102: Why Kids Need Music and Other Sensory Experiences Well Beyond Summer Camp

music-818459_1920In today’s last Summer Camp episode, we talk about how to get kids the musical and sensory experiences they need – and why they need these experiences so much.

My first job out of college, I worked in the infant room of a day care center with kids age about 6 months old to about 1-year-old. Each week, the center brought in a guitarist to sing and play to the babies, and I was absolutely amazed at how they responded: no matter where they were in our room, they crawled over to the guitarist, dancing in that bouncing-up-and-down way that babies have, grinning and laughing and trying to touch the guitarist in the guitar. It was amazing!

That experience was my first taste of how very badly children need music in their lives.

Then, as a preschool teacher and earning my master’s degree in early childhood education I learned how important other sensory experiences are to help regulate the kid’s mood, workout aggressions, and learn kinesthetically.

Go to weturnedoutokay.com/102 to listen and for notes about how to get music and other sensory experiences into your child’s life!

Long after summer camp is over, music and sensory experiences are key factors in any child’s well-being.

Try these ways to get more of them into your kid’s life:

– simply playing music aloud is a sensory experience; try to vary the music, moving beyond the Wiggles and incorporating some of your favorites and classical or jazz into the mix

– make shaking-type instruments by placing a few dried beans or peas into a small plastic container, or turning a cardboard box upside down to make a drum; if you play – or want to learn – an instrument, get an inexpensive one; teach your child how to use it without hurting it

– combine 1/2 cup of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water – and food coloring, if you’re brave and enjoy colorful sensory experiences – into a plastic tray or wide, low plastic container; this stuff is absolutely magical because, when squeezed, it gets hard, and when released it becomes liquid and slides off your hand

– invite your little to help you wash dishes; combine warm water and some soap, along with plastic dishes (or at least non-sharp, unbreakable dishes) and a soapy sponge for sensory fun

– try and work in some kind of sensory experience most days; it’s fun, and you might even notice a positive change in your child’s behavior, because kicking back and enjoying sensory stuff simply makes us feel better!

Did I miss your favorite sensory experience for your child, or do you have a question about today’s episode? Please share by going to weturnedoutokay.com/contact, and have a great day!

101: Science Comes Out Swinging in Our Final Podcast Field Trip of The Summer

Maybe you’ve heard of studies showing that, the more facts you place in front of someone who disagrees with your position, the less likely they are to agree with you?

Science Versus, a new podcast from the juggernaut Gimlet Media, takes an unusual approach to looking at the many things we humans can disagree on, and I love it. Host Wendy Zuckerman, with her delightful Australian accent and ability to be neutral on some pretty charged issues, investigates every aspect of each episode’s subject.

Today, our podcast field trip looks at a divisive issue among us parents: Attachment Parenting. Click weturnedoutokay.com/101 for key links to see how attachment parenting stacks up against science!

Key Links:
Here is the Science Versus webpage, so you can get an overview of all their episodes so far.

Click this link for the podcast notes for the Attachment Parenting show specifically.

Write to me at weturnedoutokay.com/contact to let me know what you thought of host Wendy Zuckerman’s take on attachment parenting!

100: Fishing With Kids – We Talk to 19-Time Husband-of-the-Year Award Winner, Our Producer Benjamin Kolp!

noon hill labor day 5
How lucky that episode 100 landed during Summer Camp, creating the perfect moment for a conversation with the man behind the great sound of this podcast, my husband and Max and Jay’s dad, Benjamin Kolp. We geek out over sound technology, the origins of We Turned Out Okay, and best of all Ben shares many awesome tips on fishing with kids for you guys!

This is a man who really, really loves fishing. Ben shares two scenarios regarding your children, you, and fishing:

1) you love to fish, and want to give your young kids that same love; or
2) the thought of worms and fishhooks makes you are really squeamish, but your young child desperately wants to learn how to fish.

Which heading do you come under?

Read detailed notes about Ben’s tips and listen to this episode at weturnedoutokay.com/100!

So, which are you – a confirmed fisherman who wants to share this pastime with your kids, or someone who could take it or leave it but whose kids absolutely are in love with the idea of fishing?

To get your kids into a sport, like fishing, that you love, Ben shares this golden rule:

– make sure that the focus is on your child’s fishing, not yours.
When our kids were small, Ben tried casting alongside the boys, only to continually find himself putting down his own rod to go untangle somebody else’s, or help them bring in a fish, or change a lure…
Focusing on your child’s fishing now, gearing a fishing trip to your child’s attention span – you may only stay five minutes with very young kids – means that, in a few years, you’ll be happily fishing alongside each other.

If the idea of worms and fish hooks really freaks you out, but your child dreams of catching fish, use these tips as a starting point:

– bring along rubber gloves and needle-nose pliers in addition to lures and fishing rod; the rubber gloves mean you won’t actually have to touch fish, while the pliers help you get out of the fish’s mouth.
– teach your son or daughter to do the stuff that makes you squeamish: placing a worm on the hook, removing a fish, etc.
Kids, Ben shares, and do lots more than we think they can!

