Join Kathi on the More to Life Women’s Cruise!


Can you handle six days in the Caribbean? I know I can!

Why don’t you join me, Cynthia Ruchti and Carol Kent on April 9, 2016 for a refreshing and inspiring time together. Did I mention it’s in the Caribbean? I’m talking fresh ocean air, ship activities, beautiful scenery and exciting excursions in the ports, PLUS the fellowship of Christian women on the cruise. You’ll be inspired with messages and drawn closer to God so that you can experience the abundant life Jesus came to give!

For more info about the cruise, visit Educational Opportunities Tours!

Create Custom Photo Gifts- Idea #3 Wood Transfer

Create Custom Photo Gifts- Idea #3 Wood Transfer

In the last installment of our custom photo gift series, I wanted to aim for something different for good ole’ dad. Dads can be the hardest person to find a gift for and you don’t usually think of him as the recipient of a photo gift. However, I think this wood transfer idea says manly and heartfelt, perfect for Father’s Day!


What you need:

photo 1 (3)A piece of Wood— the possibilities here are endless. Make sure you sand down and clean off the surface you are transferring to for best results.
Inkjet printer
Shipping labels
Matte finish sealer spray
Matte gel medium
Clear drying glue
2 foam brushes
Credit card or gift card


What to do:

1. Remove the labels from the shipping labels and throw them away. The parts you want to use are the backing of the labels.

2. If there are perforated seams on the back of the paper, tape them so they don’t break during printing or application.

3. Spray the back of the paper with an even coat of the spray-on sealer. Let it dry completely.

photo 2 (4)


4. Use your foam brush to add a thin layer of glue on the entire backing and let it dry.

photo 1 (5)


5. Time to print! Pick your favorite digital picture and print it on the paper you have prepped with the spray-on sealer and glue. You want to make sure you print on the side with the glue.

* Be careful not to smudge your picture once it has printed.

photo 1 (6)

6. With a foam brush, apply the matte gel to the wood you are using. Make sure to coat the entire surface. photo 2 (5)

7. Immediately place your image face down on the wood. Do not pick up and replace. With your credit card and working from the center out to the edges, press and push out air bubbles. photo 4


8. Let it dry for 90 minutes. Then slowly peel the paper from the wood.

photo 1 (4)
photo 2 (7)


9. Add a coat of clear sealer and you have a really cool gift!

photo 2 (6)


photo 4 (2)


What is your favorite photo gift idea? Do you have another great idea for a photo gift for Father’s Day? Share them here!


How To Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird

My friend, Amy Lively, has written a new book that’s receiving quite a lot of attention. The topic? How to love your neighbor without being weird. In this day and time, with neighbors staying indoors and keeping to themselves and with everybody’s busy schedules, it’s hard enough to get to know your neighbors. Try to love them? They might think you’re weird. Amy shares in her book how to accomplish this task WITHOUT seeming like a nut and without freaking them out!

To help spread the word about How To Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird, we’re doing a giveaway!

20150507_170046_resizedYou can win the following sweet little package:

  • 2 MUGS Adorable “Love Your Neighbor” mugs, one for you, one for your neighbor!
  • 10 CARDS to ask your neighbor over for coffee, board games, BBQ – you name it! Invite one neighbor or the whole block, whatever works.
  • 2 COFFEES Single-serve Columbian coffees.
  • 2 COASTERS to put under your steaming mugs.
  • 1 BOOK A signed copy of Amy’s book, How to Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird.

I’ll pick a winner next week so please leave a comment below and tell me why you need this package!


Create Custom Photo Gifts- Idea #2 Photo Necklace

It’s time for our second idea in our create a custom photo gift series. This week we are featuring a custom photo necklace.


Isn’t this too cute?! These are fun because you can do pretty much anything you want with them – gold, silver, round, square, add charms, black and white… you get it. Make it personal.

The first thing you want to do is decide who you want to make the necklace for. Make your selections accordingly.



What you need:

A favorite pictureIMG_3669

* For best results: if printing a digital photo, use a card stock or heavy weight paper and allow to dry at least 4 hours. Spraying your photo with a couple of coats of Polyurethane will also help to ensure your ink will not smudge.

