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

    For general inquires, contact: EmilyBMalone@gmail.com.

    For partnerships, contact: dailygarnishads@mediakix.com.

    Looking forward to chatting with you!

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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

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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