Other great ideas when fishing with little kids:
– use your needle-nose pliers to crimp the barbs on your child’s fishhooks, which makes catch-and-release infinitely easier
– kids just want to catch fish; any sized fish will do, they are thrilled when they catch a tiny three inch sunfish
– fishing need not be expensive – kids need a rod that fits them, fishhooks, and a few lures (and some of Ben’s favorites are frozen corn and worms dug up from the yard)
– before you even get to water, Ben shares a favorite technique to help kids cast better and have more awareness of where the fishhook is: practice casting at home, in the driveway or yard, without fishhooks

I hope you are able to take advantage of these many tips from my fishing husband!

099: We Visit a Podcast… That Visits Other Podcasts!

IMG_2467On today’s podcast field trip, we head for a new favorite of mine: Gimlet’s Sampler, hosted by Britanny Luse!

Go to weturnedoutokay.com/099 for links to this new favorite (along with another great Gimlet show, Surprisingly Awesome) and to listen!

Listen to Brittany bring us up to speed on Beyoncé and all that she stands for in “All the Ways to Say Lemonade”

I hope this episode, Tickle Me, makes you giggle as much as I did!

Thanks to my brother Dave for introducing me to Surprisingly Awesome! Click here to listen to their fantastic episode Extinct Hockey.

097: Today’s Podcast Field Trip Explores Creativity and Innovation

Today we visit a podcast that will stimulate your creativity and help you learn about some really great and cool things – Innovation Hub with host Kara Miller!

I share two recent episodes, plus one from a year or so ago, that really stand out in my mind and will be relevant for you.
Go to weturnedoutokay.com/097 for links to Innovation Hub, and to listen!

One recent episode that I loved is called The Not-So-Golden Age of Marriage; in it Kara talks to researchers about their work in the field of marriage, what it used to look like, and what we can learn from what it used to look like. Click here to listen!

Another recent favorite: Pssssst: I Hear This Podcast Is About The Science of Gossip, about how humans have always gossiped and that maybe we couldn’t really be human without it. Click here to listen (pssst – you’ll love it 🙂

A year ago, Kara interviewed Weird-Al Yankovic, a man who is kind of a hero of mine, a singer of silly parodies that somehow manage to make me laugh and think at the same time. Listen to Kara’s great conversation with Weird Al by clicking here!

What do you think of our podcast field trip episodes? Any favorite podcasts you’d like us to visit in the future? Tell me! Go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact.

The Ninja Parenting Community, the online, members-only community I built with you in mind (if you’ve got littles, and need more support than the podcast alone can give), is open! Click this link to learn more about it and see if it’s right for you.

096: How Puppets Can Help You Learn About Your Child – And Have Fun Too! Week 6 of Summer Camp


Today’s show is all about puppets – good fun, and an often-unrecognized key tool to getting to know your child on a whole new level.

Kids talk to puppets.
They see puppets as people, as their own individual entities, not cloth or paper stuck on the end of somebody’s arm… As I think about it, even though I’m a grown woman myself, I still see puppets in this way! Maybe you do too.
If you want to really get to know your child, and have a few laughs as well, grab a puppet, or stuffed animal, sit down somewhere and just wait for your son or daughter to catch that puppet’s eye.

Click weturnedoutokay.com/096 for key links, including to the wonderful documentary I Am Big Bird, about legendary puppeteer Caroll Spinney, to listen to this week’s Summer Camp episode, and to read about why puppets are such a great learning tool!

Puppets don’t judge kids; I think that’s at the very heart of why kids love puppets so much.
To get the most out of your puppet-child conversation, be sure that the puppet asks many questions and really acknowledges the child’s feelings. Also, laugh a lot while using a puppet.

Any sort of puppet will do: finger puppets, popsicle-stick puppets, shadow-puppets (which I do talk about how to make during this episode), stuffed animals…

One word of caution: sock-or paper-bag-puppets, on a kid’s arm, the kind that turn a hand into a fist, create conditions for extreme silliness – which is fun, but not ideal conditions for good conversation with your child.

Let me know your thoughts on puppets! Go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact, find me on instagram @weturnedoutokay, or on twitter @StoneAgeTechie.

Key Links:
We talk about the wonderful documentary I Am Big Bird, in today’s’s show. I recently watched this movie about Caroll Spinney, the man behind Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird; find out more about this documentary by watching the trailer here.

The Ninja Parenting Community, the online, members-only community I built with you in mind (if you’ve got littles, and need more support than the podcast alone can give), is open! Click this link to learn more about it and see if it’s right for you.

095: Getting Our Freak On With Today’s Podcast Field Trip!

Today, our podcast field trip takes us to one of the first podcasts I ever listened to: Freakonomics Radio with host Stephen J. Dubner.IMG_2460

Freakonomics is such a great podcast because, like the book series of the same name which Dubner wrote with Steve Levitt, a frequent contributor to Freakonomics Radio, each episode digs into the field of behavioral economics, showing us humans stuff we never would have thought about ourselves.

For links to today’s field trip, go to weturnedoutokay.com/095.

We have two specific episodes to travel to on our podcast field trip today:
the first is the basis for Tuesday’s We Turned Out Okay episode about sandcastle building (go to weturnedoutokay.com/094 to listen), called How to Win Games and Beat People.

