Favorite Audiobooks for Kids

There have been a few standout audiobooks that my kids have really enjoyed so far over their elementary and early middle school years.  For the most part, the books themselves are well known and already wonderful, but the particular readers have made these audiobook stories even better! The way these narrators know how to perform the dialogue, pausing, enunciating, emphasizing, applying different tones and voices, can really transform the story experience.  You can find these audiobooks free at the library and at many of the audiobook apps such as Hoopla, Overdrive, and the like. I hope you enjoy these as … Continue reading Favorite Audiobooks for Kids

Prevent Foot, Knee, and Heel Pain from Soccer Cleats 

The standard fit of soccer cleats doesn’t make any orthopedic sense (see this article on podiatrists whose patients play soccer) and yet, it’s the norm. If you play soccer in cleats, you probably know they can be pretty uncomfortable. However, when I was a new soccer mom, the first time I went shopping for cleats for my kids, I was stunned by the stiffness and narrow shape of the shoe. The uppers were stiff, synthetic leather and the sole plate was hard plastic with a thin, flat insole. I sucked it up and after twisting many a pair, I settled … Continue reading Prevent Foot, Knee, and Heel Pain from Soccer Cleats 

Reversing Myopia: Update #2

My last update about my experience trying to reverse my myopia was about 20+ months ago. For previous posts about my experience, please see: my first post and my first update. Today my 2nd update, in short, is that my vision still seems to be improving, but the improvement is quite slow when averaged out over 3.5 years – a 1.50 diopter improvement total in each eye when measured by my contact lens RX. See below for an updated chart and further notes about my experience: Eye Exam Date Glasses RX (from optometrist) Contact Lens RX (from optometrist) My Reduced … Continue reading Reversing Myopia: Update #2

IGE and Oral Immunotherapy (OIT): Sample Size of 2

I’ve received many questions about what the kids’ IGE numbers have been since they began oral immunotherapy. I was definitely curious when I was researching OIT and I like to see numbers too, so I’ve posted them below. Basically, the numbers trend downwards since OIT. Unfortunately, the numbers were already down from their peak before they began OIT (2019), so I won’t ever know if the continued downward trend is due to OIT or if they were on their way to becoming less allergic anyway. Below I list the raw data, and then graphed. I don’t have 2022 numbers, so … Continue reading IGE and Oral Immunotherapy (OIT): Sample Size of 2

Favorite Chinese Medicines

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 often more effective than Western options. Here are the top Chinese herbal remedies that sit in our medicine cabinet: Best Chinese Medicine for Strains, … Continue reading Favorite Chinese Medicines

Heal Fast and Prevent Recurring Pain

With two kids in contact sports and my own, easily injured, aging self, I’ve looked into ways to heal the body faster and avoid recurring pain and injury. This means doing more than just ice and rest to reduce recovery time. Below I’ve combined emerging practices from Western sports medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to heal soft tissue injuries.  Don’t Use Ice on an Injury Immediately after the injury, do not apply ice. In fact, do not apply ice at any point. Instead, apply some compression and massage to help ease the pain. Most Western sports medicine recommendations are … Continue reading Heal Fast and Prevent Recurring Pain

5 Tips for Reversing Myopia

In my experience so far with reversing myopia, I’ve learned a few things that have made a big difference for me. They’re mostly related to ways you can make this journey easier for yourself. If you’re still experimenting with reversing myopia, below are some tips you can consider, too.  #1 Use the Eye Chart Regularly Put up one or two eye charts in places that will be easy for you to use to check your vision casually and without much effort. (Get free printable eyecharts here.) This tip is actually CRITICAL because it keeps the idea of vision improvement in … Continue reading 5 Tips for Reversing Myopia

How to Be a Happier Parent

When I saw the title, “How to Be a Happier Parent” at my local library, I was curious. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to be happier! Written by KJ Dell’Antonia who is a former editor of a New York Times parenting column, the book has chapters on dealing with pain points, called: Mornings, Chores, Siblings, Sports and Activities, Homework, Screentime, Discipline, etc.   Even though it’s not the main or only message of the book, my biggest takeaway from this book is that taking care of myself will make me a happier parent. I used to poo-poo this idea when my children … Continue reading How to Be a Happier Parent

Sticky post

Changing Jobs? Check the Impact to Your Medical Benefits

Updated as of 2/22/22 If you’re changing jobs, don’t forget to think about how to coordinate your benefits between the two jobs, so that: you’re not without coverage between the two  you maximize your benefits you minimize any forfeits in FSAs you coordinate your HSA contributions and providers (If you’re wanting to compare plans at your new job, check this post on health insurance plan comparison spreadsheets.) Below are the main things that I’ve learned to check during job changes: Fill the insurance gap between jobs If you and your partner are each insured through different employers, then whoever is … Continue reading Changing Jobs? Check the Impact to Your Medical Benefits

Raising Your Child to Be a Champion

Cultivate Interest – Less is More Hold Your Ground as a Parent Nurture a Second Passion  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 … 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

Reduce Your 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 Reduce Your 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