog has gone from genuine to fake…sorry but like many others this is how we feel, would say I’ve lost trust in you as a blogger over all.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I am sorry, Jen! Your comment has quite a bit here, but I’ll just respond to a few points. First, absolutely nothing I promote is paid unless I say so upfront. So if you are thinking that Target is paying me to run in their awesome new tanks – you are mistaken. I am a blogger, but also a consumer. And believe it or not, I actually love to use this space to promote things I love (things I buy for myself!). If I have been paid, it is clearly stated. There was a long period of time where I did not do sponsored posts, but blogging and advertising (like everything else on the internet) has changed completely in the last few years. That said, I still try to pick and choose opportunities that both interest me, and also fit within my content.

As for your comments on me as a mother, perhaps you have actually picked up on a gradual change that is already taking place? I am not doing monthly updates anymore (did not write about Graham at 8 months, or Cullen at 2.5 years), and I can’t remember the last time I recapped our weekend or talked about our travels or family affairs. I actually DO feel a strong urge to take back some of the privacy I gave up these past few years. I just didn’t make a big official “thing” of it. The blogging community as a whole was very different two years ago when I had Cullen. Today, I would likely do things very differently. As it is now, I’m looking to do them differently going forward. I have already been focusing my content back onto food and fitness, but perhaps that is not what you’re looking for. As far as slapped together posts to get through the week, I tend to disagree. There are many weeks where I only post once or twice, specifically because I don’t want to throw filler content and empty thoughts into a space that I have always been proud of. Perhaps what you are sensing as fake is actually just me with my guard up. The genuine, honest writing you remember from years ago is something that I miss too. It is sad that internet culture has changed so much that it leaves writers feeling so filtered and guarded.

Not sure what you think I’m exaggerating or what is contradictory, but I assure you I’m not stretching things for the sake of blog fodder. Wouldn’t I be posting more? Regardless, it sounds like you’ve been reading a long while, and I appreciate your feedback!

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Jessie Hearn Reply:

Hi Emily,

I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time and I love it. I don’t usually comment, not for lack of enjoying what I read, but because I typically read your posts on my cell phone, in the middle of the night, while nursing a baby, and that just doesn’t lend to commenting.

That said, I couldn’t NOT comment on this one. It makes me sad that you felt you had to defend yourself. You are an incredible blogger, but more importantly a wonderful mommy and friend (my sister is Nicki Brandt- so I know first hand, without actually knowing first hand).

Own your awesomeness and remind your crabby readers that nobody is forcing them to read.

Keep writing exactly as you see fit- share as many or as few personal details as you want, promote as many or as few products as you’d like (whether or not you are paid for them), and I can assure you people will keep reading- you have a talent.

Thanks for being you!
Jessie

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Jessie, you are too much!! I love that you read the blog – I had no idea. Nicki is my Seattle sister, so it means a lot to hear such kind words from you. :) And I know all about late night blog reading in the nursery! Hope we see you out this way again sometime soon!

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Jen Reply:

Clare I’m simply being honest with my thoughts, apologies if this has been hurtful, I feel that the blog has moved from an honest heart felt space to a money making space that’s just how I feel…it’s comes across that way strongly. I would never put my children on the net so much especially with all stalkers, psychos and pedophiles out there and I stick with that comment….and yes Emily I really miss your genuine honest writing from years ago it’s sad that you had to change and put a guard up. I don’t feel the posts have been from the heart that’s all I’m saying and maybe you have swayed in another direction like you said because of all the changes out there. To me it’s been obvious to others maybe not so much.

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Jessie Hearn Reply:

Jen-
Your feedback doesn’t seem like constructive criticism. It seems more like a hurtful attack on a blogger who is working her way through that path known as life. People change over time, life changes- it can only be expected that writing style changes too.
I think, at this point, it would be a good choice for you to stop reading this blog. If you have enough time on your hands to not only read, but to criticize too, then it seems your efforts would be better spent elsewhere.
Signed,
A big fan of this blog (with sore thumbs bc your comment was so annoying to me that I actually had to respond immediately from my phone in the middle of the night)

[Reply]

Jen Reply:

I think you need to re read my post, it’s very constructive only stating the truth.

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Marcella Reply:

I’ve been reading this blog for a lonnnnnnnng time and I understand what Jen is saying. There are some aspects of this blog that are very different from years ago and that’s ok–life changes! But you can’t really criticize people for noticing that and pointing it out. I’ve noticed a lack of “heart” in some of Emily’s writing, but it may actually just be that I’ve noticed a changed in content and the things that aren’t posted about anymore are things that I really truly enjoyed (and miss)! I read because I like the writing and every so often there’s content that I truly enjoy.

I have to say, some of the comments “defending” Emily are so over the top unnecessary. No one was attacked, it was just a simple observation. It’s important to remember that even if you feel like you’re sticking up for someone, your words can hurt just the same.

That being said, the campfire kit is super cute!

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Jill Reply:

Dear Jen – “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”

Dear Emily – I’ve followed you many years. You’re life has evolved and priorities changed. I commend you for embracing the changes and being a wonderful Mom to your boys. Only those readers with kids can empathize with that.

I began reading your blog because I was inspired by your recipes and healthy lifestyle. You helped me become more confident in the trials of cooking! My 4 year daughter was diagnosed with leukemia soon after and I was even more thankful for the background knowledge I had received from your blog about healthy living. So thank YOU. :)

I am also an art teacher, so I absolutely LOVED reading about Kiwi Crate. I hadn’t heard of it before, and I’m so happy to see that something like it exists. Thank you for the review!

Emily Malone Reply:

You are sweet, Jill. Thank you! I cannot even imagine dealing with childhood cancer — one of my worst fears. How is your daughter now?? Kiwi Crate is awesome, and I’m glad you were excited to read about it. I had a lot of fun doing the projects with Cullen!

Emily Malone Reply:

Thank you for reading for so long — so awesome!! Lack of heart is something I feel too — trust me. I wish I could just barrel through it. But it is a natural guard that has gone up after years of growing and learning as a writer in a public space. If the bulk of the conversation surrounding me was as polite and friendly as this comment section, I’d pour my heart out all day long. Sadly, it just isn’t. Glad you like the Kiwi Crate!! :)

Samantha Reply:

OMG Marcella you took the words right out of my mouth the comments in defence are so ridiculous so over the top it seems that the reader is being attacked viciously for stating what she likes and doesn’t like.

Emily Malone Reply:

I am laughing that you left so many comments under different names (but not different IP addresses — oops!).

Gabrielle Reply:

Emily, I’ve been reading since forever, and I could not disagree more with Jen, so when she tries to speak for other readers, saying this is how “we” feel, she could not be more wrong. I really hate that people leave you these kind of comments, prompting you to pull back and not want to give so much of yourself on YOUR blog. I love the posts about the clothes delivered, or the Nature Box or this one which sounds like such a great idea for a busy mom who doesn’t do the crafts thing! I never once felt you were trying to sell me anything. I also don’t feel your posts are thrown together. They seem thoughtful and as if you take a lot of time to share with an audience of mostly strangers. You are so brave! Please know that Jen does not speak for anyone but herself, and if she does not like your blog she should just quietly stop visiting. That comment seemed so unnecessary. Keep up the good work. I love following along! :)

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Clare     at 8:20 pm

Before we criticize others.. We should ask, “is it true, is it necessary, is it Kind??” I like Emily’s contribution to the blog world, and if I didn’t, I wouldn’t read it.. Think about the pain you just inflicted, Jen.. And then think if you would like being on the receiving side of that..

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Crystal     at 8:31 pm

I am the same way. Want to be crafty but I’m just not. Great product. Thanks for sharing!

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Renee     at 8:56 pm

Emily, I love your blog. I also love that you were kind in your defence. I don’t know if I could have responded with as much composure. Jen you didn’t need to comment at all….just move along. Your comment was passive aggressive masked as being constructive criticism. Pretty sad to read. Keep up the good work Emily, I for one would miss not being able to read your blog x

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Ashley     at 10:34 pm

Emily, you are an awesome momma of two boys that adore you. I have been reading your blog every since you had Cullen. My boys are 2.5 and 1. I know you aren’t writing as often as you used to, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t genuine in your posts. It makes me sad to see fellow readers making rude comments like that.
So, I thought I should comment and tell you I still love reading your blogs and I feel like I can relate to you very well. Almost like we would hang out at mommy and me playdates.
Keep doing what you’re doing, momma!
If anything, you have an awesome diary of your children’s childhood to look back on!

[Reply]

Jennifer     at 10:55 pm

Hi Emily,

I too read your blog in the middle of the night while feeding my 4 month old… I look forward to your posts every week .. When I discovered your blog I went back and read from your first blog post… Your blog is like a good book I cannot put down!

Thank you for all you do!

Jennifer

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Zinzi     at 12:01 am

Thank you for this post and all the others. I look forward to reading them! I enjoy reading about your family, your weekends, your running and your recipes! I love it all! I usually wake up to your posts because I’m South African and because of the time difference I usually only see your posts first thing in the morning and what a nice treat to wake up to. I was once a runner in university and you have inspired me to run again (I signed up to a half marathon just yesterday!). I cannot wait to have children and love your family posts. Please keep blogging how you see fit and do not listen to the negative voices. I was so disappointed when I read the first comment after such a great post and a great product. You are gracious in your responses. Please know that some of us value everything you have to say, we value the energy you put into these posts.
Love and light from South Africa!
Zinzi

[Reply]

Robin     at 1:14 am

Either your kid is a crafting genius, or you made 90% of that campfire.

