Our Super Fun Day!

First thing I made our usual for breakfast: scrambled eggs and toast. I drank a green juice while I cooked.419efbblog

Lyla was in the bathroom with me while I got ready and so I did a little twist in her hair. To keep her entertained I let her watch toddler shows on my phone.

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I didn’t take any more pictures until just before we left for the park. We go to the park to eat our lunch as often as possible. I got this cooler online for camping but we’ve used it for picnics instead so far and I LOVE it. It’s the perfect size for our family of 7. *all links in this post are affiliate links

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Soooo, want to see how much easily fit in that cooler, with room to spare??

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This was a “snack” type lunch, usually we have sandwiches and fresh fruit and veggies but this was a haven’t-gone-grocery-shopping lunch! haha

This day was the first day I tried out these collapsible cups I got for hiking, too! I needed to get stuff that saves space so I’m not carrying the biggest, heaviest load of supplies when we’re outdoors this summer. These worked great! Surprisingly my kids were obsessed with them, even Lyla! (link at end of the post)

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I also got these caps for baby food pouches or applesauce pouches. Lyla has been liking applesauce lately but spills (purposefully) everywhere and these make that impossible!

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If you haven’t heard, Costco has peeled hard boiled eggs that are amazing! I buy them all the time because they’re one of ALL of my kids favorite foods, but especially Lyla!

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And then we have Everett with one of his favorite foods: lunch meat!

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Sierra and then Payson:

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There’s a water fountain at the park and the kids got their own refills the whole time we were there.

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We prefer to sit at the picnic tables there but there was a huge family having a birthday party so we sat on the grass in the shade.

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You know what’s fun? Pouring your juice into your cup.

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My kids love Capri Sun.

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So while we were eating Payson and some of the other kids were racing around the grass when Payson fell in a big muddy spot!

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Payson got cleaned up as much as possible in the water fountain and then it was on to playing!

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Look at this cute swing they have for parents swinging with babies or toddlers!! Ugh, I love it so freaking much!

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Before getting in the car, snapped a couple pictures of the two “E” kids. haha

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Speaking of the “E” kids, the bigger kids wanted to stay home while I ran to Target so it was just me and the younger three kids! We had a fun shopping trip and then these two got icees!

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We love Target!

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And then Ember let Lyla hold her icee and…

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Links:

 

 

The Park!

My kids nickname all the parks we go to, we have the library park and the apartment park and the neighborhood park and this park is the kite park. Because we first flew our kites at this park. haha

We LOVE the kite park! It’s the freaking best! A huge field, a basketball court, a tennis court, a sand pit, the playground itself is cool, and a workout area! And it even has pretty decent bathrooms and drinking fountains!

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Lyla is such a brave two year old. She climbs everything, goes on the biggest slides without hesitation, and never looks back! She loves rock walls!

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Since we don’t have a backyard living in apartments I keep all our outside toys in the back of our van most of the time so that when we stop at parks we can use them. I rarely have room for groceries because of the bouncy balls, hula hoops, kites, sand toys, etc! haha

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My kids LOVE sand pits. This day was the first this year they’d played in one and it got so messy.

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The last thing we did was jump off swings!

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Do You Know What I LOVE?

My new backpack. I’ve had it two months now and love it more each and every day. You know how finding a bag you like as a mom is just about impossible? That is my experience anyway. You research bags for hours, you watch videos, you read reviews, you try them out in stores, and eventually you purchase one and half the time (more than half?!) they just don’t do everything you want them to do.

And even if you find the perfect bag, your needs change! Seemingly overnight because kids grow and change so frequently and that means your bag needs change!

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(To read about my blog and affiliate links skip to the last couple paragraphs of this post!)

I’m not going to sit here and tell you to buy MY bag, because your needs are likely totally different than mine. Maybe you want something high end (this is not it), maybe you want something small (this is not it), maybe you want something with ten thousand pockets (this is not it), etc, etc.

