When I was younger I built fence with my dad, one summer the temps reached to 105 while we were working. Both my dad and I got heat stroke, and now neither of us can take a lot of heat without feeling sick. Since then, I cannot go through summer without having a cool house. I don’t have much wiggle room in my budget so I use little tricks that I have learned over the years to keep the electric bill down to a reasonable level.
I cool my three bedroom house every summer with just a small window A/C unit I bought when I had a one bedroom apartment. I don’t want the added maintenance and higher cost of a swamp cooler. I can set up and tear down my small unit myself, which makes it even more attractive to me. Following these 15 rules, I am able to keep a comfortable and cool temp all summer.
I Close MY drapes and blindS
Not letting in the heat of the sun keep the temperature in my house down considerably. The sun shining in will raise the heat in my living room by 5 degrees very quickly. I know my cat likes to lie in the sun (even in 98 degree weather), but this is one treat that he has to forgo during the summer, it’s just too expensive to indulge.
I Keep a fan running during the day
Instead of coming home to a stuffy house and cranking the A/C, I keep a box fan or one of my ceiling fans running while I am at work. Combining that with keeping my drapes closed and I come home to a house that is cool and doesn’t feel shut-up or muggy.
I Keep the air coming when it’s cool
As soon as the sun drops out of sight, I open all of the windows I can and let the breeze move the air through my house. It quickly drops the temperature without turning on the A/C unit. I keep them open until I go to bed at night, even those 2 or 3 hours make a huge difference in my power bill.
I Get outside
My kids are little and seem to have no concept of heat, it doesn’t matter if it is 98 or 68, they have the same amount of energy. Meanwhile I am melting. We have come to a compromise, I take them outside and they play in the hot sunshine while I sit on the porch in the nice cool shade. No air is running inside while we’re outside, so it really saves on my bill.
I USE LEFTOVERS
Last night it was hot! My kids were playing outside and I wanted to make something cold and quick for supper. I thought about what I had in the pantry and fridge and realized I had leftovers that I could make Cold Ham & Pasta salad with. It was a great treat for my kids since it’s their favorite, and a great treat for me since all I had to do was cook the pasta and cut up the veggies, ham, and cheese. Plus, then I get it as a side dish all week for work lunches.
I Use Peppermint Oil
I only do this on myself since I never put essential oil directly on my kid’s skin. I keep a little bottle where I have mixed 1 part Peppermint Oil to 4 parts Witch Hazel. I rub a little on the back of my neck and my chest, instant cool down! I can actually feel my body temp going down (I use Peppermint Oil all over my house so I always have some on hand).
I Take a shower
If I start feeling warm even after getting outside and sitting in the shade, I take a quick (2 or 3 minute) cool shower to bring my body temp down. I apply some Peppermint Oil right after my shower and I feel almost cold, no matter the outside temperature.
I Wrap it up!
I take a hand towel and give it a quick rinse in cool water then apply it to the back of my neck. Adding a few drops of Peppermint Oil to the water helps me cool down even more quickly.
Water, water, water!
I keep a huge water bottle at my job and one at home that I re-fill as soon as it becomes empty. If I don’t get enough water in this heat, I get really bad headaches. It’s a great reminder for me as well to make sure my little’s have plenty of water too since they expend more energy than I do. I keep a full glass of water for each of them in their sight so they remember to drink it.
I Dress for the SUMMER
I had a booth at the Highland Games this weekend where there were people walking around in jeans and long sleeve shirts. I was overheated just watching them. I make sure to wear lots of skirts and t-shirts in the summer heat. The men were smart enough to agree with me in their kilts.
I Take cover
I have a vendor canopy that I can set up by myself. On days where I know we are going to be playing outside, I take a few minutes and set up the awning in the backyard. That way I can take advantage of the shade all day long and so can my kids as they play. It’s also great for play days, me and the other moms can have adult conversation while watching our kids from the cool shade.
wATER, WATER, WATER, PART 2
I purchased a water table at a garage sale for $5 this spring and a kiddie pool from some family members who were cleaning out their shed. My kids will spend hours playing in the water on the hottest days while I do things around the house. It tires them out wonderfully, so I know they will fall into bed after bath time and I don’t have the bed-time struggle.
I SLOW COOK
Turning the oven on is a sure guarantee to increase the temperature in my house. I make sure to have a menu plan in place that doesn’t include meals I have to use the oven with. This is where my crock-pot comes in handy. I can make baked potatoes for potato salad or throw in an entire chicken so we can have chicken tacos on the patio. There is a whole world of crock-pot recipes out there for me to use.
I TAKE A WALK
When I am sitting in the shade and start feeling hot I take the kids for a walk. It gets me moving, which is usually the problem. A small walk around the block cures me of feeling warm, because when I get back I am genuinely hot. I usually take a quick shower then and follow up with some Peppermint Oil.
I MAKE ICE CREAM
I couldn’t make a good summer list without including ice cream. I always like my kids to be as active as possible so that they eat a good supper and fall into bed exhausted. So when I want Ice Cream, I get out our Ice Cream Ball. It takes about 20-30 minutes of the kids rolling, kicking, and sending it down the slide to make a pint of homemade ice cream. I love to let the kids use this right before supper, so we can eat it as soon as supper is done.
I use these tricks to make sure my house isn’t hot and that my kids and I are keeping cool all summer long. Don’t forget the sunscreen though, I give my kids a new coating every hour or so when they are in the hot sun. It’s no fun to have a sunburned baby or toddler.
What would you add to the list? How do you keep cool in the summer months?