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Third Day 20th Anniversary Cake – Part 1

I tend to be quick about volunteering to make cakes for special events. I’m always worried that I will show up at a gathering and, because the person in charge of cake didn’t know any better than to get a grocery store cake, we celebrate with one of those cakes with “toothpaste icing” and plastic balloons stuck in it . One of my love languages is a combination of gifts and acts of service; if you give a gift, the time spent on the gift wrap says, “You are special.” Likewise, if you present a cake, the cake should tell the person they are worth the trouble of a special cake. When the occasion is to say thank you, congratulations, break a leg, or happy birthday, I’m sorry, but  a premade cake from Wally-world is wholly inadequate for saying “you are special and you are loved.”

I get my kicks making cakes and if it’s a special occasion, it’s an occasion to make an exceptional cake.  Moreover, if I’m able to create a custom-designed cake, I know it will help with making the occasion more memorable. What is it about a cake that says, “This is officially a party?”  When I posted about The Suessical the Musical Cake, I touched on how folks love it when they see a bit of themselves in the cake.

SO, when the Third Day Psycho Fans known as Gomers posted earlier this year that we would be taking a party to Raleigh, NC to celebrate the band’s 20 years, I jumped on the opportunity to make a special cake. A vision for the cake developed almost immediately; I knew the titles of all of their songs would make their appearance around the bottom layer of the cake. In order for the band to see a bit of themselves in the cake, it was a matter of getting their instruments on the cake. I saw one layer transformed into a drum then a bass head and neck wrapped around a layer and the same for a guitar around another.

Later, I pictured fondant details including a 20 on top and, of course, the band’s name.

When I signed on to do the cake, it was without thinking it through very much. Transporting a cake can be nerve-wracking when’s just 15 minutes away! I knew we could do it but knew I’d need to do my homework on transporting. A lot depends on the weather, too. Icing and fondant can be pretty unpredictable anyways but factor in heat and humidity (or rain!) and things can get uglay.

We started making the fondant pieces to placed onsite first almost a week before our trip.  I wanted to start earlier but we were swamped with catering, I had been busy working on the digital scrapbook for this shindig, and I got sick.  SO, we had to really kick it in gear. We made made extras…just in case. I made the first batch but they were too thin. Jillian has a knack for the fondant so she and Autumn (8 y.o.) attacked the notes, etc. and I got busy on the cakes.

Autumn is a natural with cake decorating. She’s been decorating cakes since she was 5 and really has a flair for the fondant!

(Please note, everyone’s hands were very clean. You cannot wear food handler gloves to work with fondant. It’s physically impossible. Trust me.)

The bottom layer was our yummy Sour Cream White. I decided it needed marbled with “Consuming Fire” flames. The other layers were Chocolatetown  Special and I just had to use Orange in honor of all the Gomer love.

This looked pretty cool sliced but, unfortunately, most folks ate what was served first from the upper layers , which, really isn’t unfortunate because they were yummy, too. They just didn’t look as cool.

10 y.o. Judah and 6 y.o. Isabelle helped with the drum hardware.

Time for school break. A lot of folks talk about “balance” in their lives with home, school, play and work. We’ve learned that it’s necessary to “blend.”  We play, work and school in the kitchen.  We also boogie, play “Ninja”, play percussion on the pot rack and other nonsense so drive slow when you go by – you never know what entertainment you may be missing.

Isabelle will now demonstrate how to make “wood grain” out of fondant:

1. Take 2 or 3 shades of brown fondant (or add yellow or white), roll into “snakes” of equal length (remember those playdough days), twist.

Coil the twist.

Roll it out while reshaping it to the size you need.

It’s the beginning a guitar neck! It also looks a lot like bacon. A little more rolling is in order….

Very important – use scraps for creative development.

And the bacon is attached with first round of frets applied. One string is in place. No, the string is not edible. We decided on metallic thread and just removed it before serving. We explored all options on edible guitar strings; they either would not have survived the trip, would have taken too long on site to attach, or looked stupid. I found thread that looked realistic enough and it survived the trip. A couple went crooked, but I did not have to reattach them. 

Well, I’ve been working on this post for two or three weeks and, since this cake had so many parts and so many pictures, I think it’s about time I just post it and do this in more “bite-size” portions (see what I did there?).

Let them eat cake!

What’s not shared is lost,



Mac Powell & Matt Maher: God Of Wonders + Step By Step

It’s Music Monday! And all I have time to do on Mondays as far as blogging is post a video so Music Monday is perfect for me! I haven’t been posting any day recently due to a project I’m working on but, for my sanity, I will be back on soon (whether you need me posting or not is irrelevant).

In anticipation of the upcoming Third Day Gomer Gathering in Raleigh, NC Jillian, Natalie and I will be travelling to, I am compelled to post nothing but Third Day from here til then (and possibly July when Craig and I will be on the Third Day Alaskan Cruise…then I’ll be posting videos from the cruise – there’s not getting away from it!)