But what I needed this bag has and I LOVE it!

I wanted FIRST a bag that has a stay-open main compartment. I had a bag like that when Everett was a baby and as a photographer mom on the go having my bag stay open so I can grab my camera easily is primary for me. I’m guessing this is a very particular-to-me need! haha. But I have taken my dSLRs with me since Brooklyn was a baby. I mean honestly since I was a teenager and bought my first one! Me + a camera always! I hear most moms, even my “old” (long term) photographer mom friends are now using phones for basically all their photos and leaving their big cameras at home. And I get that, it’s easier. But I just do not personally like my phone photos like I do my real camera photos. I have a samsung galaxy note 9, too, so it’s not like I have a piece of poop phone… I still just don’t prefer the phone look.

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Can I tell you the best part of this bag? It was almost free! I took some time to set up affiliate links through Amazon way back when I did my apartment “tour” post. I didn’t really have time to do that but had been asked a bunch of times where things were from so I made that blog post and for the first time in my life used affiliate codes and made enough money to partly cover the cost of this (already cheap) bag! If you click on the link for this bag you’ll see it costs around $40 (Amazon prices change) and I paid $14 out of pocket for it so yep, I have made a whopping $26 on Amazon. lol!

But you know what, I value every penny of that $26 because it’s $26 I had to go toward buying myself a desperately-needed backpack and that bag adds major value to my life every single stinking day. Every day.

And that’s why I felt like posting about it, because I love it. I love using it. That’s all.

If you want to buy one please BELIEVE me when I say it feels like cheap quality for the price tag. Like less than WalMart quality (because I have actually found WalMart diaper bags to be pretty awesome) and I’m guessing the straps will break before a year is up. They show zero signs of wear and tear so far after two months of rough use (I’m a beast to my bags) but I read reviews that showed the straps breaking and the straps feel so flimsy.  They don’t hurt my shoulders or anything at all like that, but they feel like they’ll come undone eventually. If you want I’ll let you know if it breaks. Because I’ll just be buying the same exact bag again when that happens because the rest of it is awesome. Like, the pockets on the side of the backpack are huge and I can toss my giant cell phone in there easily. I can even reach around and grab my cellphone out of the side pocket while it’s on my back!!! I’ve never been able to do that with any other bag.

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I made this link to the bag an affiliate link just because hey, I found this thing after researching forever and it doesn’t affect you to use my link. I don’t blame you if you don’t… if you want to click off my page and Amazon search for it instead just to avoid giving me the 4% kickback I totally get that and the exact search to use is: “Kah&Kee Leather Backpack Diaper Bag with Laptop Compartment Travel School for Women Man (Camel, Large)”

But if you don’t mind people using affiliate links here it is: My Favorite Backpack

*And now a whole bunch of talking about affiliate links*

Sometimes when other bloggers or instagrammers use affiliate links or are sponsored, I think what bugs me is that I don’t know what they’re getting back and how motivated by money they are in sharing with me so I immediately am turned off. ALL, and I mean 100%, of my affiliate links are for products I have sought out, researched, found, and bought. It’s not like I’m using Amazon to then sell to others. I’m buying things I like and then once in a while when I get around to blogging, if I share something I like and use links I figure… taking time to do this, I might as well use affiliate links.

Purchasing through the affiliate links I share makes me spending the time to share feel more worthwhile. I spent two hours putting together my apartment tour post and made $30 off of it. I think that sounds fair. It motivates me to use links if I share about products. IT doesn’t motivate me to blog more, though. I’ll blog forever because I love it. haha.

Also when I went to get that link on Amazon I saw the lavender version of my bag again and want it. Maybe if the one I have breaks I’ll get that color next. I love lavender!

Blog Struggles and Complaints.

I’m having a really hard time dealing with the formatting on my blog lately. I don’t know if wordpress did some updates or something but one day I noticed that two years of my blog photos are just not showing up at all. I spent a little time searching for solutions but quickly gave up. I don’t have time to mess around with a blog. I used to, but I don’t anymore. I have zero patience and desire to fight with something.

