All In

My adventure as I jump into life all in!!

Foster Parenting Series: Our Story

Today I am starting a blog series on foster care, specifically our journey with foster care. I always hear people say “I could never do foster care” and “you’re a strong person, I could never do that” about being a foster parent, so I thought I would share our journey so that you could hear from a real person’s experience with foster care.

I have always been interested in adoption. When I was in elementary school, my best friend was a girl who had been adopted from Seoul, South Korea so I have almost always been aware of the idea of adoption.

When I was in junior high, one of my other friends had some experience with foster care. She had 2 cousins that were removed from their parents. My friend’s parents did what was necessary to become licensed and have the children move in with them, so that was my first introduction into the idea of foster care. Her cousins ended up living with them for nearly ten years.

We also have a sister-in-law who was in the foster care system as a child and was adopted, along with her brother.

My husband didn’t have as much direct experience with foster care or adoption as I did, but we talked about kids and adoption before we were even married. He agreed with my view that there are children all over the world who need homes. We decided that after we got married, we would have a few children and adopt a few children.

When we got married, we were in college, so we put off the idea of kids until we were done. He graduated in 2011 and we settled into married life outside of college. In 2012, we decided to look into what it takes to become foster parents.

That is where we will end for now, and we will pick up where we left off in the next post.


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Goal Progress – August

Still plugging away and tracking my progress. I seriously think this is the longest that I have stuck with a New Year’s Resolution or yearly goal!!. I have been sticking with a general goal of becoming debt free for years now, but I think that’s the only other thing I’ve been able to stick with, plus I haven’t hit it yet, so I needed these other goals to keep me on track.

Here’s the update on my goals:

Financial Goals:

Start a Side Hustle – Fail. – I would still like to have a side hustle, but I have yet to really follow through on any of my random ideas like selling on Ebay, Amazon, facebook swaps, or craigslist….. But I’m still tracking the goal! LOL!!

Earn $100 extra each month – Fail –  I just was not able to get in the overtime necessary for this, and obviously didn’t have a side hustle.

Pay down vehicles so they aren’t upside downPass- Our budget barely scraped by last month, but we still had enough that I sent $50 extra dollars with one of our car payments.

Grow our Net Worth by $10,000 (20%) – Pass – The year is more than half over and we only have $5000 left. You would think we should have less left, since that is half of the goal, but we did lose a little in net worth when we sold the truck and bought another, so we made that up as well as getting halfway to the goal at this point.

Personal Goals:

Read the Entire Bible – Fail – It is still hard for me to remember to make this a priority. Maybe I should put a sticky not on the television or something.

Write at least two blogs post per month – Pass-ish- I did my usual goal update, and wrote most of a post about traveler’s notebooks. But I didn’t end up finishing and uploading the post until August 1st.

Read 13 books – Fail– I need to kick my but into gear if I’m going to hit this goal, but I really do want to spend more time reading. I waste so much time in front of the television that it should be easy to find time to read, but alas, I forget my plans to read and get sucked into the television.

Grow Deeper in my relationship with God – Work in Progress – Definitely something I need to focus more on, but I wouldn’t say it’s a “fail” this month either.

Make a point to do something special for my husband once a month – Fail – Seriously, this year of tracking this goal has made me realize how little we truly take time to focus on one another. We may be in the same house or watching the same TV show, but are we truly focusing on one another? I did spend some time praying for him and our relationship during my commutes to and from work, but we still didn’t focus much on each other, even though our 10 year anniversary was in July!!! (We did go out to dinner that night, but our budget didn’t allow us to do much else….we are planning a trip in October, though)

Keep Our House Tidy – Pass – Still a continual work in progress. The dishes never seem to be done!

Well, there you have it. Not too shabby and still chugging along.

What about you, how are your goals or resolutions doing? If you are hitting your goals, great! If not, don’t get discouraged and keep pushing towards those goals! The best way to stay accountable is to share you goals and progress, so feel free to comment below.

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Have You Ever Heard of a Traveler’s Notebook?

Recently, I was watching the Young Wife’s Guide YouTube channel and one of her videos caught my eye. It was about traveler’s notebooks and using them as a planner. She had heard about these notebooks from various friends of hers and had finally started using one. She raved over the fact that it was customizable. You could have a monthly planner, weekly planner, recipes, grocery lists, and even such random things as sermon notes and prayer journal (and more!!) all in one place, but organized separately. I loved this idea and subsequently went down a rabbit hole of traveler’s notebook YouTube videos (seriously, just search traveler’s notebook on youtube and you will find tons of videos or how to organize and decorate them).

If you are wondering how it all works, here is my explanation: The traveler’s notebook is actually multiple notebooks within the same binder. The binder comes with elastics down the spine and each notebook loops into one of those elastics to be held into place. (You can see an example in the YWG video I linked to above, or just search traveler’s notebook on Pinterest or Youtube) The reason they are called “traveler’s notebooks” is because they were originally created (by the Midori company) as a way to log your travels. For example, you could have a notebook for each country you visit or each year that you travel and fill it with pictures or thoughts from your travels.

But some people have taken the idea of a traveler’s notebook and used it to create their own planner. You can have a yearly, monthly, weekly and daily planner in there as well as various other journals or trackers. The possibilities are endless!

I have never been one to stick to using a planner, but lately, I have truly been needing somewhere besides my phone to write down appointments and various dates for our foster daughter’s appointments and court dates, as well as just general notes. When I heard about the concept of the traveler’s notebook, it peaked my interest.

So, I ordered this one from Amazon with a gift card that I had and hoped that I would stick to it!

When I got my notebook, I was excited to put it together. I found a free monthly planner printable on Pinterest to use as the first insert. The second insert I am using is a weekly planner, where I can breakdown more of our weekly plans and things I want to focus on at home (shopping, cleaning, etc). The third insert I have is important dates, notes, and developmental milestones of our foster daughter. And my last insert is currently my ‘random’ notebook. So far I have Christmas gift ideas in it, as well as financial goals and eventual home purchases we will need in the next year or so (our washing machine is on it’s last legs!! Also, we could use a few more hampers since we only have one!)

I think I may eventually add one more insert as a prayer journal, but I didn’t want to overwhelm myself. I also want to eventually set up a prayer closet, so I’m not sure whether to have the prayer journal always in the prayer closet or to carry it with me in the traveler’s notebook so that I can add prayer requests whenever they arise.

So, what do you think? Is the idea of a traveler’s notebook as a planner something you would try? Or is it just too much and you’d rather stick to a simple planner? Let me know your thoughts! Comment below!


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