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.

Super Spotlight, Roddom’s Rustic Designs (GIVEAWAY POST)

YAY! December is finally here!

I LOVE December! For multiple reasons too. My birthday, the season of GIVING, all the lights, the decorations, etc. Today is the perfect day to introduce you to Lakota. She and I went to high school together! Lakota has started her own business, and well, I’ll just let her tell you more about it!

Remember to read all the way through to find out about our FIRST giveaway of the 12 Days of Giveaways!

Roddom’s Rustic Designs- Where we began!

I have always had a passion for creating. I started out making small crafts with my siblings and scrapbooking when I was young. As I got older I started doing more wood crafts and home decor items. I always had ideas forwarding around in my head about what project I wanted to work on next!
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Justin took many woodworking classes in school and enjoyed building. He would often build wood projects such as picture frames and holiday decor to give as Christmas presents.
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As we were dating he would often build small gifts for me.  He spent a weekend in his uncle’s shop with a stack of barn wood and made me a beautiful rustic bedframe. Five years later I refuse to upgrade our bed to a bigger size because I do not want to get rid of the frame he built.

(Make sure to “Like” Lakota’s Facebook and Instagram when you are done reading this post! Links at the bottom)

As we moved into our first place together we were short on cash and needed a few additional pieces of furniture and had very little decor.  We tore apart some old pallets left from the hay pile and a few evenings later we now had matching nightstands. I took leftover scraps and starting making a few pallet signs to decorated our bare walls. Before we knew it people had seen the stuff we built and wanted one of their own or would request custom pieces.
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We have since expanded and built many different furniture pieces, some of which include- coffee tables, end tables, kitchen tables, entryway tables, tree halls, shelves and more.  Most all of our home decor pieces are all made from the scrap wood pile left from whatever the last big project was. We love creating and spending time in the shop together and now take our son to the shop with us where he enjoys playing and watches us work.

Take a look at her work!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Roddoms-Rustic-Designs-406852822784784/

Instagram: @roddomsrusticdesigns

So what are we giving away?

Well, take a look for yourself! Lakota is giving away this amazing Christmas decor, and Real Mom Blogs will be throwing in some surprises too… To enter the giveaway I thought this would be a perfect time to “Refer a friend”! Since this is our first day of the giveaway, go ahead and add your friends to the 12 Days of Giveaways group on Facebook. For today (December 1st) only, the group will be open for ANYONE to join without being approved first. Tag your friends that you add in the comments of the Facebook post and get an entry per friend!

This house is under ELF Surveillance

Giveaway closes at MIDNIGHT, the winner will be announced on Saturday morning in the group! You will have 24hrs to claim your prize by messaging me. If you fail to message me within 24hrs, your prize will go to the next in line.

Instagram Giveaway WINNER! Everyday Amanda

Remember that one time, when I did an Instagram giveaway? Yeah, well meet Amanda, our winner!

Everyday Amanda

Hello, all!

I just want to give a quick shout out to Lynsey at Real Mom Blogs for thinking I’m worthy to be in the spotlight. It’s exciting and unreal, but I thank her! So, so much!

Anyway, a little about moi.

I’m a wife and stay at home mom to 2 crazy kids. Olivia is 10 and going into 5th grade and Alex is 6 and he will be a big 1st grader! My husband is a very hardworking man that is moody and goofy. We have had some ups and downs but mostly ups in these last years.
I am surprised (and a little sad) to say I will be hitting the big 4-0 this year! Although I look like I’m in my early 20s, only because I’m short! A whopping 5 feet! (Hubs says 4’ 11”, but he’s a liar). But I really don’t feel my age. I still sometimes find myself shocked when I say I’m a mom.

I live in a small town in Pennsylvania.

My husband and I have been together for 20 years this year! Married for 12 years in September. I am 3 ½ years older than my hubs. But I feel like he is the older one. I’m a procrastinator. And I’d rather watch a movie with my kiddos than go outside. I’m an indoor person fo sho! We have a Yorkie named Maggie. She will be 13 this year! And she was our 1st baby. She is a part of our family and is very spoiled!

I got into blogging by accident.

A friend of mine, who homeschools her 5 kids, was always telling me crazy stories about her kids. I’m like, you should start a blog! Share your stories! So, I started looking into blogging to help and share with her some info, and started reading and reading and pinning and pinning and started thinking and wondering… “Hey. maybe I could do this?”. I started toying with it but pushed it off thinking “Nah, no one would read what I have to say”.  Long story short, I wrote a few posts, hubs said go for it, what do you have to lose? And here I am! A blogger for about 2 ½ months!

I like to say my blog is a “personal/mom/lifestyle/mishmash” blog.

I write about everyday stuff that when I’m typing it up… it just kinda flows. I do have a million blog post ideas written down, but some only produce a few sentences while others just write themselves. My blog is my first time ever writing, so I was worried about people reading it. But it looks like I have a few people that enjoy what I have to say which is seriously crazy and awesome!

When I’m not messing with the blog…

…or sharing it on social media, I’m usually watching TV or reading. I also love listening to music and singing along… reeeally loud! (In the privacy of my own home, of course!). I love holidays. Especially the ones that gather all the family together. I like to spend time with my family and relax, especially over summer because school time can be pure chaos. With both kids in school and soccer and my daughter in piano, some nights are crazy! So, summer is a nice, slow time for us.