I don’t mind the sponsored posts – you’ve got to monetize the
blog somehow and free stuff is free stuff. I just view these posts as equivalent to copy ads that an employee at an actual job would write. I adjust my credulity/attention level accordingly.

[Reply]

Jill Reply:

… and there’s nothing wrong with helping him make the campfire. :) The quality time spent together, just Mom and Cullen, is just as important. Besides; he’s 2 years old. The real focus here is that he’s TRYING to use the scissors, TRYING to roll balls out of clay, etc. All those things (fine motor skills) that we take for granted as adults are important for kids to practice. :) – Jill

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Absolutely! He had a blast, and for what it’s worth, he actually DID do a lot of it. It was simple things like sticking clay circles onto cardboard, and pushing rocks into them.

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Emily Malone Reply:

He actually did do quite a bit of it, after I showed him each step. It wasn’t very complicated! Basic glue stick and crumpling of tissue paper. :)

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Dad     at 3:15 am

Emily, its gratifying to read all the supportive comments rebutting “Jen the Hater”. You know you are genuine. And for those who doubt, as Emily’s dad (and definitely not paid to comment LOL), Emily has always written from the heart, with insight, talent and truth. It takes courage and commitment to live a somewhat public, blog-life, and I could not be more proud of her and this body of work she has crafted.

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Alice Reply:

It’s so frustrating that when someone expresses their honest opinion that they are labeled as a “hater”. The blog is public, so anyone can read or comment, or else it would be locked down as private and only family would know the password. I don’t think there is anything wrong with readers expressing their feedback, good or bad, as long as it’s done politely, which I think Jen did. Emily was gracious enough to respond in the same manner. Just because a comment isn’t gushing with praise or head-pets doesn’t mean it’s hateful.

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Suzzanne Reply:

Thank you Alice. You took the words right out of my mouth. Why is disagreeing with someone considered hating? Is this something specific to blogging? I disagree with people all the time, and I don’t consider it hateful.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I don’t personally use the term “haters” – but I understand why people do. I disagree with people all the time too! I scroll through my Facebook feed these days and roll my eyes at MOST of it. But I don’t feel the need to click and leave a comment that says “Why did you post this? This is garbage!” I move along and don’t think about it again. Disagreement is healthy and can often lead to better work, or at least some thoughtful conversation. That is exactly why I allow all comments to go through here (and try to respond as best as I can!).

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Suzzanne Reply:

Thank you for taking the time to respond. I find that it’s not necessarily the blogger, but the defenders (who are so certain that anything but a head pat has a negative connotation) use the “haters” term most often.

I generally don’t comment on things unless I have something nice to say, but I do enjoy reading comments that offer another perspective as well.

Write when you want about what you love and people will read it.

[Reply]

Carrie Reply:

Amen! When I see a post (from any blogger!) begin with, “Today I received from blah blah blah” my eyes glaze over and I click next on my feedly list. If there’s more of that than actual interesting content, the blog will be deleted from my reader.

Wouldn’t the author want to know if they’re losing readers and why? I’m pretty sure that equals losing ad revenue and sponsorship.

I’m not attacking and even if I was, who cares? You don’t start a public blog and not expect any kind of backlash.

Emily, I’m sorry to hear you’re not going to be doing anymore monthly updates on your boys. I understand your reason completely, but my little guy is seven-months-old and I liked reading about what I might be expecting in the next month or how our babies were alike and different.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Interesting feedback! It’s funny that people are so anti-sponsored posts, when the large majority of questions I get from people is about STUFF. Strollers, car seats, sippy cups, high chairs, running shoes, non-stick pans – you name it. People are always looking for favorites and recommendations. So it’s amazing to me that just because an actual brand is standing behind the post as well (rather than just me), it is taken so negatively.

As far as starting a public blog and expecting backlash goes, I’ll actually correct you there. I started this blog in 2008, and perhaps it was my own naivety, but I actually never considered that people who hate me and what I write would feel a need to remind me of that on a regular basis. I don’t read things I don’t like – who has time for that?

I would love to continue monthly updates, as they are actually some of my own personal favorite posts. But the last few have just hit too many nerves, and I feel like I’ve lost control over the conversation surrounding my own children. I will still write them privately for myself and my family and friends.

[Reply]

Carrie Reply:

Personally, I find posts that end with, “all opinions are my own!” to be disingenuous. This is aimed at the blogging world in general. Most sponsored entries seem so stilted and unnatural and there are more and more of them every day in my feed. It’s different when in the middle of an entry, I see, “by the way, I bought this stroller and it’s awesome/it sucks/mediocre at best.”

But like you said below, changes in internet culture. I think Jen’s comment and responses brought out something that’s been brewing for a while.

For what it’s worth, I’ve read your blog for over two years now after my sister made a recipe of yours. :)

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

The more and more of them every day in your feed is exactly what I meant when I said blogging and advertising is changing. Despite what it might seem, writing in a space that is this public and this trafficked actually takes a good bit of work (and $$ I might add, for things like server costs!). I try to choose very carefully. I stand by this one — I really enjoyed doing the projects with C! Thanks to your sis for passing me along! :)

[Reply]

Kristi Reply:

Quoting in case my reply shows up in a different place – ” But the last few have just hit too many nerves, and I feel like I’ve lost control over the conversation surrounding my own children.”.

Kudos to you, Emily. I have enjoyed watching you transition to motherhood and seeing your children grow so I will miss the updates. However, I’m a perfect stranger (albeit a nice one!) and I would feel extremely uncomfortable sharing details of my own child’s life on the internet so I’m glad you’ve taken back control. Will you be deleting the archives or removing refernces with their full names? It’s sad that we have to be so guarded but that’s the world we live in.

You always handle yourself with grace and respect for your readers unlike so many (all?) of your “HLB” cohorts.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I won’t be able to remove all references to their full names. And honestly, that doesn’t concern me as much. I mean the internet exists and that is just reality. But I will be privatizing a portion of the archives. Thanks for your kind comments!

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Emily Malone Reply:

I agree with you that readers are free and welcome to express all types of feedback! I’m don’t personally find Jen’s feedback to be as innocent and polite as you do, but to each his own. But I am happy to keep the conversation here open and friendly, and I hope that others do the same!

[Reply]

Alison Reply:

I don’t’ find anything wrong with Jen’s comment as a long time reader from the Front Burner days I have also noticed a change its like you don’t care about writing or enjoy it like you did, or love it…not sure what it is its like the passion is missing or something is missing and it shows in your posts…many have noticed it and I suppose for me its also been brewing I just haven’t commented until now.

[Reply]

Leah Reply:

Awww, Emily! So happy to see your Dad chiming in here! (and nice catch with the multiple names and SAME IP address!) :)

I enjoy every single of your posts and I’ve been a reader for years.

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Emily @ Life on Food     at 3:46 am

I am sad to read the first comment and I feel for you in your response. Maybe your blog has shifted but for me it has seemed natural as your life and situation has shifted. I always enjoy your posts about what is going on in your life and in your family. It is a sick world where you cannot or may not want to share what you wish due to the potential of awful people in the world.

As for sponsored posts as long as they aren’t they only posts and they seem fitting I don’t mind. In fact I had been eyeing kiwi crate for a while as gift for my nephew who is a similar age as Cullen. This one was so helpful for me to see and hear your experience. Paid or not I couldn’t care less.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Emily! The Kiwi Crate is really cool, and it’s too bad it has been so clouded by all this other conversation!

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Eleanor     at 5:02 am

Emily, your blog is an utter delight and I always enjoy reading your posts. They’re consistently a relief from day-to-day duties (in my case studying medicine – blog breaks are always welcome!) and frequently motivational (I always get the urge to go outside for a run or head up to the gym after you write about fitness!). Your recipes are sensational and you are clearly a very well-rounded woman with a beautiful family. Keep up the great work – I’m already looking forward to your next post! :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Eleanor!!

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Sarah     at 5:25 am

Emily, I’m sorry but it have to agree with Jen. As a reader since the Front Burner Blog, I miss you providing actual content instead of the same money making fodder that everybody else provides. We’re just trying to say we miss your life adventures and heavy focus on healthy living, there is no need for other readers to attack us on this. I just miss the old days of your blog. And original recipes that aren’t all banana breads, soups or baked goods. Sorry, I do love your blog I just miss the old direction.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Front Burner! Thank you! :) I am laughing that you say you miss my life’s adventures and healthy living talk, but when I post anything about what my family is up to, our travels, our weekends, I hear a backlash of “you are so boring, stop talking about your family and give us a recipe!!” Or when I tried to talk about the Fitbit (something that was NOT sponsored, and something I was super excited about), I got slammed with feedback that it was obnoxious and out of place. So I’m left feeling awkward in my writing, and floundering in my focus. And I’m not trying to unleash any of that on you — just explaining where I’m coming from. For what it’s worth, I’ve been posting banana bread recipes for years and years. :)

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Suzzanne Reply:

Delicious banana bread recipes!

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Emily Malone Reply:

:)

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Taylor     at 6:14 am

Emily, I’ve been reading your blog since you were pregnant with Cullen. I rarely post, but felt compelled to here. I was pregnant at the same time with my first son, and now have two boys as well. I think as life changes, a blogger’s content is bound to change as well. I don’t know you personally, but being a working mom with a 2.5 year old and a 10 month old, I know I don’t have much time to be chefing it up in the kitchen. And as a fellow runner, I really like hearing about your progress getting back into it. As far as this actual post goes, I really appreciated your review of Kiwi Crate, and think it would be a great way to spend hands on time with my toddler (I also lack the creative gene). You can’t please everyone – I think for the number of readers that miss your old posts, there are the same number of readers (or more) who enjoy hearing about motherhood and product reviews from a consumer.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Thank you, Taylor. Exactly. My recipes reflect life’s challenges and time constraints. I have time for things like breakfast, soups, and quick roasted veggie bowls. Nothing more! I love writing about running, and plan to continue to do that as much as I can. And thank you for commenting on the actual purpose of the post – the Kiwi Crate is awesome, and I bet your 2.5 year old would love it too!

