Summer break is here and the struggle to stay cool in this season’s heat has never been realer. But where’s the fun in lounging around an air-conditioned house when the weather outside isn’t so frightful?

That’s why we’ve put together a list of our favorite water-related outdoor games that’ll help your family beat the heat this summer. They’re simple, fun, and will get you and your kids into your backyard, front yard, or local park in no time – minimal setup, maximum mommy tanning time!

 1. Water Baseball

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka - Summer Outdoor Games
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Little Leaguers or not, your kids will love this game! Put a wet n’ wild twist on America’s favorite pastime by throwing in some water balloon action. Whether you decide on batting practice, playing catch, or even sliding practice with a Slip N’ Slide, you and your kids will get a kick out of the unlimited options that this game offers when you just add a little bit of water.

Learn more about Water Baseball here.

READ MORE: 5 Fun Outdoor Activities For The Fourth Of July

 2. Cup Races

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka - Summer Outdoor Games
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Mix some water guns with a little competition and you’ve got the ultimate outdoor summer game. Mimic the popular water race games at carnivals with just a few pieces of string, water guns, and paper cups. Invite your kids’ friends and watch them go head-to-head with each other in a fun, friendly game of cup racing!

Learn more about Cup Races here.

3. Flipper Fill-Up

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka - Summer Outdoor Games
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Who doesn’t love a good relay game? Flipper fill-up is guaranteed fun for the whole family and perfect for those hot summer days. With the intensity and competitiveness of this game, don’t expect to stay dry for long. Any game that involves flippers is bound to get a little crazy.

Learn more Flipper Fill-Up here.

READ MORE: 20 Activities To Keep Your Kids Occupied This Summer

4. Drip, Drip, Drench

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka - Summer Outdoor Games
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Turn a traditional game of Duck, Duck, Goose into a summertime favorite! All you need is a bucket full of water and a sponge, and your kids are ready to try out a few rounds of Drip, Drip, Drench. This game is a great way for the little ones to stay active and still be able beat the heat this summer. What more can you ask for?

Learn more about Drip, Drip, Drench here.

READ MORE: 25 DIY Summer Activities For Kids

5. Ready Steady Jump Rope

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka - Summer Outdoor Games
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This simple spin on jumping rope will make things a lot more interesting. Each player gets a cup full of water and must try to retain as much liquid in their cup while jumping rope. Whoever has the most water in their cup by the end of the game wins. As easy as that sounds, there’s bound to be a little (or a lot) of splish-splash!

Learn more about Ready Steady Jump Rope here.

6. Water Balloon Towel Toss

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka - Summer Outdoor Games
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Get a little teamwork going with this easy game of Towel Toss. Pair up with another group and see how long you can keep the water balloon intact while passing it back and forth between your team’s beach towels. Don’t be surprised if it eventually turns into a full-fledged water balloon fight. Can’t say we didn’t warn you!

Learn more about Water Balloon Towel Toss here.

7. Water Limbo

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka - Summer Outdoor Games
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Grab a hose with a straight and steady stream, and play all your kids’ favorite tunes for a fun game of water limbo! Throw in an extra challenge by lowering the hose after each round of shimmying and see who comes out (fairly) dry in the end.

Learn more about Water Limbo here.

READ MORE: Summertime: 5 Ideas For Welcoming The Sublime Season 

8. Glow In The Dark Bowling

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka - Summer Outdoor Games
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The fun doesn’t have to stop once the hot summer sun goes down! Grab a few empty water bottles, some colorful glowsticks, a sturdy ball, and you have yourself a fun DIY game of glow in the dark bowling to end your long summer day.

Learn more about Glow In The Dark Bowling here.

Don’t let a little heat keep you and your family from enjoying some fresh (albeit hardly breathable and plenty humid) air from enjoying what summer has to offer. Go out, make memories, and make waves!

The hummingbird has been in preschool for a few days a week and I’ve gotten so used to having some time to get things done around the house, run errands, etc. When I found that she would be home for 2 weeks, I was racking my brain trying to figure out how I was going to keep my 4 year-old busy the whole day.

So, I took to Pinterest.

I actually found things to keep her occupied. Although, it may not last long and then the rest of the time I get to hear I’M BORED.

One of the things we did earlier this week was make ice cream. We went outside with the bag and shook it around and played catch. Sure, I did most of the work but the hummingbird loved it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tsp. of vanilla
2 1/2 tps. granulated sugar
6 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
ice

Directions

In a quart size ziplock bag, add the above ingredients. Make sure most of the air is out and knead the bag, mixing everything together. Fill a gallon size ziplock bag halfway with ice and add the coarse kosher salt.

