Springtime is Time to Remove the Window Cozies

“What are window cozies?”, you may ask.

They are a practice in energy conservation and environmental sustainability.  It’s a way to live more-with-less.

We bought an older home and it has 40 windows.  Because we live in the Southern Adirondack region of New York State (zone 4), we needed a way to keep some heat inside our home instead of letting the heat go out of all those old windows.

To heat our home, we were using too much oil!

We have all heard in the news about the concerns with the social unrest in the oil producing Middle East, the disastrous oil spills and nuclear accidents at power producing facilities.  We have heard about the environmental and social justice issues of damming up our waterways to produce electricity.  More recently we have learned about the environmental concerns of sourcing natural gas by the method we know as fracking (hydraulic fracturing), the environmental issues of obtaining oil from ‘tar sands’, and the environmental issues of mono-cropping used in ethanol production (amongst other things).

We are not helpless or guiltless in these concerns.  We can take personal steps to reduce the amount of fuel we consume, and therefore our reliance on these unsustainable practices.

This is one way that I have discovered to reduce the heating fuel my family consumes without having to give up comfort.

I read about thermal window shades. I looked for films, coatings, and anything that might help keep the cold out. We came up with the idea of inserting insulating foam board into the window frame when the sun goes down to prevent heat loss. We purchased foam board and cut it to size and gave it a try. It was great in theory, because it actually worked, but the foam board shed little foam balls all over the place, so it was not the best solution.  Then I stumbled on an amazing product . . .  Foil-Foam-Foil Insulation. It is basically bubble plastic with aluminum foil on each side. It is a reflective radiant insulation, and it is just fantastic! It has saved us so much in heating costs and has given us so much comfort.

We measured and cut the foil-foam-foil insulation to just a little larger than the window opening, and just by pressing it against the glass it stays where we put it.  We then close the blinds and voila! Windows as warm a toast!

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Cozy measured and cut and in place.

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Blind down

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Blind closed.

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The neighbor’s view.

Not too expensive. Easy to do. Measure windows, measure foil-foam-foil and cut.  They are re-usable from year to year.

Here’s a CAUTION: Just be sure to remove your foil foam foil radiant insulation Window Cozies from any eastern and southern facing windows when the sun comes up. The temperature difference between the outside air and any trapped heat between the insulation and glass could cause the glass to break.

This is a solution to keep window heat loss to a minimum. Windows on southern and eastern sides will have solar gain when the sun is shining. So when the sun is shining, remove those window cozies and let the sun warm things up.

© Nancy Babbitt and Just Desserts Blog, 2013-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nancy Babbitt and Just Desserts Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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The Boys Coloring Easter Eggs

The Boys Coloring Easter Eggs.

There’s no need to go buy those silly wasteful egg coloring kits.  You know, the ones with all the packaging, and little plastic and wire things that end up in our landfills.  This may seem silly, but so many of the things we purchase have a very limited useful life, and they add up to be mountains of trash.  It is easier to understand when we can see what we do.

Here is a link to some artwork by Chris Jordan, Running the Numbers – An American Self-Portrait & Running the Numbers II.  These are a very interesting projects and are an even more interesting look at ourselves!  Do be sure to click on each image in the art show, the information is fascinating !

Instead of contributing to the waste of single-use and ‘disposable’ egg-coloring kits, use use food coloring and follow this recipe:

In each cup add:

1 teaspoon of white vinegar

about 20 drops of food coloring (more or less according to the color you wish to achieve)

1/2 cup boiling water

Allow to sit for about 5 minutes or until desired color is reached.

Try mixing the pigments to achieve new colors:

15 drops blue & 5 drops red for a grape color

15 drops yellow & 5 drops red for orange

15 drops green & 5 drops blue for teal

20 drops yellow & 5 drops green for lime

You can achieve any color you wish, and get deeper brighter colors, for less money and less waste.

When we do little more-with-less projects like these, it helps us to keep our eyes open and our minds open about the things we can do ourselves.  We do not need to drive to the store and purchase ready-made kits in order to enjoy a holiday celebration.  We can celebrate with the abundance that we already own, once we can see in this way.  I enjoy learning how to be resourceful and teaching my boys that we can do many things for ourselves instead of relying on objects mass-produced for mass-consumption and mass-disposal.  Small projects like these act as a foundation in another way of thinking that is not based on consumption, or ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’, but instead is based on celebrating the abundance of what we already have and the joy of living.

Have fun !

© Nancy Babbitt and Just Desserts Blog, 2013-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nancy Babbitt and Just Desserts Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Today is Pi Day & We’re Celebrating with Cake

March 14 is Pi Day.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein

It’s Albert Einstein’s Birthday.

It’s also a math geek’s holiday.

It’s the official celebration of the mathematical constant pi.

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Pi has mystified mathematicians for centuries.

It’s a way to describe the shape of a circle.

Image Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pi.eq.C.over.d.png

The number represents the ratio of a circle’s circumference to it’s diameter.

No matter the size of the circle, the ratio is always . . .

3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510582097494459230…

It’s an irrational number that never ends.

The numbers of pi are random, with no repeating pattern.


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“So why are you celebrating with cake?”,  you ask.

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“It has to do with food justice.”

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“This is a tomato juice spice cake.”

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“Tomato Juice . . . in a cake?”, you ask.”

“Yup.”

“Why?”

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“Because I grow a garden.”

“And I can my own tomatoes.”

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“And I have so much juice to use.”

“But what does this have to do with justice?”

“Because I believe that children should focus on their studies, not pick my vegetables.”

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So today, while many folks are celebrating the accomplishments of mathematicians everywhere, I am playing my part by choosing actions that do not contribute to an unjust system where some folks have abundant opportunity in life and where others are prevented from realizing this same opportunity.

Tomato Juice Spice Cake

Preheat oven to 350°

Lightly grease and flour a 13 x 9 inch pan.

Mix together the dry ingredients:

3 cups all purpose flour


1 1/2 tsp baking powder


1 1/2 tsp baking soda


1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cloves


1/2 tsp ground nutmeg



1 tsp ground allspice


1 TBS ground cinnamon


In mixer bowl, cream together until fluffy:

12 tbsp butter, room temperature


2 cups of sugar


Add and mix to creamed butter:

4 large eggs


2 tsp vanilla extract


Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the tomato juice, followed by the remaining flour mixture.

2 cups tomato juice

Mix only until no streaks of dry ingredients remain and pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool in the pan before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

In a large mixing bowl, beat together until smooth:

1 8oz package cream cheese


1 TBS milk

1 tsp vanilla


Adding 1 cup at a time, mix in and beat together until fluffy:

4 cups of powdered sugar


Enjoy.

© Nancy Babbitt and Just Desserts Blog, 2013-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nancy Babbitt and Just Desserts Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.