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

 

Super Woman

I want to introduce you to the most important woman in my life, my Mom.

My mom Hookedwithlove

Her name is Cheryl. She is the oldest of four kids and grew up surrounded by family. She lived on the same property as her grandparents, so her many aunts, uncles and cousins were around all the time. She loved having a huge family and wanted to have 12 kids of her own.

She met my dad when she was in high school and they fell and love and got married while they were very young. Lots of people tell you these days that getting married young is a mistake, but her Grandpa told her that he thought she was doing it right. By getting married young they got to grow and change together. While she didn’t end up having 12 kids, her and my dad did bring 8 bundles of joy into the world. She had five boys in a row before getting a little girl. By that time no one believed she would ever get a girl and actually thought my dad was joking when he said my sister had been born. They took a little break after they had her and waited almost six years before I surprised them. A couple years later they gave me a little brother to play with and decided that 8 was enough!

my family hookedwithlove

Even when I was a little girl I knew that she was amazing for raising six boys and two girls! She is very soft spoken and even though she never really yelled we definitely knew when we were in trouble! Her mother taught her so much and she in turn taught me. She taught me to cook, bake, make candy, crochet, cross stitch (all the crafty things that I know how to do came from her), how to be a good wife and an even better mother. I have always looked up to her and admired her for her strength and love that she gives to everyone. Even though I gave her plenty of trouble, I’m sure, she has always been one of my best friends.

My mom and me hookedwithlove      My parents and I at Disneyland hookedwithlove

Her and my dad have been married for 47 years and are still completely in love.

Dad and Mom hookedwithlove     parents in disneyland hookedwithlove     My Parents hookedwithlove

She loves her grandchildren and you can usually finding her snuggling, playing, dancing or listening intently to one of them.

mom and granddaughter hookedwithlove     My mom and my son hookedwithlove

This summer she was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer called LeioMyoSarcoma. Now my mom is a very healthy woman and we never suspected that anything like this could be happening to her! She was having some minor pains and went to the doctor with a completely different idea of what could be wrong. What was even more surprising was the fact that by the time we had any indication that there was cancer growing inside of her, it was already at stage IV! Now I didn’t know for sure what exactly that meant, so i had to look it up. There are only five stages of cancer, and they name them 0-4. So by the time it is in stage four, it means that it has already spread to different parts of the body and is the most advanced form of cancer.

She had to gather her eight children and her five children in law to tell us all about this diagnosis. I know that it was one of the hardest moments for her, and definitely one of the worst for me too. If you’ve never been in the situation of having a loved one go through this you may not realize all that goes in to it. In our case, her primary care doctor found “masses” in her liver and told her that she thought it was cancer. We didn’t really have any other information than that. Hearing your mother say that she has cancer, sort of feels like being run over by bus. Everything in your world changes immediately! Then there is the waiting… it felt like it took a year to find out everything, even though it was really only a little over a week. She had to have several tests and meet new doctors to be able to tell us what those tests meant. Finally we had everything. It was definitely cancer. Extremely rare cancer and it had already spread to her liver and lungs. The doctor told her and my dad what her options were when it came to treating it and they brought it to us to help decide what to do.

 As a family we decided to fight for her life! It has been the hardest summer of all our lives! She is amazing and continues to inspire me everyday! While I try to do anything that I can to help her down this very rough road, there is not that much I can do to make it easier.

My sister and I decided to put one of the skills that she taught us to use to help her out. We started crocheting hats

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and selling them in my Etsy store to raise money to help pay for the numerous and expensive medical bills that come with fighting cancer.

My brothers also felt the need to help out in some way and started making survival bracelets to raise money as well.

Inspired by our need to help and wanting to do something to join our efforts, my very dear friend started making beaded bracelets to add to the cause. All of them can be found in my Etsy shop.

I have never prayed harder for a miracle than I have this summer. I’ll keep praying and making hats in the hopes that they will help her even a little bit.

I hope that you have enjoyed meeting my amazing mother and hope you will stop by my store to take a look and maybe find something that you like. Thank you for your support.

Lots of Love

Tawna

Yarn Wrapped Wreath

If you don’t live in Utah you may not know, but we have a second holiday in July on the 24th. Pioneer Day. It’s the day that we celebrate that pioneers traveled across the country in covered wagons and hand carts to come and settle here. It’s also the day that we celebrate the fact that Utah later became a state. I love Pioneer Day, I love the local history behind it and all the festivities that go on all around the state. I also love that around here we celebrate by being patriotic the whole month! I needed a new patriotic decoration to display for this month of Patriotism, so I decided to make a wreath.

Yarn Wrapped Wreath

I have been trying to think of a fun new wreath to make and was having a hard time coming up with something other than flowers. Then I was looking through some pictures with my boys and saw one that we took of fireworks and I finally got my idea!

