I can’t think of anything more lovely than summer in the PNW. Blue skies, warm sunshine, long days…The only problem is it doesn’t last very long so you definitely have to make the most of it. Living in Bellingham we are really lucky to live a few miles from an awesome lake, river and being on the coast we have Bellingham Bay. Bellingham also has an awesome park and trail system that we love taking advantage of. All these things are fun if your toddler is happy. The minute things go south and you’re not prepared…. run, get to the car and go home. Over the last month or so I’ve come up with a list of things we don’t leave the house without.
Snacks. Oh Lordy, I’ve been saved by snacks so many times. When I was pregnant I read “Bringing up Bebe“. Fantastic book. In the book, the author talks about how French parents don’t feed their children snacks, they only eat at mealtimes. I was totally going to follow this… until I experienced my hangry toddler. End of story, we eat snacks. I TRY to only give fruit and keep snacks small, but sometimes these bars are just too easy and Ritz Crackers? Oh yeah, we love Ritz. At home when it’s hot I like to give Ella Ruby Rockets popsicles. They are dairy free, no added sugar, and made with organic fruits AND vegetables! Anytime I can sneak a veggie in without her knowing I consider it a win!
Ella was somewhat of an early walker (11 months) so I knew she would need a really good pair of shoes for the summer. I wanted them to be able to get wet but also have some serious toe protection. I searched and searched, so many sandal type shoes start at size 5, my little Ella was JUST wearing a size 4. I found these by Keen Footwear and have been soooo happy with them. They are the perfect summer shoe and my daughter enjoys wearing them. She can run around on our wooded property, she can splash around at the splash park and she can frolic in the lake/river while wearing them. I’m so impressed with Keen Footwear, I’m actually thinking of getting her these for late summer/fall.
UV sun protection shirts and hats. My go to’s for sun shirts are SwimZip. Zip it up, zip it off. No struggling to get it over your wiggley toddlers head. They even have a full suit which we love. Ella usually fights wearing a hat nowadays but once in a while she’ll wear this awesome hat from Flap Happy. They have so many colors and prints and styles. Love them.
SUNSCREEN. I’m a bit of a nut about SPF. I wear it every single day. I’m especially nutty about Ella wearing sunscreen. After a ton of research I ordered ThinkBaby SPF 50 and couldn’t be happier. It received super safe ratings from EWG, it’s free of any biologically harmful chemicals, has a very pleasant, light fruity smell and IT RUBS IN SO EASY! Most “physical” sunscreens like this are a pain to rub in, and let’s be real, no toddler has patience for mom to take 15 minutes applying sunblock. ThinkBaby. End of story.
Reusable swim diapers. When I was pregnant I had every intention of making the world a better place by cloth diapering my baby. Yeah. Ha. That didn’t happen. BUT, I am using reusable swim diapers. Again, after a ton of research I came across Cheeky Cloth, I love that these diapers are designed to fit from newborn up to 40lbs! 40 POUNDS! That’s amazing. I was even more excited when I found out the mama who is the sole creater, Kaitlyn, lives 15 minutes from me! She is so super sweet, it made me even happier to support another local mom. She even bought some bows from my Etsy Shop. *tip- buy at least two swim diapers, it’s good to have a back up if things back up…you know what I mean…
I’m saving the best for last. Drumroll please…. The Gathre mat. Guys, this multipurpose mat is amazing. It is made with luxuriously soft bonded leather. It is water impermeable, it’s stain proof, it wipes clean like a dream! I bought the large one and we use it in the lawn at home, at the park, at the river/lake, we take it up to our property in the dirt, it goes camping with us. They come in tons of sizes and colors, great for under the high chair, as a travel changing pad, use it to protect your flooring during art projects. I can’t reccomend it enough. The large one is perfect for playdates, it can fit a couple mamas and like a billion toddlers.
So there you have it, I could go on and on and on, but these are the main items I take with us everyday. What do you use everyday to keep your toddler happy in the summer (besides patience, amIright)?