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How Cozi Saved My [Foster Parenting] Sanity

HowCoziSaved

So have I mentioned that we got our first foster care placement? Probably not. ‘Cause things have been straight up bananas at our house. We got our first “real” foster placement last month. It happened in an absolute whirlwind the first week of May. I’d had that nagging feeling in the back of my mind all day – “I bet they’re gonna call today.” This has happened before, and we did get a call – they just weren’t ones we could say Yes to. In fact, they called at least a dozen times. A few times we said yes, but mostly we had to say no (for various reasons).

This time? I said yes immediately. An hour later, I was driving to pick them up!

I can’t say it has been all sunshine and rainbows. There have been moments where I thought “What have we done?!” but overall it has been great. They are sweet, polite, and just awesome kids. As with most situations in this system, we have NO IDEA how long they will be with us; we’re just loving them as if they’ve been here forever.

However, the amount of “stuff” that was suddenly added to our lives was pretty overwhelming – haCozi_Logoving to schedule 4 doctors’ appointments for each girl, therapy appointments (all kids placed through our agency receive therapy), CPS meetings, birth parent visits and phone calls – WHOA. I had to do something to keep it all straight. I’m good, but not that good.

Our family has used Cozi.com, an online family organizer, for over 5 years. We’ve used it for remembering our infrequent appointments, shopping lists, shared To Do lists, and more. But now, we needed it more than ever!

With Cozi‘s tools to organize my life, I’m able to schedule appointments from a desktop, iPad, or my phone and see all the details needed – locations, times, and who is involved. I can set reminders that will notify me on my phone (or Brandon’s phone, if he is driving). There have been days where our family of 6 was running in 3 or more separate directions!

Cozi • Calendar 2015-06-19 10-23-33Yes, I could do a paper calendar. I could write it all out. And I do still use a dry erase board on the fridge; two actually, one for notes and one that is a weekly calendar. But Cozi is my brain. Without it, I would have completely lost my foster parenting sanity in those first three weeks!

If you’re a foster parent, have a large family, or just have a lot of appointments and practices to juggle, give Cozi a try! Most of their features are totally free – others require a Gold subscription (which I do not have). See if it can help save your sanity like it did mine!

Disclosure:  This is NOT a review post where I was asked to review a product by a company or PR firm. I just really like this service and wanted to give them some love! :)

Review: Simple Sugars

Weather is harsh on my skin – in the winter, my skin gets incredibly dry. In the summer, it’s still dry and my poor pale complexion is so prone to sunburn! In addition, my upper arms have keratosis pilaris (basically little red dots that don’t itch). So you could say I have some skin issues.

SimpleSugarsReviewIn 2013, my husband and I were watching one of our favorite shows that we both enjoy, “Shark Tank”. We were so impressed by this young entrepreneur, Lani Lazzari, who pitched her idea for a sugar scrub to the “sharks”. Lani, who was at the time only 18 years old, started her company Simple Sugars at the age of 11 – WOW! She was composed, she was sharp, and she had a great business! Lani got a deal with Mark Cuban and Simple Sugars has experienced some incredible growth!

Simple Sugars is handmade, all-natural skincare products especially formulated for sensitive skin. They’re made with pure cane sugar and all-natural oils. It could be organic soybean oil, grapeseed oil, safflower oil, jojoba oil, apricot kernel oil or sweet cherry kernel oil, depending on the particular scrub.

I was sent the new Simple Sugars Vanilla Grapefruit body scrub, a Signature Scent which is available only at BeautyBrands.com! From the website:

Simple Sugars Vanilla Grapefruit Body Scrub offers the incredibly refreshing scent of vanilla and grapefruit in a decadent body treatment. Specially formulated to treat even the most sensitive skin, this all-natural body scrub gently exfoliates skin while deeply moisturizing. You’ll get super-soft, smooth skin without using additional lotion or moisturizers. Use this exfoliating body treatment daily to simplify your skincare regimen, or offer the sweet scrub to family or friends the body scrub arrives in an adorable box with bow.

Features:
– Grapefruit and vanilla scent
– Gently exfoliates and deeply moisturizes
– Softens and smoothes
– Nourishes and firms
– Simplifies skincare routine by eliminating need for additional moisturizers
– Suitable for sensitive skin
– For daily use
– Packaged in box with bow

For this particular scrub, the ingredients are pure cane sugar, organic soybean oil, grapeseed oil, cherry kernel oil, apricot kernel oil, organic grapefruit zest, tocotrienols (Vit E), fragrance, essential oil, citric acid. It comes in a 5 oz. container for $15.00 or 8 oz. for $18.00.