Close the bag and mix the ice and salt together by shaking the bag around. Open the bag back up and put the quart size bag in the middle of the ice. I doubled up on both bag sizes just to be safe.

Here’s where the fun comes in. Take the bag outside and shake it up, toss it around, play catch… whatever keeps the bag moving for about 5-10 minutes. It only took 5 mins for us.

Then, grab some spoons and scoop the ice cream out and enjoy.

After that, watch your kid run around in circles while laughing because of the sugar high.

This post was originally featured on Elle’s blog, This Is Mommyhood

Nothing hits a girl’s self-esteem harder than middle school and high school. Suddenly, you go from the happy-go-lucky girl playing outside, getting bruises, and generally not worrying about how you look to a girl who obsesses about her appearance and compares herself to other girls. The switch happens lightning-fast…at least it did for me.

My concerns about my body image began in high school. Puberty had kicked in and my high metabolism disappeared a day later. Instead of being able to eat anything without gaining a pound, I would gain weight just by looking at a cookie. The weight gain came, and it was unexpected.

By the end of my freshman year, I was convinced I was fat. Looking back, I probably was about 15-20 pounds overweight, but not fat. (It didn’t help that I got on a scale once and a well-meaning uncle expressed shock at my number and told me I should probably lose a few pounds.)

I found myself looking at other girls and comparing my body to their lithe, thin figures. My figure was nothing like that. I first sprouted boobs at the age of 10. By the time high school began, I was already wearing a C-cup. Just my boobs alone made me feel self-conscious. I wore large tops to hide them.

Unlike many girls in my class, I had wide hips and thighs. I walked a lot and rode my bike everywhere. My thighs weren’t fat, just muscular. I didn’t consider that as a reason though. It must be fat. After all, my 9th grade gym teacher told my class that if our thighs touched then we needed to lose weight since it was an indication we were fat. (The recent craze about thigh gap irritates me because of this reason alone. It’s a bunch of crap!)

I was on the Junior Varsity cheerleading squad when I was a sophomore in high school. When ordering uniforms, a fellow cheerleader let me know that another “bigger” cheerleader from the year before might be willing to sell me her uniform. She made it clear she thought I was big and emphasized all the ways she recently lost some weight. It only confirmed what I knew to be true: I was fat.

I became obsessed with being thinner. I ate less and less. I was obsessed with the numbers on a scale; numbers that never seemed to get as small as I wanted them to be.

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By my senior year, I was borderline anorexic. I say borderline because I never gave up eating, completely or allowed my weight to take over my life. However, that said, I knew I could go up to 24 hours without eating anything without issue. Once I got to 36 hours, I would have a spontaneous bloody nose. So, I would make sure I ate something at least that often.

Breakfast was a slice of plain bread. My usual lunch was either a small fry with cheese or a packet of Cheez-its. Dinner was whatever my parents served, but nothing beyond one small serving. Oh, and forget snacking. I avoided it like crazy.

What killed me with my obsession was that I couldn’t lose more weight. The smallest I got, with my 5’8” frame, was 145 pounds with a 27” waist. And guess what, I still thought I was fat. It didn’t help when my grandmother emphasized that she thought I shouldn’t put butter on something because it would add to my weight. It only confirmed what I knew. I was huge.

I wish I knew then that I wasn’t fat. I wish I knew then that I was thin. I wish I appreciated how great I looked and knew that what I was doing to my body wasn’t helping me. Not one bit. I couldn’t lose weight because I wasn’t feeding my body properly. I couldn’t lose weight because I was probably at my perfect weight at the age of 17.

I wish I had known that my body had just developed curves earlier than others in my class. That instead of shopping in the junior’s section at the department store, I should have avoided it. I didn’t know that those clothes were cut to fit a slimmer, less developed body. I let the size I was (an 11/13) become justification in my need to lose weight; to get slimmer. If I had gone to the misses section, I might have discovered I would fit in a size 8 and been satisfied. But, I wasn’t. I couldn’t be. I was ashamed of myself and my body. In my mind, a size 11/13 only confirmed that I was fat.

It wasn’t until college that I began to appreciate my body and my weight in a new way. My new college friends didn’t judge me or my weight. Like others, I gained the freshman 15, and by my junior year I had gained 30 pounds. I decided to do something about my weight then. Not because I was obsessed with the number, but because I wanted to feel good about myself. Instead of starving myself, like I tried to do in high school, I just ate healthier (less late night pizza runs) and started power walking. I ended up losing 20 pounds, settling in at a healthy, fit 155 pounds.

