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Written by Mama Monday

Blog posts written by mamas on cloth diapering, green living, natural parenting.

This summer has been one of sweltering conditions for many across the country, hasn’t it? While this is our first year with central air, we still hate to overuse it due to its energy sucking and near-constant running, so I’ve found myself searching for other heat-beating options. That, plus the fact that both of our kids seem HIGHLY bothered by the heat (you’d think the 6-month pregnant one in the family would be bothered the most, but nope – it’s my husband and the kiddos), means I’ve been getting creative.

And don’t forget to grab your Thirsties swim diaper before you go! They’re available in ADORABLE designs and are just the trick for all your summertime fun.


Splash pads! This can be a tough one depending on your locale (it was quite a schlep from my old house to any splash spots, so I understand if you’re in a more rural place!), but if you’re in a busier area, search around. I literally searched “splash pads near me” and came up with a couple of options.

One reason I ADORE splash pads is because they’re easier to manage when you’re taking a couple of littles (who don’t know how to swim on their own yet) solo for a quick summer outing.

Pools, pools, pools. If you have one already, great! Here in Upstate New York where summer only lasts about 3 months (if you’re lucky; we’ve had a REALLY rainy season this year…see my next tip!), they’re a little less common, so you may have to hook up with a friend or family member for some swim time.

Otherwise, check out your local municipality (or even college!) for swim times. And, honestly, there is no shame in the kiddie pool game. I’ve been known to stick my pregnant swollen feet in with the kiddos while they giggle and splash and get entirely too rowdy. Oh, and this is also an easier option when you’re watching multiple kids on your own (unless your kids know how to swim already and don’t need assistance, of course).   

Rain shower playtime! If you’ve had a humid but rainy summer, embrace it! Some of my favorite summertime fun memories as a kid involved throwing on a swimsuit (usually as Wonder Woman, if I’m going to be honest, ha!) and heading for the driveway and yard during a warm summer shower. Puddle jumping at its best!

Just be sure to keep an ear and eye out for the serious storms!

Water the lawn AND your kids at the same time. Remember running through the sprinkler as a kid? I’m telling you, it’s just as much fun as it used to be. Plus, if things are getting a tad crispy on the lawn front, it does double duty. There are also cool sprinkler-like attachments you can add to your house (we have one that shoots in tons of directions that you can also put balls in to add a bit of a game element to the play.

This might not be a great one if you’re in an area in need of water conservation, so maybe an old-school water gun fight might be better.
Hit the beach! I do think that running to a beach on a hot day is a little like “whuh?!” (at least, I think my husband feels this way) but I get it. The awesome thing about a beach is that you can enjoy the hot sun and, when you feel like it, go for a quick dip when you feel like cooling off, then head back to make more sand castles. It’s literally rinse and repeat. And, if you’re lucky, there’s sometimes a nice breeze coming in off of the lake or ocean.

And at our local state parks, there are often nearby shady areas with trees for cooling off and picnicking that provide a nice break from the sun beating down.  

Did somebody say “water park”??? Sometimes it’s a bit of a drive so you may want to build a trip just around this option, but we love to make an annual trek to our “local” water park (oh, and it has amazing, kid-friendly dry rides and an old school fairy tale land that our kids still think is amazingly cool) when we see that the temperature’s rising.

The awesome thing about most of these spots is that there are more and more catching on to the idea of “family friendly” options, often providing a large area for babies and toddlers to wade around while the older kids get to enjoy the “big kid” rides. There’s also sometimes a “Lazy River” option or large outdoor pool that parents can bring the littles in, providing tons of choices for cooling off.

Go to a fun spot – indoors! If you’re simply not a fan of the heat but don’t want to be stuck in watching one more episode of “Paw Patrol,” think outside the box to have fun and still stay cool. From movie theaters to museums, indoor play gyms to libraries, there are lots of air conditioned spots that you can take kids to encourage play without getting too hot.

