10 Ways to make the holidays special for your foster child

  1. Share your traditions. Tell them about what your family does for the holidays (or what traditions you loved as a kid). Include them in your traditions.
  2. Ask them about their traditions. Is there a food they liked? Or things they did? And try to figure out what Santa does at their house.
  3. Make new traditions. See if there is anything they have always wanted to do.
  4. Decorate your house. Not only should you decorate your house but you should have them help. Maybe they can make something or they can help you pick something out. This year all my decorations were things the boys could play with.
  5. Buy them special trinkets. At my house we all have stockings with our names on it so I make sure foster children have them as well. I also buy them special ornaments as well as a family ornament with all our names and years.
  6. Take lots of pictures. These will help you remember your holiday together. But they are also a special memory for your children.
  7. Read books. Books are magically. They make children excited and they can teach them what to expect.
  8. Make art work. I love holiday art work. You can make things to decorate your house with and keepsakes for both of you.
  9. Keep it small. Last year I broke my mom’s heart into a million pieces when I told her I wouldn’t be going to their house for Christmas morning because I knew Diva would be overwhelmed and I wanted to limit her time in a crowded space. It ended up working out really well but it was a hard thing for my mom to accept.
  10. Try not to have too high of expectations. If the child is older the holidays could be a huge trigger for them. Try to play it by ear andhave them tell you what they are comfortable with.

Weekly update December 10

  1. Baby Z was reunited with his family! I am so happy for them that it’s hard to even be sad. But my house is very quiet since he left. His parents are sending me lots of adorable pictures which is helping the sadness. I feel like I should be more sad but honestly I’m so happy for them it’s hard to be too sad for myself. This is what I went into foster care for and it finally happened.
  2. I bought baby Z and his family Christmas presents. I had been waiting for the outcome of court to buy him presents. Just because he went home doesn’t mean I won’t give them gifts though. I got the family matching stockings with their names on it, a Santa plate with Zs name on it, and an ornament. I also got Z a fun little toy for 12+. They have a lot of things for him now so I wanted to get something for later.
  3. Bubba and I did nothing Saturday. It was awesome just to play with my little buddy all day. I think he likes having all the attention for a little bit. He is struggling having his room all to himself.
  4. Our tree now has ornaments. I had just lights because Z got into everything but now I don’t have to worry about that.
  5. Bubba decorated a ginger bread house. It was funny to watch. Only like 3 things ended up in his mouth.
  6. Bubba is officially out of pull-ups. He hasn’t worn them during the day in weeks. Now he no longer needs them for bed either. And he hasn’t had an accident in weeks. Yay!
  7. We saw Bubbas mom again. We met at a museum so they could play, it was a lot of fun. Bubba didn’t stop building the whole time.
  8. I got an early Christmas present. My parents got me a new dresser (I have had the same one since my 5th birthday) I love it and I feel grown up lol.
  9. I finally have presents for everyone. Now I just have to wrap. Ugh.
  10. Lots of court days and visits this next week. Pray for us

10 supportive things foster parents do

Yesterday I posted about the things foster parents say in Facebook groups that piss me off. However, there is a lot they do that I love.

  1. Give supportive advice. Whether it is about parenting or doing hair there are some people who are always supportive.
  2. Kindly disagree with you. We all aren’t going to agree but I appreciate it when people do it kindly instead of like an asshole.
  3. Offer to share clothing/supplies. Having a new placement is hard. Even though you tried to be prepared you can’t have everything you could possibly need in every situation. I love when others are willing to help each other out.
  4. Share discounts. Some people get upset that we are always looking for discounts on experiences and trips: however, a small discount could be the reason I could take my family to Disney world, so please share that stuff.
  5. Ask for advice from former foster youth. They are the experts. When you want to do know how a situation will effect your foster children or how you should handle something they are the ones to ask.
  6. Refer you to research/laws. I love when people include specific details/links so that i know what the law is or what research says is best practice.
  7. Refer you to professionals. Just because we have experience doesn’t mean we know the answers. Therapists, doctors, and social workers are always they people to ask.
  8. Send prayers. Sometimes there is nothing you can do but pray.
  9. Suggest books. Especially when it comes to parenting traumatized children.!
  10. Celebrate the small victories. Your foster kid didn’t swear at thanksgiving dinner? Yay! Your foster kid sat the whole time for time out and didn’t kick you? Yay! Your foster child let you brush their hair? Yay?

