The "dog days of summer" are commonly considered the hottest, longest, and most uncomfortable days of the year. Don't let yourself get caught in the doldrums this summer because of the heat. Stay cool and entertained, and give the "dog days" a whole new meaning this year.
Keep cool: Energy bills tend to go up when people are trying to keep their houses cool in the summer. Try closing curtains or blinds during the hottest part of the afternoon to cut down on how much time you run your air conditioner. Window treatments with a white lining on the window side help deflect the sun and can reduce up to 45 percent the heat that passes into your home. Open your windows in the early hours of the morning to let cool air in, and hang a damp sheet in an open window if the air outside is cooler and dryer than inside your house.
Go swimming: An easy way to stay cool and have fun is to spend the day in the water. Take your family to the local pool, or create a waterpark in your own backyard with some sprinklers and a kiddie pool. Just make sure that you have plenty of sun protection. Use SPF 45 or higher sunscreen and reapply every 30 minutes to prevent sunburns.
Stay in: Avoid going out during the heat of the day by planning some indoor entertainment for you and your family. Start a new art project or have craft time with the kids. Pick up a few craft supplies, like paint, glue, and glitter, and get the whole family involved. Make one large project as a family or let everyone make their own and show it off once they're done.
Relax: Take it easy and relax a little to keep yourself cool. This is the perfect time to fit some summer reading into your schedule. Pick up the new book in your favorite series or a new release you've heard about and relax in a shaded hammock or next to the pool. As long as you're slowing things down, now may be the time for a little pampering with a home spa. Pick up a pedicure kit and a good book for a soothing summer afternoon.
Evening activities: The days may be hot, but warm summer evenings are just right for doing a little entertaining. A backyard barbecue is the perfect way to get family and friends together in the summer, as is a game night with friends. Movie night can move outdoors, too. Create a drive-in theater in your own backyard with a good projector, a white sheet, and a few movie snacks, like popcorn and hot dogs. Your family will love it, and you get a chance to enjoy the outdoors at the same time.