Tips for A Smart Home this Winter

I can’t believe summer is over and our central air turned on only 5 times!! Yay, for saving $$ but I’m not adjusted yet to the extreme change in climate from the gulf coast and if this winter is anything like the last one, I might just be packing our bags and heading south with the geese. 
The conversations have already shifted to talk about the cold and looming winter months. Have you turned on the heat yet? Stocked up on firewood? Pulled out the winter blankets? Wonder if it will be snowing by Halloween again? 
I’m not ready for this! Heavy coats, shoveling snow, bone chilling cold and the endless sea of complaining voices… I’m cold, turn the heat up.

In our house I have control over the thermostat and I’m a checker, no turning it up without me noticing. We never leave the house or go to bed without turning the thermostat down and shutting off the lights. 
Saving energy is a must in our household. Just the other day my girls asked what I put in their lamp. I was slightly confused to what they were asking, I replied “a light bulb”. There response was nothing short of comical, “Oh, like the kind you see in cartoons”.  We’ve switch most of our lightbulbs over to CFL’s and LED’s, it never occurred to me that my kids would recognize a 60 watt incandescent light, the kind most of us grew up with.

                      Liberty Building                                                                                 Electric Tower

This week I took the kids to the top of Buffalo’s City Hall to see the view, breathtaking! 
What a beautiful city, it was one of the first electrified cities in the United States, thanks to the mighty Niagara. 
Buffalo’s waterfront is lined wind turbines and the city was chosen to have the first Solar powered neighborhood. 
Today there’s so many options now for saving energy in our homes and in our cities.

Here are some easy energy saving tips for a Smart Home we’ve done around ours:

1. Your living room typically has multiple active light sources available. Make sure your lighting is energy efficient by switching traditional bulbs to CFLs or LEDs.

2. Replace your old, inefficient appliances with new, efficient, Energy Star® appliances. Old appliances tend to run inefficiently.

3. Replace the showerhead in your bathroom(s) with low flow showerheads.  These showerheads regulate the flow of water, assuring you a more efficient shower. Turning down the hot water tank helps to, better yet get a tankless we did!

4. Installing light dimmers can save cut your electricity use 40% over time and make your lightbulbs last 20 times longer.

5. Planting trees in optimal spots on your property will provide shade during the warmer months making your system work less hard to cool your home down. Living in the south for 19 years taught me the value of a shade tree.

6. Even when your appliances are turned off, they are still using electricity. Use smart power strips to combat energy vampires. This one I’m big on making sure nothings plugged in that we aren’t using.

7. Add more insulation in the attic, I prefer the recycled denim or newspaper, filled to an R30 rating.

8. Ceiling fans help to circulate air in both winter and summer months.

9. Smart thermostat is another great option in your home (this one is on my to do list).

Our favorite 52″ceiling fan (found at Home Depot)

 Direct Energy most recently partnered with Nest, to bring customers the Nest Learning Thermostat. So for those of you shopping for energy in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Illinois, from Direct Energy, you now have the opportunity to sign up for an energy plan and get a free Nest Learning Thermostat at no cost (a $249 value!).It’s just one of the ways we’re hoping to make your home smarter and more convenient. 

Even better Direct Energy is hosting a sweepstakes where 5 lucky winners will have the chance to win Nest Learning Thermostats! 

To enter the sweepstakes, click to visit the campaign landing page and simply fill out the entry form. How easy is that? 

The giveaway will take place from Wednesday, October 1st to Wednesday, October 22nd. Winners will be selected in Mid-November.

Click here for Nest Learning Mobile link.

Thank you to Direct Energy for sponsoring today’s post.


Kicking it up!!!

We finally found that a sport they can all participate, better yet stick with! 
I feel like they’ve tried them all; soccer, tennis, ballet, swim, chess and golf, (baseball’s next year).
So when Saturday came it was a big day for my three littlest ones. Their first belt testing!!

100 crunches
50 pushups
100 jumping jacks
dozens of kicks and pushes

It was almost as much fun seeing the looks on the parents and grandparents as the kids counted 10, 20, 30, …100 crunches. I think all our stomachs were hurting just watching.

Modesty, Courtesy, Integrity, Self-Control, Perseverance, Indomitable Spirit…and a smile.
They’ve been working hard for the past 3 months, 2-5 times a week, collecting stripes and now it’s official, 
we have 3 yellow belts in our house! or what mine refer to as the bumble belt, once they get a couple black stripes on it.
All five of us take karate, but belt achievement is slower in the adult classes. 
There’s no shame, Luna and I look good in our white.
It makes me proud to see all their hard work and perseverance give them such a sense of accomplishment, 
as they proudly tie their yellows for class each week.