I also had a conversation with my mom about my grandmother’s comment about butter. My mom laughed and told me that she made comments like that to her when she was younger and had a 23 inch waist. It was just my grandmother’s own issues with weight and body image.

Today, I’m far from that slim, weight-obsessed high school girl, and my body is definitely not a healthy and fit 155 pounds. I am now a plus-size woman and though I’m not happy with my weight, I love myself and the body that has given birth to two marvelous little girls and allowed me to go on many adventures in my life. I work to get in shape, not really to lose weight, although that would be pretty great. (After all, all the cute clothes are in the smaller sizes.)

If I had only known as a teenager that obsessing about what my body looked like was not nearly as important as loving myself for who I was. I can only imagine how much happier I would have been in high school. I know that now and I’m grateful. Now, as a mom to two precious little girls, I hope I can pass on the lessons I learned on my way to loving myself and my body.

Denise is a 40+ year old KU alum and SAHM trying to navigate the world of motherhood. She blogs about parenting, food, and has been featured a few times on BlogHer and has an upcoming feature on Scary Mommy. She enjoys solving mysteries (Okay..reading mysteries or watching them on TV), cooking, and drinking way more caffeine than she should…basically, doing anything she needs to do to survive the toddler years.  Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

This post was originally featured on Jill Robbins’ blog, Ripped Jeans and Bifocals. Photo via

My husband thinks I’m nuts, which is a given, but even more so because of the emotional attachment I have with every single book I read.  Even the not so great ones. But once I start a book, damn it, I have to finish it. Example A. I read several books at a time but there’s always a front-runner and after that book is finished, the cycle starts over again.

Stage 1: Deciding on a book to read. Sounds easy but it’s torture picking one book out of millions. Damn those first world problems.

Stage 2: I finally decide on one but there might be a few more that are in the running. As much as I love real books, I’ve been reading on my kindle more and more. So, I use the “buy now with 1-click” button. And those few other books that sounded good? The “buy now with 1-click” button makes me get those too.

I had more self-control when I would be asked for my credit card but it would be in my purse downstairs and I would be too lazy to get it. Boom, no impulsive shopping for books or anything else for that matter. Now, with that clicky button, I go clicky crazy and have accumulated so many books, I could open my own library.

Stage 3: I seem to start out reading a book and usually think, meh. Because it’s not the last book I read and my head is still in that story.

Stage 4: I cannot put the book down. I don’t want to tear myself away from the characters. My kid needs to be fed, dinner has to be made, and laundry has to finally be folded after spending the past 3 days in the dryer after being dried over and over again with the intention of taking it out but then forgetting about it. But I can’t stop reading!

Stage 5: It never fails that when I’m at a crucial point of a book, my 6 year-old wants to have every single second of my attention. Even if she has a friend over to play with. I’m convinced that kids have an internal radar that pings when you really, really need a little time by yourself. It’s like she knows and thinks “Wait a second! My mom looks like she’s enjoying herself without my company. So, I will bug the shit out of her to make sure she remembers I will never let that happen.”

For that matter, even my husband is that way. The man isn’t much of a talker but when I’ve been having a toddler like tantrum in my mind because I haven’t been able to move along in the current book I’m reading and my daughter is in bed at last, I open up my kindle and my husband seems to have a rare moment when he wants to talk and talk. They know. Oh, yes. They know.

Stage 6: Oh my god. I’m getting close to the end of the book. No! No! No! This can’t be happening. I want to finish but I can’t let these characters go!

Stage 7: I set the book aside for several days because I need time to accept the fact that it will be over soon. Sniff… sniff.

Stage 8: I finish my beloved book and it’s bittersweet. Yay, I’m done but booo, so is the story and characters I’ve been consumed with.

Stage 9: Spend days with a book hangover.

Stage 10: Finally settle on a new book. And get a few more because of that damn “buy now with 1-click” button.

This post was originally featured on Elle Davis’ blog, This Is Mommyhood. Featured image via.

Look, we can’t all look like models all of the time. But in spite of our own sweatpants couture it’s still fun to check out the looks of our favorite fashionable mama, Blake Lively.

So in honor of the actress/entrepreneur/writer/badass, we put together a few gifs depicting the times Blake blew us away.

 

1. When her baptism outfit was pure 1930’s glamour.

 

2. When she made the perfect food baby/actual baby joke.

 

3. When she was a loving mom even though her daughter was 50 years older than her

 

4. When she made baby bumps a hot red-carpet accessory.

 

5. When she was part of this gorgeous mother-daughter moment

 

6. When she brought the fashion AND the funny.