I love summer. I’m from Texas, and I’ll take heat over cold any day. However, there are always pieces of it that need to be “survived.” Or perhaps, overcame is a better word for this idyllic season. Every summer it seems like I add new things to the arsenal. Often it is the small things, like some miracle bug spray or a favorite snack, that keeps the wheels turning around here. I thought I’d put together a little post about a few of my favorite things so far. Even though the true summer season is only about a week old, for us, summer is at its half-way point.
*Some of these products have affiliate links. It just means if you buy them, I get a small commission. It doesn’t affect the price you pay at all, and I would never recommend something I don’t love. It has nothing to do with me writing this post. It’s Made Frank after all.
1 | How to Survive Summer Mosquito Season
You can laugh here, but where we live, I feel like a big part of my job description is Mosquito Repeller. It’s an entire job description. I have three tools I utilize that have been keeping those blood suckers away. I abhor mosquitos and am willing to go to great lengths and expense to keep them away.
We had been using a mosquito spraying company and weren’t seeing any difference. And here is why. Mosquitos lay eggs in standing water, but they retreat to bushes and under things like decks during the day. Late afternoon/evening, they sneak back out. We literally have zero foliage in our yard. So spraying did not work at all. They are probably coming from our neighbor’s yards. We had to find other options. So, here are my current ones that actually seem to keep them away.
I discovered these last year I think. They have been awesome. Here’s how they work. There is a butane cartridge in the lantern that ignites. On top of the lantern is a metal “plate.” You slide a flat blue mat onto the plate. The mat has an odor masker that is emitted and basically hides your carbon dioxide. (Your smell). Supposedly they are good for 15 square feet. I think that’s ambitious. But I read at night outside and don’t get bit once these puppies warm up. The refills can be annoying but so worth it. Especially compared to the cost of spraying.
Pretty straightforward. It’s a deet-free bug spray that I don’t mind using on the adults and kids alike.
These are awesome for the kiddies. They are fantastic for when you don’t want to spray them down. I do keep a sleeve in my purse so I can stick some on their clothes for those times we are out and need them. My purse is heavy enough without a bottle of bug spray. The stickers are not inexpensive but especially when they were a bit younger, they were all we used. I used to only put one on the back of their shirt but as they got taller I put one on the front up high and one on the back of their shorts. Also, a trick is that if you don’t use them long, put them back in the pouch and reuse! Love ’em.
I have tried several homemade essential oil recipes and have found that only ones with Lemon Eucalyptus seem to work for us. Not Lemon and Eucalyptus mixed, but it is its own oil. Also, note that different body chemistries attract mosquitos differently. So sometimes certain mixtures work for you and others may seem worthless!
Next on the survival list:
2 | SNACKS.
I mentioned this on my Instagram. I hate running out the door and remembering that I don’t have a snack for the kids. It seems to be severely exacerbated by the summer. I typically avoid plastic containers…but for summer snack kits, it’s ziploc snap containers for the win. These are the ones I use. I have a couple different sizes, these smaller ones, and a few bigger ones. I pack some non-perishable crunchy thing and a couple apple sauces in the big ones.
I read a great tip recently on habits. When you try and add something new to the routine, tack it onto to something you already do. For example. I buy dry snacks in bulk and on grocery day, when I am unloading the normal bags, cause I have to do that, I refill the containers. No problem. In the summer this becomes saving lunch prep status.
Being honest here, keeping up with the lids is not my fave. But that annoyance is offset by the victorious feeling of grabbing a container and running. If I want to up the health factor, I grab a stick of cheese or fruit to add in. You can definitely do this with fresh snacks and store them in the fridge. But my summer reality is feeding large amounts of college students and my fridge can barely breathe.
3 | Be prepared.
This actually fits quite nicely with number 2. I am learning a lot about how my lack of being prepared and not leaving us time to get that way and make it out the door, causes a lot of problems. Namely, mommy is short-tempered and a dictator. I’ve been able to see how always feeling like we are running late is my fault most of the time. Why? I’m not prepared.
Now I’m trying things out like…packing the swim bag for the next swimming lesson when I unpack it from the current day. So I completely pack the bag. I grab the snacks I have already prepped, double check for goggles and whatever swim gear we need, pack a change of clothes for each boy to put on after their lesson, roll up towels and put them in. I even write a check and stick it in the pocket to pay for the lesson. Those things like running back in the door to grab a check are what kills me every time.
I use the same habit-forming step of tacking it on to something I’m already doing. In this case, unpacking the wet stuff out of the bag has to be done. 5 min later we are ready for the next round and I don’t have to think about it again.
4 | How to Stop the Summer Outdoor Toy Invasion.
This is simple and explained in few words. Outdoor storage boxes.
Look. I would love a locker or cubby system in our garage that our diligent children and their disciplined parents would consistently utilize after picking up the yard 10 times a day. But that is not my real life. Probably isn’t a lot of your lives either. This place is all about real life, so here’s my truth.
Our yard consistently looks likes trashy little rainbow gnomes live there. The only way to contain the gnomes and their rainbow toy poop is attractive outdoor storage cubes. Grab toys, dump in cubes. Call it done. We have two of these on either side of our porch, and they do their job and aren’t ugly. I can’t help with the aforementioned diligence or discipline.
On to the last one!
5 | How to Save Your Sunburned Skin.
Sunscreen, duh…yes, I know prevention makes this last one irrelevant. But we all at some point have underestimated our “base tan” or assumed that we can’t get sunburned on a cloudy day. And then we have gone on to discover how foolish we are. I’m completely trampling my hubs here, but he can be a bit stubborn about the need for sunscreen. I mixed this up several years ago, and every summer I get multiple people walking gingerly into my house, begging for me to make them a bottle.
It’s simple, it’s natural, and it’s fairy juice level stuff. I’m not joking, Bret had a sunburn that should have blistered and peeled twice. And within 24 hours, it was still red but not painful. 48-72 hours, redness was gone and little to no peeling at all. There are only a few things with essential oils that I will claim miracle status. This is one. It also doubles as a general booboo spray.
Here’s the “recipe”:
Sunburn Relief Spray
4 oz spray bottle like this one
20 drops of Peppermint oil
20 drops of Lavender oil
5-10 drops of Tea tree oil
Witch hazel to fill the rest of the bottle.
Shake well with every use. Spray liberally multiple times a day. The peppermint is cooling, the lavender and tea tree help heal the burned skin. If over time the spray loses its potency, add more oils in these proportions.
I hope you don’t need it…but bet someone will!
Well. That’s all for now. I would love to hear the things in your summer survival kit. You are all brilliant and I know you could share some of your knowledge with me!
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