If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones you know that “winter is coming,” but not around these parts. Sorry, John Snow, “Summer is Coming.” And for this mom, there's no lounging in the lounge chair because I have multiple kids in multiple parts of the pool or beach. If you make eye contact with me, I’ll ask you to watch one kid doggie paddling while I fish the other out of the pool filter or stop them mid-stomp through someone’s sandcastle. If you've got pool or beach time on your summer calendar, you need these sanity savers and maybe a vacation from your vacation!
Sand, sand everywhere!
- Use an inexpensive mesh laundry bag to load up all of your kids' sand toys, buckets and shovels. The lightweight bag is easy to carry or drag down the beach (so tiny hands can help). Before you head inside, rinse everything right in the bag at an outdoor shower or hose. Let the bag drip dry on the balcony or deck and it's ready to go for the next day!
- An easy way to keep sand from overtaking your beach blanket is to ditch the blanket and grab a fitted sheet. Flip the sheet upside down and in each corner put a bag or cooler so the sides of the sheet are flipped up. You just created a little barrier from the sand--at least for a little bit.
- Sandy cellphones are no fun. Put your phone inside a plastic sandwich bag to keep the sand out but you can still use the buttons.
- Want the sand off but don’t have a place to rinse? No problem! Stash a bottle of baby powder in your beach bag and sprinkle away. The sand magically falls off and who doesn't love the smell of baby powder? If your kids get a little over zealous with the sprinkle part, fill a child sized knee sock with baby power and tie it off with a ribbon. You've created a sand-be-gone-sack. Silly name but you'll have sandless hands and feet!
Color coordinate summer
- Have your kids choose their favorite color (brighter is better) and only buy bathing suits in that color. So if you're at a crowded beach or public pool, you can easily spot your kids because you always remember what color they are wearing and your eye goes right to that color. This year my daughter is all about hot pink and my son is neon green. So even if I'm distracted for a moment, I look up and my eyes go right to those bright bathing suits. Nothing makes a mother panic more than losing site of her kids for just a minute around water, but this trick saves valuable time because you can spot them easily and can always describe what they are wearing.
You packed what?
- A very important item you need for the beach are dog poo bags. Yes, dog poo bags. Throw a roll of these bags into your beach bag for wet bathing suits, dirty diapers, sunblock explosions, taking home seashells, and every other mess or blowout you can and can’t plan for. The bags are small but super handy.
Re-purpose items you've already packed
- Pool noodles are super fun during the day while your kids are splashing around, but dry them off at night and tuck them under a fitted sheet on a bed and they work like a bumper for you kids. No need to move furniture or pack a bed rail, just use your noodle!
- Traveling with a baby? When you’re packing up the car, load up snacks and groceries in your laundry basket but when you arrive at your vacation spot, the laundry basket fits perfectly in the tub and keeps your baby safe and clean while they enjoy bath time.
- A day of cannonballs into the pool or dives into the ocean can lead to water in your kid’s ears. Ouch! Have them blow up a balloon for instant relief from the clogged ear! Fill the other balloons with water and freeze overnight. Use the frozen balloon in your cooler during the day and in the afternoon, have a fun water balloon race on the beach with the family. Fun and functional, I like it.
- Save the lid to your take-out coffee, flip it upside down, and put the stick of a popsicle in the drink hole and ta-dah--the lid catches drips and your kiddos little hands stay clean! Cupcake liners work too!
Protect that precious skin
- Slathering sunblock on your kids once a day isn't enough! Protect that precious skin and reapply sunscreen every two hours (less if they have been in the water). To remind yourself, set the alarm on your phone, download an app(you can find lots of free apps), or write on the back of sunscreen bottle the times you need to reapply.
Sunburn got you down? Try these tricks:
- Freeze aloe vera in ice cube trays for cool relief or put the entire bottle in the fridge for a quick cool down.
- Add two cups of apple cider vinegar to your bathtub. The vinegar will calm your hot skin
- Pour apple cider vinegar on a washcloth and dab your skin. Once it dries, add coconut oil. This combo should ease your pain and reduce redness by the next day
*Most important tip: take grandparents…. kidding, kinda. OK, most important tip Have SO MUCH Fun! Look out summer, here we come!