Weekly update December 3rd

  1. I bought my first Usborne Books and love them. I’m having Usborne Facebook party this Wednesday. Email me at missfostermama@gmail.com if you would like to join.
  2. We went to see Diva and the rest of their siblings at zoo lights. It was a lot of fun and my parents joined in.
  3. Baby Zs parents got the cutest elf gift for Bubba. OMG. They are so sweet and thoughtful.
  4. Boys both had doctors appointments this week. Both are healthy and developmentally on track. She even said baby z was advanced. They did get 3 vaccines each. Bubba was fine for his own shots but freaked out that we were hurting baby z.
  5. We had a Team meeting for Baby Z. The parents don’t have to include me but they do. I love that they see me as part of the team. It was also decided that I will start supervising visits.
  6. We had our first visit together and it went really well. I love partnering with parents.
  7. We had our Elf on the shelf breakfast. Our elves were lazy and we had cinnamon rolls. The boys enjoyed it.
  8. I am done Christmas shopping for Princess and Bubba!!!! Yay! I’m waiting for Zs court date to shop for him.
  9. I’m starting to plan parents Christmas presents this year. I think the kids are going to make something with paint on canvas. Most likely handprint art. I just don’t know what. Any ideas?
  10. I have 14 more days of work left before Christmas break (not like I’m counting or anything)

10 weeknight family dinners

Working full time and being a single mom sometimes it is hard to find dinner ideas that are easy, not junk food, and that my kids will eat. Here are some tried and true recipes.

  1. Crock pot chicken and stuffing
  2. Crock pot broccoli Alfredo chicken
  3. Slow cooker chicken fajitas
  4. Slow cooker chicken and veggies
  5. Slow cooker garlic parm chicken
  6. Chicken and veggies sheet pan
  7. One pot vegetable pastas
  8. Steak and potatoes in a stick (or really any kabob recipe)
  9. Easy stuffed peppers
  10. Breakfast bacon and egg grilled cheese (or any form of grilled cheese)

Weekly update November 27

  1. We had an amazing Thanksgiving with my family and my God parents. My kids were the only one there so they got a lot of attention.
  2. We went to a tree farm and the boys loved it. We can’t have a live Christmas tree due to my allergies but we got to pick one out for my parents.
  3. My sister was in town so the boys were all over her and she loved it.
  4. I shared my number with Baby Zs parents and it has worked really well. I have been able to share pictures and answer their questions. We have a communication notebook but I sometimes think things are better said over the phone.
  5. We decorated for Christmas. It is very minimal this year due to having a toddler and a crawler. I won’t be putting ornaments on the tree till a couple days before Christmas. Eventually I will post about my favorite kid friendly Christmas decorations.
  6. I finally raked up my leaves (my parents helped). I saw my neighbors doing it and went “oh crap I need to do that”.
  7. We saw Princess and she had a sleepover . It was a great surprise. I love how well the three of them get a long.
  8. I am enjoying the Holiday season this year for the first time in a while. Last year at this time I was failing as a mom and my life was in constant chaos and I ended up having to opt out of seeing Hailee for Christmas for her well being. The year before I barely saw Hailee and everything just happened with court. I love going into the holiday season with less stress and a whole lot of love in my heart.
  9. Bubba’s Mom came. He hasn’t seen his parents or siblings in a couple weeks due to a DCFS problem. So he loved seeing her.
  10. I have to go to work tomorrow ugh

10 Ways to Teach Young Kids to be Thankful

Bubba is at the age where he understands more about the Holidays. We have been working hard this month on teaching him to be Thankful for things.

  1. Teach them to say thank you. This is the first step to teaching children to be thankful. We are even working with Z on saying thank you in sign language.
  2. Thank them. Show them that you are thankful for them and what they do for the family.
  3. Model being thankful. I say things like I am thankful for Bubba, baby Z, hot chocolate, etc.
  4. Talk about what you are thankful during dinner. This helps me model it but it allows him to practice and he even says funny things like hamburgers and hotdogs.
  5. Prayer. Praying to God and thanking him for what we are thankful for is a great way to model being thankful.
  6. Go on a nature walk. Teach kids to be thankful for what is in nature.
  7. Have them do something for their siblings. And teach them not to expect anything in return.
  8. Have them pack up some toys to give to kids in need. This helps clean out your house for Christmas as well.
  9. Make food in a food kitchen. If your children are old enough.
  10. Have them do chores (and thank them for it instead of pay them). This might seem like a weird one but it shows kids to appreciate all the work that is done in the house.