That’s about all I have about me! I hope you stop by and check out my little slice of the internet, laugh and relate with my everyday parenting shenanigans.

Thanks again for having me Lynsey @ Real Mom Blogs!!!
Amanda

Isn’t she SO funny! Everything she writes is super intriguing. She is really good at captivating her audience. I definitely want you all to go check out her blog everydayamanda.com

Here are some of Amanda’s favorite posts:

Everyday Amanda's puppyhttp://everydayamanda.com/mommin-aint-easy-because-kids/
http://everydayamanda.com/adulting-i-dont-want-to/
http://everydayamanda.com/mom-paranoia/
http://everydayamanda.com/worst-summer-vacation-2017/

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Doesn’t that Goodie Bag look awesome?

Well, guess what!? I am going to post tomorrow the details of everything that was in the goodie bag. In the meantime, tell me what kind of giveaway you would like to see next!

Super Spotlight, Rachel Wilser

“My toddler twins are some of the worst sleepers on the planet, and every few months hubs thinks he has a new plan to fix it. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t work, and I end up 10 times more tired than before. -Rachel Wilser”

Friends, meet Rachel Wilser. She is an incredible mom of twins that you just HAVE to meet! Here is a little summary of her life, followed by a Q&A with cute pictures of said twins. I hope you enjoy!

Rachel Wilser's Twins

In any case, let me give you the brief summary of my life. The briefest summary is to say that I live the life of a vagabond. I grew up in the Midwest (which is why I love both beer and casseroles so much), and in my mid-twenties got an itch that if I didn’t do something dramatic with my life I might live forever in the same town. (Which sounded tragic at 25, but at 33 sounds delightful.) So I moved to DC. Where I knew exactly 3 people, and 2 of them lived with me.

I nannied, bartended, and scraped my way through my first year until I decided to go back to school for an M.Ed. I spent the next year student teaching and in grad school full time, but was able to finish my program in just a year. Then I got engaged that fall and married in 2012.

We lived a pretty unremarkable life–normal, slightly boring, but satisfying. The fall after I turned 30 the hubs convinced me it was time to attempt procreation, and after a few month my overachieving uterus produced not one, but two babies (yes, they’re twins, yes, they’re boys, yes, they’re identical). Shortly after our boys turned 1, the hubs called me from work one day and asked how I felt about moving to Germany. So now, we live in Germany with three toddlers–two humans, one canine.

What does M. Ed stand for? Can you elaborate?

Masters of Education; I attended a program at The George Washington University that was specifically geared towards preparing teachers for urban schools.What kind of puppy do you have? (Do you have any pictures?)

What kind of puppy do you have?

Sadie, Rachel Wilser's lab mix

Sadie is a lab mix; she’s a rescue, so we don’t know what her mix is, but we joke that it’s shark because she has a serious overbite!

Do you enjoy living in Germany? What is your favorite and least favorite part?

I do enjoy living in Germany; I’ve always considered myself independent and self-reliant, and I think that this experience is stretching those limits. My joke answer to my favorite part of living in Germany is that there’s never an inappropriate time to have a coffee or a beer. The real answer is that it’s so easy and affordable to do so much traveling; our boys will have full passports before they’re in kindergarten! My least favorite part is definitely the distance from family and close friends. I’m really close to my parents and brother, so only seeing them once a year is tricky. Luckily, it’s 2017 and I can FaceTime the crap out of them. =)

Your life sounds kind of crazy, how do you keep it together? Do you have any advice for moms around the world to help keep their cool?

Twin boys, playing

Confession time: I’m actually super old school, and am honestly the only person I know, besides my mom, who still uses a daily paper calendar. I don’t really count her, though, because she uses those super tiny ones that you just slid in your purse. Whereas mine is a little larger so that I can fit playdates, doctor’s appointments, deadlines, social commitments, etc. on it. It’s color coded because I’m into that. But seriously–when people ask me if we’re free to do something that’s the first place I look. It helps me stay balanced, organized, and prepared. My advice for moms is one of my favorite quotes: “Comparison is the thief of joy”. It’s easy to look at someone else and they think have more, but a) you have no idea if that’s true or not, and b) you’re doing great, too, mama! Just look around at all you have and find your joy in it.

Why did you start blogging, and what is your niche?

I started blogging because people always ask a ton of questions about twins, but it’s evolved slightly from there. I would say that my niche is family travel and raising multiples. It’s important to me that we’re still having fun, and didn’t end our previous lives to raise children.

Even for those who know you, what is something about you that usually surprises people when they find out?

This is totally random, but my parents (mostly just my mom) were really strict//vigilant about the shows and movies we watched as kids, so there are gobs of movies from the late 80s and early 90s that everyone talks about all the time that I still haven’t seen.

Smiling Twins, See Rachel's post!Alright, now you know the drill! Follow these links to get more from Rachel Wilser!

Blog: https://twokidsforthepriceofone.wordpress.com/
IG: https://www.instagram.com/rve0423/ (or @rve0423, whatever is easier)
Pinterest: These are just a few boards that I feel would be most relevant. https://www.pinterest.com/rve423/holidays-celebrate/
https://www.pinterest.com/rve423/tm/
https://www.pinterest.com/rve423/planes-trains-and-buses/

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!

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.