My brother/Gomer in Christ does an outstanding job recording concerts – I highly recommend you subscribe to 3rdDayRocker (he does more than just Third Day – check him out)!

AND, because we’re on the heels of Empty Tomb Day (and, wouldn’t you know it, the tomb is empty today, too?) praise is appropriate. Praise is always appropriate…just sayin’.

Without further adieu,

What’s not shared is lost,



I Got A Feeling!

Well, I had a feeling. I had a “feeling” in January that I would be going to the Third Day concert in Lexington in March. As the time drew near, it was NOT looking good. I was hoping to take Ben and Noah as I knew I would be taking Jillian and Natalie on a road trip in May and wanted to spend some “hang-out time” with them. Gas prices being what they are and deposit on a cruise being what it is, I had pretty much given up hope but I still felt like I was suppose to go.  As it turned out, the boys were invited to an Air Soft War the same weekend and they would much rather go shoot and be shot than tag along with me to a concert so I asked Craig if he wanted to go. OF COURSE he wanted to go but he couldn’t get off and was still concerned about the cost. Last Wednesday, two days before the concert, I got an email from Merchandise X saying they needed help with A-team (my preference). My only hope for even being able to be admitted to the concert was working merchandise as it was a sold-out show and you get a free ticket when you work merchandise. You also get a t-shirt. Sweet deal. That same day, my dear Gomer friend, Robyn from Detroit, called about going to the show with me and splitting gas.  God cares about the little things. Especially me because I’m His favorite.

The next day, Robyn was crashing at my place and Friday morning we were up and on our way before dawn. I love road trips! We worked merchandise together before at the Ft. Wayne concert and we make a pretty darn good team. It’s work but it’s fun and a “relaxing productivity.” We were just starting to get busy when some goofball came out on the balcony walkway over the foyer and started singing opera or something to us. I looked up to see who the weirdo making me laugh was and it was Tai Anderson. He he he….

After working, Robyn and I hung out a bit and debated on whether we wanted to risk giving up our sweet parking place. The threat of rain said, “You know, if you walk to get lunch, I’m going to dump buckets on you.” So we drove and it just drizzled. We ate at J.J. McBrewster’s, some mighty fine barbecue! Our table greeted us with this:

We were so humored, we bought a bottle for Mac.

The pulled BBQ Pork with fixins was DE-lish! We were so stuffed!

After lunch, we returned to Quest Community Church to find that our ringmaster, Lisa, did in fact, need more help which we were happy to provide.  After that, the crowds started to arrive and the Wired wristbands were being distributed. That was another treat – our Wired membership expired in December and we can’t afford to renew just yet. I had resigned myself to just going to the concert – that was enough for me! Robyn had mentioned that she was pretty sure we could figure something out but the thought occurred to me that I have wonderful friends called Gomers and I knew several were going to the Lexington concert.  I posted on the FB page asking if anyone going with a family membership could add  me as a friend. NatiGrl Gomer  came to the rescue so I was able to go the Meet & Greet, too! Thanks so much Natalie!

Q & A time!

It was great to see several friends there and to partake in the Q & A and M & G.  The guys are so genuine and a joy to be around. They really are some of the friendliest people and, though some M&Gs are crazy like Friday due to large crowds, that they take the time to visit with as many of their fans as possible shows just what gents they are.

Mark Lee, Doctor of Musicology, and myself

"Gomer up!" Nails orange? Check. Orange shirts? Check

Orange phones? Check.

Oops! Forgot to include a pic of the toenails! I love Robyn. She's crazy.

After the M & G, we went to the auditorium, and it was packed.  We just “so happened” to sit just across the aisle from the DeChants, dear friends we met a Third Day concert some time ago. They are sweethearts and I was SO happy to see them! Another Gomer, Chelsie & her mom sat with us. Gomers behind us. Worshiping together was tremendous!

Trevor Morgan - if you don't have his CD, get it. Now. Trust me.

My first Matt Maher experience - won't be my last! So jazzed he will be on the Third Day cruise, too!

They take the stage. Third Day - nuff said.

Robyn had led the way to seats that “just so happened” to be where the guys parked their acoustic set (which I had forgotten about). I’m tellin’ ya, I’m God’s favorite.

SO, we were treated, not only to front row, they also played Love Song which I had requested on Twitter. Whether that’s the reason they decided to add it to the set list or not, who cares? They played it and it was Goosebump-worship-time!

This was the next best thing to being in front row. Just sayin’.

God of Wonders with Matt Maher!

As if I had not been spoiled enough, there was an after-show acoustic concert with Nigel (he sure knows what to do with a harmonica), Matt Maher, Trevor Morgan and Mac.  It was incredible! I got a feeling, alright: that I’m God’s favorite. Have I mentioned that?

