Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thoughts for Thursday: Summer Essentials for the South

I have lived in Texas my entire life, and every year -- without fail -- I will find myself complaining about the heat and humidity as if I'm actually surprised by it. I truly do think that the three months of daily 100+ degree temperatures and accompanying humidity is like giving birth: awful as you're going through it, but once it's over you're all, "Eh, okay, it wasn't that bad!" and then you basically make yourself forget how bad it actually was so you'll do it again. Or in our case, so we don't pack up the kids and move to Saskatchewan in mid-August. {Can I just say here that my poor children have never seen snow? Maybe Saskatchewan wouldn't be the best idea...} 

So whether you've lived here your entire life, are planning a move to the South soon, or are just a Northerner blessing our hearts, here are some summer essentials for the South, where air conditioning is king and we basically try to spend any and all time in water...not out of desire, but necessity: 

For the Mamas: 

*Honorable Mention: Yeti Tumbler 

+ I love these cooling towels for all of us when we're out and about or working in the yard, but especially when we are at the pool or the beach on those ridiculously hot, humid, July summer days. You get them wet, wring them out, and they stay cold for up to four hours! They're great when you're just so hot your body is having trouble cooling down. We love ours! 

+ The Yeti Cooler is definitely an investment, but if you've ever purchased any Yeti products before, you understand that they're worth the money. This bag is great for keeping drinks, snacks, adult beverages and ice packs nice and chilly at the pool or beach. I can leave it in the back of my car while we're running errands on the way to the pool {or even in my car on a four-hour drive down to my parents'} and everything is just as cold as when I took it out of the fridge. I love this thing! 

+ Cheap sunglasses are a must for summertime around here...especially with kids. If you're at the lake or pool, you know you need a pair that you're okay with losing to the waves, or on a jet ski, or even to your kiddos' own devices. I love the cheap aviators from Target the best. 

+ I'm all about sun protection, so I always cover my head when we're at the pool, beach or lake -- whether with a ball cap or a wide-brimmed hat. I love this one because it's cheap, packs well in a suitcase, but also covers my face, neck and shoulders. 

+ A functional swimsuit is a must down here! I feel like I practically live in my bathing suit from about late May-late September, so finding one that's cute, good quality and functional is definitely a "do!" I'm constantly chasing after my boys at the pool, lake and beach, so I for sure need something that will hold everything in, look cute, but still allow me to get on the ground and/or in the water and play with them. 

+ I love taking the boys on picnics when the temperatures warm up, so a big picnic mat is always in my car and beach bag. Whether we're at the park, or the neighborhood pool, I love having something we can sit on other than the hot ground, and I love that this one is wipeable! 

+ And for the Honorable Mention, I put this here because it's not a "must," but it's definitely a "nice to have." I love my Yeti and love that I can put ice and water in it in the morning and the ice is still there at night when I bring it to my nightstand. Drinking lots and lots of water is definitely a must in the South, and I find myself really only liking to drink ice cold water, so this is a great solution! 

For the Babies & Kids: 

+ Mosquitoes, how I loathe thee. They're so prevalent down South and West Nile truly does scare the mess out of me. So, whether it's 7 a.m. or 7 p.m., my boys are slathered in this deet-free bug spray. It doesn't smell the best and is a little oily, but my pediatrician recommended a deet-free one for their age, and this is one of the only ones I could find locally!

+ This mineral sunscreen is my favorite! At SPF 50, I actually slather this stuff on my fair-skinned self, too! Both of my boys have eczema, and this sunscreen is really good for that, as it's free of PABA, phthalates, parabens, fragrances or nano-particles; plus, it's dermatologist and pediatrician-tested! 

+ My boys look like miniature frat boys when they wear their Croakies, but I love them for their functionality. Each year, I pick up cheapie sunglasses for them from the Dollar Aisle at Target, and invested in these Croakies to keep their sunglasses from falling off their face and instead around their neck. It helps them {and me!} know where they are, which is nice {see: no fighting}. 

