What sisters do

Well I am off to my first ever blog conference! I am totally freaking out! I am really excited and super nervous! When I get back I will tell you all about it! In the meantime, I am really excited to introduce you to my big sister, Taralyn! I have mentioned before that I have a LOT of siblings (7, to be exact!), but I only have one sister. We haven’t always gotten along but we have always tried to support each other. Even though sometimes our support of each other isn’t exactly what you would expect. Once again we are supporting each other here on this blog. I have been wanting to add another person to contribute new, fun ideas and she jumped at the chance. So here she is to tell you a little more about herself and the fun things that she has in store.

Hi, Where to start? Since Tawna has told you a little about our family growing up, there is no need to start at the beginning.

I just turned 35, I just celebrated 15 years of marriage, and I have 2 fantastic kids.  My little Peanut- who currently wants to be a pop star and ballerina, is 9, and my Monkey is a wild 7 year old boy.

Family hwl

I ran an in home daycare for 2 years. I love to crochet, cook, make candy, read, eat, and spend time with my family. I enjoy the outdoors, camping, walking, and sometimes bike riding. I want to learn to sew. I know the basics, and as a teenager I took a sewing class and made part of a dress. I am trying to teach myself, with a little bit of help from my long distance mother in law and from my own Mom. I LOVE wood painting, and have recently begun some new projects I can’t wait to share with you.

Shelves and Blankets

I am a co-leader to my daughter’s girl scout troop and currently work full time. Being a busy mom, I am always trying out new ways to keep our house organized, clean and running smoothly. Believe me I have found a lot of ways that don’t work. Like most women the scale is my worst enemy and my treadmill is something that I have very passionate and mixed feelings about. I would like to SOMEDAY run a half or maybe even a full marathon- But right now I can’t even run a mile. (I have always heard you should Dream big) I can’t wait to share my journey and my projects with all of you, and I would love to hear your comments and suggestions for future projects.

Taralyn

Spring time planting

I know for a lot of my friends that live farther East, there is still a lot of snow on the ground and torturing your dreams of spring time (I’m very sorry about that!), but here is Utah spring has sprung! I am so excited about it! I LOVE the spring(Except for my terrible seasonal allergies that plague my life)!

Springtimeindisney

This spring my hubby and I decided we needed to have a lovely outside oasis for us to escape to after we came home from work. Now some of you may know that my back yard, if you can call it that, is about the size of a postage stamp! So I wasn’t really sure how to get the beautiful spring time flowers that I wanted. So after some serious looking around, we decided that we should hang some flower boxes on our back fence and add some hanging baskets to our . It turned out wonderfully!

We went to Home Depot to pick out our planters and started gathering a bunch of flowers that stood out to us. Now my word of caution when picking out flowers is, it is SO important to know the area that you are going to be planting them. How much sun will it receive everyday? That is the biggest problem that we have in our little yard. Our yard is southern facing and there is next to zero shade. So our flowers and plants get the sun ALL DAY! From sun up to sun down they are in the sun (and so is our house!), so we have to pick out plants that are full sun plants. Even then some plants can’t survive through the hot summer.

Garden

We got some Miracle Grow potting soil to put in all our planters and got started planting.

planting

When taking a plant out of it’s pot that it comes in, it’s important to break up the root ball a bit so that they can start to grow in their new home.

planting2

Most plants come with care instructions to let you know how i of a whole that it needs and how often to water it. As long as you follow those guidelines, your new plant should start to grow. Now I am not claiming to have a green thumb, because honestly, most of the plants I have had in the house have died! So I am really hoping that our beautiful back yard oasis stays alive and looking beautiful!

barrel  pink flower Desert flowers

How is your spring going? Are you planting new things around the yard or just enjoying the flowers you see when you drive down the street?

Lots of Love,

Tawna

Vacation Inspiration

This last month I was really lucky to have the opportunity to go on a cruise with my husband and my in-laws to the Caribbean. We went to five different islands and each one of them were so unique and beautiful! I was humbled and inspired by each one of them and the people that I met there. I have never traveled out of the country before and I really haven’t done that much traveling even around the country. So I have to admit that I have definitely been in a bubble. It’s easy to get in your daily routine and not really think too much about the people outside of your immediate area and feel disconnected from the poverty that you hear about or see on the news.

HookedwithLovecuise2

Our first island that we went to was St Croix, it is a US Virgin island and I had no idea what to expect. The hubby and I got off the ship early to walk around and see what the port was like. Our first impression was that the island was beautiful! We were stunned. The gorgeous blue water, and white sandy beach.

Hookedwithlovecruise

Right behind the beach was a beautiful little town with old historic buildings and an old military fort from the 1700’s. Quite a few of the locals had set up tables filled with jewelry and clothing they were selling. Hubby and I walked down a little path next to the ocean and watched little crabs scurry off the sidewalks and back into the water.

Hookedwithlovecrabs

We were fascinated by the buildings that are all old and many have historic plaques on the front telling the stories of the buildings and all the history that they were apart of.

hookedwithlovehouse

I could go on and on about the things that we saw (like a 300 year old cannon that was rusting on the shore line!),

Hookedwithlovecannon

or the beautiful plants that we learned about, or over all how beautiful the island was. Believe it or not, this wasn’t even my favorite of the five islands that we went to, but it was where I got my first glimpse into a different life and received my first piece of humble pie for the trip, and received my first dose of inspiration to be a better person.

We hired a taxi driver named Gwendolyn, who was a native to St. Croix, to give us a tour of the island. Even though it is the biggest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, the population has dropped considerably in the last few years. They used to have a large aluminum factory, that was put out of business due to a law suit. They had the second largest oil refinery in the country that was recently shut down putting thousands of people out of work and leaving a good portion of the island looking like a ghost town. Most of the people there live in small homes, many of which are very run down. They live a much simpler, slower paced life than most people I know. And everyone I met was happy. Sometimes outrageously happy! I am certain that everyone has bad days no matter where they live, but I didn’t meet one person who wasn’t happy to see us.

As Gwendolyn drove us around telling us about her island, and her experiences growing up there, (She used to eat turtle eggs that she gathered off the beach, until they became an endangered species!) I was in awe of the knowledge that she had to share with us. She told us about so many plants that grow on the island that if made into tea or used for medicines helped with nearly every illness, which inspired me to try a healthier view toward eating and natural medicines.

Hookedwithlovetree

She also told us that despite the fact that she had lived on the island her whole life and very rarely traveled for fun, she volunteers with the American Red Cross and they had sent her to many different locations to help others when in need. While it probably doesn’t seem like that big of a sacrifice to her, it struck me as amazing! Here I was living a much more lavish lifestyle than she had in her entire life and she was giving of herself on a regular basis to people who needed help. What was I doing to help other people? Other than contributing to the economy of the island of St. Criox, not a whole lot!

Even though that was the first day of our trip and we saw many more things and met many more people, who all inspired me. Her experiences with the Red Cross stuck out to me more than most. As soon as we got back to our home sweet home I started looking into volunteer opportunities around my neck of the woods. I don’t want to be in my bubble unaware of the world any longer, and I definitely feel it is time for me to give back.

I would love to hear what sort of things you do to give back. Do you volunteer? Do you donate to charity?

hookedwithlovebesthubby

Lots of Love , Tawna