Monday, December 31, 2012


dear blog,

2012 was a very good year for me.

here are some highlights  (and lowlights)!
i made some new best friends. 
jackson moved :(
horseback riding in rexburg
rexburg for the crossroads concert
st. george with my besties
state champion!
i pinched a nerve in my back.
elise! (i'm seriously obsessed with her)
visiting susie's house!
hanging out with this lady everyday this summer
rooftop concerts pre-panda's mission
maddie graduated!
camping with lauren, bob, jeff & the wellings
50's bbq
sister time at aspen grove!
summer loving
i started working with M
seriously, so much sister time.
hazel, andrew & catherine
maddie moved to idaho.
i moved to provo!
i made loads of new awesome friends!
living with these ladies is a highlight!!
our park city miracle!
camping at the gc
my awesome birthday party
maddie surprised me for my birthday!
staying at the bishop's cabin at fairview!
carrie walker is my best friend!
working at the distribution center
family christmas/talking to richie!
it was seriously a GOOD year.
i feel good about my 2012 resolutions (never withhold a generous thought, go to the temple twice a month, make an honest effort to do selfless service). i'll be honest, i didn't go to the temple this month and i DON'T feel good about that, but next month i'll be better!

my goals for the new year:
1. read 35 books (book of mormon included)
2. go to the temple twice a month
3. be nicer (i.e. no more backhanded compliments!)

i'm really excited for the new year and i can't wait to see what it will bring!


take a look. read a book!

dear blog,

in the past i haven't been a big reader (except of blogs) but this year i was bitten by the library bug and i just can't get enough. i though i'd make a list of all the books i've read this year (that i can remember):

the giver- lois lowry
gathering blue- lois lowry
the messenger- lois lowry
the son- lois lowry
the hunger games- suzanne collins
catching fire- suzanne collins
mockingjay- suzanne collins
cry, the beloved country- alan paton
wings- aprilynne pike
spells- aprilynne pike
illusions- aprilynne pike
destined- aprilynne pike
matched- ally condie
crossed- ally condie
night- elie wiesel
the goose girl- shannon hale
enna burning- shannon hale
river secrets- shannon hale
forest born- shannon hale
austenland- shannon hale
midnight in austenland- shannon hale
the secret life of bees- sue monk kidd
the actor and the housewife- shannon hale
brave new world- aldous huxley
borrowed light- carla kelly
enduring light- carly kelly
princess academy- shannon hale
palace of stone- shannon hale
escape- carolyn jessop
bossypants- tina fey
water for elephants- sara gruen
unorthodox- deborah feldman
rumors of war- dean hughes
far from home- dean hughes

the only book i wouldn't recommend is water for elephants. other than that i mostly loved all of these books! i love how reading opens your mind to new possibilities and to other points of view. yay for reading!


p.s. i'm open to suggestions if you've read anything good lately!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

soft & spicy gingerbread cookies

dear blog,

i love love love this recipe for gingerbread cookies. they are soft and spicy and easy and delicious. mostly i'm posting this here because i can never find recipes unless i post them on here!

make these & enjoy them!

Soft and Spicy Gingerbread Cookies
(i got this recipe from jessica's sister amy's blog. she's a rockstar & they're hoping to adopt if you know anyone who knows anyone!)

1 cup butter 
1 cup sugar 
1 cup molasses 
1 egg 
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour 
1 tsp salt 
1 1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp baking soda 
1 tsp ground cinnamon 
2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground ginger 
1 tsp ground nutmeg 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Stir in molasses and egg. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg; blend into the molasses mixture until smooth. Cover, and chill for at least one hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your baking sheet with parchment. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until firm. Let cool for 10 minutes on pan. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks. Frost or decorate when cool with Royal Icing and sugar.

mrs. claus

holly jolly christmas

dear blog,
i guess christmas is over, but everywhere i go i want to shout "merry christmas!" it's kind of a disaster.

but alas, the season was so so lovely.

it included:
lots and lots and lots of caroling
lots and lots of family time
lots of food
lots of fun
lots of snow
we helped aunt willi put up her tree!
looking at christmas lights. my favorite!
being weird with bex/her 23rd birthday!
visiting/caroling to grandpa and ana-maria
aunt willi's for christmas eve
being silly/christmas eve jitters
brother ortiz is a virtuoso & he played some boss songs for us on christmas!
grandma showed me how she makes her rolls!
we got to skype with richie!!
les mis on christmas!
my sisters paid me $12 to stand up in a packed movie theater and proclaim  (with gestures) "merry christmas to one and all!!"

my new boyfriend! (it snowed A TON)
reading by the light of the christmas tree
hanging out with andrew a lot. their family got me a caramel apple and fuzzy socks-- exactly what  i wanted!
airport dropping off/picking ups.
we have to force maddie to spend time with us.
game night at the thurmans with their mini-dog
ice tree in heber!
my last day at distribution :( and family bowling :)
merry christmas! love, the dowds
also, santa brought me a computer! WHAT?? not to mention i got a ton of gifts, all of which i love and am so so grateful for. i'm such a blessed/spoiled girl!


p.s. nickie started/almost finished her mission papers!! it's so crazy to think that christmas next year will be so different with her gone (and let's face it, richie and/or maddie will probably be married)
p.p.s. these cool cats got engaged on the same day as mom & dad (25 years later)!!