Coffee or Vodka? Parenting 911 SUMMER SAVVY-SUMMER SMART


summer survival kit logo

Dear: Parenting 911

I’m a mother of 2 under the age of 6, my youngest Ari is 3 1/2 years old and Conner-Joel is 5.  Since it is summer — weekend after weekend, I find myself neck-deep in — cook-outs, birthday parties, weddings, family gatherings, and beach/park days. Although most of these should be pure fun  for my little family; I feel as if I’ve headed out on an endless mission. No matter how much I prepare for these events — I still find myself running back home for one thing or another, often more than once — it surely puts a damper on any summer fun that may have ensued. I attempt to plan ahead — but the kids always have me rattled and frenzy-ish before ever leaving the house — causing me to always be unprepared. Since my husband is a Sargent in the military, he is rarely home to help with these duties — or attend these summer events. Parenting 911 I’m at the point where I am ready to decline future invites to everything — just to save my sanity. What do I do???????

Sincerely: Cooler full of Wine

Dear: Wine-Cooler

First let me commend you on even attempting such a hectic summer schedule with two young ones in tow. Personally I KNOW it is no easy task. There are definitely some ways to make these outings much easier — and a hell of a lot more enjoyable. This type of preparation is not done the day of, or even the night prior — but instead, precise pre-planned organization is what’s needed here. Summer is full of moments….. These moments in the grand scheme of things — make up your children’s “childhood memories” — they are therefore indeed important, necessary even. Let’s try to keep your sanity, reduce the grey’s and frown lines, and above all else create the best memories possible. Below you will find a checklist of items you will NEED — to insure sensible-summer-savvy-sanity-saver’s.

  1. TWO Backpacks and TWO “Summer-Bags”  — If you have none lying around rely on friends, relatives, thrift stores, yard sales, dollar stores etc.
  2. Bug Repellent — 2 cans — brand of your choice . we like the brands listed here — they are effective and your best bet. bug repellent
  •  Sunblock — again 2 bottles, use a very high SPF, and apply liberally, and often.
  • Extra clothing — here are some examples.
  • Swimsuit’s 2 per child — while one dries in the sun the other can be worn, as children often go back and forth between water and land, sand, mom, and food.
  • One sweatshirt, one pair long pants, 3 t-shirts per child.
  •   Two towels – per child
  • Sandals/flip-flops
  • One cheap Styrofoam cooler — $1.00 at dollar store.
  • Mini First-Aid kit — Band-aids, bug-bite “after-bite”, butterfly stitches, gauze, ace bandage, burn cream, children’s pain reliever, Aloe-Vera gel, stomach-aid, Benadryl, poison ivy itch relief, Bacitracin, and any other helpful things you may think of. I know it sounds like a lot of things — but most can be found at your local dollar store, or even currently around your home.  YOU DO NOT NEED an actual first aid kit — A freezer storage bag takes up less room and works just as well.


  • Baby wipes — the multi-purpose, cheap, cleans EVERYTHING, goes EVERYWHERE, mommy’s helper.
  • Picnic or tablecloth made of rinse-able fabric.
  • Two small pillows in a case with light but warm blanket folded to fit in the case.

summer survival first aid kit

  • If your children have a favorite toy — buy a second one, specifically for outings. If it is a favorite stuffed animal or toy — there is nothing worse than leaving it behind, on a family outing.
  • Big snack and drink packs — bought once each month.
  • Obviously, diapers, pull-ups, etc where applicable, for younger children.
  • Games, things for amusement, etc.
  • The organizers that go on the back of the seat in the car — also $1.00 at the dollar store

summer survival kit snacks

survival storage

I know this seems like A LOT of items and work, but I promise when done right — IT”S A LIFE SAVER.

Now divide them into categories and organize.

Use the organizer for the back of the seat, use this for a snack and things easily reachable to occupy a child.

The cooler should be placed in the trunk or back seat —  where it can be filled with ice at any time — you should pack it with juices and other beverages to combat dehydration. The cooler is also a great spot for the Aloe-Vera gel and ice pack. Pack little bags in ways that match up to the days events. Once a week rotate the back pack items which should contain clothing, sunblock, bug spray etc. The separate backpacks also make it easier for a friend, or family member to take your child for a little while — or even the day. A ready-made bag full of the necessities is a quick and easy — now also a  mindless, effortless, pre-planned gift.

The beach bags should contain the towels, swimsuits, vinyl tablecloth etc. that makes it easy to bring in with you when the day’s done,  you may then rinse off the salt, sand, and crud — yet still keep the wonderful memories you’ve now made with your family. An organized mommy is a happy mommy — in turn happy kids — and finally HAPPY SUMMER DAYS.

Sincerely: Heather Cornell of Parenting 911


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