Fostering to Adopt a Teenager

For those that don’t know; our preference has always been fostering to adopt a teenager. Why? Because our family dynamic doesn’t really allow for us to have a younger child. We feel that a child that is a little more independent.

Not only do we feel that fostering to adopt a teenager is the best for our family dynamic, we know that children in their teen years are more than likely not going to be adopted. So here at the Delancey’s we have plenty of time, space and love to share with a child who wants a family to call their own.

There are so many children in the U.S. Foster Care system, there are just 4,011 listed on the National Adoption list at AdoptUsKids.org. Unfortunately, there are many more children in Foster Care that are not yet available for adoption. Meaning their parent(s) is doing whatever they can to re-gain custody of their child(ren). The CPS and Foster Care System’s main goal is reunification of family, if the parent(s) fail to do their portion then the parents rights can be terminated. Some states don’t terminate parental rights to a child until a suitable adoptive family is found.

With that being said, our families goal is to provide a teenaged child with a place to call home. A family that will love them unconditionally and allow them to flourish/grow into the young adult they wish to be.

We have no problem giving a home to a child in need, but we feel that there are so many children in their teenaged years that need a place to call home and a family that we’re stepping up to fill that need.

 


Completed Home Study

Today, I wanted to tell our readers that we have an approved and completed home study. A few weeks ago we received a phone call from our chosen agency asking if we would take an emergency placement, we agreed. We just had to complete mine and Kevin’s medical forms.

In December I will be uploading a video on one of my channels that will discuss our first foster experience. I will also be discussing what our next step in our foster/adoption journey will be.

Please understand that we cannot divulge certain things, nor can we show photos of the child, so we will only be discussing our feelings and our overall experience with fostering a child. Keep your eyes peeled for a video on my Channel around December 4th.

I would l0ve to tell you more but that would just ruin the opportunity for me to make a video. I am trying to get back into the YouTube swing of things now that life has somewhat calmed down. With only one kiddo home during the day I can get more done and dedicate some time to batch recording some videos to upload in coming months.

Today is a little out of the ordinary, Zachary is at home sick. Poor guy had a fever yesterday and still has one today, so we’re hoping that he feels better tonight or tomorrow so he can go back to school on Wednesday. We just have to see what the next 24 hours holds for my sweet little guy. Since Zachary is not feeling well, I’m unable to get an real YouTube related work done.

Now that I’ve covered everything and more that needed to be covered in this post. Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube Channel.

Check back soon for updates!

 


What I Wish Everyone Knew About Bowflex Treadclimber

Before Summer started I was trying to get back into the habit of using my hand-me-down treadmill from a neighbor several years ago. Well it finally gave out on me so I tried to make it a daily habit to take the kids on a walk starting the first day of Summer, but needless to say that didn’t last very long. By the time we got out of bed every morning it was already so hot and humid that our morning walk sucked the life out of me. So I finally talked to Kevin about getting a Bowflex Treadclimber. I was hesitant to spend the money on something that may just collect dust in a corner of our basement.

Well I finally took the plunge and purchased the Bowflex Treadclimber TC100 on August 25. It was delivered on August 29. Kevin put it together on August 31st. The first time I used it was Today, September 3rd. I’m going to give you the low down on the TC100.

This morning, I woke up earlier than I normally would on a Sunday, I thought about getting on the treadclimber while all the kids and Kevin were still asleep, but honestly… I just rolled back over and fell asleep again. After eating my breakfast of a left over slice of chocolate cake with vanilla icing from Kevin’s brirthday yesterday, I decided to hop on the Treadclimber. I only made it FIVE minutes before I felt like I was dying. In my head, I was asking myself how these people make it look so effortless on the commercials. Not only that but oh man was I swearing up a storm in my head. The Bowflex Treadclimber is NOT an easy workout. Especially, for those of us who are in no shape at all.

So after I recovered from my measley five minute workout on the TC100 I decided to give it another go. I made it SIX minutes the second time around (11 minutes total)! Overtime, I plan on being able to do thirty minutes a day (two 15 minute workouts).

Keep following my blog for updates on the Bowflex Treadclimber TC100 and my weight loss efforts.

 


The Life We Live

Never in a million years did I ever think I would tell random strangers about our personal life. But here I am telling the whole world about the life we live. I can’t really pinpoint a reason as to why I love to blog, but I do. I hope that eventually my blog will inspire others or teach others something of value to them. Not everyone is going to get the same thing out of my experience in life. So welcome to the life we live and I hope you find some tidbit of value in here somewhere.

