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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    EmilyBMalone@gmail.com

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    A Look Back.



All Decked Out.

Yowsas – Wednesday already?  My lack of posting is making me sad.  I think that sometimes I think I need to come here with a long, planned out post, when really – sometimes on busy days I just want to stop by and say hi.  Maybe I’ll start doing that more. 

Casey is traveling this week.  So it’s just me and the boys here at the ranch.  There’s been a lot of this going on…

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Rain, rain, and more rain.  Typical for this time of year, but I forgot how much it sucks.  The weeks feel long when I’m on my own and we are trapped  inside.  We do a lot of eating.

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And I’ve done quite a bit of baking.  Which is always a bad idea when it’s just me, because then there is NO question as to who at the whole loaf of banana bread.

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Although I actually had help with this one – we had friends over for a few hours on Monday afternoon, and I made bread for all the hungry mamas.  It was loosely based on this recipe, and turned out really well.  Crispy on the outside, soft inside – just right. 

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I also baked up a big batch of baby muffins for Cullen.  Yes, they are quite possibly the worst looking baked good ever photographed – blame the blueberries.  These were a combo of banana, blueberries, oat flour, and almond flour.  He is OBSESSED – can’t eat them fast enough.

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I’ve also been baking up some new recipes!  Now that Cullen is on a one-nap-a-day schedule, it’s getting harder and harder for me to find time to work.  I usually end up writing and working during that afternoon nap window, but that means there is no leftover time for cooking.  My recent lack of recipes was making me sad, so this week I spent nap times cooking, and my laptop sat closed.

So the bad news is that some of you thought I’d either died or dropped off the face of the earth (and I love you and so appreciate your concern!).  But the good news is that most of you probably didn’t even notice and are like what is this chick talking about, AND I have a few new recipes headed your way.  Hope to type one up during today’s LONG nap – fingers crossed for more than an hour…unlike yesterday.  Did you hear that, Cullen?

Can I show you my holiday decorations?  And in showing you those, I also have to show you that we rearranged our furniture!  I know everyone is obsessed with “open floor plans.”  I watch House Hunters.  At this point saying you want an open floor plan is like saying you want the house to have a bathroom. 

Anyway.  Our house is really open.  Like, almost too open.  I didn’t know that was possible, but it is.  The way our furniture was set up before, it was really – well, open – but no matter where I looked I could always see eveeeerything.  And so I’d try to relax at night and be lazy on the couch watching Survivor, but I could see all the dirty dishes and sink full of sippy cups beckoning me from the kitchen.  The kitchen is the focal point of our floor plan, and while it’s beautiful, I don’t want to feel like I’m in it all the time

Here’s the set up from before (it was Cullen’s birthday party so ignore the balloons and streamers. And a few more before pictures here.). 

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So we moved things around!  It took a few days for me to get used to it, but now I really like it.  It’s more crowded, but much cozier, and feels like a better use of the space.  I’m not a huge TV over the mantle girl, but that has grown on me too.  The couch faces the fireplace and TV now, and makes it feel much more like a living room!  Adorable stockings and twinkling lights have helped ease into the adjustment.

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This year’s tree, which is sadly still not decorated.  What use to be one afternoon or evening of tree decorating is somehow turning into a week-long project.  I got the lights and garland up while Cullen was distracted on Sunday.  He has shown zero interest in the tree itself, which is awesome.  Except any time I try to decorate, he gets really into the box of (sharp, glass) ornaments, so I’m seriously putting on like one red ball at a time.  It’s ridiculous.

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I have a feeling that at this rate, our tree will be decorated by mid-December, and ornaments will only be on the top half. 

Here’s a shot from the same angle as the “before” up above.  The new arrangement chops up that open space, which as it turns out is much better.  My close up camera lens probably isn’t doing it justice.

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Another angle of the “living room” – and from this one you can see the other reason I wanted to mix things up.  Cullen has a play corner!

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We have these great built-ins, and the way it was set up before, they were mostly blocked by furniture.  We have some great play areas in our house, but none on the first floor.  I have been having a really hard time doing anything in the kitchen without Cullen at my heels.  Now that he has his own play space down here, he’s much more occupied.