I used Beauty Brands‘ exclusive Simple Sugars Vanilla Grapefruit scrub on my skin every day for a week and let me tell you – it’s incredible! You start off scrubbing it into your skin and it feels like a regular exfoliating scrub (except it smells AMAZING) but then the sugar dissolves into your skin, leaving it so moisturized and so smooth you just won’t believe it. And let’s talk for a moment about the smell – you’ll want to dig into it like a dessert, but don’t do it :) Have you seen the list of scrubs at SimpleSugarsScrub.com? Coffee, Lemonade, Tangerine, Raspberry – YUM!

Vanilla GrapefruitMy husband and I just returned from a cruise to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. We got pretty badly sunburned in the Bahamas and I used Simple Sugars on my chest and my face (probably not specifically recommended) and it helped SO MUCH! My face was peeling before use and it completely cleared it off. My chest was a hot, peeling mess that was all cracked and sore – after using Simple Sugars, the peeling is reduced, it’s not dry and flaky, and I’m recovering much quicker! And that’s just with the regular Body Scrub – Simple Sugars has a special Sun Scrub!

Simple Sugars has body scrubs, facial scrubs, foot scrubs, even Smooth for Men, a special line of scrubs for men! They also offer gift packages (for my family – THIS IS A HINT), from $23.95 up to $74.95 like the Variety Sampler, Pedi in a Box, and Smoothness to Go!

You can find more on Simple Sugars and Beauty Brands! Support this young entrepreneur and get your skin in shape by using Simple Sugars!

Disclosure:  I was sent a complimentary sample to facilitate my review. I was not paid for this post and was not required to write a positive review.

Open Beds & Open Hearts

Oh friends, how I hoped three months ago, that by now (mid-April), I would have more to tell you about our foster care story. I hoped and prayed that our empty bedroom would be full by now, that we would be settling in with a placement and really learning the ropes of being a foster parent.

EmptyHowever, this is not the case. In just three days, we will mark three months of waiting. The first month was the hardest. By month two, I was used to it, and into month three it almost became comical. I’ve managed to avoid cynicism for the most part, though it’s hard. Every night when I get my birth control pills out of the locked medicine box in my bathroom, I think “Gee it’s a good thing these pills are locked away from the kids we don’t have!”. And when I check my phone for the 1,516th time when I’ve stepped away from my desk (“Maybe I missed a placement call while I was in the bathroom!”), it’s hard not to feel disappointment.

But it’s really a weird thing to feel disappointed about though, right? That we still have open beds? Because if we aren’t currently foster parenting, that means they obviously have beds somewhere, right? Surely the foster care crisis isn’t over, we can’t all pack it up and say “Mission Accomplished!” See, I’m getting cynical again.

Wanting to help and feeling helpless are hard, but it’s nothing compared to what comes next. Because once The Call comes, and it will come, we’ll be in for sleepless nights of concern for our kids, new parenting challenges, heartbreak, and a new “normal” of therapy appointments and birth family visits. I feel as ready for that as one can ever be, but I should probably be using this time to gain more wisdom, pray more, and allow my heart to be broken and molded by the need. Because the need is great, friends.

Last weekend, we experienced our first respite care placement. I realized after excitedly sharing this news with our friends and family that no one knew what that meant, so I’ll explain:  Respite care is used within the foster care system when foster parents need a substitute foster parent. Most of the time it’s for a weekend, but it could be for a week or up to a month if needed. Children in the foster care system aren’t able to just spend the night with anyone, so foster parents are dependent upon others being able to meet this need. Most of the time respite is awesome for everyone (or so I hear) – the kids love it because it’s a break from routine and they don’t have their regular chores and the respite foster parents sometimes just do respite and it’s not a regular thing.

We were thrilled to have kids in our home, even if it was just for the weekend. The girls, which I’ll call Alexis and Savannah, were 11 and 12 and absolutely wonderful. We had the greatest time with them – we went to the movies, we played games, we went to the zoo, went on walks, baked cookies, and had a picnic. Basically, we did as much as we could fit in, because we were so excited to FINALLY have some kids in our lives! I don’t think it could have gone any better, and I hope the girls felt the same way.

But the weekend ended and they went home.

Waiting sucks. Having no real response when people ask for news is depressing. Feeling like everyone must believe that something is wrong with us because we haven’t gotten a placement? Not at all pleasant. Constantly being on edge and wondering if we should make plans because what if? Not fun.

