It’s called “sweet summertime” for a reason, and there is no season that I literally count down the days to more than the months of June, July and August!
It is my recharge time to be sure, and a time when the longer hours of daylight energize me in a way that I just don’t feel any other time of year.
While I use that extra Vitamin D recharge to catch up on chores and projects that I simply did not have the time or energy for in the other months.
That doesn’t mean I am not always looking for ways to keep things simple and relaxed!
Here are a few of my greatest hits!
• Stay Cool: When those summer heat waves hit for weeks at a time, it can be hard to muster up the energy to enjoy any summer fun!
That’s where these fun cooling hacks come in. If you are enjoying some pool time watching the kids practice their cannonballs, keep a bowl of ice in front of an oscillating fan for some instant air conditioning!
While you are at it, make some DIY cooling towels for your crew by making a sponge necklace.
Cup sponges, soak in water and keep in the freezer.
When they need to cool down, place the necklace around their neck for an instant cool-down!
I learned this hack from a fellow travel baseball parent — and those boys were so grateful for that cool treat after playing ball in the blazing July sun!
Lastly, freeze aloe in ice cube trays to amplify the healing effects — the aloe will heal and cool at the same time and make relieve that sunburn even more quickly!
• Summer BBQ’s Made Easy: I love a good cookout, even when it is just my boys and me dining!
Is there anything better than summer food enjoyed al fresco on a nice summer evening?
Whether you are feeding your family or a large crew, there are a few fun meal prep hacks that can make you, the busy hostess, a lot more relaxed once those burgers hit the grill!
First, ditch the ice bucket for a brightly colored colander and bowl — place the ice in the colander, and the melted water will drain into the pool — no more watered-down ice for your drinks!
Next, take your dessert serving skills to the next level — and save yourself so much time — by scooping ice cream into lined muffin tins — keep them in the freezer until you are ready to serve dessert — the simplicity hack of your ala mode dreams!
While you are digging out those muffin tins, put another one to good use by using it as a condiment station — the presentation is super cute, saves tabletop space for some cute decor, and makes topping your burger or hotdog that much easier!
A fun variation on this is to repurpose those cardboard drink carriers or inexpensive plastic caddies to hold full-size bottles of your favorites — it still saves space and makes clean-up that much easier.
• Backyard Hacks: If diving in the pool or grilling brats isn’t your idea of a good time, I bet finding ways to siesta on a lazy summer day might appeal to you instead.
One of my favorite childhood memories was snoozing in a hammock between two cherry trees.
I have a fancy-pants store-bought hammock, but it isn’t the same as those old-school hammocks.
To create an easy DIY backyard relaxation station, get some rope and a sheet — tie the ends of the rope around each end of the sheet and stretch it between two sturdy trees.
Voila, you have an instant nap spot.
While you are enjoying your backyard haven, grab some pavers to create your own one-of-a-kind fire pit to do some serious firefly watching on those lazy July evenings.
If the skeeters and flies drive you crazy, fill votive cups or mason jars with sliced lemons — add chopped cloves to the fruit for an easy, all-natural bug repellent that smells amazing in the summer twilight!
• Thriving Landscapes: I have pretty much the opposite of a green thumb, and this is compounded in the summer months when the hot blazing sun and heat take their toll on even the heartiest of plants.
While I can’t say that I have had a ton of success with these hacks personally, my resolve to keep trying not to have a yard full of dead plants and flowers remains strong!
If you are going on vacation, try this easy plant-watering hack to ensure your thirsty flowers don’t get too dry when you leave.
Get a wine bottle, drill a hole into the cap or cork, then fill it with water.
Place the bottle head down into the plant, and you will have a nice steady supply for your plant!
You can also do this for your garden area too — use a plastic soda bottle, poke holes in the side, and soak a sock with water.
Put the sock into the bottle and place it top down into your garden.
It will release water through the holes in the bottle for ongoing plant hydration!
It is a great way to recycle all those plastics your family uses too!
If you want to grow vegetables or plant new flowers in your yard — but cannot till the area yourself, try smothering the area with cardboard.
You need a layer or two of cardboard as well as mulch.
Lay down the cardboard, then cover it with mulch.
The former will eventually kill the weeds, and the area will be ready for new plantings in no time!
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)