Secondly, an all-time favorite episode of Freakonomics radio: Are we in a Mattress Store Bubble?
The mattress store bubble episode illustrates all of the greatest things about Freakonomics Radio, which usually asks a question many of us have never thought to ask, and in which the answer turns out to be fairly significant, if you’re curious about why people do the things that they do.

Hope you enjoy our podcast field trip today!
Do you have a favorite podcast you’d like to recommend for a future podcast field trip episode?
Go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact to let me know!

094: One Way You’ve Probably Never Thought Of To Make Epic Sand Castles: Week 5 of Summer Camp at We Turned Out Okay

sand mountain buildingIt’s probably not an essential skill, but sandcastle-building really appeals to our imaginations. Plus, it’s fun!

Today I share a fantastic and fun book which, in addition to giving the secret to building truly epic sandcastles, also gives strategies to win many of your favorite games, like Risk, Jenga, Connect Four, and pillow fighting.

Go to weturnedoutokay.com/094 to read about the sandcastle secret, for key links, and to listen!

So, here’s what you do to build an amazing sandcastle, straight from the lips of professional sandcastle sculptor Matt Long, via the outstanding book How to Win Games and Beat People: Take a bucket and “cut the bottom off.”

First of all, if you are a person who enjoys winning games fair and square by employing proven strategies – like that from stone-skipping-world-record-holder Kurt Steiner, who’s skipped a stone 88 times in one go – you are going to love How to Win Games and Beat People by Tom Whipple. I read from the book in today’s episode, regarding sandcastle-building, but can’t recommend the book highly enough for its fun and strategic approach to gameplaying.

But back to sandcastles! Cutting the bottom off of a pail, or a plastic container with slightly slanted sides – or better yet, a few different -sized containers – and setting them in place on the beach so that all you have to do is pull your container off after filling it with sand and water reportedly gives you a pure, solid, immovable block of sand as the base for your sandcastle.

We are SO trying that next time we go to the beach!

Key Links:

Click here for the Amazon page where you’ll find How to Win Games and Beat People: Demolish your family and friends at over thirty classic games with advice from an international array of experts! By science editor of The Times of London Tom Whipple

093: We Visit a Wonder-Filled Podcast on Today’s Podcast Field Trip!

IMG_2434Have you ever found a podcast that resonates with you really deeply? If so, maybe it’s Good Life Project by Jonathan Fields! (If not, get in touch with me at weturnedoutokay.com/contact, and share – I’d love to hear what yours is, and why.)

And now, it’s time to board the big yellow field trip bus that has pulled into our summer camp parking lot, heading out to one of my very favorite podcasts. Go to weturnedoutokay.com/093 to grab the links and come on the field trip!

Two favorite episodes of Good Life Project with Jonathan Fields:

Jonathan has a great conversation with parenting expert Dr. Shefali Tsabary, who has an amazing take on why we parents do the things we do. This really introspective and thoughtful discussion about what motivates us as parents got me thinking about why I parent the way I do. Go to goodlifeproject.com/doctor-shefali tsabary/?t=radio to listen, and I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did!

Jonathan’s wonderful interview about how to see what really matters, with perception expert Amy Herman, has changed my life. I went around thinking I was awesomely perceptive, and (as you hear in today’s episode) I am kind of not. But I’m learning!
Listen at goodlifeproject.com/amy-herman/?t=radio

Other Key Links:

In today’s episode, three previous We Turned Out Okay episodes come up:

weturnedoutokay.com/081 is where I share about a surprisingly light moment while helping my parents as my dad underwent brain surgery this past May;

weturnedoutokay.com/058, about how to know if something is really wrong; in this episode I share about being sexually abused as a child and the fallout from that.

Also, I bring up an earlier episode called 4 Ways to Help Your Child Cope with Challenging Situations, from summer 2015; listen by going to weturnedoutokay.com/017.

Are you fretting about some aspect of raising your kids?
Trouble with daycare, or worries about that looming first day of school?
Do you need help balancing work, family, and taking care of you?
Are you in need of more support than We Turned Out Okay alone can give?

Then you should check out the Ninja Parenting Community! – go to weturnedoutokay.com/ninja-parenting-community-login to learn more and see how I can help you worry less and enjoy more in your parenting.

092: How NOT to Teach Your Young Child to Ride A Bike

Today, summer camp is all about the joys of bike riding!cyclists-885609_1920

Have you tried to teach your child how to ride a bike, only to abandon the effort after she expresses fear and has many falls? Are you unable to get him off the training wheels?

We screwed up in trying to teach our first born how to ride a bike; by the second kid, we had figured it out.

Learn from our family experience – go to weturnedoutokay.com/092 to read about the two things you absolutely should never do when teaching your child how to ride a bike!

Here’s how NOT to teach the fine art of biking:
1) use training wheels; if I can go back and make one change, I would remove the training wheels from Max’s bike when he was learning to ride. Next, I would remove the pedals because bike riding initially is all about balance. The pedals just get in the way!

Instead of using training wheels, take the pedals completely off the bike, or consider getting a balance bike which has no pedals at all. This is how our Jay learned to ride: guess which child can ride bikes and loves them?

2) make learning bike-riding fraught and full of worry about falling; when we tried teaching Max to ride he really caught our worried vibe.

