Caramel Apple Dip

homemade caramel apple dip

This recipe is PERFECT for fall and so incredibly easy. No, it’s not super healthy, but you certainly can make it “healthier” if you’d like!!! I love to put the dip in mason jars, package it up and give them to people we love. Last night my boys delivered them to our neighbors! They were so cute as they ran down the sidewalk to ring the doorbells!

Caramel Apple Dip

 

Caramel Apple Dip

2 pkgs cream cheese (choose fat free if you’d like)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 container Caramel (I love to use Marzetti brand-they even have a ‘lite’ version too)
1 pkg Heath Toffee Bits
green, red, yellow apples

Soften cream cheese, blend in sugar and add half of caramel.
Layer cream cheese mixture, then caramel, then toffee bits in mason jar.
Decorate some jars and make your neighbor’s day!!!

Health Toffee Bits Marzetti's Caramel Dip

Caramel Dip in jar
Caramel Dip

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what is a successful woman?

Wallace Family; Laguana Beach; family fun; five kids; One Glass Slipper

How do you define success as a mother? Is it the way your kids smell fresh, are perfectly dressed and are perfectly obedient?

How do you define success as a homemaker? Is it the way your house is always clean, your laundry folded and put away, and the floors are swept and spotless?

How do you define success as a wife? Is it how you beautifully and effortlessly work through every conflict with poise and joy? Is it how you are able to communicate and relate to and encourage your spouse? Is it how you can read one another’s minds, speak one another’s love language, and meet one another’s every need or desire?

montage beach-laguna

How do you define success as a Christian? Is it how you can quote 30 verses from memory? Or how you can explain every single point of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology…without notes? Is it that you know every hymn from memory and can sing pitch perfect harmony during worship?

Wallace Family; Laguana Beach; family fun; five kids; One Glass Slipper; tide

So often there is a standard in my mind to which I feel I need to attain. So often I think the outward actions that I do or don’t do, or that my children do or don’t do, define me. So often I look to what others are doing or how others are operating to get a gauge of what I should be doing or how I should be acting.

I look to the skill sets, talents and beauty of other women and think, “they sure look like they have it all together.” Or, “wow, they sure do that better than me.” I compare and contrast what imperfections I am faced with in myself every day with the beauty and buttoned up images I see in others. Often there is a feeling of being “less than” or “not enough” or that I am a “failure.”

Wallace Family; beach pics, snail hunting; family fun; five kids; crochet hat; One Glass Slipper; mom and son

I often struggle as I look through Pinterest articles or Facebook profiles or Instagram accounts. There are people and things I am genuinely interested in, but when I see article after article and photo after photo of others who seem to “get it” more than I do, I often log off feeling like there’s absolutely no way I could measure up or fit in.

Take this blog as a prime example. This little far-off pipe dream of mine has actually become a reality! I love to be a noticer (is that even a real word?!) of life. I love to share stories. I love to encourage others. I love to write. I love to be vulnerable, open and honest. And now there is a venue to do so!

Wallace Family;toes in the sand; sibling fun

But…when I look to others who have done it longer, who have got it, seemingly, figured out, when I compare how amateur I feel to how professional they look, I quickly forget the parts that I love and become instantly confused, overwhelmed, and burdened. I feel a hurriedness to work on things I know are not great, and feel a pressure to get it done quickly…as in, it should have been done yesterday.

Underneath all of that is a feeling (and fear) that I need to have perfect writing and perfect vocabulary and, God forbid, if I have a typo or use too many dots in my ellipsis, then people won’t want to read what I have to say. There is a constant pressure to perform and it so easily becomes paralyzing.

playing in the sand; Wallace Family

What I am discovering is that the propensity of my heart goes to those same places in many areas of my life, including my role as a mom. You see, I love to connect with my kids. I love to truly “see” them and relate with them. I love to make a strong effort in keeping up with the house and providing care for all of their needs. I love to teach them, play games with them, and read to them. I truly do find joy in being a mother.

But when I look to others who have done it longer, who have it, seemingly, all together, or have lovelier images of their kids dressed cute, smiling, and all looking at the camera at the same time, it is easy for me to become confused, overwhelmed and burdened. I compare myself to other moms and contrast what I know is imperfect about me with what appears to be perfect in them. I allow my heart to move to a place of feeling “less than” or “not enough” and I feel a hurriedness to get it all together fast and a pressure to perform and get “there.”

Wallace Family; snail finding

But where is “there”?!

It is always tempting to define success as something we achieve or a place we arrive, but what do we do when we feel like we never achieve or never arrive?

Pinterest is not evil. Other moms with beautiful photos and lovely children are not evil. Teaching our children to obey, or wearing a fancy dress, or fixing our hair with a blowdryer is not evil. Learning our husband’s love language or making an all-organic meal that every single member of our family enjoys is not evil. In fact, those things are lovely. I don’t need to make myself stop looking at those other moms, or delete my Pinterest account, or eat only non-organic foods, or wear all worn out clothing to avoid comparing myself to other women.

It is my own heart that is the problem.

Those images are some of the most vivid expressions of God-given talents in women that I’ve ever encountered. To see how another women will find one thing easy that another would find incredibly challenging is a strong confirmation that we are not all the same! There’s so much beauty and uniqueness in those differences. There is so much that I could be learning from other women if I would stop comparing myself long enough to learn from them.

Wallace Family; Beach photos, playing in the sand

Does it mean that because one woman is amazing at organizing her closet that I should feel inferior or “less than?” By no means. If she has been given that wisdom and has found a creative way to share that wisdom with someone like me who is not-so-gifted-in-having-an-organized-closet, then I can choose to be thankful for her shared advice and use that to help me increase my knowledge in that area.

Wallace Family; sibling play

There is a quote I’ve seen floating around on Instagram lately that reads, “Girls Tear One Another Down, Women Build One Another Up.” Now we all know that there are plenty of women that love to tear others down, yet so often it isn’t even other women that are doing the tearing down.

It’s me.

I am the one that lets my thoughts run rampant imagining what others might be thinking. I am the one that becomes frozen in despair when I tell myself I don’t measure up. I am the one that views those images only to log off feeling “less-than” and discouraged and “not enough.”

Wallace Family; suspenders; son; sand

Instead of getting caught up in doing everything I can to reach a non-existent level of perfection, I need to instead ask some questions. “How can I grow today?” “What it is that I need to spend time on today?” “Who is it that needs me today?” “What is one small thing that I can be working toward right now?”

But it’s bigger than just changing my thoughts or focusing on something else. If my focus and aim is toward perfection, I will feel paralyzed, confused, and exhausted because it is a betrayal of my soul’s deepest longing. The only perfect one that has ever lived is Jesus. It is only in Him that my heart will find satisfaction. It is not in the comparing, it is not in the perfection, it is not in the images, it is not in the standard.

