How to help with foster care, even if you aren’t a foster parent.

*This post does NOT include any affiliate links*

Foster Care. Wow. What an incredibly deep subject to talk about! Let me tell you, this has been the hardest post I have ever had to write! It has taken me almost TWO WEEKS to finish this post! Normally I can bust ’em out pretty quick, but I didn’t want this one to feel rushed. I wanted to do it right and do my research and really understand the subject before writing about it.

Now, it's important for you to know this; I have no personal experience with foster care. I did not grow up "in the system" and I am not lucky enough to be a foster parent. Most of my education on this subject is coming from research and personal testimonies from friends and family members who have gone through it. So please, take this with a grain of salt.

What is Foster Care?

Well, Wikipedia states, “Foster care is a system in which a minor has been placed into a ward, group home, or private home of a state-certified caregiver, referred to as a “foster parent” or with a family member approved by the state.”

But that is too impersonal for me. So, since I live in Utah, I decided to check out utahfostercare.org to find out a little more. Utah Foster Care (UFC) is a non-profit organization that helps find, train, and support families who are willing to put it all on the line for these children in need. I was surprised to find that this site is FULL of information about getting involved.

get involved

I am a parent who wishes so badly to be able to help kids in foster care, or even just to support my fellow mommies who are foster parents. In preparation for this post, I put a blast out on facebook asking for help. I was overwhelmed with how many of my friends and even close family who were foster parents or knew someone who was.

The majority of them told me that the best I can do to help was get involved. To just donate, offer support, volunteer, etc. So many people often forget that being a parent is the most stressful and rewarding thing a person can do. Add in children who are not your own, whom may or may not have biological parents still fighting for their parental rights or involvement, and could possibly have many unknown factors still to be discovered.

Any kind of clothing all sizes can be donated to their local Department of Health and Human Services or CPS and can go to kids in need. If they know of any foster families, just cooking a meal is super helpful. Offering to watch the kids while the parents have a night to themselves. Fostering can take its toll on a marriage so it’s very important that they can have that time. There are so many things that can be helpful.

Foster Mommy, Michigan

Moved and inspired

Here are just a couple of stories from mommies who are foster parents. Out of respect, I want to keep all of these moms and their families anonymous. If you feel like sharing your own story and experience with foster care, please feel free to comment below or even message me personally. I would LOVE to chat with you!

So quick background with me… we are going through the process of licensing. We took the classes 5 years ago, but found out our older home would never pass an inspection and I found out I was pregnant with our 3rd child while taking the classes. We took a break to upgrade our home, and now back at it again. Being a foster care mom wasn’t always my dream. It has always been my husband’s though. Ever seen This Is Us? We relate SO much. He decided to pursue teaching and has always wanted to make a big impact on the world, and feel he can do the best working with children. When we were first married, he shared his dream of foster care and I thought he was nuts! But 8 years and 4 children later, it’s become a dream I am also passionate and excited about. We are so passionate that we chose to stop our biological children at 4 so that we could financially/mentally/physically have room for more children. We knew if we had more biological, foster care wouldn’t be as easily attained. This way we have room for sibling sets, which is so desperately needed.

Want to find out more about Foster Care? Click here
What made me want to be a foster parent? A dream. My husband and I had multiple dreams and after talking about them and what they mean, we felt pushed to move forward with foster care. We are also unable to have children, so that pushed us a bit as well.
When we lost the boys and had fertility issues we started discussing doing foster care. While discussing it we found out that I had a tubal pregnancy and my Fallopian tube had ruptured. It almost killed me and we knew what we were supposed to do so after my recovery we started going to training classes and started our paperwork for fostering.

Quick reminder

Please remember, if you are considering foster care, do your homework. Research specifically for the state you live in. Each state will vary on its resources and requirements. I also encourage you to reach out to friends and family that you might know for their tips and experiences.

Want to make huge leaps and bounds towards unconditional love?

