Bubble wrap insulation for windows – it really works!

Right now we are enjoying some incredibly cold temperatures in the South.  I know that people who are used to colder temps think we are kind of silly when we do get cold weather. I’ve heard plenty of transplanted Northerners say that we’re overreacting but we’re not, I promise.

Our houses aren’t built for super cold weather. Our roads are filled with people unfamiliar with driving in snow or worse, ice.  Speaking of ice – that stuff is way, way scarier than any snow.  Ice will keep me home way before snow does.

I live in a 60 year old house.  Like many older homes, it’s not very well insulated, plus the windows really need to be replaced.  I have lived here for 11 years, and of course there have been some cold snaps in that time.  Tonight, however, is supposed to dip down to 5 degrees and beat the former record from 1970 – before I was even born!

School was cancelled today, based on predictions of an ice/snow event that pretty much missed us. The record low temps have not missed us, though, and I spent most of the day at home doing weatherproofing that I was too sick to do this weekend.

Over the weekend, I unhooked my garden hoses and wrapped the faucets with insulation to protect them.  Ace was sold out of the nice faucet covers, of course. That’s probably good because one of my hoses would not come off at all.  I googled solutions endlessly but finally decided to just cut the hose off as near to the faucet as possible.  After I wrapped them, I duct-taped a grocery bag onto them.  Ugly, but hopefully effective.

I have 2 spaces that are super cold – my main bathroom, and the playroom/laundry room area. I am not sure why my main bathroom is so cold – the window is smaller than those in the bedrooms, and it’s right between them. But that room is famously chilly.  I know why the playroom is cold – it is directly over a  badly insulated carport and has huge, poorly designed old windows. Duh.

Now – on to the super cold windows.  I think if I can get the windows under control the house might be OK. I have louvered windows in the playroom/laundry area.    They need to be replaced, but that’s super spendy – meanwhile, they are kind of perma-stuck with the slats open and a bit drafty.

I tried the bubble wrap fix in my bathroom first.  I saw a few pins about this, and they said I just needed to spray the window with water to make the bubble wrap stick.  I didn’t have a spray bottle (really, do I have anything I need for this weather??? so much for all the prepper sites I follow!!)  I used a sponge to dampen the window panes instead. Worked like a charm.  I cut the bubble wrap to fit the windows, smoothed it into place and it adhered nicely to the damp panes.

This is just regular small bubble wrap that I use to wrap for ebay shipping.  I have heard that large bubble wrap works well too – so you might just scavenge from packages if you don’t want to buy rolls of it.

So far, it’s sticking even through my showers, and the room feels WAY warmer than it did before. I wish I had done some sort of comparison with a thermometer, but I do know that it feels much more comfortable than it before, even in this frigid weather.

bubble wrap window

I didn’t have enough bubble wrap for the 3 windows in the back. I know you’re wondering why I didn’t run out for more – but really, Ace Hardware was a dark and scary place on Saturday when I went hunting for faucet covers. Not happening again – I decided to test my creativity instead.  So I hung blankets and quilts over 2 windows and used the remaining bubble wrap on the laundry room window.

Because of the weird louvers I could not figure out how to effectively use the water method.  I said to heck with it and used packing tape – it’s not like these are top-notch windows I want to keep.

Bottom line – the back rooms are staying around 64/65 degrees even as the temp drops drastically so I call that a win!  I watched the temp increase about 1.5-2 degrees within an hour of putting up the bubble wrap. It’s currently 12 outside, and dropping, and my heat pump is set at 69 with auxiliary heat kicking in frequently. I refuse to go above 70 just on principle.

Tonight I’ll move the boys to my bed, to maximize the warmth benefits of the family bed.  I’ll open a stream of hot and cold water from my faucets, and hope for the best from the rest of my old house!

Journaling My Christmas {Day 18}

025Christmas dinner… for one thing, it’s never quite what I picture. The kids are tired, I’m done with entertaining… seems like it should be a lot more magical than it typically is.

My awesome employer gives us a ham or turkey every year. I love, love, love the ham.  It’s just right for dinner after a long day of doing nothing and goes well with the mashed potatoes, peas and rolls that are required by tradition.

