HOTFLASHES | June 2023

How to Have a Great Summer with the Kids or Grandkids

If you’re staying at home with your kids or keeping the grandkids for the summer, it can feel like a long, overwhelming time. With the right steps though, you can make it a great summer that you’ll all enjoy.

  • Have fun. Ultimately, this time at home with your children or grandchildren should be fun. Make sure you have time to do things like running through the sprinkler on a hot day, going to story time at the library, and other fun activities and outings as your budget allows. These will be memories that both you and the child or children will treasure for years.
  • Balance structure. You want this summer to be fun, but kids do thrive on routines and rhythms. Have a daily rhythm if you’re not into a strict schedule where you all have a general idea of meal times, clean up times, and time for play or other activities.
  • Don’t stress. Kids will pick up on your attitude, so if you’re stressed, they’ll likely end up being stressed and in a bad mood too. Try to practice positivity and gratitude and it’s likely the children will follow suit.
  • Limit screens. While screen time can be easy when you’re feeling a little burnt out and tired, we all know kids don’t really need more time in front of a screen. Allow the children to be bored and find ways to be creative in occupying their time. This is great for their development!
  • Try something new. Now is the perfect time for kids to experiment with activities. Painting, playing an instrument, baking, writing a story, or making something with their hands are all great ideas of something new for them to try. Just follow their interests and encourage their creativity.
  • Read every day. Reading is such a beneficial activity for children. It helps develop their imagination, and it’s not a bad way to spend some time for either of you. It’s also a great alternative to screens. Make it fun by taking trips to the library with your child, letting them pick out books, and even signing them up for a summer reading program if they want to.


Keeping Produce Fresh

This time of year is a great time for fresh produce, and fresh produce is so beneficial for your health in so many ways. However, if you don’t store fresh fruits and vegetables properly, they can go bad quickly.

  • Soak up extra water. Too much moisture can cause some produce like lettuce and other leafy greens to spoil. Storing them with a paper towel or tea towel or storing them in a cloth vegetable bag in the fridge can help them to last as long as possible.
  • Limit air. Air makes fruits and vegetables like apple slices, potato slices, avocadoes and others turn brown. You can squeeze some lemon juice over these to help protect them from air.
  • Stop water loss. While excess water causes lettuce and other produce to spoil, it can help others to stay crisp like celery, carrots, and berries.
  • Separate certain foods. Some produce gives off a gas as they ripen that can cause other produce to ripen faster than you want them too. Keep mangos, peaches, and pears away from cucumbers, raspberries, and strawberries.
  • Purchase underripe produce. All the produce you buy doesn’t have to be ready to eat immediately. Tomatoes, avocados, and cantaloupe all ripen even after they’re picked and buying a few of them them before they’re ripe can help you to have fresh produce for several weeks.
  • Pick the right temperature. The temperature you store your produce at matters, and most produce does best in a refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or less. Crisper drawers in the fridge can also help produce stay fresh for longer. However, underripe bananas, avocados, and some other tropical fruit does better on the counter.


Summer Squash Tomato Gratin


  • 2 yellow squash, sliced into coins
  • 2 large or 3 medium heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Arrange the sliced summer squash along the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle with a little of the salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Then sprinkle with a small amount of the panko breadcrumbs and shredded gruyere.
  4. Layer the tomatoes on top of the squash. Repeat with sprinkling on the salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, breadcrumbs, and cheese.
  5. Sprinkle the bell pepper and shallots in a layer across the tomatoes.
  6. Top the dish with the remaining salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, breadcrumbs, and cheese.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until the panko is golden brown.
  8. Serve immediately or save in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Recipe from