Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Help a girl out {some questions for you}

I'm finding myself in unfamiliar and puzzling situations a lot lately in our new space and new state.

And I decided I'd be foolish to not ask you guys some of these practical questions. The blogging community is such an amazing resource, and I just KNOW some of you are experts on the things I am not. So this is a quirky little post, but I'd love it if you had any advice for me in any or all of these areas. Seriously. Help a girl out. Pretty please?

So here we go. Numbered lists are my favorite.

1. My son and I both have severely dry skin. It was an issue in CA, despite the high moisture in the air there. One of my biggest concerns of moving to MT, a much colder, drier climate, was that it would cause issues for us. And it has. I need some recommendations of like INTENSE moisturizers. I don't mean the nice and pretty lotions whose main benefit is the smell. I mean serious stuff, and preferably as natural as possible. My son is scratching himself to pieces because his skin is so dry and itchy. What about lips, hands (mine now look like the grim reaper's, and my fingers are starting to crack and bleed), and body products?

I've tried drinking a lot more water, making it more appealing, and serving it every day. But that doesn't seem to be helping much.

2. On a related note, have you tried any whole home humidifiers? Or small ones for bedrooms? I need input on this whole hydration problem. My daughter is saying she is scared at night because she runs her hand on the blanket and it sparks so much from the static. Sheesh.

3. I am so thankful that I have lots of wood floors now. But the dirt from the outside is coming in a lot. I bought a special mop type thing for wood floors and treated pads that go on it, and I hate it. I need some ideas for cleaning big areas and the right kind of products and tools for wood. I know some of you have genius ideas for me here.

4. Any systems for keeping track of the kids' hats, mittens, etc. at school? My threats that they'll have to rebuy lost items with their savings is probably not the best strategy.

A before school snack: this one will eat snow no matter how scarce.

5. We don't have a mud "room," it's more of a mud "area," but how do you use this space efficiently so it doesn't become just a dumping ground of junk - some of it muddy or dirty - blocking the walkway?

6. In cold weather, does the windshield washer fluid in your car freeze inside its tank? And is it totally dumb to try to use it anyways, because will it clean off your windshield or will the water just freeze up on the glass and make your vision worse? I'm sure this sounds ridiculous to some of you.

7. Do you think it's a good time of year for us to be on the look out for new or used winter sports gear, of which we have none, in anticipation of next year? Do your kids have more luck skiing or snowboarding? Is one easier than the other for kids? Everyone wears helmets now for this stuff too, right?

8. Lastly, do you know where my wine glasses, pillowcases, and oven mitts are? Because they're all still missing. We have t-shirts on our pillows. Any prophetic knowledge about where these boxes might be would be appreciated.

Thanks so much friends.

And wait. Ahhhhh. Remember this? This I know.

If you ever move to Orange County and need tricks to getting sand off a wet child, the best way/place to teach your kid to surf, or tips on how to prevent green-hair syndrome from too much time in the pool, you know where to find me.



  1. this is a cute post. :)
    i wish i could offer you some advice on any of the above. especially the prophecy. it would be cool to have that gift. ;)

    i don't envy that dry skin one bit. when i travel i have similar problems, but of course they are only temporary. i hope you get some relief!

  2. I only have a few answers for you, but I hope they'll help! I live in Missouri, so I know what it's like to have to scrape your car every morning and it STINKS!!! I hate that sound, so I use my windshield washer fluid every time I get a chance so I don't have to scrape. The stuff I use has de-icer in it, so it doesn't freeze in the tank or on the windshield. :) You won't look like a fool using least I don't think so!

    I tend to buy my cold-weather gear when they are on sale at the end of the winter season. They're wanting to get rid of it all, and bring spring in, so I think it's the perfect time to buy! I got my Columbia coat (retails at $150) for $40 about 7 years ago and I still have it!

    I ski and my husband snowboards. It took him 3 days to learn and finally get the hang of it. It's tough at first, but once you get it, you'll like it. He wears a helmet when he snowboards, because it's sometimes harder to stop, and he can go faster and sometimes wipes out. I love to ski...I have control over both feet, it's easier to stop, etc. I don't wear a helmet, but for those who are just learning, I would suggest one! You can never be too careful. :)

  3. #1:

    She has really good all natural solid body lotions. Everything she sell is all natural. I've lived in Montana all my life, and these things are good. I use them on my whole body and face -- for regular moisture and for really damaged areas.

