I’m watching my husband and oldest daughter in the garden today. They’re planting some aloe vera we bought the other day. I have fond memories of aloe vera from my childhood, as my skin has always sunburned easily. My kids tan like their father, but aloe is still good to have around. We also have some swallows nesting on our house for the first time ever. I’ve heard that can be messy, but they’ve picked pretty good spots so far as I’m concerned (not near any doors), and will hopefully help control our hornet problem.
It’s a good start to the summer.
We have a lot of plans this summer. Camping in Yosemite is the big one and I can hardly wait for my kids to see it. Yosemite is very special to my husband, and it has been far too many years since he has been there.
I’m preparing the kids for all the hiking by taking regular family walks. Now that school is out, I want to take regular walks in the morning to the local park, about a mile each way, and mostly uphill on the way there. Given summer temps around here, these have to be in the morning. I don’t want to do a lot of walking in 100+ degrees F weather, and that’s what we get pretty often here during the summer. I bought some Blue Lizard sunscreen to help ward off sunburn.
That will also be a part of their tradeoff for TV/computer time. They have to play outside to earn time sitting in front of a screen.
I’m working on Mylar covers for some of my windows. Now Mylar is rather ugly, so I’ve added some white tissue paper on the parts visible from outside, so the homeowner’s association won’t give me any trouble if anyone notices. It’s mostly back windows anyhow, but with the white facing out, it’s not that different in appearance from the white backing of some of my curtains. Or so I hope. I can really tell which windows I’ve done, and even with the tissue paper, the Mylar seems to be doing a pretty good job of keeping the heat out. From the inside, of course, the curtains hide it.
Whether it’s the cold of winter or the heat of summer, your windows are a major energy leak for your home. Having double paned windows can help quite a bit, but good quality blackout curtains can help you save energy as well.
Quality matters with blackout curtains. If you check the reviews on Amazon, you can see that some curtains are far better than others at blocking light. There’s not much point in putting up blackout curtains if they don’t do the job well.
Cost of Blackout Curtains
Blackout curtains have a wide range of prices, depending on brand and size. Pick yours based on reviews showing that they do a good job and by how you want your windows to look. They don’t have to be unattractive.
You can also make your own for a reasonable cost, and it doesn’t have to be complex. Dark colored fleece can do pretty well, for example. The main thing you want to look for is a material that will block a lot of light. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a dark color, so long as it doesn’t let much light through. Layering the fabric can work as well. If you don’t sew, fabric glue may also work, although I don’t trust it to be as strong.
If you don’t want to spend money on all your windows, just get blackout curtains for the ones that gain or lose the most heat. You can pull the curtains back on warmer winter days to let sunlight in, and close the curtains when the day cools down to keep the heat in.
If you don’t want to put up curtains, there are other ways to block heat in your home. I use flattened cardboard boxes in some of my windows. We have a number of them from when we moved a few years ago. We’re a little discreet about where these go, as we have a picky homeowner’s association to deal with and I don’t want to hear anything from them.
You can also use Mylar in your windows. You can buy some that is designed for use in windows, but you can also get it in the form of emergency blankets such as you might keep in an emergency kit, and cut that to size. It blocks quite a bit of energy, yet it’s thin enough you can open the window over it. That’s nice if you’re happy with your window coverings aside from how they keep the heat in or out.