Saturday, May 30, 2015


I recently finished my first book to review through Litfuse Publicity Group! To be honest, I was rather surprised when the blogger information page I filled out came back as 'accepted'. Between having 6 kids--which includes two babies--and trying to juggling life, reading has been on the back burner.  But the idea of having to read (thereby getting back into reading numerous books) sounded like a wonderful opportunity. The first book I get to review, is  Who's the New Kid by Heidi Bond and Jenna Glatzer. It's about a mom who is totally trying to find ways to help her daughter get on track and have a healthy weight, a wonderful diet, and plenty of exercise. It was the ideal book for me to read, as I want to make those things a priority for me--as well as my kids--right now.

Here is the review I posted on

Who's the New Kid is tagged and promoted as a book that shows "how an ordinary mom helped her daughter overcome childhood obesity-and you can too!". I certainly don't disagree with that tagline-but I do feel it unintentionally limits the audience and doesn't properly describe the depth of this book. For it shows not just the transformation of daughter Breanna, but also a change in mom Heidi. The vulnerability Heidi displays in sharing weak areas within her parenting, cluelessness regarding healthy eating, and the lightbulb moment that finally occurs when exercise is added to the plan are things that ANY parent can understand and relate. The isolation and bullying that Breanna experience are things all parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches and doctors should be reading. Empathy is an amazing tool for children and adults to put into practice-and "Who's the New Kid" opens up conversations regarding bullying, not sabotaging the child (student, grandparent, friend) as they travel a road of strict eating habits, and learning their own family's need to adopt healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle. I really enjoyed the book, and I hope people who do not have an obese child can look beyond the tagline and read it anyway.
*I received a complimentary copy of "Who's the New Kid?" to read and provide an honest review*


In a world of fast-food convenience and non-stop busyness, how do we keep our kids healthy? Heidi Bond's debut book, Who's the New Kid?, is here to help. Filled with helpful diagnostic tools, easy-to-make recipes, eye-opening nutritional information, fun exercise ideas, and practical tips and advice, Who’s the New Kid? will not only show parents how to help their kids lose weight naturally but also introduce them to simple, yet effective lifestyle changes that will benefit the entire family.

Celebrate the release of Who's the New Kid? by entering to win a Fitbit and RSVPing to Heidi's June 9th author chat party!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Fitbit
  • A copy of Who's the New Kid?
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 9th. Winner will be announced June 9th at Heidi's Facebook partyRSVP here! Plus, participate in the #WhosTheNewKid conversation by pinning a family-friendly, healthy recipe (or two) to a Pinterest board!


RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on June 9th!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Power of Friendship {Thank You God, for Amy}

Well, be it branching out or free falling, I'm doing something new! Here's my very first post for the Hearts at Home Blog Hop. So grateful for the chance to encourage other moms to "Unleash Your Power to Inspire". You can also head to Jill Savage's blog to gain great insight from her and other bloggers about this topic, too!
The knock at the front door was unexpected. I didn't remember making plans with anyone, and I was praying I hadn't forgotten about a home visit for our foster daughters. Oh well, at least I was dressed! Given how little sleep I'd gotten that week, the fact I was dressed by 10am was pretty impressive.

I opened the door. There, with a coffee in one hand and a little brown bag in the other, stood Amy.
Amy, with her bright smile and friendly gaze. "I'm not staying, and I know you weren't expecting me! But I read your blog post this morning and wanted to bring you something."
Amy, who had reached out several months prior and asked me to meet her for coffee.
Amy, who had started her foster parent and adoptive parent walk a few years ahead of me and had made a point to reach beyond our group of "mutual friends" to become my friend.
Amy, who had just graduated nursing school, started a new job, and gained two foster children...and yet here she was, standing at my doorstep.

There is nothing more powerful, more encouraging, or more uplifting than the kindness of a friend.

For you see, that week--those past several weeks--had left me a little weary. In addition to our three older kids, our house held three little kids: our two-year old son, our nine month old foster daughter, and our four month old foster daughter. And the three little kids were not merely waking up several times a night, but were waking several times a night at the same time. My blog post had talked about remaining obedient to God even in the midst of my sleep deprivation. The reason I had written it wasn't to simply lay out my own heart and struggles, but to truly encourage others to trust God and His plan even during physically or emotionally trying times. I prayed that by being honest about my own spiritual walk, others would realize they could press on and pursue Christ during their trials, too.

And yet, here was Amy, a coffee in one hand and a little brown bag in the other. She had looked beyond my blog post and chose to reach out in a very sweet and powerful way. She cared. So she came.

In an instant, Amy was gone-she didn't want to interrupt my morning, and she wanted me to enjoy the coffee while it was hot.