Instead, be sure that biking is low-key, and fun!
Remember that it’s expected there will be falls (in our home we called them “yard sales,” a reference to skiing where, when you have a really epic fall, you lose skis poles gloves etc.) If you make a big deal about the falls and the falling, as we did with our first, you might end up with a kid who is afraid to lose his or her balance when learning to ride a bike.
Keep it fun, light, stop when your child needs to stop.

If you can NOT make the same mistakes we made, before long you’ll find yourself biking around alongside your child. It is an awesome feeling!

091: We Consider Family-Life-Work Balance on Today’s Podcast Field Trip

Today we get kinda serious on our podcast field trip, but in the best way, as we visit The Broad Experience! It’s “the show about women and the workplace,” as host Ashley Milne-Tyte often says, and is relevant not just to every woman, but to every man who has a IMG_0332mother, a significant other, a female coworker, or a daughter in his life.

First, a quick note about the Ninja Parenting Community: I’ve had a technical glitch hold up the opening for a few weeks, which is a bummer. However, it can work out really well for you because, as compensation, I’m offering more one-to-one support to those who become part of my email group and join the community in its very first week! (Hopefully in late July.) Becoming part of the email group now means:
– a weekly email about what’s happening on We Turned Out Okay
– the chance to join the Ninja Parenting Community at the best pricing that there will ever be, period.
– a one-to-one parent coaching call every three months for all the time you’re continuously in the community!
– I’m offering this as compensation for the time we are all stuck waiting as I figure out the technical glitch,
so you definitely want to jump into my email group!
Become part of the email group by clicking this link or going to weturnedoutokay.com/ninja-parenting-community-login and signing up to get notified about when the Ninja Parenting Community opens.

Last summer I had the pleasure of interviewing Ashley, and I loved our conversation so much that I featured it again this spring! To hear our conversation, go to weturnedoutokay.com/069.
For links to the specific Broad Experience episodes I talk about in today’s We Turned Out Okay – and also for the link to my friend Geoff Woods’s podcast, called The Mentee (and whom I speak about today because he and his wife gave me a lovely endorsement for my book, Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics) – go to weturnedoutokay.com/091.

Key Links:

Get on the bus and come to this week’s Podcast Field Trip!
– For Ashley’s conversation about work and intimacy with guest Evelyn Resh, click:
here – thebroadexperience.com/listen/2016/6/17/episode-86-work-and-intimacy-part-1 – for part one;
here – thebroadexperience.com/listen/2016/6/24/episode-87-work-and-intimacy-part-2 – for part two;
and here – thebroadexperience.com/listen/2013/5/24/episode-19-women-work-and-sex.html – for Ashley and Evelyn’s first conversation back in 2013

Find out more about Geoff and his journey from employee to entrepreneur by going to menteepodcast.com.

090: Two Key Steps to Helping Your Child Learn To Swim – Summer Camp Continues!

Do you, like me, worry about your son or daughter drowning during a day at the pool or the beach?

When my two boys were small, I was given some great advice about keeping them safe while swimming, and that’s what today’s Summer Camp Episode is all about.20160703-406

First, a quick note about the Ninja Parenting Community: I’ve had a technical glitch hold up the opening for a few weeks, which is a bummer. However, it can work out really well for you because, as compensation, I’m offering more one-to-one support to those who become part of my email group and join the community in its very first week! (Hopefully in late July.) Becoming part of the email group now means:
– a weekly email about what’s happening on We Turned Out Okay
– the chance to join the Ninja Parenting Community at the best pricing that there will ever be, period.
– a one-to-one parent coaching call every three months for all the time you’re continuously in the community!
– I’m offering this as compensation for the time we are all stuck waiting as I figure out the technical glitch,
so you definitely want to jump into my email group!
Become part of the email group by clicking this link or going to weturnedoutokay.com/ninja-parenting-community-login and signing up to get notified about when the Ninja Parenting Community opens.

Go to weturnedoutokay.com/090 to read all about the key steps to helping your kid learn to swim, and to listen to the episode!

To really help your child learn to swim, here are the two recommendations we talk about in today’s’s episode:

1) years ago, a swim instructor who had worked with children for decades gave me this great advice: when you’re in the water with your young child, act as if getting splashed in the face is perfectly normal and to be expected. Smile as you’re getting splashed in the face, when it happens to your child don’t make a big deal about it – swimming means getting water in your face.
I recently saw a great example of this with my second cousin once removed, who is just sixteen months old and absolutely in love with the end of the slip and slide where you’re constantly getting water in your face.

2) be sure that it is the child’s intrinsic motivation – not yours or somebody else’s – that guides your child to move away from you in the water, or try new things such as going underwater. Until such time as her curiosity or desire for independence takes over, please use a flotation device such as a back-style floaty, worn on the back and with removable panels for different levels of buoyancy.
There will come a day when your child swims away under his or her own power and that is an awesome day – make it possible by allowing your child to determine when it happens!

Key Links:

Listen to our first Q&A ever, which happened to be about kids and swimming, by going to weturnedoutokay.com/017.