It used to work, JUST WORK! Ugh.

That’s why I haven’t been blogging. I get massive motivation to, I feel like it again, I have hundreds of photos edited and resized and ready to go and I open my wordpress site and start adding photos and trying to type and it’s just a total MESS. I HATE it. And being busy and having this JUST be a hobby means that the second there is a struggle and it looks like total crap after the effort of uploading and writing… it takes the wind totally out of my sails and I angrily shut the web window and tell myself, “Forget it, just go make chatbooks and social books from your other social media accounts.” And that’s exactly what I do and it works fine, I have our life documented in books in our apartment for us to flip through, yay for that, BUT I genuinely like looking through photos and stories on my blog. My old blogging is entertaining to me. I LOVE being able to go to the search bar and type in a keyword I’m looking for and find the photos and stories in literally two seconds! “Ember’s birth…” boom, Ember’s birth. “Sierra’s first foot doctor appointment…” boom, first doctor visit to look at Sierra’s toe walking.

I’m mad at my blog. I wish I had time to invest in figuring out code better but I can’t and I’m just plain old sad about it.

(Here are some random photos, just so this isn’t 100% complaining. haha)

We used dots and toothpicks to make things, just like we did in 2016. (That link perfectly shows how some of my photos just disappeared. Grr)

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These were for school when we were learning about colonial times. Hornbooks. Colonial children used them to learn from.009efbblog

I thought I already posted these next photos, if I did, sorry. I traced the kids’ bodies on a large roll of paper and they’re drawing and coloring their organs and body parts for science.011efbblog017efbblog020efbblog026efbblog

Random Photos

One day Ember was drinking a cup of milk and it matched her shirt pretty well so I took a picture. 010efbblog

My fridge in my apartment is pretty small, smaller than I’m used to. Trying to keep enough food on hand, fitting in there, for seven people is so difficult! I usually take all frozen foods out of their boxes to make room. I write cooking instructions on post it notes and stick them in the freezer for reference.

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What did Lyla do while I was putting groceries away?

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Taking “School” Pictures!

Brooklyn, Sierra, Payson, and Ember had pictures taken at school (of course) and I decided to try to copy the school photos as best as I could in order to have six “matching” portraits to hang on the wall. The first set of school pictures were taken in the fall and the photographer used a blue backdrop. I bought some felt with a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby to mimic the look. Then the school had a photographer come out for spring photos as well! The backdrop was a blossoming tree and they used a ladder and prop. I didn’t try to copy those photos perfectly because I didn’t want to spend any money so we just went outside and found a similar looking tree and took photos in front of it!

So here are all the extra photos I snapped the day I took the spring pictures along with some photos I grabbed from my instagram account to show the finished product!

New Fans and Camping Bunk Beds!

The A/C in my apartment is not working and despite the apartment “person” (I don’t know the title) coming to check on things and try to fix it, no luck. They called the A/C company (again, not sure the name of this stuff) but they’re ignoring the request for service for now so we’re just sweating to death in our 80 degree place. The REAL problem was this was the same week we got sick and all had really bad fevers!!! I kept the windows open all day but at night we were still pretty warm. I promptly bought some fans from WalMart and now we’re sleeping in breezy peace.

Also if you’re wondering about Payson and Ember in those cot-like bunk beds (camping bunk beds!) it’s because most nights they come in my room and sleep on my floor (“we’re scared!”) and it’s often enough that I felt bad for them on the floor and got them these. During the day they drape blankets over them and pretend the bottom bunk is a fort 🙂

You can find them using this Amazon affiliate link. (Cost is the same for you with my link but gives me a few cents and as a single mom of six, I could use even a few cents. haha)

I have a lot of other camping gear that’s really space saving and useful for a large family, let me know if you’re interested in a future post about that!