Summer invites us to take hands with her sunny, warm energy so that our lives can be more easeful and pleasant. So we have collected a bakerĎs dozen tips and ideas to help all of us live more simply (and succulently!) during the long, lazy days of summer.
Find out how to make the sun your ally, get some ideas on simplifying your life and enjoying the pleasures of the season, and much more. We include a few easy warm-weather cooking suggestions and some great keep-cool formulas, including a refreshing crop of body fresheners and some cucumber beauty tips. Itís all right here:
Make an Ally of the Sun
1. Hang your laundry out to dry. There is simply nothing like climbing into a bed whose clean sheets smell sweetly of sun and fresh air. And it saves energy!
2. Wash stained items as usual and then throw them over a bush located in full sunlight to take advantage of the sunís natural bleaching power (our ancestors used to dry their linens on lavender bushes so they would be permeated with sun, fresh air, and the divine scent of lavender.)
3. Anything musty or funky-smelling can benefit from some time in the sun: place items where they will get the benefit of the direct sunlight.
4. Try making Sun Tea. Children are fascinated by the sunís power to change things and love to get involved in this process. Simply place 1 teabag (black, green, or herbal) per pint of water in a glass container, and leave outside in the sun to steep for an hour. Add sweetener and fresh mint, if you like.
5. Try AnnieĎs favorite Natural Hair Lightener. All it takes is one ingredient and the sun.
Enjoy the Pleasures of the Season
6. Eat outdoors whenever possible. (I keep a collection of big baskets on hand to pack up at a momentís notice with tin plates, cloth napkins, lightweight cutlery, and our meal. Then all we have to do is transport the baskets to a pleasant spot and enjoy.) The light is so breathtaking in the late evenings: even carryout from your favorite deli will take on a golden glow. And absorbing the sights and sounds of nature while you eat is a lovely way to slow down, enjoy your meal, and improve both your digestion and your attitude.
7. Water-play on hot summer days never goes out of style: youíll be amazed how much fun you and your kids can get out of a lawn sprinkler or a garden hose. Or you can save precious water and take a trip to the nearest lake, river, or beach. Itís all about contrasts–warm sun, cool water. And splashing is so much fun!
8. Take some do-nothing time. Sit outside at dusk and watch the fireflies–they hold a special magic for people of all ages. We are so adept at DOING: summer encourages us to simply BE.
9. When temperatures soar, our bodies crave smooth clean surfaces. It may be a good time to experiment with bare floors rather than rugs or carpets (Just think: no vacuuming–just a little sweep with the broom or a quick go-round with a damp mop!). Try storing some of those toss pillows and knick-knacks: there will be less tuff to dust, and your home will take on a more Zen-like atmosphere of spacious calm.
10. You donít need to spend a small fortune on cut flowers or fussy decorations in summer. Instead, see what nature offers from her endless bounty: Natureís Summer Gifts for Your Home.
11. I like to do as much cooking as I can in the early morning when I first get up, before it gets really hot. Brown rice, for instance, takes a bit of time to cook–but when itís done, I toss it with a little olive oil and stick it in the fridge so itís well-chilled by evening. Then all I have to do is chop some scallions, red bell peppers, and fresh parsley to add and we have rice salad for dinner. (This works just as well with other whole grains, or with potatoes for potato salad, or hard-cooked eggs for egg salad.) Dried black beans can be soaked overnight the night before and put on to cook as soon as I roll out of bed. Once cooked, you refrigerate them and then, just before dinner, into the blender they go with onions and spices to make a fabulous chilled black bean soup. (For more great recipes, sign up for our free food newsletters, Eat Well Naturally and Green Cuisine. Just go to Newsletter Sign-Up and scroll down.
12. Try a couple of these simple formulas to help you keep your cool: Cooling Body Fresheners.
13. Your freezer and fridge are great helpers when things get hot and sticky. I buy organic fruit nectars and freeze them in make-your-own ice-pop molds for a quick cool-down treat. Or you can chill thinly-sliced cucumber for a relaxing, refreshing facial: just lie down and place the rounds on your eyes and skin and enjoy the cool scent and sensation (and cucumber is great for your skin!). For other cucumber beauty ideas, see Cucumber Kitchen Cupboard Beauty Tips.
You can get more great all-natural beauty tips when you sign up for our free newsletter, Spa Secrets. Just go to the newsletter sign-up page.
By Cait Johnson, Assistant Producer, Care2 Healthy Living.