E-6000 Industrial Strength Adhesive

Diamond Glaze (modpodge will also work)

1 plated pendant

1 clear piece in the shape of your choice (make sure to size it for the pendant you are using)

A toothpick or foam brush

X-Acto knife



What to do:

Cut your photo to the shape and size of your pendant/glass piece with your X-Acto knifeIMG_3667

Put a small amount of your diamond glaze on the bottom of your glass piece. Using a toothpick, smear the diamond glaze around the glass piece. If using modpodge, brush it on the entire piece.


Press your photo onto the glaze or modgepodge ensuring you don’t move it around. Press out the bubbles. Dry overnight.IMG_9890

Squeeze a SMALL amount of E-6000 onto the pendant then press the glass piece with photo into it. Using the X-Acto knife,  remove excess glue around edges.


Attach pendant to your favorite chain.


And you are finished!


This one takes a little more time and preparation than the coasters but its absolutely worth the time and effort!




Notes to My Future Self- How to Have a Great Mother’s Day Next Year

I’ve seen a huge number of articles on surviving Mother’s Day.  All well-intentioned, but they just all came too late- the Friday before Mother’s Day is not enough time to put healthy thinking and guidelines into place.2015-05-08 20.27.45

But a month? A month I can work with.

So I’m putting a note on my calendar for April 10th to remind myself to read this article, and put a plan into place to make sure I’m well-taken care of for Mother’s day. It all some down to having a plan in place. Here are my three steps:

1. Plan Something

If you do not belong to a “planning family” (in other words, your kids are too young, or too unaware to plan anything, and this isn’t your husband’s strong suit,) make sure you20150508_191926 plan something
yourself – whether it’s for yourself or your own mom, mother-in-law, or stepmom. There is nothing worse than sitting around on Mother’s Day, scrolling through your Facebook wall, looking at all the posts of well wishes from adoring husbands and cute kids.

Plan something and get off of Facebook. On Mother’s Day, Facebook is not your friend. 

Get out of the house. go to the movies. Go on a hike (far enough away that you are out of cell range.) Go out with a friend, go out with your husband.

We celebrated on Friday night – which was great. We had most of our kids there, we had kabobs, it was lovely. But Sunday? Let’s just say I should have planned a hike. Next year – I’ll know better.

2. Order something.2015-05-08 20.25.25

Whether it’s flowers or a great book from Amazon, have a package ready to be ripped into for Mother’s Day, even if it’s for yourself. We ordered Shari’s Berries this year and boy – everyone was glad we did. We had more fun with strawberry pic with everyone (and they were so delish. I may have eaten more than my fair share. But it’s Mother’s Day.) I’m placing an order for next year. These turned our time together into a celebration.

3. Ask Something

Not every gift needs to be a surprise. Ask your kids to do something they are talented at to contribute to your celebration. My boys bought gifts (Jer can always be relied on to bring flowers, and Justen always shows up with a book he knows I’ll love,) but the girls contributed talents – Kimber made the cake, and Amanda did henna tattoos for each of us. Utterly unique, utterly special. Make your special request far in advance. Your child will be flattered you asked, and you’ll get to brag on your kiddos.IMG_452220150508_213252

Be intentional. No one wants a martyr mom on Mother’s Day. Be sure to celebrate you.

I’ll be posting this again April 11th, 2016. See you then.

Create Customized Photo Gifts – Idea #1

It’s a busy time of year with end of school, end of clubs, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and sports coming to an end. Most moms are just getting through one day at a time. But low and behold, one of these nights, after all the kids are in bed, and she is folding another load of laundry, she is going to remember that all of these teachers, volunteers, coaches and grandparents are going to need gifts… and the panic sets in.

This month we are going to share some gift ideas that are easy to create or purchase with all of those photos of your family and the artwork your children create. Visit us on Wednesdays in May for new ideas!




Idea #1- Photo Coasters

Photo coasters are a great gift idea for:

– Grandparents

– Dad (for his office)

– Mom

– Teachers (think class gift)


How to pick your photos:

Pick the photos or artwork that will bring your gift recipient the best memories or put a smile on their face every time they see it. Candid shots are usually best.