Waiting is rough, but we’ve been using the time to learn and prepare so that when it’s right, it’s right and we’ll know it. Our beds are still open, but so are our hearts.

Review: Snipe Hunt Game

A good ole fashioned game of hide and seek is just FUN, isn’t it?? Who doesn’t love the thrill of the chase, the challenge of hiding where you cannot be easily found?

SnipeHunt1Ever since my boys were young, they’ve loved the game of hiding items around our house and going on a hunt to find them. As they’ve gotten older, their hiding skills have improved (“Oh look. You hid it in the basket. Again.”) and they’ve wanted more of a challenge. We were offered the opportunity to play and review Snipe Hunt, an indoor, outdoor hide & seek game, and were excited about playing this new game from Education Outdoors, Inc.!

Snipe Hunt is a game, based on the camping game of legends, that can be played with teams or with a single person seeking – trust me, it’s way more fun with teams! You can also play it inside or outside and at any time of the day or night! You can basically play it anywhere (though I’m guessing the folks at IKEA would prefer you avoid playing it there)!

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The Hand Off – “Get it to the nest!!”

The game comes in this cute little box that looks like a live animal crate. Inside is a little “nest” piece where the Snipes, Smartin and Biela, live. One is red and one is green and they are both adorable. To play, turn on the Snipes and return them to the nest. Pick your teams and figure out the parameters of your hiding area. Then each team chooses a Snipe and hides them. Once both Snipes are hidden, meet back at the nest and declare it Start Time to begin seeking. The first person or team to find the other team’s Snipe and return it to the nest wins!

It sounds simple but it’s so fun! We played it many times last weekend when we had our first foster care respite placement (more on that some other time). Not only do you hide the Snipes, but once they are taken from the nest, a timer is activated. When they’ve been away from their nest for a certain amount of time (seems to be about 3 minutes), they begin to chirp. After a longer amount of time their eyes also start lighting  up.

When we played with teams, we had one group hiding their Snipe inside and the other group hiding theirs outside, which worked really well. We also set rules like “You can’t go behind any closed doors” and “It’s somewhere in the front yard; don’t go past the garage”. The Snipes are small, so there’s plenty of places to hide these little guys! Here’s one hiding on a car tire (which BTW we need new tires).

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Here’s a little video of Miles and I finding a Snipe hiding up in a tree!

 

Playing the Snipe Hunt game from Education Outdoors

A video posted by Krista D (@playdatecrasher) on

The girls we had for our respite placement had a lot of fun playing Snipe Hunt, and it was great to play an active, exciting game as a family! Snipe Hunt is intended for players ages 6 and up (but my 5 year old enjoyed playing with us!) and can be purchased at many online retailers, including Amazon.com! Check out all the awesome games at Education Outdoors!

Disclosure:  I was sent a complimentary Snipe Hunt game in exchange for my honest review. I was not paid for this post.

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Review: Fazoli’s Italian Style at Home!

I’ve always enjoyed eating at Fazoli’s, and now I can make Fazoli’s snacks in my own oven! Fazoli’s recently introduced Fazoli’s Italian Snacks, which can be found in the frozen food section of your favorite supermarket!

I was given the opportunity to try two snack options from the new Fazoli’s line. I tried the Lasagna Fritta and the Six Cheese Toasted Ravioli, which I located at my town’s Walmart Supercenter.

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There are several other options, which I haven’t yet tried, the Mozzarella Cheese Mini Breadsticks, Chicken Alfredo Flatbread, and Parmesan Boneless Chicken. All of these options were not in stock at my store.

These snacks would be great for a party, by themselves for dinner with you’re in a snacking mood, or as appetizers for a dinner with friends! I went the snacky dinner route, myself!

I loaded up a cookie sheet with half of each variety.

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And in about 20 minutes, I was ready to rock!

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The toasted ravioli also comes with a marinara dipping sauce in a packet (not pictured, but delicious).

Here you can see the inside of the Lasagna Fritta and the Size Cheese Toasted Ravioli.

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NOM.

These are soooo good. Seriously yummy. The marinara sauce inside the Lasagna Fritta is zesty, exactly what you’d expect from Fazoli’s! It’s creamy, crunchy on the outside, and overall just delicious. The Six Cheese Toasted Ravioli is a perfect blend of cheeses and tastes great on its own or in the included marinara dipping sauce.

