Virtual Homeschool Coop Introduction

I’m a month behind but, hey, I’m getting there. This is my introduction video for the Virtual Homeschool Coop. Due to incredibly slow internet (and life, in general) it has taken two weeks to edit, and four days  upload, annotate and link up! I am going to have to get up early to take advantage of that unmetered internet….which we have between midnight and 5am. Coffee is my friend…

So…here it is. Apologies for the length. I’m a newbie but I will learn to drink more coffee beforehand, be concise and talk faster. Oh, and not go off on rabbit trails.

Our homeschooling has become so’s an eclectic hodge podge of Charlotte Mason, Notebooking, Robinson’s Independent Learning, Unit Studies, Classical, and fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants. Throw in the catering business as a part of our “vocational curriculum,” and we have a “unique dynamic.” Buckle up and enjoy the ride!


What’s not shared is lost,


Getting there….

I catered all by myself today. I went up and down stairs about 24 times so that counts as working out, right?

So…I’ve been working on my youtube channel but have, yet, to post. Besides being exhausted in the evenings, crazy busy the rest of the time, I think I’m a tad nervous about getting those out there.  Okay, maybe more than a tad. Also, I’ve been running into technical difficulties i.e. aggravatingly slow internet. It takes HOURS to upload one video. I could go into town and use wifi but I’m away from the house enough. That’s not a good reason, to me, to have to be away from the house. SO, I think I will be taking advantage of this freak-of-nature transformation that has occurred, that being I’ve become a morning person against my will and natural selection, and arrange my routine so that I upload before 5am when our internet is unmetered and much faster.

That’s it for now. Wish me luck.

What’s not shared is lost,


Coming soon…to a blog near you..

My name is Michelle and it’s been three months since my last blog post. Confessions of an intermittent blogger… I have posted about how I procrastinate with posting previously  so that’s all I’ll say about that. o.O I have been encouraged to try vlogging because it does take less time and it does fit with my tendency to talk to myself. It’s a work in progress but I’m working on it! Some folks are interested in our goofy, large family and how we do things as well as our catering business which we blend with homeschooling. Crazy? You betcha!  SO, we do have tales to tell, tips to offer, recipes and adventures to share. I have been intrigued by the homeschooling YouTube community and am going to try a Virtual Homeschool Coop so there will be posts for that, as well. SO, stay tuned! I do miss being here so will be trying a different platform.

What’s not shared is lost,


July 4th Conversation


As I was posting the above pic as my FB cover photo for July 4th, I expressed that I feel sad. Elijah, my 16, asked why to which I replied, “America is screwed.” His answer? “It’s your fault.” “Why?” I asked.

“Because you didn’t run for President.”

I volleyed with, “The scary thing is, I could run and I COULD get elected. I could run on ‘I don’t know what the heck I’m doing but it will be better than the future we’re looking at.”

Elijah’s suggested platform: “I’ve got this here Presidency for Dummies book. We’ll all be fine.”

There you have it, folks. I’m announcing my candidacy. Just write me in. I’m running not as an Independent but as an idiot because I don’t want anyone to be under the impression that I have any experience other than, if you consider having 12 kids a community, I am, in fact, a “community organizer.”

Happy 4th of July!

What’s not shared is lost…and I didn’t want to lose this conversation because it made me laugh…..


Junk Food Connoisseurs

Every once in a while, I let the kids pick out the over-priced processed forbidden fruit type of food that I was raised on.  While I grew up with a regular diet of Hostess treats, I get a kick out of asking my kids if they want Ho-Hos or Twinkies and having one ask, “What’s a Twinkie?” No, we don’t live under a rock but we do live without commercials.😉  The kids were being especially entertaining while on one of our adventures in junk food shopping. I’m glad I decided to record “just in case.”

