about me

    Emily Malone

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

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    A Look Back.



Garden Glory.

Happy Monday!  Last week totally got way from me, but more on that at the bottom.  I’m still catching up on pictures from last weekend!  Summer has come early to Seattle, and we’ve had 80 degree temps and glorious sunshine for a while now.  Can’t complain about that – it is heaven.

Last weekend was the Seattle Tilth Edible Plant sale, which I look forward to every spring.  I had originally planned for us to all go together on Saturday after Cullen’s t-ball game, but melting down children required some rescheduling.  So I decided to brave it myself the next day (while Casey worked at the Fremont farmers market selling kombucha!). 

It was super crowded and pure chaos, and it was quite the feat to keep eyes on both kids and carefully select all the plants for our boxes.  And even though it was madness, I was so glad I’d waited and gone when the kids could enjoy it.  We had a BLAST, and they couldn’t wait to garden when we got home.

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But before we could get to gardening, we hard to fill up our boxes with the good stuff.  On Saturday, I had Casey take his truck to a local garden supply spot and get a big haul of organic veggie compost mix.  They ended up taking a backhoe and literally filling his entire truck bed with dirt.  It was waaaaay more than we could have ever needed!  It took us an hour just to shovel it out of the truck and onto a tarp on the driveway.  Later that afternoon, I took countless wheelbarrow loads down to the veggie boxes and filled them up with as much as I could.  But we still had a ton leftover! 

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I ended up posting a listing for the extra dirt on my local Buy Nothing group on Facebook, and neighbors came by all afternoon to scoop and shovel dirt and haul it away to their own gardens.  If you aren’t part of a Buy Nothing group in your area, you could check to see if you have one!  It’s such a nice way to give back and connect with the people in your neighborhood.

Before we planted the actual beds themselves, we got everything else prepped and ready, and cleaned up what was left from last year.  I finally got some new hanging baskets for our shepherd’s hooks, and set out all the patio cushions on our seating area. 

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I’m hoping these petunias can handle the summer heat this year, and last for a long time!  I’m loving the purple color, which we also have in our outdoor throw pillows.

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The first thing we planted was our Huey Tree.  We picked out this planted right after he died, and it makes me smile every time I see it.  It’s dark brown with some hints of lighter brown and gold – just like Huey boy – and we planted a sun-loving perennial inside because there was nothing he loved more than curling up in a sunny patch.  It’s been almost two months since he died, and I still think about him every day.

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With our special pot all planted, we concentrated on our herb garden first.  Our sage plant thrived during our mild, rainy winter, and we have more than we could ever need now for this year!

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And I’m so glad I planted our mint in a pot, as I know it would have taken over the yard by now.  The kids love to sit on the step and eat mint leaves. 

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I think it’s going to be a good year for strawberries!  We have tons of little white flowers, and I cleaned up all the old dead leaves and debris. 

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We added some fresh compost and potting soil, and I have high hopes for these this year.  As much as I miss him, Huey ate all the strawberries as soon as they ripened in past years, so it will be interesting to see if we actually get any this summer. 

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Our other herb planter box had some rosemary remaining – this stuff is so hardy!

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The kids and I got everything stacked up on the table and ready to plant.  And they only snapped one basil and half a tomato plant in the process!

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I’ve found that they key to getting the kids excited about gardening is to give them gear.  Mini garden gloves and tiny tools made all the difference!

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Watching the boys help me was such a treat, as their approach to gardening was so in line with their individual personalities.  Cullen was methodical and careful, slowly lowering each herb into the holes and then gently smoothing the dirt all around. 

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Graham went at it just as he does everything else – with no hesitation, total confidence, and always just teetering on the edge of seeing what will break. 

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I know that they aren’t going to be excited about gardening with mom forever, and so I soak up what little time I have left that they still think I am cool.  I’ve heard a lot of sad stories lately about sick mamas, sick kiddos, and other things that leave me with so many questions.  And so I’ve tried really hard recently to cherish all these little moments and opportunities I am so lucky to have with them.

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With all the herbs planted, it was time to water.  Mini watering cans make everything much more fun!

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Here are our finished herb boxes, in all their glory!  From left to right we have:  cilantro, oregano, lemon thyme, flat-leave parsley, and rosemary. 

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And in our other box, I did something different this year – just basil!  In the past, my basil has never survived, and even if it did it was never enough!  We cook with tons of it in the summer, so I knew this year I wanted a lot.  I planted two sweet basil plants, one purple Thai basil, and then we had a third sweet basil that got snapped off in transport.  Oops.

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I planted the broken stem anyway to see if it would grow back, but it’s looking pretty brown.  We will probably replace this sooner than later!

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Only got pictures of the final product down in the garden beds, since my hands were covered in dirt and I was frantically trying to keep the tomato plants from being snapped in half.  But everything survived and made it into the ground!

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I’m doing lots of salad greens this year – butter lettuce, romaine, and a spring mix.  We’ve been eating tons of salad lately, and I had big success with greens the past two years, so I’m hopeful. 

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I only did two big tomato plants this year, as they have never really grown that well for me, and they take up a lot of room.  Last year all my full sized tomato plants got a weird rot, and I ended up pulling them all out.  Fingers crossed for better luck this year.

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Also in that bed, I did cucumbers (which still need a trellis added), yellow squash, and zucchini.  We did cucumbers and yellow squash last year and both did REALLY well.  I had them in the other bed last year though, so hopefully they do as well on the other side.  I assume if yellow squash did well then zucchini will too – we will see!  These got ENORMOUS last year, so I tried to leave a lot of room. 

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Our other garden bed is taken up mostly by cherry tomato plants – I’m planting five different types this year!  Yellow, orange, and juicy red – we’ve had big success with these and the kids (and dogs) and I just love eating them straight out of the garden.  I think it’s going to be another very hot summer, so hopefully these will thrive!

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I’m trying two new things this summer – fennel and celery.  I let Cullen pick these out at the plant sale, and he’s excited to see if they work.  If nothing else we will use their tasty leaves!

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The cutest, tiniest little fennel!

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So there it is – our garden so far!

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We still have some space left, so it’s nice to know we can add a few more things.  One thing I’ve decided to do without this year is kale.  Honestly, I don’t love kale anyway, and ours have gotten really gross aphids the past two years in a row.  No thank you. 

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The most exciting part of all the gardening was of course – getting to use the hose!

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Eventually the hose got turned around the kids took turns running through the showers.  Have I mentioned how much I LOVE SUMMMER!?

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A few other outdoor things worth talking about.  We had a big windstorm at the end of march that knocked down an entire section of our fence – OUCH.  We’ve been getting estimates from fence companies these past few weeks, and finally just settled on one.  In the meantime, we’ve had this lovely pallet patch between our houses (to keep Indy in the yard).

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The kids love it, because there are two little girls next door who are almost the same ages, and they all just stand at the open fence area and talk and watch each other play.  Cullen was so upset when I told him it was going to be fixed soon!

And out front, the exiting update is that I finally got a porch swing!  I’ve been wanting one forever, and I finally just bit the bullet and got one.  It brings me an alarming amount of happiness!

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I sit out there during lots of nap times and read a book or catch up on phone calls if the time change works out.  It is the perfect fit and even has cup holders.  Indy likes to sit on the porch with me and keep watch over the neighborhood.  It is amazing the effect all this sunshine has had on all of our happiness!

Okay, there is more to share but that’s enough for Monday.  More to come this week – hope your week is off to a great start!



Fun Friday Finds.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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