Anyone who is a fan of tasty Italian appetizers should pick up some Fazoli’s Italian Snacks so you can have Fazoli’s Italian Style at Home! Find out online where you can purchase them near you and tell Fazoli’s what you think of the snacks after you try them yourself! Learn more at FazolisSnacks.com!

Disclosure:  I was sent free full-price coupons to try this product on my own to facilitate my review. I was not paid for this post nor was I required to write a positive review.

No More Trash Bags in Foster Care!

TrashBagsAreNotLuggage Our family has some amazing people in our lives! One person I’d like to tell you about today is Tracy. She read on my Amazon Wish List this quote about kids in foster care:

In the world of foster care moves can happen quick…Often a trash bag ends up being the easiest way to pack and move in a hurry. What does that say to a child? (source:  Young Single and Adopting)

And after Tracy read that, she did something about it and bought two suitcases and two duffel bags (among other gifts!) and they were delivered to our house this week! The children who come to us in foster care might come to us with trash bags full of their belongings, but they will not leave with a trash bag!

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If you have suitcases or duffel bags in your home that are in great condition, please consider donating them to local foster care or children’s services agencies in your community! After checking into it, I found out that our agency has a nice stockpile currently but they will be doing another luggage drive in the late spring and I’m excited to help them raise awareness for that!

I don’t have much in the way of updates for you today. We are still waiting for a phone call or an email about A that will either continue our wait for her or open up our home to other placements. In the meantime, I’ve begun binge-listening to The Foster Parenting Podcast, which is an excellent resource for people just starting out or considering foster parenting!

Foster Parenting Podcast

Hurry Up and Wait

HurryUpandWaitIt has been an exciting time at our house since my last post! We completed our Foster Care Certification classes on Thursday, January 15th and then had our final pre-certification home visit on Monday, January 19th! After that, we waited for my husband’s background check paperwork to come back, which thankfully for him (because it was due to his “I’ll get it done…eventually!” mentality that caused a hold-up), was received by our worker the very next day. She then finished uploading all of the pieces of the paperwork and documents for our certification and completed our home study. It was sent off for the final stamp of approval, which came back the next day. All of that to say that our home is officially certified and “open” for foster care as of Wednesday, January 21st! The rooms are ready, we’ve been blessed by some incredibly kind gifts which I’ll share more about in another post, and our hearts are as “ready” as we feel we can be for the emotional rollercoaster ahead of us.

So why are we still waiting?

On the same day that our home study went off for approval, it also went to the social worker of a little girl who is waiting for a forever home via our state’s “Special Needs Adoption Program”…We’ll call her A. I found A’s photo listing on October 28th and since that day, I can’t get her out of my head. When I saw her that first time, I actually gasped. There’s something about A that has stayed with me, in my heart. I feel very strongly that we could be the family that she is waiting for.

The day I saw her listing, I contacted our certification worker and asked how the process goes for inquiring about for the SNAP program. I was told that when we got closer, if she was still waiting, we would pursue it. Almost three months later, she is still waiting, and I haven’t let it go.What happens now is that our home study is read through by this child’s worker, the worker’s supervisor, and an adoption specialist. They will evaluate whether or not we are a match for this child and if we are, they would offer the referral to us. At that point, we would have a conference and go through her history and decide if we are the right fit for her.

I’ve been keeping a little journal of important dates and thoughts throughout this process, so that if we are possibly matched with A and end up adopting her, she could read it. Here’s what I wrote last week:

“Sweet A, I hope you know that you are wanted. We wanted to be your family. Every day, we thought of you and wanted you here with us. I thought about you all the time and wondered where you were. I saw your name EVERYWHERE in these last days before our homestudy was finished – an author’s name, a dress pattern – you were everywhere and in my heart. You’re still waiting. You still need a family. I hope it’s us that you need. There are so many people praying for you. I hope you get the chance to experience being in a loving family. I know I’ll have no way to tell you if we don’t get your referral, but I want you to know that you are wanted. We wanted you.”

Until we hear back on our inquiry, we are “on hold” with our agency, meaning that they won’t send us any foster care referrals until we know whether or not we will be getting the referral for A. This period of being “on hold” might be another week or it could be a month or more. It’s one of those things where it could change very quickly — either in the positive, that we find out that we are moving forward, or the other direction and we get a foster placement right away.

You could say that patience is not one of my stronger virtues. I’m definitely struggling with not having any additional information to analyze. It’s entirely out of my control, which I’d better get used to. We want so desperately to follow God’s will and in this case, I believe He is saying “Just wait. I have something amazing coming, but you’ve got to trust me.”