Wallace Family; Spring Pictures; Beach Photography

Jesus says, there IS a standard and we DON’T measure up. Not me, not you, not anyone. No matter how many bows we put on it, we’ve already missed the mark.

Every. Single. One. Of. Us.

But the good GREAT news is this: Jesus, the God-Man, came to give us HIS righteousness. He lived the life we were supposed to live and died the death we were supposed to die. He joyfully, gladly and painfully took upon Himself our filth, our failures, our shame and then gave us His cleanness, His success, and His perfection.

And it is in His love, dear friend, that you and I both can truly rest.

Wallace Family-laguna beach; spring photos

Photo Credit: Latisha Carlson www.mattandtish.com

"Gym Types"

beach photos-Labrada

Are you a New Year’s Resolution gym goer? Do you fizzle out after a few weeks of training?Are you afraid of working out? Are you intimidated to walk into that big bad gym all by yourself? Are you not seeing any progress from your time in the gym?

I will readily admit my experience and knowledge is not exhaustive. I haven’t spent my whole life in a gym and most certainly have not conducted any fancy studies on this matter. But, from what I can tell, there are typically four types of groups that people fall into when it comes to fitness and the gym. Identifying the most common fitness groups, and which one you might be in, could possibly motivate you to move toward the results you truly desire.

Now, I realize not everyone has the ability or desire to work out in an actual gym. Although my generalizations are about gym folks, these mindsets can be just as applicable for “home worker-outters” as well! (I think I just made that phrase up!)

I’ve given them names and my own personal descriptions and my hope is that you chuckle at least once while reading this! 🙂

beach labrada pics

  1. “The Firecrackers” – The first group represents those that typically come out of hiding around the New Year. Fresh off of the holiday feasts, they make new resolutions and commit themselves all over again for a brand new season of healthy eating and gym workouts. They are quick to buy a gym membership, new running shoes, leggings, tops, sports bras, socks, phone holders, ear phones, water bottles, gym bags…and the list goes on and on and on and on. They are all over Pinterest getting new fitness plans, fitness quotes, fitness advice, and fitness fashion ideas. They are typically overly excited and talk up quite a game as they list off their lofty goals and intended progress on every social media venue possible. Come January the otherwise normally free flowing weight floor is jam packed with squeaky new-shoed, doe-eyed, soon-to-fizzle people we’ve never seen there before, who don’t understand the unwritten “code” of gym conduct, which is simply to spend more time lifting weight than taking pictures. These people sit looking at their phones for inordinate amounts of time on all of the machines, will hog all of the cardio equipment, and think that it’s okay to grab some weights and sit on the floor with them by their side while using their phone to catch up on the latest Hollywood trends and social gossip. They Facebook and Instagram their daily (yes, daily) progress because they think that because they ate a few salads, put some kale into one of their smoothies, and went running for 20 minutes on the treadmill it is sufficient to have made photo worthy changes to brag about.
    But these people don’t last long. This group will fade out faster than a low end spray tan. They see fitness as a quick fix and the minute their schedules get busy or there’s a few days they miss they don’t come back. It is sometime around August or September they realize they’ve been paying for a gym membership they haven’t used since the first week of February, so they cancel it and wait until the following January until it’s time to recommit and clog up the gym floors again.
  2. “The Cats” – The next group of people are the ones who have mentioned month after month or year after year about wanting to get fit and healthy, yet are either too scared or too lazy and have done absolutely nothing about it yet. They watch others from the sidelines, try to listen in on fitness conversations, and try to learn more in their spare time but haven’t made any legitimate moves toward doing it themselves. There is a genuine interest for a lifestyle change, but they don’t want to attempt to commit because they think they will fail before they even begin. They fear they just don’t know enough and might be found out. They “curl up” to the idea that maybe, just maybe, one day they could start a plan but the mere thought of walking into a gym all by themselves brings on a nervous breakdown. “What would I do once I got there?” they wonder.
    These people are afraid of being obvious, like the Firecrackers are, and wish they could just be little invisible flies on the wall to observe everything inside the gym before actually having to be seen there alone and clueless about what to do. These people don’t know where to get started so they tip toe around this unobtainable dream and inwardly get frustrated knowing they need to start somewhere, but don’t know the first step. These people are looking for someone to hold their hand and literally drive them to the gym and be their lifetime gym buddy because they honestly have trouble envisioning ever doing it alone.
  3. “The Scuttlebutters” (fun name right?! seriously, look it up!) – These people are the ones that have the gym membership, and even use it year round, but have not seen changes in their bodies in Lord only knows how long. These people are the ones that use gym time as a social hour and chit chat the entire time. Although not a single drop of sweat was released, they call it a “good workout” because they stayed in the building for over an hour. These are the women (or men!) that personally know every one of the employees, can list off by name the majority of the other members and love, love, love catching up on everyone else’s business…but then they sarcastically wonder why nothing is happening with their body.
    These people are not at all afraid of being seen at the gym, in fact, it is the opposite. Being seen at the gym somehow equates to working out at the gym. Being able to publicly “check in” gives off the impression that they know what they are doing and are healthy and fit. Yet these people are usually the farthest thing from it. They haphazardly move the weights around pretending as if it’s challenging, so that they can appear as if they are working hard, all the while saying they don’t want to lift too much because they fear they might bulk up. They linger on their favorite machines or come up with thousands of stretches to do on the cool down mats to fill in the remainder of the time they think deserves “good workout status” spent at the gym. They’ll set the treadmill at an incredibly slow pace, so they are able to simultaneously walk and talk, to make certain the movement with their feet won’t interfere too much with the movement of their mouths.
  4. And lastly there’s “The Lifers” – These are the people who understand that fitness and health is a lifestyle that doesn’t work like a quick fix ATM. These people understand that a great body, increased energy, increased muscle growth, and increased strength comes not with fancy motivational Instagram quotes, not with some “magical” pixie dust, but with hard work, dedication, a serious plan, and a whole lotta effort. These people wear out their key-ring-gym-tags, as well as their running shoes from consistent usage day after day, month after month, and year after year.
    But, I’m going to let you in on a little secret…here’s something you may not know…the majority of the people that are now called “Lifers” USED to be Firecrackers and can relate to those feelings of being overly hyped up and have fizzled out a time or two…or twelve…in their lifetime. Yet, they now understand the soberness of what is required to remain wholehearted for the long haul, rather than a mere 5 weeks. “Lifers” USED to be Cats and can remember what it was like to have been afraid and not know where to begin and have at one point or another felt clueless and childish. Yet, they’ve put in the effort to grow in knowledge and humbled themselves to ask for help. Now they feel a lightheartedness and inner confidence as they can walk up to any machine in ANY part of the gym and know exactly how to use it. “Lifer’s” USED to be Scuttlebutters and can remember all too well what it was like to not take fitness seriously and look at gym time as social hour. And although they still love to know everyone’s name and everyone’s business, they now choose to see the gym as the place to truly work hard to put the effort forth to get those long awaited results.