If you are using digital photos, it’s best to print your artwork to size (square, just a tad smaller than your tiles) and print them on photo paper. Let them dry for at least one day before proceeding with the rest of the project. For photos you alre



What you’ll need:

4- 4×4 tiles (you can get these for cheap at any hardware store)


A foam brush

Stick on felt circles (4 per coaster)

Clear spray sealant (optional)

Twine or ribbon


What you do:

Cut your photos so that they are just a tad smaller than your tile. IMG_9786

Brush a thin layer of modpodge on your tile, center your photo and push it down on the tile. Make sure to push it down firmly without rubbing the photo. Rubbing it could make the ink run. Let it dry for 20 minutes.IMG_9789

Brush on a thin layer of modpodge over your picture making sure to cover the edges of your picture to ensure that it sticks to the tile. Let it dry for 20 minutes then apply a final coat.IMG_9794

Once they are dry, spray the clear sealant over the tile. (Do this step outside!) This will ensure that your coasters are water proof. However, this step isn’t necessary. Modpodge is a sealant and will do the trick. Some DIYers advise it, some don’t.

After your coasters are dry, place a felt circle on the bottom near each corner.

Once they are all completely dry, stack them and tie them together with some twine or cute ribbon.


Ta da… you have a great gift!     IMG_9798


5 Ways to Tell Your Hubby You Love Him without All the Words

5 Ways to Tell Your Hubby You Love Him without All the Words

5 Ways to Tell Your Hubby You Love Him without All the Words by Paula Tobey

Have you ever been in a rut in your marriage where you find it tough to ‘talk’? Maybe you argue or you’re just not connecting as well as usual. Maybe you find yourself not in the same place of love like you were a few years back. Whatever it is, friend, I am here to tell you it is okay. There is always something you can do to help get out of that rut, and it starts by doing one small thing at a time.

Today, I will share with you five ideas of things that you can do to show your hubby you love him without all those words, because let’s face it, he probably doesn’t want to hear them anyway.

Marital connectedness is so important in a family. It helps the kids in many ways to feel secure, not to mention setting a positive example for them as they grow and enter into their own relationships. Parents have a responsibility to model for their kids behaviors and attitudes that help establish positive development. One of the best things we can do for our children is teach them love and respect. There are lots of ways you can teach this without preaching or teaching with words. Your behavior and actions will show them better than any words can how you feel, so go ahead, win him over without words teaching your kids how to show love and respect for your husband!

  1. Dressed to Impress – Complimenting your Hottie on how good he looks in his dress shirt. This is one thing that I have not been very good at, but it means so much to my husband when I tell him that I like how he looks. Words of Affirmation go a long way for some, but even saying that you like how soft his shirt is, can be just the kind of compliment he needs to hear. After I have said a statement like ‘I like how soft that shirt is, it looks great’ I will undoubtedly receive a text a little while later thanking me. Take it from me, you hubby likes to know you are still attracted to him after all these years.
  1. Get Your Own Box – Cheeze It’s are one of my husband’s favorite snacks. I cannot eat them because I’m gluten free, so I tend to buy things for the family that we can all eat. However, my husband told me about a year ago that he really loves it when I buy those for him because he knows that I went out of my way to get him something that I would not normally buy. It is not something that I will get often, and as a matter of fact, I save those for things like an Easter Basket gift, but when I do get them, his face lights up like a kid getting candy! For that reason alone, I will make sure he gets his own box!
  2. Precious Post It Note’s – When I go out of town for a few days, I like to leave my husband (and daughters) little notes to tell them that I love them. When we were getting ready to move a few months back, I was cleaning out my husband’s medicine cabinet in the master bath, and I found a piece of paper taped to the inside of the mirror with all kinds of post it notes I had left him over the years. It made me smile to see that not only had he kept them, but that he wanted to be reminded often how much I love him. Because I smiled, I am pretty sure he does too. I did not quite realize just how much those little precious notes were to him until then. J
  3. Shopping Cart Surprise – Once I was on Amazon, and I noticed that my husband put an item in the Wish List. It was just a book, and it was not expensive, but I went ahead and ordered it for him. To his surprise, the exact book he had been looking at mysteriously showed up! It was cute when he asked if I had ordered it for him, and I just gave a little grin like ‘I don’t know what you are talking about – who me?’ He then gave me a nice big hug and kiss. It was fun. Sometimes it is the little things that add up to make the big things not so big!
  4. Good To The Last Drop – Every morning my husband is up before me. He does not need as much sleep as I do, and he enjoys his quiet time to read the paper and drink his coffee in the mornings. One work day this last week, he was actually still in bed, and I was awake, so I got up and made him some coffee. I wanted to be sure he had some because I figured he must have been pretty tired to still be in bed. When he came out and I had the coffee out for him, he was so surprised, he asked me who I was. J It was very unusual, but I do know that if I continue to do little things like that, he will be happy to drink every last drop!

