Social distancing has put a damper on many summer plans. Instead of going on that vacation you were planning for months, you’re now unexpectedly stuck at home. Instead of getting with friends every other night, you’re camping on your couch for the fourth night in a row. Being stuck at home can be monotonous after a while. What can you do to change that up? Here are three ideas to spice up your socially distanced summer.
Pick Up New Hobbies
One of the nice things with having more down time is that you can work on hobbies, which can greatly benefit your life. If you’ve always wanted to try painting with watercolors but have never had the chance, you can pick up a set and some paper (or even have it delivered to your doorstep so you don’t have to leave your home) and watch some YouTube videos as you learn to paint. You can learn yoga with your children, or practice by yourself. Your kids could have a weekly arts and craft day. There are many hobbies that you and your children can explore during this time of social distancing.
Move it Outside
You can also move normal activities outside. There are plenty of ideas to spice up your backyard and make it your family’s new favorite “room” in your house. For example, if you like reading to your kids, spread out a blanket under a tree and read to your kids outside. You can even have meals outside as well as playtime. Staying inside is hard for children as well as adults, and if you have a yard, you might as well use it to your advantage.
Make Use of Video Calling Platforms
Yet another thing you can do is use video calling technology to stay in touch with friends and family. It can be hard to be distant from people you’re used to seeing on a daily, weekly or at least bi-weekly basis. It can be hard for your children as well. Instead of having grandma and grandpa over, do a video call with them. Spend time with your family and friends in any way you can—even if that’s only calling on the phone.
Social distancing has affected the world, but don’t let it get your summer down. Use the free time you have to help yourself and your family grow. You won’t regret it.
00:00 – Delicious dessert ideas
01:25 – Refreshing drinks
07:14 – Party treats
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Your air conditioning bill is likely rising along with the summer temperatures. While you cannot control the weather, you can take some small and simple, yet effective actions to keep that bill as low as possible. Here are three home additions that can help you lower your air conditioning bill.
Add Reflective Film to the Windows
Reflective film can direct some of the sun’s heat away from the house, preventing heat retention and reducing the need for you to run your air conditioner.
You can also reduce the amount of sunlight in your home by installing sunlight-blocking curtains, window shades, or blinds. Adding these sun-blocking features to your windows doesn’t have to mean that you’ll lose all that gorgeous natural light in your home—you can use them strategically during the hottest parts of the day, but open them when temperatures are cooler in the mornings and evenings.
Add a Programmable Thermostat
Adding a programmable thermostat is a smart idea because it can automatically adjust the temperature settings in your house. You can lower the cost of your bill by setting the AC to 80 degrees when you aren’t home during the summer.
Another way you can use your thermostat to lower your AC bill is setting it at a few degrees higher during the day, then making use of ceiling fans to circulate the air throughout your house. Coupling your AC and ceiling fan usage can help you save money while staying cool. However, make sure to turn off your ceiling fans when you leave the house, since these do not actually lower the temperature of your home; they merely create a wind-chill effect.
Add Some Greenery
Adding trees to your yard can block some of the sunlight and heat from getting to the house. Additionally, planting shrubbery near an outdoor AC unit can help it run more efficiently. Some experts have said that strategically landscaping your yard with trees and shrubs can save you up to 25 percent in energy bills. As you plan to add some greenery in your yard, consider planting trees to the east and west sides of your home. These are the areas directly affected as the sun travels during the morning and afternoon. Of the two, the west side of your home should be the highest priority, because the sun’s intensity is highest in the afternoon.
If you’re looking to lower your AC bill this summer, consider these three smart additions to your home. Reflective window coverings, a programmable thermostat, and trees and shrubs are great, creative ways to save money and stay cool at the same time.
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