This is the first year that I am doing a gluten-free holiday.  This will mainly affect rolls and cookies.  I am curious to see how GF cookies turn out in particular.  My kids are a little ticked that I am doing ONLY GF but I want to eat them too so they need to get past it.  My goal is lower carbs in general, but Christmas cookies are totally essential, and that’s what New Year’s resolutions are for. 😉  I need to figure out spritz, fudge (no gluten there, but need to make it without hfcs and such) and either sugar cookies or angeletti.

The best part about a GF holiday?  Less tiredness, achiness and general dragginess after a holiday meal. That’s the wheat, y’all…  hate to say it.

(Pic above, Ian wishes the giant fake candycanes were real!)

Journaling My Christmas {Day 17}

Love IanWhat’s left?  Christmas Eve is a week away!

Gifts – grandmother’s flower order. I always do that around this time.  School did not do the Santa shop like they have in the past, so I did an emergency last minute Amazon order so the boys would have gifts for aunts, grandparents, each other, etc.  So those need to be wrapped, just when I thought I was done.

Got to figure out meals for Christmas and cookies/treats.  Gluten free, of course.

School party needs done.  Work is just not getting finished up. I am trying to get out for a 12 day vacation and work keeps bubbling up.  Nothing I do finishes it.

My house is trashed.  I need to spend all day Saturday cleaning so I can socialize and host here for 4 days.

Is that it? It feels like much, much more.  I got up 4 am last few nights because my mind is tumbling with to-do’s and unfinished work projects.  I don’t like doing that, nothing can get done at 4 am but stressing.


(Pic of the day – card from Ian on my Christmas gift. Love that boy so much it’s not even funny.)

Journaling My Christmas {Day 11}

Amazingly, I have everything wrapped! That is usually what I am struggling to do at the last minute – I order all the gifts and have them in hand weeks in advance but somehow fail to wrap til Christmas Eve. Somehow on Sunday I got inspired and found boxes and bags and paper for it all, and actually did something with it.

The fact that I have everything looking all pretty under my tree just amazes me!

Now, this is an easy year because I did do some gift cards, and of course Santa brings everything for the boys so not much to wrap there.

I do love Christmas paper but I’ve reached a point where I have a whole bin full and use, what, a roll plus a few bags a year? I have enough to last a decade so what I need to remember is to not buy anything on clearance after Christmas. Even if it’s super cute.

(Pic of the day – for some reason they have been coloring in bed and falling asleep with a bed full of pencils. Ouch.)

sleeping with pencils

Journaling My Christmas {Day 8}

006-001Today’s topic is the Christmas Tree, but the homily at Mass today took me in a slightly different direction.  I am working on evolving some memorable holiday traditions for my kids to look back on and maybe pass to their kids some day.  We do some stuff that they really enjoy – the Advent candles, elf, special trip for the live Christmas tree on the first Sunday of Advent…  Many of ornaments have stories or special meaning and I try to buy something new every year for the Christmas tree.  Next year I also want to start the St. Nick tradition of leaving small gifts in their shoes.

At Mass they talked about the Jesse Tree tradition. Each day focuses on a Bible verse related to Jesus’ family tree, and traces the history through the generations. The tree has a small ornament for each day – it’s typically a tabletop tree and a family activity.  The kids can make the ornaments and I think we could even make some kind of tree together.  I’m going to find a book and make sure that I have everything lined up to introduce this tradition next year. I think the kids will be old enough to understand the stories and follow along, especially Alexander.


Journaling My Christmas {Day 7}

Sensory overload

Seeing…  lots of lights when we drive home after dark.  Looking for the star on the side of Signal Mountain (does some still light that?  I remember it from when I was a kid.)

Hearing…songs that I love. My children have adopted my love of the Band-Aid song “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”  Plus anything from the A Very Special Christmas CD from the 80s.  I need to get Annie Lennox’s album too. But I digress….

Smelling… well, the tree obviously. The distinct smell of cold air with fireplace smoke in it.  The very distinct smell of snow coming, which we don’t smell often in December here.

Feeling… cold air, or warm air with a storm coming.  Or both in one day, somehow.  Warm blankets in my old, cold house.

Tasting… something new this year!  The old treats won’t work anymore so I’m learning how to do Christmas baking all over again. But hot chocolate still works the same.  And wine too.

(Today was Alexander’s First Reconciliation, so here’s a picture of him lighting his candle. Below that a link to Band Aid’s video, because Simon le Bon.)