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And many of you have asked about his chair – it’s the Land of Nod “Nod Chair.”  I scored it on major sale ($35!) a few weeks before his birthday – it was his first birthday gift.  He is (finally!) reaaaaaaally into books right now.  His main source of entertainment is sitting and paging through book after book after book.  It’s the cutest thing you have ever seen.  Casey caught him reading in the chair on Sunday…

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But his favorite thing to do – of course – is to stand on the chair and read books on the windowsill.  This gives me a small heart attack, but thankfully he’s really good at climbing down backwards.  I’m so glad he’s using it, even if it’s mostly as a climbing gym.

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Last shot of the living room.  I love that it feels so festive and bright.  We are hosting Christmas in Seattle this year, so I want it to feel extra festive for all our traveling guests!

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More decorations in the dining room.  I’ve been putting up the same decorations for many years – the couple of things I bought after Casey and I moved in together forever ago.  I’m telling myself that this year I’m going to take advantage of the post-holiday sales and buy super discounted Christmas stuff in January.  It will be such a fun treat to have waiting for next year!  But I know by January I’ll be over it and won’t do it.  The cycle goes on.

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Since it’s just been me this week, I’ve been trying to fill up our schedule with fun things going on – play date, a friend over for dinner, mom’s group, and more.  And when the going gets tough, there’s always the fun game of spinning in circles with the nail clippers in your mouth.

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Or playing with two favorite toys – a bottle of Advil and a thermometer. 

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At least when I’m on my own I have two eager watch dogs, protecting our house and keeping us safe.  Oh wait…

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I’ll be back soon (no really, this time) with a few yummy new recipes!  Thanks for your patience during the downtime.  I have missed you guys!

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67 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries     at 8:22 am

I love the new arrangement! :)

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Jamie @ StudioEats     at 8:22 am

I think stopping by to say hi is a fine idea :) Its your blog and if you feel like you want to post more often, you should! Sometimes the short posts are great too… plus, we all love to see Cullen!

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Sena     at 8:26 am

LOL about the thermometer! We have the same one and there are times we can’t get through a diaper change without her getting to hold onto it! It is also apparently useful as a phone. ;)

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Kathi     at 8:28 am

What a sweet post!! The new living room arrangement looks perfect for your space! Enjoy these days, yes, you don’t get to do all of the decorating you plan and see on Pinterest leading up to the big day but you get to see it through Cullen’s eyes which is way more fun!

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Morgan     at 8:29 am

I commend you for posting at all! I cannot imagine juggling everything you do and still finding time to write and cook. Go you!

Also, your home is absolutely beautiful! Love the table decorations!

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Meredith     at 8:31 am

Girl, you sound like you might be about to go stir crazy :)

This really reminded me of something my little brother used to do when we were kids; My parents got this little wooden red rocking chair to put in his “book corner”. And instead of sitting in it, he would stand on it and rock back and forth, screaming with glee, like a surfer. It make my mother insane, she was always rushing to scoop him off of there. However, when my grandma would stay with us, she always let him keep doing it. She said “The best way to learn is to let him get a few stitches!”. Hahaha! My poor mom still doesn’t know she let him do that – and he never did get any stitches from a fall from it ;)

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Tiff (@LoveSweatBeers)     at 8:31 am

If you baked me muffins, I’d probably be a bit obsessed with them too. :) Love the gold ornament decor! I always say I’m going to buy discounted Christmas decor in January, but I usually feel too broke once the new year rolls around. haha

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Shanna like Banana     at 8:32 am

Oh good, my child isn’t the only one that likes to play with nail clippers and medicine bottles! ha!

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Andrea     at 8:38 am

Oh gawsh the bread looks yummy! Cullen is so very cute!!! You got me excited about looking at houses and floor plans again! We keep pushing our move back, but every once in a while we go look at new models and get excited again and check a few things off our current list of gotta do before we sell our current house. Funny thing is we totally wanna do the post-holiday sale this year so we can decorate our new house (hopefully) next year! Oh the motivation. :) <3

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Joanna     at 8:43 am

My baby is wearing that same striped onesie as we speak, haha! Cullen is super adorable, as always. Happy holidays!

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Emma     at 8:47 am

Stopping by to say just “hi” works … I too I’m stuck in bad rainy weather – in a small rural community – and it’s fun to visit your site, akin to comfort food (like the banana bread).