And the amazing thing? Lots of places offer free or cheap services over the summer to meet the needs of your families. For example, movie theaters will oftentimes show a mid-morning string of kid-friendly movies in the dead of summer for super cheap – or even free! – once a week. Libraries, of course, always offer free youth services, from read alouds to puppet shows and beyond. Children’s museums are now the epitome of hands-on play (rather than the museums of years past) – I think my son has a couple he’d simply love to LIVE at, he loves them so much.

We actually build entire vacations around what’s available to do outside AND inside so that we don’t have to worry about any bad (or super, super hot) weather hurting the trip!  

So, these are just a handful of ways to beat the heat but still have tons of fun this summer. I’d love to hear your family’s favorite(s) in the comments!

And, of course, here are a few quick practical tips to beating the sun beyond the “I’m bored” parts of summer:

Keep kiddos hydrated with their own reusable water bottles. There’s something about a stainless steel water bottle with a fun character on it that gets my kids to drink more water!
Slather on the (safe) sun block. Research the best option for your family and remember to use and reapply. I also like to remember that if we forget it, SOMETHING is better than NOTHING (ie “I know this stuff at the convenience store is full of chemicals, but we’re out of our favorite stuff…hmm…what to do?”). Take it from a girl who lost her dad to skin cancer as a young child. It’s important.
Keep clothes light in more ways than one. Clothes that are both a) lightweight (natural fibers like cotton are great for this!) and b) light in color (rather than navy or black) help keep kids (and grown-ups) cooler.
‘Tis the season for cool treats – embrace it! Ice pops (I LOVE that there are more “real fruit” options available in the stores, but you can also easily make your own) are a GREAT way to keep kids hydrated AND provide a nice, refreshing treat.   

Just because the summer so far has been busy and crazy thanks to selling our old house, changes for him at work, and planning an EPIC 5th birthday shindig for our son, my husband and I are STILL trying to nail down our vacation plans (last minute much? ;-)). It may end up being a close-ish to home getaway – and that’s okay.

We still feel like we’ve been making the most of the summer and spending it with each other that I thought I’d share some of the ways we’re taking a break from the craziness of it all. We legitimately did a few of these things over the weekend and all feel like we’re heading into the week ahead with our batteries recharged and like we made the best of our time together!

Get into nature. One of our local colleges has a perfect-for-families walking trail that’s pretty expansive and incredibly peaceful to wander. While the peace is often disturbed by our son’s chattiness (all innocent questions, but still), the babbling brook and bird tweets mixed with learning about the varieties of plants and counting how many animals we see make it a fun way to get out of our everyday norm.

I sometimes feel badly that we don’t utilize the huge mountainous area that’s less than a 1½ hour drive away, but having spots like this close by help us to hit the reset button way quicker. A couple of ways to find trails near you that will work for your family are to search TrailLink and AllTrails.  

Search for a local beach. There’s just something about getting sand in your toes and watching your kiddos build sand castles. Even if you’re in a landlocked area (I’m in Central New York State, which is just that), you may be surprised to find a beach available, usually at a local lake.

In our case, there are several beaches within an hour or two drive from our house, but I always make it a point to check out their ratings online AND go to their state-run website to find out about what amenities they provide, any rules we should know about (some aren’t cool with flotation devices, others don’t allow pets if you’re bringing a dog, some have picnicking rules, etc), and, most importantly, how the water quality is (we’ve had a couple closed down due to an algae outbreak the past few years).

Find a pool. Any pool. Depending on your neck of the woods, it’s been a sweltering summer. (In our case, it’s been a water-logged one! Major flooding all over the place.) I find that our kids are totally fine with a small kiddie or inflatable pool, but if you want the whole family to get into the action, see if there’s a local municipal pool (or super kind family member or friend willing to share) that you can hit up even once. We’ll be visiting the college that our son took swim lessons during their weekly community time when the weather warms up again.  