Personally, I feel quite skilled at being able to write about each of these groups for it’s me that I’m actually writing about. And if I’m even more honest, I bounce in and out of these various groups often! Sometimes depending on the day…or even the hour!

Sure, there may be others out there who can relate to the stereotypes, but I wasn’t writing about anyone else…not at all. I was writing about me. Stereotypes like these are often times what I feel others are thinking of me and are not only far from reality, but are a total distraction.

I am that girl who is every one of those categories. I am the girl that was scared to death to ask questions. I am the girl that thought if my shoes weren’t dirty enough I would be “found out.” I am the girl that bought all of the new things thinking it would change my health. I am the girl that only went for a few weeks and the fizzled out, not just once but probably a thousand times. I am the girl who literally wants someone to hold my hand and take me there every single day. I am the girl that questions whether or not I belong there and wonders if I am using each machine correctly. I am the one who catches myself spending more time on my phone than I do working out. I am the one who lingers on the stretch mats and check out other girls’ fantastic bodies and wonder what they have that I don’t. I am the one who desperately desires to have someone just tell me what to do and how to do it and when to do it.

It’s me.

And the journey isn’t over. The struggles are real for me every single day. So often I find my mind wandering as I compare myself to those other women. At the gym in particular, I catch myself gazing at those who I feel look like they might have been born there. I’ll watch what they do and how they do it and I think in my mind, “what’s their secret?” When I allow my mind to wander, when I allow my thoughts to become filled with self-doubt I quickly move to despair.  It is at that point that I want to give up. It is at that point I think “why bother.” It is at that point that I think there’s just no reason to keep trying because I’ll never ever “get there.”

But where is “there” anyway???

If I allow my mind to become distracted with fear or with what I feel others might be thinking of me the discouragement that follows is paralyzing.

But the truth is I do need to stop. I do need to quit. I do need to give up…

on comparing myself to others.

My job as a mom, as a wife and a woman is to take care of what I’ve been given. My past fitness posts have beat this same drum again and again, but I’ll continue to say it in as many ways as I possibly can. Fitness is a matter of stewardship. It is about taking care of what I’ve been given.  It is not about what someone else says I am, or what someone else says that I am not. It is not about what I look like, it is not about what that other girl over there looks like. It’s not about some standard that’s “out there” that I need to measure up to. And there certainly isn’t anything “magical” that those other girls have that the rest of us don’t.

Keep pushing sweet friends. But please, oh please, don’t waste your time comparing.

So, which gym type are you? Do you feel like you’re in one of those categories more often than another? Or do you flip flop in and out of them all like I do? Which group do you relate to the most? Do you catch yourself comparing? What fears do you have about being a woman and being at the gym?

beach running

xoxo-Meg

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Seven Tips for Less Fuss Meal Times

Why are kids, and food, and meal times always so challenging?
Moms, do you struggle with meal times? Is it tough to get your kids to eat? Do you have a plan for how you’ll respond to them asking to not eat something? Do you use food to get your kids to do (or not do) something?

Here are some tips from what we do when it comes to food and meal times.

1. Limit snacks – I know, I know, the kids are ALWAYS asking for them. But stick to just 2 a day. One in the morning at about 10:30am, and one in the afternoon at about 3pm. Choose healthy options and set the portion size for them. I use THESE CUPS. If it can fit in there, then they can have it. Know what the kids are eating and how much. Letting them get hungry is NOT a bad thing. I’ve found it actually helps them not be so picky at meal time.

homemade Chocolate Crisp Protein Bars and blueberries-post school snack
Post-school Snack: homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Crisp Protein Bars and blueberries

2. Schedule ahead – Have a plan and stick to it. I love to plan my meals a month in advance. I’ve even done some year ahead planning…but that’s for another post! Weekly planning works too. You get the idea, if you have kids I cannot encourage you enough to get a plan in place. First, put together a list of meals that are “go-to” recipes, which you know will go over well (ex: breakfast for dinner is always a hit in my home). Next, choose some things that are seasonal. Last, add some new things you want the family to try. Rotate between those groups on your meal plan.

3. Encourage your kids to help cook – One of my least favorite things EVER is swimming in water that isn’t clear. If I can’t see what’s in it, I don’t like it one bit! Same goes for kids with food. Sometimes simply letting them see every ingredient will get them to a place where they are willing to try it.
Letting kids help cook4. Don’t manipulate with food – Teach your kids the benefits of eating good food. Give sweets or treats because it’s special, not as a reward for performing. Don’t handle food with kids the same way you would with a puppy.

5. You don’t have to like it, but you will try it. This is the method we have adopted in our home. I refuse to make more than one meal. Note: obviously if you have a child on baby food or soft foods this will not apply. I’m not sure if you are familiar with a show called Daniel Tiger, but we LOVE this little show and the “Trying New Foods” episode is one of our all time favorites. Cue song: “you’ve gotta try new foods ‘cuz it might taste goooood!”
Kate and Crew at mealtime6. Share meals together – I cannot stress this enough. Make it a priority to sit down together, as a family, with one another. Talk about the day, not the food. I cannot tell you how many times the children get so wrapped up in sharing stories they do not even realize they are eating the food. And one child will often encourage another to try something and it works.

Example: My little 2 year old, Crew, refused to eat his meatloaf one night. We had all finished dinner, and his plate was set aside for whenever he was willing to return to it. One of the other kids encouraged him to try it. Finally, he did! And he responded (and I quote),  “ohhhh ya, mama, I DO wike meatwoaf!”

7. Educate the kids as they grow – In every day conversation, teach your kids about food groups: protein, carbs, sugar, fruits, vegetables. Teach them about over-eating, under-eating, how their bodies feel, and what they need. My kids now know when they are feeling certain ways it is because they need certain foods or need to stop eating certain foods.

I’ll end with a story:
One night I bought a large container of vanilla ice cream for the kids. We were celebrating something big and we wanted to treat them to something special. I sat all five kids up on the barstools and told them it was THEIR choice to add and eat whatever and however much they desired. I gave them each as many scoops as they wanted and set out hot fudge, sprinkles, whipped cream, chocolate chips, and cherries for their choosing.

Of course their eyes bugged out, their faces lit up, and the cheering started.

Oh, the joy and delight as each child piled on as much as they desired! And away they went shoving in their mouths as much as they could!

I’m sure it’s pretty obvious how the story turns out, but I’ll tell it anyway. About 40 minutes later they were bent over with tummies in pain. ALL of them saying they might throw up. They all laid down in the living room floor holding their bellies.

