Blogging for the Sake of Blogging

This month I made a goal to blog every day.  Today is the 31st and this is my 31st post, so I guess I made it.  I found pretty quickly that blogging for me is a lot more fun when I'm not doing it for the sake of blogging.

December was a good month.  Here's a recap:

*Finished the semester

*Took my finals

*Hung out with my old roommates

*Celebrated birthdays with Daniel, Jared and my dad

*Read books for fun

*Made lots of food, from pasta to carmel

*Decorated and then undecorated several trees

*Celebrated Christmas with both sides of my family

*Spent a LOT of time lounging

*Downloaded lots of new music

*Worked on two sewing projects

*Drank more milk that all of fall semester combined

*Crossed several things off my Day Zero list

December was a good month for me.  I'm also looking forward to January and my last first day of college.  Bring it on!



Today I did lots and LOTS of painting.

It started in the laundry room. For Christmas the kids helped mom finish the laundry room. Part of the gift was new paint for the walls in a color of her choice, plus the promise that she wouldn't have to paint it herself. This morning Mom and I went to Home Depot and got the supplies. This afternoon Suzy, Haley and I painted. I really like the color she picked, and I really, really like how it looks on the walls.

I also knocked another task off my Day Zero list...or at least got it started. I made a goal to paint every fingernail a different color. I have to leave them like this for a week, even though it makes me feel a bit like a twelve-year-old. I thought Christmas break would be a good time to do this, since I own nearly every color of fingernail polish known to man, but pretty much all the crazy ones live in Idaho.

I was a little leery at first, especially since a week from now I'll be back in Provo and back in public. I kinda like the results though, even if they are tween-ish.

Incidentally, two of the colors that I used tonight I actually got for my twelfth birthday...


Another Great Gift!

I have really enjoyed another gift that I recieved: a hot chocolate maker!  My brothers and sisters knew who they were shopping for :)

They even bought me my favorite kind of hot chocolate!


'Anne' with an 'e'

Picking up a book you haven't read in years is like running into an old friend.  Yesterday I began reading "Anne of Green Gables" for the first time since I was eleven.  Tonight I am the only person awake in the house, settled down on the couch with a blanket and Anne.

When I grow up, I want to be Anne.  Although she is impetuous and finds herself in more trouble than any nice girl ought to, she is smart and kind and she appreciates the world around her more deeply than most.  I think I see a little Anne in myself, but mostly in the slate-breaking, temper losing aspects.

I love that I already know how the story ends, because every time she refuses to look at Gilbert or acknowledge his existence, I know that someday she will love him and it makes me giggle.

I miss the days that life was simple enough that I could stay up to finish a book anytime I wanted.  I am grateful that Christmas break has afforded me the opportunity to reacquaint myself with Anne Shirley, the feisty red-head who wishes she were called Cordelia.



Today I made pasta from scratch!  It was lots of fun.  Santa Claus knew what he (she...thanks Mom) was doing when he picked my present this year :)

Here are a few pictures from my first pasta-making adventure.


Week of To-dos

My family just got home from Utah.  Well, my family minus Daniel.  He stayed in Utah to work this week.

This week I have lots of's likely I won't finish everything on my list, but I'm going to give it my best shot:

*Sew a dress

*Finish a quilt

*Make pasta from scratch

*Paint all my fingernails a different color

*Paint the walls in my mom's laundry room


*Finalize my list of New Years resolutions

*Draft a contract

*Research in situ hybridization

*Draft my Personal Statement

*Catch up on sleep I lost last semester so I can start next semester with a clean slate (I don't really think this works, but it's worth a shot)


Wish me luck!


Merry Christmas!

Today we woke up bright and early (I wouldn’t have minded sleeping in…but some of my brothers and sisters are still young children at heart.)  Christmas morning was a lot of fun this year.  Santa Claus brought fun things.  My mom is a little sad that Santa doesn’t shop at the toy store anymore, but I think big kid toys are just as good.

For Christmas this year the kids had a lot of fun shopping for Mom and Dad.  We facelifted our mom’s laundry room, with a new shelf, ironing board, rod for hanging clothes, and paint.  We bought out dad a new binding for his waterski.  Both of them were very excited about their presents, which is the best part. 

This afternoon we went to Grandma and Grandpa Harper’s house for dinner, and then we hit the road to head to Grandma Smith’s.  We’re lucky to live so close to family.

Christmas was really great this year.  I find that the older I get, the more I look forward to the giving part, and the less I’m concerned about what I’ll be getting.  I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be.


Merry Christmas Eve!