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Sara     at 8:49 am

Yup, my 19 month old daughter always goes straight for the medicine bottles and thermometer! And why do the nail clippers always go straight to the mouth? I’m so afraid she’s going to cut her tongue! I’m so jealous of your open living room and kitchen! We have a small townhouse that has a open living room and dining room combo, but I long for a house with a layout like yours. Love how you rearranged the furniture though. We just moved ours around to do the same thing, make the seating area more cozy and to give our daughter a more defined play area. At first I wasn’t so sure about it, but now it’s grown on me. Yay for toys not being confined to a seperate area! :)

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Erica {Coffee & Quinoa}     at 8:50 am

Love the new furniture arrangement! And also Cullen’s favorite toys… too funny. :)

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Gbea     at 8:54 am

Totally agree about the “open floor plan” obsession. Where/when did this begin? And why? I’ve always felt the kitchen should be closed off – not that it has to be small or ugly but really, if you have guests over (or as you said, just want to relax on your couch) you don’t want your dirty dishes (and counters, and sink, and microwave, and stovetop, etc.) to be in full view. Always thought I was old-fashioned for thinking so but sometimes the door is there for a reason.
Also, I’m a librarian – so yay for reading! Wherever!

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Rachel G.     at 8:55 am

I’ve commented this on some of your previous posts, but your home/furniture/decorations/sense of style are all beautiful! I rent and live with roommates now, so between the sharing of furniture and not being able to do any “major” changes to our townhouse, our place isn’t necessarily how I would decorate or furnish it if I lived alone. Your home is an inspiration for how I’d like my place to look a few years down the road!

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Rachel     at 9:16 am

Emily, I just wanted to say that always enjoy reading your posts :)

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Sam     at 9:24 am

So true about things being “too open”! I think you have to live in a space like that to realize that it’s not always the most functional unless you’re entertaining. We recently moved from an open-concept loft space into an older home where each room has a door (the kitchen even has two) and I LOVE it. Feels so nice to be able to segment different activities. Anyway, I love the new furniture arrangement! I think each space we live in teaches us new things.

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Lee     at 9:30 am

Haha, love that Cullen is playing with Advil and a thermometer. Future doctor.

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Kelsey     at 9:45 am

Stop by and say hi here more often! We all love reading your entries and its okay that recipes aren’t posted as often as they used to be – we’ve grown to know your family and I think these posts are just as fun!

Love the Advil and thermometer picture. Wouldn’t that be something to show at a future med school graduation party?! Haha!

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Colleen     at 9:46 am

i LOVE LOVE LOVE your house!

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Ella     at 9:47 am

Hilarious! You are SUCH a trooper. Maybe he will be a nurse or doctor one day with all that interest in health care items :)

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Bethany @ Accidental Intentions     at 9:50 am

We did a somewhat similar thing in my apartment a couple of months ago. After living without a dining room table for two months, I bought one off someone looking to get rid of theirs in my building. Before that, all the furniture was pushed against the walls in the living/dining room, which was great for openness, but definitely not ideal. I had to rearrange with the new table, so I moved the couch to create some segmentation, and I really like the change. It’s nice to have a feeling of different spaces even if the lack of walls makes it so that’s not really the case.

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Serena     at 10:01 am

Don’t worry about not posting as many recipes as you’d like. We love all your posts and seeing your sweet family. You’re doing great!

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Kaci     at 10:12 am

I always tell myself I’ll buy holiday decor in January too and ya never happens. =)

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Sara     at 10:30 am

Shatterproof ornaments are your friend!!! Haha. Tyler doesn’t care about the tree at all either but she is ALL about the ornaments. And everything else that is not an actual toy. Ha. :)

The decorations look super cute!

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Heather @ Side of Sneakers     at 10:31 am

Haha the muffins look better than the batch I made with spinach and berries. ;)

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jill     at 10:39 am

I love your sense of humor in this post. The picture of Cullen spinning with the clippers in his mouth made me laugh out loud =)

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eliza     at 10:52 am

Emily I wouldnt worry about a posting schedule . Every post I read of yours I thouroughly enjoy and can even re-read! You have such a talent for writing!

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melissa     at 11:08 am

Emily just wanted to let you know you stress yourself out about always having recipes or a prepared post for you readers but i love the posts like today or the ones about cullens eating as another toddler mom its great hearing how other moms have the same issues and getting ideas etc great posts but the recipes are yummy too lol

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Pam     at 11:22 am

Ok, seriously, there is way too much cute in those photos of Cullen. Start posting a warning! :)

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Jen     at 11:32 am

Your house is so beautiful!

