Recently, I wrote an article that gives idead how to keep your kids busy this summer. I'll admit to some of the activities I mentioned being a potential mess disaster waiting to happen. And if you are anything like me, cleaning is not necessarily the most fun way to spend your summer vacation, am I right?
Fortunately, there are ways to avoid summer messes or to make them easier to clean up. I openly admit to not really freak out if something happens. I know some parents who dress up their children like they are going to a gala party when all they are doing is going to the local park. Or the zoo. (I don't personally know them but I have seen plenty of them around Zagreb - Croatia's capital). I have also witnessed moms taking the kids to the park and then running after them yelling not to go on this slide or that swing, stay out of the sand box because they will get dirty.
I am usually of the mindset: "It's washable". Kids are washable, clothes are washable. Or ... you know.. not overdressing my children when I know we are going some place they are bound to get dirty.
However, even with not over-dressing my kids, or dressing them up in play clothes, sometimes messes cannot be avoided. Luckily for me, Debra Johnson comes to my rescue. For those of you who don't know, Debra Johnson is a national cleaning expert for Merry Maids and she has some great tips on how to conquer some of the most common summer messes. And what's even better, she aims to include the kids to help with clean up making it a "mom-cation" moment - those sweet moments when moms get a break from cleaning and involve their kids in the clean up.Tackling Summer Messes Ice Pop Drips
Who doesn't love ice pops? I know my kids do, and naturally drips are bound to happen, especially if you have younger kids. Debra suggests to dampen the stained area with dish washing liquid solution. From there, place a white terry cloth towel over the solution and run over the towel with a hot iron – this will help transfer much of the stain to the towel. According to her, this is the best home remedy to remove ice pop stains from upholstery or carpet.
To take things further and make it a mom-cation moment, get the kids involved by letting them make a DIY ice pop holder. Johnson suggests parents help their kids cut a hole in the bottom of a cupcake wrapper and place the wrapper around the base of the ice pop stick – use multi-colored or printed wrappers to make it fun and personal.I glitter, you glitter... glitter everywhere?!
What do rainy days, kids, and crafts have in common? GLITTER! Especially when it gets everywhere and suddenly you are walking around like Edward and people are beginning to think you are in fact a vampire. Easy way to deal with glittery problem according to Debra is to spread paper or plastic over the table before starting any craft projects – hopefully most of the glittery residue will stay on the paper, but prepare for some spillover.
Make It a “Mom-Cation” moment: Make DIY lint rollers with the kids so they can own the cleanup responsibility. Help them create a loop of tape, sticky side up, that fits loosely around their fingers or hands so they can tap the sparkly surfaces and capture any glitter that got left behind.Summer time and lemonade
I love lemonade don't you? My kids love it too, especially in the summer. However my kids have this annoying habit (please tell me I am not the only one!) of constantly going in and out and in and out... I swear I am starting to sound like my mom-in-law: "Shut the door, I can't afford to air condition Florida Croatia!" If we add lemonade to this in-and-out business, well, things are bound to get sticky. Debra says the best trick is to wipe up the lemonade or juice immediately – first with a paper towel and then with a wet microfiber cloth, soaked in warm water, to ensure no residue is left behind. If the juice spill occurs on a cloth surface, rub the wet area with ice cubes and blot the area with a dry microfiber cloth.
Make It a “Mom-Cation” moment: Turn the cleanup task into a team project and get the kids involved by having one person rub the juice stain with an ice cube while the other pats the area dry.Beach Time And The Sand Is Everywhere
Luckily for me, we don't have a lot of sandy beaches in Croatia. Pebbled beaches? Yeah, we got plenty of those. I think I have been to a sandy beach only once and when I got home with sand in places I will not mention, I decided I much rather prefer pebbled beaches. (Think of it as a free back rub - it instantly gets more bearable!) I never knew that baby powder can actually help with this, but Debra claims the baby powder helps remove moisture from the skin, making it easier to wipe the sand off before it gets into the house. Of course having a towel handy and dusting off as much sand as possible is a given.
Make It a “Mom-Cation” Moment: Before entering the house, Johnson encourages kids to do a little dance on a door mat with bare feet –taking four or five steps on the mat will transfer the sandy soil from their feet to the mat, instead of from their feet to the floor. This will keep debris out of the house and help prevent any scratching of the floor.Your Very Own Ocean In Your House
If you have a pool, and kids, I am pretty sure your kids have run back into the house in their wet swimsuits. No? You mean, mine are the only one who did that? Lucky you... Once the kids are done playing in the water, Johnson recommends parents entertain the kids outside for five to ten minutes before heading back into the house, allowing enough time for swim suits to dry. And that's something I have been doing because I really didn't opt for an indoor ocean. Neither did my mother.
Make It a “Mom-Cation” Moment: To make it easier for the kids to help prevent any slippery messes, Johnson recommends setting up a towel tree by the pool or placing a laundry line in the bathroom on which kids can hang their swimsuits and towels to dry completely.
If you'd like to find more useful tips about cleaning and organizing, visit Merry Maids website. You can also find them on Facebook and if you have tips of your own be sure to share them using #MomCation tag or just jump in the conversation and ask any questions you may have!
Your turn! How do you handle summer messes?
Ana Lynn Amelio, Our Blended Marriage
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