Today was the same as most Christmas Eves at the Smith house.  We baked a LOT.  Some people were sewing.  We watched "Christmas with the Kranks" and listened to the Carpenter's Christmas album.

Tonight we went to Grandma and Grandpa Harper's house to spend time with my mom's family.  Uncle David and Aunt Elaine's kids acted out the nativity while we read from Luke 2.  Jared was the donkey...

When we got home Dad helped us put together the finishing touches on Mom's present...probably more on that later.

Now Suzy, Haley and I are holed up in my old room.  Suzy wanted to have a Christmas Eve sleepover.  The last time the three of us attempted a sleepover it didn't go so well.  It turns out Suzy isn't very good at sharing...  We decided to give it another shot, in the spirit of Christmas and togetherness and peace on earth, etc.  If it works, I will wake in the spirit of hallelujah.

Jared's Birthday

Today my baby brother turned 18.  Weird.  I don't think I realize that I've gotten older until people younger than me start to get old.  I suppose I can't still be seventeen if Jared is getting ready to graduate.

Daniel got home from Provo late tonight, so we waited to open presents until after he arrived.  Jared's been pretty sick these past few days, but I think he's finally starting to feel a little better.  There didn't seem to be any sign of bacterial infection when he found out that he has a new set of free weights....

Jared is a good kid and a great brother.  We're lucky that he's part of our family.  This time next year he'll be getting his mission call.  He's already excited.  Sometimes it's hard to watch my little brother and sisters grow up.  I am so lucky to have the family that I do.



For several years, an integral part of my Christmas break has been carmel making.  I love homemade carmel, and it's really not that tough to make.  I thought I'd share the recipe:


1 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. sugar
1 c. corn syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
dash salt

Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until soft ball stage.  Pour the carmel into a 9x13 pan lined with parchment paper.  When the carmel is cool, cut it into pieces and wrap them in parchment paper.


Family Shmamily

Today I went with my mom and Suzy to Idaho Falls.  Suzy and I dropped my mom off at the Idaho Falls temple and then went to the mall to finish our Christmas shopping.  (I'm *still* not done....sigh...)

We also went to lunch with three of my mom's brothers and their wives.  This time of year I see a lot of my extended family, and it's always fun to do some catching up.  I'm always amazed at how big my cousins get between holidays. 

Tonight I also got to go watch Jared's wrestling match.  I think I am much to faint-hearted to watch much wrestling.  It's way too intense for me.  When I expressed that to my mother, she rolled her eyes and told me to "just wait 'til it's my kid."  Apparently that makes it harder to watch.


50 Things I Like About Myself (Part 1)

For my Day Zero Project I made a goal to write a list of 50 things I like about myself.  I decided to check that one off tonight, except it ended up being a lot harder than I thought...  Don't get me wrong, I've got enough ego for myself, plus the next guy.  But it turns out that it's kind of hard to put into words what I like about myself.

So after thinking, I came up with this list.

I like my

1. Brown eyes
2. Long fingernail beds
3. Softball scar on my left knee
4. Long hair
5. Height
6. Eyelashes
7. Metabolism
8. Shoe size
9. Cheekbones
10. Attached earlobes

Since I never made the goal to do all 50 in one sitting, I think breaking it down is completely acceptable. I think I about covered the surface stuff, so I'm probably going to have to start digging a little deeper.


Top 10 Best Things About Being Home

In my opinion, the top 10 best things about being home for Christmas (aside from seeing my family, which is obviously the best part).  These are in no particular order:

*Waking up after it's already light outside

*Staying in my pajamas as long as I want

*Large variety of entertainment

*Seemingly endless supply of ingredients in the cupboards

*Doing laundry for FREE :)

*Wrapping presents

*Not being responsible to prepare my own dinner

*Having a real piano

*Drinking hot chocolate by the fire place

*Having a Christmas tree that's too big to sit on the end table

Plus, it's looking like it's going to be a white Christmas!  (Christmas, of course, being the only time that snow is acceptable....)


Good to be Home

It feels so good to be home with one more semester under my belt.  Overall I think things went pretty well.  I am so exhausted from the last four months, and the last week in particular.

Tomorrow I get to go to Jared's wrestling match.  I am pretty excited, although wrestling is a hard sport for me to watch.  It's so intense.  I probably need to toughen up.

Tomorrow I'm also decorating the family Christmas tree.  Apparently life is busy in Blackfoot as well as Provo, and while the tree is standing, its decorations are all still in their boxes around the bottom.  Should be fun!


The Honest Truth

Tonight I really just feel stressed, overwhelmed, grumpy and hungry.  I don't really feel like blogging.  My computer is out of batteries and I'm only sleeping for a couple of hours tonight.

