Tag Archives: summer

Tips for Preventing Summer Bug Bites

Summertime means being out on the lake — with bugs!

When this is your view for the majority of your summer (at least on the weekends), that’s a very good thing. But it also comes with some very bad things — namely, a few million mosquitoes and other flying pests that could turn a smooth ride into a bumpy nightmare.

My kids love to be outside. And ever since I took up fishing and got myself a canoe, I love taking them out on the water. We navigate new rivers, ponds, and lakes and pretend we’re explorers seeing new lands for the first time. We catch our fill of bass and pickerel and we SWEAR the biggest fish of our lives just nibbled on our line but barely escaped our clutches. And we definitely chronicle the wildlife we see.

Beavers firming up their dams and gnawing on trees. River otters darting across the river. And, unfortunately, bugs. So many bugs. Which is why I’ve learned a few helpful tricks to cut back on the damage, and teamed up with KnowYourOTCs.org to dole out a few ways you and your family can mitigate mosquito maladies this summer.

When it comes to a day outside and preventing bug bites, it’s all in how you prepare.

The most obvious way is using insect repellent. I’m now going to shout one word at you and if you take anything from this post, this is the word I want you to remember. Ready? DEET!!!!! Use repellent that has DEET. I beg you. This is BY FAR the most effective repellent you can use, and it protects for between 2-5 hours. Get more useful info here.

But when you’re using it, keep a few things in mind:

  • Don’t spray near kids mouths or noses
  • Spray in an open area
  • Apply the spray 15 minutes before prolonged exposure to the sun
  • Don’t use on kids younger than 2 months
  • Don’t use any sunscreen/DEET combos — it dilutes the effectiveness of the sunscreen

Oh, and don’t apply insect repellent directly to open wounds. I know this one from experience, because I’m frequently an idiot. It burned worse than that time in college when — well, that’s a story best left untold.

It’s also wise to wear long sleeves when you can. I know it’s hot and your kids will complain, but they’re probably going to whine anyway so at least they’ll be safer while being annoying, right? Also, avoid perfume and cologne as they attract more mosquitoes.

If your kids do have bug bites, there is some recourse to save what’s left of your sanity in between shouts of “BUT IT ITCHES!!!!”

First of all, consider some OTC meds and skin protectants, which you can find more about here. Also, your kids are going to scratch. They can’t help themselves, but you can do a few things to assist. Use an emory board to soften your child’s nails so when they scratch, they’re less likely to break the skin. And if that doesn’t work, cover up the bites with a band-aid.

And because I so don’t have all the answers, check out this video of Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, who is a lot smarter than I am with even more tips.

So go outside and play because it’s gorgeous out and soon (at least here in New England) it will be winter for 8 months. But make sure you take precautions and don’t mess around with bug bites while you’re hanging out in the yard or park. Because you shouldn’t be collecting mosquito bites, you should be catching outdoor moments like this.


This is a sponsored post. I am collaborating with the CHPA (Consumer Healthcare Products Association) Educational Foundation and knowyourOTCs.org. I was compensated for this post but as always, my opinions are my own.

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That Time When

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I do it all for the stories.

I love stories. I love collecting them and mentally filing them away so I can marinate in them whenever I want. I love telling stories, both via the written word and through old fashioned word of mouth. And I like retelling them years later, even to those who have already heard them and know them by heart.

Stories are my currency, my stock-in-trade, and they become our historical record long after we shuffle off this mortal coil. They are the thread that weaves together generations and the wind that gently carries whispers of the past. They are the closest any of us will come to immortality.

But before our stories can be told, they have to be lived.

It is amazing to me how the entire concept of vacation has changed since becoming a parent. If you’re like us, you have one family vacation per year. Assuming you take family vacations up until your kids are 18 — and factoring in most kids don’t remember much before the age of 5 — that leaves a measly 14 vacations. Fourteen chances to create lasting memories that give your children Kodak Moment level goosebumps. Just more than a baker’s dozen opportunities to make and collect your stories.

For me, it’s all about “That Time When.”

I think back to family vacations when I was young and there was that time when we went to my aunt’s beach house on Cape Cod but ended up playing a billion games of Ping Pong in the basement because none of us liked the beach. Or that time we went to Six Flags and I instantly overcame my fear of rollercoasters because a 13-year-old girl in a bikini asked me to ride with her. And who can forget that time when we went to Amish Country and ended up fighting with a buggy driver after I called him a hypocrite for being against the consumption of tobacco for moral reasons, yet having no issue profiting off the smoking industry.

But now I’m a dad. A working dad. A working dad who knows my countdown from 14 has begun, and desperately wants to create some “That Time When” moments for his own family.

With some help from HomeAway, I was able to do just that. Instead of staying at a hotel, we used HomeAway to find an absolutely perfect, pet-friendly lakefront cabin in Vermont. We had a kitchen to cook our meals instead of paying for room service, a beautiful pond for swimming and fishing instead of a hotel pool, and we saved money by not having to board our dog. All that for roughly $150 a night. Cheaper than a hotel and better than a hotel.

Now, here are our moments.

Continue reading That Time When

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Join Me For the Sunstar GUM #ShowUsYourGrill Twitter Party

Winter can be cruel, and no one knows that better than all the brave souls in New England who survived 100+ inches of snow and a seemingly never-ending blanket of cold, suffocating powder that lasted into April.

Except not all survived this winter. My longtime companion, Weber, fell victim to Mother Nature.

Weber isn’t a person, it’s my grill. Although for many dads like myself, a good grill isn’t far off from a good friend. I’m not sure whether it was the heaping amounts of snow or (more than likely) the wind storm that knocked it over and sent it partially down our deck stairs, but alas, poor Weber is no more.

However, despite my loss, I’ve already seen all of you on Facebook and Twitter next to your grills, happily cooking up a storm now that summer is knocking at our door and releasing us from our winter prisons. And although I’m sad, I believe I can learn to smile again thanks to all the upcoming months of sunshine, outdoor family time, grilling, and toothy grins from young and old alike. In that vein, I’m happy to announce a really cool and informational Twitter party I’m doing with Sunstar GUM.

SunstarGUM

The arrival of May means barbecue season is upon us. As the days get longer and the temperatures begin to rise, it’s important to make sure your grill is in the best shape possible for backyard bashes — and not just the one on which you’re going to cook.

As you prepare for a summer full of outdoor memories created around the grill, keep in mind the pictures taken of you will likely wind up on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. That means not only do your meals have to be just right, but your smile should be too. So come and share your favorite outdoor bash recipes, activities, and tips for keeping fresh with summer foods that tend to get stuck in teeth. We have some awesome grilling prize packs, as well as great oral care products and grilling supplies that will be up for grabs.

[inlinkz_linkup id=523930 mode=1]

Prize Packs 1 & 2 ($25 value)
Sunstar GUM product prize packs featuring:

Prize Pack 3 ($60 value)

Prize Pack 4 ($75 value)

  • Burger package and a Sunstar GUM product prize pack

Prize Pack 5 Grand Prize ($135 value)

DISCLAIMER: I am being compensated by Sunstar GUM for this post and involvement in the Twitter party, but all opinions are 100% my own.

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