What’s not shared is lost,


What should freak me out


photo via

I’m a spaz. I tend to freak out; I have mini panic attacks. If you ask my kids, mini is not the word they will use. But I know it and I’m gradually getting a grip. When I have to make snap decisions on the fly, I “usually” am all over the situation. I’m great at problem solving in most circumstances which comes in very handy with catering. However, I’m not always “calm” in said situation. I don’t start yelping like a chihuahua or anything but I do get intense and can bark at people i.e. my kids. I make things worse when I second-guess myself. For example yesterday, as I drove off to take my cadets to their Civil Air Patrol squadron meeting an hour away with a side-stop to drop off my ballerinas to their sister’s for their ballet lesson, we heard a BAD noise. We had only driven about thirty seconds away and pulled off into a neighbor’s driveway. We had a flat. I was on a schedule and my kids were depending on me. My first thought was to go let the neighbor know I was in the driveway and ask him if he needed me to pull out into the road so I wasn’t blocking the drive. My second thought was to call Triple A. My third thought was to call my husband and ask him what I should do. So I called him first. He said to talk to the neighbor then call Triple A. Hmmm….wish I’d thought of that. o.O

SO, I walked up the driveway and an older gent and his buddy were chatting while having a brew. Wouldn’t you know that the friend who JUST so happened to be there had an air compressor on his truck? Yep, he filled up that tire and we were able to drive the 30 seconds home, throw our stuff into The Great White Beast and get back on the road. God spoke to me through the two old guys and the air compressor. AS SOON as that man said he had an air compressor, God said, “You’re first thought should have been ME!” He gives me this situations all of the time. That He cares that much about me to take time out of His schedule, that is what should freak me out first and foremost. I should also freak out that this flat did not occur on my way to Indianapolis with my two little boys on board or on my way back. I had only been home an hour from that supply run when we left for Ohio. Ohio, where I could have been when the flat happened. But, NO, I was less than a quarter of a mile from home! That freaks me out! Thank You, Lord, for taking care of us! Also, thank You that this was not our flat:


photo via

I’m learning to not be shaken, thank you, Building 429.

While it’s the HARD things that try my faith, it’s these little things that remind me God is on my side and if He will take time to fix a tire, He wants to work through the big stuff, too. I need to REST in that. Fretting and freaking accomplishes nothing. It just makes each situation more stressful. Years ago, I bought a little card with a Helen Steiner Rice poem and it’s a prayer I’ve been praying since I was a yoot:

“God, teach me to be patient,

teach me to go slow;

Teach me how to wait on you

when my way I do not know.

Teach me sweet forbearance

when things do not go right

so I remain unruffled

when others grow uptight.

Teach me to let go, dear God,

and pray undisturbed until

my heart is filled with inner peace

and I learn to know Your Will.”

I’m not there, yet, but if you walk in our commercial kitchen when I’m faced with a deadline or a fondant piece just fell off of a cake or there’s no money for the bills or the kids are fighting again or I forgot to buy sugar, you will catch me muttering, “Unruffled…unruffled…letting go….inner peace…unruffled…”

What’s not shared is lost,


I’m Up Already

This blog has been yelling at me to sit down and include it in my morning routine. Alright already! I’m up. I’m here. I have a morning routine….when the heck did I become a morning person?! I keep giving myself excuses as to why I don’t have time to post but, truth be told, I just haven’t had it at the top of my priority list. Our family was involved with a play at the local theatre, business has picked up for our little catering business, school, nuff said. We’ve been swamped and I’ve been tired. I’m extra tired because, since opening our business, this night owl has been evolving into a morning person. I’m still getting acclimated to this thing called “moving” before the sun shines it’s face.

Unless I stay up late, I, typically, get up between 4 and 5:30. How stupid is that? If, IF, this very light sleeper has not been startled out of sleep by a five-year-old staring at me or whispering to me, “I need to go potty,” and/or the loathsome cat decides to meow incessantly and jolts me out of sleep and/or….fill in the blank….IF I’m permitted to wake up on my own, I get up around 6am. I get up, start coffee and the laundry, fold a couple loads, get dressed, Bible, blitzes and emails, oh my.  When did this happen? Part of me misses being a night owl but I am pretty zonked in the evening and am not very productive. I sat down with this post and 4:45am and realized that I *like* being up before everyone else. I’m still not completely converted…I want to go back to bed. I feel sleepy but if I lay down now, I will sleep all morning and I have to pack for my birthday get away.  I have only scrapbooked once since starting our business. I am WAY behind and need to get back to it for my family’s sake and for therapy. I’m looking forward to solitude but, by golly, I’m chugging a Rockstar and staying up late and (crosses fingers) sleeping in to my heart’s content in the morning.

I might even write a blog post while I’m there! Will wonders never cease?!

What’s not shared is lost,


I will send the bill….