First off, if you are not a part of my Facebook group, you should totally request to join here! We have a lot of fun in there, and this month we are having sort of a challenge with a super fun prize at the end of the month. If you are already a member, don’t forget to comment and share this post. Volunteer your time and resources. Some of that may just be spreading the word! Spreading knowledge is one of the most effective ways to spread unconditional love! Why? Because it is free and shows that you care.

IT’S HERE! 12 Days of Giveaways start in 5 days!

You heard me, people! This is not a drill!

The Real Mom Blogs 12 Days of Giveaways starts in just 5 days! December 1st to be exact, and boy, am I SO excited! Are you? Well, if your not, let me tell you more about how this giveaway will go down!

SPOILER ALERT, kind of…

This post contains sneak peaks of the giveaways, so you have been warned. I just really want to give you something awesome to look forward too! The way these giveaways will run is simple; check in every day to our 12 Days of Giveaways group page. If you have not joined the page yet, click on this link!

The first weekend:

Our very first giveaway is a friend of mine from high school! She is such an awesome mom who took upon herself to do something she loves and make a living from it! She has never been spotlighted on my blog before, so day one will be a mommy spotlight. DAY TWO will be such an awesome giveaway! I am keeping it a secret, but I will give you a hint. You might want to be local to Utah to enter that one.  DAY THREE is my birthday! Yes, December 3rd is my 25th birthday. SO, I wanted to sponsor that day all by my lonesome. Everything in that giveaway will be things I LOVE and will probably have a hard time giving away.

LAST MINUTE SHOPPING:

The week following will be some girls who own their own business, or are a rep for a company. This week will give you an opportunity to win some prizes for yourself OR get some shopping done. YOU ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO BUY ANYTHING! Let me repeat, you DO NOT have to purchase anything to be entered into the giveaway. I just think it’s nice to support your fellow moms and help them have an awesome Christmas while getting yourself and your loved ones something awesome!

To close out the giveaways:

We are working with the big guns on our last two days! I teamed up with a super awesome woman I met through blogging. She is so much bigger than I am and I am SO grateful she even wanted to help me out! Trust me, all you newer moms, or pregnant moms, or moms who have a new baby, or even any mom out there, you will want to get in on this one! Then finally our last giveaway will be one big basket of AWESOME! This last days prize will grow and grow throughout the giveaways. The more you participate, the more stuff goes into this last giveaway and the more chances you will have to win!

So what do you need to be prepared?

NOTHING! Except maybe a positive attitude and the Christmas spirit!

I also REALLY need your help right now… There will be a couple gift cards randomly put in with some of the giveaways. They will be a surprise and the amounts will vary,  BUT what I want to know from you is; What kind of gift cards do you want? Amazon, Ulta/Sephora, Target, Hobby Lobby, Restaurants, etc. LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS!

AT HOME DATE NIGHT IDEAS with Erin from Everyday Events!

Erin with Everyday EventsI’m Erin and the writer behind Everyday Events.

I’m a mom, wife, party planner, holiday lover and blogger.

 

Blogging has been something I have wanted to do for years, but never felt like I had anything special to bring to the table. I toyed with the idea and talked to my husband about it multiple times, but always pushed my feelings aside. In 2014 my life got flipped upside down when I received a phone call that my Mom was in ICU and not expected to make it. This life changing event is what drove me to start blogging. I felt a fire inside of me and a conviction to tell my story. So I started Everyday Events as a way to honor my Mom, to talk about being a motherless mother and to show how beautiful life can be, even after loss. I have a passion for celebrating life’s everyday events and never want to stop seeing the beauty in the world. I hope you find comfort and inspiration in my blog, but above all I hope you find a reason to celebrate.