    #6: I don't believe so, but I have always used a window scraper, or water mixed with vinegar works on the ice too. They also make special spray products that help melt the ice off, but in any case, water in any product will still refreeze -- just makes the window sort of hazed over. Window ice scrapers will always do the trick, though. You just have to make sure to put gloves on because it can take a few minutes to do.

    #7. If you are anywhere near Bozeman, there are a few used sporting goods stores that always have winter gear. Bozeman is big on snow sports.

    1. Hi, I'd like to email you back but your email is not linked to your profile, and looks like your profile is private as well. Do you have a blog? Thanks for your advice, I'd love to be able to respond via email if possible.


      My name is Claire :)

    3. I just linked my email to my Blogger profile, if that makes it easier.

  4. I have a few answers for you. We have a whole house humidifier that we put in and don't use anymore. Waste of money! There was no way to turn it down low enough that we didn't get condensation inside our windows. We have a 2-story so I think the whole "heat rising" had a part to play as well. Our windows are brand new and wood. They were starting to turn black again like the old ones. We caught it quickly enough, but now I need to clean them up good. Wishing we had just bought vinyl white replacements. Plus all my trim would be painted white by now! Hard to do that to brand new wood. I suggest warm mist humidifiers in each bedroom, use as needed. Oh and fabric dryer sheets take a lot of the static away. I only use them in the winter and then switch to liquid fabric softener in the summer. Static-guard at the door when you are leaving home is your pant leg's friend too. ;)

    For the skin my favorite is called Aquaphore. We get really dry skin in our MN winters here too. It can feel greasy if you put on too much, a little goes a long way. It doesn't sting like even some hypo-allergenic lotions can. Do it when you don't need to touch a lot of stuff right away. But it really works. I do my feet before bed and then put socks on right away.

    Yep, windshield wiper fluid sold in Montana likely has de-icer in it. Make sure it says so on the jug. We depend on it a ton here as all the slush and dirt that gets kicked up makes it tough to see. If I get a little bit of ice on the windshield while I am inside shopping I often don't need to scrape. I just turn the defrost onto high heat and spray my windows. In a few minutes of the car heating up the ice should be gone. If you know you are going to get a ton of snow or an ice storm it's a good idea when you park your car to flip your wipers up so the ice can't build up on them making it harder to scrape later. We see lots of cars with wipers flipped up. It may feel funny, but you'll get over it when you see how much it helps.

    For the kids hats and gloves I just make sure their names are written well inside them and that we have multiple sets. In two years we have only completely lost one glove at school. Ours usually go missing on the bus and are found the next morning. The key is to have several sets because one may go missing and not turn up for a week or two. And in the "spring" when you still need them, they are hard to find in the stores. So shop early and often. ;) We keep ours in drawers inside our front closet. My faves are the unisex colors so they aren't fighting over who picked what just as we are flying out the door.

    We haven't tried skiing or snowboarding yet, we've stuck to sledding and ice skating.

    Hopefully spring will make an appearance for you soon. I'd give anything to live at the beach!

    1. Yup, I was going to comment on Aquaphor also. I love the stuff for chapped lips,etc... which I suffer from in our NY winters.
      Does coconut oil work for dry skin I wonder? I just jumped on that bandwagon and am still learning about all the ways to use it.
      Have you tried Aveeno lotion? I know many people with allergic skin and that's all they can use. I keep it in my classroom for the kids to use, esp in the wintertime but I don't know if its meant for extreme cases. Worth a shot.

  5. I can't help with much of the severe cold kinds of questions since we live in south Texas but maybe coconut oil would help with some of the dry skin issues or maybe some cow udder products from the feed store--although those probably aren't very natural based :).

    I do think stocking up on cold weather gear for next year is a great idea!

    Good luck!