To get into my email group for weekly updates about what’s happening on the podcast and take advantage of the extra benefits I’m offering only to people who join the Ninja Parenting Community in its first week of being open – hopefully starting in late July 2016 – go to weturnedoutokay.com/ninja-parenting-community-login.

To contact me with your thoughts and ideas about learning to swim go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact.

089: We Visit Possibly My All-Time Favorite Podcast Today!

It’s completely silly, the expletives fly superfast, it’s raunchy, and it’s about an imaginary world: it’s The Adventure Zone, and if you haven’t heard this podcast yet, you need to IMG_0331listen!

Three comedian-brothers, Griffin, Travis, and Justin McElroy, along with their dad Clint have created an amazing world in these eighteen months or so that they’ve recorded as the four of them sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons. I think I love it so much because the characters that the McElroys have created are awesome and lovable. Also because, as they play, the story unfolds; main characters Magnus, Taako, and Merle have no more idea of what’s coming than we do. The way the way these characters react to the world and circumstances that dungeon master Griffin is creating makes the show amazing and hilarious.

First, a quick note about the Ninja Parenting Community: I’ve had a technical glitch hold up the opening for a few weeks, which is a bummer. However, it can work out really well for you because, as compensation, I’m offering more one-to-one support to those who become part of my email group and join the community in its very first week! (Hopefully in late July.) Becoming part of the email group now means:
– a weekly email about what’s happening on We Turned Out Okay
– the chance to join the Ninja Parenting Community at the best pricing that there will ever be, period.
– a one-to-one parent coaching call every three months for all the time you’re continuously in the community!
– I’m offering this as compensation for the time we are all stuck waiting as I figure out the technical glitch,
so you definitely want to jump into my email group!
Become part of the email group by clicking this link or going to weturnedoutokay.com/ninja-parenting-community-login and signing up to get notified about when the Ninja Parenting Community opens.

Now, go to weturnedoutokay.com/089 for links to my three favorite episodes of The Adventure Zone!

Key Links:

Listen to episode 7, Moonlighting – Chapter 1, to get a sense of who these people are and what they are doing in this world – also, for more good information about the world they are in! Go to maximumfun.org/adventure-zone/ep-7-moonlighting-chapter-one to listen.

Next up is the episode that introduces my favorite Adventure Zone story arc so far: episode 29, The Crystal Kingdom – Chapter 1. Parts of this story arc had me biting my nails due to suspense, and other parts had me wetting my pants due to hilarity. Listen by going to maximumfun.org/adventure-zone/ep-29-crystal-kingdom-chapter-one!

Finally, the last episode I want to highlight contains possibly my favorite moment in all of podcasting, ever, because of the action, the humor, the suspense, and just the real-ness that these characters bring. I listened to this episode on my walk, and as the events towards the end unfolded I stopped walking and just stood in the street listening!
Listen at maximumfun.org/adventure-zone/ep-34-crystal-kingdom-chapter-six.

088: An Unusual Arts & Crafts Summer Camp Project!

Did you love arts & crafts at camp, or hate it? I was a mixture of both – some projects I loved, and some I loathed, and as I think about those projects, I realize that I disliked the micromanaged, do-it-the-instructor’s-way-or-else projects the most.

I always loved the open-ended stuff best. Also, big projects were really fun, as were those that got you super-messy.

For today’s summer camp arts & crafts show, I’m sharing my all-time favorite project to do with little kids: painting a giant mural just as Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling!

First, a quick note about the Ninja Parenting Community: I’ve had a technical glitch hold up the opening for a few weeks, which is a bummer. However, it can work out really well for you because, as compensation, I’m offering more one-to-one support to those who become part of my email group and join the community in its very first week! (Hopefully in late July.) Becoming part of the email group now means:
– a weekly email about what’s happening on We Turned Out Okay
– the chance to join the Ninja Parenting Community at the best pricing that there will ever be, period.
– a one-to-one parent coaching call every three months for all the time you’re continuously in the community!
– I’m offering this as compensation for the time we are all stuck waiting as I figure out the technical glitch,
so you definitely want to jump into my email group!
Become part of the email group by clicking this link or going to weturnedoutokay.com/ninja-parenting-community-login and signing up to get notified about when the Ninja Parenting Community opens.

To listen and to learn how to do today’s unusual and very fun arts & crafts project, go to weturnedoutokay.com/088.

How to make a giant wall or ceiling mural:

you’ll need:
1) a surface for your little to paint underneath – picnic table or bench, a folding camp table, or the underside of your kitchen table (line the floor with newspapers if you are doing this activity inside)

2) a lower bench or a few chairs for her to lie on as she paints under the table, if needed

3) paint – any kind will do; I recommend non-staining tempera paint (although the red will still stain, so protect clothing with a smock) in paint pots, to make it easy for your child to load up with pain and then reach above to his canvas

4) a surface on which to paint – newsprint or butcher paper (which comes in a really nice roll), poster board, even two or three poster boards in a row if you have the space

5) the ability to not worry about the clothes your child is in – they WILL get paint-covered, which is not a bad thing, it’s just that we need to be prepared for it

6) goggles or protective clear glasses for your child to wear, because paint in the eyes is no fun

what you do:
1) check out some pictures of the Vatican city’s Sistine Chapel ceiling; marvel at how long it took Michelangelo to create it. Marvel also at the scaffolding that held him way up close to the ceiling on his back for all the years he spent painting it