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Christine Madore     at 6:31 am

Emily – I enjoy your blog – I am always happy to read the posts on YOUR blog. I don’t often comment but I would like to encourage you today to write your blog as you feel inspired. The Kiwi Crate sounds interesting for my grandkids – but I can’t find what ages this crate is appropriate for… any ideas? I have 2 eight yr old and two going on 6 year old grandsons. Always looking for fresh ideas!

[Reply]

Diana G. Reply:

The ages are 3-8 yrs :)

And yes, I hardly comment, BUT Emily, this is YOUR blog and I enjoy it so much!! I look forward to it. I love to smile, to laugh, to cry (tears of joy like at the births of Cullen and Graham). I look for your posts and do a happy dance when I see one is available <3

I am a 49 yr old Grandma, and I don't see my 4 Grandkids as often as I would like. Ages 8yrs-8 months. So all your posts mean something to me and my family. You only have to answer to the good Lord above and your family. Keep going strong!

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Emily Malone Reply:

You sound like a wonderful Grandma! It is so hard to be far from family. I am sure they miss you like crazy too!

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CaitlinHTP Reply:

This would be an AWESOME gift for a grandchild.

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Christine Madore     at 7:43 am

Thanks Diana for letting me know the ages for the Kiwi Crate! I think my almost 6 yr old grand twins will love the box idea! I am 62 years old and love Emily’s posts! I love her recipes, I work out, and I love my grandkids – so fun to read about her adventures in life!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Yes, 3 to 8! And for twins you should use the sibling add-on option! Such a nice option for a rainy day. :)

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Katie C     at 9:02 am

I really, really do hate to see people not giving a commenter the benefit of the doubt. Maybe that is how she feels, and we are all entitled to our opinion. Emily, the way you responded was kind and sincere, and I think it was a very thoughtful response. I have been reading for a few years and only comment once in a while, but I think it is very safe to say that every one is aware of a shift in your writing and content. We all understand and agree this is to be expected since your life has changed (as ours all have, I would expect), but I am concerned that you don’t seem to like blogging anymore. You don’t have to justify any change to your content or to convince me that you still like to write in this space…I don’t even really need an answer. Like so many point out, this is your space, and you have the freedom to write about whatever you’d like. For a longtime reader, it just seems that your enthusiasm for sharing in this space has waned and I feel that you have a right to know that. I’m sure people may want to accuse me of being disrespectful in your space and that I should simply “not read if I don’t like it”…but if we readers are invested in something, I think we should feel like this is a safe space to give an honest opinion. I truly like your blog, but lately something has felt much different.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thank you, Katie! I don’t think this is a hateful comment at all. And I am glad you understand how writing and blogging changes with life’s changes. As far as enjoying blogging goes – to an extent, you are right. It is quite honestly, days like today that suck all the joy and fun out of writing and sharing. Internet culture has changed so much in that readers have incredible expectations for what they can expect from (free!!) content. And there are also so many side conversations going in other spaces that fuels speculation, lies, and overall disdain for writers. I love writing and sharing. I hate defending myself and feeling the need to justify or explain my work (or life!). I guess I will offer that if readers are frustrated by bloggers becoming more and more filtered and censored, then quit with the non-stop criticism and judgement. You can’t have both! (And I don’t mean YOU of course.)

For what it’s worth, I spent a lot of time and effort on this post, and there are only a handful of comments that address the actual content. I find that frustrating. Particularly because, if it hadn’t been sponsored, I doubt a single one of these comments would be here. I struggle to find enthusiasm to write honestly when I have to hit publish and brace myself for an onslaught of negativity. Perhaps that is my own fault for leaving my comment section un-moderated, but that’s something that is important to me, so I guess I have to take the bad with the good.

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Katie C Reply:

I can’t say I blame you…I honestly do not think I would be able to deal with the unnecessary & harsh criticism or ridiculous claims that can appear here, especially since it is so personal. However, only hearing the good and filtering out the bad isn’t realistic, so I applaud you for keeping it unmoderated (unless something is way off-base or cruel – I’d say delete those!) Like in life, bloggers will never be able to fully escape critiques and criticism, but it is (sadly) much easier to write something cruel from behind a computer screen.

I do love to see a new post from you, and even though I am not a mother, seeing your little ones and even hearing about products like this is fun for me. Sponsored posts don’t bother me at all – and yours are fairly rare! Perhaps one day I’ll be searching for these posts for my own little one’s benefit. I do hope you find the balance that is right for you and your family for personal content – perhaps then your passion for blogging will return. I really appreciate your response; you have always been great at making your readers feel like their opinion is heard, even when it is unsolicited – like mine :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks again, Katie!

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Heather     at 10:02 am

I’m another long time reader who has been less than pleased with the direction of your blog. I still check in every so often, hoping for a new recipe, but most of what I see makes me turn away. Especially when there is a freaking 30 second ad that I can’t escape from…

Anyways. My main point of contention. Sponsored posts.

Something you said in the comments bothers me:
“Interesting feedback! It’s funny that people are so anti-sponsored posts, when the large majority of questions I get from people is about STUFF. Strollers, car seats, sippy cups, high chairs, running shoes, non-stick pans – you name it. People are always looking for favorites and recommendations. So it’s amazing to me that just because an actual brand is standing behind the post as well (rather than just me), it is taken so negatively.”

The problem with sponsored reviews is that you rarely ever see negative reviews with a sponsored post. I have a blog myself, and I’ve done a few sponsored posts. Once I absolutely hated the product, and when I posted my honest opinion about it, the company contacted me and requested that I remove it. Since that experience, it is very, very difficult to believe anything written in a sponsored post, and your blog is full of them lately.

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Emily Malone Reply:

This is the first I have heard about a 30 second ad, and I have no idea what that is, so thank you for bringing it to my attention. Let me clear something up here about sponsored posts, as I’m guessing this is very misunderstood. There is a big difference between something being sponsored, and doing a free product review. Sponsored = $$. Product review = free stuff (and nothing else). So no, you don’t see negative sponsored posts, because no company would PAY you to trash their stuff! With that said, you would not believe the number of opportunities (well paying ones!) and freebies that land in my inbox on a daily basis, that are turned down. It would be silly of me to accept everything and they say, “look at the ingredient list on this – it’s filled with fake garbage!” Instead, I just tell companies thanks but no thanks. So yes, most of the products you see here are the ones I carefully selected, used myself, and enthusiastically (and honestly!) promote. I turn down opportunities and $$ all the time in order to remain authentic and credible. You are only seeing the product of those decisions.

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Aimee Reply:

Can you say a little bit more about the sponsored=must be positive aspect you mentioned above? Because if it’s true, then can you really call this a credible, unbiased post? It just seems the two are at odds– sponsored meaning they pay you to post positive reviews, but yet “all opinions are your own.” Looking forward to hearing you thoughts– I appreciate the transparency!

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Emily Malone Reply:

No that’s not what I’m saying. What I mean is that sponsored posts tend to be positive because they have typically been hand selected by bloggers as things they actually enjoy and want to promote. I guess it is possible that someone could/would accept an opportunity and then talk badly about the product, but why? I’d rather just focus on things I DO like. Like I said, I reject paid offers and freebies on a daily basis, and many other bloggers do too. Most of us are more authentic than most people might realize.

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CaitlinHTP Reply:

I just wanted to add that, for myself, sponsored content is positive because I try products before agreeing to write about them OR the product is something that I already am familiar with and use. I wouldn’t agree to do a sponsored post for something without trying it first.

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kath Reply:

Thanks for this great description of the difference!

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Jesse     at 10:10 am

my son is just a few months younger than cullen and i have eagerly been searching for new and fun projects for us to partake in together. thank you for sharing this idea, i know he would be excited to work on this!!

http://semiweeklyeats.blogspot.com/2014/06/pasta-salad.html

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Kristi     at 10:18 am

Second comment…sorry! The kiwi crate looks like a really cute idea! I am somewhat crafty but I wouldn’t necessarily think ‘let’s make a campfire!’ My son is 18mos so still a little young for this probably but I’m going to bookmark this and hope that I remember it when he gets a bit older!

Just curious – did the campfire hold up or is it like a toss away?

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Emily Malone Reply:

No it held up, although some of the tissue has come off. But that is more because I let my two year old do the glueing. :)

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Christina     at 10:44 am

For what it’s worth, I don’t mind sponsored posts because they usually introduce me to something that I previously had no clue about (e.g., StitchFix, NatureBox, etc etc). While I have not personally invested in any of these products, they sometimes give me ideas for Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, etc. I am curious though – do you plan to continue with the Kiwi crates, or do you think it was just a one time thing? It’s rare to hear follow-up from bloggers saying “Oh by the way, I’ve been using XYZ for 6 months and still love it!” or “Eh, it was fun but we stopped after 3 months.” Would love to hear your thoughts!

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Alice Reply:

I would love to see something like this too. Other than the plethora of Stitch Fix updates on many blogs, it’s rare to see updates after the sponsored post. Something that would address whether or not it was it worth the funds to continue with your own money, or it was good for a one time thing, or would it be a nice gift?

