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Raising Your Child to Be a Champion

The title of my recent read is a bit misleading for its true value – bold letters state “Raising Your Child to be a Champion” and in smaller letters, “in Athletics, Arts, and Academics.” This seemingly trite, short, and simple parenting book is authored by Wayne Bryan, the father of the Bryan twins, who grew up to be world doubles champions in men’s tennis. There’s not much scientific evidence backed strategies, but instead, refreshingly straightforward, actionable ideas from a dad who found success with his approach and philosophy. I liked a lot of his practical advice, and I find myself … Continue reading Raising Your Child to Be a Champion

Chinese Herbal Medicine for UTIs

You may have tried a lot of different things to treat UTIs by now (e.g. D-mannose, garlic, cranberry, oregano, etc.). We certainly have, and have battled UTIs for 10 years without lasting success. In yet another bid to avoid antibiotics which cause all kinds of issues, I’ve looked into how Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) might help. Since both my kids seemed to resolve their problems (cough-variant asthma and clammy/sweaty hands respectively) with a tailored course of CHM, we decided to try Chinese herbal medicine to treat UTIs as well. In this post, I share a list of formulas I found … Continue reading Chinese Herbal Medicine for UTIs

Find the Lowest Price for EpiPens

We have food allergies and we need to carry around EpiPens. But we also don’t have spectacular health insurance, so below is a rundown of the options I went through. My takeaway is that if you can’t get an EpiPen or EpiPen alternative for free, you should only pay in the range of $5-low $100s in the U.S. #1 Health Insurance When we had excellent health insurance, I was able to buy a pack of two generic EpiPens for as little as $30. I’ve also seen online that some people have health insurance that can bring the cost down to … Continue reading Find the Lowest Price for EpiPens

Goji Berry Chocolate Muffins

This is a muffin that is like a chocolate cupcake, mixed with some goji berries and whole wheat that make you feel like it’s slightly healthier. Goji berries are a bittersweet berry that are supposedly a superfood.  We normally snack on them or put them in chrysanthemum tea, but I wanted to give the kids a little variety in how we get this superfood, so I made Goji Berry Chocolate Muffins. Ingredients Makes 12 muffins / cupcakes 1 ¼  cup all-purpose flour ¼ cup whole wheat flour ½ cup cacao powder 2 tbsp cornstarch (optional – I added this to … Continue reading Goji Berry Chocolate Muffins

Eye Massage and Eye Acupressure Points for Myopia

I reviewed some online literature on eye massage to add to my repertoire of things to try for slowing / reversing myopia. As an acupressure layman, I found the acupressure points and techniques seemed to vary just enough from site to site to confuse me initially. Finally, I cobbled together some basics.  (Note: there are also eye exercises and acupressure points on other parts of the body that directly affect the eyes. I think I will have to review those thoroughly another time.) My basic takeaway The theory is that eye massage improves the blood circulation to the eyes and … Continue reading Eye Massage and Eye Acupressure Points for Myopia

My Favorite Free Printables

Since the pandemic began, I’ve been supplementing home learning for the kids here and there. I’ve found a few free printables that we really like – because they print well, and have an interface that is easy to use. (There are a lot of interactive sites that can supplement learning as well, but with all the Zoom and other digital resources that the schools are requiring the children to use, I’m trying to dial it back and reduce screen time for the kids.)  Here’s a running list in the various categories of what I’ve found and used: Favorite Free Math … Continue reading My Favorite Free Printables

4 Ways to Reduce Allergies Naturally

Maybe Zyrtec doesn’t work for you lately or perhaps you don’t like its side effects. Personally, I fear that we don’t know much about the long-term use of these “safe” OTC antihistamines for allergy relief. Instead, I’m hoping to treat my sneezing family as naturally as possible. Below are some of the things that I’ve been reading about (and in some cases, trying out): 1. Avoid Antibiotics as Much as Possible Scientists are increasingly looking at an imbalance in the microbiome as the root cause of many of the problems we have with our immune systems not working properly. These … Continue reading 4 Ways to Reduce Allergies Naturally

7 Ways to Reduce Physical Exposure to Environmental Allergens

I try to avoid the use of allergy medications as much as possible, so I’ve tested out a variety of non-medical ways to reduce my family’s environmental allergic reactions to tree pollens, grass pollens, and dust mites. Here are the things that we do that seem to have helped in order of suspected effectiveness. 1) Run the air purifier We have serious dust mite allergies, so I run an air purifier on high in my children’s carpeted bedroom about 1 hour before their bedtime, then I switch it to low for the remainder of the night. We’ve been told to … Continue reading 7 Ways to Reduce Physical Exposure to Environmental Allergens

Simple Dang Gui Soup or Tea Recipe

As I mentioned before, dang gui (angelica sinensis, 当归) soup is my go-to Chinese herbal tonic for whenever I have any issues that I suspect may be remotely related to blood, circulation, or hormones. Men can benefit from this tonic in the same way, too. Whenever I drink it, I feel revitalized and relaxed at the same time, helping my sleep and energy. I swear by it, and so do 2,200+ years of traditional Chinese medicine. (Whenever I think about how Western medicine would never suggest this as a simple remedy because it’s not evidence-based, I’m frustrated by how many … Continue reading Simple Dang Gui Soup or Tea Recipe