And I gently, lovingly, patiently used that as a teaching opportunity. 🙂

I taught them about quantity and choosing good portion sizes. I taught them about sugar, what it does to our brain, our stomachs, and our bodies. I also asked them to remember how they felt at that very moment the next time I told them “no” to sweets.

It was not AT ALL a shaming thing. The conversation ended and I believe they felt loved, cared for, and far more knowledgable!

Now it’s not a cure-all, but it might be the closest thing to one. When I talk about different food groups, they have a much deeper interest and understanding into what I’m talking about. They often ask questions about what food group an item is in and whether or not their choice is a good one. It is normal, everyday conversation that makes for some much more peaceful eating.

Cheers to you and happier family food times!

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Infertility: Class 101 FAILED


Wallace Family; One Glass Slipper; fall photos; pregnant belly

TODAY is October 15th: Infancy Loss Remembrance Day. 
On this day we remember the little lives that were ours for only a short while. We honor the sons and daughters that were in our bellies, but are no longer with us on earth. We celebrate the members of our family that we never made eye contact with, laughed with, or shared a meal with.

I am aware I have not yet shared this story publicly and there are many details left to be told, but the short version is just after our son Kai was born (he was 10 weeks old), we conceived a little one that is no longer with us. Today we remember our baby, what would have been our 6th child.

It would greatly trouble me for this blog to simply be a place for helpful tips or tricks on how to better manage life, motherhood, or our hair (though there is certainly a place for those things!). I also want this to be somewhere I can be real and open up about the things I’ve learned (99% of those the hard way), struggled with, as well as the things I’ve failed at. I chose the name of this blog not because life is always fancy or like a fairytale, but because life is sometimes messy and challenging. And sometimes I haven’t just lost a shoe, but I’ve lost my way.

Although the experiences of infertility and miscarriage are extremely different, having endured both I feel that the pain, the grief, and the lamenting that comes in the wake of those experiences are very similar.

I’m not alone in the sea of people that have endured the struggle of infertility or a painful miscarriage. There are many, many others who have gone through similar trials, and many, many who have endured far worse. People meet me now and have no idea we ever went through those struggles, yet they have shaped SO much of who I am now and most certainly how I parent the five children I do have.

Wallace Family; Laguana Beach; One Glass Slipper; ocean ; five kids
The struggles we endure in our lives mark us, scar us, and have the potential to change us forever. When we go through trials, it is not only for our own growth, but for the uplifting and building up of those around us.

How we handle the trials and struggles we face are to be an encouragement to others around us as we share out of our brokenness what we learn, as we relate to one another in humbleness, and as friendships deepen through suffering.

I believe that it is in those times that as a Christian, Jesus is made much of. When we boast in our weaknesses, He becomes more “real,” His grace MORE than sufficient, and it solidifies that our hope is in something far greater than the here and now.

99

However…I want to be brutally honest.

When we struggled to conceive and when our baby died, I chose the opposite of everything I just wrote.

I chose anger, self-centeredness, bitterness, and self pity. I look back on those days and grieve over them as a monumental failure, spiritually speaking. In no way am I saying that it was wrong for me to have wept, felt sorrow, sadness, or even heartbreak. Those emotions are not wrong and it is perfectly acceptable, even necessary, to experience them in full force when going through difficult situations like those.

But what I did with that hurt mattered. I went inward. I tried to hide away the pain and I shut everyone else out.

I vividly remember being angry. Very angry. Angry with everyone. Angry with people who didn’t know what to say. Angry with every other woman who found out she was pregnant before me. Angry at others for not understanding how each month was like grieving a death. Angry at those who didn’t understand death.

I thought I knew best and, ultimately, I was angry at God for just not giving me what I wanted.

I look back to those seasons of my life and know without a doubt that I wanted the gift far more than the Giver. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but my soul tangibly felt the weight and destruction of that choice.

Figuratively speaking, I want you to see the image of me holding inside the palm of my hand all of my hopes and dreams, as well as the timetable I desired held inside. And imagine me raising that clenched fist, shaking it at God, and screaming…

“You’re not giving me what I want!”

Inwardly, I was unable to rejoice with others who were rejoicing. I was unable to consider others as more important than myself. I chose not to overlook the insensitive comments of those who were honestly trying to help, instead I saw those people as foolish or mean and I took their comments personally. And I certainly did not trust that there was a bigger plan with the potential to bring a far deeper joy.

What I could have, or should have, done was move my heart outward to actively trust, and consistently, whole heartedly pursue Jesus…for His grace IS more than sufficient.

I was once told that you should never trust a person who does not “walk with a limp.” In other words, never ever trust a person who has not gone through great difficulty and been forever changed by it. Infertility and losing a baby, are two of my limps. I have been forever changed. I will never be the same again. Those two struggles have marked me…permanently.

Mom and son; Meg Wallace

Yet…in His goodness, I now see that there is such incredible good that came from it.

My struggle to have children gave me a far deeper insight into how much I need Jesus in a very real, daily, dependent, moment-by-moment way. He alone is the source of true joy and it is in His presence that my soul finds true rest.

Losing a baby has given me a far greater appreciation for life and a far greater respect for the One that holds it in His hands. He alone is the Creator and Sustainer and I will worship Him whether He chooses to give or whether He chooses to take away. Blessed be His name.

I know now, without a doubt, that there is nothing in life that will satisfy like He does. He created me to worship, but not worship the things I want, rather, to worship Him. Life goes terribly wrong when what I want is anything other than Him first.

Infertility and miscarriage have also given me an increased ability to “see” others who are going through difficult situations. It birthed in me a greater compassion for people. It began to grow the desire to change significantly how I listen to, speak with, and counsel others. It has compelled me to move toward those in pain, rather than shy away from them. I am FAR from perfect and still have a great deal more to learn in each of these areas, but infertility and miscarriage began the process of the blinding scales over my heart being removed.

I have often said that I would not wish infertility or miscarriage on my worst enemy, yet I would not trade it for all of the riches of the world.

Wallace Family; Laguana BeachAn open letter for those struggling with infertility or a miscarriage now:

Dear sister,

I know your heart is broken. Please hear this from the bottom of my heart that I am genuinely, whole-heartedly so very, very sorry.

I would encourage you, as best as is possible, to not ignore the pain or stuff it away. It’s okay to feel it. What you are going through isn’t easy and you don’t have to pretend that it is. You can busy yourself and distract yourself, or look for other ways to cope, but in those still quiet moments don’t be afraid to let it out.

