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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    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.

Christmas & New Year’s 2014!

As promised, I am back with a holiday recap!  Last year it took me until January 23rd to recap our holidays, and while I’m still a bit late this year (which is no surprise), it feels a bit less absurd.  We’re just finally coming out of the holiday fog and getting back into real life.  The cookies have all been eaten, air mattresses deflated, and the decorations are packed up.  But the memories and holiday magic still feels so fresh in my mind – this year was a great one!

We travel a lot and visit family all over throughout the year, but we decided last year that, at least while our kids are still so young, we want to spend Christmas in Seattle at our home.  We’re just beginning to start our own family traditions, and it’s so fun finding all the holiday adventures here in our area.

Our Christmas officially kicked off on the 22nd, when Grandma (and her fiancé, Jim!) arrived!  Both boys just loved having them here.  On their first day here, we took a trip to the Space Needle to go see Santa in his rocket ship (a fun tradition we discovered last year!).  We got this amazing commemorative photo!


Cullen was so excited to tell Santa all about the garbage truck he hoped to get, and to take a ride in the rocket ship.  Graham thought this Santa was even worse than the first one.  Maybe next year!


On Christmas Eve, Cullen and my mom spent hours baking delicious Finnish Fingers – a childhood Christmas staple in my house growing up! 

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And I spent most of the afternoon working on our Christmas Eve dinner!  We had a nice spread of mashed potatoes with vegan mushroom gravy, roasted Brussels sprouts and green beans, butternut squash, cranberry sauce, and Field Roast celebration roast.  Absolutely delicious! 


Annual family Christmas photo!  I love this group so much.  We missed my older sister and her family, but with two little kids herself, we were happy they were celebrating in their own house too. 

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Such a nice treat to have Sarah join us again this year!  The boys love her, and I got spoiled by having company on my daily walks with the pups. 

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We stayed up much later than intended on Christmas Eve, as the “simple” train set I bought for the boys ended up taking three hours to assemble.  Parenting right of passage, right?  I mostly just watched.  :)


Christmas morning came early, and Cullen couldn’t wait to come downstairs.  He was adamant that he wanted a very particular garbage truck that had a side loading lever, so that is exactly what he got!  Graham got a few new trucks to add to the mix as well. 

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Which were, of course, stolen immediately.  Saw that one coming! 

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Last year, Cullen was super overwhelmed by gifts and doing everything too quickly.  So my plan for this year was to just go super slow and follow the kids’ lead.  We opened books and spent lots of time reading them…

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And ate a delicious breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and yummy fruit salad. 

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And when all the presents had been opened, I attempted to give one more gift to myself – a cute picture of the boys together on Christmas!

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Or not.  Stinkers. 

My mom and Jim left the following Saturday, which was also Casey’s birthday!  It was so nice having them in town. 

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The next time we see them we’ll be in Ohio for their wedding!

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And just as my family departed, Casey’s arrived!

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We had a strange cold spell the entire time Casey’s parents were here – it was so sunny and gorgeous out but it was really cold, at least by Seattle standards.  I kept dragging the family out anyway, determined to breathe in some fresh air. 

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We ended up spending a lot of time at home during their visit, simply because the kids were just too cold outside (wimps!!).  I took advantage of all the helpers around the house by taking lots of long walks with the dogs and trying out a new yoga studio.  It was glorious!

On New Year’s Eve, we finished out 2014 with a ferry ride over to Bainbridge Island just as the sun was rising. 

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Chilly but so so beautiful.  I love it here so much!

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We spent New Year’s Eve surrounded by friends in the early evening, and then curled up on the couch watching the ball drop that night.  Casey and I stay up every year despite hating ourselves for it the next day. 

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On New Year’s Day, Mimi and Grandpa headed home after a wonderful visit.  We were so lucky to have both of our families travel across the country to see us this year, and it made for such a special and memorable holiday.

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These two are readjusting to life with mom during the day, after being completely spoiled by two weeks of constant snuggling, book reading, and endless attention.  The holidays are getting more and more fun with each passing year!


Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season as well.  I’m sad that it’s over, but I’m already looking forward to all the fun that this spring and summer will bring. 

Thanks to all who entered yesterday’s barre3 Challenge giveaway!  The giveaway post has been updated with the winners – make sure to check back to see if it was you!  And if not, don’t forget about the code available for 15 days of free online classes available to all.

Our Holiday Home.

The holidays are in full swing over here!  And even though I have had the same Christmas decorations for as long as I’ve been writing this blog (read: a long time!), I still feel the need to share pictures of them every year.  Indulge me!  I’ve been decorating with these glittery ornaments for at least five years, and I still absolutely love them.  Bonus that they are plastic, so a bit safer for the curious kiddos. 

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Our mantel is decked out with a lighted garland and our cable-knit stockings.  I have never actually filled these, but this might be the first year I finally do it.  Also, it seems that Land of Nod stopped making these, so I’ll have to break the news to Casey that we are done having kids!