Keeping Produce and Cheese Fresh

It’s probably obvious why I’ve been researching how to make fresh food last as long as possible (not including freezing, pickling, cooking, etc.). In an effort to go grocery shopping just once every two weeks, I’ve discovered my Achilles heel in my desire for fresh produce. Below are the methods I’ve found so far for some fresh food that I recently bought. How to store cucumbers as long as possible I found conflicting opinions. Epicurious says to clean, dry, and wrap them in a dry paper towel, tucked inside a plastic bag. However, kitchn.com begs to differ. Its writer says … Continue reading Keeping Produce and Cheese Fresh

Revisiting “13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do”

During this time of “shelter in place,” I’m tempted to give myself a bigger break than usual when it comes to parenting. Then I remember two things: one, we don’t know how long we’re going to be dealing with this, if this is, in fact, the “new normal,” and two, if I relax my parenting now, I might be giving myself more work for later to fix habits I’ve undone in a couple of weeks (screen time, anyone?). So to help me stay “strong,” I’m falling back on some great guidance I once found in “13 Things Mentally Strong Parents … Continue reading Revisiting “13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do”

Stopping OIT at One Nut

I have to take my mind off coronavirus somehow, so I thought I would provide the latest update on our experience with oral immunotherapy for food allergies.  We’re done for now We have stopped oral immunotherapy updosing, after having reached a dose of 1 whole nut for each child (see why in the section below, “New information since we started OIT”). So now we are entering maintenance phase at a daily peanut for one child and a daily cashew for the other. Our allergist said that after about 3 months on the 1 nut dose, they would be protected from … Continue reading Stopping OIT at One Nut

5 Tips for Dealing with Health Insurance

I’m still on my health insurance rant. How many ways can the health insurance system screw you? If you’re a health insurance user, chances are you’ve been scammed, duped, or basically not given the coverage that you paid for because the health insurance system in this country has been intentionally/unintentionally designed to make sure that you won’t know how to use it and getting enough reliable information to avoid costly errors is practically impossible. (Help fight this by choosing the most cost-effective health insurance for you with some of these comparison spreadsheets.) Here are five things I’ve learned about when … Continue reading 5 Tips for Dealing with Health Insurance

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Health Insurance Plan Comparison Spreadsheets

Updated June 1, 2021 Changing jobs? Open enrollment? Recently, we were choosing between a variety of health insurance plans. Before I thought to look online, I had already made my own, but I guess that’s all well and good because it was a nice, eye-opening experience to think through the ridiculous rules of each of the health insurance plans myself. Even the plan representatives barely understand the rules.  Later on, I found a few different health plans spreadsheets online that I thought were helpful and collected the links below. There are also various calculators and comparison widgets on health websites, … Continue reading Health Insurance Plan Comparison Spreadsheets

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Got Body Odor? And Will Your Child, Too?

I’d been sniffing the hair on my children’s heads – yes, moms do that. And found that they smell very different. I can’t even describe the smell though – one like vanilla soup and the other like citrus tea. That got me wondering what they might smell like as teenagers and then adults. Would my deliciously smelling kids become stinky people with various body odors? Would I need to arm them with deodorants? Was I going to need to do a 3 week research project on finding the best, non-toxic deodorants?  I’ve noticed that men and women and folks of … Continue reading Got Body Odor? And Will Your Child, Too?

Can Axial Length Be Reduced?

This is a niche post for those of us trying to explore the causes and cures for myopia. Since the causes of myopia are not fully understood, the treatments are still under discovery and experimentation. If you search online, you probably won’t find much evidence that the axial length of the human eye can be reduced – this is a key measurement that folks are using as an objective way to determine if axial length myopia can be reversed. However, I suspect that there exists some evidence – it just hasn’t reached Google’s top search results. I discovered that the axial … Continue reading Can Axial Length Be Reduced?

5 Reasons Not to Rely on Doctors

Just to be clear, this post is not about bashing doctors! We see many amazing, caring doctors. This post is about an over-reliance on what doctors in our healthcare system can do and taking charge of our own health. Maybe you already know different, but I grew up thinking that the doctor’s word was the final word. Unsure about anything? Go see a doctor. Nowadays, I still see a doctor, but I go online, research some more, and I take the doctor’s opinion into consideration as I decide what to do. Here’s why: #1 They’re not always up to date … Continue reading 5 Reasons Not to Rely on Doctors

5 Traditional Chinese Herbal Remedies That Work

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been a part of my American upbringing because my parents grew up under TCM principles and philosophies. Our family healthcare approach has evolved to be a mix of both Western and Chinese medicine along with some skepticism for each of them (see “5 Reasons Not to Rely on Doctors“). However, through generations of family trial and error, we’ve come to find a few Chinese herbal remedies that are popular, commonplace, and also quite effective. Here are our top five Chinese herbal remedies: #1 Yunnan Baiyao Yunnan Baiyao is an ancient Chinese remedy for severe bleeding, … Continue reading 5 Traditional Chinese Herbal Remedies That Work