+ Even if you have a pool at your home {we actually don't}, a water table is great for little ones! My boys will splash and splash in this thing for up to an hour, which is nice for this mama. ;) It's also a great thing to play with under a covered patio when it's raining and you can't go in the pool. 

+ I purchased a portable fan to clip onto Knox's infant car seat last summer to help that poor guy cool down during the hot summer months. He was born in May, and I always feel like those infant car seats get so dang hot! So, I clipped this onto the handle of it when we were out and about, and I really feel like it helped keep him from being drenched in sweat. I kept it, and we use it on the stroller now, and of course it's one of Walker's favorite "toys." 

+ A plastic pool, ahhhh the joys of childhood. Some days when I don't feel like loading the boys {and all their gear} up to go to the neighborhood pool, I just fill up our cheap plastic pool in the backyard and let them play. It's totally worth the $10 price tag! 

+ These are my very favorite sun hats for my boys. They have SPF 50 in them, and I love that they have a drawstring in the back to adjust to the size of the baby's head. My fair-skinned boys definitely can't be without a hat outside in Texas in the summer! 

+ As you know, pediatricians don't recommend babies wear sunscreen until at least six months of age, so this sun blanket {with UPF 50+} is a great alternative when you have a teeny baby outside in the summer. Basically, it works like a sun shield to protect their sweet, delicate little skin. 

+ Also along the lines of keeping cool, this bucket seat liner fits most strollers and bucket seats. It's made from state of the art, 3-ply poly-mesh material that promotes airflow between your child’s body and their seat. So, warm air escapes, preventing overheating and perspiring keeping baby cool and comfortable. I love this for when I know we're going to be outside a ton, and even though we haven't attempted Disney yet, I feel like this would be the PERFECT place to use it! 

+ Honorable Mentions: I put these here because I feel like flotation devices are pretty specific to you and your child, but we love the puddle jumper for Walker. Yes, he knows how to swim, but when we're at a big public pool or the beach or lake, I like having something on him to put my mind at ease. 

When I found the infant life jacket {linked above} for Knox, I was in love. I searched high and low for a flotation device for him that was suitable for children under 30 pounds, and this had excellent ratings...and is U.S. Coast Guard approved. 

And the stainless steel sippy cup. Basically the kid version of a Yeti and even though it's not necessary, it sure is nice to have to ensure your kiddos' drinks stay nice and cold, just like yours! 

Linking up with Annie, Natalie and Julie 


  1. I agree about the heat! I get over it so all of these essentials. I think we have just about everything you listed!

  2. This seriously could not have come at a better time! We are getting ready to go on a 7 hour trip to the beach with our 4 month old, and he sweats like crazy in his car seat and gets super fussy. Definitely ordering the cooking car seat liner - thank God for Amazon overnight shipping :)

  3. I have lived in New England all my life but am hoping to move to the Southeast someday, so I'll be sure to refer back to this post if we do! :)

  4. WOW I had never heard of those bucket seat liners-perfect for days at parades or when you are out and about and it is hot. And same with those cooling cloths-it doesn't get nearly as hot here, but we could still definitely use those on sunny yard work days. And I am a broken record, but while you have the heat now, I do the SAME THING when we deal with three months of terrible cold and snow. Ya win some, ya lose some ;-)

  5. I love that swimsuit! I can't wait to have my choice of bathing suits again next summer!

  6. I have just started researching sunscreen for Vivi for our trip in January and I'm about to purchase that mineral one!! And YES to that yeti! Gave that to my husband last year for his bday and by far the best gift I've ever given him!

  7. It gets so hot down here too and every year I forget about it!! I just melt and I've been here my whole life lol!! Great summer necessities!

  8. I need one of those cute summer hats!

  9. Great list! We had the car seat insert for our daughter last summer, and I think it helped! Great tips on the cooling towels - I'll have to add to ours.


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