On the bright side, my roommates opened Christmas gifts tonight, and I live with the sweetest girls.  They are so thoughtful and I love all of my gifts.

By this time tomorrow I expect my mood to be much improved.  Please tune in next time.



A Blue...Blue, Blue, Blue Christmas

About a week and a half ago Apartment 5 made gingerbread men and delivered them to some of our friends and neighbors in the apartment complex.  When we visited Apartment 19, we sang them an awesome rendition of Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You..." because we are awesome.

Tonight, they returned the favor. So for your listening enjoyment, the amazing men of Apartment 19:

My only regret is that they didn't come into the kitchen. There was some pretty incredible hip-swinging going on outside the door, and the video just doesn't quite do it justice...


Good News

*Tomorrow night I'm having a Raisin with the Domestic Goddesses.

*This weekend I get to go home to spend Christmas break with my family.

*I am officially official to graduate in April.

*I am completely done with all me GE classes.

*Jared did awesome in his wrestling tournament today.

*There are only 104 days until March 24th.

Life is good!


The Joys of Finals Week

Today was super busy.  I had two finals and work.  Yikes.  Because I was so busy, I felt that I had earned a when I got home tonight, I took things easy.

Katie made pizza for dinner.  Delish.  I worked on some studying for a while, but then we got a group of people together to watch "Bandslam" (best movie ever!)

The movie ended...and then the fun began.  Suzy threw a glass of water on Blake.  Mayhem ensued.  About eight glasses, two squirt guns, a sink sprayer, two water bottles and a garbage can of water later, our kitchen had approximately two inches of standing water on the floor.

Now our kitchen floor just has several large towels laying out to dry.  On the bright side, Suzy was mentioning this afternoon that we needed to scrub our kitchen floor.


Daniel's Birthday

Tomorrow is Daniel's birthday.  He's turning 23.  To celebrate, my parents brought Jared and Haley to Grandma Smith's house where Suzy, Daniel and I met them for dinner.  It was the first time that we'd all been together for Daniel's birthday in four years.  For his 19th birthday party we all went to Tucanos to celebrate his mission call to Brazil.  Tonight we ate prime rib and my favorite chocolate cake.  It was so good to see my family.  It gave me incentive to live through finals in order to see them again next week.  I cannot wait...

The last time everyone was together for Daniel's birthday. Everyone has grown so much!


Apartment 5 Goes on a Date

Tonight my roommates and I all went on a date.  We took our dates to Temple Square to walk around and see the lights.  It was so pretty. I really love Christmas lights.

After Temple Square, we brought our dates back to our apartment and made gingerbread houses.  I think they turned out pretty good!


I am Grateful for Photographs

We are so fortunate that we can capture our memories in snapshots that persist even after the moments have passed. From everyday occurrences to life-changing experiences, we take pictures.  I love to look at pictures.  My screensaver on my laptop and on my work computer is a slideshow of pictures of myself, family and friends. When I see those pictures, I am transported back in time to where those memories were made.  And it makes me so happy.  I am so glad that I live in a time where such a thing is possible.


I am Grateful for my Education

The other day I read some statistics.  I'm not entirely sure how accurate they were, but it made me stop and think.  I thought I would share...

Reading that made me think about all that I have.  I truly am blessed.

Yesterday was the last day I had classes this semester. A week from now I will be done with finals. A semester from now I will be done with my undergraduate education.

I'm so grateful for the opportunities that I've had over the past three and a half years.  I lived with the most amazing girls my freshman year.  They became my best friends, and we stuck together for our sophomore year as well.  Last year I lived in London, my favorite city in the world, for four entire months.  Now I live with my sister, something we talked about from the time we were little.  It's been an amazing adventure.

But probably most important of all, I've gained so much education.  I've learned about muscles and how they contract and relax.  I've learned about bones and how they grown and harden.  I've learned about kidneys, lungs and eyes.  I've studied the inner ear and the endocrine system.  I've studied embryos and how we develop from one cell into trillions.  I have come to know and love the miracle of life--the miracle of my own body.

I've learned about geniuses like Shakespeare, Leonardo, Dante, Michaelangelo and Bernini.  I've seen great architecture and marveled at the hands that built it.  I've learned of relativity, plate tectonics and stars.  I've studied international politics and my own religious heritage.

I have gained an incredible and diverse education from a wonderful university.  For this opportunity, I will always be grateful.

And in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson,

"All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen."


I am Grateful for French Fries

Tonight I was really, really, REALLY stressed out about the deadlines that I'm facing.  I think the end of the semester tends to have that effect on people.

