The spring soccer season is over and tryouts for the 2015-16 season are in the books. Unfortunately we don't get a break from sports just yet... We still have just over a month of baseball and softball to go, which means pretty much all of our weekday evenings will be spent at the baseball fields, along with at least a double header on the weekends for my oldest boys.
About two years ago, our concession stand started taking debit and credit cards, and I have to say this has been a mixed blessing. On one hand, it's a lifesaver when we accidentally leave our kids' water bottles behind or need to grab a Gatorade on a hot day. But it also leads to a lot of whining from bored siblings that want candy, chips or ice cream.
Saying no was a whole lot simpler and easier when I could just tell them that I was out of cash, you know?
So this year we figured we'd pre-empt the daily drain on our account by being proactive. We sat the kids down before the season even started to go over our ground rules for concession stand purchases. Basically, they will be very few and far between. Instead, I asked them to help me make a list of some healthy snacks that we can pack in a cooler to take to games with us, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were genuinely excited about the idea.
Many of the same snacks that we typically pack for road trips were among their requests, in addition to bottled water and frozen yogurt tubes. For now I'm just buying Stonyfield YoKids Squeezers yogurt tubes, but I picked up some popsicle molds similar to these to try making our own. Dividing and packing everything up in Ziploc bags saves space and makes them easier to find.
I'm so in love with this Igloo Quantum cooler that I found at Walmart -- well, as in love as one can be with a cooler. It's the perfect size for light snacks and bottled water, plus it has some really nifty features, like a lockable lid.
I especially love the in-lid storage compartment that holds my phone and car keys securely. Even tall bottles fit upright, and it has two self-draining cup holders in the lid, making it an excellent little side table next to my folding chair.
Of course, if you need a cooler that's larger or smaller, Walmart has you covered with coolers to fit all needs.
You'll also always find a bottle of my favorite homemade bug repellent tucked in our cooler. While it doesn't need refrigeration, it provides a cool and refreshing pick-me-up while keeping away those pesky insects that plague our baseball fields.
Made with Nature's Bounty Earthly Elements essential oils, this all natural bug repellent is an excellent alternative to store bought sprays -- although I'm pleased to see some all natural options available in stores now, as well.
I do recommend using a glass spray bottle for homemade bug repellent due to the fact that some essential oils have properties that will break down plastics over time. However, I'm a little concerned about breakage, so I plan to remedy this by wrapping the bottle in some colorful Duck tape to protect it.
What are the essentials that you pack in your summer cooler?