Category Archives: kids

Are you kidding me??

What’s wrong with America? How about this for starters?

How Does a 4 Year Old Spend $46,000 a Month?

Are you kidding me?? $46K a month in order to provide for him “in the manner in  which he’s grown accustomed” ? I have an 8 year old. She has gone to private school her entire life. And she enjoys several extracurricular activities. And she dresses well. And eats well. And I GUARANTEE you it didn’t cost me $46K a month – or even a year!



Adventures in Homeschooling

It’s official – we’re a homeschooling family! Well, technically I guess, we’re a “school at home” family, since we are enrolled in the Ohio Virtual Academy and not functioning as a “traditional” homeschool. Confused yet? Yeah, I was too. We’re new at this and I’m still learning all the correct jargon or homeschool-ese, if you will.

Our decision to homeschool has been a long time in the making and isn’t one we’ve taken lightly. A lot of research and prayer went in to this choice and I really feel like God has guided every step we’ve taken that led here. Jaidin went to a private, Christian school (a ministry of our church for 30+ years) beginning in pre-school. When that school closed at the end of her 1st grade year, we were devastated. Not only was it a fantastic school – but everyone there, from the administration to the janitorial staff was some someone we considered family. When I dropped Jaidin off at school every morning, I not only knew that she was receiving an excellent education, but that she was being cared for and loved like a family member. But alas – all good things must come to an end ( at least that’s how the saying goes), and at the end of 2009-2010 school year we had to make a decision about what her educational future would hold.  We checked out our public school system, as well as several other Christian schools in the area and made a decision to send her to another local Christian school.  We had a great experience there this past year, but it just never felt like home. She made friends, I connected with some of the other moms, and she had an amazing teacher, but we always just felt “out of step”. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t best.

At the end of this year, we had to decide what we wanted to do about 3rd grade. She had sailed through 2nd grade without much of a challenge, and dare I say, was bored much of the year. So when considering what we would do for 3rd grade, an excellent cirriculum was high on my priority list. I had been hearing advertisementa on  the radio for the K12 Virtual Academies, but honestly, wasn’t sure if I was cut out to be a homeschool parent. Never the less, I began researching several homeschooling and school-at- home cirriculums and began to see how this could be a really good option for us. I am blessed to be able to work from home, but wasn’t sure how schooling at home would fit in to my work  schedule. The K12 program really appealed to me not only because of the excellent, mastery-based courses, but because Jaidin would have an actual teacher. I am considered the “learning coach” and will be guiding her through both the hands on lessons and the online coursework, but there is a teacher assigned to us that we will be accountable to, and who will be the instructor. Very cool.

The best part of all of this is that Jaidin has been on board with this from the get go. It was actually at her prompting that we first attended a K 12 information session. When we left the meeting, she was so excited and said “That’s it – that’s what I want to do.” We talked a lot with her about the responsibility of being motivated each morning to get up and start school, the importance of being cooperative with me as her learning coach and what homeschooling would mean as far as social activities. She has continued to be enthusiastic and was beside her self with excitement when her cirriculum, school supplies and new computer equipment arrived on our doorstep.  We opened everything tonight and she must have asked me 10 times “Can we start school this week?!?”

School actually starts on August 29th, and until then, I am furiously searching for ideas on how to decorate and organize our “school room”. Jaidin will be sharing my home office in the basement and I want to make sure her “area” is kid friendly and fun, so I’ve been bookmarking online sites with cool ideas and will be shopping for desks and all the other fun stuff soon.

I’ll keep you posted on how this new adventure goes. Stay tuned…

Jaidin and her science cirriculum and equipment

Bless the Mommas!

Attention Dads (and kids)! Mother’s Day is THIS SUNDAY, May 8th and I know you’re already well on your way to planning the perfect day for the moms in your life. I mean, there’s no way you’d wait until the last minute, of course. Why am I even writing this – surely you’ve all already taken the kids shopping, picked out a wonderful gift and have plans to give mom the day off so that she can relax.

But just in case you haven’t got a clue how to bless your wife and the special momma in your kids life this Sunday, allow me to help.