I want to encourage you to be on guard though. Guard with all grace and with all fervor against going inward. If you let your pain lead you to despair, anger or bitterness, it won’t take away the hurt. It won’t make it go away. It won’t help. Sinking into the hopelessness of what it “feels” like, I promise you, won’t dull the sting of that sharp edge. Let me put it this way…if…and it may be just as big of an “if” for you as it was for us…but, IF you shall be given a child some day in your future, then I would hope for you the opposite of what was true for me, that you wouldn’t regret with deep sorrow how you handled this time. I would pray for you the opposite of what was true for me, that this “season” would be one of intentional chosen joy as you look to Jesus and wait anxiously, hopefully, and fervently on that little life to come into your arms.

2 Corinthians 4:8, 16-18 says, “that we are afflicted in every way, yet not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair…So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.” 

I know all to well that it does not feel like light momentary affliction when you’re in the midst of it. It’s okay to weep, long, yearn for that little heart beat. But as you grieve, please don’t let it crush and destroy your own.

In no way am I able tell another woman whether or not she will someday bear a child. There are no guarantees and no promises that hold any weight whatsoever by me or by the most amazing fertility specialist on the planet. Many may have told you that they are certain “you’ll be just fine if you’ll simply give it time.” Others may say that “the moment you quit trying you’ll suddenly get pregnant.” And others still will voice that since it “worked” for them it’ll “work” for you too. All of them are wrong.

The God of the Bible is Yahweh (Lord), the Great I AM, Jehovah Rapha (The Lord Who Heals), Jehovah Shaman (The Lord Who Is Near), El Sheddai (Lord God Almighty). He is the one in control and the story He is writing for you and through you is unique. No one can guarantee an outcome other than the Creator Himself, and I know that every single one of those well intended comments won’t bring the genuine encouragement that you long for, much less the baby that you want.

My story is one where our doctors, who gave us a 0% chance to conceive, were incorrect. I did go on to have my own children. I would hope and pray the same for you as well. But I can’t guarantee that. I can’t say that if you just “trust in the Lord with all of your heart,” then He will give you a baby. The God of the Bible doesn’t work like a wishing well or genie. But I can tell you this: God Himself sees you. And He understands what you are going through. He says in the Proverbs that the empty womb is just like a raging fire that won’t stop consuming. It cannot and will not be satisfied. There is nothing, other than Him, that can quench that kind of emptiness. There is nothing, but Him, that can take away the longing or the pain you are experiencing.

My friend, know this…you are not alone.

I know that you need comfort and I know you want hope.

No one besides the Creator can give you that. He alone creates life, but choose the Giver, not just His gifts. Trust in Him. It is in His presence that our joy is made complete. It is at HIS right hand where there are pleasures forevermore. I offer no false hope, yet I offer you the One who IS hope.  He is the One who not only offers peace, but who IS peace. He is the One who knows you and sees you and loves you.

“that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-18

One final note: Please reach out to ask others to be involved in your journey. This is a hard enough road as it is, and it isn’t meant to be walked alone. You need friends, good friends, and loved ones to come alongside you, even if they don’t say the right thing or they can’t relate. Don’t go inward. Don’t shut others out. Let others into your story, let them be there to walk with you in your sorrow, let them share with you in your time of waiting, and by His grace…let them be there with you if the time should come for you to celebrate and rejoice!

With all love,

Meg

Wallace Family; Laguana Beach; family fun; five kids; One Glass Slipper; family of 7; beach play; ocean watching

Post-School-Conversations With Your Kids

Kate doing homework

I now have three kids in elementary school (which seems insane to me!). I love that they love going to class, that they love their friends, and that their teachers really are great.

first day of school

But I confess I miss them terribly when they are gone. I admit I am THAT mom that still gets a little bit choked up as I wave that very last wave and blow that very last kiss as they head off into class.

kate's teacher

As the day goes on, I often will look at their schedules to see and imagine what they might be doing at certain times throughout the day. I wait anxiously for them to return and count down the hours until they are back with me at home.

kai walking corban into class

My “pick up” alarm goes off on my phone and my hearts skips a beat. I walk, sometimes run, over to the school. I greet the crossing guard. I stand by the tree. I wait. I hear the bell ring. I start to get excited. I wait.

Is that my kid?

No. I wait longer.

I see them!
Here they come around the corner.
They run down the hill.
I run to meet them half way.
I pick them up, swing them around, hug and kiss them profusely.

kids waiting at the tree

As we walk home I excitedly ask the same question every day,
“How was your day today?”

“Fine.”

Next question: “What did you do today?”

“I don’t know.”

Here’s the thing, I want to know about every single detail from beginning to end. I want to know what mood their teacher was in, if they liked their snack, what math lesson they began, and how reading group went. I want to know if they ate all of their lunch, and who they sat next to at lunch. I want to know if the kids were mean or nice to them on the playground and whether or not they got a turn on the swings. I want to know if they felt tired or lonely or scared. I want to know what made them happy and whether or not they filled their sticker chart yet.

kai doing homework

Corban doing homework

Talking to kids about school can sometimes be a big challenge, yet I feel that making the effort to keep up with their days is important. Many hours are spent there and if I don’t ask and if they don’t share I feel I am missing out on a huge part of their lives.

Kate doing homework

Yet kids don’t always know how to share. Kids aren’t always able to dissect the day like I envision or would desire. Kids don’t always remember details from five minutes ago, much less hours ago.

So, here’s what I’ve learned about post school conversations…

Step 1: Mom, the conversation begins with you. It’s the kids’ job to respond, they choose the ending. Do you remember Mad Libs?! Ya, so imagine that style…only really, really encourage your kids to finish with TRUTHFUL endings, not silly pretend endings!

Step 2: Review their basic class schedule in your mind and begin asking questions based on order of events.

Step 3: Use “I” to help the child think through the story in first person.

Step 4: Begin the story.
Example: “When I got to school today the very first thing I did was put my backpack up, then I hugged my mom goodbye and I waited for the bell to ring. I went inside and the first thing (teacher) said was…”

Step 5: And then, mom, stop talking. You pause to let your child finish the sentence. If they keep going and going, let them. Sometimes that little primer is all they need. But if they stop, you pick up where he/she left off.

“I looked at her and I thought to myself…”  (stop again)

“then we…”

“after the lesson (teacher) said…”

“and I thought…”

“I looked across the room and saw…”

“The person that sits next to me is…”

“And I think he/she is…”

“My favorite thing about the morning was…”

My least favorite thing about the morning was…”

“Then it was snack time and I was so…”

“I ate my…(all of it?)”

“…then I played with…and we played…”

“Then the bell rang, I ran back inside and (teacher) said…”

Sometimes, you can be silly and start to make up funny nonsense. Without fail, when I do this my kids will smile and laugh and say “NO MOOOOOM! It didn’t happen like that!” And then they will finish with what really happened.

I think you get the idea!!! Just keep going until you feel like you have a good grasp on the day! And then repeat again and again for each child! 🙂

Pumpkin Patch Day!