I grew up with a dad who felt his primary obligation to the family was to “bring home the bacon.” Oh, and to “exact justice.” But that’s another tale. It’s the “financial” burden that has always griped me. My dad was raised that women were lesser beings and that their roles were not as “important” or arduous as men’s.  I am by no means a feminist, but when I hear the occasional comment made from a male whether in print or via a friend weary of hearing her husband’s reminders that “he’s the one paying the bills,” I want to punch the guy.  This financial worth thing has been on my mind so I decided to look into a little of my “financial worth” just for the fun of it. Let’s just pretend for a moment that I have been hired to serve….

I have given birth 12 times. The average surrogate mother’s fee ranges from $20,000 to $35,000 plus expenses. I have never received an epidural or any other type of pain reliever while in labor. That being said, I gave myself the maximum fee of $35,000. I know they charge extra for the pain relief but I have no scruples about earning for braving transition. There was also that labor that lasted seven days….I could charge extra for that one…


12 x $35,000 = $450,000

That’s the minimum.

A quick search on nannies resulted in the following:  “Check your state guidelines to determine whether live-in nannies qualify for overtime above 40 hours per week. For part-time nannies, hourly nanny rates start around $12 per hour and can run as high as $20-25 per hour in affluent areas, particularly those without public transportation. You get what you pay for.”

I don’t really know how long a child “needs” a nanny so I’m just going to guess until they no longer need a babysitter. I believe in Indiana, a child must be 14 to be of “legal babysitting age” so I’m going to go with that.


For 12 children receiving in-home nanny care from 0-14 without overtime:


I didn’t add in overtime just to be fair to my olders who have helped tremendously with the youngers. If they were getting paid, they would have earned a pretty penny themselves.

I could stop at $3,516,000 but why would I want to do that?

We homeschool. I’m a private tutor, a proven method for superior education. (Can I just interject and say that if all these years of people asking my kids where they go to school, if my kids had answered, “Oh, I have a private tutor,” folks would be all impressed and “Oh, la-dee-da” then commend us parents for going the extra mile to provide our children with exceptional education. I think we’re going to try this. I’ll let you know how it goes.)

For a private tutor – $10-$15 per hour. Holy cow. I have no idea how much time we’ve put in. I’m going to give a low-ball estimate based on the 180 day school year, average 4 hours a day (sometimes more, sometimes less – the kids do more on their own as they get older) and include all 12 kids AND preschool though we’re far from done. I want to know the grand total!


We’re at $5,071,200.

I have to include my laundry service as there has been rarely a day in the past 20-some years that I haven’t done at least one load of laundry. I’d say the average is 6 loads a day, some days more. I looked at a couple of sites and laundry services such as Laundry Locker or Lazy Bones who charge by the pound or item and charge for each additive such as detergent and softener. I have no idea how many pounds of laundry I have done! If they charged by the mountain or trash bags, I might be able to guesstimate but that’s overwhelming. I can’t NOT include it, though, because I have spent so much of my life on it! So, going with Lazy Bones’ $1.70 per pound, and I average out the fact that in the earlier years of our family, we did not have MOUNTAINS of jeans, towels, etc., I’m going to guess 25 pounds per week. (I know this week, I’m working on at least 50 pounds if you could weigh it all.) 25×52 weeks = 1,300×27 years=35,100 x $.73($1.70-$.97*-the cost to do one load at home) = $25,623.

That makes $5,096,823.

I haven’t even included my earnings from being a private chef, private chauffeur, event planner, “administrative assistant,” not to mention MAID! Nope, can’t leave that out –  I briefly peeked at what a house cleaner earns: “Professional house cleaners typically set house cleaning prices one of two ways: By hour, or by square foot. Hourly costs range from $25 to $35; square foot rates are often used for a “first clean,” as a baseline for pros to work from.” If I “just” cleaned 5 hours a week at $25/hour, and we know it’s more some weeks, less during “those” weeks, that’s an easy $175,500

Ahem…. $5,272,323

I could go on but then this post would be one of those you look at to see how long it is then pass it up because you don’t have the time. Am I right?

You pay the bills? Well, sir, pay that one. Better yet, try doing all of the above. One of the reasons a woman’s brain is spaghetti is she has to tackle all of her professions pretty much every day, keeping track of it all and mentally preparing for the next task and the next day and the next week… A man’s compartmentalized brain would implode!

Well, I must be off…I have to “earn my keep.” The first thing I’m going to do is delegate because I didn’t even get to my roles as a business-owner…which I need to do today in addition to all of the above…sigh….

