Stepping Up for Summer

While it might not have as many Hallmark movies as Autumn, Summer is the favorite season of many. Get your summer off to the right start! Read below for ideas on how to manage your home, kids and time to make the most out of summer.

Stocking Up for Summer

First things first, what products do you go through each summer? Check leftover sunscreen and bug spray to make sure it hasn’t expired. Purchase more of those items to make sure you are full stocked for the season. Some other items you may want to have in stock for whenever you want them are insect-repelling candles, grilling supplies, marshmallows and sticks, flashlights and batteries for blackouts, water balloons and popsicles.

Getting Your Home Ready for Summer

Keep your ceiling vents open and your floor vents closed in summer. This way cool air will circulate down. In winter, reverse them.

Set your ceiling fans to rotate counterclockwise in summer to keep cool air coming. In the winter, keep them rotating clockwise to get warmer air.

Change your HVAC filter every 90 days to keep it working efficiently. A clogged filter not only sends dirt and dust back into the air that is circulating, it adds stress to your unit, making it more likely it will break down on the hottest day of the year.

If you have window ACs, remove and clean them with soapy water about once a month during summer.

Termites and carpenter ants love warm weather and moist soil, so keep them at bay by making sure your gutters are clear and your home’s foundation doesn’t have mulch or firewood too close to it.

Make your lawn less appealing to ticks by keeping it regularly mowed. Don’t invite mosquitoes by leaving standing water in your backyard in birdbaths or watering cans. And keep those toddler water tables covered when not in use.

Summer storms can leave you without energy for hours or even days. Make sure your home is prepared for tornadoes, hurricanes and blackouts. You need:

3 gallons of water per person

Non-perishable food

Battery-powered radio

Flashlight and extra batteries

First Aid kit

Dust mask

Wrench or pliers


Getting Your Car Ready for Summer

Before road trip season begins, take your car in for a tune-up or give it a self-check to make sure it is in good condition to withstand long hours in grueling heat.

Inspect all four tires. Insert a quarter upside down into the grooves. If any part of George Washington’s head is covered, it’s time for new tires.

Check tire pressure when the car is cool, not right after a drive.

Listen for a grinding sound or vibration when you apply the brakes. Either one are a warning to get them checked.

Get your battery checked by a professional.

Make sure you have your engine oil, coolant, windshield wiper and other fluids full before a trip.

Keep your car well-supplied with water. If it breaks down along the road, that is your most crucial supply.

Do you leave near an ocean or lake? Keep your beach bag in your car at all times in summer so you can feel free to enjoy a spur-of-the-moment dip. And don’t forget the bucket of beach toys for the kids (also great at local parks with sandboxes). Scroll down for more on what to keep in that bag.

Keep a picnic blanket in your car, too, so you can enjoy sitting under a tree in a beautiful location you just happen to pass by. It can also double as a park bench cushion while sitting at a playground.

For a more complete list of what to keep in your car all year long, check out this post:

Scheduling Summer

Whether because of a school schedule or because client meetings are happening less frequently, summer can often mean extra time. But too often, having an abundance of extra time can cause you to be lax when it comes to scheduling. After all, how could you possibly run out of time? Then, before you know it, summer is over and your to-do list is longer than your done list. So start scheduling get-togethers, play dates for the kids and other events early on, especially since travel schedules can overlap with friends.

Summertime is filled with lots of (often free) concerts, movies, dancing, classes and other events in your local parks. Create a master list of the ones that interest you and share with friends. Use this template to get started:

29Lakeside ParkOpera ConcertFree
1The Harbor VillageBoating Festival$15
3Forest ParkFamily CarnivalFree
8North Street ChurchSummer FairFree
15Franklin MeadowsMuch Ado About Nothing$10

Summer with Kids

If you have small children at home and take them to classes at the library often, check for summer updates to schedules, which usually follow a school calendar.