I walked to the kitchen and opened the little brown bag. Inside I found a gift card and a very precious note. A note offering to provide respite care for both of our foster daughters, or give my husband and I the opportunity to go out sometime without taking children. Instead of feeling like a foster parent on a lonely path, I now had a stronghold who was ready, willing, and qualified to fill the weak areas in my life with solid, steady friendship.

The knock at my door from Amy took place four months ago. But the power of her knock still lingers; one mom, reaching out to another in a simple yet powerful way. I truly hope that other moms have an Amy in their lives.

And I especially pray that I will be an Amy for whoever needs me.

copyright 2015 LeAnne Klopfenstein

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Excuse Me while I fill my Humility Card

Today was one of THOSE mornings. Not the once a week or once a month kind, but the giant wallop that happens every five--maybe even every fifteen--years. The one where the doses of humility pile so high your head spins.

  • Pull out of neighborhood and onto Main Street. See the unmarked police car. Check speed. Slow down slightly. Continue driving.
  • See the lights flashing in the mirror 2 blocks after you saw the police car. Pull over.
  • Hand the officer your license and registration. He asks if you know the speed limit on Main Street. Learn it is 25, rather than your answer of 35.
  • Remain silent when he says it looks like you were really in a hurry. You look at the clock. For your son's last day of preschool you are now completely MIA for school pickup.
  • Realize the swirl of events that occurred at the very same time because of where you stopped your car:
    • You now sit in front of your daughter's elementary school.
    • You now sit looking like you were pulled over in a school zone...because you pulled over in the school zone!
    • ONE grade is outside playing. It's your daughter's. You see every kid except her. Wonder if she is hiding. Make eye contact with your daughter's teacher. Feel a little dizzy.
  • Wonder how many people you know have driven past. Maybe putting your last name on your license plate hadn't been such a great idea.
  • Take the paper the officer hands you. "Looks like your last warning was in least in this town! Here is another warning. Obviously, we keep track of those." Say 'thank you', 'I'm sorry', and 'it won't happen again'. Realize feeling 16 again isn't always a good thing.
But the one glorious, amazing saving grace that kept me from completely being overwhelmed by the whole episode came from a friend. And not just any friend-you know the one you text when you've done something completely idiotic or totally hair brained? That's my friend Shalome. For while we have many things in common--church, our small group, preschool, having more than 4 kids--we truly crack each other up with our mishaps (and we have a lot!). So when she called to see if she could bring Charlie home from preschool (hooray for a van with bluetooth so that I could talk to her without holding my phone!!), I calmly tell her, "Well, I'm pulled over right now outside Kylie's school. Pretty sure I'm getting a ticket. Want to meet in the church parking lot across the street?" While this is a first, the conversation is still one we both consider perfectly normal.

So with that, I take my warning, circle around to the church parking lot, and wait for Shalome. While the shake of the her head and her laugh about how it could've been her doesn't take off the full weight, it does help take away a bit of the least until I go back to that same church parking lot to wait and pick up Kylie from school in a few hours. 

Anyone want to give her a ride?   ~LeAnne

copyright 2015 LeAnne Klopfenstein

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Birth Mom's Day {Through my Foster Mom Eyes}

I saw you in the distance as I walked through the security gate of the courthouse. You were standing in the middle of the foyer, looking both prepared and lost. I make it a point to arrive early every time, yet you always arrive first. Gone are your parents who sat beside you for the first court hearing. Gone is your baby's father, who you thought truly loved you until he left home to run errands and never returned.

You stand alone.

I smile, and I see your body relax. I move towards the chairs and so do you. We stand for a moment, saying hello and other polite things. We haven't seen each other for a while, but each time is less awkward than the one before. We sit down, side by side, and while I don't mind talking to you, I also wonder when our caseworker is going to arrive.

I didn't bring the baby. Not today. Not to this hearing.

Our conversation doesn't involve the baby whatsoever. I ask about your siblings, your family and even about your other children; it's a very fine line for me--wanting to know more about you, but also knowing your relationships hold a lot of pain. But I don't think anyone sits and listens to you very often. So I continue to walk that fine line, following your lead as I seek to ask questions that you desire to answer.

You walked to the courthouse and will walk home. You made a point to be here.

The caseworker arrives, and I excuse myself to use the restroom. When I return, you turn towards me in a way that lets me know you want me to sit back down next to you. The various attorneys & other individuals come out of the courtroom, and we know it is almost our turn. The caseworker talks to a couple of people and gives them some papers. The guardian ad litem looks over, so I wave to her and she waves back.

Your attorney does not come talk to you. You continue to sit beside me.

