Category Archives: Kathy

May the Fourth … Be With You

For Christmas, Sarah and Rachel bought me a Star Wars themed “Vader’s Little Princess” calendar. As most Star Wars fans know, Princess Leia turns out to be the sister of Luke, and the daughter of the evil (most of the time) Darth Vader.

Not my actual daughter.

Not my actual daughter.

The calendar’s premise explores the question: What if Darth Vader actually had to raise Leia as a princess? Each month, there is a new silly scene as the artist develops this idea — Leia cutting hearts out of his cape, or having to write a report for school on his job, and so forth.

In honor of Star Wars day, I’ll post this month’s calendar page. When I flipped it last weekend, it made me laugh out loud to think of Vader’s wrath against the rebels being actually a front to intimidate his daughter’s roguish suitor.

I'm really looking forward to helping Rachel and Sarah with their young admirers.

I’m really looking forward to ‘helping’ my little princesses to manage their young admirers.

Most young girls think of themselves as princesses in one way or another, but it is rather telling that my daughters cast me as Darth Vader. I only wish I was that intimidating. Thank you, Rachel and Sarah, for such a fun, silly present.

Project 365, Day 125

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Women’s Retreat Part 2

Tim and I are racing to post blogs tonight. He “forgot” (likely story) to take any pictures on the 1st, so no one blogged that day. Thankfully I had suspected such a thing might occur, so I snapped a few shots with my phone while I was at the women’s retreat. Whew! The sanctity of Project 365 was preserved. Hey, this is important stuff here. We’ve been taking a picture a day and blogging it EVERY DAY since January 1st. We can’t let lapses occur just because certain people “forget” to take a picture.

I managed to post date a blog for Tim’s day (the 1st), and now he’s writing something for the 2nd. I guess I’ll use the photo I took today, combined with the other retreat pictures from yesterday, and count this post as May 3rd blog.


Don’t worry. You can just sit back and enjoy the pictures, skim the cheerful, rambling words, and go back to your busy life. :)

Our women’s retreat was exactly what I needed – a weekend away with some of my closest and dearest friends, a time of relaxation and reflection, a chance to walk several of the beautiful paths of Gig Harbor, a sweet opportunity to hear a beloved friend teach 80 of us from God’s Word, and the blessing to get to know some new women from our church.

Heading out on a hike

Heading out on a hike

One of our beautiful views

One of our beautiful views

On Saturday afternoon, a friend and I hosted a breakout session on homeschooling. I love talking about homeschooling with curious, interested moms. And it was an extra joy to have several faithful, long-time homeschooling friends join us for the seminar. We talked about 10 Myths of Homeschooling and answered as many questions as we had time for. We all agreed many of these topics could be whole seminars all by themselves.

Time for some research and review before our talk.

Time for some research and review before our talk.

And of course we had some giveaways.

A little Starbucks and Barnes & Noble gift cards for our audience.

A little Starbucks and Barnes & Noble gift cards for our audience.

The annual women’s retreat holds a special place in my heart. I have served on the planning committee many times. I’ve written and performed skits and co-taught various seminars over the years. I have enjoyed countless conversations, often lasting LATE into the night.

Love these friends!

Love these friends!

This year was no different except for one thing – I actually went to bed at a decent hour (for me anyway) AND I got up each morning to walk with the (I’ll just call them beautiful and crazy) morning walkers. The sun was shining so brilliantly this weekend, I couldn’t help but get outside and praise the Lord for the beauty of His Creation.

I know I’ll forget someone, but I just have to say a few Thank You’s!!!!

Thank you, Tim, for letting me sneak away this weekend.
Thank you, David and Sarah, for cleaning up the house BEFORE I came home today.
Thank you, Holly, for sharing your heart with all of us as you taught from the scriptures.
Thank you, Krystal and Michelle, for being great friends and roommates.
Thank you, Beckie, Krystal and Debi for taking the SHORT version of the hike with me on Saturday.
Thank you, Nancy for getting us outside walking each morning.
Thank you, to the wonderful women in my small group.
Thank you, Susan for co-teaching Homeschooling 101 with me.
Thank you, Debbie for putting together a relaxed, God-focused retreat.
Thank you, Krystal, Becky, Nina and Kirstin for planning and preparing and working on the retreat.
Thank you, Sue, Ellen and Lura for leading us in amazing worship.
Thank you, Amy, for picking me up some Starbucks on Saturday.
Thank you, Lisa, Karen and Jen for working the sound and PowerPoint for our worship this weekend.
Thank you, Amanda and Rebekah for selfie mixers and silly games.
Thank you, Shari, for making me laugh on Sunday morning with all your hugs.

Thank you to ALL the incredible women who came away from the busyness of our ordinary lives to celebrate together and learn something fresh about Jesus.

Until next year….