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Emily Malone Reply:

To answer your question, I have continued using both Stitchfix (which is not sponsored, by the way) and Naturebox. I have also given Birchbox (which I’ve never written about here) as gifts many times!! I will absolutely give Kiwi Crate as a gift, and will probably subsribe myself when fall/winter rolls around.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I will likely subscribe to Kiwi Crate in the fall/winter, absolutely. As it is now, I’m trying to maximize outdoor time as much as we possibly can, so I don’t feel as desperate for fun, indoor things to do. I will also absolutely give it as gifts!

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char eats greens     at 10:51 am

Such a great little idea! I love this because I’m not as crafty either or motivated to look for that kind of stuff! Aww, he’s a little lefty, that’s adorable (I am a lefty haha). I would seriously consider getting one of these for my girl when she’s a bit older (she’s 1.5!)

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Emily Malone Reply:

I’m a lefty too!! :)

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Leah     at 10:58 am

Hi Emily,
I am a long time reader of your blog and rarely comment but felt inspired to drop you a note after seeing the post, comments and your responses. I love your blog and the personality you portray through your writing. As a mom of two boys who are within weeks of your boys, I have turned to your blog for inspiration, reassurance, and what feels like a very one-sided friendship. Although I don’t follow all of your lifestyle decisions (we are the meat eaters), I love your presentation of your ideas, beliefs and revel in the thought you bring to my decisions. I think you should be commended for your writing and your evolving life – balancing relationships, work, kids, pets and a household is no easy feat. Your ‘boring’ posts about your weekends and kiddos have helped me reflect on my weekends and inspired me to get out and do more – so thank you. Your life challenges and decisions about dog fights, exercise, and your children’s health are shared by me and I love having your current posts and historical posts to read and reflect on. We have both come along way! So thank you for what you contribute to my life.

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Emily Malone Reply:

This was really, truly touching. Thank you. I needed this one today! :)

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Crystal Reply:

I echo everything Leah says here. My son is 16 months and I’ve been reading since I was pregnant. You’ve helped me to reflect on my own life with gratitude and to find the joy in life as a mother, when sometimes it’s easy to be overwhelmed or focused on the negative. Thanks from me too!

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CaitlinHTP Reply:

Awww this is such a nice and thoughtful comment. I agree that Emily’s fun weekends inspire me!!!

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Brooke     at 11:06 am

Yes, the 30 second ad! That is so annoying. I get it with another blogger too – depending upon how I find my way to the website. Suffice it to say, I never wait to finish it…I just move right along. I think – for me – when I get used to a blogger, I develop expectations. Expectations about how often the blogger posts (I am SO sad that the breaks between your posts are becoming longer and longer, though you usually do put up several in a row after said break), the content of the posts (since I started following before Cullen was born, it was heavy on the recipes – which I love – and child rearing, which I also love) and voice. I started religiously reading, and re-reading, this blog because I identified with it so strongly – being a mother of small children and someone who is on the lookout for new, healthy recipes. But you do become invested and you get sad and confused when things change. Is that on us, or on the blogger? Both probably. It wouldn’t feel normal to not check in on the Daily Garnish when a FB update appears, so I can’t just say I’m outta here. But I can say that I wish things were more of what they used to be. And I think that is all Jen was trying to do – just not in the best way. And, as a person who reacts before thinking, I know how that goes. So while the post wasn’t couched in platitudes, it DID come from some place honest. A place that, as evidenced here, a lot of us miss. I get the given reasons (people are craaazy), but it doesn’t stop me from missing the days gone by. But such is life.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Okay honestly — this is the absolute first time I’ve heard about the 30 second ad, and I have no idea what that might be. It’s definitely not something I put there, and will look into it. Thank you for the feedback!

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Leah Reply:

The ad is not showing up for Firefox (I’m not sure what browser the other reader is using). I just wanted to let you know that for FF users there’s no annoying ads!

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Abby     at 11:11 am

Emily,

I’ll start this by saying, I STILL love to read your blog :) I started reading just before your big move to Seattle. I was so excited when I learned you all were moving because I was just about to make my move to Seattle from California. It was great to feel kind of like I already had a friend to show me around via the internet! haha. Anyways, in all this negative and ranting about you on YOUR space I just wanted to let you know that your writing is still wonderful and something I still look forward to reading. :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thank you, Seattle friend! :)

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Lindsey @ The Hungry Hydrologist     at 11:54 am

Impressed again by your grace in responding to the critics. Keep up the good work- in whatever path you decide to take your blog. :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks, Lindsey!

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Stephanie     at 12:35 pm

Emily,
I too have been following your blog since your pregnancy with Cullen. We were pregnant at the same time only a month apart. I truly look forward to each and every blog post. As times change, so does your blog focus. Understandable. I especially look forward to your blogs about “STUFF”. I started StitchFix and Naturebox because of your blog and I love them both. I love that you’ve done all the research, give your honest opinion, and that I can trust that and piggyback off of it. I even tried to get the blue timer light (can’t remember the name) that you loved so much but the manufacturer discontinued making it. So, you are a guiding light for me. I love your writing style. You are very articulate and filled with grace. In the end, it’s your blog and it needs to suit your purpose.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Awesome – happy to hear it!! Love that you tried the boxes and have enjoyed them. I am still doing both too, and am so happy when they show up each month. I don’t know why the Sleep Buddy isn’t being made right now, but a lot of people have asked me about that too! I also love reading about other people’s stuff. :)

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Rachel     at 12:39 pm

Soooo…anyway…back to the real topic at hand…what a fabulous idea! I love crafting and am just starting to do more with my toddler. But even I could use fun ideas all packed into a neat little surprise box every now and then. And I swear I used to get something like this in the mail as a kid and LOVED it. Ding ding…gift idea! Always appreciate fresh new perspective on items I would not have otherwise known about if it weren’t for trusted blogs I read. Thank you!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Right? Thank you, Rachel! The whole point of this post has gotten totally lost, which sucks because it’s actually a fun product. Great gift idea!!

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Megan     at 12:56 pm

Hey Emily… I know this post has turned into a debate that is pretty off topic from your post but as a long time reader, I also wanted to add in my opinion (especially since I know you read these comments and return thoughtful and graceful responses).
I have read your blog for years and always enjoyed your honest and heartfelt writing. I agree with others (and even yourself admitted) that your voice in your posts isn’t the same. Now, I don’t already read all your comments but I have seen some posts (like this one) go off the rails and I have stumbled upon another critique website that made my stomach lurch at the conversations about bloggers. Having a small blog myself, I can not imagine the breach of privacy that you have felt over these past few years. I completely respect you turning this blog in a new direction and away from your immediate family and children. However, I do wonder if there is a way you can write with your guard up but your voice open heartfelt. It’s a tough tough balancing act. I do not mind your sponsored posts unlike other bloggers because I feel that they always are in line with your blog topics.

Anyways, I will keep reading and enjoying your blog. Don’t forget that there are many of us out here that really enjoy your stories and recipes and give criticism from the heart.

As for Kiwi Crate- I have a 18 month old so we aren’t ready for this just yet but I will keep it in mind for next year when I have a 2 year old and newborn at home. I love arts and crafts so we will definitely be checking this out.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Yeah, the internet can be a scary and sad place. I don’t look at those sites myself anymore (used to – very damaging), so ignorance is bliss. But obviously I know it is out there, and as a mother I just need to take some control back over the content that surrounds my family.

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Katie     at 1:09 pm

I’ve been reading your blog for years (2009 I think), and I still thoroughly enjoy your posts. I rarely look at comments on blogs, but I happened to click today and all it did was remind me of why I don’t read them! I simply don’t understand how or why people can write the comments they do, and then pride themselves that they are being helpful by giving constructive criticism. I typically avoid commenting on public pages, but I want you to hear from people who enjoy all the content you put out. I know it takes a lot to write about your family, and I appreciate all that you do share with us. I’m in my 20s, unmarried and without kids, and I find all your posts about your family heartfelt and enjoyable. I’ve teared up at your letters to your children, and Cullen’s obsession with garbage trucks makes me laugh whenever I think about it. I get a lot of inspiration from your weekend recap posts, and have always found them a nice addition to your blog. I also love your recipes and make many of them monthly or even weekly (your black bean burgers, zucchini pasta with tomato mushroom sauce, and summer corn and avocado salad are my favorites). You were also the one that taught me how to properly cook tofu! And I’m firmly behind you that you can never have too many banana bread recipes! I hope you continue writing because I will continue to enjoy reading it!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thank you so much, Katie! I laughed at the garbage truck comment. :) And yay to tofu and banana bread – our favorites.

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Ellie H     at 1:40 pm

I think the idea of the Kiwi Crate is extremely depressing and a sad commercialization of child development. What happened to imagination? When I was a kid, I liked to make up my own crafts and games with household objects and occasionally with craft tools. The idea of buying a craft kit to follow a model and instructions is pretty sad.

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Emily Malone Reply:

When you were a kid, you never followed instructions or made anything from a kit? I loved doing things like friendship bracelets, those looped pot-holder things, fabric posters, etc. All of those things came with kits, supplies, instructions, etc. How is this any different? Honestly, I try really hard to be respectful to all commenters, but this doesn’t even feel legit. It feels like someone who wanted to leave a mean comment so they could go running back to their friends for a virtual high five.

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Lisa Reply:

I think there is a point to this, to a degree, though I feel like as long as there’s a balance between instructions/kits and free play with materials and imagination, it’s all good.

I was watching a documentary from the UK about Lego, and a couple of commenters were lamenting the rise of the Lego sets for exactly this same reason – kids these days tend to build the kits, and that’s all. It used to be Lego was just bricks, and pure imagination fueled the build. Give kids today a big bucket of Lego, and they’re a bit lost (not all kids, obviously – it was a note of the changes that have taken place since Lego was sold as primarily loose bricks vs. the predominantly kit-based sets of today). It’s one of the reasons the Lego stores have the “pick a brick” bucket option – it’s not possible to just buy a box of random Lego anymore, they’re all kits and instructions.

