Life Moves Pretty Fast

Happy Wednesday!

Training update:

My first draft is squeakingly close to being ready to send off to my editor, so much so that I plan to have it in her hands this afternoon! While I had hoped for June 1, June 5 feels pretty great… I still took it from rough draft to first draft in just under two weeks!

Thank you so much. Because without you, and your messages, and your goodwill, and your excitement about this forthcoming book, I would be nowhere near as far along with this draft as I am.

Ninja Parenting Community members, I am loading up some advanced chapters to go into our community forums! Click here to check it out (just be sure to log in first : )
Not an NPC member? Click here to join.

They Won’t Always be Little
This is a busy, crazy week for us here in the Kolp household, and a week of celebration: our oldest son is graduating!

Ben and I could not be prouder.

In the words of one teacher at his alternative high school: “Max has launched!”

Among other things Max:

– Learned an entire high school career’s worth of mathematics this past spring semester, during his last year of pre-college education

– Asserted his need for freedom, and diligently worked towards getting that freedom in an appropriate and unselfish way

– Upheld the responsibilities he has in our family, while grasping that freedom, remaining gainfully employed, and spending time with his peers

– Continues to maintain his sense of humor and positive outlook, even when the going gets tough

When Max was small, his dad and I could never have conceived the goals he would have for himself, and the ways that he would work towards achieving those goals.

Likely, if you’re reading this you have small children. And it can be so difficult to see the future, to conceive of and envision a time when your child will assert their independence.

But that time will come. Continue reading “Life Moves Pretty Fast”

Be the brains

Happy Wednesday!

I want to share a goal of mine. I’m in training! I’m drafting a new parenting book and today I’m asking you to keep me on track.

And also I’m excited because I think this story that I share today could also be helpful for you, even if your struggles are different than mine.

First: I’m in training!

Longtime listeners to the podcast, and readers of this letter, might know that I have a chronic illness. A tendon disorder, that keeps me from doing a lot of things that you probably consider perfectly normal and everyday events, such as chopping vegetables, or folding laundry.

But there would be no podcast, there would be no We Turned Out Okay at all, without the tendon disorder. And that is because of something a friend said to me when I was at my worst, with just 5% use practical use of my hands. I had truly hit rock bottom. I felt like such a burden, and so useless, to those who were responsible for taking care of me; meaning my husband, Ben, and our two boys.

It should have been the other way around, I should have been taking care of them! And instead I could hardly wash my own hair or pour my own coffee.

When a friend suggested that this didn’t have to only be negative, that instead it could be positive, it opened up a whole new avenue. She said “okay, you can’t do all the normal parenting things. Or all the normal housekeeping things. So what CAN you do?” Continue reading “Be the brains”

Words Matter

Greetings! Today’s post references Chapter 3 of my latest book, 10 Secrets Happy Parents Know… And also the recent visit a wonderful museum in New York City I got to go to last week!

If you’re having trouble figuring out how those two intersect, read on : )

Here in this space today I’m hoping help you see how the ordinary is truly profound.

This occurred to me on Thursday as I was viewing the mementos from JRR Tolkien’s life which are currently on view at the Morgan Library in New York City.

Continue reading “Words Matter”

Lessons from our digital reset

Years ago, I went to see a movie in an actual theater, on a big screen. They had this really clever ad in the lead-up to the movie where you saw all this action and excitement… and then slowly the action and excitement began shrinking.

It shrank and shrank away until it all took place in a tiny box in the middle of the screen.

And then above it appeared gigantic words, and I’m paraphrasing here, but basically they said: “don’t let your entertainment shrink down to this.”

That’s one of the last movies I ever saw in the theater.
Clearly, their plea of “keep coming to the movies!” didn’t work well on me.

For years our lives have been slowly, insidiously being taken over by tiny screens.

Maybe you have found the same thing in your life.

Over three or four years I’ve noticed:

  •  A sense of panic if I don’t have my phone on or near me
  • Despite my best efforts, trouble concentrating on the people who are right in front of me because the screen in my hand beckons
  • Hand, wrist, and forearm pain, seriously irritated by swiping, tapping, and pinching screens

Today I want to share the story of what Ben and I are doing, in our home, to reclaim the big action and excitement. I hope it helps you see a path towards taking control of screen time in your home!

Continue reading “Lessons from our digital reset”

When I fight authority (a tool for handling temper tantrums : )

For whatever reason I’ve had this song by Jon Mellencamp playing in my head for the last few weeks… And it’s got me thinking on authority, and fighting it.

Today I share a tool with you that I hope you find useful in dealing with temper tantrums and other ways that your child “fights authority.”

If you’ve got young children,
you probably remember all too vividly those newborn days, where your new baby was the Authority.
When that baby said “jump!” you said “how high?”
And then the baby grew, and you were able to call some of the shots again…

But early childhood keeps the “authority” issue in the forefront.
Because toddlers and preschoolers want to BE the authority, but they are not quite sure HOW to do that.

