Summer Sanity Saver: Summer Book Bingo!

So I don’t know about your schools, but ours were encouraging summer reading. And by encouraging, I mean throwing scary statistics at us about AVERAGE CAPABILITY LOSS and SKILL RETENTION as educators are wont to do. (I’m a teacher, I can say that. It’s said with love.)

But that’s not my style. So I made you a bingo card! My intention was that you mark off books that fit each category: a book with a popsicle in it, a book with a red cover. But you know what? You could just play it as a game with your co-workers or with your kids and revel in those lovely summer words. See who can get five in a row first or play to blackout. Get creative!

Here’s the version for people who need to conserve ink (black and white):

And here’s the version for people who want it to look fancy-shmancy and to heck with their printing budget:

Worried about finding books with all these things? Don’t be. If you have a library card, you should be able to check out books through Overdrive or another ebook service and put them on any tablet or computer, anywhere in the world.

Or here’s another printable that’s more about where you read than what:

You’ve got this, mamas.

Summer Sanity Savers: Spiderman Yoga

Okay, so sometimes, kids have the wiggles, but they just can’t get it out, right? WRONG. Because if you take them through a Spiderman sequence, they totally CAN. And you’ll have five minutes to yourself…I should’ve led with that, shouldn’t I?

Summer Sanity Savers: Kid workout

This was such a fun workout! I’d never thought of incorporating “Red Light, Green Light” into a workout, but it really kept them more interested. No equipment needed, so throw this on when they get squirrely!


You’ve got this summer, mamas. And to make sure, I’ll gonna put a link to all these “sanity savers” in the menu at the top, just so you can find them in a pinch…we. will. get. through. this. together.

How do I…beat the heat? 


Hot kids are g.r.u.m.p.y. Hot kids don’t want to eat. Hot kids want to watch TV all day. Depending on your situation, you probably can’t just turn on the hose and let them loose, water being a scarce resource. Here’s some other ideas:


Give them water while they’re watching TV. I don’t know why this works, but they’ll drink whatever I put in their hands when they’re watching something. It’s weird.

If they’re not crazy about plain water, add a little citrus or cucumber to it. Make it cold with reusable ice cubes (anybody else have those little plastic whales? There’s grownup ones now called Nice Cubes). Insulated water bottles keep things colder longer.

Buy spray bottles that are just for drinking. Drinking water is dumb, but spraying water into your sister’s mouth? Awesome. Also works with squirt guns as long as you’re careful about the water source.

Cool wet towels around the neck are good, but they dry out pretty fast. Not these babies: neck coolers. They seriously stay wet for hours. They were essential equipment when I was six months pregnant during the hottest season in Haiti. (The link is just an example: search for “neck cooler” and you’ll come up with many more!) Just be careful not to tie them such as creates an accidental drive-by choking situation.

Don’t forget that fruit has a lot of water in it, especially watermelon (duh) and cucumber. And our favorite way to eat fruit in the summertime? Popsicles! Get a cheap mold and make your own. I like the Zuko brand. My latest creation was mango carrot: just put them straight into the blender with a little orange juice or other “tropical” flavor, and voila! Fruits AND vegetables, without complaint. One of my kids will also eat a frozen banana straight. I don’t know if that’s all that normal…but there you go.

And don’t forget the salt! If you’re drinking more, you need more salt as well. Just this week, another mama confirmed that when she started drinking a little sea salt in her lemonade, her headaches went away. IT’S A REAL THING.

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Sleeping in the heat

Think about your roof. What color is it? Dark colors will absorb the heat (that’s bad), which is why shade netting works so well. Can you paint it white? (You may not want to paint it if you collect water from your roof into a cistern. Paint is not tasty.) We made sure our solar panels were placed over our bedroom, and it’s made a huge difference in the temperature of the room at night! (Well, and it creates electricity, too, which is pretty great, I guess.)

Wet the curtains. As the breeze passes by the curtains, it’ll cool the air. Yeah, it’s a lot of work. I didn’t say it was easy, girl.

Cross-ventilation. And if you have the luxury of designing or altering your house, think about passive cooling and natural ventilation as well.

Buy a robe and sleep naked. (Though this might heat things up in other ways…but really, is that a bad thing?)

Keep a small bucket of water by your bed and dip your feet into it when you’re too hot. I didn’t make this up, but I love the idea.

Heat rash

Unfortunately, my youngest is very susceptible to this…so here, I do speak from experience. It was better this winter, and now it’s baaaaaack…here’s a rundown of the stuff you usually hear, and a few that you don’t.

Cornstarch. This sometimes worked. I’m still not convinced.

Neem water/paste didn’t work for us.

Fans. E basically slept in a wind tunnel last summer.

Dress lightly. If they’ll just sleep in underwear or shorts, do that.

Lavender and baking soda in the bath. This worked for us. And this year, I’m using my face wash on her, which is lavender, baking soda, frankincense and coconut oil, which seems to be working even better. She was starting to get it on her chest, and after one application, it was gone. I put it on her dry skin after her bath and wiped it off with a clean, damp cloth. You can get the proportions here.

Witch hazel in the bath. Friends had mixed results, but I stand by this one. I think it keeps their pores clearer. I also found it was better to use warm water, despite the traditional wisdom, because cold water closes your pores. The witch hazel can be hard to find, though…rubbing alcohol might do the same thing, but it’d be tougher on your skin and in the eyes during hair rinsing. (And let’s face it: our neighbors already think we’re turning the screws on them every night at bathtime. Oy.)

Share, share, share your secrets for beating the heat. Please?!

Keep your cool, mamas. You’ve got this.