When my son was really little, he’d just click bricks together. As he got older, the sets took hold and he became very good at building according to the instructions. I did find that, after so much set building, he started to lose interest in his loose Lego – he didn’t know what to build, and worried it wouldn’t be “right”. I think that this is perhaps more the point trying to be made, that instruction-based play can have an affect on free creativity?

I don’t think craft kits like these boxes are all bad, though I would have a tendency to want to get a few bits and pieces from Michael’s to keep on hand to supplement the kit….this would give your child a bit more flexibility. I do find kits like these are packaged really attractively, almost to cater to more the parent (in terms of aesthetics) than the kids – having a few pipe cleaners, pom poms, foam shapes, etc, on hand that don’t coordinate perfectly with the project would let your kids explore their creativity while still having the structure of the activity. Does that make sense?

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Emily Malone Reply:

Aha, now THIS is a great comment full of all sorts of fodder for discussion. Really interesting point about the Legos. I didn’t realize that they are only sold in sets now. When I was little we didn’t have sets – just buckets of blocks! And you are right, the creativity was up to us. Cullen has a big bucket of Mega Blocks, and he loves to build with them, but he also wants ME to build things like garbage trucks, houses, etc. That is actually our main struggle with art/creative type projects right now – he wants ME to do it all! Sidewalk chalk just ends in him instructing me what to draw next. And I totally get it – he lights up when he sees a baseball bat and ball come to life. But obviously I don’t want to do all the work for him. Which is exactly why I thought something like this was really cool — it empowers him to do it himself. I showed him how, and he followed the steps to see that he COULD create something without me if he just tried. Thanks for all this!

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Maureen Reply:

Just wanted to second this comment about the rise of Lego sets has sort of forced children to lose a level of creativity they previously had. In addition, while I think it’s important to be able to follow directions, I think there’s something a bit sad when kids successfully build a Lego set and then don’t want to break it so it sits on a shelf.

With all that said, you CAN still buy just the Lego bricks and I’ve even ordered various boxes for my daughter with just wheels, doors, windows, etc to supplement her Lego blocks to allow her the creativity to build whatever she wants.

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Susan Reply:

My 2-year-old insists I do all the chalk drawing too! I feel better hearing you say this. I was concerned I had somehow communicated to her that things have to look “right” and she was too afraid to be creative, but maybe it’s just a developmental thing?

I really like your blog. I have two kids about the same age and spacing apart, and it’s hard! I particularly like your recipes and don’t care if they’re less complicated or time-consuming than they used to be. None of them have ever turned out to be duds, and I can always use another veggie bowl idea. :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Susan! Cullen is exactly the same with drawing. I’m not sure how to get him past the idea that I need to do it all for him, but I just keep offering him the crayons/chalk!

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Ellie Reply:

I actually really like your blog and read the archives all the time for fun because I very much enjoy your writing and your recipes. I also don’t feel at all critical of any shift in content. I just feel really strongly about this particular type of thing (pre-packaged, hyper-curated activities marketed to parents “for kids”) – I wasn’t trying to go out of my way to leave some kind of drive-by mean comment toward you in particular – just the Kiwi Crate concept.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Sorry then, Ellie. I probably read it wrong (after too many other over the top comments). That said, I think Kiwi Crate is a really cute idea and takes nothing away from children’s creativity or imagination.

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Ashley N.     at 2:29 pm

Kiwi Crate sounds ADORABLE! What a great activity for kids and to take a bit of the ‘pressure’ off of parents/guardians to entertain.

It is mind boggling to me with the negativity towards sponsored posts. One of my favorite things about reading blogs is hearing the reviews/thoughts on products I have wanted to try and/or have never heard of! You are posting FREE content for readers all over the place, the least an audience could do is read the post without all of the negativity. If it’s not a post a reader is interested, they can continue on with their day and not read it!

Thank you for sharing all of the content you have/and still do. :)

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Tanner     at 2:30 pm

I just had a general question regarding some of these posts with promotional codes (here on Daily Garnish as well as many other blogs)…In your first Stitchfix post, you presented an affiliate link and mentioned you’d get a small credit if we signed up through that link. Do you also get credits or compensation through the discount codes provided in the Naturebox and Kiwi Crate posts?

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Emily Malone Reply:

If there is an affiliate link where I have the potential to earn credit (like Stitchfix), it is clearly stated. I get absolutely nothing in the form of $$, credit, or product from the Naturebox or Kiwi Crate discounts (or Barre3, or plenty of other brands…). They are solely for you guys! For what it’s worth, I never do sponsored posts that do not include something to give back to readers, whether that is a giveaway or a discount of some sort. I really do try to make it a worthwhile experience to both read about and try yourselves.

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Tanner Reply:

Thanks for the reply! I hope I didn’t come across as prying, as this was just something I have been curious about in general after seeing so many discount codes/referral links on Daily Garnish and other blogs. I appreciate the discounts for sure. :-) One of the reasons I love to read blogs is to learn about new products and services – I have brought so many new and awesome things into my life thanks to bloggers doing reviews. If something doesn’t speak to me personally, I just move on and don’t really think about it anymore. Although I have to admit, I give major side eye when I see a blogger preaching about “real food” and they are affiliated with companies who use GMOs or they have a freakin’ ad for McDonalds on their blog! (not talking about you here)

I almost never comment on your posts, but I feel like I want to express a few thoughts here today. You’ve kind of been taking a beating in the comments section of your posts lately – just reading it all makes me want to plow through a big bag of M&Ms! Gah! I know it must be really hard for you, but at the same time I have been reading your blog for a long time and have seen time and again that you are a strong person who is able to take feedback, learn/grow from it, and then move on.

Part of what I have loved about your writing over the years is that you were honest about how you really felt and about what you were going through at the time. This is what made you relatable, and what kept me coming back for more. I love how you would write about everyday things like going to the farmer’s market or creating a new recipe and make them seem like a fun adventure. Your passion for cooking, running, and life in general radiated through your writing and motivated me to get out into the world and find things that made me as excited and happy. In fact, I still read through the archives when I need inspiration to stay healthy or a good vegetarian recipe. (aaaaannnnd now I sound like a creeper, lol!)

If I’m being honest, I feel like that spark in your writing has been absent for awhile now. I don’t say that to be rude/mean at all, it’s just an observation from my own perspective. I think part of that comes with being a parent – obviously your life and priorities are different now, as they should be. Nobody can fault you for wanting to concentrate on being a good mom.

And I’m sure a lot of it is due to those “side conversations” you have referenced above – as a mother myself, I can totally understand where you are coming from. From your replies to others above, it sounds like you are starting to realize that the best solution for your family might be to distance your family from those “conversations” from now on. As much as many of us will miss the recaps and updates on your children, I think we all understand the need to protect your family. The good news here is that you were well established as a blogger long before kids came into the picture, and I think you could easily transition Daily Garnish back to being mostly about food, healthy living, running, etc, with some family updates sprinkled throughout. ..ok, and maybe some sponsored posts, too. ;-)

The thing I’ve loved about your blog over the years is that it’s much more than just a hobby or a business to you…it’s a little piece of your heart. As disappointing as it is to have to tone down the family aspect of Daily Garnish, maybe it would be nice for you to have this space for yourself again? I’m a mother to two little ones myself, and I honestly feel like this is one of the most beautiful times in my life…but holy shit this parenting thing is so damn HARD sometimes. It is so important for us parents to have a little something that’s “just ours”. Something that we can go back to when we need to remember who we were BEFORE kids. Know what I mean?

Anyway, sorry I’m rambling. I hope you are able to find a balance that works for you and your family and can pick up and move on from all of this. Good luck with everything and I look forward to reading more of whatever you decide to write about in the future.

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Emily Malone Reply:

This comment was awesome and made me laugh. Would you believe that I actually stood in the bathroom eating M&M’s at one point? They are in there as a potty training incentive for Cullen, and after hours and hours of watching the comments roll in, I just stood there eating candy for about ten minutes. :) It’s nice to hear that you like reading about everyday things. Those are the things I enjoy writing about the most too. For some reason, they are also the thing that takes the most flack (apparently is it boring?). I appreciate your feedback on content changes and new directions. Finding the right balance is still a work in progress. My hope is to eventually do exactly what you said – mostly food and fitness, with a sprinkle of family (unlike the reverse, which it has been for a while now!). And yes, parenting is ridiculous. My two year old took me to the brink today, and these comments brought no relief. Thank you for all this helpful and respectful feedback!

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Melanie Reply:

My heart just goes out to you today Emily. People can be brutal sometimes. Big hugs to you!

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Emily Malone Reply:

<3

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Liz     at 2:31 pm

Hi Emily, I’ve been reading since you were pregnant with Cullen but never commented (just not a commenting kind of girl). But I did want to say how much I really enjoy your blog. I have 2 girls who are each a bit younger than your boys, so I love reading your monthly updates and weekend happenings – gives me lots of info about what to expect and great ideas for things to do with my kids. I’ve found some of your “stuff” recommendations super-helpful too – eg, I bought those booties that don’t fall off babies’ feet and the car seat cover bc of your recommendation, and I’ve loved them both! So, just want to thank you for sharing as much as you have. I really look forward to your posts (the number of times I checked your blog waiting for updates this week was pretty absurd…). I’m sad to hear that your feeling more guarded (but I 100% get it – personally I find so-called “constructive” criticism a little overrated, both here & in life – aren’t most of us tough enough on ourselves as it is?!). So, I guess I’ll just have to spend more time digging through all the great old posts :). And btw, this does look like a pretty sweet toy – I’ve been thinking about ways to mix up the usual coloring + puzzles + play kitchen routine for my older daughter, and I could see something like this being fun.

