Ways to Simplify Summer
This post was sponsored by the Maker of OxiClean™ Versatile Stain Remover through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about their Versatile Stain Remover, all opinions are my own.
Can you feel it? The temperatures are rising, gardens are springing to life with flowers and vegetables, and I’m putting off shopping for a new swimsuit. Yep, summer is almost here! Finding Simplify Summer strategies will minimize stress and maximize the good times you’ll undoubtedly have.
While summer brings a ton of opportunities for fun and memories, with it also comes a certain amount of chaos. I always feel a bit overwhelmed in preparing for the season of pools and watermelon, partly because of the seemingly endless amount of supplies I need to buy. The key that helps me to Simplify Summer as a budget-conscious mother of four is identifying items that can serve multiple purposes in my busy household. Not only does it make my shopping list shorter (which saves me precious time), it also saves me money and storage space! Check out the purchases at the top of my must-have list that can pull double or even triple duty.
1) Glow Sticks– Who DOESN’T love glow sticks? What I love even more than their neon lights is the wide variety of ways I can use them in the summertime. Not only are they helpful for keeping track of your kids when they play outside at night (we live in the country) or dusk, they serve many more practical and fun purposes around here. Place them in disposable plastic soft drink (or “Coke” as we say in the South) bottles that are full of water to make a fun nighttime bowling game! You can also throw a couple of them in a cooler under the ice to illuminate the drinks at an evening cookout or party so that everyone can find the drink they’re seeking. Put a couple in a gallon milk jug (filled with water) to create a lantern for camping or an inexpensive nightlight for a nervous child. I usually stock up on these at the dollar store when I set out to get my Simplify Summer supplies.
2) Cupcake Liners– Not only will these prevent you from having to clean the pan after each batch of cupcakes or muffins, cupcake liners can be super helpful in other ways in a house full of kids. When it’s time for Popsicle on a hot day take a cupcake liner and stick the Popsicle stick through the middle of the liner’s bottom (with the liner sides facing the top of the Popsicle) to create drip catcher! No more sticky hands and less ruined clothing is a big win in my book. You can use the cupcake liners as disposable snack holders at the park or in the car to hold dry snacks like cookies or crackers to keep the crumb spillage at bay. Also, if you’re tired of fishing gnats and other bugs out of drinks when you spend time outdoors use an inverted cupcake liner over the top of your cup. Stick a straw through the paper so that you can still sip your lemonade.
3) Towels– Obviously you’ll need these (and lots of them) for all of the water activities like swimming that you’ll be enjoying this summer, but don’t limit those fluffy wonders to drying off shivering children or something to keep you from sticking to the sun chaise. I always keep a few in my car to place over the seats during the summer to prevent the scorching of legs when we return to the car when it’s time to go home from the pool, grocery, or wherever we go. You can roll them up to make a pillow for the kid who needs a nap RIGHT NOW, so that he can lean on the window in comfort. Another obvious but important use for towels is cleaning up spills in the car, which always happens whenever someone doesn’t put the top back on their drink or drops a dipping sauce after a fast food run. Having a towel handy to mop up the kid involved and my car’s upholstery keeps things from spiraling out of control.
4) OxiClean™ Versatile Stain Remover– This stuff is like the Swiss Army knife of cleaners. Summer is the season of light-colored clothing, and throwing some Oxiclean™ Versatile Stain Remover in the washer keeps them from looking dingy. With the kids playing outdoors for large parts of the day, the laundry pile of tricky stains grows. No matter if they’ve gotten into red clay mud or have grass stains on their summer softball shorts, Oxiclean™ Versatile Stain Remover can handle whatever we throw at it. When someone inevitably gets BBQ sauce on their white cotton dress, or drops a Popsicle on their sister’s shorts, I send them straight to the laundry room. By starting my kids out early with the knowledge of effective fabric care I will save them a lot of puzzled anguish when they begin to do their own laundry.
It also works well on the messes that get tracked indoors on the carpet, and can even be used to freshen up the area outside our home where we entertain guests. As someone who cans vegetables and reuses the jars from last season, I always use OxiClean™ to soak the labels off in the sink. At the beginning of every summer I purchase a new container of OxiClean™ Versatile Stain Remover to clean the wooden deck and rid the plastic patio chairs of dirt and grime. This stuff is my secret housekeeping weapon.
5) Plastic Sandwich Bags– Oh how I love these plastic wonders. Baggies, as we’ll call them in my house, can be used in a ton of ways that will simply summer for you and yours. Divide chips, fruit, and other snackables into baggies as soon as you buy them to enforce portion control to will keep the kids from finishing a bag of Doritos in one sitting. It will also make it easier to pack snacks for a day out of the house or at the pool if you’re not having to do it every single day, and will save you money by preventing daily stops at convenience stores to stave off hunger. Place your phone inside a baggie at the pool or beach to keep water and from ruining it. This doesn’t make it waterproof, so don’t take in IT the pool this way, but it will prevent wet swimsuits or spilled drinks from destroying your precious. You can make slushies (adult or kid-friendly) ahead of time in baggies, freeze them, and then transfer to your pool cooler with ice before heading out. Stick a straw through the side of the baggies to make a juice box! I also keep a box of the gallon-size baggies in my car for containing wet clothing, and I’d suggest you do the same.
Be sure to add these items to your Simply Summer shopping list! I’m betting you can think of even more ways to use these items than I’ve been using them for and I would LOVE for you to share them with me over on the Herd Management Facebook Page. We always have fun over there and are totally up for learning tips from each other… or just telling a hilarious story about our kids.