That’s when the temper tantrums start.
To give you an extra tool in dealing with them, I want to share a method that came up recently in the private coaching community that I run, where a mom asked:
“At home during a temper tantrum at least I can get [my three-year-old] to his room, and put him down. But out in the world – what should I do? If I continue to hold his hand he yanks and bucks and throws himself on the ground. If I try to hold him on my lap he kicks and head-butts.”

Sound familiar? If you ever deal with that or similar, try the following:
1) Remember that tantrums are part of life. They are part of the game, in fact they are developmentally necessary… And when a child has a tantrum he is fully experiencing that. So kicking and headbutting may be a part of that “full experience.” Continue reading “When I fight authority (a tool for handling temper tantrums : )”

My Power/Internet Loss is Your Parenting Gain

Today was supposed to be the last day to sign up for the “How to Help Your Child Navigate the Choppy Social Waters of Life Without Going Under Yourself or Losing Your Mind” Mastercourse… But then THIS happened:

So I am delaying the start of the course by a week.

It’s good news for you if you want to get help:
– Defusing kids’ hostility
– Stopping sibling meanness
– Helping your son or daughter stand up to a bully without BEING a bully
– And lots more parenting conundrums!

Sign-ups are now open until Monday, November 13, with the course official kickoff on Tuesday, November 14.

Click here to learn more and register!


Want to cut down on the sibling meanness, cope with kids excluding other kids, and generally enjoy life with your kids a lot more?

I am offering a FREE minicourse, a small slice of the full mastercourse above.

You can get help immediately with one of the toughest parenting jobs, helping kids with sharing!

I teach a great parent-ninja tactic across three video modules, so you can stop worrying about what to do when you find one kid crying because the other kid grabbed something away, or hit, or lashed out with words.

Click Here to Sign Up for the FREE minicourse about helping with kids and sharing!

Guest Post: Children on the Line (or Fishing With Kids), by Mark McKay of Wicked Fishah

Today’s post – the last in our Summer Camp series – comes from my friend Mark McKay, a writer for, so you know that he is serious about his fishing! Today Mark shares with us what we need to start fishing with our kids. So pour yourself a cold one, settle back in your camp chair, and envision the fun you’re going to have catching fish with your kids!

Whether you’re a fishing aficionado, or a novice, getting your kids involved in the outdoors is a rewarding activity. Ensuring that the next generation will enjoy and respect nature and all it has to offer is something I strive to do as often as possible. This article will focus on fishing with children. We’ll discuss the basics and how to get your kids involved in an outdoor activity that will last a life time.

As you can probably guess, the basics of fishing are simple. A pole with a line and hook are a simple as one can get. For the basis of this article, we’ll keep it simple so you and your children can get out and begin enjoying fishing right away. You’ll need a few things to get started….

A fishing rod for you and your child.

A selection of small hooks.

Live bait or a selection of lures designed to catch your target fish.

A good pair of needle nose pliers or medical forceps.

A net (Certainly not required but it can be helpful).

Your fishing license. Depending on your state, a fishing license is not required for children. Be sure and check local laws.

Probably the easiest type of fishing, and the most rewarding for young kids will be fishing for “Sunfish”. Bluegills, Red Ears, or Shellcrackers, as they’re called are a small, easy to catch fish that inhabit almost every body of water in the country.


Fishing for Bluegills is, in it’s simplest form, as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. A small hook with a piece of earthworm will almost always be an irresistible snack for these voracious eaters. Attach a small hook (I use a #6 or #4 with my kids) directly to your line. Place a float about 6” up from the hook so the kids can see when a fish takes the bait. We prefer to use small pieces of earthworm, freshly dug up from the yard. There are alternatives to live bait if that’s something you don’t want to do. Berkeley Fishing makes a line of Power Bait that can be molded to your hook and should work just as well. Once your hook it baited toss your line into the water a few feet from shore. If the Bluegills are there, it shouldn’t take long before your bobber goes under! Gently “set the hook” by lifting the rod tip up in a swift motion, and it’s FISH ON!

You and your child have caught a fish. Now what? Here’s where the pliers and/or forceps come in. If you don’t want to handle the fish, which isn’t uncommon, you’ll use the pliers/forceps to safely remove the hook from the fish and return it to the water. Grab the shank of the hook with the pliers, and turn it so the point of the hook faces down. A slight jiggle over the water should be enough to get the fish off and swimming safely back to it’s finned friends.

These are the most basic instructions on how to fish with your kids. There are a myriad of resources available on the web if you want to take your fishing to the next level. I sincerely hope that this short article opens up a world of outdoors to you and your family.

Tight lines and tread lightly,

Mark McKay

Great Summer Memories!