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Liz Reply:

Wanted to add – your voice & perspective on parenting is by far one of my favorites out there. I’m one of the first of my friends to have kids, so hearing insights and stories from someone who’s been there before has been really, really valuable to me. So, thanks again for sharing !

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Emily Malone Reply:

Very sweet — thank you, Liz!!

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Lisa Horvath     at 2:54 pm

Emily, long time reader. I hardly ever look at comments on blogs but for some reason today it caught my eye. As a fellow blogger I feel your struggles. When I started my blog I wasn’t working full time and had ample time to make new recipes. Now I work full-time and struggle to create interesting recipe posts every week. There just isn’t time. But like life, blogs can and will evolve. I commend you for only posting when you have something to say. I love reading your blog and when a post doesn’t appeal to me I skip it, easy as that. I know it’s hard to ignore the negative feedback but keep your head up and your voice loud. This is your space, do with it what you like.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Nice to know it’s not just me throwing dinner together in five minutes. :) Thanks, Lisa!

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Jessica Yas     at 3:08 pm

Hi Emily- the first post I ever read on DG was about your decision to quit drinking. It made a huge impact on me! Not sure when that was, since I was linked to the post through a My Fitness Pal thread, but regardless- I know you feel the comments section on your blog reflects what people are thinking and feeling, whether it be backlash or support- but please know that a HUGE contingency of your readers are NOT commenting (as I seldom do) and that we are not nearly as affected by or opinionated about any of this stuff. I still love your blog and respect it. I know it’s hard, but try to remember commenters are just a small portion of your readership and by no means the be-all, end-all. Thanks! -Jess

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Emily Malone Reply:

Wow, very cool! And very good reminder. I feel incredibly lucky to have such a supportive community here.

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Astrid Reply:

I usually do not comment but I have to now. I stopped with alcohol as well shortly and your post helps me so much. It reminds me that you and a lot of other people enjoy their live without alcohol and that my early-bird and early-bed life is not boring! The day has so much to offer!
Soon I am going back to school with 27 for 4 years to do nursing after economic work wasn’t it for me. Needled to say, your “Movin’ on” post was read again and again :)
And actually I reserached what Casey is doing because I never heard- holy moly, that guy must have some seriously motivated brain cells! :)

Your posts about gardening and hiking are great. Maybe you could give some insight how you plan a good hike? As a beginner, I would be very interested. Shortly, I looked up your post about organizing dry bulks etc. and plan on buying some jars. Did your system changed with children? That are more “basic” Topics but I do find them quite helful and interesting.

For me, the decreased amount of post is totally fine. I try to Limit my Internet consumtion since I sometimes do feel overwhelmed by all the (electronical) information. Thus, I prefer a post from you that is thoughtful put together and well written over 3x-a-day blogs.
Take care Emily, you’ll finde your new blog-balance sooner or later! :)

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Lori     at 3:28 pm

I’m sorry that the comments have taken this direction, but now I want to chime in. I’ve been reading since The Front Burner. I love your recipes and beautiful photos. I have a little one and love it when my favorite bloggers have babies! I don’t have a blog, but every blogger has said recently how things have changed very much. I guess that sponsored posts just suck for some of us readers. I left a comment on KERF recently stating how I was so over these subscription boxes – that so many of them seem very unnecessary, not very environmentally friendly, expensive, and excessive (snacks, clothes, make up, dinner, … delivered to your door?). She didn’t let my comment through, which I thought was weird. Anyway, I understand that for those with monetized blogs, this is just the way things are. Regarding writing about your family, it must be very strange sharing your life with the general public. While I would never share my children like that, I want to read about and see pictures of others’ children; it’s very hypocritical of me. Bloggers are in a tough position. I guess as long as you understand that you can’t please everyone, write about what you feel passionately about, and protect your family the best you can, that’s all you can do. I still love your blog and will continue to read, knowing that I will enjoy some posts more than others, and that’s ok with me.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I feel like sponsored posts on blogs are kind of like product placements in TV shows. It’s something you notice, and it’s something that’s different, but is it really that big of a deal? Thank you for continuing to read here, and for the kind feedback!

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Lori Reply:

I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. And I understand that bloggers may not have much of a choice if they want to continue making money; maybe this is part of the “industry” that’s out of your control, and just the direction advertising is taking. I personally just roll my eyes every time I see a new subscription box. But that’s my deal, not yours. I think why people, myself included, don’t always like the sponsored posts, is that we are being selfish. We came to love reading blogs with all sorts of interesting topics, from food to fitness to childrearing, and so on, and now sponsored posts are peppered in. To me, they are like a commercials. Does anyone LIKE commercial breaks when they’re watching their favorite show? (Thanks goodness for DVR! ha!) So, it’s just a bit of a bummer when we see that our favorite bloggers, who maybe don’t post so much anymore, have a new post, and then we find out that it’s just a commercial. I don’t mean to sound like I’m putting you down, and I certainly don’t fault you for doing these kinds of posts. I don’t think that bloggers deserve all the flack they’re getting for sponsored posts. Just taking the opportunity to explain why I, and probably some others, don’t love them

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Brooke     at 3:35 pm

Just want to say that I do adore you; I just miss you. You and Serena (over at Domesticate Me) are my only blogger mainstays. Again, I totally get your reasons for withdrawing, it’s just sad that you have to. But you really do in this day and age. Reading your birthing stories totally helped me through mine. It’s that identification thing…how you feel like a friend. So when a friend withdraws, it just makes you wonder. You know, it’s probably my problem more than yours. Just wanted you to know that you are fantastic and like I’ve told you before (when commentors act like d bags), just keep on keepin on. You will do what is right for you, and ultimately, that’s all that matters. Ps. Can’t wait for Garden Update #3!!

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Emily Malone Reply:

You are so sweet — thank you! And you are in luck – garden post is up next. :) Wait til you see how big everything is!!

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Mylene     at 4:30 pm

I am so glad you wrote this post as it reminded me that I want to check out this product. I first read about it a while ago but back then it wasn’t available for delivery in Canada – I think now it is! I don’t even have an ounce of creativity in me so this would be the perfect opportunity to explore arts & crafts with my 3 year old. He gets plenty of ‘non-structured’ craft time so adding Kiwi Crate in would provide for a good balance.

Much love from Canada!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Hope you enjoy it!

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Beth     at 4:48 pm

This is awesome!!!! I too wish I was craftier. I am totally going to get this for a friend having a baby so she has things to do with her older child. Thanks for sharing. On a side note my little sister is moving to Seattle and while I will miss her tons I am looking forward to visiting this city that you write so beautifully about and exploring it with my two littles. My son is just weeks younger than Cullen and my daughter was born 18 months later! I’ll be picking your brain for best places to take them once I plan our first trip :). I always look forward to a new post by you in my “feedly”. (Just not a big commentor!). Congrats on the half marathon last weekend!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Great idea for a new mom to do with a toddler!! And you will LOVE Seattle! :) Definitely email me for suggestions as it gets closer.

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Michelle     at 4:54 pm

So, I’m going to go in a different direction here. Don’t let Pinterest drag you down! Your mom was crafty, you’re an awesome, professionally trained cook. You are teaching, creating, and feeding the imagination, the body, and the soul all at once. Some of my happiest and most treasured memories are of spending time in the kitchen with my BFF’s Italian grandmother. To this day the smell of fresh basil or oregano both tugs at my heart and puts a smile on my face.

You are still giving your kiddos the best parts of you, and most importantly, your time. THAT is what they will remember!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Great memories!! I actually have a lot of fun cooking with Cullen. He has a little stool he pulls up to the counter, and he loves to help and watch me make breakfast and dinner. And I love that even at two he already knows so much about food! He seriously knows how to brew kombucha. He and Casey do it every weekend, and if you ask him about it he’ll say, “Well first you need to measure the sugar…” So adorable. :)

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Andrea Muzzatti     at 6:08 pm

Pinterest totally stresses me out!! I’m getting married and I refuse to look at anything wedding related on pinterest. Makes me feel totally inadequate. I’m soooo not a DIY-er.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I cannot even imaaaaaaagine dealing with the Pinterest hype back when I was getting married! I DIY’d my invitations and they were a nightmare. Haha! Congrats to you!!

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Ellen     at 6:41 pm

Emily, if your heart isn’t in it, why do you still have this blog? I think your readers are telling you that they simply don’t want to read guarded, infrequent posts that don’t show the real you. If you don’t intend to write more honest/deep posts, then why write at all? I’ve been getting the impression that this blog feels like a chore or an obligation to you – the frequency of posting has dropped wayyyyy down and it doesn’t seem that genuine when you do write. It’s been wonderful to read your blog over the years, but it honestly isn’t anymore. Are you considering addressing that in some way (it seems I’m not alone here) or letting the blog go? If you don’t love it, your readers won’t either.