Today we took our little family and drove to a farm about an hour away from our house. We went there last year and LOVED it, so we had to make the effort to go again this year. And I must say…despite the fact that my car read 101′ today, it finally feels like fall!

five kids with huge lollipops!
crew picking up pumpkinWe met up with a few other families and made it a party! The kids love getting to run around the farm and pick their own pumpkins! And I love that our cell phones didn’t work and there is no internet access. A day at the farm with no technology sounds like heaven to me!

Riley's Farm

The farm is called Riley’s and it is absolutely beautiful. We got there right when it opened to beat the heat and the crowds and it totally paid off.

mama and crew

cow at Riley's farm

The cows loved my boys…well, at first. My two oldest kept feeding them apples that had fallen on the ground. Then they tried to feed this one a stick…he didn’t like that as much as the apples so he made a loud noise to let them know…which scared my boys so they ran off!

tractor at Riley's Farm

Tractor ride was a must! This farm has it all!!

choosing a lollipop

This one was attached to my hip the entire day! I wish I had a pic of his face when I told him “yes, you can have that whirly pop!” It was the sweetest, happiest little smile ever!crew and his whirly pop

gold fish in my pocket

My skirt had pockets that I put to GOOD use today! 🙂

sign at Riley's

canon picking flowers

My Buddy was so sweet. He asked if he could pick me a flower. Of course, he went to get an orange one. But then a huge bumble bee flew right by him just after I took this photo.  He squealed and ran back to me and said, “mom, you don’t REALLY need a flower that bad do you?”

kate and me in orchard

Riley's Farm

This place is the absolute best place to get pumpkins from! It is so scenic and the weather happened to be amazing today!
kissy face

My youngest loves to play a game where he has me sit down, then he’ll back up and charge at me to try to knock me over. Of course, I let him, but he has to pay me back with a kiss!!!! Best.game.ever.

crew tackling mama

colonial home

There is an old colonial house that has now been turned into a restaurant. They also sell fresh baked apple, pumpkin, and pecan pies, cookies and turnovers. You can sure bet we purchased a few items over there!

eating caramel apples

pumping water

The kids are learning how “they” used to get water “back then!” Now the kids are all so much more appreciative of the spout on the refrigerator door!

kai in the stocks

I think I could should build these…to have at the house…maybe five of them…for when I need to cook dinner… 🙂

candy table

pumpkins in our wheelbarrow

lovely girl kate in a tree

Processed with VSCOcam with a4 preset



honey sticks

These honey sticks are nostalgic for me. I loved getting them when I was little. And now I have the joy of making the same kinds of memories for my own kids.

boys feet at riley's farmfam at Riley's farm

Even though the weather here is still super hot, today really felt like fall. Watching the kids pick pumpkins, run and play, as well as the time with friends, was just perfect. This was year #2 for this farm adventure and I’m sure there will be many more to come. I love making traditions with the kids and this one has quickly become one of my favorites.

Tell me what fall traditions you have that you love!!!

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Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos w/Pineapple Jalapeno Slaw

fish tacos

It’s fall! And the weather is getting cooler, the leaves are falling, thoughts of warm fires and evening walks in the crisp air fill our minds….

…except for those of us who live in southern California.

You see, it’s still hot here. Very hot. While there is MUCH to celebrate about living here, (beaches, warm weather, beaches, sunshine, beaches, salty air, beaches…) it is also a tiny bit of a bummer that we do not have much of a fall or a winter. Our “winter” (I use that term very, very loosely) will come, eventually, but it will look completely different than the majority of the rest of the country.

So, while the rest of the world is wearing warm socks and posting about pumpkin everything, I still have my house fans on and crave fish tacos. But who doesn’t love fish tacos year round, right??

I think I’ve made this at least once a week for the past 2 months. It’s that good.

fish taco-mahi mahi

MAHI MAHI FISH TACOS WITH PINEAPPLE/JALAPENO COLE SLAW
serving size 2, serves 2 people

2 mahi mahi filets (I used the frozen kind from Costco)
fish seasoning
salt and pepper
1 T olive oil
1/2 package pre-made cole slaw (approx. 2 cups)
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1/8 cup jalapeños, chopped
1/2 cup fresh pineapple
4 corn tortillas
Cilantro, avocado, and Srachi sauce for topping

1. Brown fish filets in olive oil. Add seasoning and salt and pepper while it cooks.
2. Mix together slaw mix, greek yogurt, onion, jalapeños, and pineapple.
3. Brown corn tortillas in olive oil, both sides
4. Prepare tacos, then add cilantro, avocado, and srachi sauce.
5. Devour

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Practical Fitness Perspective: From the Emergency Room

When I began the journey to enter the 2015 Labrada Spokesmodel competition, I had to create a new plan to get my body to the next “level.” I mapped it all out on a calendar. I knew what foods I would eat and when I would eat them. I planned what time of the day I would get everyone to the gym and how long those workouts would be.

I had also planned two workouts a day to really push myself more than I had before, especially since I was short on time. I planned out my rest to make sure I went to bed on time, did my weekly food prep, and studied up on all of the refreshers that I needed to get my head in the game. I needed new running shoes, but didn’t have the money to get them quite yet, so I put together a plan to be able to afford those within a few weeks time as well. I was trying think of everything I would need to make sure I finished strong.

All was going well. The “plan” was working. I was following through with what I had intended to do and was beginning to see the early stages of the results.

taking a walk

Until one evening…

It was a normal weekday evening. The weather was beautiful, the sun going down.

We had just finished family dinner.

The kids were playing outside at the park in front of our house and I was baking some cookies.cooking together


Kai

And all of a sudden I heard the most awful, piercing, blood-curdling screams I have ever heard in my entire life. I paused for just a moment because, like any mom, I can tell within a couple of seconds whose child it is.

Sure enough, it was mine.

And it was my oldest son. My Bubba, my Kai.

A second later I heard my husband yelling, “Get mom!” “Get mom!”

I knew, whatever it was, was bad. I ran outside, knocking over one of the dining chairs and just barely avoiding trampling over my daughter, whose eyes were as huge as saucers as she was as terrified as I was. I saw my husband holding my son in both of his arms running toward the house. My son, still screaming, and my husband yelling “get the insurance cards and some ice NOW!!! AND DON’T LOOK AT HIS ARMS!!!!”

All five kids were hysterical at this point. The 2 year old, who had been playing in the back of a parked pick up truck, was now standing over the edge screaming, and my husband was asking me to get him out of there! My other two middle sons were screaming out of fear and sheer panic. My daughter, who had raced outside with me, was crying and whimpering frantically.

I ignored my husbands advice and I ran to my son to look at his arms. My heart was panicking and my head spinning as I scanned his body and tried to assess what in the world had just happened and how bad the damage was.

