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

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4 Natural Ways to Reduce Allergic Reactions

  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. … Continue reading 4 Natural Ways to Reduce Allergic Reactions

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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 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 people could benefit, … Continue reading Simple Dang Gui Soup or Tea Recipe

How to Keep Fresh Produce and Cheese for as Long as Possible!

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 How to Keep Fresh Produce and Cheese for as Long as Possible!

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. So to help me stay “strong,” I’m falling back on some great guidance I once found in “13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do” by … 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 Health Insurance Traps

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. I’m sharing so that hopefully the same thing doesn’t happen to you. Here are five things I’ve been screwed on: #1 Health insurance representatives and provider … Continue reading 5 Health Insurance Traps

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Health Insurance Plan Comparison Spreadsheets

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.  Later on, I found a few different health plans spreadsheets online that I thought were helpful and collected the links here. There are also various calculators and comparison widgets on health websites, but they hide the logic and calculations they’re using to compare, so it’s not as useful. … 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. 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, trauma, bruises, sprains, strains, and pain and a … Continue reading 5 Traditional Chinese Herbal Remedies That Work

6 Treatments for Food Allergies

Having children with severe food allergies can be very difficult on the parent as well as the child. However, other than plain avoidance, there are now actually a number of different options for families to consider.  If you have a child under 5, you have a particularly good chance of using some of these options (particularly OIT), to cure (not just desensitize!) your child’s food allergies. Researchers have found that the younger kids have much more lasting benefits of immunotherapy – meaning they could actually be cured(!) rather than just desensitized. My kids were unfortunately past that age when I … Continue reading 6 Treatments for Food Allergies

To Ice or Not to Ice (Injuries)?

My child sprained an ankle and immediately, every well-meaning person around us kept at us with ice, and more ice. The day after the injury, our sporty, super-fit friends quizzed me, double-checking that we were continuing to ice the ankle. All this emphasis on ice gave me pause, because in traditional Chinese medicine (whose philosophy I have followed growing up), ice is never used for an injury. These opposing views sent me running to Google.   It turns out that recent research suggests icing an injury may not be the best way to heal an injury.  My findings The bullet points … Continue reading To Ice or Not to Ice (Injuries)?

Best Minimalist, Athletic Shoes for Kids

In another post, I wrote about how I decided to lean towards minimalist footwear for my kids and for myself. Well, I didn’t realize that finding children’s minimalist, athletic footwear (and there are definitely degrees of minimalism here) would be so difficult! In fact, most popular brands had very thick soles and were heavy. Others were too rigid and narrow, particularly in the toebox, and even others also had positive inclines, so much that I was effectively putting my child in a slight heel. None of those made any sense to me and yet those were the majority that I … Continue reading Best Minimalist, Athletic Shoes for Kids

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Can You Control or Reverse Your Myopia?

In my quest to quell my child’s myopia, I discovered the myopia reversal community online. It seems there are many adults who are trying to improve their vision naturally. Yet while the medical eyecare community has not reached the point where they will even consider that myopia reversal is possible, myopia control for children is a growing sub-specialty and reaching mainstream eyecare practices. Considering that myopia control didn’t exist when I was growing up, (and yet here it is), I’m wary of dismissing the possibility of myopia reversal too quickly. My takeaway Researching and comparing these two “fields” was helpful … Continue reading Can You Control or Reverse Your Myopia?

10+ Things to Know About OIT for Food Allergies

Recently, we decided to have our children try oral immunotherapy (OIT) for nuts. OIT is just one of many treatment options emerging. This was a huge, agonizing decision for us and we went back and forth several times for months before we finally committed. Read this post for where we are with OIT today. My takeaway This post is a summary of the key information (but a long list, nevertheless) that I found helpful in making our decision and knowing what to expect once we started OIT. I gathered it through reading online resources, quizzing OIT providers, and lurking on … Continue reading 10+ Things to Know About OIT for Food Allergies