I have spent the last month or more playing catch up in life. The whole month of May seemed to bring us bad luck. Five negative things happened pretty much back-to-back. I think there was a sixth, but I can’t remember what it was at the moment so it must not have been that bad.

  1. Kittens broke my laptop
  2. Hot Water heater started leaking
  3. Kevin injured his back at work
  4. Kevin’s truck died while in his mom’s possession
  5. Zachary (our 5-year-old) broke his elbow while we were at First Aid/CPR Classes

Thankfully, the laptop had a protection plan with the GeekSquad. So it took 2 weeks to get my laptop back. It’s still not 100% perfect like it was before it was broken. But it works, for now.

I replaced the hot water heater with minimal help from Kevin. He couldn’t lift anything because the same day he picked up the hot water heater from Lowe’s is when he hurt his back at work. So I ended up having to wait until that Friday to replace the hot water heater. Our old one was leaking, so we turned off the electricity running to it, drained it the best we could and then I rocked it to where I could put it on some cardboard from the new hot water heater and slid that sucker out the back door. I’m so glad we purchased waterproof flooring because the hot water heater was still half full of water, it wasn’t draining properly because of sediment from our well water.

Kevin ended up on some pretty heavy duty meds for about a week. So he was home with me and the kids resting up. In that time frame, his mom called him to tell him that his truck died on her. Come to find out, his truck threw a rod for the 2nd time since he purchased this truck in 2010. He loves this little Ford Ranger, but man does this engine in it suck. It had less than 70k miles on it, when it threw a rod for the second time. If only he would have gotten an extended warranty on that dang truck. Oh well, you live and you learn.

Now, Zachary’s broken elbow is a giant fiasco in and of itself. All I know is that it happened at the playground while his big brother was swinging on the swing set. He ended up needing surgery. We’re 4 weeks post-surgery and finally have his pins out.

So all-in-all, we’re finally started to get back on track with the life we live. It’s been a crazy ride and I hope that the rest of 2017 goes a little more smoothly than the month of May did for our family.

We need to get back on track with our debt journey. A few things set us back a little, but we’ll get back on track soon.

 


Our Debt Free Journey

I’ve talked about this on this blog several times about getting out of debt. Well, our adoption paperwork has opened our eyes to the bigger picture. We knew we were in debt, lots of debt. But we never sat down to figure out what our net worth is. In the adoption process, you have to disclose your assets, your liabilities, and your net worth. Seeing a negative net worth really put things into perspective for us. So here we go again. Debt Free Journey take 51 (okay, that’s an exaggeration but you get my point).

I’m going to break it down into real numbers here, the exact amount of debt we are in and we’re going to take you on this journey with us… here!

As much as it pains me to say how much we owe at the same time, I know that there are others in the same boat as us. So here it goes. We owe $410,163.67 as of today, April 24, 2017. It’s insane. That’s 2 mortgages, 11 credit cards (store and regular credit cards), 2 personal loans, 1 car loan, and 4 student loans.

While I understand Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball Method, I don’t think the Debt Snowball Method is for Kevin and myself. We’re going to start with the snowball method for our smallest debt ($747.95 with an interest rate of 24.4%) and pay that off. Then we’re going to start using the Debt Avalanche Method with the rest of our debts.

So what are we starting with? $200 on top of our minimum payments. May 1, 2017, is when our plan goes into effect. Any spare dollar we have is going into paying off our debts as fast as we possibly can. Not because of our adoption, but because we want to set an example for our children. In 10 years or less, we can be 100% debt free all starting with an extra $200! That’s not including any of Kevin’s over time or per diem pay, not including raises or when I go back to work when Ryleigh goes to school.

Once a month, I want to start posting an update both here on the blog, as well as a video for our ‘Journey to Being Debt Free’ Playlist on my YouTube Channel. I haven’t decided when I will update, but it will be on a monthly basis. I might post them on the first of the month for the previous month. Either way, this will happen. It is going to help keep us accountable for our debt situation. Be sure to subscribe for our monthly updates!


Hitting Rock Bottom

For the last few months, I have avoided writing this blog post because I didn’t want to admit that I was in fact, hitting rock bottom. I have been drug along the rocks and have been left battered and bruised from the lifestyle that I have lived for the last 6 years and probably longer.

Hitting rock bottom has been a rough experience for me. I’ve been left feeling ashamed, broken, depressed and more. You see, for the last 6 years, I have struggled to keep my weight in check. I have half-ass attempted to lose weight over the years, which in all reality just ended up costing us money… Wasted Money! Ugh! Hundreds of dollars down the drain.