  6. Here are the few I have advice on. :)

    1. CeraVe lotion. You can get it about anywhere...I buy mine at Walmart. Super boring, not an exciting scent, and kinda pricey (between 15 and 20 bucks for a tub) but TOTALLY worth it. I have to use it to keep my sons' eczema away. Also when going to bed you could use Aquafor [yes, for baby butts] or Lanolin [yes, nipple cream](both available in the baby section of stores) on super dry spots. I will not deny...when my allergies get really bad and the skin around my eyes is incredibly dry and painful from rubbing, I use lanolin on my eyes. It's magic. For lips, I like to use Carmex at night.

    2. We use single room humidifiers in all of our rooms during the winter. I bought the Safety 1st Ultrasonic 360 Degree Humidifier for all of us. Once again, it's a baby product. But it's my favorite.

    6. When buying windshield wiper fluid, it should tell you its freezing point on the bottle. If the temp outside is colder than the fluid's freezing point, DON'T spray it onto your windshield. If you do, you will end up with a giant windshield of ice.

  7. We use almond oil by the gallon around here. My daughter has chicken skin-those little dry bumps-and it's always worse during our dry winters. I handle her skin (and mine) by limiting hot showers, drinking lots and lots and lots of water, and using almond oil after every bath/shower. I add essential oils to it as well. Lavender and geranium are really soothing for dry skin. Lanolin also works great for hands, lips, etc. It's super thick, but it does really work. Also, straight up vitamin E oil is great too. I use it, with a little bit of almond oil added to it on trouble areas. (the almond oil just makes it a little less "sticky").

    Aslo, ditto what Kara said about room humidifiers and the windshield fluid. I know you don't want to hear this but you just have to scrape away. A credit card works as a great emergency scrapper if you need it!

    Saying prayers you find your lost boxes, and that it warms up!

    oh, also-coconut oil just made our dry skin worse. It's great for popcorn, not so much on our skin :)

  8. hello leslie!
    growing up in upstate NY and now residing in western WI for ten years, i have feedback for some of your inquiries that hopefully you will find helpful:
    #1) molly has horribly dry skin. we've tried almost everyihtng under the sun. what works best for her as far as lotion goes is Burt's Bees Richly Replenishing Body Lotion (24-Hour Moisturization). also, another tip is to keep a jar of coconut oil in your shower, and at the end aplly it to your whole body and let it sit for a couple minutes. then rinse it off and apply lotion post-shower. this works amazingly!!

    #2) we use bedside humidifiers. they are a total necessity. we have a Crane Drop Shape Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier. we put one in every bedroom and only turn them on right before bed. LOVE them! i've never used/had a whole-home one, but my parents in NY do and they are very fond of it.

    #4) what we do is keep everything in an exclusive box in the entryway closet. another tip would be to buy three pairs of gloves (one quality pair and two other basic pairs) at the beginning of the winter season and two hats (again, one quality, one basic).

    #5) .......i'm still trying to figure this out myself.

    #6) windshield washer fluid doesn't freeze in the tank. but it certainly will freeze on your windshield if it's cold enough outside. it will make your vision much worse and it's very very annoying! tip: whenever you clean off your vehicle of snow/ice, lift up the windshield wipers and scrape the squeegee thingy on them. they have a tendency of building up ice and then when you go to use them they remove the snow/ice unevenly. again, very very annoying!

    #7) i think it's wise to buy gear for the next year at the end of the season the year before. it's always clearanced so it ends up being relatively inexpensive! and i personally think skiing is easier for kids to start off and then work up to snowboarding. and helmets - you can buy or rent them. they have special ones that are made for skiing/snowboarding (as opposed to biking) that will keep your head warm!

    i hope this helps. God bless you and your family for taking this faith journey, leslie. it's not an easy decision to make and there is so much emotion involved with it. you seem like you have a great head on your shoulders and have been succeeding admirably in this transition in your life. xxoo

  9. I live in Northern Maine, so I feel a little qualified to help.

    1. Gold Bond Medicated Body Lotion---probably not very organic, but very effective on dry skin. It does have a weird burn-y, cooling effect which can be unpleasant in the winter...but worth it!

    4. We have one of those plastic containers with built-in drawers, and everyone has their own drawer. Not terribly attractive, but effective.

    5. Feel your pain on the mud room. We have one...and it's a life-saver! Especially for "Mud Season." (Yes, that's real.)

    6. Best solution for frosted up car windows is to go out early and start your car. That way it's defrosted by the time you get out there and you don't have to hate your life. :)

    7. I'd see if your area has yard sales. They are a huge thing up here in rural, Northern Maine (and weren't at all where I grew up in suburban PA). You can get a lot of good deals that way.

