8 Things to Do Before Summer Ends

The end of summer is just around the corner! Before the temperature starts dropping, try to fit in these eight fun activities.

1. Hit the Beach
Labor Day weekend is the perfect time to squeeze in one last trip to the beach. Check out the best affordable beach gear, coolers, and snacks for your day in the sun.

Helpful Hint: While sand and surf are fun, the aftermath (i.e., sand tracked all over your house and car) is not so much. At the end of the day before the family piles into the car, have everyone sprinkle themselves with baby powder, which makes it easier to brush off sand from sweaty, SPF-slathered skin. Also bring along old towels to cover car seats.



2. Go on a Picnic
Picnics are a summer ritual that cannot be missed. If you haven't enjoyed one yet this season, head to your local park or even your backyard with your favorite picnic eats. Also check out these smart picnic must-haves.

Helpful Hint: If you're headed outdoors for an entire afternoon, double-check that your cooler is capable of keeping your food chilled the whole time. The only way to make sure perishable foods stay at safe temperatures is to pack them in a cooler that, along with ice, can keep them cold (below 40 degrees F). See how these models performed.


3. Throw a Backyard Party
Fire up the grill, set up the lawn games, and invite your family and friends over for an afternoon of simple summer fun. Before the bash begins, browse these tips for prepping your backyard for guests and sprucing up your lawn and garden.

Helpful Hint:
When setting up an outdoor buffet, position the food under an overhang or umbrella to keep it cooler longer. Then order its contents this way for easy cruising: plates, sides, buns, meats, fixings, and flatware; place an extra set of seasonings (salt, ketchup, etc.) at a central location elsewhere for guests' mid-meal adjustments.


4. Have a Yard Sale

One man's trash might be another's treasure - but hosting a yard sale can be even better than picking through one, thanks to the extra cash and space you'll gain. Check out these tips for smart organizing.

Helpful Hint:
Keep warranties and instructions with appliances or electronics you are selling, so folks know what they're buying. Slip paperwork into a zip-top bag and tape it to the item. If you've lost the packaging, print out information from an online retailer (such as model number, current price, etc.). Showcase electronic bargains with a plugged-in extension cord, so buyers can see they do work.



5. Ride a Bike

Pump up those tires and enjoy the warm weather! If you don't own a bike, check out afternoon rentals in your area and explore a local park, lake or river, or even your town streets by bike. If you're in the market for a new model, check out these tips for picking a bike that best fits you.

Helpful Hint: When trying out a new bike, it's important that you pick a model that is right for you. When seated to ride, you shouldn't have to strain to reach the handlebars, and your back should lean at a 45- to 60-degree angle. When you're sitting with the heel of your foot on a pedal pushed all the way down, your leg should extend straight.


6. Check Out a Farmers' Market
Summer harvest season is in full swing and some of the very best produce may be waiting for you at your local farmers' market. Before you go, check out this buying guide to find out which items are in season right now.

Helpful Hint: Popular produce that's available year-round includes lettuce (greens), potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, and garlic.





7. Make Your Own Ice Cream

I scream, you scream, we all scream... because you can make everyone's favorite in just minutes - without an ice cream maker! Whip up this simple recipe for plain vanilla and then get more adventurous with extra flavors and toppings.

Helpful Hint: Don't store ice cream on the door of the freezer, where it will be subject to more temperature fluctuations. Store it in the main freezer compartment, preferably toward the back, where it's the coldest. Before returning ice cream to the freezer, press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ice cream, then put on the lid. This will help prevent a skin from forming (caused by evaporation) and minimize the development of ice crystals (caused by condensation in the container).

8. Check Out an Outdoor Concert
There's nothing like live music on a warm night, and it can be made even better with a sophisticated picnic. Plan a menu with easy-to-assemble sandwiches, salads, and appetizers...and don't forget the wine!

Helpful Hint: When you're dining alfresco with friends, simple dishes with bold ingredients hit the right note - and keep your kitchen duty to a minimum. Choose dishes that can be prepared the day before so on the day of the event, you can simply toss the final ingredients and chill the wine before heading out.

What is your favorite summertime activity? Have you had an opportunity to enjoy it yet this season?

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.