Over the 6 years that I have been with Kevin, I have tried It Works!, Slimfast products, Alli pills that almost killed me last year when Kevin started with the company he works for now, Nutrisystem foods, gym memberships, personal trainer, home gym equipment, multiple BeachBody Workout Programs, Shakeology. If there was a “quick fix” I was willing to try it. Why? Because I have become lazy. I want all the results as quick as possible without going under the knife. I’m scared to death of surgery.

So here I am, sitting at my dining room table wishing I had been smarter, worked harder, actually changed my eating habits, and wishing I could somehow convince myself to get my rear off this chair and move more. I wish I could just give up the sodas and coffee cold turkey.

I’ve set personal goals over and over again for MANY years. It’s sad because I just can’t find the motivation to actually do what I say I’m going to do. I have struggled for a long time with my weight. Now, is the time I actually change and put in the hard work. No one cane make the change but me. I’m tired of feeling as if I’m being slammed into the rocks below me. Hitting rock bottom sucks, BAD! I keep saying I want to use my YouTube channel for accountability, but I haven’t even been able to keep up with that. I mean, I have 5 kids, we’re starting the adoption process, I have a husband who travels. But I just can’t seem to fit everything into my schedule. Ding Ding that’s it. I need to figure out a way to create a schedule that works for me and my family. If that means I record videos in the evening/night after I go to the gym then that is something I will need to figure out.

Kevin understands my need to feel good about myself again. If I can just get out of this massive ditch that I have dug myself into for close to the last 5 years then maybe I wouldn’t have such a problem keeping up with the things that I want to do with my life. But only time will tell.

So here’s what I’m currently up to, I’m getting a gym membership this weekend and starting Monday, March 20th, I’ll be hitting up the gym as often as I possibly can. If that means 3 to 5 times a week, then so be it. My goal is to work my way back into working out ( I was going to the gym when Kevin was still active duty) so we’ll see what works best for the family and for me. Then as time progresses we’ll change things up as needed. That’s all I can do.

So I’m gonna wrap this up, but starting on March 21st, I’m going to make it a point to get back into uploading videos on my YouTube Channel. I may even start creating videos and embedding them here in blog posts so my readers don’t have to go far to watch my videos!

Well, I hope everyone enjoys their weekend, I’m going to do my best. I’ll be hitting up Kohl’s for some new workout gear (shoes, pants, shirts, etc) and then jumping right in on Monday!

Come back soon!

 

 


Finding a Way

The Delancey family is in the process of finding a way to fund an out-of-state adoption if we are approved to foster/adopt. I’m not going to beat around the bush. Kevin and I have finally started the process of adoption. We’re filling out the application, preparing the kids for the process and getting all our ducks in a row.

For those that may not know, adopting through the Foster Care Program in your state has little or no cost associated with it. In fact, if you adopt in your state of residence your court costs and attorney’s fees are reimbursed by the state. People automatically assume that adoption is expensive, well it is if you aren’t adopting through the foster care system.

So right now, I’m looking at all the options available to us for fundraising in the event that we are approved to foster or for adoption. We are finding a way to complete our family.

We have some things that we will need to do, like make our basement office into a legal bedroom by reframing the doorway to include a window, in the event that there is a fire within the home. So our handyman is coming out over the weekend to give us a quote on the cost associated with moving the doorway and drywalling the area where the door was originally located.

Since we are just in the very beginning stages of the adoption process, I am not saying that we are going to fundraise, but we’re looking into all options. There are so many creative fundraiser ideas. T-shirt fundraisers, Tag the bag fundraisers, bake/candy sales, online auctions, cookbook sales, spaghetti dinners, mini photo sessions for a donation, puzzle piece fundraiser and the list goes on and on and on.

Our goal is to earn the money ourselves, Kevin hopes to work as much overtime as possible between now and when we start our training for the foster to adopt program.

I’ll be updating things as we get further into the process, but as of right now the Delancey’s are in the process of making our house a home full of happy, healthy children and a place they can always come home to when things don’t go as planned!

Thanks for stopping by, make sure you check back for future updates and for all the changes that we hope will be happening soon.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest & YouTube.


2017 New Years Goal

Every single year I set myself up for failure with my New Years Resolutions of losing weight or whatever I goal I set. Well I’ve finally set my 2017 New Years Goal… Can you guess what it is? Nope it’s not to lose weight, get fit or anything like that.