Third Day rocked the house. But more than that, I was lost in worship during this concert. The fellowship, singing and dancing – that’s what I was needing after being over-extended and overwhelmed for way too long. God knew that. I “had a feeling” He knew what I needed.

If you’ve never been to a Third Day concert, you don’t know what you’re missing. You also have to go to at least one to be qualified to make fun of how psycho us Gomers are about our band. Then…you’ll be one of us and find yourself making fun of yourself for being so psycho! Besides….

I got a feeling we’re going to have a fantabulous time in Raleigh when we gather with  Gomers for a big partay! (FYI for those not in the know, I Got a Feeling is a Third Day song, just in case you didn’t figure that out.)

What’s not shared is lost,


I was on very important business…..

So we had to close our kitchen today.  When you own your own little business, you do watcha gotta do. I had to drive 3 hours north to get Jillian who had been staying with sister, Corinne, so she could babysit for Valentine’s. And do Corinne’s nails. And do Corinne’s hair. You get the idea. Corinne & SIL needed a date so we parted with Jillian for a few days. Ben & Judah went with me on our little adventure. It was a short visit but delightful, just the same.

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On the way home we stopped at The Apple Dumplin’ Inn (do visit – gift shop is amazing – take money) and treated them to ….well, Apple Dumplings. The best…ever. Take money.

On the way home, somehow I let the GPS with the Australian accent take me away from my intended “path home” and take me toward the “back way.” “Drive 2.5 miles and turn on County Road 1200.” Whatever!  I was so mad at that Aussie dude. I knew how to get home! Why did I have that on anyway? Stupid GPS. I turned it off and, using my amazing sense of direction, got us back on track, no thanks to Crocodile Dundee.

Yep, I was gone on very important business….

What’s not shared is lost,


Love Potion

I thought I better get this out before it’s too late in the day for you to go get supplies. A family Valentine tradition our family enjoys (and for which I have been in trouble for when forgetting previous years) is Love Potion. It’s easy, it’s tasty and it’s pink.

What you need:

  • Raspberry Sherbet
  • Pink Lemonade
  • Sprite or 7-Up
  • Pretty glasses
  • Crazy straws

This is very complicated so pay attention: Place a scoop or two of sherbet in the pretty glass. Fill 1/2-full with pink lemonade. Fill the rest of the way with your sody pop. There you have it. The straw makes it more fun. Kids love this, it’s yummy and just one little thing we can do to make the day more special. We also make pink, heart-shaped pancakes. What Valentine traditions do you have? Please share!

What’s not shared is lost,


Baby Gamer

Baby Gamer

The not-yet-2-year-old pushed a chair up to the buffet, turned on the sorry excuse for a TV, then turned on the PlayStation controller. And just to make sure we knew he meant business, he managed to turn on Modern Warfare 2. (Don’t worry – he didn’t play it.) We are in so much trouble. That’s the news for today. It made me laugh…then sigh…then roll my eyes….then tremble in fear and trepidation….

Even Isaiah was impressed with Seth's geekiness...

What’s not shared is lost,


A Day in the Life

Folks are always asking, “How do you do it?” Every once in a while, I think to jot day the ins and outs of my day. Much of it is a blur but here are the highlights of my day:

5am Seth woke up, curled up with him on the couch with his bottle, we both fell asleep. Usually, he stays awake and he helps with my work-out then eats a “pre-breakfast snack” while I read my Bible, start laundry, check email and check in on my social networking, etc.  Isaiah and Isabelle are also early risers and keep me on my toes. I have them get dressed  and help me with laundry then start chores. Tuesday is a crazy bad day for me to not be up and at ’em! I have to pick up shop groceries and get specials going. But cuddling with Seth and sleeping a bit (for a change) was refreshing.

8am-ish THAT is sleeping in! At least on a work/school day. I believe it was Jillian who woke me up. We kicked it gear, chores, breakfast, quick devotion, Jillian and Benjamin (with school packed) headed off to get started at the shop. I try to plan ahead but some weeks, like the last, exasperaggravates (my word, feel free to use it)  my O.P.D. (Obsessive Procrastination Disorder). So specials were planned on the fly this morning: Apple Tuna Salad Croissant & Barley Cheese Soup. I threw together a grocery list and flew to Meijer then off to the kitchen. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Natalie oversaw K.P. and kicked off school.

10am-ish Arrived at the Panache Kitchen and when I arrived, Jillian had the Almond Coconut Brownies done and she and Jacob, “adopted” son who helps at times,  were putting the finishing touches on the Chocolate-drizzled Peanut Butter Cookies (decorated for fall). 