And then I saw it.

His right arm looked like an S. What used to be a normal shaped wrist and arm now looked like a snake. His hand was hanging limp and his wrist already swollen. His head was bloody, his arm clearly broken and his forehead was already the size of a softball.

My heart was pounding. Tears were welling up. A knot immediately formed in my throat and another in my stomach. I frantically attempted to get the insurance cards, yet nothing in me wanted to leave his side.

As my husband peeled out of the driveway, I caught a glimpse of my son’s face. No one was in the car to comfort and encourage him because I had four other kids to put to bed and my husband had to drive. My son had tears streaming down his face and the most terrified look in his eyes.

I honestly think my heart could have ripped in half.

Tears now were streaming down my own face.

I called as quickly as I could in search of anyone that could come help me, and finally a young gal from our church answered and came over to the house as fast as she could. While I waited for her to arrive, I managed to put the other kids to bed and packed a bag to be ready to catch up to my husband and son at the children’s hospital.

The ER room was packed, and though my son was no longer screaming his face showed every bit of the pain he was in. By that time they had put him in a wheelchair and my husband was doing all he could to console him. My son was trying as best as he could to doze off and would even start to, but the wheelchair wasn’t stable and every time he would loosen the tightness in his core the padding underneath him would slip, jolt him, and send him back into screams of pain.

I gently slid myself underneath him and sat down in the wheelchair underneath him.

Exam room 22; children's hospital

I held him there, I sang to him, prayed for him, and told him repeatedly that everything would be okay—all the while not knowing anything about when or how the doctors would help him.

ER

Finally he fell asleep in my arms. I did not move even a single muscle.

It was this moment, and many more so very much like them, that were in the back of my mind as I later wrote the script for my entry video for the Labrada contest.

“Fitness in and of itself is NOT my biggest priority. Pursuing a life of strength and health allows me to do the best job possible as a wife and mom. I need to be ready…for anything and everything.”Kai in the Hospital

We spent 7 hours in that hospital. After Xrays, an IV,morphene, sedation, and casts we were sent home with two broken arms, a slight concussion and a young boy vomiting every twenty minutes as the morphene wore off.

11173354_10153268108389106_2903968109208882363_n

 

I was awake all night long as I held his head and cleaned him up each time he got sick, and it was my absolute and total joy to be the one to care for him.

In the days and weeks that followed we were overwhelmed with support, love and kindness from friends and family

kai's cards from school

He was not able to return to school for 6 weeks, which meant I was his main caretaker for every single thing he needed around the clock. With two broken arms he was unable to even wipe his nose or scratch his foot, much less eat or use the restroom on his own. He slept right by me during the night, and then in the day I got him a bell so that he could ring it every time he needed something.11182111_10153269978059106_4979657080895113524_n

I still had the other kids to care for, which meant there was absolutely no down time for me. From the second my feet hit the floor until the few moments I was able to sleep before Kai needed my help through the night, it was a constant and all-out sprint in service to my family.

It was those days, and so many similar to them, that I remembered in my mind when I wrote…

 “I know what it’s like to still pursue a fitness goal with little or no sleep, and little or no food and off the chart stress levels.”

Kai being spoiled

At this point I was already “behind” from beginning the fitness plan 7 weeks away from the deadline. And life was already busy with five little ones…and now a son with two broken arms and a concussion.kids helping kai

What was I to do?

Quit trying and forget about it all? Or keep trying, keep pushing, keep going, keep pressing on?

I chose to keep working.

I changed up EVERYTHING. I re-planned and re-organized and I managed the home to revolve around the needs of those around me, like I always did, only the needs were FAR greater than I had originally planned on.

The pace was even faster and the demands on me even higher. I kept up with my personal meal planning, and the family meal planning, sometimes doing food prep and cooking into the wee hours of the morning.

kai feeling better

I fit in workouts whenever I possibly could, but was unable to use the gym as I originally intended. I couldn’t bring myself to leave my son’s side for very long at all and there was NO way I was about to put him at risk going to the gym childcare room.

I had to think outside of the box, using videos from YouTube, using fitness DVD’s I purchased a decade ago, using fitness apps on my phone, or just making up workouts as I went along.

As my son began to feel better he would sit on a blanket outside at the park across the street from our house and clock me as I ran sprints and laps. I would let him pretend to be my coach and give me my exercises on demand! He would come up with the most goofy and silly things for me to do and we still laugh at how fun those workouts were!

No doubt it was a bonding experience!

So, how’d I do?! Well, I wasn’t as prepared as I wanted to be for the Spokesmodel contest…but that was not my number one priority. Life happens…and sometimes accidents happen. I know, with all confidence, that I wouldn’t change a single thing as I put my son first. He still speaks fondly about how much fun it was to be waited on hand and foot during those days. And my other kids joke that they want to break their arms too to get that kind of attention like he did! (Seriously, they’d better not!)

The script for my entry video came from my genuine convictions that nothing will come before caring for my family. I do what I do TO care for my family.

Fitness, for me, has so little to do with what I look like in a swim suit. To have the strength to carry my son, to hold him for intensely long amounts of time, to have the endurance to meet his needs, as well as care for the remainder of my home without the rest and food I needed…there is no way I could have done that without being healthy and strong.

Fitness is NOT my biggest priority, rather it is a means to another end, caring for those I love most.

hugging pic

In case you missed it, the link to my Labrada entry video is here. My brother and I filmed this to enter the 2015 Labrada Spokesmodel Competition. He did such a wonderful job capturing a day in the life of the Wallace Family. And most certainly, check out my son’s rockin’ casts! 🙂

He chose red!

 

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6 Steps: Staying Sane With Laundry For Seven

My neighbor, who I adore, came home the other day while the kids and I were playing outside. While we were chatting she began pulling out of the trunk of her car numerous laundry baskets FILLED with dirty clothes! It took me a minute to realize what she was doing, but as soon as it registered in my mind I asked her why in the world she had so much laundry in the back of her car.

Her reply?!

“I help out my daughter-in-law every week so that she can stay on top of it all.”

Alright, so, if I’m honest, this sort of blew my mind. In a great way. Not only has she been an amazing neighbor to me, but watching how she loves her family, both her own kids and her grandkids, has been one of the absolute best parts about living next door to her.

laundry time!

However…for the rest of us…for those of us who do not have family just down the street, or someone coming to pick up our laundry to help us not get overwhelmed, or the ability to pay for a laundry service…if you’re one of those who has to figure it all out on your own too…then maybe this post is for you!

As our family rapidly grew I’ve had to think through new ways to be able to get done what needs to get done in more efficient ways. What is required for my family now wasn’t necessary a few short years ago.

Kids Together

New people in the family means new systems for the family.
No doubt, laundry is one of those.

