If you read one book this summer, pick up The Fun Book for Moms: 102 Ways to Celebrate Family, by Melina Gerosa Bellows. This quirky book offers plenty of clever ideas to get in touch with your kids, friends and yourself this summer. Ideas range from keeping yourself entertained at "a boring kiddie activity" (bring another mom along and fill up two sippy cups with wine) to keeping your family entertained on a hot summer day (get messy eating ice cream, run through the sprinkler and "lead the charge in a water balloon fight.") The tips are priceless and the art is absolutely adorable. For more information, visit www.MelinaBellows.com.
Finding time for sex
"As an overly over-extended mama myself, I find myself completely exhausted by the end of the day. When I get in bed, nothing is more seductive to me than a nice warm bed and snuggling up with my husband, sleeping off the exhaustion. Weekend mornings seem to work best for us. Spontaneous sex can still happen in a marriage with kids. There’s a reason bedroom doors have locks. We have found, though, that some of our best alone time has been spent sitting on the couch in the middle of an afternoon (with the kids gone), a little nap, and, who knows?"
Get that glorious glow
The summer months bring everyone outside and at the forefront of many Chicago mamas’ minds are the harmful UV rays known to cause skin cancer. With that said, Chicago Parent’s editors got together to test a few self-tanning products to find out which one works best. We noted color, smell and texture as we tested them.
We found that the lotions for darker skin worked best, and the fair to medium skin products didn’t make much of a difference.
Two reminders: Before and during your á la bottle tanning, exfoliate. Gloves and careful application are important because no mom wants their little one pointing out to strangers that "Mommy’s hands are really orange."
Olay Body Touch of Sun 6.7 oz., $6.99
The scent is pleasant, not overwhelming. The fair- to medium-skin lotion gave me a slight, sun-kissed tan. One week later, I switched to the darker tanning lotion and people started to notice. I am impatient, so not having to wait for the lotion to dry (five minutes) was nice. My tan came out very even. Overall, I was extremely pleased.
Vaseline Intensive Healthy Body Glow Lotion 10 oz., $6.49
The product smelled wonderful—reminiscent of days at the beach—but left my skin sticky at times and didn’t absorb as fast as I’d like. I should have taken the directions more seriously and washed my hands because I soon saw discoloration marks between my fingers. I will keep using it, and with a little more care on my part, the results should be excellent.
Dove Energy Glow Beauty Body Lotion 8.5 oz., $7.99
I am naturally very pale so I used the lotion for fair-to-medium skin tones and was happy with the results. Although I definitely don’t look like I’ve been out in the sun working on my tan, my skin has a healthy glow. And I actually liked the scent. My skin was a little sticky for about an hour after applying, but it never came off on my clothes.
Jergens Natural Glow "Firming" Daily Moisturizer 7.5 oz., $7.99
After one week, people in the office were telling me I looked tan, my daughter thought I looked orange. I didn’t notice the glitter effect until I was outside, sparkling. It dried quickly. I’m the "old lady" in the group and was given the product with the word "firming" in the title. Let’s just say I didn’t feel the need to go to the back of the closet for the slim pants.
L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Tinted Self-Tanning Lotion
5 oz., $8.99 As the hours ticked by the first day, the darker my skin became. By the next day, people were asking whether I had just returned from the Bahamas. By far, my color was the deepest of all the tans in the office. But after I stopped using the lotion, my tan became very blotchy and ugly.
Tamara L. O’Shaughnessy
It’s summertime. What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy the summer? In 30 words or less, share your tips. E-mail email@example.com.