What’s not shared is lost,



*I found the cost to do a load of laundry at home in this fabulous post, “A Cost Comparison of Home Laundry and Laundromats” on “The Simple Dollar,” a resource to save to your favorites. Incidentally, in this post, the author says it will take 600 loads to recoup the price of the washer and dryer which will take 2 years if you do one load a day, compared to going to a laundromat. Yep, our appliances paid for themselves a long time ago….

(Photo Credit:

In The Laundry This Month



I started collecting the stuff I find in my washers and dryers (I have two of each, one washer is out of commission for the time being). I have a little brass pail on one of the washers and whatever I find I toss in the pail. (Change goes in a bank I have on the washer, too. I’m going to save up for a trip to Hawaii with pennies). I’ve been so intrigued by the variety and strangeness of the pail’s contents each month, I just had to start taking pictures! Now I’m posting the pictures because I can’t think of anything better to do with said pictures. I figure we can have some fun with this. Some people read tea leaves, let’s read what I found IN THE LAUNDRY THIS MONTH. This pic is actually from February.
FEB 2015I could do an eye spy. That’s what I’m going to do! At the end of the year, I’ll have a book printed for the kids! He he…in the meantime, there are stories that could be derived from the plethora of junk. And mysteries. For example, how in the heck did the buckle and clasp from a long-gone newborn car seat get in the wash? How did that horse sticker end up in my pail? It, obviously, did not go through the wash.  I see an old Creative Memories cell phone charm. Somebody has been digging through my stuff because I didn’t know I still had that thing. One thing I’ve learned for sure from this pic is that, the next time one of my girls says they can’t find a ponytail holder, I’m sending them to the laundry room.

JAN 2015

Playing catch-up, this one is from January. I spy a knob from a piece of furniture. I need to find out what’s missing its knob. There is a rock in both pics. It looks like the same rock! We don’t keep rocks, people.  I have reason to believe one of the boys is “borrowing” his brothers’ guitar picks because the green one keeps ending up in the little brass pail.

The crocheted doll pants are…weird. Did not know we had such haute couture in the house.

I see this junk as reminders of how blessed we are so why not? I have reminders here of my daughters’ pretty hair, my kids’ love of nature and creating art, of Christmas, imagination, my great-grandmother (I see one of her earrings up there – why, I don’t know), of music in the home and my kids’ love of making obnoxious noise to drive their mom crazy because they love me (pirate whistle in the top picture).

There you have it. Tell me my future from these, make up a story, judge my kids, or quiz me on the items and I’ll guess at what they are.

What’s not share is lost….in the wash,


Music Monday – The Third Day Soul on Fire Tour


Photo Credit: Lott Shudde,


Powerful. I went to a Third Day concert Saturday and it can hardly be categorized as a “show.”  Yes, the band performed but what they performed was heart and soul surgery. We were led. We were led to The Throne and sent forth to continue the worship in our lives. The album is Lead Us Back and the tour is Soul on Fire and if you don’t get to any other concerts this year, do try to make this one.  I would feel this way even if I weren’t already a Third Day fan. I went to this particular concert to meet up with almost 70 other fans (the Gomer Family) for pre and post-show gatherings and we had joked about how nice it was of Third Day to provide a concert for our party.  I thought I was going to serve cake and meet up with friends I seldom see in person but have been blessed to get to know and love.

What I found out was I was there for conviction. We have struggles here at the Fecher abode, just like everyone else. Sometimes we need slapped upside the head by the Spirit.  God bless Third Day for their anointed ability to slap people upside the head through their music. Your Words, Our Deliverer, Victorious – powerful.  Worship is a verb, a frame of mind and a lifestyle. It’s music like that found on the new album that challenges us to look inside ourselves and take inventory of what’s missing and what’s there that shouldn’t be.  I was prepped before attending this concert that this would not be like the typical rock-your-face shows that we are used to. I was expecting “mellow.”  Mellow is not the word.  Nope, nope, nope. Powerful is the word.  Lead Us Back is their first worship album since Offerings 2 in 2003. I hope they won’t wait that long til the next one.  Music speaks to us in ways nothing else can. Sometimes it’s fun, silly, beautiful, obnoxious, danceable, etc. but something we need a regular dose of in our music intake is, in case you missed it, powerful worship.

Get thee to a show: Third Day Tour Schedule

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What’s not shared is lost,