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Shel@PeachyPalate     at 11:42 am

That looks like one comfy sofa! Love Cullen’s chair! God to even stop by for a post once or twice a week is amazing, I hope I can keep it up when I become a mum! And your posts are always so well thought out, deep and meaningful with fantastic pics! Your a woman after my own heart with the banana bread, I’m totally obsessed!

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Hilary @ PeanutButterSpoonfuls     at 11:59 am

Love the decor, your house is definitely looking festive!

My husband is traveling a lot right now and it is raining here constantly so I feel you on wanting to eat the whole loaf of bread! My little guy has the exact same grey pants and is also really into reading now, so fun!

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Kristen@Change of Pace     at 12:03 pm

Oh man the life of having a boy. My little boy doesn’t play with much. He likes a few things but his main source of entertainment are things he’s not supposed to play with. Toilet paper tubes, dvd cases, water bottles… At least he’s entertaining :)

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April     at 12:25 pm

This whole post is just ‘too cute’! I love the new layout, especially Cullen’s play area! You have inspired me to do something with my living room.

And don’t cha know it, playing with all the ‘non-toys’, so funny!

You really did score with the chair!

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Sarah G     at 12:25 pm

I’ll admit, I was one of the people that was a teeny tiny bit concerned about you… but I believe it is completely understandable and acceptable for you to be “gone” for days or even a week at a time! No pressure; find the rhythm that works for you and Cullen, and we will all adjust.

Also, Love the decorations! I got my tree (completely) up for the first time in yeeeeears, now that my cats are MIA and my oldest is nearly 4. Of course, the decorations are a little lopsided and heavy toward the bottom, the same height of my four year old’s reach. :)

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Shannan     at 12:26 pm

Ooooh, I love your new living space! I also hope to get some more decorations after Christmas this year. I bought a stash of decorations when my husband I first got engaged, but that was years ago, and I haven’t bought a thing since. Our decorations consist of a tree and some Christmas mugs. Pathetic!

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Angela @ Happy Fit Mama     at 12:42 pm

I’m so in the decorating mood for the holidays but my kids are into EVERYTHING! And what was I thinking of buying glass ornaments all those years? Trust me, keep the ornaments off or only at the top of the tree. It’ll be better for everyone! ;)

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Lolly     at 1:03 pm

I love your food and your food pics but those Cullen muffins look like MOLE muffins. And not the kind that dig underground!
The rearranged furniture is much better IMO. I really like walls and doors personally. My dream house is a thatched roof English cottage with cozy rooms, walls of books and an AGA stove in the kitchen.

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Kathy     at 1:12 pm

I love the layout of your house. Ours is a plain old ranch house with walls dividing every room. I live open floor plans so if you have people over, you feel like a part of the conversations. Our TV was up high a while back and we had to bring it down as I kept getting a stiff neck watching it. Oh and don’t feel bad about getting the tree decorated. I don’t even have mine up yet!! We are remodeling and I can’t decorate until all the baseboards and trim are put back on the walls – but the contractor promises it will be done before Christmas. (I’m not holding my breath) So we may celebrate without one this year.

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Veganlily     at 1:47 pm

GREAT new setup!

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Meagan     at 3:40 pm

GOOD thinking on the new arrangment. I would feel exactly the same way :) especially about the dishes part ;)

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jen     at 4:15 pm

i can so relate with it being too open. i once lived in an apartment like that and i used to hide in my bedroom instead of being on the couch to avoid the dishes/kitchen mess glaring at me. we actually ended up putting up a bookcase to seperate things.

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Jen     at 5:27 pm

Completely love the nail clippers, Advil, thermometer, and dogs…things are exactly the same at my house except I have two boys and one dog. :)

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sarah crosby     at 6:30 pm

Love those bottom pics. we have non-breakable ornaments on the bottom half… they are mostly on the floor. gotta love one year olds!

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Alex @ Raw Recovery     at 6:56 pm

Haha I have that same thermometer. Actually it’s somewhere at my old roommate’s condo because she refuses to give it back to me. I think the tree actually looks really nice, even without a lot of ornaments on it. Something very magical about Christmas lights to me. Have a good one!