Oh, and if/when we go on vacation, this is a prerequisite for the hotel…even if there’s a nearby water park. 😉 Our kids aren’t big swimmers, but there’s still something about getting in the water that says “VACATION!”

And don’t forget to pack those Thirsties swim diapers!!! #adorable #clothdiaperadvocates

Ice cream! Why is it that my husband and I are just as bad as the kids are (okay, worse) when it comes to treating ourselves to ice cream during summertime (and, in particular, during vacations)?! Well, my excuse might be that I’m pregnant. Not sure what my husband’s is. 😉

This time of year, a slew of seasonal ice cream stands open up (sometimes with an attached mini golf course – score!) offering a plethora of concoctions. Whether it’s because the kids and I can sleep in a bit the next morning or we’ve just been bitten by the “relax, it’s summer!” bug, we don’t mind taking the occasional drive after dinner past bedtime a bit to grab a scoop.

Plus, if it starts to get dark by the time we get home, the kids can get a good, old-fashioned “check out the fireflies!” backyard chase in. #idyllic

Simplify your mealtimes. Speaking of dinners, between the laziness factor of the season and the HEAT, allow yourself a break during the summer when it comes to meals. I’m giving you permission…just in case you needed it. 😉

Whether it’s the occasional sandwich or salad night, pasta salad, or even my mom’s tried-and-true “smorgasbord” (cheeses, cold cuts, crackers, cut-up fruit and veggies, dips…whatever) eaten picnic-style, there’s NOTHING wrong with simplifying meals. Meal planning can wait ‘til Crock Pot season returns.

Or is that just me? 😉

Have a *casual* party. This doesn’t sound like a break, does it? “A PARTY? That’s MORE work!” But hear me out. Raise your hand if your usual routine entails running around, work and life obligations, all-kids, all-the-time, or just zero time to relax and talk with friends and JUST CHILL.

*raising both hands*

It’s DRAINING. After our son’s birthday party, we realized that we all – parents included – had a really good time, even if the prep part was a pain. Well, if you take out the “gift time, now cake time, now…” part of a birthday party, it CAN be super fun. Plus, my husband and I like to watch old TV shows and we’re reminded that, like, our grandparents used to entertain ALL THE TIME. Thanks, Dick Van Dyke, for reminding us that parents are humans, too, and need social interaction.

We may not be dressed up for a night on the town like the old days, but whatevs. Just order a pizza (or delegate and have each adult/couple bring one thing), let the kids play in the yard, and allow yourself to just breathe and catch up about grown-up things – serious, like work issues, or small – like talking about your favorite TV show. (Not sure our friends want to discuss Dick Van Dyke, though.)

Schedule some “me” time! Moms, in particular, I’m talking to you. Don’t we have a hard time with this?? Even when someone’s willing to hang with the kiddos, it’s difficult not to work on our to-do list or catch up on SOMETHING you’ve been meaning to do. You know it’s bad when we ALL feel like a trip alone to the grocery store is legitimately a vacation. #amiright?!

But, I find that the day-in-day-out of childcare and thinking about others’ needs constantly makes us lose sight of what makes us who we are. So, what if your next “me time” involves something that helps you reconnect with yourself? It can be as “trivial” as getting your nails or hair done (honestly, I feel like I know myself better when I get a fresh hairstyle…is that bad?!) or as deep as taking a class to reconnect to an old hobby you’re super passionate about.

If I had an ENTIRE day all to myself (after I get over the guilt, of course), I’d do some prenatal yoga, get my hair done (it literally hasn’t been touched by a professional in almost a year), maybe a pedi, then I’d work on my writing and do some mindfulness exercises to connect with my goals. What would YOU do?

I recently saw an awesome baby product company on Instagram Stories talking about having mothers take a “vacation” one evening after the kids were in bed and I LOVED it. Seeing what people shared, whether it was watching a favorite movies with a favorite snack or hopping into a bath with a scented candle, showed that you don’t need a REAL vacation in order to give yourself a meaningful break.

