For many families, the idea of spending the cold winter months at home fighting holiday traffic and shopping center mobs is not the best way to enjoy the season. Escaping the madness can make for happier holidays — no holiday parties, no baking marathons, no throwing money down the drain on gifts for people you hardly know… So, if you are in the “let’s just get away” camp, then why not escape to someplace warm and sandy?
Before you leave town, make your list and check it twice so that once you get to your sunny destination, you can unpack and unwind right away. Here are a few necessities you won’t want to forget:
1. Beach chairs
2. Fair-weather family-friendly outdoor games
3. A portable grill for cooking up money-saving and delicious meals
4. A portable shade canopy to keep you cool on those hot, sunny days on the beach
When you bring along these necessities, plus your sunblock, swim suits, and sunglasses, there’s nothing else you’ll need to have the happiest holiday ever. Bon voyage!
It’s official — the NFL strike is over, and the games will begin in only a few short weeks. It’s time to gather the tailgating supplies so you don’t have to scramble at the last minute. Here are a few essential pieces of portable tailgating equipment that you’ll want to bring with you to every game:
- Portable Grill — Cold sandwiches just don’t cut it at a football game. Tailgating is all about hearty grilled delicacies like burgers, brats, and even steaks. Better quality portable grills offer plenty of surface area that allows you to cook for a crowd. Many come with top-notch features like folding legs with wheels, detachable side shelves for keeping grilling tools handy, and trailer hitch attachments so you can save your table space for other necessities.
- Portable Picnic Table — Once you prepare your tasty meal on the grill, where will you enjoy it? Sitting in a folding chair trying to balance a plate full of food on your lap is an awkward situation that can end up as a messy disaster. Portable picnic tables fold from an easy-to-carry compact size into a comfortable table and chair combination that can be shared with several friends. Focus on conversation rather than on keeping your food from falling on your shoes.
- Auto-Mo-Brella Umbrella — The Auto-Mo-Brella portable umbrella was made for tailgating. It attaches quickly and easily to any vehicle’s receiver hitch, and it provides instant shade and protection from the sun. A little shade is all it takes to create a comfort zone around your personal tailgating space.
The best way to enjoy any tailgating experience is to come prepared. It doesn’t take a lot of equipment to have a great time at the game, but it’s important to cover your bases — food, seating, and shelter. When you’re prepared, you can be sure that the tailgating party will be just as fun as the game itself. Go team!
Rainfall is abundant lately in my part of the country, but summer rains bring one of my favorite activities. Listening. Try it for yourself. The next time it rains at your house, go outside on your patio or deck, take a seat, and just listen. Listen to how different the rain sounds when it falls into trees, onto roof shingles, into small pools of water. Listen to distant thunder and to birds as they continue with their discussions despite the rainfall. You might even hear something surprising if you pay close enough attention to the sounds surrounding you. There’s music in a rain shower, if you allow yourself to hear it.
Listening is actually harder than it sounds. We often keep ourselves so busy with activity that simply sitting and listening is a real challenge. Isn’t there something else we should be doing? If it makes you feel better, take a book outside with you, or your laptop. Just be sure to keep one ear open to hear the rain and all that comes with it.
Having said all of this, I’m not suggesting that you choose an unsheltered location outdoors and get soaked through. That’s certainly an option, but it’s not one that I choose. My preference is to find a comfy chair tucked safely and dryly underneath the retractable awning that my husband so graciously installed over our deck last year. It provides plenty of protection so that I can enjoy the sounds of summer rain without getting wet myself. Even better, the sound of raindrops on top of the awning adds another layer of “music” to the symphony nature produces with each summer rain shower.
When it comes down to it, though, it doesn’t matter if you listen from underneath a protective shelter or if you listen while getting soaked to your skin. What’s important is the act of listening itself. See if you can do it. Start with five minutes and do nothing but sit and listen to the rain. You just might get hooked.
For many kids, going indoors in summer time is simply not an option. It’s summer, after all, and outside with friends is the only place to be. On super hot days, kids can get pretty resourceful when it comes to staying cool — they sit together in the shade under a tree, soak in the coolness of a shallow backyard baby pool, or make a homemade shade shelter using a tarp and some patio chairs.
Creative approaches to staying cool deserve some kudos, but most parents like to know that their kids have access to reliable shade at all times. Providing kids with an easy to carry, kid-sized canvas folding chair with an attached shade canopy gives them a comfortable and shady spot they can use any time and any place. Kids can take a portable chair like this to friends’ homes, to the pool or beach, or to the park, and they never have to be concerned about lack of shade.
All too soon, the days will grow shorter and school will begin again. Kids can feel it coming. So, even if intense heat and sun prevent them from engaging in high-energy activities, outside is still the best place to be. With their own little slice of shade, kids can stay comfy and cooler during the doggiest dog days the summer has to offer.
With heat waves sweeping the country, its impossible to forget to take care of yourself. Most people manage to stay hydrated, protected, and cool, but what about your pets? Pets need to be cared for during extreme heat just as people do. It is important to remember them and keep them safe. Below is a list of what, and what not, to do for cats and dogs during this extreme summer!
- Pets can get dehydrated quickly. Be sure to provide plenty of fresh, clean water.
- Make sure that pets have a shady, cool place to rest when outside. A Coolaroo pet bed is a perfect option because it raises your pet off the ground and allows air to circulate under them. Place it under a shady tree or porch for a perfect outdoor comfort spot.
- Never leave pets outside for long periods of time during extreme heat. Even with food, water, and shade, pets can become overheated leading to death.
- Never leave your pets in a parked vehicle, even with the windows cracked. This is very dangerous and even short periods of time can cause extreme dehydration or death.
- Maintaining fur is a great way to keep pets cool. Trim dogs fur down to 1 inch. Be sure to leave 1 inch of fur for sun protection. Brushing cats more frequently than normal can help regulate temperature.
- Exercise is important, but overexertion during hot weather commonly causes heat stress. Avoid excessive exercise during hot days.
- Know the signs and risks! The ASPCA states that the signs of dehydration in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. You should also know if your animals have an increased risk of heat related problems. Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, the elderly, overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool and inside.