I'll show you my summer bag if you show me yours

I'll show you my summer bag if you show me yours

New moms stock their diaper bags with wipes, pacifiers, extra outfits, bottles and every other conceivable item that their little one could need. But new moms don't realize that your days of toting along necessary (and not-so-necessary) supplies for your offspring extends long beyond the diaper bag days.

As a mother to a 3, 6 and 8 year-old, I pack a ton of stuff just to head out the door for an outing. My must-haves usually include 4 water bottles, Colin's food allergy emergency kit, hand sanitizer, kleenex, band aids, a myriad of snacks, sunscreen and baby wipes for the messes that surely await us. All of this, plus all of the crap that I usually carry for myself (you know, necessities like lip gloss, my phone, sunglasses, gigantic wallet, business cards, etc.).

Summer outings mean even more stuff (think picnic lunches, sports equipment, swimming gear, changes of clothes, etc.).

You get the gist, right? Moms lug a ton of crap around every day. In an effort to streamline your summer bag packing, I wanted to share a few of my favorite product essentials for your summer outing bag.

  • Let's start with the bag itself. I have used backpacks, totes and every other kind of bag out there. Right now, I am finding that a lightweight frame canvas basket with an open top is working best for us (I have this bag from Target). We can head out to baseball games, picnic lunches, etc. and I have all of the drinks and snacks visible so that kids can see what they want and help themselves without digging around in a big unorganized bag. This sort of bag also works great for farmer's market trips.
  • We've also switched out our SIGG water bottles (4 of those suckers are really heavy) for a new brand of water bottle that I am really loving. Contigo AUTOSEAL Kids Trekker Mugs. These lightweight cups are totally spill and leak-proof. They are made by a Chicago-based company and the design is really innovative. Kids push down on a button to take a sip and then it automatically seals between sips. This cup is perfect for kids ages 3 and up who've outgrown sippy cups (but who also still spill all of the time). They are also 100% BPA-free and dishwasher-safe. Love these things. Wee Windy City readers can get 20% off of the Contigo AUTOSEAL Kids Trekker Mugs on GoContingo.com using the code: SUMMER2012.
  • I have also come across a sunscreen that I really like. Every mom is familiar with the annual great sunscreen search. It is hard to find one that works for your family (and also meets whatever chemical criteria you have). I like a spray sunscreen because it makes it easier to apply on my wiggly kids. But I don't like an aerosol spray sunscreen because I fear it could be flammable. I found a spray sunscreen from Kiss My Face that provides SPF 30 protection and still sprays (just not with aerosol).
  • And finally, snacks. I was thrilled to discover the Quaker is now making granola bars that are "school safe," meaning that they are not made on equipment that process nuts or in facilities that process nuts. This means that we can grab granola bars on the go again because these ones are safe for my little guy with nut allergies. This is a huge convenience for us. Thank you Quaker! Note that I didn't see this specific product listed on their website, but I found them in apple and berry flavors at Target.

So what about you? What's in your bag? Tell me your must-have products for summer outings with the kiddos (or share your tips on how to keep that big 'ol bag from weighing 15 pounds!).


Disclosure: Contigo provided me with two complimentary AUTOSEAL Kids Trekker Mugs so I could check them out and see if I liked them. Turns out I really did like them so I thought I would share.

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