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Tiffany     at 7:09 pm

Cullen is adorable!

Do you have the specific recipe for the baby muffins you made for Cullen? Thank you :)

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Katie @ Soulshine and Sassafras     at 7:19 pm

Your house looks so beautiful!

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Maria     at 7:23 pm

I’m so glad you posted your feelings about an open floor plan. My husband and I are looking to buy a new house and while we love open floor plans as well, I can see your point about not wanting to see a messy kitchen when you just want to lay down and relax! I’m glad you remedied the situation :)

Also. Cullen + that chair. I die.

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Nicole     at 7:42 pm

This post was worth the wait! ;)

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Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie     at 7:51 pm

Your house is seriously stunning! Ah it’s like my dream style. I can’t wait to buy a house someday.

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Stephen@HappyHeart     at 5:18 am

Your house is beautiful! I’m a chef and wholefood store owner in Ireland with child aged 2 and another on the way. Finding the time to write one blog post a week is a challenge and they’re never as in depth or personal as yours so give yourself a massive pat on the back! Inspirational!

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Shaina Reynolds     at 6:28 am

I feel like you mentioned almond bars that you made but I forget where you mentioned it. I’d like to see that recipe and the recipe for those baby muffins! They do look gross but they sound great!

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Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers     at 6:33 am

Your house is gorgous! I love the festive, not over done Christmas look!

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Adrianne     at 6:44 am

I’m having major house envy! So beautiful and I just love your style! I think the new setup looks like a much better use of space and I absolutely love Cullen’s corner. Sadly my daughter’s “corner” has slowly seeped into the rest of the room:)

My daughter loves muffins too! And since it’s the only way I can get her to eat any vegetables, I pack them with as much zucchini and carrots as I can. They too are not much to look at, but she loves them, so I don’t care:)

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Leah     at 7:26 am

The tree looks pretty without much on it too! And hahaha, nail clippers!

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Julie     at 7:32 am

Very cute post, Emily! Love your house! And yes, I miss you when you’re gone. :)

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Anne Weber-Falk     at 9:41 am

Where did you get your sofa? I know this has nothing to do with your post but we need a new one and your sofa looks like we are looking for.

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Krissy @ Make it Naked     at 10:07 am

Haha. I was like “oh no. she forgot about the mini muffins!” I thought they were burnt! Hilarious. Glad they taste good! House looks great and Cullen is cuter than ever! Miss you!

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Stephanie     at 10:23 am

I love that you keep it real! Life gets hectic, especially when the holidays roll around and even more so when the hubs is out of town!

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Ruth @ FacetiousFarang     at 7:11 pm

I’ll have to remember the nail clippers trick next time I’m having a rough day. Great idea, Cullen!

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Lindsey     at 9:21 am

Thank you for a lunchtime laugh with the Cullen antics…so adorable!

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Gabrielle     at 9:55 am

Admittedly, I didn’t notice you hadn’t posted because I read your posts all at once on Saturday, like now! If I read during the week I would be anxious for more posts, so this way I know I’ll have something to read at at least.

House Hunters is crazy. I get so sick of people turning down kitchens because there’s no granite or stainless steel. I suppose in the ’70s there had to be avocado appliances, and swing doors!

Love what you did with the living room. And those dogs would come to yours and Cullen’s aid if you needed, I just know it. :))

[Reply]

Sarah @ Kids Heart Real Food     at 6:00 pm

Emily, the bit about Cullen reading in the chair is so adorable. It must just make your heart melt. Hopefully that will last well into the school-age years!

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Jill     at 6:57 pm

Too funny, my daughter loves chewing on our nail clippers too! Star parenting :)

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Anne     at 8:38 am

Hi Emily,
Love the new layout, it’s so much cozier and still has great flow:). The trimmings also look lovely! I think with being in a new city, a new home, and new routines with Cullen- that’s a lot of change, which always takes some time to settle into. Have you read a book called “Where’d you go Bernadette?”. It’s a comic novel about LA to Seattle transplants- for some reason it reminds me of your sentiments regarding Seattle so far. Love all your posts for their honesty & heart. Have a lovely holiday!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I hadn’t heard of that, but I’m going to check it out. Read the review on Amazon – sounds funny!

[Reply]

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