So, are you taking an awesomely fun, relaxing (well, as relaxing as parents can have) vacation this year? Or is it a “mini-break” type of summer? I’d love to hear what everyone’s up to this summer!

Oh, and here are some old posts that might be useful for this time of year:

Stress-Free Summer Fun Ideas

5 Ways to Make the Most of the Dog Days of Summer


In case you haven’t already “met” our latest limited edition print, Road Trip, here it is in all of its summer vacation-celebrating glory!


I thought it’d be fun to chat about some ways that Road Trip the print is a lot like a real road trip…and a few ways that it’s totally not.

Some ways that Road Trip = a “real” road trip:

It’s super fun. Right off the bat, I can’t really deny that this is a super fun print. Between the map-like blue background and its quirky geometric vibe, it truly makes me itch to hit the road with my own family (even though our speed is more of a 3-hour-or-less road trip rather than a 3-day trip these days). And the fact of the matter is that no matter where you plan to go, you usually have a memorable, fun time.  

It’s just as much about the journey as it is the destination. Sure, your main destination(s) are what the planning takes place around and give you something to look forward to when you just missed the last restroom for 50 miles, but the things your family will remember (and laugh about) for years to come often happen during the traveling portion of the journey.

While I remember the historical sights or beachy destinations of my youth, I also greatly remember laughing about nothing whatsoever with my sister or singing along to our Walkman CD players at the top of our lungs in the backseat. So, I love that this print shows the road just as much as the fun spots along the way.

It reminds us that America is unique but, at the same time, refreshingly similar. All those destination spots – the Statue of Liberty, the Space Needle, Paul Bunyan and Babe, Disney, and more – show us what a special place our young country is. Each state has its own identity, accent(s), sayings…yet in our travels we discover that there are common threads of kindness, decency, and looking out for your fellow man that make the whole country somehow feel like home.   

All that in our country…AND a diaper? Yes, really.

One way that Road Trip is NOT like a “real” road trip?

Road Trip (the diaper) is way easier. Admittedly, between the planning, the packing, the organizing, the budgeting, the meltdowns, the exhaustion…a real road trip can sometimes be just as frustrating and difficult as it is fun and exciting. Luckily, with a fresh new print like this and the ease of cloth diapering (once we get the hang of it), sticking a Road Trip on the bum is way simpler than a real vacation.

And for anyone interested in traveling while using cloth, here are a couple of our old blog posts chatting about that very thing:

Tips for Traveling with Cloth Diapers

More Travel Ideas with Cloth Diapers

MacGyver Mommy: Flying with a Car Seat

Fun Summer Uses for Wet Bags

We’d love to hear where you’re heading (or already went!) this summer! Drop us a line in the comments.   

I have distinct memories of celebrating Independence Day as a kid.

Sometimes it involved going to a parade. (My family was all about marching bands; all 4 kids were Mohawk Marching Mohicans and our grandparents were Marines…marching was kind of in our blood.) Sometimes it involved using sparklers. Sometimes it involved a barbecue. Sometimes it involved trekking out to watch fireworks.

But, what I remember the most was always, ALWAYS watching the Boston Pops concert on TV followed by “Yankee Doodle Dandy” (which my sister and I would inevitably fall asleep on the floor – on a sheet – and have a sleepover to).

Weird the things we remember, huh?

Well, I’m trying to figure out activities that we can try out much like my mom did that turn into traditions that work for our family. Low-key fun that means we can all enjoy the “Happy Birthday, America!” celebration without too much planning or work on Mom and Dad’s end.

Here’s a handful of last-minute ways to up the fun factor for your Fourth:

Primary Printables’ 4th of July Scavenger Hunt – This is a fun family activity for everyone that’s simple (and free!) to do at a get-together. If you’re not going on an outing, you can edit and adjust it to meet your needs.