It's finally time to go into the courtroom, so we line up in our typical way; the caseworker, you, then me, then Mike. I notice that you look down at the floor as we file in and each take our proper places. The judge begins flipping through his stack of paperwork, then pulls his glasses to the bridge of his nose and tells the stenographer everyone who is in the courtroom today. The judge talks through the list of things you have done or not done these past six month. The state's attorney, the guardian ad litem and your attorney get a chance to give their opinions and their recommendations. Our caseworker verifies some facts. The judge states his thoughts. Your attorney presses back with a different view. While the judge acknowledges your attorney's comments, it doesn't sway the judge from his ruling. The judge asks Mike and I if we have anything we'd like to add. I stare at Mike who simply answers with, "We just want what you think is best for the baby". Court is adjourned. We will meet again in four months.

Not once did anyone ask you questions or give you a chance to speak.

We file out of the courtroom, and Mike and I wait to see if the caseworker needs to tell us anything before we leave. The guardian ad litem approaches us to make sure we understand what all occurred today in court. She then tells us what will happen in court four months from now. We have a friendly chat about the busyness of motherhood and our teens' plans for the summer. Our conversation ends with a bright, "See you in September!"

I see your attorney come greet you and you both sit down to talk. I'm surprised how relieved I am.

Mike and I leave, and as we drive home we agree that today's hearing was probably what we expected--we gained more knowledge of the case and discovered where the judge expects his final ruling to land. We return to our hectic, kid-filled home and continue with our everyday life.

And you walk home.

copyright 2015 LeAnne Klopfenstein

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

God, Use Our {Little} House

When our oldest was getting ready to start kindergarten, Mike and I decided to try and sell our home and move to Mike's hometown. We figured we would simply stay where we were if we couldn't sell our house. Whatever route it took, we wanted to be content.

Our home sold in four days.

But finding a home in the town where Mike grew up and where he now worked with his dad? Well, that proved to be tricky. The plan had been to list our house one week, then begin house hunting the next. Yet over that weekend, nearly every home on our "search list" had disappeared and become a home that was pending a sale.

Our price range was modest, yet doable. But I've lost track of how many homes we looked at that had either cracked foundations, bowed basement walls, and obvious flooding issues (My favorite was the quad level that had the same crack/shift in the floor and ceiling at the same spot on every single level of the home....and the realtor running the open house said he hadn't noticed before?!). The search was frustrating and exhausting.

We went through one home during an open house where the kitchen was not only small, but it had a layout that made no sense. The rest of the home was a little choppy, and it was listed about $20,000 over what it was worth--and because Mike was a real estate appraiser, he knew it wasn't worth close to the asking price the moment we walked through it.

But the basement walls weren't bowed or cracked, and (according to the report) it didn't get water. With our realtor starting to panic a little, her never having gone through this home with us, and the price dropping closer to its proper evaluation, she dragged us over to look at it again. NOTHING else was on the market that met our needs.

We bought that stinkin' house. And I cried.

Over time, that house began to feel like home. The kids adjusted pretty well, and it was the perfect neighborhood for a young family. But I struggled with comparison. With wanting more. Our constant talks were, "When we can afford to move...."

And then, God really began to challenge Mike and me on the fact He had us where He wanted us. We reached the point where we could move, but was that the wisest financial decision? Were we being motivated by others' expectations, or by His?

So in January 2014, we decided without question that we were content. That we loved our home, and that we still saw its amazing potential. It took over seven years, but we were finally at peace.

And then God sent us not one, but two babies to foster.  And He still pressed in for us to remain content.

I look at our home now, with it's 6 kids, 2 adults, 1.5 baths and no coat closet, and smile. It's not always easy, and things are often chaotic--but that chaos would be here whether we were in this home or another. And I'll be honest--in the middle of the night, when babies are awake and you can't let them cry because they will wake up the other kids--that's the time I am stretched and struggle with my attitude. But Mike and I have enjoyed creating a game plan for maximizing our space and crossing things off the project list. Most importantly, I love how God has us--right now, right in this moment--serving Him with what we've been given.

For you see, it's easy to tell God "yes" when everything lines up the way you desire; the way you have planned. Christians enter the "maybe someday" phase, and never do what He has pressed upon their hearts. When Mike and I felt called to foster, I wanted someone from the agency to come look at our home and tell us if we had enough space to foster a child before we began any other stage of the process. Then, when we got our license, it said we could have up to SIX kids in our home.  What?? I called to verify, and they said that was the routine number and yes, we had the space.

Never in a million years did we plan to have six children in this home. But here we are, realizing what we can offer the kids we foster is beyond any opportunity their birth parents ever had. Homelessness, sleeping on couches, getting dragged from one place to another as children and getting kicked out of places as adults best describes their situations. The generational cycle should have continued with our little three. Foster care removed them from that environment, but our willingness to say "yes" put them with a family who loves them fiercely, inside a home that provides shelter, safety, consistency & stability.

God wants to do big things through us, under the circumstances He has allowed. And I'm humbled and thankful for the chance to serve Him inside our small, very precious, home.

copyright 2015 LeAnne Klopfenstein