Us three in front of the trailer

When I was a kid, we used to have a camper, a 28-foot Coachmen Bunkhouse. Every August, we would take three weeks and go on vacation to the Lake George RV Park. Can you imagine? A three-week vacation. While we were there I remember:

  • that the blackberries were always in season, and my brothers and I would get ourselves hopelessly entangled in this huge thicket of blackberries at least once every year, while bringing back bowls full of blackberries to munch on
  • lots of great Dad memories: playing tennis with him and going on hikes together, watching him play Space Invaders at the campground arcade, singing around the campfire every night as he played the guitar
  • lots of great Mom memories: leaving the campground just her and me to go on shopping excursions and talking girl stuff, picking blackberries together, eating soft serve ice cream at the campground arcade, loving her amazing voice and harmonizing capability while singing around the campfire every night
  • we got the best dog ever, Kaida the Samoyed, while on vacation there one year… He was a total impulse buy at a local mall!
  • we used to have a great big station wagon (necessary for pulling the big camper) with back windows that rolled all the way down; when we got the RV park every year, my folks would let my brother and I straddle the back doors, each of us with one leg in the car and one leg hanging out, pretending we were riding horses… it was awesome! Can you imagine parents letting their kids do that today?
  • I had my first kiss at the Lake George RV Park, when I was 13 :-)… and then, when the kisser invited me back to his trailer for lunch, I remember that his mom made tuna fish sandwiches, which I totally hate tuna! But I ate it that day, with a smile on my face. The things we do for love.
  • our youngest brother said his first word, “hot,” while we were all together eating pizza in Lake George the summer he turned one… I love that we were all together for his first word

I could go on – about the huge big bonfires the campground had every night, about the friends we made and saw each year, about playing softball at the campground, about the feel of the wind on my face in the evening walking around … but I won’t.

Instead, I want to hear about your summer memories!

What adventures did you have? What disasters befell you, and what did you learn from them? What friends did you make, and do you still see them?

Also, how are you vacationing now? How do you give your children the kind of summer memories you hope they’ll look back on happily all of their lives?

I can’t wait to hear your stories 🙂

Summer, Time To Unplug


Here’s what my 10-year-old did with our dining room table one recent morning: he built a battlefield for his Star Wars figures. I love that it’s built out of books and Lego…

And check out that book in the middle! It’s called Unplug and Play, and I highly recommend it for the games and silliness inside (in addition to its usefulness as part of a Star Wars set 🙂

How are you unplugging and playing with your kids this summer? Leave a note in the comments – it’s still July, we are all going to need inspiration from each other about how to keep everyone happy as August rolls around. You’ll be helping all of us with your ideas!

Conquering Family Clutter and Disorganization: Miriam Ortiz Y Pino of Answers Listener Questions

Are you tired of all the sandals, flip-flops, sandy shovels and wet towels that clutter up your home in summer? Do you, like me, still brush past the snow pants and winter coats by the front door, even now in July? Well, then you are going to love today’s post! Because even when we are all away at Virtual Summer Camp, as We Turned Out Okay is, we need to be organized, right?

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Miriam Ortiz Y Pino of; our interview will air in September, and I know you’ll want to listen because Miriam is an expert at helping parents just like you and me organize our stuff!

Today, Miriam answers the questions of two listeners and friends, Kristeen and Sheramy.

As you’ll read, their concerns are very different, but they’re concerns that just about all of us have. I’ll turn it over to Miriam, and as you read her responses I hope you get as much out of them as I did!

Kristeen says: Ask Miriam to pretend she spends 24-7 with her six children ages 14 to 2 yrs and she would like a fool proof system to not fall behind with laundry, dishes, toy and homeschool book clutter, keeping fresh fruits and veggies in the house washed prepared and ready to serve to the always starving children and to have the kids always get along cheerfully. I’m not being sarcastic. If she has any tricks up her sleeve I’ll try them:) 

Hi Kristeen!

Sounds nightmarish to me… Not because of all the kids you have, but because it doesn’t sound like you have routines set up to help you run your household and engage the resources of your family. Here are my ideas:

  • define the spaces in your home and what they are used for
  • create a plan of action that is repeatable for each of your frustrations: a laundry plan, a kitchen plan, a schoolwork plan, a pick-up-your-stuff plan
  • yours is not a situation where a quick tip or two will solve the issues; it will require time, work, and dedication

Here’s the link to a free article at my website, about developing a system for clutter control, that will help you get started. Hope that helps!

Sheramy says: So my issue is all my time is devoted to constantly picking up what we have, with no time to declutter. I know decluttering will help with the amount of time I spend cleaning each day. Any insight on how to declutter when you have no time? 

Hi Sheramy,

Let me turn your decluttering question around, and start by stating the obvious: if you have less stuff, there is less to pick up. Everything you can get rid of will give you more time, and so your question really becomes, “how do I stop stuff coming in?” Here are my suggestions:

  • do not buy anything for 30 days (of course perishables aren’t counted); use up what you already have
  • instead of focusing on decluttering, because no one wants to deal with that, plan what you want your life to be and choose the things that help you get there… EVERYTHING else goes!

There are lots of free, specific how-to-gain-control-of-your-stuff resources on my website; I would recommend starting with this article, about controlling clutter as you go. I even offer a course called The Streamlined Clutter Solution which you may want to consider. Hope that helps!