Paula TobeyFor more great ideas on making your marriage more connected and fulfilled, come on over to my Facebook page, and check out the posts, books and videos.

Paula Tobey is founder of PheMOMenal Life Ministries a community for women to go get encouraged and equipped to be the best mom’s they can be to their children by living a healthy balanced life and by becoming all that God created them to be.  For more information go check out her website here

Kathi’s Faves – Things I’m Loving This Week


If you have been looking for something new to try, watch, or read, I’d like to recommend these:

5 favs 1The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt- It’s a new program from Tina Fey. Hilarious (I may have already binge-watched the entire series.) If you need a great diversion, (or say, if you need a reward for cleaning out a closet… for instance…) this is fun, mostly clean, and smart. Love it.



Here is the trailer:


5 favs 2This recipe for copycat petite vanilla scones!

I think they are better than Starbucks (I felt disloyal just saying that.)






5 favs 3On a Dollar a Day: One Couple’s Unlikely Adventures in Eating in America

If you are at all interested in social justice and food justice, this is a fascinating read. A couple of school teachers attempt to live on a dollar a day each for a month. The lengths that they went to in order to stick to the budget, while demonstrating what many families wake up to as an everyday reality,  will be inspiring and eye opening (while realistic. They do have a major fight about who is going to go grocery shopping and the division of labor in the kitchen.) I’ve read it a few times.

How to Get Your Kids to Clean Up Their Rooms

How to Get Your Kids to Clean Up Their Rooms

Friends, I want to introduce you to one of my interns, Paula Tobey. She is an intern, but that’s so misleading, since she has a full-on grown up ministry of her own. (See her links at the bottom of this article.)         

“How do I get my child to clean up his room?” is one of the most common questions I get when discussing Clutter Free or my organizing book The Get Yourself Organized Project.   

If you want a non-nagging way to help your kids clean up – read on…How to Get Your Kids to Clean Up Their Rooms

How to Get Your Kids to Clean Up Their Rooms

Do you struggle with kids who don’t seem to understand how to throw dirty clothes in a hamper that lies only feet beyond the spot they took off their stinky socks? Do you also battle with not enough time to get your house cleaned (which, let’s be honest, includes picking up your children’s rooms too, making dinner, and feeding all the pets)?

Could you benefit from a few tips that not only will help save you time, but effort in not picking up so much after others? Well, I have some great news for you, my friend, there IS a way!

I read an article a mom wrote into a parenting magazine discussing how she got her eleven year old son to help clean their house for his upcoming birthday party.  She found a system that encouraged him to get the job done.  Usually it was always a fight to get him to help clean. Maybe you can identify with this.  He would never help, complained, and ultimately made the job harder.  But this time, she decided to do something different and used a system someone taught her.

In her words, “I told him we were going to spend 15 minutes at a time in each room, and when the timer went off, we would switch rooms. I also told him that every 4th 15 minute segment, we could do whatever we wanted (Video games for him). I let him pick which room to do next, and told him that if he did this with me, he could pick anywhere to go for lunch.”

Her next part really moved me: “From 8am-11am, he worked his little heart out for 45 minutes out of every hour with me. He even brought tears to my eyes when he reminded me that I needed to come back to the room we were working on as I had gotten distracted in the kitchen for a minute. We had such a pleasant day and a nice lunch at his favorite restaurant.”

book 51e4ibUNgmL._UY250_How valuable was this one tip to her? She says it “saved the relationship that I have with my son. It is his eleventh birthday today, and I have never felt closer to him!” This mom realized that cleaning up her son’s room was the goal but building their relationship in the process was the bigger win!

Using our time wisely seems to be a big challenge with parents and their children. Often we are so rushed to get things done that we don’t take the time to properly plan out what it is we are going to do.  Then when it does not go as well as we thought it would, (and let’s be real- often life with kids does not go according to plan J ) we can feel defeated. There are many tools available to parents to help them manage their time and their children’s time. If you invest time planning before asking your child to help with something, it will pay off in many ways.

What my experience has taught me is sharpening my tools requires change. We need to change and grow to be better moms and dads for our kids, because that’s what they need. And if that means investing in ourselves to help change our family’s legacy, isn’t that a worthy investment?


