With summer on the rise, let’s take a moment to appreciate  the royalties this warm weather provides. Here are some  ideas to help all of us live more simply and flavorful during the long days of summer.

1. Save energy and hang your laundry out to dry. There is nothing quite like climbing into a bed with clean sheets smelling of sweet summer sun and fresh air.

2. Take advantage of the sun’s natural bleaching power. Wash stained items as usual and then throw them over a bush located in full sunlight. Our ancestors dried their linens on lavender bushes so they would be infused with the scent of lavender, sun and fresh air.

3. What to do musty or funky-smelling items? Place items in direct sunlight and let the suns rays and the open air work out some of those odors.

4. Use your freezer and fridge to help when things get hot and sticky. Get some juice or organic fruit nectars and freeze them in make-your-own ice-pop molds for a quick cool-down treat. Or chill thinly-sliced cucumber  for a relaxing, refreshing facial: just lie down and place the rounds on your eyes and skin and enjoy the cool scent and sensation (and cucumber is great for your skin!).

5. Get as much cooking done as you can in the early morning, before it gets really hot. For example, cook-up your favorite grain (brown rice, quinoa, etc.), toss it with a little olive oil and stick it in the fridge so it’s well-chilled by evening. Then simply chop some scallions, red bell peppers, and fresh parsley to add to your grain have rice (or whatever grain) salad for dinner. Soak dried black beans overnight put them on to cook when you roll out of bed. Once cooked, stick them in the refrigerator and, just before dinner, throw them into blender with onions and spices to make a delicious chilled black bean soup.

6. Fascinate your children with the sun’s power to change things when you try making Sun Tea. They’ll love to get involved in this process. Simply place 1 teabag (black, green, or herbal) per pint of water in a glass container, and leave outside in the sun to steep for an hour. Add sweetener and fresh mint, if you like; and Enjoy!

7. The light is so breathtaking in the late evenings of summer. Eat outdoors whenever possible. Try keeping some sort of big basket on hand to pack up at a moment’s notice with tin plates, cloth napkins, lightweight cutlery, and a meal. Even carryout from your favorite deli will take on a golden glow. Then all you have to do is transport the baskets to a pleasant spot and absorb the sights and sounds of nature while you eat. This is a splendid way to slow down, enjoy your meal, and improve both your digestion and your attitude.

8. Save precious water and take a trip to the nearest lake, river, or beach. It’s all about contrasts, warm sun, cool water, on hot summer days. Splashing around in the water never goes out of style . You’ll be amazed how much fun you and your kids can get out of a lawn sprinkler or a garden hose, as well, if it isn’t a restricted water usage day. The important thing is to get out, get soaked and have some well-earned fun!

7. Take some time to do NOTHING. Sit outside at dusk and take in the scenery. We are so accustomed to DOING: summer encourages us to simply BE.

9. When temperatures rise, our bodies crave smooth clean surfaces. It may be a good time to experiment with bare floors rather than rugs or carpets Just think: no vacuuming–just a little sweep with the broom or a quick go-round with a damp mop! Try storing some of those toss pillows and knick-knacks: there will be less tuff to dust, and your home will take on a more Zen-like atmosphere of spacious calm.

Enjoy your summer!