So I’ll wait…I won’t necessarily be happy about the uncertainty and silence, but I’m trusting that He is leading us to something incredible.

And that’s where we are today. We haven’t chickened out, or changed our minds, we’re just being patient trying to be patient and listen to His leading.

Review: Levana Keera Video Baby Monitor

Levana Keera PTZ Baby Monitor

Levana Keera PTZ Baby Monitor

Over the years, I’ve used quite a few baby monitors. It’s safe to say that the technology used in monitors has definitely improved since their genesis several decades ago. Whereas you could at one time only hear garbled sound from your baby’s room, you can now see, hear, talk to, and comfort your baby from wherever in your house you may be!

I had the pleasure of receiving and reviewing the Levana Keera PTZ video baby monitor – a sleek monitor with lots of great features!

This baby monitor was introduced in 2014. Here’s how it arrived:

 

Here’s a quick rundown of the features of the Levana Keera PTZ Baby Monitor:

  • Smooth & Silent Pan/Tilt/Zoom Camera – The camera can be moved from the parent’s unit in almost every direction! No worries if the camera got slightly jostled – you don’t have to go back into baby’s room and risk waking her!
  • Touch Panel and Icon-Based Menu – You won’t need to fumble around in the dark, because the touch panel is lighted!
  • Record Video and Take Photos – Catch your baby doing something adorable? You can catch it in video AND photo forever!!
  • 24-Hour Battery Life (in PEEP mode) – When using the Power-on/off Energy Efficient Picture (PEEP) mode, your battery’s life will be extended but you’ll still be alerted if your baby makes a “peep”! (Get it?)
  • 2-way Communication – I can’t even tell you how much I love this. You can talk through the monitor to your baby! You can reassure your little one that you are near from the comfort of your bed!
  • Smart LED Communicator Ring – A colored, lighted ring on the parent unit lights up in different colors depending on the noise level in the baby’s room! Very helpful if you’ve got the sound down.
  • Invisible LED Night Vision – No irritating red lights in baby’s room!
  • Private ClearVu® Digital Signal – You can get a clear digital signal from up to 750 ft. away from the base unit! We tested this at my office (long story) and you can get a great signal so far away!!
  • Soothing Lullabies – You can play three different soft songs to baby’s room to soothe your little one back to sleep!
  • Expandable up to 4 Cameras – If you have multiple areas you need to monitor (multiple kids, play room, etc.), you can now do this from one parent unit!

My review unit came with two cameras, which I set up in the boys’ shared bedroom and in the playroom upstairs. I was able to find a location in each room that would give me excellent visibility of both spaces. keera_monitor_frontIt’s easy to get your monitors set up – using the control panel, you navigate to the connecting area and push a button on the bottom of the camera. It’s easy to toggle back and forth between different cameras.

I love having two camera units set up. My boys are very active, so you never know where they might be. This would be great for someone with multiple kids in different rooms. The parent unit is small (a great size – I’ve had some that were crazy bulky), has a little easel stand to keep it upright, and a fold-out antennae in case you need some extra range. At night, the picture wasn’t perfect (a little cloudy, in my experience) and the sound sometimes breaks up a bit.

All in all it’s a great monitor – absolutely loaded with features without being too much! It’s a great buy with a retail tag of $189.99 and you can add cameras for $109 each. You can purchase the Keera monitor on Levana’s website as well as other online retailers like Amazon, Toys R Us, Target, and Best Buy.

Disclosure:  I was sent a review unit to facilitate this post. I was not paid for my post nor was I required to write a positive review.

Preparing a Bedroom for Foster Care (Part 2)

Foster Bedroom 1Brandon and I have done more work since my last post, preparing a bedroom for foster care, and I wanted to share it with you! We are so excited – only 9 days until our home study will be finished! At that time, on January 19th, our home study will be sent to two places:  the person who puts the final stamp on it at our agency, at which point they will officially “open” our home and we could be called any time after that with a referral, and also to the caseworker of a child we saw on a photo listing back in October and want to learn more about.

Here’s what we’ve been up to since my last post!

We got the twin beds set up in the bedroom, which was a bit of a feat. We got them used from some very gracious friends, but had no assembly instructions and no information on the brand of the bed. Brandon was able to get them together though!

