Summer is by far my favorite time of year. I’m a sun freak and I think people are generally a lot more positive and happy when it’s summer. A bright sunny day seems to be so energizing! Even though I’m still struggling with my lack of sleep, the sun and heat are great, I can’t help but be in a good mood!
This year, summer has been amazing in Finland. May was fantastic, I spent the last month of school in shorts or a skirt and a t-shirt all month. June had it’s share of cold and rainy days, but come a long July and we’ve been flooded with an immense heat spell.
Making the most of a hot summer
The heat during the past weeks has been exceptional. For a summer lover, I’m okay, no, I’m ecstatic, but not everyone is as psyched about the heat wave. Guess what though? There are several ways to make the most of a heat wave!
We bought a large inflatable pool for the backyard. It has been worth every single penny and more! It has been pretty much in daily use since May (apart from the rainy, cool days), and it is my sanity savor. I’ve been a full time stay at home mother during the summer, and trust me when I say, life with three very lively little girls can get overwhelming. Hence the pool. And puddle jumpers. And a lot of coffee, both hot and cold.
I have to admit, we’ve barely been to the beach, because the pool is just so darn convenient.
Ice cream. At the beginning of summer, I said to my kids, you know what the best part about summer is? You get to have ice cream everyday. Then I realized, the worst part about summer is I eat ice cream every day.. Goodbye hard work on finally getting close to my pre-pregnancy weight, hah! If you don’t want to feed your kids ice cream and sugary icicles every day, freeze watermelon or other fruit chunks! Or make your own fruit sorbets!
Have a toddler? Get rid of diapers!
Potty training! When the first warm spells came, it was time to get rid of diapers in our house for good. Spending a lot of time outside is a complete game changer. Potty training during the cold months, not so much fun, trust me. It took a couple of weeks and quite a few accidents, but we did it. I calculated that with three kids I’ve been through close to 20,000 diaper changes in total, so I think I deserve the win!
Spending time outside means less screen time
I’m going to be completely honest, yet again. I am far from a perfect mom. My kids get a lot of excessive screen time. Because of me. Because I sometimes need a break. Simply because it’s so easy. But yay for summer, we spend so much time outside that screen time has dropped to a fraction! There are so many fun things to do outside! We’ve gone on picnics, explored nature, gone boating, picked berries. We took our crafting outside; spread a large vinyl cloth on the lawn and took out the poster paints. I love poster paints because they provide a lot of color with little effort and they wash off. We’ve also painted the terrace with water, built with rocks and sea shells, picked flowers, planted herbs.. Simply enjoyed being outside.
Staying hydrated is extremely important, even more so when it’s hot. If you’re a fan of ice water, a great trick is to fill a water bottle about half ways and place it overnight on its side in the freezer. The next morning, fill the rest of the bottle with cold water and you’ll have a bottle of ice water that stays cold for a relatively long time. I’m not a fan of ice cold drinks, but I know I’m in the minority. I grew up in the Middle East, where temperatures could get really hot. Over there, I learned that drinking hot beverages when it’s hot will cool you down, which is a matter also discussed in the Smithsonian magazine. Not everyone agrees, but I think there’s some thought behind the fact that hot tea is often served in the desert..
Sadly coffee doesn’t count as a hydrating drink, but it is a great beverage nevertheless!
Water is definitely the best drink for staying hydrated.
Keep plenty of water close by so that you can take a sip here and there. I set out a jug of juice (a little bit of juice concentrate and loads of water, so it’s actually more like flavored water) and some cups for the girls in the shade. And I remind them to drink, all the time. If you’re using water bottles, sippy cups or the likes, make sure to wash them extra often! Nothing like summer heat and enhanced bacteria growth..
Avoid super sugary and excessively caffeinated drinks. (Ahem, coffee for moms doesn’t count, right..?) But in all reality, sugar and caffeine can have a dehydrating impact on your body, so stick to moderation.
If you’re breastfeeding, dehydration is a complete no-no. Not only will you experience a significant reduction in breast milk but also increase your risk for getting mastitis among others! This post at Today’s parent has some pretty good pointers for nursing mothers.
For fun hydration, this is again where frozen watermelon becomes extra great! Well watermelon in general, loads of fluids, but once frozen, it becomes an even more special treat. A lot of kids (and grown ups too) experience somewhat of a lack of appetite when it gets really hot, so fruit is a good option to fall back on.
I’m a huge fan of salad, and thankfully, so are my kids. If you’re struggling with eating when it’s hot, salads are great light lunches. My favorite salads often include boiled eggs, smoked salmon, shrimp, or grilled chicken. As it is the season, I often also add grilled zucchini, fresh tomatoes, cucumber, radish, whatever’s available. I also love adding toasted sunflower and watermelon seeds, and fruits like grapes, oranges or apples. My go-to summer salad dressing is super simple to make and a perfect match for most salads: Greek yoghurt, a bit of honey, lemon juice, salt and spices or herbs.
Keeping babies cool during the summer
When my girls were babies, we were subject to a lot of heat. My first born is a late fall-winter baby, born in November, but she was only 6 weeks old when we took her to Thailand for several months. The twins were born in June, so we left to Thailand first when they were six months old. When it was hot, I found a damp burlap cloth to be gold! It covered their sensitive skin from the sun, plus kept them cool. Just make sure the cloth isn’t ice cold, because an icy towel will throw anyone off their rocker. Another favorite was a small battery operated clip on fan. Life savors both!
For us Scandinavians, summer is a luxury we wait for all year. 2018 has been amazing, but we don’t take hot summers for granted. Fall and winter seem to always linger on forever, spring lifts our spirits and summer has us blooming. Hence we want to make the most of the short season, I hope you’re enjoying your summer too!