    8. Did you use the pillowcases to wrap up the wine glasses...? Maybe it's only one box you're looking for...

  10. #1. I can't use any lotion but Vaseline brand. All the other ones feel so greasy to me. My daughter with dry sensitive skin swears that lotion makes her "itchier." But, when she is desperate, she has taken to my cocoa butter vaseline. I've also bought some "calming cream" lotions for when they need soothing in a cracked place. You have to slather it on right after a shower. I need the stronger stuff for my nails. But after they have cracked and are bleeding, I coat them in neosporin and double wrap in bandaids. I bought a ton of chapsticks and threw them all over the house and in backpacks.

    #2 - we have too much humidity here ... We have dehumidifiers. :)

    #3 - We haven't covered all our hardwood yet so we have dust bunnies everywhere - drives me nuts. I bought a smaller stick rechargeable battery operated vacuum and a "dust buster" hand vaccuum - they are always out - so that I don't have to pull out the big ole vacuum, I can just zoom around with those ones between major vacuum jobs. And I use the dry mops too.

    #4 - when they do make it home, we have a big basket that they all need to go in. So, they can get what they need in the morning. But that doesn't mean that they come back home every day.

    #5 - Still working on this but on snow days, which are particularly brutal, I throw down a few towels. They can come in and strip off boots and mud and snow gear on those and then I just throw the towels in the wash when I hang the snow gear to dry.

    #6 - my neighbors laugh at me when I use the windshield wiper fluid. Really the best thing is to plan ahead and warm up the car a few minutes before you have to use it.

    #7 - consignment stores - be on the look out all year.

    #8 - They are with my forever lost cookie cutters. I am sure of it.


  11. 1) Nu Skin Lotion(body butter)
    2) I stopped using my humidifier..Waste of time.
    3) Steam mop? Maybe it can't be used on wood floors...
    4) Names on everything( on the tags)
    5) Towels, and buckets for shoes.
    6) Anti freeze Windshield wiper fluid? If it exists
    7) Feb-March is a great time, although winter stuff is still on sale!!
    Good Luck!

  12. Yay! I partly grew up in Montana, so I can help a bit:

    Dry skin: it is winter, summer will be better, but still dryer than oc. Keri Lotion or Gold Bond lotion rocks. I too have super dry skin and that is what I used. Or udder cream... Blistex deep renewal chapstick seems to work well for me now...
    Whole house humidifiers, YES
    Let your kiddos try both sports and see which they prefer, the tendency its to be passionate about one and passionately opposed to the other. Helmets, yes!
    Montana is an amazing place to grow up! One if my science electives in high school was fly fishing.
    That was a sidenote...
    Deicer windshield washer fluid and also debugger fluid is a must in the summer. Neither are blue. The Deicer fluid is great for lazy days where you don't want to freeze your nostrils and eyelashes while scraping.
    I hated my mom for moving me to Montana from California at 11, but now that I am older, I can appreciate it :-)
    Praying for the transition.
    Ps, love your blog!!!

  13. Hi Leslie! Miss you! I feel I have knowledge only on #1... I liked Gina @ Not So Random Stuff's answer. I've also made and love this heavy-duty, natural lotion:

  14. Coconut oil is all I have to offer. Oh, and did we do wine glasses together? If so, check boxes 1-5. :)

  15. Mkay so remember how you told me that the only "old stuff" in California was way overpriced at huge flea markets? Well, now that you're out of Cali, hopefully you'll be able to find some great second hand & consignment shops in your area. Also, your local Craigslist for kids snow toys, gear, and snow pants/boots,etc...
    And if your car wont be parked in a garage to keep the ice off of it, invest in a remote car starter(if they're not outlawed, that is). It allows you to start your car from the comfort of inside your (warm) house and by the time you and the kids go out and get into it for school, the car interior should be warm and chances are you'd have minimal to no window scraping to do at that point.
    Im praying for you all and missing you too.