Paula Tobey is a Parenting Coach for families needing extra support getting their families healthier in a Physical, Emotional, Educational, Financial or Spiritual way. She works with family’s one on one and in groups to help them become stronger, happier and healthier. Her website is  and she can also be found at

Do you sometimes feel like the woman in the story did?  Wouldn’t it be great if you had a tangible resource and system to help get your home cleaned up that in turn, saves you time by teaching the system to your kids? Well, the “Get Yourself Organized Project” may be just one of those tools to help you do that. In this book you will get easy and effective ways to restore peace to your everyday life by adding simple and manageable long-term solutions for organizing any room in your home (and keeping it that way).  It also has a realistic way to de-stress a busy schedule and has strategies for efficient shopping, meal preparation, cleaning, and more.

Click here for more information about the book.



Two books I read this week (and two that I’m planning to read next week!)

Two books I read this week (and two that I’m planning to read next week!)

I’ve been in a book reading slump. Between working on my own book, (101 Simple Ways to Show Your Husband You Love Him) and some other projects I am working on, reading felt like an unobtainable luxury. But then I discovered something…

I’m a grump when I don’t read.

As in – I’m not very nice to be around. Which, if one of my goals is to have a great marriage, then I’m missing the mark.

So I’m reading. For the sake of my marriage.

Here are the two books I read this week: 

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James


I know that many of you read this years ago when it first came out, but sometimes I’m slow to the doing what the cool kids are doing.

If you are half the fan of Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice that I am – this is a must read. What a rare treat – to get to extend the life of your favorite characters and see what they would do under different circumstances. James is such an excellent mystery writer that my friend Sue, who had no interest in the love story of P&P (Yep. I’m wondering how we could be friends as well…) absolutely loved the mystery aspect of the book and the characters.



Keep It Shut What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All by Karen Ehman

kis.book_Here is the endorsement I did for the book when it first was published, “As a graduate of the Speak-First-Think-Later-School of Communication, I can relate to every word written in Keep It Shut. But instead of telling me to go into a corner and just stop talking, Karen comes alongside and shows us how we can powerfully use our works for God and others’ good.” The first time I read it, it was to see if I could recommend it to others, and this week, I reread it so that I could use a highlighter. If you’ve lived with the regret of words that have hurt, stop the pattern now and get this book. Loved it. (And it proves that there is hope for us talkers and the ones that we love.)

Now what do I plan to read next?


Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence by Erica Dhawan

big thingsAbout the book: Connectional Intelligence unlocks the 21st-century secret to getting “big things done,” regardless of who you are, where you live, or what you do. We typically associate success and leadership with smarts, passion and luck. But in today’s hypercompetitive world, even those gifts aren’t enough. Get Big Things Done argues that the game changer is a thoroughly modern skill called Connectional Intelligence. Virtually anyone can maximize his or her potential, and achieve breakthrough performance, by developing this crucial ability.

So, what is it? Put simply, Connectional Intelligence is the ability to combine knowledge, ambition and human capital, forging connections on a global scale that create unprecedented value and meaning. Can a small-town pumpkin grower affect the global food crisis? A Fortune 500 executive change her company’s outdated culture through video storytelling? A hip-hop artist launch an international happiness movement? Or a scientist use virtual reality games to lower pain for burn victims? The answer, you’ll read, is a resounding yes. Each of these individuals is using Connectional Intelligence to become a power player to get big things done.

Erica Dhawan and Saj-nicole Joni’s Get Big Things Done unlocks the secrets of how the world’s movers and shakers use Connectional Intelligence to achieve their personal and professional goals–no matter how ambitious.

Flea Market Fabulous: Designing Gorgeous Rooms with Vintage Treasures by Lara Spencer

flea market fabulousFocusing on nine different rooms (including her own recently purchased Manhattan apartment), Lara Spencer shows readers that all it takes is planning, shopping know-how, and a little imagination to create beautiful and comfortable homes that reflect their personal style. She takes readers through the step-by-step process of overcoming the challenges of the room, offering helpful tips and lessons along the way. She identi­fies the design dilemma; comes up with a decorat­ing plan; makes a mood board for inspiration; compiles a shopping list; scours flea markets for furniture and accessories that fit the bill; restores, repurposes, and reinvents the pieces she finds, giving them new life; and brings all the elements together in the gorgeous, finished space. With illuminating before, during, and after photographs of her DIY projects and the room installations, Lara demystifies the decorating process and allows readers to envision endless possibilities for what they can do in their own homes.

Stay tuned for next week’s post where I give my thoughts on these two books and tell you what I plan to read next!