Act 184

Old school summer camp

My summer camp was close to home. In my neighbourhood, in fact. Mostly in my yard and at the beach down the block. Nothing fancy. But very fun.

Flip flops, bathing suits, popsicles, picnics, running in the sprinkler. Friends and family. Sometimes we would summer camp at my cousins’ in Quebec. Same games but “en francais”.

There are so many opportunities for kids to attend camp in the summer. Music camp, drama camp, soccer camp, regular camp, horse camp. But I camp afford it (a little debt humour). Even if I could, I don’t know that I’m ready to send them off for weeks at a time. We don’t get as much time with our kids as we’d like to think.

While it’s true that it’s not summer camp for parents, there are ways to share child care – take turns watching the kids for a day, or hire a neighbourhood teen to watch them, or call in a gramma if you’re so lucky. This is what we try to do.

And while it’s early goings yet, I’ve haven’t once heard the two words parents dread “I’m bored”. They’re having fun and unstructured play is important for kids. They need more of it. And it’s a cost effective option that works for us.

Act 182

When it’s this hot, stay cool using what you’ve got

It’s hot. Like really hot. Like 35 degrees and muggy hot. It’s so hot in my front yard, there should be yellow danger, do not cross tape. My back yard is shady – it’s 10 degrees cooler there. Nature has lessons for us.

When it’s this hot, I’m tempted to blast my window air conditioner to freeze. But that’s not sensible. So I’m trying a few new things.

Here goes

Cool the house at night. Keep what you can open. Then, early in the am, close everything and try to trap the cool night air. Especially draw the curtains and blinds.

Make lots of ice. Feed your kids fruit smoothies with frozen fruit, ice cubes and water. Mango is especially delicious.

Try and eat fridge food rather than stove food: fruit, salad, cheese, yogurt, nuts.

If you use an air conditioner, try it on fan instead of cool. Then put a bucket of ice water nearby (not too nearby, we needed electrocute ourselves). I’m surprised but it works – it’s not Mr Freeze cold, but it’s good.

And as for one more crazy out there idea, I’ve put a 1/2 dozen clean pillow cases in a shopping bag in the freezer. We’ll see if that makes bed time any more bearable.

And finally, think about winter. This too shall pass and soon we’ll be complaining about shoveling snow. It’s all in how you look at things.

And speaking of how we look at things, thanks to the Globe and Mail for their story on our debt defying blog. Happy to see the conversations (and criticisms) about debt continue. We need to keep talking.