It’s to start couponing to bring the cost of my monthly grocery budget down. My goal is to cut my budget for our monthly groceries down to $400 it is currently around $800-$1,000 for our family. I’ve always tried couponing at the grocery store, Target, etc. But I could never really get a savings of 50% each and every single time I was shopping. In all actuality, I’d like to get my monthly out of pocket grocery expenses to less than $150 for our family of 7. Will this ever happen… Probably not. But I’m sure going to try.

So I’m on a quest this month (December 2016) to really learn the art of couponing in order to save our family some money. With all the money I hope to save, we plan to pay down the credit card debt that we have from the purchase of home improvement materials and the cost of our handyman’s labor. Things got a little out of hand there with our credit card spending these last 5 months, so I hope to have less credit card debt than when we purchased our house or have no credit card debt at all by December, 31, 2017!

I’ve always been good at getting great deals at Kohl’s, but I’ve always struggled to get the good deals at the grocery store and Target. I mean I might occasionally get some great deals, but I want the best deals possible. I want to save money and get out from under all this dang on credit card debt once and for all. Will this be the answer to pay off all our credit card debt, NO! We’ll have to use our tax return for 2016 to help and probably double minimum payment amount in order to get down to where I want to be. I have high expectations, but I have the ability to work on achieving this goal. As a stay-at-home mother I can dedicate a few hours each week to finding the deals, matching up my coupons and much more. Just so I can stay home with our children and lead a more financially stable life.

What are your 2017 New Years Goals?
I’d love to know so leave a comment below!

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Slowly Making Progress

I am slowly making progress in all aspects of my life. Our house is slowly coming together. We have a few things we want to do this weekend to finish up the basement, we still need to pressure wash the house and front porch and I have the never ending task of mowing the front lawn. Yes, I mow the lawn once a week unless it’s raining. I’m hoping to get out there this evening before it gets dark to mow the lawn. Kevin has to work tomorrow for about 3 hours in the morning. So once he gets home from that we’re going to do our normal weekend errands (grocery shopping, school supplies, gas, etc).

I am slowly making progress on my weight loss efforts. When we moved into our house I gave up drinking soda all day long. I occasionally get a 20 oz soda here and there, but I’ve basically given it up. I went 2 whole weeks without a single soda!!!! In the last 2 months that we’ve been in our house, I’ve lost 15 lbs!!! I’m more aware of my how many miles I walk each day thanks to my FitBit Flex. I’m also getting rewarded for all those miles I’m walking via AchieveMint. You get rewarded with MONEY to log your food intake, your sleep, your step count, etc. Talk about easy, I just set up my FitBit and then use MyFitnessPal app to track my food intake and then connected all the apps to my AchieveMint account. So that’s pretty motivating, that I’m earning money while getting healthy.

Yesterday, I took a walk with Zachary and Ryleigh in the double stroller, my calves burned so bad by the time I got back to the house. The terrain in our neighborhood is horrible, a lot of gravel and dirt and partially paved roads. There are also a ton of hills; REALLY STEEP HILLS. So I’m getting a really great workout every morning when I take the kids on a walk. We’re going to keep doing a daily walk for as long as the weather holds out this fall and winter. I don’t want Zachary and Ryleigh outside if it’s too cold, but we’re going to attempt to walk around the neighborhood even in November. We’ll just have to bundle up. If it’s too cold, we’ll just have to put the stroller in the truck and go to the mall and walk 3 miles, it will just suck because I’m hoping that the uneven and rough terrain is going to help me get to where I want to be faster than any flat surface/terrain.

My life has been super boring lately, Kevin’s been working a lot doing Annual Preventative Maintenance at one of their sites in Virginia. Each Generator takes 12 hours to shut down, do their APM work and then for the engineers to start them back up and do an hour long load banking test to make sure nothing has failed or is wrong with the unit. That’s what he’s been doing all week and has 2 more weeks after that, then he’s headed out of state for 4 days, comes back for the weekend and then heads out of state again for another week. He really misses out on a lot of things, but we know we both have to make sacrifices to provide for our family.

Eventually, all of our current stressors will be dealt with, the house will be in order and we’ll feel at peace when we’re spending time at home. Until then, we’re just going to keep doing things little by little, we’re still slowly making progress.  And I’m slowly but surely making progress towards my weight loss goals.

If you’re struggling with anything, just keep reminding yourself that you have to take it one day at a time.