I just took the top of a card board box

Cardboard

and traced two circles on it with a couple of different sized bowls.

trace a circle

Then I cut out the circle.

Cut out circle

I cut strips of yarn.

Yarn Strips

I used 20 strips of each color, for each section.

Tied Yarn

I wrapped the yarn around card board and tied it in a knot.

Tie yarn around

With this yarn that I used I think it looks like little fireworks exploding.

Wreath back

You could even turn it over and show the smooth side if you wanted to add some other decorations.

Fireworks

I really love it!

It made a really great and easy decoration.

Yarn Wrapped Wreath - Hooked with Love

I hope you like it too!

Lots of Love!

Tawna

Painting Pots for the summer

Painted Terra Cotta Pots

Have you seen all the pins and blog posts about the adorable painted pots people have been making this year? Well I have loved them! So I decided to try a few different ones with my kiddos.

I went to home depot and found terracotta pots for really cheap! I bought a bunch of them and brought them home to start decorating with the kids.

Terra Cotta Pots

First thing we did after washing them was paint them all with a base coat of white.

Pot painted white

I gave the boys a plate with different paint on it and gave them each a pot and let them go to town!

Sponge Painting and Finger Painting

FingerPainting RM

Their finger painting turned out SO cute! I love when they get to be creative and make whatever they like.

I tried a few ideas too. I thought I would try some sponge painting, so I used a kitchen sponge I had under the sink.

Sponges

I cut off a small portion so it would be easy to hold.

I painted a few different pots using the two different sides of the sponge to get a few different looks.

Sponge Painting by hand

sponge painting

Some turned out better than others, but they were still pretty cute!

Drip Painting

I also had the boys help me drip paint down the sides of a pot for a totally different look.

Drip Painting 2

They loved watching the paint roll down the sides.

I also babysit a little girl who wanted to play with the paint as well and I decided to try a really cute pot that I saw on Pinterest, with her.

IJ footprint butterfly

I dipped her feet in a glittery paint and pressed them to the side of the pot and used a small paint brush to make the body and antenna of this adorable butterfly. Her feet were a little bigger than the space on the pot so I tried another technique as well to make another one.

Footprint butterflies

On a pin I saw for St Patrick’s day, I saw that someone used the side of their hand and fingertips to make little feet.

So I used the same glittery paint and dipped the side of my hand in and pressed it to the side of the pot to make this slightly smaller butterfly.

They all turned out SO cute and each one unique! I love the decorated pots much more than just plain ones.

Now the trick will be to keep the plants alive!

Lots of Love

Tawna

 

Strawberry Dessert

I know I haven’t been around a lot in the last couple of months, it turns out that summer has made my little family a lot busier than I would have expected! But I am glad to be back and sharing with you again! A few weeks ago I did a guest post over at my friend, Dianna’s, blog Craft a Spell sharing this great summer dessert recipe. So I thought I would share it over here as well in case you missed it. I hope that you get a chance to check out her blog as well, she has some great projects!

Now growing up my mom made a very similar recipe to this that had chocolate pudding, that was one of my favorites! When I got married I discovered that this recipe that my mother in law makes is one of my hubby’s favorites. In the early spring and through the summer we have a lot of special occasions that give us a great excuse to make this. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Strawberry Dessert

Strawberry Dessert

Here is what you will need:

1 cup of butter

2 cups of flour

1/2 cup of brown sugar

2 packs of Dreamwhip

(I didn’t know what this was when I first got this recipe, You can find it on the baking aisle at the super market. It’s a whipped cream type product)

8 oz cream cheese

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 package strawberry danish dessert

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 package frozen strawberries

Now here is what you do:

Blend the butter, flour, and brown sugar together and brown in over for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Strawberry Dessert- Crust

Spread half of the crumbs in a cake pan.

Strawberry Dessert- Crust half

Set the other half aside for the topping. Whip Dreamwhip as directed on package. Add cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth and spread evenly over the crust.

Strawberry Dessert- Cream cheese layer

Place in the fridge. Make the danish dessert from the “Pie Glaze” instructions on the box. Add the lemon juice and frozen strawberries. Spread on top of the cream mixture. (The colder the cream mixture is the better the danish dessert will spread.)

Strawberry Dessert - side

Cover with the remaining crumbs.

Strawberry Dessert- top layer

Serve chilled

Strawberry Dessert layers

(Let set up in the fridge over night, for best results.)

Strawberry Dessert slice

Doesn’t that look delicious? I think I may need to think of another excuse to make this again!

Lots of Love

Tawna

One Artsy Mama 4000 Followers Giveaway

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As most of you know I’ve been working pretty closely with Amy from One Artsy Mama learning how to better my blog. She has taught me so much and now I am so excited to help her celebrate that she has reached 4000 likes on her Facebook page! That is a crazy number!