I'm not always a very nice person when I'm stressed. (Sorry, roommates...)

But then a friend shared some french fries.  They were hot.  And they were salty.  And they really did help.

So tonight I am grateful for french fries.

But I am most especially grateful for good friends.


I am Grateful for my Dad

Some of my earliest memories are of being rocked to sleep every night to the sound of my dad singing primary songs. He would count my piggies and sing until I fell asleep.

I remember when I was ten and I fell off the monkey bars at school and broke my collar bone. My dad came to take me to the doctor. He still tells people that I was too tough to cry.

I love that my dad can’t wait to give presents. I love that my dad can be counted on to pull my toes or count my ribs at least once every time I’m home. I love that my dad tells the wide-mouth frog joke in Spanish. And I love that I’ve never had to wonder if my dad felt that his family was important.

So, to the dad who taught me how to throw a ball harder than the boys, change the oil, wire an outlet, rotate the tires, and run the air compressor…

To the dad who tells me I’m beautiful, who understands the importance of pretty dresses, and who sings to me even now that I’m grown up…

To the dad that is both my biggest hero and my biggest fan…

Thank you for always taking such good care of me. 
 I love you.


I am Grateful for my Mom

Today was the deadline for the large research paper in my capstone class.  As is my usual, I was writing it right down to the wire.  In my time of great stress and anxiety, I called  my mom.  I always call my mom.  At least two or three times a day.  Some days five or six or eight times.  Moms were the best idea.  And my mom is the best mom.

Today I baked a batch of fortune cookies.  Yesterday I baked gingerbread cookies.  Tomorrow I need to bake bread.  I love to bake, and I know how to bake because of my mom.

When I was baking today and yesterday, I was wearing the apron I sewed over Thanksgiving break.  It's really cute, and I know how to sew because of my mom.

The list of things my mom has done for me is endless.  From shoe tying and reading to clothes matching and mascara applying, she has taught me so much.  I will never be able to repay her.

"All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother."  --Abraham Lincoln


I am Grateful for the Plan of Salvation

Today in church I was struck by how grateful I am for my testimony and my knowledge of the Plan of Salvation. Knowledge of the Plan of Happiness, or God's plan for his children on earth, gives me hope. Knowing that I am a daughter of a Heavenly Father and that he loves me helps give my life a direction and a meaning. I am grateful every day for a loving Father in Heaven who only wants the best for me and is willing to guide me as I make decisions. I am also grateful for my agency--that Heavenly Father has given me the ability to choose for myself the path I want to take, even if it's not the best path.

My favorite part of the Plan of Salvation is that I can live forever with my family. My family is the greatest source of joy in my life, and I cannot imagine how empty eternity would feel without them. I know that the relationships I have with my parents, brothers and sisters can continue, even after our mortal lives have ended. With that goal in mind, I strive everyday to do my very best. Although I fall short at times, I know that Jesus Christ atoned for my sins and if I am willing to repent, He can make up the difference. I am so grateful for the Plan of Salvation and the infinite wisdom of our Heavenly Father.

I was also so grateful tonight for the opportunity to get to listen to the Prophet speak.  If you didn't get a chance to hear the First Presidency Christmas Devotional, you can find it here.


I am Grateful for my Roommates

I am so grateful for the girls that I live with because

*They are tidy
*They are sweet
*They like to be silly
*They have beautiful testimonies and live the gospel standards
*They look after each other
*They all put up with me
*They are beautiful


My Month of Earrings

For my Day Zero Project, I wore a different pair of earrings every day for a month.  Frivolous?  Probably.  But it was a lot of fun.  I don't really own that many pairs of earrings since I'm normally not much of an earring wearer, but my roommates helped me out.

Here are a few of the fun pairs of earrings I tried out this month:


LOVE This Blog!

I was recently told to check out the blog How About Orange.  And I LOVE it! There are all kinds of fun DIY projects and ideas, as well as links to fun downloads.

I love it!  Check it out!

Here is one of my favorite projects:


Merry Christmas Apartment 5!

Last night was the first evening that all my roommates were home since Thanksgiving break, so it was officially time to decorate for Christmas.  We pooled all our decorations and innovations as we sung Christmas songs and decked the halls well into the night.

Several weeks ago, snowflake production began on Sunday afternoons.  Our kitchen ceiling now rivals any winter wonderland, as it it thoroughly bedecked with the paper creations.  

Frannie is looking festive.  Our little tree twinkles with holiday cheer.  The stockings are hung on our wall with care, and Annie is currently on the lookout for some mistletoe to hang.  Even the refrigerator is happy that Christmas is coming.