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Installing a Honeywell Lyric Thermostat

Kevin and I purchased this thermostat more than a month ago in hopes of having our handyman install the thermostat when he was here last, but he wasn’t comfortable installing a Wi-Fi thermostat. Fast forward to 10pm yesterday… when I stupidly thought “Oh hell let’s install this thermostat. It can’t take that long.” Oh, boy was I just a little wrong. If you’re interested in installing a Honeywell Lyric Thermostat read on….

So let my start from the beginning. Our house had the old school rectangular (York brand) thermostat with two mercury bubbles in it. We wanted to be able to change settings on our A/C and Heat for energy saving purposes and the Lyric does that automatically. I can set it to change when we leave the house for more than 2 hours, it changes when we leave a certain radius around our house (you can change the actual radius) and it goes back to your normal settings when you get back into your pre-defined area.

When I decided to do this last night, Kevin let me take the lead because I’m the tech savvy person in the household. Kevin struggles with technology sometimes, he’s more mechanically inclined. I come from a family with 2 electricians (one is about to get his Masters license) and my sister’s boyfriend is an electrician as well. So I have tons of resources available to me. I just didn’t want to use them… ha ha ha. As a new homeowner, I wanted to do this myself. I am also very mechanically inclined and am not afraid of jumping in and figuring it out along the way.

Now on to the installation process.

  • Make sure you turn off the FURNACE & the A/C at your circuit breaker!
  • Have needle nose pliers handy it can really be a tight fit.

Before you start taking the wires off of your old thermostat to take a picture NOT while in the APP. The app doesn’t save the photo to your gallery. I luckily have dropbox saved to my phone and set up so every single time I do ANYTHING to my phone it’s saved to my dropbox account.

This is what the wiring for my old thermostat looked like…

York Mercury Thermostat

York Mercury Thermostat

All of the wiring in this thermostat is color coordinated with the corresponding letter. BUT that does not mean that your wiring is going to be color coded correctly. Normally, Red is Positive (Power) and black is Negative (ground), white would be A/C and yellow is Heat. Blue is called Common, green is normally the fan, and the orange has something to do with the A/C as well.

Now on to the good stuff. I unhooked all the wires straightened them out and went to town on hooking it up to the Lyric. We have a common 1 zone heating and cooling system. So again, I thought this was going to be easy.

Honeywell Lyric Wiring Setup

Proper Honeywell Lyric Wiring Setup for my house

NOTE: I already put electrical tape on any exposed wiring from where the casing has peeled or split; to prevent any problems. I just took the picture before hand so you could see the colors of the wiring.

 Don’t forget that your wiring colors may be different than mine and they may go to different corresponding letters on your thermostats (both old and new) than mine. This post is only meant to show what my wiring configuration when going from a Merury thermostat to a digital thermostat. I am NOT an electrician or an HVAC tech, just a homeowner who likes to do things myself, when and if I can.

 

I started with the R wire which just so happens to be red. THIS IS HOW LYRIC POWERS ON YOUR HEATING AND A/C!

Green goes to my fan so it corresponded with the G on my Honeywell Lyric.

Yellow goes to my Heat Pump it corresponded with Y on the Lyric.

Orange is part of my A/C equipment it went into W, if you only have 4 wires your white wire SHOULD be the one to go into W; IF the person who wired your house followed the recommendations for color coding wiring.

White is also part of my A/C so it goes in W2.

The only other color I had left that wasn’t used is Blue. This is the common wire. The Honeywell Lyric does NOT need a C wire. This is normally meant for GAS units. We don’t have a gas unit, so no need to connect it.

The Lyric app didn’t give us a wire configuration because of the Blue and Orange wire. I was literally on my own. Kevin had no clue because he’s a generator technician, not a residential electrician. So after much trial and lots of errors, I decided to call their support line and the guy had me remove the blue and move the orange and white wires.

It really wasn’t horrible, just frustrating. So if you are switching from an old school mercury unit and have 6 wires, this setup should help you!

Once you have all your wires hooked up, turn the breakers back to the ON position and let your Lyric start up. Download the Lyric app (both Apple & Android Compatible), create an account if you don’t already have one.

REMEMBER the APP can give you wiring configuration IF you have a common wiring setup. Ours was not considered common so it didn’t give us any wiring diagrams.

If you have any issues, don’t hesitate to call their support line. It really was easy once I had the proper information regarding the wiring digram and my old thermostat.

Honeywell Lyric Thermostat working properly

Finally installed and working properly

 

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 *This post contains at least 1 affilate link. This post was not sponsored, nor am I employed by any brands discussed in this blog post!