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We stopped at a local re-store shop a few weekends ago so I could go digging around for an old shutter.  I had seen a cute Christmas card display using one so I thought I’d see if I could do something similar.  I found a perfect shutter for five bucks, and so far I think it looks pretty cute!

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We got our tree right after we got back from traveling to Atlanta for Thanksgiving.  I think we got a really good one this year!!  I had big fantasies about us all listening to Christmas music and wearing festive Christmas sweaters or pajamas or something, but that did not even come close to happening.  Ha!


But we still had a lot of fun, which is of course, what actually mattered.  Cullen was really into putting the ornaments on carefully this year, but Graham is at the age where he just wanted to rip them all off or eat them (which naturatelly infuriated Cullen).  Thankfully now that the excitement of tree trimming is over, he hasn’t given the tree much attention since. 

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My favorite part of decorating is rediscovering all the ornaments I’ve forgotten about!  My mom makes the boys adorable felt ornaments each year, and it was so fun to pull hers out and remember what she’d made them.  Last year, it was a garbage can – to coordinate with the garbage truck I got for Cullen.  He requested they be hung up just like this, and points them out daily. 

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Casey and I get each other ornaments every year too, and they usually end up being memories of places and things that were special to us that year, which is always fun to reflect on too. 

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Sniff – I still miss Old Town, especially this time of year ! I bet the lights on King Street look incredible!

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Even the doggies have special representation on the tree!

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Check out Graham’s first ornament from my mom last year!  I think she is so crafty and creative (which was sadly not passed down to me). 

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I have little bits of holiday cheer all over, and it made me so happy to unpack all of these things and set them out for the next few weeks. 

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Last year I decided to do an annual Santa picture frame, and keep all the Santa pictures in there together with the most current one displayed.  I was laughing talking to friends about this picture yesterday, saying I barely even remember it being taken.  I feel like I was in such a newborn fog last year!  Look at what BABIES they were!

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I got a new garland to put on the steps this year, to replace the one I’d been using since the year after I graduated college (think 2003).

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And my 2003 mistletoe is still going strong!  You can never have enough kisses, right?

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The year that Cullen was born, my aunt gifted us this advent calendar from Land of Nod.  Last year, Cullen moved the Santa from space to space but he wasn’t really into it and I had to remind him of it each day.  This year he is ALL about it! 

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I went an extra step this year and got gift tags that have a Christmas activity or project for each day.  I planned it all out with my calendar so that things like “go to Snowflake Lane” fall on weekends so we can do it as a family.  He is having so much fun that he actually remembers what day it is every day, and goes to be at night saying, “Mom, is tomorrow number twelve?”  I love that he’s into it.  Although he rejected my paper snowflakes and told me they didn’t have enough points.  Apparently mine are too round?? 

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This one is tonight!

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Other advent activities so far have included making Christmas cookies…

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And last weekend’s activity – go see the reindeer and Christmas trains at Swanson’s Nursery!

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Graham is the perfect age this Christmas – he is totally into everything and wants to explore and be part of all activities.  Which adds challenges of course, but it is SO fun and amazing to watch.  He was obsessed with the animals, which has me so excited for spending many days this coming spring at the zoo. 

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We met Cullen’s best buddy there too, and he and Graham were accidental twins.  Cutest kids ever, and not a bit biased. 

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This time of year just makes me so overwhelmingly happy.  The weather is so gross and it is so dark outside all of the time, and yet these two sweet little boys make the holiday season so much fun. 

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This week, our Wednesday advent activity was a big one – go see Santa and get pictures taken on his lap!  Cullen was thrilled and talked about it all morning.  He was very specific that he was going to ask for a particular garbage truck (sigh) with side-loading trash cans, and let me know he would ask Santa if the truck’s front doors open or not (they don’t, so I hope Santa gave him the right answer!). 

Graham is in a super-glue-cling-to-mama phase, so I knew he was going to be a tough sell.  I felt his body stiffen the minute we walked in the door.  Cullen trotted right up to the chair and said, “Santa, sure is rainin’ outside today!”  Three year olds are SO RIDICULOUS!  Cullen hopped up in his lap, and as predicted, Graham shrieked with terror the minute I set him down. 


But a few squeaks of a reindeer puppet later, and we got a successful (almost) smiling picture!  Check out the progression from Cullen’s first year to this year…  He was 14 months old here, which is how old Graham is now (and I remember him crying right after this was taken). 

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Last year, both looking so different and so tiny.  I look back at this now and wonder how I ever survived those first few months!

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And finally, this year!  Same exact Santa, and two very grown up looking boys.  All I want for Christmas is for time to slooooow down just a little bit. 

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More holiday fun on the calendar this weekend, and looks like we even have sunshine in the forecast.  Happy Friday to you all!

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