Project 365 – Day 123

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Sunshine, Healthy Apps, and Getting in Shape

The sun has been shining for days here in western Washington. It’s been wonderful. Truly we have been spoiled. Twice we went to the beach with friends. On Sunday, Sarah and I went to Costco and picked out some beautiful hanging flower baskets.

Sunshine - time to go for a walk.

Sunshine – time to go for a walk.

Today the temps had dropped, but the rain that threatened to come held off another day. Throwing on a winter coat (making sure there were gloves in the pocket), I met up with two friends for a morning walk. We managed to get in two miles before needing to return home and start the day. There is something about sunshine and the crisp air that cries out to be enjoyed.

Of course, I am very fond of sunshine and warm air as well. Especially if I can go some place like this:

I never get tired of looking at that blue water.

Rachel, Sarah, Jenny, and David – remember this? Ahhhh, I never get tired of looking at that blue water.

Tim surprised me with an early Mother’s Day present on Friday. A new cell phone!!! I was tired from a long day at co-op, so I barely appreciated it that day. However, I’ve been playing with it ever since. And today, my bright pink case arrived.

"Pink is my signature color."

“Pink is my signature color.”

I am attempting once again to take control of my eating and lose some weight this spring. I added the app for in order to log my food and calories. I have tried to use this system before, with little success. This time I have made some tweaks to my recording, and so far it’s been a huge encouragement. I have a few friends who are also tracking their food and exercise. Seeing their exercise notifications pop up has given me new motivation to get moving.

FriendGirl has burned 280 calories doing 52 minutes of cardio exercises, including “Walking, 3.5 mph, brisk pace”
JJ255 has burned 202 calories doing 25 minutes of Aerobics, high impact

There’s even a category to record light cleaning and yard work. These programmers think of everything!

The next app I installed was Tim and Rachel both use this app for recording some of their exercise. I have only used it three times, and I already love it. With the gps turned on in my phone, I can start off for a walk or a jog and the phone automatically tracks the time I exercise, the distance I travel and the calories I burn. Love technology!!

Add to that a weekly weigh-in with two other friends, and it is obvious I am taking this spring shape up seriously. I’ve got a little bit of everything –

- recording food/tracking calories
- no sugar or junk food
- at the same time freedom in how I choose to distribute the daily calories
- walking and light weight training
- weigh in/accountability with committed friends

I am hoping to see great progress over the spring and into the summer. In the meantime I went for two walks today, made healthy food choices, and was under my calories. This is day 15 of recording my food! Praying to be faithful for the long haul.

The best way to get in top shape is with Slim Tree. We recommend the 20 grams muscle gain supplements. They will have you looking like new in no time!

Project 365 – Day 112

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Student Government Campaigns

If you managed to brave the mess in my garage – climbing over empty boxes and stacks of curriculum, dodging toys and Christmas decorations – you might stumble (literally, sorry) on my high school yearbook. To say that I was an extra-curricular activity junkie is painfully accurate – president of the French Club, secretary of National Honor Society, involved in Students Against Drunk Driving and the anti-smoking drama club, editor on the literary magazine, student government rep, blah, blah, blah. Looking back, it’s a wonder I did any actual school work.

High School Prom - quick picture with Dad

High School Prom – quick picture with Dad

So, I guess it’s not totally surprising that life would circle back to throw me into a Student Government class. This time it’s with our homeschool co-op, and I get to teach, guide and encourage the next generation of leaders. It is an honor and a privilege. We study, brainstorm, learn, and do a LOT of laughing. I should pretty much pay them for letting me teach.

The culmination of our government class is rapidly approaching. Very exciting! The elections are next week. We’ve got 8 students running for the different positions. The campaign process has been so interesting to watch. Oftentimes I feel we have a very precise, orderly, well laid out plan we’re following, and at other times I feel like we are just making it up as we go. Which might just be the story of my life!

I thought it would be helpful (ie, this blog serves as my memory and journal) to highlight the steps we’ve followed thus far (feel free to steal or share any of our ideas):

1) Nomination Forms – the first step was completing the necessary paperwork
Instructions, Student Support & Teacher Recommendation

2) Posters – each candidate was required to do 1 poster the first week and up to 2 additional posters as the campaign progressed.

David used Publisher, changed the custom paper size to fit a poster, and printed the pages in a tiled manner. So this poster printed on eight pages, which we trimmed and taped together.

Shhhh- don't tell.  I'm definitely voting for David!

Shhhh- don’t tell. I’m definitely voting for David!

Other students hand painted/drew their posters. Some printed out their slogans and glued them onto poster board in block form. The creativity, design, and format of the posters was left up to the candidates. And I can’t lie, they turned out great!

3) Campaign Videos – each nominee had to make a 30 to 45 second long video.

I was most concerned about this aspect of our campaign, but today’s teens are tech-savvy and the kids were undaunted by the assignment. In class we watched a sample I found online, discussed what they needed to include in their video, and set the rest of the parameters.