So now Amy and a bunch of other awesome ladies, myself included, have gotten together to bring you a crazy giveaway! If you win, you have your choice of a Silhouette Portrait or a $200 Amazon gift card or a $200 Target gift card! These are amazing prizes! I am so excited to be apart of this great giveaway and so excited for Amy reaching such a huge milestone! Congrats Amy!

Now all you have to do is enter below… Good Luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open to entrants ages 18 and over and ends at 12:00am EST on May 30, 2013. Approximate retail value $200.00. Number of entries received determines the odds of winning. One winner will be selected. This is a giveaway sponsored as a group buy, which means the bloggers pooled their money together to purchase this product for you. All liabilities and responsibilities with the product itself is directly responsible by Silhouette America. Winner will drawn by random.org from all verified entries, contacted by the email provided when entering, and announced on this page at the end of the contest. Winner has 48 hours to respond or prize will be redrawn. Entrant is responsible for the email address they provide, whether through typing it directly or through the Facebook entry method. One Artsy Mama is not responsible for lost, misdirected, or undeliverable emails. All prizes will be awarded, no prize substitutions allowed. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook and we hereby release Facebook of any liability. Information is provided to One Artsy Mama, not to Facebook, and your information is never sold or shared. Facebook, Target, Amazon, and Silhouette America are not a sponsor of this giveaway. Prize is mailed or emailed directly by Amy of One Artsy Mama. Protected tweets do not count as an entry method for tweeting; tweets must come from a public account. Bloggers in this group giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. International entrants are not eligible to receive the Silhouette Portrait unless they provide a valid US Shipping address. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.

Low Carb Dinner

As most of you know I have been trying to lose my baby weight after my darling boys. It is a long process and sometimes it gets very frustrating and seems like it’s not worth it. Especially since I LOVE to eat and I love to cook. But a lot of the things that I make are not very low fat! So when I am getting discouraged and can’t think of new things to make my hubby always steps in and helps me come up with new things. A few days ago he started searching for low carb recipes online and found a site that we are really enjoying! It’s called Spark People. On there we found a bunch of new healthy dinners that sound great! Last night we tried Low Carb Coconut Chicken.

coconut chicken

It turned out so delicious and surprisingly different than what I expected.

Here’s what you need:

3 Chicken Breasts

1 tsp Salt

2 Garlic Cloves

1 Tbsp Ginger

1/2 onion chopped

1 Jalapeno minced

3/4 C Coconut Milk

1 C frozen Peas

( I changed it a little for personal preference. I didn’t use a Jalapeno because I’m not a huge fan and I used fresh snap peas in stead of frozen. )

Directions:

Heat a non-stick frying pan on medium heat, then add chicken. I cut the chicken breasts into strips. Let them brown on one side then flip over and add the garlic, ginger, onion (and jalapeno). Cook until onions start to get soft. Add the coconut milk and stir. It will be pretty saucy at this point so try to stir it all together as much as you can. Cook on lower hear (simmer) for another 7-10 minutes (until chicken is just a little pink inside still). Toss in the peas and cook for another minute or two.

I put one or two strips on to the plates and poured the peas, onions and sauce over the top.

Coconut Chicken hooked with love

I had never cooked with coconut milk before so I really didn’t know what to expect. I thought it would have a definite coconut flavor. But it didn’t at all. It was just sweet. So when we pulled up this recipe I thought that it would be a very coconut flavored sauce. But to my surprise it was not. There was no coconut flavor at all. So if you are thinking you won’t try this because you don’t like coconut give it a try any way, you will be surprised!

It was just a very moist delicious chicken with a really subtle, sweet sauce. The onions and peas were really tender and added a really great touch to the whole meal. Overall it was a really great dinner and wasn’t hard to make.

Best of all it was low carbs, low fat, and something new that was healthy!

Low carb coconut chicken

Thanks hubby for helping me get out of our rut!

What is your favorite meal to add to your menu when you are in a eating rut?

Lots of Love,

Tawna

Time for Hummingbirds

My moms very favorite animal are Hummingbirds. My whole life she has had a special love for them.

So every spring she hangs a hummingbird feeder just outside her door in hopes that lots will come.

This year I finally decided that I should hang one outside my door so that my kids could enjoy seeing the birds flying around outside our house.

I found a very pretty little bird feeder at a local store and brought it home to get ready to hang.

hummingbird feeder hookedwithlove

Then I needed to make the hummingbird food. It’s a really easy one to make at home0.

Hummingbird nectar hookedwithlove

I only made half this amount because my bird feeder is really pretty small.

I filled it up and hung it outside in my backyard.

bird feeder hooked with love

It looks so great! I love looking out my window and seeing it there.

Humming bird feeder hookedwithlove

I haven’t seen any hummingbirds yet but I am still hoping they will come!

Do you get birds at your house?

Lots of Love,

Tawna