1a) be sure to marvel at the process as much as the result, and when your child goes to make her giant mural, please remember that it’s all about the process and not the product – whatever she does, whenever she pronounces it “finished,” it’s perfect just the way it is

2) securely tape up a large sheet of paper or poster board to the underside of a table

3) if it’s a table that, when your kid lies on his back and reaches up to paint the surface, he needs to be closer, place a few chairs or stools or a bench so that he can reach while still lying on his back

4) arm your child with goggles and a smock to protect eyes and clothing from paint drips

5) see what he comes up with; consider joining in yourself or inviting others to take a crack at under-table painting

If you get a chance, I’d love to see how your kids’ paintings turn out – send me a picture at weturnedoutokay.com/contact, or find me on twitter @StoneAgeTechie or on instagram @weturnedoutokay 🙂

087: Our First Podcast Field Trip Takes Us To The Stars

Welcome to the first Thursday summer camp episode of We Turned Out Okay, where every Tuesday will be about fun stuff to do with our kids, and every Thursday will be about fun stuff to do for ourselves!

Today, the big yellow bus has pulled into the parking lot of our summer camp, and the doors are open, ready to take us to check out the stars with Neil DeGrasse Tyson of Star Talk Radio.

Click here  or go to weturnedoutokay.com/087 for the links to today’s field trip!

Neil DeGrasse Tyson hosted PBS’s Cosmos a few years ago, often shares why Pluto cannot be considered a planet anymore (much to the chagrin of children the world over), and in Star Talk Radio discusses all things science and with a variety of guests (and his super dreamy, amazing voice).

Here are two of my recent favorite episodes:
http://startalkradio.co/show/startalk-live-at-the-beacon-part-1-chasing-comets/, and

http://startalkradio.co/show/startalk-live-beacon-part-2-king-kuiper-belt/
Enjoy today’s field trip, learning about comets, meteorites, and Pluto’s status as a planet!

When you get back, be sure and check out the Ninja Parenting Community, the community I built for parents of young children in which is now open! Click this link to learn more.

086: How to Help Your Child Stop Being Afraid of Bugs: First Day of Summer Camp at We Turned Out Okay!

Happy summer!
Here at We Turned Out Okay, we’re changing the format up, making each Tuesday about something fun to do with your kids – and each Thursday something fun to do for yourself.

Today, for our very first Summer Camp episode, we are taking some bugs on a field trip!

If your child is frightened of creepy-crawlies, today’s summer camp activity could really help him or her get past that.

And for everybody else, it is just plain fun 🙂

Also, I’m excited to announce that the Ninja Parenting Community is open in beta!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the many tough aspects of raising a young child, I hope you’ll check it out –
Click here to read more about it.

Enjoy the show!

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 WickedFishah.com, 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.

Bluegill

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

Podcast 019: Raising Successful, Happy Daughters with Ashley Milne-Tyte of The Broad Experience

Welcome to another great Summer Camp episode! Today’s is more of an evergreen topic, because we care about the successes of our children in all seasons. It’s true that this interview is not solely about summer; but as we head back into the school year, it’s also a good time to think about how to help our kids in life. And maybe, not even just our kids – but us! I’m looking forward to sharing this great show with you, you’re going to love today’s guest.

Do you go through a daily struggle to balance your work time with your family time? Have you ever wondered if your gender plays a part in how successful you are at work, how much money you earn, whether you get a big promotion – or watch it go to someone else? Today’s guest and I talk about all things women and workplace, the subject of her very successful podcast with a great name: The Broad Experience.

Ashley Milne-Tyte grew up in London, riding public buses and then the London Tube, both by herself, to school. She spent her summers in rural Pennsylvania enjoying the kind of independence that kids used to take for granted, riding bikes or exploring the woods with friends and really only being required to “be back home for meals.” Our conversation starts with differences between childhood then and now, and progresses to where her expertise helps you – and your kids – enjoy successes both in work and life.

Listen for:

  • how the myth that “having babies” is the only thing that holds women back in the workplace is completely wrong; women have difficulty climbing as high in the corporate world as men for lots of reasons, and knowing these reasons can help women be more successful
  • what can be learned from two of my favorite books – and two books on my Fabulous Five list of books that help us be better parents – Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy, and Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein
  • a great piece of advice for anyone of any gender: develop the ability to advocate for yourself; to help with this Ashley recommends the book, Ask for it: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get what They Really Want, by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, which is winging its way to me from the library as I write 🙂

Ashley Milne-Tyte’s expertise lies in storytelling, and in today’s episode we really get a sense of that, as she shares stories from her own childhood, work experiences and setbacks. You’ll finish the episode with a huge smile on your face, both because you’ll have a better sense of how to be successful yourself and how to help your children be successful in the workplace when they are all grown up. You’ll also have a huge smile on your face because you’ve got so many Broad Experience episodes to listen to in your future!