10 things to do the night before court

Tomorrow I have a big court date for one of my kids. Court dates make me very nervous when I am unsure what is going to happen. This is what I do the night before court to help me get through.

  1. Email the caseworker, casa, and anyone else involved and update on the child. I usually do this a week before so that they can include any new information in the court.
  2. Asks questions. My big problem with tomorrow’s court date is no one has the same information and that is why I’m so stressed out. Don’t be afraid to asks questions and make sure things are clarified.
  3. Ask caseworker to call you after court. If you are like me and cannot go to court talk to the caseworker and ask her to call you after. My caseworkers have always been great about it.
  4. Make sure all of your notes are updated. I’m going to make a post about this eventually but I keep an updated calendar showing when doctors appointments and visits are as well as notes on health, behavior, and developmental milestones.
  5. Update their life book. You don’t know if they are going home or not so make sure everything is updated and they have every pictures and tidbit of information you want them to have.
  6. Cuddle your babies. Give them big hugs. They have no idea that someone they have never met will be making decisions for them tomorrow. But you do. So hold them tight.
  7. Spend the night at home. We are always so busy. Tonight we are just going to stay home and spend time together as a family instead of going out and about.
  8. Pray. I pray every night that what is best for my children happens. I don’t pray for a certain outcome because only God knows what is best.
  9. Relax. Do something to get your mind off of everything going on.
  10. Go on with life as planned. The hardest thing I have had to learn is that you cannot worry about things that you can’t control so just move on.

Weekly update November 12th

  1. We had family pictures. It was amazing that we were able to coordinate with everyone’s schedule and have Princess be there as well. I needed a new picture for my fireplace because the current one is Hailee and I five years ago.
  2. Baby Z learned to crawl and he crawls everywhere. He gets super angry when you are changing his diaper because he can’t crawl.
  3. Baby Z turned 7 months. Not only is he crawling but he is eating solid food and trying to pull himself up off of everything.
  4. Princess is starting homeschool. It is most likely only temporary but I think it is a great idea for her. Does anyone have any good resources?
  5. Bubba learned how to verbally spell his name. We are currently working on pointing and naming the letters of his name. Does anyone have any ideas to help with that or to help him learn how to write it?
  6. I went to the Bears Packers game with my best friends Sunday and it was amazing to have a day without kids. Too bad the bears lost.
  7. It seems like we are all finally getting over our colds. It seems like we have had this thing for months.
  8. I am starting to make everyone’s Christmas lists. I’m so behind because I’m not sure where either kids case is going so I am afraid to buy too much ahead of time. We do the something you want, something to need, something to wear, something to read.
  9. I’m so busy with work that I’m struggling to get things done at home so our house is a little more disorganized then usually. I can’t wait for thanksgiving break.
  10. We got our first snow!!!! It was only a little bit but we got to play outside in it.

10 ways to take time for yourself

I always feel like I never take enough time for myself. Here are some things I love to do to relax. 

  1. Go to a movie alone. I always thought this was weird but when I have some time to myself (like once a year) I sneak out and watch a movie by myself or go to dinner by myself.
  2. Paint your nails. I don’t know about you but when I’m stressed the last thing I think about his my nails (right now they are super long and I should probably take care of that). Once I have my nails all painted I feel so much better. 
  3. Drive somewhere with a pretty view. I have even done this when my kids are asleep in the car. It is calming and relaxing. Sometimes you need peace and quiet.
  4. Watch an old movie. I have no idea how many times I have watched Greece and Dirty Dancing.
  5. Have a dance party. Not only is dancing relaxing but it can also be a family activity
  6. Get a babysitter just to have time for yourself. Sometimes I get a babysitter so I can just be alone for an hour. It’s not often and I sometimes feel guilty about it, but I definitely need it. 
  7. Work out. Though I don’t go to the gym enough it is a great way to relax and do something healthy. They have child care so that’s a big bonus.
  8. Take a really long shower. Okay sometimes the only alone time you can get is in the shower.
  9. Blog. I love blogging because it fixes me time to sit down and write things. I don’t care if no one reads it. I can get my adult thoughts out. 
  10. Cry in your car alone. When you are having a bad day like I’m having today just crying alone is refreshing.