AT HOME DATE NIGHT IDEAS

Real date nights don’t happen that often around here. With J.D.’s crazy work schedule, it can be hard to set aside time to go out on a date. So, we had to get creative, and come up with at home date night ideas for when the kids go to bed! All of these dates are so fun and I always look forward to when J.D. comes home early from work, we put the kids to bed, and go “out on a date.” So put those kids to bed early tonight and have a date night!
At Home Date Night Ideas with Erin from Everyday Events
“When I first made contact with Everyday Events, I LOVED her website. I fell in love with this post particularly, because it spoke to what I needed in life at that moment.” -Lynsey from Real Mom Blogs
One. Order take out, light a few candles & pop open a bottle of wine. This is our go-to date night idea, because if you have small children, you know dinner time can be a circus. Everybody needs something, forks are being dropped on the floor, milk is almost always being spilled, and just when J.D. and I get to sit down our food is cold & the kids say they are done. Eating dinner while it’s hot, enjoying a glass of wine and having an adult conversation is easily one of our favorite things to do.
Two. Lay out some blankets and watch the stars. J.D. and I have also been known to grab the baby monitor and climb on top of the roof! There is something so romantic about watching the stars and making a wish on the shooting ones.
Three. Conversation starters. Sometimes it feels like all J.D. and I talk about are the kids, work & what’s going on currently in our lives. We don’t talk about our dreams, hopes & fears as much as we should. A while back I started looking online and found some amazing conversation starters. When J.D. is gone a lot for work or when life gets super hectic, we will bring these out to reconnect, and remember there is more to talk about than the kids!

Want to get something across to your husband? Go to our Dear Husband category!

Four. Sit on the patio, turn on some music & watch the sun set.
Five. Eat popcorn & play card games. J.D. and I both grew up playing card games and love playing together. It brings back so many wonderful childhood memories and I love making these memories with J.D. too. This is a perfect date night idea for winter, when you literally can’t go anywhere!
Six. Have a picnic in the living room and watch a movie. This one is super fun and you can be as creative as you want with your picnic. You could have fondue, wine or beer tasting, or theme the evening with food and a movie from a different country!

J.D. and I have been together for 12 years, and while so many things have changed, one thing remains the same. We love each other like crazy. These date night ideas might not be super fancy, or cost us much money, but they help up to reconnect, laugh, and make our marriage a priority.
What are your favorite at home date night ideas?
XOXO

I hope you enjoyed this post from The Everyday Events! Here is a link to the post on her website along with some other links for you to follow!

Super Spotlight, Gingy Love

Hello, Friends!

It has been quite a while since I posted a Super Spotlight! Today, I want to introduce you to, Meg Miller. She is the founder of Gingy Love. A blog about life and love. I’ve really enjoyed Meg’s blog, and I hope that after you get to know her here, you will check out her blog and fall in love too.

Meg from Gingy Love and her daughter.

Here is what Meg has to say!

My name is Megan, but I prefer Meg, I am a young mom, having my daughter Tinley at 23 but I look like I’m 16 so I constantly get stares still. I am also a fur momma to a Shih Tzu named Dean, after James Dean, and hopefully to a new puppy soon. I am married to my high school sweetheart (we met at 16) and we are stronger in our marriage today than in our whole relationship. We just bought our first home and plan on doing some minor remodeling projects.

By day I’m a bank teller and by night I’m a cupcake lady and blogger extraordinaire. Baking really helps me unwind but also allows me to be creative. Blogging lets me stretch my writing muscles since I did go to school for journalism and have my degree in English and Political Science. I put my career as a political journalist on the back burner to be a mom and right now I don’t think anyone would take that job. I enjoy my small town life and I am glad I’m raising my daughter here.

Gingy Love Family

Find more spotlights here, and hop over to my contact page if you or someone you know deserves to be spotlighted!

Dear Husband, Happy Father’s Day

Dear Husband,

Father and Son Bonding

Happy Father’s Day to the most amazing dad I know. I honestly don’t know how I would be able to survive without you. You are so helpful! You are the rock to my crazy tornado. I cannot begin to believe what I would do without you. Our son is so lucky to have such a fun, strong, and lovable daddy. You mean the world to him and he adores you for that! So thank you, for always being everything we need and more. You fit so perfectly into your role as Father that it’s like you were meant to be a dad! This Father’s Day I hope that you have enough time on the toilet without being interrupted, enough beer or whiskey without being judged, enough TV time without complaints, and enough you-know-what to make sure your night is complete. I love you so darn much it hurts. Mainly, I love that you love our son. You are an awesome Dad!