A Little Pinch of Perfect’s Cupcake Liner Fireworks – I love this idea if your little one’s too young to enjoy waiting up for fireworks (I’m envisioning at least one meltdown and a bunch of over-tired behavior issues with our kiddos!). Have them make their own neat fireworks. Oh, and if your child’s too young for scissors, you can cut a bunch and let your child choose and glue them on the page.

Crafty Morning’s Fireworks Straw Craft – This is another way to let your kids safely make their own fireworks at home! I’ve also seen this done with squishy spiked balls and toilet roll tubes cut with slits. Use whatchya got!

Domino’s Easy Recipes – Am I the only one who can always be found hunting down just one more recipe last-minute to complete a meal (especially when entertaining)? This offers over 30 amazing (and mostly kid-friendly!) recipes that you can throw together quickly. I’m eyeing some of the fruit ideas, but there are seriously some mouth-watering recipes here to round out your menu!

Little Bins for Little Hands’ July 4th Slime Science Activity – SLIME. It’s SO a thing. As an educator, I can vouch for how uber-popular this is with even the older kids (although I think that it’s a great sensory activity for kids…even if I can’t wrap my head around the obsession quite yet). This stuff is special July 4th-themed, so your kids might just be thrilled about it. Plus, you can play with it outside while the adults are grilling or inside if the day turns rainy.

Or just chill out at the pool and do your own thing. There’s no right or wrong way to enjoy the day!  

Either way, let us know how you’ll be spending the holiday and we hope it’s a happy, healthy one!

Our daughter is now 19 months old. One of the cool things about this age is that the clothes (and, to an extent, our daughter!) are leaning away from baby-ish stuff. Less onesie-style tops mean regular shirts and tees. Add this to the heat of summer and that means showing off our cloth diapers!

I’ve noticed online that there are differences of opinion about whether or not little ones should go places without pants (ie only in a top and diaper, maybe a pair of sandals). Some think that they’re only babies and there’s no harm in it; others don’t feel kids are “fully dressed” this way and it’s simply not appropriate.

Well, there’s no right or wrong answer. As with most things in parenting, it’s totally your choice and there will always be someone to disagree. Ain’t THAT the truth?

In our case, if we’re heading to visit someone’s house (particularly for a get-together like a birthday party or barbecue) or out to run errands, we’ll dress her up a tad more with a pair of shorts, skort, or COMFORTABLE dress. (We are not into frou-frou whatsoever. Harper seems to be leaning towards the tomboy, fearless realm, so frills just trip her up more.) But, if we’re hanging out at home or know that the kids will just be running around someone’s backyard and it’s HOT, I’m fine with showing off a fluff bum!

I actually have some tops that work awesomely with our Thirsties diapers. Today we’ve got a “model-less fashion show” (it was naptime…plus, logistical nightmare ;-)) of some of my faves!

Fun & Feminine – White Cherokee top with eyelets (Target) & Alice Brights

Cool Cat
– Cat & Jack kitty shirt (Target) & Iris

Floral & Festive
– Carter’s hand-me-down dress & Poppy

Creatures Galore
– Mixing it up with a Cat & Jack snail top (Target) & Meadow Land

Cool Treat
– Cat & Jack ice cream top (Target) & Moss
(there’s a minty blue scoop if you look closely!)

A Day at the Beach
– Jumping Beans fishy shirt (Kohl’s), Koala Kids tropical top (Babies R Us) & Moss

Get into Nature
– Jumping Beans butterfly top (hand-me-down) & Billy Buttons

So, there you have just a few combos I’ve been trying out lately. I also like mixing up solids with ANY top, whether it “matches” or not. Because, after all, what other time in life can you get away with still being super cute while not matching one single bit?

Are you in the “pro-pants” or “free legs” camp? Feel free to let us know in the comments! Remember that this is a judgment free zone, so opinions of all sorts are welcome!!