E-Mealz is a pretty spectacular website who’s services I’ve been using for about the last month or so. This week they are offering a FREE menu and grocery list for Breakfast in Bed to help you earn some major brownie points on Mother’s Day. So stop on over to the website and download it (it’s in the left side bar half way down the page), take the kids to the grocery store, and surprise mom on Sunday morning with a terrific breakfast that’s easy to make (and fun for the kids, with minimal preparation and clean up!)

While you’re over there, order mom a subscription to E-Mealz so that she can stop stressing over what’s for dinner every night and YOU can do the grocery shopping because they provide a weekly list that even Dad’s can follow! 😉

In all seriousness, I hope my male buddies put some special thought and effort into blessing the mommas in their life this Sunday. She deserves it!

Spreading the Hope of Youth Rally!

Remember your teenage years? Wanting the right hair and clothes, having a crush on that special someone – who didn’t know you existed? Recall feeling awkward and out of place…all alone? Remember trying to fit in? Now imagine that you had a chronic illness that required surgery to save your life. What if on top of all the “normal” adolescent issues, you used the bathroom through a pouch on your side, because your diseased intes­tine had to be removed. How’d you like to miss your birthday party, the big game, even prom, because you were in the hospital- AGAIN! Sounds like a bad dream, doesn’t it?

For thousands of teens across the nation, THIS IS REALITY.

A reality that I was all too familiar with. Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 9, I spent much of my childhood in the hospital. When I was 15, I had my diseased large intestine removed, leaving me with a condition called an ileostomy. The ileostomy is a surgically created opening in the abdomen through which doctors bring a portion of the small intestine. I now wear a prosthetic (called a pouch) on my abdomen that my waste is collected in. There are other types of ostomies,too, depending upon the type of bowel or bladder diversion the person is in need of.

When I was 17, I attended my first Youth Rally. It was there that I met young people from all over the country who shared my very same experiences. For the first time, I didn’t feel alone, and the support and camaraderie I received through Youth Rally shaped my life’s work.

I’ve gone on to be a Rally counselor over 12 times, helped to start a support network for young adults with ostomies and diversions, and have  led the ostomy community in the U.S as the president of United Ostomy Associations of America. I now work for an amazing company that makes undergarments for people that have had ostomy surgery, helping them regain their confidence and active lifestyle.

My passion is to let others know that no matter the trauma a person has been through, there is always a purpose for the suffering, and a light at the end of the darkness. I want others to recognize that they too can rise from the ashes of disease and live life to it’s fullest, something I have been doing since 1993 when I first attended Youth Rally as a camper. Rally taught me that I was not alone, and that is what made all the difference.

By returning to Youth Rally as a counselor, I have the opportunity to use my experiences (with Crohn’s Disease and 14 subsequent surgeries and as a leader in the ostomy community) to bring a message of hope to other young ostomates who may not see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Would you consider making a donation to help me share the hope of Youth Rally with teens from across the country?

Thank you in advance for your support!

*** To make a donation, you can click on the Sponsor Me link on the right side of this page, or navigate to my Youth Rally Fundraising page ***

For more information about Youth Rally, see their website located here

Me & former camper turned CIT counselor Kristen K. Two KK's = twice the shenanigans!

Jaidin and Jesus: The Passion

I had the most touching spiritual conversation with Jaidin on the way home from church Wednesday night. I asked her about what she learned in Girls GEMS club, like I always do, and she shared her memory verse and a few tidbits from class. And then she got real quiet and said “You know mom, you should have been at chapel today at school. You’d have really liked it”.

“Oh yeah”, I said. “What was it about”?

“It was about Palm Sunday”, she replied. “About how Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey, and how the people were so happy to see him, so excited they were waving palm branches and laying down their coats for him. Pastor Riley brought palm leaves, and each of us got some. It was pretty neat. But then he talked about how the same people that were so excited to see Jesus  were the exact same people that a week later were yelling ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ ”

Then she said the most amazing thing to me.

“You know mom, I hope I’m never one of those people who praises Jesus and says I love God, and then turns around when things get crazy and does something like deny him, like those people did.”

Wow! I was blown away. And convicted. Because how many times have I totally been on fire for God, praising Jesus and following after Him, and then BAM! one little change in circumstances or a bad influence from someone else and my tune changes. In my years as a Christian, certainly I’ve gotten better about not being swayed by the wind or tossed about by rough seas. But I still strive to have the kind of faith that is not shaken, no matter the circumstance.