Podcast 018: Build Community Outdoors with Landscape Architect and Mom, Jill Brown of mylandscapecoach.com

I’m so excited about this episode, part of our Summer Camp series in which we are setting aside our usual four themes (3R’s, Unplanned Adventures, Kids through the Ages, and Risky Business), pouring a nice tall glass of iced tea – or Long Island Ice Tea, depending on your age and what time of day it is – and going on vacation! We will return to our regularly scheduled programming in September, but for now… Let’s just enjoy summer!


Today’s guest spends her work days helping her clients love their outdoor spaces – and then along with her husband and their three young children, she spends her free time loving and improving their own outdoor space. Jill Brown of mylandscapecoach.com really practices what she preaches, cultivating not just plants but community in all areas of her life.

In the podcast, Jill shares about some really exciting projects she’s worked on! Click here to find out about the little libraries, and here to read about the poetry poles – a post amusingly called There Once Was A Man from Nantucket LOL.

And she has some great tips for us to do exactly the same! Listen for:

  • the value of hanging out, not in your backyard, but in your front yard – this is where friendships are made, trust and community are built, and fun is had
  • three fabulous ways to interact with your neighbors: putting a Little Library into your neighborhood, basically a small waterproof hut in which people leave books that they’re done with, or take books they’re interested in; putting in a Magazine Box similar to the Little Library; and using a utility pole as a Poetry Pole, a place for neighborhood poets of all ages to have their stuff exhibited
  • fun and inexpensive yard play equipment that you can build, like a simple disc swing or a fence made of electrical conduit

Jill’s blog at mylandscapecoach.com has examples and ideas for customizing these concepts for your own yard, plus it’s just a fun place to look for inspiration! I know you’re going to love our conversation today because Jill has many great ideas that you can use immediately to enjoy life more outside with your young children.

If you love something that we talked about in this episode, and went out and built something based on it, please let us know! Email me at Karen@weturnedoutokay.com, or just go to the contact page, weturnedoutokay.com/contact, and drop me a line. I’m going to be shouting about my favorites on the show, I hope yours is one of them 🙂

Podcast 017: Our First Q&A, and 4 Ways to Help Your Child Cope with Challenging Situations

IMG_1169This week, we take a temporary break from We Turned Out Okay’s Summer Camp series so that I can help you know how to talk with your children when a challenge arises.

Sometimes, even in beautiful summer, bad things happen, and today I share about the tough situation my family and I have found ourselves in over the last several weeks. But rest assured – we’ve still got three lovely, golden August weeks left to enjoy summer and we will do so!

One last thing before we get into the notes, this show has an epilogue, so after I have said “thanks for listening, see you next time” you still want to keep listening – I have something to share about both the Q&A, and about our dogs.… Not exactly a Hollywood ending, but a better one then I had ever thought could happen!

A Breakdown of Today’s Show

Today’s show is split into two parts, but before I get to those there is a really neat thing I wanted to share – friend-of-the-podcast Muttaqi Ismael, an amazing whiteboard video artist, has turned a favorite part of We Turned Out Okay: episode 5 – Four Risks That We Take With Our Children’s Well-Being Every Day into a fantastic whiteboard video! He’s a very talented guy, and to see the video just go to weturnedoutokay.com/017, where it is embedded… My plan is to give the video its own blog post during this month of August. Meantime, enjoy! And thank you Muttaqi – you did a great job!

Our First Q&A!

And now on to the Q&A – Jill asks: “why are my three kids awesome at swim lessons when daycare brings them, but when mommy brings them I’m practically holding their hand in the water (and that’s if they actually get in the water) – we’ve been doing swim lesson since March BTW”

We’ve all noticed this at some point in our parenting lives, haven’t we? Why do they behave incredibly well for somebody else, and freak out for us? Jill, I’m so glad you asked this question because it is such a common concern. My answer dives (pun totally intended) into my experiences with how my kids behaved when they were small at Grandma’s versus how they behaved with me – and I recorded the epilogue because, almost as soon as I hit stop recording this episode, I realized that I had been in a very similar situation to yours!

I hope you find my answer helpful, and that it helps you think of other questions to ask. I love Q&A’s, I think they’re so helpful and also they help us know we are not alone. To submit a question, you can email Karen@weturnedoutokay.com, go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact, friend me on Facebook, find me on twitter@StoneAgeTechie, on instagram@weturnedoutokay… Heck, you can even snail mail me! My address is PO Box 61, Bellingham, MA, 02019.

4 Ways to Help Your Child Cope with Challenging Situations

The main part of this show focuses on the four ways you can help your child cope with challenging situations. This came up because my family has been in a very challenging situation: about six weeks before this episode aired for the first time, we adopted two amazing, awesome dogs… And then the stress of caring for them caused a relapse in tendinosis, this condition that I live with that, at times, has left me unable to walk (which I’ve since relearned) and with extremely limited upper body and hand use.

Long story short, these wonderful dogs entered our lives and within a very short time, we had to give them up. Truly, it was either them or my health and sanity.

In this episode, I share about how heartbreaking and difficult this has been. But I also share about how grateful I am to have had them in our lives, and how amazed I am by the strength and gentleness of both my husband and our two boys.

Most importantly for you, I share about how we got through this. Because when you are in a tough situation and you don’t know how to help your kids get through it as well, it’s really helpful to have a guide. I hope you will think of this podcast as your guide!