What are you and your dad doing this Father’s Day?

I woke up this morning and went to get my husband his favorite breakfast burritos. Then we went and saw the new Cars 3 movie. Our son LOVED it! Right now we are just hanging out and relaxing. Later we will go to my father-in-law’s for a Father’s Day dinner. Next week is when we will spend “Father’s Day” with my daddy, and I am so excited!

Find more touching and hilarious letters to my husband in my Dear Husband category!

Super Spotlight, Lindsay Prieksat

Hello, world!

Lindsay P.

Let me introduce you to Lindsay Prieksat. I love meeting other women with the same name as me. Well, I don’t know if it is all in my head, or if we really are all wonderful and awesome! I asked Lindsay, the founder of Just Simply Happenstance, to give us a brief summary and answer a quick Q&A.

So, here’s a little bit of info about Lindsay:Just the Kids

I am a Mama to three cute littles! We have a four-year-old boy, and two baby girls: an 18-month-old and 4 months old. We have our hands full!
My husband and I are both active duty Nebraska Army National Guard. I have been a recruiter for just over five years and I love what I do.
I’ve been in the service for 12 years, and will definitely retire with it!

I started my lifestyle blog officially this year and named it, Just Simply Happenstance. I started blogging two years ago, but couldn’t narrow down anything about it, haha! It was taking me forever to figure out WORDPRESS, photography, what I wanted to write about, etc…Then once I went on my maternity leave with our last baby, Paisley, something just clicked. I felt like I had the need and want to blog. I fell in love with everything about it and suddenly had the confidence to do it! That’s why I went with, Just Simply Happenstance:) Took me a long time, but I made the dive and I’m so excited to continue this crazy journey.

I also do photography part time…when I have the time:)

Being a working mama who has her hands in about everything can be difficult at times, but I’m slowly figuring it out:) My husband is amazing and really helps around the house, so I am blessed to have that help.

Lindsay Prieksat

What made you want to join the National Guard?

I LOVE getting this question asked because the National Guard is my entire life!  Well, when I am not spending time with my hubby and our three crazy littles!  I joined the National Guard when I was just 18 years old and a Senior in High School. As we all know, we have no idea what we want to be at just 18 years old, but we think we do:)
Growing up in a small midwestern town, I have always had a love for our country in more ways than one. Showing pride and believing in our nation was instilled in me through the community, family, and friends.  I just knew I needed to give back in some way, and I fell in love with the mission of the National Guard!
However, I didn’t think it would turn into a career.  In fact, I thought I would get out of the service after doing my initial 6-year enlistment.  But, here I am 12 years later and a full-time recruiter for the organization.  I am so glad I took the plunge at such a young age as it has helped shape my life in such a positive way.

Is the National Guard how you met your husband?

Yes!  We met in 2009 in the Chemical Company and I am so thankful that we both landed in that unit together.  I am beyond blessed that somehow and someway we started dating. We have so much in common, including a love for our country.  The military is a huge part of our lives, and I love that we get to both share some of the same experiences.
It’s great having a spouse who actually knows what you are talking about in all aspects of my job. The military can get confusing at times with the customs and culture that we experience! Having a husband who is also a military member is extremely beneficial with communication for the both of us.

With your life so crazy busy you must have found some way to relax at the end of the day. What do you do to take care of yourself?Just the girls

I LOVE to workout.  Of course, it is difficult to squeeze in a workout, but when I do, it makes me feel so much better. I like doing just about anything active: running, walking, lifting weights, cardio, etc..However, I recently started taking a barre class that I really enjoy!  It’s such a stress reliever!  I’m also a big believer that you will be the best version of yourself when you are healthy and in shape. For me, I’m a much happier and confident individual when I feel good about my body.