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Mikaela Reply:

I have to totally agree with you Ellen on everything you noted. I loved reading your blog Emily however that changed a couple of years ago. You started writing posts regarding parenting advice. I don’t mind blog owners posting to ask there readers about advice or there experiences my issue was that it seemed one sided. Many of my questions were left unanswered and while you ignored many other readers questions for advice you only replied to what you were interested at the time, which to me was one sided and a little selfish. My expectation as a blog owner is that you should respond to our questions just as we respond to yours.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I actually do not think I have ever written a post with parenting advice. I write about parenting, but that is not the same thing. I have written about preparing baby/toddler food/meals, but I have never written any type of “advice” post, so I’m not sure where that is coming from. As far as ignored comments go, that has certainly never been intentional. At the end of the day (like right now) it is hard to respond to each and every comment/email that I receive. I could never do it all. For what it’s worth, I have spent every minute of my work time today responding to comments so that readers feel heard.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Food for though, I guess. I actually DO love writing. And I love having this space. I think it is okay to maintain some privacy, and I think it is possibly to write genuinely and openly without sharing every little detail. I don’t really know how to explain this more than I have. It really comes down to simply not being able to please everyone. When I write heartfelt, emotional things I am often called dramatic, a mommy martyr, privileged, ungrateful, and worse. If I talk about too many good days, I’m fake and putting up a persona of perfection. If I talk about one bad day, I’m whiny and I resent my kids. I don’t plan on putting up any sort of big “announcement” post, because I’m not sure what I would say? I feel like I’ve been honest over and over again for years, and I assure you I don’t have a master plan in my mind that I’m simply not sharing here. I take it post by post, day by day, and I do my best. I’ll do that as long as it remains (mostly) fun for me. And when I’ve had enough, I will say goodbye and walk away.

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Ellen Reply:

That’s the thing, though – you’re right that you can’t please everyone, so why even bother putting up a guarded front to your writing? The haters will still hate, but it also drives away your long-term readers. I totally get wanting to bring back some family privacy, but I think you could have a great mix of topics without compromising that. Honestly, if you read your blog from 2009-2012-ish, the tone and spark and life is just so different and you talked about family as well as recipes, travel, etc. That’s all people are looking for – that genuine self shining through!

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Emily Malone Reply:

2009!?! That was FIVE years ago! My life was so completely different. My voice and attitude were different. The internet was different. Can you imagine being compared to a version of yourself that is five years old? I think it is very possible that some people just don’t actually like the person that I have become over five years, and that is okay! I’m not asking them to. I’m just asking to not be reminded of it on a daily basis.

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Stacey Reply:

Brilliant response, Emily. I really appreciate all of your posts, the good, the bad, the successes, the struggles. Keep being you.

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Kate Reply:

I suppose most people do a blog because its easy money my friend makes $3000 a month from his travel blog just after 12 months of setting it up. He spends 1 day a week working on it and creating a post so its a lot of money for very little work. The income doesn’t so much come from page views or clicks like so many believe, the bulk of the income comes from direct and private advertising and the banners on his blog, sponsored posts, etc

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Abby C.     at 7:28 pm

I feel like all the negative comments were written by the same grouchy person. If you don’t like the blog, don’t read it and move on with life! No need to be so extensively critical.

Speaking of moving on: Emily, you are a fantastic writer and you have a wonderful blog. I’m a longtime reader, first-time commenter. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, experiences, and observations. I really appreciate you doing so. You are an inspiration!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Abby! Very sweet.

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Gisela     at 5:18 am

lol… “a badass parallel parker”. I love your writing style.

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Emily Malone Reply:

:)

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Tamara     at 6:21 am

If you had made a post with different content and added a few pictures of Cullen making the campfire everyone would be asking you for info about it! You post about the campfire everyone goes crazy. :/ Pretty obvious those people are complaining for no other reason than to upset you.

“… I don’t feel the need to click and leave a comment that says “Why did you post this? This is garbage!” I move along and don’t think about it again. Disagreement is healthy and can often lead to better work, or at least some thoughtful conversation.” – I agree with this SO much. I just do not understand why people who are not interested in your content don’t go find something they like to read better, instead of insisting you write what they want. Crazy

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Emily Malone Reply:

Could not agree more. If it wasn’t sponsored and I’d just subscribed and posted about it myself, this conversation wouldn’t exist.

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Molly     at 6:33 am

Just a quick comment to say as a PhD student in engineering education and a mom to a toddler I think Kiwi Crate is really cool, especially as an age appropriate creative outlet for the younger crowd. I checked out the website and loved some of the ones that would work well for the younger kiddos, like the shadow and light kit. Sure, the science crafts are things that as adults we know about but the crate is a nice tool to introduce these concepts to our kiddos and to start having conversations to open their minds. Thanks for sharing, Emily!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks, Molly! Great feedback!

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Amanda     at 7:31 am

My question would be: what is the purpose of this blog in Emily’s life? If it is completely a hobby/social outlet/means of keeping a personal record then feedback is totally moot (which is not to say that people can’t post comments in an open-comment system, but there is really no need for Emily to care or respond). I would never dream of providing feedback on someone’s Facebook profile because I recognize that it is intended as a personal outlet only.

I get the impression, however, that this blog also serves as some sort of revenue generator for Emily (with the ads and sponsored content). Since it is a free service to the readers, Emily is still under no obligation to cater to their whims BUT it seems as though in this case there might be some interest in receiving constructive criticism/feedback. If the people who are dissatisfied stop visiting, that would be less revenue. Now obviously only Emily knows how much traffic she receives, how much is needed, how the numbers have changed over the years. But for a blog that at least gives the appearance of also being a business, I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with the consumers of said product voicing concerns or dissenting opinions. Emily certainly doesn’t’ need to change based on those opinions, but I would imagine it could be useful information to have.

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Emily Malone Reply:

My blog is probably not the norm, in that I think of (and often treat it) like a hobby, but yes – it is also a revenue generator. I am lucky that we do not absolutely NEED my income for our household, but it is certainly substantial enough to provide a nice contribution to our savings. I have always been welcoming and open to feedback, but I also don’t like feeling bullied or even – threatened? The purpose of this blog has also completely changed since it’s beginning. I started writing for family and friends as I was planning my wedding. Then I went to culinary school and started writing more about food. Then other people actually started reading it. Somewhere along the way, it became a full-time business that I worked on with a very professional interest. Then I had kids. And the blog reverted back to being something I did in my spare time. Right now it lies somewhere in the middle. At the end of the day, my kids need my full attention and I need to have some semblance of a life. I also need to be an active participant in my marriage and friendships. In whatever is leftover from that, I find time to write and craft posts. I know it’s not the same as it always was, but most people’s lives change significantly over six years! Thanks for your feedback.

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M     at 7:42 am

I just wanted to say that you’re by far the most genuine blogger in my queue and several of your life and baby updates have made me tear up over the years. Unlike some of the other commenters, I find your kid posts (especially the monthly updates) to be refreshingly honest.

I’m sorry that you take so much flack and abuse (in particular, I thought some of the comments on one of your recent baby updates were outrageous), but I hope you continue doing what you’re doing. Several of your recipes are family favorites, and I make your veggie chickpea soup, cranberry bars, and date balls all the time (especially the date balls!). I read a bunch of cooking/healthy living blogs, and I’ve always found your recipes to be successful and original, and not “trendy.” Thanks for sharing your life with us!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Very sweet – thank you! I love hearing what recipes people love — good reminders for me to make some of those again myself!

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Laura     at 8:11 am

I have been a long-time reader and rarely do I ever comment, however, I felt compelled to leave my opinion after reading some of the comments left on this post. As a “newbie” blogger myself, it is very disheartening to read comments criticizing you for being “fake”, not writing from the heart, and only blogging for money. I was never a big fan of blogging, but in the last 5 years I got sucked into the blogosphere and became a reader of several different blogs.

To me, I always thought of blogging as a way to freely and openly share your passions, life, thoughts or whatever you’d like to the degree you feel comfortable. On the flip side, I always viewed readership as an individual choice – you read what you want when you want.

On occasion I see comments from readers of various blogs who get mad that content isn’t to their satisfaction. No offense, but I don’t understand why readers get upset that bloggers don’t write a certain way or about certain topics. Blogs are not a paid service by readers. They are an expression of an individual, and yes at times they are for profit through sponsorship and advertising, but again, that doesn’t mean they owe readers anything. Readers can at any time choose to stop reading a blog, they are not forced to read or agree with the content.

Yes, I agree that readers can and do drive content, and if a blogger doesn’t post about topics that will satisfy their readers they will undoubtedly lose following. But, that is the point of a free enterprise. If a blogger is dissatisfied with their readership, then it is up to them to decide whether they want to focus on providing better content or not…it is not the choice of the readers.

Maybe I’m off in left field, but it is unfortunate that there is so much entitlement coming from readers as to how bloggers should write, how they should live, whether they sponsor or promote ads, how they cook, how they do anything! Why have we become a society where everyone feels compelled to dictate, judge, or criticize other people’s lives? I may sound idealistic, but my point is, if you don’t like a blog or its content, or are disappointed in how a blog has changed…then simply stop reading. No one is forced to read a blog and if a blog changes, that is the bloggers prerogative.

Anyway, apologies for the novel! I appreciate your blog Emily and have found some of your posts incredibly helpful for myself and several of my friends who are new to motherhood. I hope you continue to write and share your experiences!

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Emily Malone Reply:

I agree with all of this, Laura. The sense of entitlement that some (clearly not all!!) people feel is baffling. As far as monetizing goes, there is so much that readers do not see or understand as far as traffic, compensation, sponsorship, etc. goes. It is a business, just like any other, and unless you are part of it it’s very hard to speculate how it works. And of course, as a matter of privacy to both bloggers and companies, I’m also not at liberty to talk much more about it. I am so unbelievably grateful to the many loyal readers I’ve been lucky enough to connect with for years and years. This morning, I am trying to let those voices resonate with me through the rest of the chatter.

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Marisa Reply:

Couldn’t agree more Laura!

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Alyssa D.     at 8:51 am

I have read many blogs over the years and have never commented on a single one so here goes my first comment….I have been a longtime reader of your blog and I just wanted to say I love love love your blog, your family, your writing style and your outlook on life. All of these negative comments and your eloquent responses just reiterates how kind, sweet, intelligent and gracious of a person you are. Im a young 23 year old with no kids (yet! seriously I want kids after seeing your adorable boys all the time….but it’ll be a few years) but I always feel like I can relate to you and you truly are a role model in my life. Thank you so much for this wonderful blog Emily!!