Here’s a look at David’s video on YouTube

We showed the 8 campaign videos at the beginning of lunch today at co-op. Creative, unique, some funny, others serious, all of them utilized music in their production. Basically the videos were fantastic! The other students cheered, laughed and applauded for the candidates. It was a great display of student spirit!

4) Meet the Candidates – a lunch time Meet & Greet time with all the nominees.

We hung all of the campaign posters on the wall directly behind some tables, swathed in patriotic bunting. Most of the kids had a giveaway, treat or sticker of some kind. There were individually wrapped Smarties, golden chocolate coins, and even homemade baklava. Several of the candidates used printable labels to make campaign sticker “buttons.” And one girl designed a small “dollar bill” with her face and name on it. Love the creativity!! “Just mint to be the Treasurer!” it said, and she stapled on a green candy mint to give away.

The students were required to meet at least 5 people they didn’t know (shaking hands and introducing themselves). All of the candidates took it seriously and spent most of the lunch period talking to people.

5) Speeches – next week we will do short, live speeches during the opening of co-op.

The candidates are required to share three things:
a. Why they want to run
b. Why we should vote for them
c. What they are going to do for the co-op

6) Election – we will run our elections next week over the lunch period (more on that to follow)

Can you "earn" a vote with some Jelly Beans or Skittles?

Can you “earn” a vote with some Jelly Beans or Skittles?

It’s been a growing experience for the class, the candidates, and the rest of co-op. I can’t wait to see how the elections turn out. Stay tuned!

Project 365 – Day 100 (Wow – the 100th Blog Post of 2015!!!!)

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AWANA Work Continues

This has been a significant year for the AWANA program at our church. We have been working since the Fall to integrate more and more of the administrative aspect of AWANA onto the computer. Tim has developed a unique AWANA website program for us. The children, leaders and volunteers are all registered on the system. We can move kids from team to team online, track their attendance and easily maintain the general records. All of the check-ins are done on the computer, and we have moved away from much of our former paperwork. It’s been an exciting process.

Not everything is done on the computer.

Not everything is done on the computer.

Our incredible AWANA Admin person retired last year, and all summer I think we were either in shock or denial because NO ONE stepped up to do her job. NO ONE contacted her to talk about the work or the details involved in running admin. NO ONE got her files or did any prep work at all.

"Yes, get me an admin person.  Immediately!"

“Get me an admin person. Immediately! Yes, I’ll wait.”

"Who Me?  No, I'm not available."

“Who Me? I can’t do it, I’m only in the 7th grade.”

Cue panic when September hit and the directors all realized NO ONE was in charge or running the administrative details. After many emails back and forth with the Commander and several LONG, PAINFUL evenings with parents trying to register and pay for the program, we finally got things up and running. As Mrs. T&T Director the last few years, I handled all of Tim’s T&T paperwork and behind the scenes work. This year I quickly realized I was the logical choice to serve as the AWANA administrative secretary. Maybe I knew it all along and was just in deep denial over the summer. Ha.

"Show me that again."

“Show me that again.”

"Mom, it's really more fun playing with toys than working on silly AWANA paperwork."

“Mom, it’s really more fun playing with toys than working on silly AWANA paperwork.”

It has been a year full of trial and error as we’ve transitioned things onto our web site, made mistakes, fed parents cookies and treats as they stood in long lines, had fantastic successes, enjoyed the ease of computerized check-ins and quick changes, etc. I have been so blessed over the years as God has brought me creative, talented, patient admin staff (Love you, Jacque and Sally). This year, I have another wonderful partner in crime administration, and she consistently has my back on the busy AWANA evenings, helps me think about what we modify and change, and calms me down when I’m feeling frantic. Thank you, Krystal!!

As the year is rapidly drawing to a close, I definitely have to say the computer program has turned out fantastic! There are, of course, so many more things I’d like it to do. Thankfully I live with the programmer and can beg/request programming time this summer. Thanks, Tim. You’re my favorite computer guy!!

Today Krystal and I met to work on posters for the different clubs. We have at least six computer-run check in stations for the kids each week. We use a long wall divider as a backdrop for our registration and check in area. At one end are the Sparks (k-2nd grader) and the other end are the T&T’ers (3rd-5th grade). At the beginning of the year I had the names written on large sheets of paper and hung on the divider behind us. After some more brainstorming with Krystal, we came up with a great idea for using colored poster board and individual print outs of the kids’ names. That way we can easily move them around from team to team and kids come and go.

Marco the Cat is so helpful with these projects.

Marco the Cat is so helpful with these projects.

Krystal already has an idea for how we can change the team posters for next year. As I said, she’s wonderful! We are constantly improving and modifying things to make sure they run smoothly and efficiently! Can’t wait. I love serving the kids in this capacity. And I am so grateful to the leadership at our church that encourages innovation, creativity and change (when needed).

Project 365 – Day 96

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