We’re officially in the single-digit countdown to the last day of school. <Insert complete denial here.> Fortunately, my kids will all be headed to day camp in a few weeks, which is a blessing for all of us. But we are still left with several weeks at the beginning and end of the summer with endless days to fill. To help me keep my sanity, and maybe save yours as well, I’ve put together this list of 10 things to fully stock up on. Let’s hope it helps ...
1. Plans. I am normally a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl, but that goes out the window during the summer when the days are way too long to just do nothing. Keep a list of cheap or free places that offer freezing cold AC for the most unbearable days and watch Groupon and LivingSocial for great deals on museums, plays, and activities that you might not normally do.
2. Popsicles and ice cream. You’ll spend a small fortune on frozen treats if you buy them at the pool or ice cream shop. Instead, stock your own freezer with store brand ice cream and treats.
(Genius mom tip: Train young kids to think the ice cream truck’s music means that it’s sold out of ice cream, or that it’s just a music truck rather than a treat one to avoid getting pestered all summer. Deceptive? Sure. Worth it? You bet.)
3. Water guns. I hate guns with a passion; I won’t buy my kids gun toys or let them play shooting games at all ... but water guns are the exception. They're fun, they're cooling, and they occupy the kids for hours on end. The bigger, the better. (Spray bottles work, too, if you are more successfully resisting the guns than I.)
4. Arts & crafts supplies. Next time you're at the Dollar Store or hit Target's clearance section, stock up on every cheap craft supply you can find and stick it all in a big box. Instant fun when it's just too hot to be outside.
5. Sunscreen. You can never have enough sunscreen ... ever. And don't trust little kids to apply themselves -- you've seen the way they pee, right? They simply cannot be trusted with a task that important.
6. Sunglasses. I have no idea where all of our sunglasses manage to disappear to, but they just seem to go the way of socks. This summer, I’m making sure to have extra on hand.
7. Lemonade stand supplies. It's amazing what a container of Crystal Light, a pitcher, and some plastic cups can do. The kids will be out of your hair and make some money of their own. Can't beat that.
8. A sprinkler. Sure, a pool membership is great, but a Slip N' Slide or old-fashioned sprinkler does the trick just fine, too. Plus, you won't have loads of towels to wash. (Just muddy clothes.)
9. A mother’s helper. Babysitters are great, but who has the money to afford them constantly? Find an earnest 10-year-old in your neighborhood and pay her to play with your kids. Ten is the perfect age; they are hard working and eager to please, but won’t give you attitude or spend the whole time texting. Plus, if you snag them young, they will feel indebted to you for years to come. Or so I hope.
10. Sanity-savers for you. I’m partial to margaritas during the summer, but whatever floats your boat. Wine, yummy scented bath products, US Weekly, whatever helps you make the most of your "me time." You’ll need it.
What helps keep you sane over the summer?
Image via Scary Mommy