Saturday, March 29, 2014

YW Book of Mormon Cake Boss

In February I was put in charge of the YM/YW combined activity. I wanted to do something that everyone would enjoy and link it back to the gospel. As I was brainstorming for an activity I came across a blog here. Book of Mormon Cake Boss! It was super easy to plan and prepare.

First, I chose a couple stories from the Book of Mormon that the youth had to depict through decorating a cake. I picked 4 stories (you can do however many stories and whatever stories you would like). On a piece of paper, I wrote down the title of the story and where to find it in the scriptures.

Next, I bought the decorating supplies. Things we used for cake decorating were: frosting (white), m&m's, pretzels, twizzlers (pull apart ones), marshmallows, graham crackers, tootsie rolls, knives and bowls. We also took food coloring so the youth could color the frosting any way they wanted. If you or any other leaders have cake decorating supplies, make sure to bring them. The night before our mutual activity I baked two cakes 13X9 each. If we had four groups the plan was to cut them each in half to have 4 cakes, but we only needed two.

Set up was super easy. All I needed was three tables. One for each group of youth and one for the decorating supplies. Both were covered in disposable table clothes = super easy clean up!

The youth were split into two groups. I let each group pick a piece of paper with the story and where it could be found in the scriptures. The stories the youth chose were: The Tree of Life and Samuel the Lamanite. They were each provided with a Book of Mormon so they could look up the story if needed, then they were let loose on the decorating!

After both groups were done decorating their cakes, we had each group of youth tell us the scripture story they had chosen and decorated their cake based on. I was so impressed by the youth's knowledge of the scripture stories! Then a leader shared their testimony of the importance of the Book of Mormon. At the end we cut up the cakes and had those as our treat for the night. It was a great activity and I will definitely be doing it again!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Why Special Education?

All the way up until my senior year of high school I was determined to be a veterinarian. I am one big sucker for animals. I've even cried in movies like Fox and the Hound, Air Bud, and Homeward Bound. Don't judge. It was my senior year in high school that I took an American Sign Language class... and I loved it! I wasn't too bad at it either. So when I went up to college at Utah State, my major was Deaf Education. I really enjoyed all of my classes and continued to take Sign Language.

All until the Spring of my Freshman year when I heard they were looking for volunteers to help coach in Aggie Special Olympics. How could I NOT volunteer?! It was through coaching in the Aggie Special Olympics that I found a true love for individuals with disabilities! The athletes are AMAZING! Soon after that I changed my major to Special Education. As I have written before, my emphasis is for children from birth-5 years old, however I have worked with individuals of all ages (6 months to 60's). I've coached special olympics, worked as a para-educator, worked in a summer program for individuals with disabilities, provided respite care, and worked as an ABA therapist until I graduated and am now a teacher in a special education preschool (3-5 year olds).

While we are on the topic, I feel it is appropriate to announce that today, March 5, 2014, is the annual day to focus on Spread the Word to End the Word! This is to promote eliminating use of the "r-word," retard(ed). It doesn't matter what way you use it, or that you don't mean to be offensive toward individuals with disabilities, it is still disrespectful to use the r-word. Go online and pledge to stop using the r-word and promote acceptance and inclusion of individuals with disabilities. To pledge, click on this link and click on the orange button that says "Pledge and Be Heard" in the top, right hand corner. And don't forget to spread the word!

Individuals with disabilities are incredible! I am honored and feel it is a privilege to be able to serve them. Working with them always makes me happy, and even though my job leaves me exhausted emotionally and physically every day, I keep going back. These children, teenagers, and adults are truly special and have blessed my life more than I can express. I hope I can continue to be a resource to parents, siblings, teachers, and all those involved with individuals with disabilities.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Surviving My Miscarriage

Many women face miscarriage at least once in their life, for me, that was December 12, 2013 at 5 weeks pregnant. Nate and I had been trying to get pregnant for quite some time and when we least expected it, December 7, we were finally preggers with a baby Hawkes! We were so excited and all I could think about was our baby. I went through the process of adding baby apps to my phone, studying what I could and couldn't do, what I could eat and couldn't eat, baby blankets to make, etc. Then, the morning of December 12, while I was at work, everything started. It was a whirlwind from there that landed me in the hospital for surgery.

No one can anticipate the emotional pain you face when having a miscarriage. I don't think I have ever felt so much disappointment, heartache, depression, and despair in all my life than I have the past 2 1/2 months. How do you face it when your deepest desire is within arms reach and taken away? I can't say that I have gotten over the miscarriage, or that I don't feel sad, or that I don't wish that every day I still had that precious baby still inside me. However, I'd like to share some ideas that have helped me in the healing process.

  • Make a list of positive things that have happened through this experience. I know this is a hard one to do but I tried it and it helped me to find the good in this trial. Some things I wrote in my journal were: 
    • Best case scenario for what the doctor suspected was going on (he thought I was having a tubal pregnancy and bleeding internally, thankfully, none of that was true). 
    • I gained empathy for those going through a miscarriage. A week after I miscarried, my cousin discovered she was having a miscarriage. Because I had experienced a miscarriage, I was able to truly relate to what she was going through. 
    • My Endometriosis was cleared up during the surgery (something I had been trying to get the doctor to do since the summer).
  • Talk about it. Talk about your miscarriage with others. You will find that many people can relate and empathize with you. 
  • Service. When you have a miscarriage you are exhausted emotionally as well as physically and the last thing you want to do is look for other people to serve. However, I have noticed I am happiest when I am serving those around me and finding ways to take my focus off myself. Trust me, this works. 
  • Stay busy. I still find myself wanting to never get out of bed, not wanting to go out and do things. Thankfully I have my full time job to keep me pretty busy. I also have a wonderful hubby who will drag me out of the apartment whether or not I want to go. Also, try to be social and invite friends over for dinner, a movie night, or a game night. 
  • Remember that is it okay to be sad. It really is. This isn't something you can completely get over. If people ask you how you're doing, it's okay to say that you aren't doing well. You don't always have to be tough. 
I know that different things work for different people. My hope is that one of these ideas will benefit someone, somewhere, who is struggling with a miscarriage. 

Much love,

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A little bit about us.

Let's begin by talking about how this Hawkes family of mine got started... The hubby and I were set up on a blind date, July 3, 2010 by his best friend and my cousin who were soon to be married. We went on one date after that and I left for China at the beginning of August to teach English for a semester. He wrote me for the first three weeks I was in China and then stopped... until three weeks before I was coming home... convenient. :) After I got home from China, Nate and I spent a lot of time together up at Utah State University. To make a long story short, in October of 2011 I married my best friend for eternity!
Brandon Burk Photography

We both graduated from Utah State University and I taught for 2 1/2 years special education preschool before we had our beautiful baby girl and am now a stay at home mom. The hubby is currently getting a masters degree in robotics!

This blog is to share all sorts of ideas about, well... everything. There are so many things to write about (cooking, frugal living, cleaning, organizing, DIY projects, working with individuals with disabilities, sewing, church ideas, teaching), I couldn't just pick one!  Welcome to the adventure of Living the Hawkes Life.