The thing about laundry is that it truly is never done. Might seem crazy, but I’ve only just realized this within the last couple of years. I always had this mindset that I would get the laundry finished and then move onto the next task or to-do. But no. That’s not how it works. Laundry is only done until evening time when the fantastic five change out of their days’ clothes and put on PJ’s. And then it’s all back in the hampers again.

Here’s the thing…You’ve got options.

Option 1: Get it all done in one day.

Option 2: Get it done all throughout the week.

Option 3: Don’t do it.

Option 4: Pray like mad that a fairy god mother shows up (like my neighbor) and takes it away dirty and brings it back clean, and folded, and helps you put it away.

Clearly, option 3 and 4 aren’t really options. Giving up, letting it swallow you up, or downright ignoring it won’t help at all. Coming up with a plan that truly works for YOUR home will.

Let’s look at options 1 & 2. There is no right or wrong answer here, this is really a personal choice. It may depend on your personality, your schedule, or your preferences. So take an honest look at how you are wired, what you want, and what your needs are and start there.

With option 1, you have a sense of accomplisment, but it is far more work at one time because you’ve waited so long between washings.

With option 2, you never feel like you’re finished, but your loads are smaller and you can fit it into the normal ongoing rhythms of your life.

There’s a pro and a con in both. For me, I’ve chosen a “blend” of option 1 & 2. Here’s how it works (for now) in our home…

Step 1: WASHING: I normally start laundry on Sunday morning. I’ll begin gathering all clothes up from the various hampers around the house on Saturday night, but I’ll start the first load on Sunday morning. If that first one finishes before we leave the house for church, then I’ll toss that into the dryer and then begin washing load 2. By the time we get home, load one is done drying and load 2 is done washing and I switch it out and throw in the next one. And so on, and so on….until it is all washed.

laundry pile!

Step 2: DRYING: As each load finishes drying I take those loads out and literally toss them onto the floor in a heaping pile in my living room. I’m usually done washing/drying it all by Sunday evening, but if not, then I’ll use the first part of Monday morning to finish it off.

Crew unloading dryer
Even two year olds can help! He loves to throw the clean laundry into the bin.

Step 3: BASKETS/BINS: Here’s where it starts to get practical. I’ve created bins for sorting. I have 2 large baskets for gathering laundry from the hampers around the house, as well as for moving the clean, dry clothes from the dryer to the living room floor.laundry baskets

But I also have stackable bins that are labeled. I have 6 of those.
I’ve labeled them: DAD, MOM, KATE, OLDERS, LITTLES, and MISC.

dad laundry bin misc bin

(Note: Because they are so close in age, my older two boys wear the same size as one another, and my younger two kids do as well, but create your bins based on what needs your family has. Miscellaneous is for leftover socks, towels, wash cloths, swim suits, dish rags, etc….anything that wouldn’t go in the other bins.)

These bins can stack up high on top of one another, or they can collapse for easy storage. I bought them at Walmart, super cheap.

stackable laundry bins

The labels are homemade. I bought these from Michaels.

laundry labels-from Michaels

I used iron on letters for the writing. Any font or color will do!

iron on letters

And I love the chalkboard tags as well!!! Find those HERE.

I have a jar on my craft table that always has twine in it, so I used that to tie the labels to the bins.

jar of twine

Step 4: SORTING: This is when it starts to get fun! Whoa! Yes, I actually said fun. On Monday afternoon, when homework is finished, I bring all of the kids into the living room. We put on music and all sit together by the sky high pile of laundry. We spread out the bins with the labels on them, and I go over with each child which bin says what name on it.

olders laundry bin

And then the throwing begins!!!

Each of us grabs an item and tosses it into the correct bin until the pile is gone and the bins are filled! I always hope and pray that no one comes to my door on Monday afternoons. Clothes are everywhere!!!

laundry sorted into bins

This is what it looks like when it’s all finished being sorted. My daughter loves it because she sees that it is all getting in order, she likes things neat and tidy. The boys love it because it’s kind of like basketball! We laugh and play together, all while getting this huge job done.

**Extra Tip: For the older kids, I sometimes step away and have them do this while I am making dinner on Monday night. It’s a great way to have them work together, as well as not be right under my feet in the kitchen.

Step 5: FOLDING: The Princess, now 9, folds her own laundry. I spent some time with her awhile back teaching her how to fold correctly and she is now more than capable and actually enjoys it. The older two boys still need some coaching on how to keep things straight, but for the most part they too are able to fold. I fold the clothes in my bin, my husbands bin, the MISC bin and the younger 2 kids’ bins.

folded laundry

**Extra Tip: We have chosen to hang ALL shirts. We have dresser drawers for all of the pants, pajamas, shorts and underwear, but every shirt is hung up. This makes folding easier because I simply need to lay out and stack all of the shirts. It also makes picking out clothes for the day easier since they can see the front of each shirt.

boys dresser drawers

boys closet-long sleeve shirts on top, short sleeve shirts on bottom
boys closet-long sleeve shirts on top, short sleeve shirts on bottom

Step 6: PUT AWAY: Once the clothes have been sorted and folded, I take each bin up to the corresponding room in which it belongs. Again, my daughter is responsible to put away all of her clothes. And the older boys need a little bit more assistance and supervision.

finished bins

           **Extra Tip: I take the stacked pile of shirts and lay them on the floor by the closet doors. I then get out a large amount of hangers and place those on top of the shirts. This is a great chore for smaller kids (age 2 and up) because putting hangers on shirts is relatively easy, even for young kids. I then follow up and help them place the shirts in the right place in the closet.

I leave a stack like this by their closet to let the boys know it's time to put the shirts on hangers.
I leave a stack like this by their closet to let the boys know it’s time to put the shirts on hangers.

Steps 5 & 6 are the ones that are the most time consuming, which is why I said it was a blend of both options 1 & 2. I will usually consider it “done” after the sorting is completed and then will return to the folding and putting away sometime on Tuesday.

He thinks he's helping! :)
He thinks he’s helping! 🙂

The rest of the week I still do some laundry loads, but it is simply on an as needed basis, or if there are extras for that particular week.  Sometimes I will rotate whose bedding is needing to be cleaned, or rotate the bath towels or swim towels. I’m still doing other loads of laundry on other days, but I do not return to the “clothes” part of it until the following Sunday.

Crew Bear "helping" with laundry

Even though I know the bins are filling up the remainder of the week, I personally, thoroughly enjoy feeling like laundry is accomplished early in the week.


Alright! Your turn! Share with me what you do!
Do you have any tips that we all could benefit from? What works in your home? Or what laundry difficulties do you still need help with?
Oh, and if you’re one of those amazingly blessed women that have help with your laundry every week then comment below and let us celebrate with you the people who love you so much!!!

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