Try some park-hopping this summer, rather than finding yourself in the same location every time. Make a master list of parks near you, and note their distance and amenities, such as space for picnics, hiking, playgrounds (and what is special about each one) and, of course, splash pads.

Use this template to get started:

Fairview Park20 minutesyesnometal dinosaurno
Lakeside Park10 minutesyesnobig rope climbyes
3rd Street Park15 minutesyesyesmusical disksno
Riverside Walk7 minutesnoyesnono
Monroe Park5 minutesyesyestypewriter keysyes
La Villa Park23 minutesyesnono baby swingsno
Bayette Arboretum18 minutesnoyestreehouse on green pathno

Speaking of splash pads, be sure to keep a park bag in your car with everything you’ll need for surprise trips:

  • bathing suits and/or change of clothes
  • towels
  • water-friendly shoes
  • sunscreen
  • sunglasses
  • water-friendly hat

Stroller jogging groups can be a great way to exercise and socialize without the need for a sitter, but keeping tots cool in summer is crucial. Get a soft ice pack and wrap in a towel to place between your little one’s back and their stroller. This will help them to stay cool and keep from getting irritated on long strolls.

Working at home while the kids are home from school? Create a schedule in writing (or pictures for younger children) to show when they are with you and when they are playing on their own. Provide lots of activities, but also give those activities stop times. Knowing there’s an end time makes it more appealing and less likely your children will get bored as quickly. (No, your child will not actually stick to this schedule, but they will feel a lot less bored by at least attempting to structure themselves.)

Kids getting bored during hikes? Use this Nature Scavenger Hunt on a clipboard (with a pen attached on a string or rubber band) to make them more entertaining. Bonus: they will practice chart-making skills for math without realizing it.

Step Up Your S’mores

Try using thin chocolate squares for your s’mores. They’re the perfect size, won’t get messy being broken apart, and if you want to experiment a bit, choose ones with a flavored filling.

Packing Your Beach Bag Like a Boss

If you live near a community pool, lake or ocean, keep your beach bag packed and in your trunk at all times. You’re more likely to get the most out of the water when you’re always prepared for a quick dip or picnic on the shore. Here’s the ultimate list of what to keep inside:

  • Swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Regular sunscreen
  • Face sunscreen
  • Makeup remover, (for taking off sunscreen when you’re done in the sun and can’t wait to remove that sticky feeling)
  • Book
  • Large towel or beach blanket
  • Baby powder (for unsticking sand from your feet)
  • Water bottles
  • Snacks
  • Bandaids
  • Tissues
  • Mini garbage bag
  • Lip balm
  • Hairband

For Kids:

  • Life vest
  • Diving/sand toys
  • Goggles
  • Ear putty & waterproof headband

And on the topic of swimwear, you may have noticed that many swimsuit tops come with a thin foam layer in between two cloth layers. The problem is this inside layer can get turned around and bent in half when washed. To prevent this, simply sew one or two stitches to the inside layer of cloth. Pinch the outside layer with your non-sewing hand to separate it, then the inside stitch will keep the foam layer in place while remaining invisible. Do one stitch at each of the three corners of the foam layer.

For more sewing hacks, click this link:

Getting Yourself Ready for Summer

At the start of the season, make sure you have all the necessary supplies in stock:

  • sunscreen
  • aloe vera gel
  • poison ivy soap
  • itch cream
  • insect bite sucker
  • roll-on itch stick

Stay cool while out and about with a few simple tricks.

Keep a miniature roll-on sunscreen in your pocket or purse. It goes on just like deodorant so won’t mess your hands when you find yourself under more sun than you had intended.

Keep a hairband on your keychain to pull up long hair when the temperature rises. Getting hair off the back of your neck can do a world of difference to cool you off on hot days.

Get a wrap-around neck icer for walking. These slender ice packs cool off the part of your body that effects the rest of you the most.

Wash your hair right before going out and don’t blow-dry it. A cool, wet scalp will help you to feel cool for a couple hours.