  16. I'm a Texas to Chicago transplant of almost 2 years now....I have asked almost all of these questions before! HA!! I would say lotion wise...I really love California Baby celendula (sp?) lotion. It's for babies but also great for sensitive skin. I have used Trader Joe's coconut oil this past winter with success. We have no winter gear storage system unfortunately. But, I will say that I buy cheap things. No fancy REI gloves....because they will get lost at school or crammed behind the shoe cabinet. Best to get Target ones and rebuy every season, I think. Or buy second hand. I will say that good boots and socks are worth it. We like Hatley, Lands End, and Target.

    At least you can do winter sports!! We have no place to ski-snowboard...I think that would help so much with the long winters!!!

  17. 1. As a nurse practitioner especially working with kids who have eczema I highly recommend Aquaphor as a moisturizer or good ole vaseline. You always, always want to use unscented for people with sensitive skin. Key also is taking lukewarm showers/baths, not overly hot, and applying lotion as soon as you get out of shower to keep moisture in the skin.

    3. For wood floors we love, love our Shark steam mop, no toxins, no chemicals or cleaners needed. Also, we have hand scraped hard wood floors and the company that installed them recommended the only cleaner we use on them is diluted white vinegar and it is all we have used for 1.5 years and our floors still look new.

    Good luck

  18. 1) ok.. dry is the best things I've found to date!
    love love love this stuff,same consistency as Aquaphor (which I like but dont love.not natural.stinks to me) Goes on thick but does the trick!!

    2) Me and wood floors have this love/hate relationship. Love the look..but these things get dirty faster,show everything and are high maintenance. I've found Swiffer to be a great fast dust picker uper for fast jobs .. for more intense cleaning I have an Oreck Housekeeper Vacuum that I love followed by a solution of Murphy's Wood Oil and warm water.

    Good luck!

  19. is that your new front porch!! love it.
    i can't answer any of your questions, but i hope you find your pillow cases, wine glasses, and everything else soon!

  20. I can help you out with a few! We moved to MN from the south and it took me a few years to figure things out. We use shoe organizers (the kind that hang on the door) for our mittens, hats, ect. In theory each person gets a row.

    It might be a little late to find winter gear but you should try! I found my keen boots at REI a few years ago in March and they were 50% off.

    Oh and for jackets I like to buy them with down. Warmer :)

  21. As an Indiana Girl, I know all different types of weather. This week is was in the 70s Monday and Tuesday and then Tuesday evening it rained and we have been living in a mild winter state since. I am anxiously awaiting the spring warm up. I need some SUN! But I am used to the rollercoaster of weather that is the midwest. Might I suggest insulated rain jackets for the spring? Not sure when it will actually warm up there, but we get a lot of rain here and Its always nice to be a little warmer on those days.
    1. Neutrogena Fast Absorbing Hand Cream and Curel Ultra Healing Hydrating Lotion are both fantastic products that help with the dry skin. Not sure how natural they are. I will tell you to pick creams over lotions though because the water content in a 'lotion' is higher than in a 'cream' and the higher the water content, the dryer it will make your skin
    6. you can buy anti-freeze windshield wiper fluid that not only will not freeze in the tank, but it helps melt down the snow and ice on your windshield! it's great!
    7. Skiing and Snowboarding are both so fun! I would say that skiing is easier to pick up, but snowboarding is super super fun! ask your kids which one they want to try because they will pick it up way faster since they are kids anyway. It's so fun. I wish I lived closer to a ski resort. Not sure how many people wear helmets but I see a lot of kids using them. Skis and Snowboards can be pricy because you are paying for the board or ski, the boots, and the bindings- each thing adds to the cost. Look for used ones or for ski places to run end of season sales. I know some friends who have gotten good deals with outdated designs and models that are brand new.
    8. good luck! you guys are in my thoughts and prayers!

  22. Coconut oil! You can use it on face,hands, hair, everything--best applied -before- you leave the bathroom post-shower. When you buy it, it wil be a solid, but scrape out just a bit with your fingers and it swiftly becomes liquid against your body heat. You can also apply it on your skin (esp face) before your shower or bath as a protectant.

  23. Unfortunately I only have advice for the dry skin! Try looking for creams in the pharmacy section of the store (even Walmart) as opposed to the lotion/cream section. You'll find better, natural ingredient lotions and creams that are more intense and don't have a scent. My favorites are these: and