Ok, we all know that summer is in full swing now, especially when you find yourself outside at noon and realize in about 5 minutes that you are dehyrdated, sweating, feeling faint, and suddenly want to be anywhere else than outside. Ah, love my air conditioning.... But we still have a long summer ahead of us, so I thought I'd share some handy tips I've learned along the way to make summer just a little easier so we can all enjoy the fun. Ok, first one. Peppermint oil can help poison ivy. I know, this sounds totally earth goddess goofy, but trust me, it works. J got poison ivy last week, (you know, since his mother failed to notice that it is growing in GREAT abundance in our backyard-duh!) and he started complaining at night, well past the hour when CVS would be open. I had heard of a home remedy that uses peppermint oil. Well, we don't have any pure peppermint oil, but since my husband is, yes, let's say it, obsessed with having a killer herb garden, we have peppermint growing in abundance too. I picked some leaves, crushed them into some olive oil, and smeared the whole thing on J's leg. I mean, can't hurt right? Well, not only did it not hurt, it really, really helped. His rash is far from gone, but it seems to be abating, and he doesn't complain of the itchiness anymore. And even if it wasn't poison ivy, the mint actually can be used for all sorts of skin issues, and it's free. I'm sold. Totally unrelated tangent that will surely turn into a threadjack later but that's ok with me: I've heard that a weak mint tea can help morning sickness. Not that I'm pregnant or anything, just wondering if anybody else has heard this, or tried it. Ok, tangent over. Tip #2. Spray on sunscreen. Up until today, I had only seen the expensive Coppertone and Neutrogena brand, which I have loved. They come in an aersol form, and can cover white bodies in a matter of seconds. And today I saw somebody at the pool using a generic Target brand spray--cha-ching, I'm totally sold on the cheap stuff, baby. Now, this is actually sort of opposite from the earth goddess herbal essence tip above, you know, using chemicals and aerosols and all (do CFCS still exist?) but we all have practically translucent skin that has been known to sport a serious sunburn after (I'm not kidding) less than a half an hour in the sun. If anybody knows of an herbal remedy that is as effective as sunscreen, let me know. Til then, I'll be spraying my family with this stuff, and staying happily white and burn free all summer. Yee-ha! Tip #3. Keep lemon wedges already sliced in a Tupperware container in your fridge. Lemon slices make a glass of water much more heavenly, and having the slices on hand is much easier than having to cut a lemon everytime you want to make your water glass fancy. Besides, by the time you cut up the lemon, you are too dehydrated to do anything else because it took you so dang long to cut it. Cut them when you have a moment, not when you are dying for it. It also makes it superhandy to use when you are cooking chicken on the grill. Just grab a wedge, squeeze it over the chicken, and voila, lemon chicken! Delicious and easy, and your family thinks you are a genius, which gives you brownie points towards a pedicure, which is a must because you are most definitely going to be spending time in the cute dollar flip flops you bought at Target at the beginning of the season, which are so fun but definitely hard on your feet, and you're the mom and deserve a foot massage anyway. Hooray! That's it. I'm out. Tell me your tips for getting through the summer, and pretend that you are telling me while we are sitting on my front porch on my imaginary comfy wicker chairs, (yes, they are on order, but sadly, only in my head!) sipping something delicious, admiring our pretty feet and watching our kids play happily in the cul-de-sac. Ah, I love summer! Oh, and don't forget the sunglasses!