So, I thought I would share my tips for staying warm in a cold house.
I'm definitely no expert on this -- we keep our house around 65 degrees (18 C), because the little ones seem to get sick so frequently if we keep it colder. However, in the past, we've lived in several drafty houses, and here's my best survival tips.
- Stop your drafts. This is almost an at-any-cost type recommendation. Roll up blankets (or sew some tubes and stuff them firmly) and stuff the edges of your windows and doors with them. Hang blankets over leaky spots. Two winters ago, before we replaced them, our kitchen doors had a constant covering of ice around them. Eating supper (or breakfast) was much more pleasant when we decided that we just wouldn't use that door and covered it with a giant wool army blanket. I've also had good (warmth-related) results with plastic over windows. But I don't like having my view obstructed. In one apartment, we bought caulk and caulked our windows shut. In the spring, we simply peeled off the caulk. If your paint is old, this probably isn't a great solution. But it really helped that winter. You can also buy styrofoam inserts for your outlets, to stop drafts coming in there. And don't forget about drafts from the basement - we hang a blanket over the stairs doorway too.
- Dress for the weather. Think layers. The kids and I nearly always wear 3 layers. For the underclothing layer, wear insulated underwear - I love wool underclothing. I have this long-sleeved Woolrich brand shirt that I bought at a thrift store for 12.5 cents. Make sure you wear socks too (and shoes). I also like to wear a scarf around my neck. My youngest wears hats all the time. If your clothes aren't warm enough, cuddle together under blankets to read books on the couch.
- Sleep warm. Pile on the blankets (you can always throw them off if you overheat during the night. Pre-heat your bed with a warm water-bottle or with a heated rice bag. Change to clean socks for sleeping (you'll be amazed at how much warmer your feet are in them). And keep your head warm. My husband always wraps a blanket around his head. I thought he was nuts until I tried wearing a hat. Wow, it really makes a huge difference! This is our first winter that we've had the kids sleep together. Four kids in one bedroom raises the temperature significantly (and not just because they're fighting). We also have a humidifier in their room that outputs a warm mist. It's toasty!
- Eat and drink warm. Let the kids drink hot cocoa. Here's my favorite recipe (because it's cheap for us who get free milk).
Hot CocoaFor each cup:
Heat 1 cup of milk in a saucepan on the stove top over medium heat. Stir the cocoa sludge into milk. When it's as warm as you like, add 1/2 tsp vanilla (optional) and sip to your hearts content.
Drink lots of hot herbal tea. Instead of drinking cold water, heat it up - it'll warm your hands too!
And don't forget to eat warm (spicy) foods. Cayenne pepper warms you up by improving your circulation -- no more freezing fingers and toes! Consider taking it as a supplement (add some garlic too) if using in food isn't appealing to you.
Use your oven to cook. When the food is done, turn it off, but leave the oven door open to heat the kitchen a bit longer.
- And when it's just too cold to bear - get active! Run around inside, up and down the stairs, do jumping jacks or dance. Even better, bundle up and play outside. Come back in to a cup of hot cocoa and a new appreciation for the indoor "warmth".
And now, to help you all warm up. I've made you your very own hat. It's incredibly soft 100% wool, cut from a felted sweater. There's nothing warmer than a double-layered bomber hat, and this one is reversible too. I made it up last night in just a bit under an hour from the Betz White's pattern in Warm Fuzzies: 30 Sweet Felted Projects.
This hat is yours to win by either commenting, by subscribing to this blog, or by linking to this post (or my blog) from your blog. If you do all three, you get three entries. But in case I can't figure out how to chase you down, you should probably comment to let me know if you linked to me or subscribed. In your comment, please put your email or blog address. Blogger doesn't automatically show these to me, and if I can't contact you, you won't get your hat!
Comments will be closed on November 1st, and a name drawn then. You'll have until November 5th to get back to me with your mailing address, and I'll send it on out!
Keep warm! And visit here for other bloggy giveaways!