Summer has arrived in full force with the sun blazing, kids swarming and days lingering. How do we cope with the hot weather, keep our kids bustling and our minds from exploding, yet intensifying these prized moments. I have scraped together 12 ideas to help you unwrap the sticky summertime days with some cool thoughts.
There is nothing easier and tastier than making your own popsicles, whether you whip up some yogurt and fruit, press fresh fruit juice or blend up any concoction of sweet things and, then, pop in a Dixie cup with a wooden stick or into any favorite popsicle mold. Freeze until firm and have an icy treat ready when the “hot naughties” strike your home. How about a Root Beer Float Popsicle-summer on a stick?
ROOT BEER FLOAT POPSICLES
4.5 can of natural cane sugar root beer
1/2 cup of heavy cream
2-4 Tablespoons of coconut or regular sugar
In a mixer, blend whipping cream while adding sugar until cream thickens.
Drop spoonfuls of cream mixture into popsicle molds.
Pour root beer on top and mixture will naturally congeal together.
Freeze for at least 6 hours or until ready to slurp.
A Pot Lid Swing
One of my favorite memories is swinging from a tall tree limb in my backyard on a homemade swing that my Dad whipped up with an old metal pot lid from my Mom’s kitchen. He tied a big heavy rope through the lid and climbed up on our tallest ladder and secured it tightly around a big, sturdy limb. We would twist our legs around and sit on the lid, hold on tightly and my sister and I would spin each other until we were queasy. Pot lids swings are easy to make and a special kind of simple fun. If you are feeling luxuriant, a rustic version with a hand-carved seat and nautical knots can be ordered from a woodworking studio for a hefty price from dzierlenga.com.
Savor Shave Ice
I hope you have been lucky enough to have a real Hawaiian Shave Ice made from real fruit juice that falls ethereally in translucent flakes to be deliciously devoured on a hot day. This fruity, icy treat is always on my mind. To makes these light and fluffy snowflakes of wonder, the West Bend Professional Snowball Machine does a fine job of approximating the Hawaiian original. In less than 30 seconds, extra-fine shave ice is ready for you to combine with your own snow-cone recipe.
If the heat is streaming in through your windows in the bedroom since you forgot to order solar shades for those extra sunny days, try this icy idea. Place a pillow or a pillowcase in the fridge to take out at bedtime to cool you down at night. Any cold surface kept close to your body reduces heat throughout your entire body. This easy, nifty trick makes those hot, muggy nights bearable. You can order a pre-made “chillow,” but who wants to sleep on a plastic gel-pack!
Rescue the kids from the heat and pitch a playhouse tent or teepee in the backyard. Many playhouses can be ordered, but it is easy to take a big blanket or tarp and throw around some poles or tree limbs to make a shaded spot to play or chill out.
Grab those ice molds that are formed in the shape of rocks or crystals and garnish all your summer drinks with icy gemstones. Freeze lemonade or fruit juice or any punch, and, of course, water, in crystal shapes to spike up the coolness factor of any drink.
Fans are the workhorse for hot, humid days and nights. To amp up their performance, place a bowl or bucket of ice in front of the fan to duplicate the refreshing breeze of air-conditioning.
Cut up new sponges that have not been revived with water. Tie together the strips to make a starburst ball. Soak the sponges in cold water and cool off with “spongeball fights”. How easy is that to drive away boring and heat filled days?
Before this became popular, my Mom always had a bowl of frozen green grapes in the freezer. Now, I see this frigid treat everywhere as these snack sized bits of healthy goodness are popular, but when a summer or even a winter cold strikes, these cold orbs, soothe a raw and scratchy sore throat. You can use red or purple grapes, too, but the green grapes seem to be the iciest one. I know you know that frozen bananas cut up and wrapped in foil are just as good as a banana popsicle. Or cut the frozen bananas in chunks, throw in your food processor or blender and a creamy, delicious and healthy ice cream treat is ready in a snap.
Brew any mint tea of your choice. Chill overnight and fill a spray bottle and spritz away the heat. Tea has soothing properties and can calm down angry skin and hot tempers.
Arctic Water Bottles
Muggy nights are the worst. Be prepared with an array of water bottles for your family. Sleep with a water bottle filled with ice cubes or wrap frozen plastic bottles of water in a towel or a cotton pillowcase (or, if you are like my Dad, he uses a thick old, clean athletic sock for a wrapper). For extra coldness, add salt to the water to increase the coldness and pretend you are in Iceland.
For those days when nothing seems to soothe sweltering days, have ready in the freezer a stack of frozen T-shirts in all sizes. Prepare the T-shirts by soaking in water, wringing out and folding each one. Place each wet shirt between sheets of waxed paper. Stack on a baking sheet and freeze for those days to take the edge off summer. Hand out a frozen tee and let the fun begin to see who can be the first one to get into the frigid tee – a fun way to unwind, laugh and get icy.
Cool off with any of these simple fun ways to squeeze in every moment of the treasured days of summer.