Here are my four steps to coping with challenging situations, and helping your kids cope as well:

1) communicate with your kids; they WILL know that something is wrong, and consequently you will notice, if you try to keep everything from them, an uptick in bad behavior, anxiety, and tears; sharing with them what you can on their level reassures your kids and helps them trust you

2) help them understand that you are all in this together; be there for tears, questions, reassurances

3) find a way for them to help; children need to be needed, and when you give them a job – a truly meaningful job that truly helps you, however small – they become part of the solution

4) cherish the time we have with our loved ones; because challenging situations often include the absence of a person that they used to see a lot – whether through divorce, or death, or a cross-country move – it is really helpful to talk with our kids about how people come in and out of our lives; sometimes, people are not meant to be with us for long, or not without long intervals between seeing them, and the most important thing is to appreciate the time we have with our loved ones, and cherish the memory of them when we are not with them

Giving up our dogs due to my illness is one of the hardest things we’ve faced as a family. I’m sharing this experience with you today because I really hope it will help you with the challenges that inevitably come up in your life. Kids are amazingly resilient, and cope well with life’s challenges, especially when we grown-ups take the time to communicate with them, share in grief together, find meaningful ways for them to help, and above all teach them to enjoy the time we have with the people we love.

Summer, Time To Unplug

IMG_0072

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!

Podcast 016: Overcoming Obstacles with Voiceover Artist Anna Vocino

I’m so excited about this episode, part of our Summer Camp series in which we are setting aside our usual four themes (3R’s, Unplanned Adventures, Kids through the Ages, and Risky Business), pouring a nice tall glass of iced tea – or Long Island Ice Tea, depending on your age and what time of day it is – and going on vacation! We will return to our regularly scheduled programming in September, but for now… Let’s just enjoy summer!

Though you may not know it, you have heard the voice of today’s guest. Anna Vocino can be heard on networks like CBS and Fox Sports, in commercial campaigns for Canada dry, Disney Princess bikes, on The Young and The Restless and Jimmy Kimmel Live! and in many other places… but my favorite place to hear her voice is at the beginning and ending of my very own podcast!

Also an accomplished comedic actor, Anna was a series regular on Free Radio on Comedy Central and performs sketch and improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and at FunnyorDie.com. In today’s show, we learn that, along with a group that includes her now-husband, Anna started a theater company in Atlanta, Georgia which is still going strong 18 years later.

In addition to all of the above, my guest today has celiac disease, and as a result has relearned how to feed herself and her family, created GlutenFreeAnna.com to share her learning, and has a cookbook coming out soon.

Listen for:

  • her inspiring perseverance through the many obstacles that have been tossed in her path; from the “surprise” pregnancy and birth of their daughter while starting the theater company all those years ago, to cultivating the super thick skin required to make it in Hollywood and right on up to how Anna dealt with the autoimmune disease known as celiac, she has cheerfully taken on every unplanned adventure – and won
  • great summer memories (this show airs during We Turned Out Okay’s visit to Summer Camp, when we set aside our usual themes and just enjoy summertime) that Anna has, from going to Methodist Camp as the daughter of a minister, to attending a really great arts summer camp in Michigan with a delicious mystery dessert that she remembers well, even if she can’t recall exactly what it is now 🙂
  • the importance of a strong family bond, both in the family she was raised in and the one she is building with her husband and daughter, in Anna’s life; while she never comes out and says “family is and always has been super important to me,” this love comes through in every memory she shares, every situation she describes

If you take one idea away from today’s show, I hope it is this: autoimmune diseases come in many varieties, and if you or someone you love has peculiar symptoms that are painful and debilitating, yet no one can place, the problem might be autoimmune based, or possibly food -related. But as Anna Vocino shares with us, these problems do not have to be the end of your world; instead, they could be the beginning of a new and better existence!

Conquering Family Clutter and Disorganization: Miriam Ortiz Y Pino of morethanorganized.net 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 morethanorganized.net; 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!

Podcast 015: Top 11 Ways to Tire Out Your Kids

Podcast 015: Top 11 Ways to Tire Out Your Kids

For This Summer Camp episode of We Turned Out Okay, I asked you about your favorite ways to tire out your kids… And you sure responded! Special thanks to Doug Gray, Aisha Newton, Nancy Marsh, Miriam Ortiz y Pino, De Osborne, Shannon Criscola, Amy Blake, Erica Chick, John Winchenbach, my own Jason Kolp, and Deb Petrella for coming up with our most popular ways to tire out your kids.

Here they are!

  • Number 11: Go take a hike
  • Number 10: Dance Party!
  • Number 9: Have a field day
  • Number 8: Flashlight tag
  • Number 7: Indoor and rainy day games
  • Number 6: Ride bikes
  • Number 5: Noncompetitive games
  • Number 4: Obstacle course
  • Number 3: Wacky golf
  • Number 2: Nerf wars
  • (drumroll please…) Number 1: Swimming

Did we miss any of your favorites? Tell me about it! Tweet me@StoneAgeTechie or post to twitter at #oldschoolsummervaca, shout about it in the We Turned Out Okay group on Facebook, or just get in touch with good old-fashioned email to Karen@Weturnedoutokay.com.