I told Jaidin that I would pray for her to always have faith, to always do the right thing and to never deny Jesus. But I also told her that there will be times when she will probably doubt, and not do the right thing, but God gives second (and third, fourth, fifth…) chances and as long as we’re truly sorry about whatever it was, He forgives us.

She said she knew that and was so glad that Jesus gave us a second chance through the crucifixion. Then she said “Do you think me & you & Daddy could watch the Passion movie?”

I hestitated, because while I think it’s a tremendous movie, I also think it may be a bit too much for an 8 year old.

“How do you know about the Passion of the Christ?” I asked

“Some of the kids in my class were talking about it at recess”‘ she said. “They said it was a movie about Jesus and that it made Riley’s mom cry.”

So I told her, “It made me cry too. I’ll talk to daddy about it. That movie might be a little too graphic for you.”

She was quiet for a minute, and then said “By graphic, do you mean real?”

Then I got quiet. Yes, REAL. That’s exactly what I was thinking.

As I drove quietly for a minute, the Holy Spirit spoke to me.

“The crucifixion WAS real. She’s asking for more than a movie. She’s asking you to help her understand exactly how much her sin cost.  To see what all sin cost. Show her.”

I was floored.

So… we’ll be watching The Passion of The Christ soon as a family, and I know that God will prepare her little heart to receive the full message of the Cross (and hopefully not not have nightmares!) If you have kids – have they seen The Passion? What was their reaction. What kind of a discussion did you have as a family afterward?

Wakey Wakey Eggs and Bakey

I am not a morning person. Apparently this is a genetic thing, because neither is my child. This makes for much love, joy and peace in the Knipp house on school mornings. Not really.

Usually, it looks more like this:

Every morning is a struggle to complete even the most simple tasks and get to school on time. She moves slow as molasses, has to be reminded 30 times to eat, brush her teeth, get dressed and get her book bag ready.

However, this morning, I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into her room and found this:

I dont know if she had just finished dreaming about Justin Bieber (yes, that’s him on the wall behind her, him on her pajamas, and him on the blanket in the corner), or if aliens abducted my child, but either way I’ll take it.  No fights this morning, she was at school with 5 minutes to spare, and I came home feeling like a successful mother.

Until Monday morning  rolls around…..


$1 French Fries

At the beginning of the new semester, Jaidin joined the school bowling league, and since the beginning of January, every Monday she rides the bus to the local bowling alley after school. Mommy has a hard time remembering this, and keeps showing up at school on Monday afternoons and wondering why her baby girl isn’t exiting the building, then remembers and feels like a fool the entire 2 minute drive home….but I digress.

Two weeks ago I showed up at the bowling alley at the appointed time to pick her up and she was sitting in the area behind the lanes eating french fries. Now, I knew she didn’t have any money to buy them (because Mommy had once again forgotten about bowling, so I didn’t send her with snack money), so asked her where she got them.

“J bought them for me!”, she said.

J is Jaidin’s crush – googly eyes when she talks about him crush. You get the picture.

Apparently when J was preparing to go to the snack bar, he asked Jaidin if she was coming and she said she didn’t have any money. So while she took her turn bowling, J went into his back pack and got out another dollar and went and bought them both fries. How sweet is that?

Most second grade boys think girls have cooties – so they’re certainly not prone to spend a $1, which they could have spent on candy, video games or something equally fun, on a slimy girl. But J did.

Now, either my daughter possesses feminine wiles that defy the laws of nature (in which case Jon better purchase a gun – a big one – today!), or J has a really wonderful set of parents who are raising their sons to be polite, generous , and giving.  I’m quite positive it’s number 2, so I sent J’s mom an email and thanked her for raising her boys to be gentlemen. (I dont think people encourage each other enough today. Everyone loves to hear good things about their kids).

Jaidin went on and on on the way home about how nice it was of J to share, and I agreed. I know it was just $1 french fry, but it made my daughter so happy. All I have to say is that when Jaidin gets to dating age, any guy she chooses to go out with is going to have to  have some  really good game in order to compete with the second grader that sacrificed his dollar to buy my girl fries! And I bet J is going to make a really good boyfriend  one day  🙂