New Jersey Family has published some great advice about serious summer issues like avoiding Lyme disease and protecting kids’ ears during fireworks. Wondering about other serious issues, like why West Nile has been so rampant and whether July’s record-breaking heat means global warming is worse than we thought? Can’t help you there, but here are some common, not-so-serious-except-when-you’re-experiencing-them summer bummers for which I’ve finally found solutions.
Bummer #1: I can’t find a bathing suit that covers what needs to be covered but doesn’t make me look 70 years old.
Solution: The skirted MagicSuit tankini by Victoria’s Secret. One word of caution: I have actually pulled a muscle trying to stuff myself into this suit. But let me tell you, it was worth it. I don’t know how, but this suit manages to fully cover problem spots while still looking mildly sexy. Genius! You can see the top here. The skirted bottom is sold out for the season (don’t worry, they always bring it back!), but you can see a similar one here.
Bummer #2: My elementary school-age kids want to go swimming all the time, but taking them to the beach/lake/town pool is a big pain.
Solution: Two words: Intex pool. Let’s face it: Sometimes a day at the beach is no day at the beach, if you know what I mean (and I think you do). This summer, my family got a 12’ x 30” Intex pool, which cost us about $150 and requires minimal care. We chose one with a metal frame, since I heard from friends and online reviews that, without that support, the sides of the pool can cave in if your lawn isn’t perfectly level. It’s three feet deep so my 5-year-old can stand in it, but it isn’t too babyish for my 8-year-old and her friends.
Some of my most relaxing summer moments were spent sitting on the deck with my mom friends while the kids played in the pool (we even went in ourselves once or twice!). If you’re a working mom, letting the kids go for a quick swim after dinner makes a nice ending to a hectic summer day (much more relaxing then schlepping them to the town pool and facing an absurdly late bedtime).
More summer bummer solutions—>
Bummer #3: It’s just too hot to cook.
Solution: Banana splits for dinner! This is a fun, not completely-bereft-of-nutritional-value (lots of fruit and protein) dinner for children on a 104-degree summer evening. The recipe that follows serves two:
- 1 banana
- vanilla ice cream (you be the judge of how much)
- 2 cups strawberries
- ¼ cup chopped peanuts
- Maraschino cherries
- Puree strawberries in a blender. (You may need to add a little bit of juice or water to facilitate the pureeing process.)
- Slice a banana lengthwise. Place 1 banana slice in each of 2 bowls.
- Scoop vanilla ice cream on top of the banana slices.
- Pour equal amounts of strawberry puree over the ice cream.
- Top with equal amounts of chopped peanuts. If your kids aren’t allergic, this is a great way to add in some plant-based protein.
- Cover with whipped cream if your kids will complain otherwise. (If mine complain, I just shoot back, “You’re getting ice cream for dinner! Stop complaining, or it’s chicken. Besides, we don’t have any whipped cream, anyway.”)
- Top each with a maraschino cherry.
Bummer #4: I’m a stay-at-home mom, and the thought of having my kids home all day every day makes me want to check into an insane asylum, but I don’t want/can’t afford them in camp all summer, either.
Solution: Stagger it. Choose a day camp that allows campers to attend two or three days a week, or, if that’s not an option, for just a few weeks out of the summer. A lot of YMCA-affiliated camps have this option and are reasonably priced.
Although it happened by accident, this was my best success of the summer. I signed up each of my kids for 5 weeks of camp, three days a week. However, I wasn’t able to sign them up for the same three days. I was annoyed when I found this out, but it turned out to be the best thing. One day a week for five weeks, while my 5-year-old son was in camp, I got some much-needed one-on-one time with my 8-year-old daughter. We played card games over Coolatas at Dunkin’ Donuts, picked out books from the library and read them together, and played some serious nok hockey.
On some days when I had both kids, we invited other kids/parents over to swim in the Intex pool, went to the town pool, or took a day trip. Our most successful adventure was visiting the Kate Gorrie Butterfly House (it’s free!) in Pennington, after which we did some PYO at a nearby farm. Other days we didn’t even leave the house.