You mentioned that your husband is a big help. Does he help cook? If so, what is your favorite thing he can prepare?

I can honestly say he does most of the cooking…score, right? He can cook just about anything, but I am in love with his love of the grill!  Our two older kids and I both love grilled meats and vegetables.  Some of our favorites are chicken and potatoes or pork chops and asparagus.  Our 4 year old just told us the other day that he only likes pork chops with black on them (from the grill). Looks like we must be doing something right! Haha!

What is something about you that always surprises people when they find out?

A lot of times people are surprised that I do photography part time.  I think mainly because I work for the Army National Guard and photography is so different than my full-time job!  It’s fun getting to photograph weddings and family sessions as I get to do something totally different. I’m very passionate about photography, and love being able to do it for more than just a hobby!

If you could spend the day with a famous figure, alive or dead, who would it be?LP Baby

I’m a huge Jackie O fan.  When I was in the fifth grade, I chose to dress up as her for a class activity, and I started admiring her from that point on.  She lived such an interesting and hidden life, and she has always been someone I have loved to learn about. And let’s be honest, her style and elegance was captivating:)

If you enjoyed getting to know Lindsay, then you should check her out her website and Instagram:

www.justsimplyhappenstance.com @lindsayprieksat
Precious moments

As you might have noticed; It’s not Sunday. When I was preparing this spotlight on Lindsay Prieksat I decided that Sundays were not the best days for spotlights. So I am changing the name to Super Spotlights! If you like it, let me know. If you think we should change it, put your suggestions in the comments. For now, you can still find all the spotlights here.

Sunday Spotlight, Jackie Hauer

HAPPY SUNDAY!

Welcome back my friends! Today I am so excited to tell you about another fellow blogger I have met. Her name is Jackie Hauer. Jackie is the creator and content curator of Haute Mess Life. When starting this process I got so excited when I started to get to know her better. Her website is so cute and exactly what I needed. She blogs about life, fitness, and style. She has a unique style that just draws me in. Here, why don’t you find out more for yourself.

Meet Jackie Hauer!

Haute Mess LifeI married my husband in 2005, a year and a half after we met at church. In 2007, we got pregnant with our first baby, who was born in July, more
than 12 weeks shy of his October due date. The pregnancy was tough, but it was nothing compared to the following 98 days in the NICU, with several surgeries and multiple close calls where we were told to round up the family to say their goodbyes. Thankfully, God had different plans and our boy made it. We were sent home with a long list of “he will never” statements, but armed with hope we set out to pray and work them away, one by one.
A year after that, we got pregnant with our second, and even though we had been assured that what happened with the first was not likely to reoccur, it did– so another hard pregnancy, with lots of Mess, miscarriage scares, and bed rest later, our second son was born.Boys will be boys
Flash forward to today,
we are raising 2 boys with a genetic condition who are also on the Autism spectrum, but are doing much better than any doctor could have imagined. They are all things wonderful, amazing, challenging, adorable, smart, strong-willed, and crazy rolled into one, and even though life is hard at times, I wouldn’t change any the wild ride they’ve taken us on or how we have been changed for the better as a result of being their parents.Family life
For the past 12 years I have owned and run an event planning company focused on weddings, which I launched in 2005. In addition to that, I recently launched a site aimed at women who are equal parts fashionista and train wreck, navigating life somewhere in between… balancing work demands, family life and relationships, while still trying to carve a little bit of time for self-care into their hectic days.
 Speaking of self-care, one of the things I write about is fitness, mainly because of my own health journey where I lost 130 pounds and went from a size 22 to a 4 in a year. I blogged about it here, if you want more info: http://www.hautemesslife.com/177-2/Weight loss
I hope you enjoyed meeting Jackie as much as I did! If you wish to know more about her, check out these links below! Want to read more spotlights? Click here! If YOU want to be spotlighted, click here.

Thank you, Lovelies!