First Reconciliation

Journaling My Christmas {Day 6}

Christmas Cozy….

  • Getting home when it’s almost dark, and turning on lights in a warm house
  • Surprising the kids with hot chocolate
  • Buttered popcorn and Christmas movies
  • Slippers and fleece blankets in the middle of the day
  • The light from the Christmas tree
  • The smell of the Christmas tree
  • A hot dinner waiting after Christmas Eve Mass
  • My warm bed on cold winter mornings


(Today’s picture is cozy  – 2 sweet boys snuggled up watching cartoons.)


Journaling My Christmas {Day 5}

Christmas cutenessChristmas cards…  eek. When I first had kids, I enjoyed taking them to get a Christmas picture taking and using those pictures for cards.  After a few years, my budget got tighter and I found less time to schedule picture sessions, so I started taking the picture myself and ordering cards online.  That worked well and I actually ended up with some decent pictures. Some years were better than others, of course, and the kids were more cooperative some times than others.

This year, I got a good head start on the pictures, but I was underwhelmed by how they turned out.  The boys were in a strange mood that day, and my vision of a nice downtown background turned out kind of dismal looking.  I tried and tried to tuck those pictures into an online template and nothing quite worked.  I haven’t found time to take more pictures, either.

So this will be the year that I kind of miss the picture cards.  I like looking back at the pictures for each year, so I’m kind of bummed. But not bummed enough to stress myself out over it. I have a stash of regular store cards that are cute, so I’ll use those this year.  That way I’m saving a bit of money, too.  I have school pictures that I can enclose for the relatives I know expect pictures.

This is a good example of letting go at Christmas – we can’t do it all every single year – some years we have to let go of certain things. This year it’s the cards.  On the fun side, I’m going to have my kids sign each card themselves – because everyone writes their name quite nicely now!

(2 pictures tonight.  The daily picture of cuteness at the top of the post, and the Christmas card picture that wasn’t below.)


Journaling My Christmas {Day 4}

taekwondo snowmanI remember the year I got a dollhouse.  My parents made it from scratch from a kit of some sort.  I must have been 9 or 10?  It was so amazingly cool!  Gingerbread trim, wallpaper inside.  It wasn’t the plastic, barbie type you see all over the place now. They had to stay up late at night and probably cuss a lot to assemble the thing but it dazzled me on Christmas morning.  Absolute perfection.

This had to have been 30-35 years ago and I have brought it with me through many life phases.  I still have it today, it’s my laundry room waiting for me to do something with it.  Some of the gingerbread trim fell off, there is no furniture and the wall paper screams “cusp of the 70s and 80s”.

I keep it though and I will restore it one of these days.  As a child I loved tiny things and miniatures.  I wanted to collect little bits of furniture and tiny dressed-up mice.  I think that love is still within me – a couple years ago I visited a new client and was in awe when I realized they were running a miniature shop.  I ooh and ahhed over their creations on display.  I also love the idea of fairy gardens – the potted gardens with little gazebos and tiny tea sets for fairies.

Writing this inspires me to look at how I can refurbish my old dollhouse. I’ll need to find parts, and figure out how to fix the broken pieces.  I am sure it will take some investment of cash and time, but what a wonderful way to revisit the loves of my childhood and the time my parents spent on a Christmas gift for me that year.

(Daily picture – taekwondo ornament, because we love TKD around here!)

Journaling My Christmas {Day 3}

002I normally like a low-key Christmas season – I prefer to keep the list of events I commit to kind of short.  I’m an introvert, which means I always feel better if I have time to recharge. This is twice as important to me during the holiday season.

However, every year it feels like way more events pop up than I originally expected and this is compounded by my kids being older and developing social lives of their own.  We have school stuff, church stuff, events for my work plus family and friends.

I try my best to keep in mind that it’s OK to pick and choose – it’s OK to say no to some of the events. They all look fun and I’d love to spend time with all these people but some years it’s just not possible!  Some are a must – we have to go see Santa at some point this month.  I look forward to our annual brunch at work and of course all the parties and pageants at school.

As much as I love all the festivities I also do my best to make time for quiet, unplanned time with my kids watching Christmas movies and eating buttery popcorn.

(The photo for the day is self explanatory, I think.)