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As you can see, we still need to purchase one twin mattress, for the bed on the left, which we will purchase in the next few days. As a reminder, we chose gray because it goes with almost everything. So we will get comforters, throw pillows, and accent items once we know the age, gender, and likes/dislikes of the kids we will be receiving!

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We also put a fresh coat of paint on the walls!

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I hung up my Easy Daysies Magnetic Schedule, which I reviewed over a year ago. We’ve been told over and over that kids in foster care need a structure and need to see what the schedule looks like. I think this will be a big help!

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We got some more cute artwork for the room, another canvas from Big Lots, and this cute printable that I stumbled upon on Pinterest.

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I also worked on creating a little Welcome To Our Home Book, which I saw recommended on this blog. It’s something I’ll leave in the bedroom and can easily change the content based on the child and the information they need.

I also added this book holder, filled with lots of books, classic ones like Cordoroy, and also the many wonderful books we’ve received from friends and family that were on our Foster-to-Adopt Wish List! We are so thankful for our friends!

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Speaking of them, here are more gifts we received this week:

THANK YOU!

I got some great comments and input after my last post. Do you have any more suggestions or ideas for these rooms? I’d love to hear them!

Preparing A Bedroom for Foster Care (Part 1)

Foster Bedroom 1 It’s hard to believe, but if all goes smoothly the next few weeks, our home will be certified as a foster home by the end of the month! We have two more classes to complete and a few more T’s to cross and I’s to dot, but it looks like it’s going to happen, and SOON! I wanted to share with you how we’ve been preparing a bedroom for foster care.

With over a week off of work, I’ve been working on de-cluttering our house, particularly the extra bedroom, preparing it for foster care and for the kids that our agency will send our way! It is so exciting! This room has been many things over the years:  a nursery for Spencer, a shared bedroom for both boys, a “guest” room (though we never had a spare bed in there, just an air mattress – much to the chagrin of our guests!), and a game room. There have been several occasions over the years where we almost re-did it as a man cave for Brandon but it never happened and I guess there’s a reason for that! :)

We have some awesome friends that you’ll hear about in this post who have helped this room get outfitted for our new family members, whether those children stay for a week, months, or years. We are so grateful to these people and those who are surrounding us with prayer as we get ready for this new adventure! The first friends you’ll hear about are Jacob and Brenda, who work with us at our church. They are giving (GIVING!) us a set of bunk beds that their daughter hasn’t used! Those beds will be set up as twin beds tomorrow. You’ll see pics in Part 2!

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We decided to purchase gray bedding for the beds for the in-between stage. Gray is so chic (yeah, I said chic) and looks great with almost every color! So depending on the age and gender of the kids we have placed with us, we will get some decorative pillows and accents for the room – how cute will these look, paired with a hot pink, sky blue, or bright orange pillow set? Also, these blankets are super warm, and will work under a printed comforter that we’ll pick out with the kids.

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On the dresser, which had been upstairs in the bonus/play room (kind of randomly holding craft supplies), I have a little basket with some toiletries, new toothbrushes, an extra throw blanket, extra nightlights, and a few other things, including the book Maybe Days, which my parents gave us at Christmas.

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I don’t expect the kids to use hotel shampoos and soaps, I just want them to have something that is THEIRS right away and we will pick out their favorite scents and colors later. An awesome friend that I’ve never met in person, Jennifer, ordered some items from our Foster/Adopt Amazon Wish List — a Tracfone, which I’ve seen recommended for kids’ phone calls with their biological parents, and a box of individually wrapped toothbrushes! How sweet is that??

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I also found this cute little print at Walmart ($3.97!) and thought it was perfect for the room, with the gray and yellow!

Today we worked on peeling off the car decals we’ve had on the wall since Miles was little. Man those things are sticky! They also peeled off a lot of paint, so we’ll patch those spots this week. The final awesome friends that you’ll hear about today are Tom and Jenny, who saw that I wanted this wall print for the bedroom and said “GET IT! We’ll reimburse you for it and you can consider it an ‘open for fostering’ present!”

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Perfect, right? I have my eye on another print of the same size at Big Lots that says “So many of my smiles begin with you” to go on the other side of the window.

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This week we’ll be finishing up the beds and also my clothing stash. I have so many friends (Renee, Carrie, Rachel, and Angela) who have blessed us with hand-me-downs for the boys and now our future foster children! We have an incredible amount of clothes on hand — so much that I’m not sure where to keep them all and I was able to get together two bags and a big box of clothes to take to our foster care agency, who wants to start a clothing swap for their families!

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Been There, Done That foster parents, do you have any suggestions?