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Emily Malone Reply:

You are so sweet, Alyssa! Thanks for a nice bright spot this morning. :)

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kath     at 11:32 am

First off, I’m planning to try a kiwi kit when Mazen is older – what a great idea! Yeah open crayons and paints and glitter tubes are awesome but there’s something special about a kit in a box.

Second, you’re one of my favorite bloggers and writers and always will be. That’s all <3

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Bekah     at 12:14 pm

What struck me was not the ad (I like your recommendations) but that you said that you couldn’t read Pinterest because it made you feel bad about yourself. I stopped reading your blog as regularly because it made me feel bad about myself! I don’t cook, or craft, or blog (I run and work outside the home, but I wish I cooked — feeding your family well is so important). It just struck me that you feel that way despite all you do for your kids and how we percieve you (as doing it all). I guess we are our own worst critics.

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Ali     at 1:05 pm

Emily,
This may have already been addressed, but I thought I’d add my two cents, too! (There are a LOT of comments here and I had a limited amount of time to scan through them…haha.) But anyway, I don’t understand the comments about your heart not being in it anymore. Yes, you post less frequently, and, yes, you have become more protective about your privacy, but I still hear your voice in your posts coming through loud and clear! The post about your most recent half marathon was fantastic. I was practically cheering out loud for you as I read your recap and found it incredibly inspirational as a runner who hopes to continue racing after I have my own babies hopefully sometime in the not so distant future. Please keep sharing as much of your life with us as you feel comfortable!

Ali

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sarah cross     at 2:02 pm

Wow, I came to comment about the Kiwi Crate and was slapped in the face with all of those nasty comments to you. Sheesh. All I will say is that if they don’t like the content then don’t read it. What’s so hard about that? For what it’s worth I love your blog and will be sad not to have the boys monthly posts and less weekend posts. Those were my favs – probably because I am in the same stage of life as you. Your weekend posts encouraged me to get outside and do something with my kiddos! You are a great momma so don’t let anyone tell you differently.

ANYWHO! I have never hear of Kiwi Crate but what a cool concept. Maybe it’s because I am a cheap-o but I couldn’t see myself doing it all of the time but like you mentioned it would be great for the winter months for sure. I also love the gift idea! I am always looking for creative gifts for kids birthdays and this definitely falls under that category! Looks like Cullen enjoyed it and that is the main point! Happy Friday! Enjoy your weekend!

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AJD     at 5:36 pm

I love your posts Emily. I say just post what you’d like to talk about. It doesn’t matter what anyone else wants to hear about, after all it is your blog about your life, interests, family, friends, activites, struggles, etc. Keep it real, authentic and you. Don’t worry about what the readers want or don’t want, it’s your blog and personally, I love it!

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Amy     at 6:06 pm

Emily I have been reading for years, maybe 2008/2009?, and have never once commented (that I can remember). I just wanted to say you. are. my. favorite. blog. I check everyday to see if you have posted, and when you haven’t I am 100% fine with that, I still check :) I also wanted to say that I think every one of your posts seems sincere and clearly took a lot of time to write. I started reading it as I was getting into running and a was a pretty new vegan and enjoyed the recipes. Content is different now, obviously your life has changed a lot in 5/6 years, and it doesn’t bother me one bit. I thoroughly enjoy your writing today as much as ever. I do not have kids but your blog still keeps me interested because you are an AMAZING writer. I mean it I just read an entire post on a craft project with kids and enjoyed it! Don’t let these negative comments get you down. Just know there are so many of us that never comment that couldn’t be happier with your blog and writing. I would even pay for a subscription :) Keep up the good work!!!!!!

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Leah Reply:

Amy, I check every day too! I check in the morning while I’m eating my breakfast in my office. :) For years it’s just been part of my routine. I’m glad to see that there’s others that feel the same way!

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Melissa     at 8:29 am

Cullen’s face in the picture “my little Monet channeling his inner artist” – KILLER!! :)

Kiwi Crate looks awesome for someone like me who has an itch to be crafty, but isn’t quite sure where to start….even with a Pinterest account. :)

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Kim     at 5:39 am

Long time reader – I think you should give camping a try. We took our daughter at 2 months and have been 5 times now (in tents, pop-up campers, and in a cabin) and it’s one of our favorite family activities. She loved being outdoors and staring at the trees, squirrels, campfire. It was actually the first time she slept through the night, two nights in a row :) I was so anxious about it before we went, but staying in a state park with paved roads and knowing where the nearest hospital was put me at peace, and we had a great time.

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Deirdre     at 12:09 pm

Another first time commenter and longterm reader. I’m based in Ireland, am 26 and have no children but have evolved in my reading of you from a largely culinary focus (how I undoubtedly found this site years ago, I honestly don’t remember the details though) to avidly awaiting your family and life updates. If friends or family approach me with similar updates I switch off through lack of interest. It’s your writing style that I have loved over the years and continues to draw me in. You could probably turn to writing exclusively on your toy train collection or small-town politics and I would still anticipate everything you release.
As a young woman you have inspired me to be healthful and considerate in my choices and attitudes towards my relationships, purchases and food. After many years of harmful consumption of food and alcohol, and a ‘head buried in the sand’ approach to life I often use you as a model for moderate, sensible and conscientious living. You don’t obsess over health, calories or size. You simply are. This attitude is one I’ve tried to mimic overthe years and gradually has become very much my own attitude (in my very personal form of course!)
Anyway, I had no idea before reading this that people ever dreamed to leave such vitriol for you. The placement of expectations on someone who gives so much time and effort to inspire and enlighten others is ridiculous and deplorable. I know it must be extremely difficult to disregard this apparently changing setting for your writing but do and change in whatever way you deem fit. Anyone who chooses to criticise you or complain that “things have changed” should just get over themselves. Stagnancy should be perceived as the real enemy.
Anyway, thank you so much for the years of giving me fodder to chew on, inspiration amd unwittinf guidance, a peek into another way of life and countless hours of enjoyment. I sincerely hope that you will consider to write here, though if you don’t I’ll continue to find mirth in your fantastic instagram hashtagging!

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Deirdre Reply:

And the expression in “my little Monet” made me crack in laughing. Fantastic!

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Leah Reply:

Beautiful response, Dierdre! I particularly liked this part: “You don’t obsess over health, calories or size. You simply are. This attitude is one I’ve tried to mimic overthe years and gradually has become very much my own attitude (in my very personal form of course!)…”

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Maria     at 12:30 pm

ok, so I’m going to join the conversation—but in a positive light! I’ve been reading your blog since you got pregnant with Cullen. My MIL is a healthy food nut, and she was a big reader of yours—anyway, we had the same due date and both lived in the same area. I felt like I learned a lot from your posts and reconsidered choices I was making for my own toddler as I began to feed her. I’m also a (former) marathon runner struggling to find time for exercise (btw, I’m currently obsessed with T25 and am actually seeing my Abs again after my second baby was born in Jan–it is the perfect mom workout).Anyway, I’ve also loved the monthly posts on how Graham is developing as my daughter is just a few months younger. Anyway, needless to say, I also completely understand the need for privacy or maybe just feeling put-off by negative feedback (some comments are crazy). It seems like there are a lot of people here wanting ‘the old Emily’ but not understanding that once you have kids everything about you changes. I’m just wondering if you might find more success and happiness if you rebranded yourself a bit? I’ve loved the recipes that have been more realistic with my current time constraints (especially if they have been toddler friendly). I love hearing how you incorporate children into your healthy lifestyle. Topics like exercise and breastfeeding are stuff that a lot of blogs don’t cover—and it can be complicated! I think you would get the kind of followers you want if you rebranded yourself a bit and made it clear what people would expect if they follow you. Anyway, just some thoughts from a big fan and one-time food blogger myself.

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Katie     at 8:59 am

I’m late to this thread, and you obviously don’t need any advice. I do, however, want to say that I respect this as a space totally within your creative discretion and I hope you find the balance that works best for you and your loved ones. I enjoy reading what you share here. Take care!

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Rylee     at 10:37 am

This will be great for my toddler in the (mostly) winter months here in Chicago! Thanks for sharing :)

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Lily     at 10:11 am

Emily,
Just had to add my two cents here. You are, without a doubt, my favorite blogger. The thing that I love most about you (and I can’t believe it’s not being called out more here!) is your sense of humor! I have laughed out loud at so many posts – Cullen’s obsession with the garbage bins, that photo of him as a ‘diaper model’, too many things to recount here but still make me giggle. Thanks for that.

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Emily     at 2:33 pm

I actually like the sponsored posts a lot…especially the StitchFix ones where you post pictures. They help me decide if I want to get the product myself or not. I have a toddler son and baby #2 on the way, and I really love and appreciate your blog. Thanks for writing it! :)

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Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche     at 3:02 am

Can’t believe that some people are honestly complaining about the fact that you’ve changed in the last 5 years. Ridiculous. The entire point of blogging is that it’s personal to the blogger – they can write whatever they want, whenever they want, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it! Simple!

As a blogger myself, I understand how important sponsored posts are to sustaining a blog, so they don’t bother me at all. They are perhaps less interesting than non-sponsored posts, but it’s no big deal – it’s easy enough to move on to the next post. On the other hand, sometimes they’re a great way to learn about new products!

Anyway, love your blog, love reading about your family, love how classy you’ve been in your responses to some of these comments, hate how some people think they have the right to tell you what to do on YOUR blog!

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