10-ish is pretty late to get started on soup but we don’t have that many folks come in for lunch so we don’t fret about having everything “ready” as much as we use to. They were on that as I left. I took off to drop off a package at the post office, return You Know My Name (starring a favorite of mine, Sam Elliott – I recommend) and picked up some NCIS (For those that don’t know us, we don’t receive any broadcast TV or cable so rely on DVDs for R & R ).

After zooming home, I started laundry, returned some business calls,  then commenced reading lessons for the small fries and did some spelling. After lunch (and more laundry), Natalie, Judah, Autumn, Isabelle & I headed back to the kitchen, picked up Jacob, then went to homeschool art lessons. I enjoyed some wonderful visiting with the other moms.

Art lessons finished, we went home for a “rush meal” of Hot Pockets and carrot sticks. Yes, you read that right, the “homecooked meal” people eats that stuff. You do what you have to do. On Tuesdays when half the clan has art then the other half has Civil Air Patrol in the evening, that’s what we have to do (usually, it’s pizza).  Craig arrived home somewhere around here.

CAP peeps off, we cleaned up, did more laundry,baths, got kids ready for bed, read stories, put small fries to bed, then sat down to NCIS, blogging and now I’m going to crash and burn.

There you have it, a sampling of one of my days.  Let me know if it makes you as tired as it makes me.
Let’s hear it for coffee!!

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:12

What’s not shared is lost,


Prayer for my Children

Father God,

I ask that You strengthen the minds of our children. empower with Godly discernment, intuition and wisdom. Give them strong minds with healthy thoughts, a love of learning and a thirst for Your Word.

In Jesus,


Seussical the Musical Cake

Some of our favorite cakes to make, if not our very favorite, are cast party cakes for Richmond Civic Theatre. We learned a long time ago that if you can put just a bit of a person’s character, whether real character or onstage character, onto a cake, that person is SO tickled.  Whether it’s a person’s favorite color, sport, flower, whatever it is, a ninety-year-old turns into a little kid. It’s a “simple gesture” but blesses folks so we try to incorporate something that will bring that smile whenever possible.

One of our earlier attempts at trying to get as many characters from a play onto a cake was Alice in Wonderland. It was a sheet cake and, though the kids got a huge kick at seeing themselves on the cake, it was way too busy. We vowed to be more tasteful after that.

Dr. Seuss screams busy and it was a hoot getting to do a cake with so much going on.  Seussical the Musical was filled with so many sets, characters and stories and we tried to fit as much of the play on the cake without being obnoxious.

We have a pretty good Creative Team here at Fechers’ Panache. We start ’em early! And they love it!

Autumn working on Whoville

Don’t freak. It’s a dull knife used for fondant cutting, etc.

 One of our signature “extras” is hiding a message  or picture under the cake.  We forgot to take a pic before doing the cake so this is after the cake was served so excuse the chocolate crumbs.
To do this just use tissue paper or wrapping paper, glue or tape your picture or message then cover with food-grade cellophane. I also use a fine-tip sharpie to place an inconspicuous dot on the side of the board at the back so that when I decorate,  the picture or message is facing forward when served.

The tub, fish and McElligot’s Pool


Whoville (and the field of clover covers the bottom layer, of course)

The Thinks

The Jungle of Nool

Circus McGurkus

Horton’s Egg

JoJo and the Cat in the Hat

And my favorite Who, Lenae . :o)

What’s not shared is lost,


2 Weeks until Third Day!!!

Moi with Jillian, Natalie & Lenae at a Third Day concert in 2006

Moi with Jillian, Natalie & Lenae at a Third Day concert in 2006

So I posted on Facebook and Twitter that I observed on my calendar that I will be at the Indianapolis Third Day Concert and meeting the band in two weeks! I am SO jazzed. A friend asked how we are able to meet the band. This is the answer we concocted: “My brother’s girlfriend’s sister-in-law’s aunt went to school with Tai Anderson’s brother’s barber’s sister.” The truth is, I am Wired. The whole family is. Meaning Craig bought me a membership to the coolest fan club ever and threw the family in to boot. SO, we get to sign up for any and all Meet and Greets we want to, we get to take advantage of pre-sale tickets, discounts in the Third Day store, etc. The sad thing is I’ve been waiting for years to join and even longer for my own Gomer shirt. Every holiday and birthday: “Mom, what would you like for Christmas?” Answer: “The newest Third Day CD and a Gomer shirt.” “Michelle, what would you like for your birthday?” “The newest Third Day CD and a Gomer shirt.” The wait made me appreciate my lovely orange shirt ever so much, but this is the last year for Wired! I could have been hanging with the band but, NO, we had to be frugal. Okay, I’m being pathetic. Libya is in the midst of mayhem, New Zealand has had an earthquake. I’m whining about Wired ending after this year. Attitude check: check. Grateful for wonderful gift from DH: check. Contentment reinstated: check. Totally ecstatic to be seeing Third Day after going through concert withdrawal the past 2 ½ years: check, check, check!

It’s all good,