Summer is my favorite season of the year. I am a jealous guard over our schedule — we plan as little as possible to allow plenty of time for swimming, cookouts, reading, and lounging. Some hints to pass along to keep summer carefree:

  • Apply sunscreen before leaving for the beach or pool to allow it to soak in for maximum protection.
  • Keep an old, flat bed sheet in the car. A sheet is great for picnics and lounging, doesn’t attract grass or sand, shakes out easily, and stays cool.
  • A good sprinkling of baby powder helps remove sand from sticky little bodies.
  • Store pool and beach toys in a mesh laundry bag to shake off sand and water.
  • A daily siesta is a must in our household! We participate in the library’s summer reading program (Mom included!) and spend time every afternoon lounging under a tree on a bed sheet with a stack of books.  Lemonade optional.
  • The freezer is stocked with homemade Popsicles made from yogurt with fruit, pudding with diced bananas, pureed fruit, left-over lemonade, and orange juice.
  • The easy-to-reach bottom shelf of the fridge is devoted to washable water bottles. Each child is excited to drink from their own special water bottle with a favorite movie character. They prefer their water bottle over sugary drinks.
  • After shopping at a farm stand, all hands participate in washing and preparing fresh fruits and vegetables. They’re stored in picnic- and eco-friendly containers and ready to grab for a snack by the pool or for a hike.
  • We use a salad spinner to clean garden lettuce by placing it in the basket with water (keep the spinner in the sink). Replace water until it is clear after spinning, then spin dry. My kids love to help with this chore!
  • When I purchase fresh meat, I put it in a container with a marinade before freezing. The meat is seasoned as it thaws in the refrigerator and ready for the grill.
  • We have our “Adventure Pack” always ready to go. I have a backpack stocked with sunscreen, insect repellent, baby wipes, antibacterial gel, a first aid kit, granola bars, tissues, extra batteries for the camera, antihistamine and an epi-pen for my daughter, a whistle, a bandana, and quarters for vending machines. When we decide to go on a hike, to the zoo, or for a day trip, we just need to add the camera and water bottles.

I would love to hear your favorite summertime hints!