Category Archives: Zookeeping 101

It’s a jungle out there! But a well-maintained zoo offers protection from the jungle, adventures, learning opportunities, beauty, and well-fed, healthy critters, a many happy visitors eager to return.

39.95 plus shipping and handling

“I have decided that I am not a 40 something. I am 39.95, plus shipping and handling.” That was one of my tweets today on this, my 45th birthday.  It’s also Thursday which anyone on social media should know is Throw Back Thursday #tbt.  SO, having  a birthday that ushers me further away from 40 and closer to, gulp, 50 ON Throw Back Thursday is just asking for sentimental notions, denial and a midlife crisis.  We see our kids turn 10 and we say, “Oh, they grow so fast!”  I see me turn 45 and I’m thinking, “Where did the time go?”

baby me

TODDLER me

Holy cow.

There’s a saying that goes “You don’t stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing.”  Add that to one of my responses to inquiries about the number of children we have, “They keep me young,” and we have a formula for a fountain of youth.  Now that grandbabies have entered the scene, there will be no end to my shenanigans!

It’s been through being a mom that I have, quite serendipitously, re-discovered my “inner youth” and have tried to get it right this go ‘round. For example, when I was a school-girl, I would bring home those arts and crafts books from the school library, look at all the cool projects I wanted to tackle then promptly NOT make a single one of them.

school girl me

This school girl here. The 70s, the height of fashion….

 I believe that was due to my serious lack of self confidence…among other things. Then comes along the Fecher kids

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who don’t know they’re supposed to be intimidated by trying new things, have creativity and talent oozing out of their ears and I’m a new woman…girl. They have been contagious.  Now, when I get on Pinterest, I see a project I want to attack, make a supply list and the next thing we know,  the kids are asking each other, “Why is Mom painting clothespins?” (True story).  I have a refreshed appetite for adventure, travel, friends, creativity and play.

I also have a constant reminder of what child-like faith looks like.  I get stressed out.  But something has been reprogrammed in me that keeps the worry at bay. Like a kid, I see and feel God taking care of me and I know that even when there’s absolutely no money available for business bills, God will come through somehow and I watch and wait for it. I get antsy when bills are past due or I don’t get a much-needed catering job. I fret when a child is injured or sick or when the youth of our household make less-than-ideal decisions (we’ve had open discussions about how people are all stupid, us included, and this expected). But each time I venture into “worry-land,” the “que sera sera” comes over me like a wave.  Kids love anticipation. I do, too. Something the kids have taught me is that the problems that normally cause worry should create anticipation for what God will do.  I wish I could remember which Christian speaker it was that I heard talk about problems. (If you know who this is, let me know). He said, “All God’s people got problems. If you don’t have a problem, you come forward and we’ll lay hands on you and pray God gives you a problem. Because if you want to see a miracle, first you gotta have a problem! You can’t have a miracle without a problem!”

One of my mantras is “Never a dull moment!”  Big family + new season of grandbabies +a business = problems-a-plenty or, what we affectionately call them, “growth opportunities.” Also opportunities for miracles. Never a dull moment.

I’m looking forward, with anticipation, to another year of growth opportunities…and miracles. :o)

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

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The last time I saw myself I was either coming or going…

One would think with being told by the doctor to stay off of my feet for at least two weeks that I would have been able to catch up on my blog before now. I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on blogging to give myself some motivation but that hasn’t made any posts magically appear. I keep thinking that once I catch my breath, I’ll write something. Who am I kidding? I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon. And while I’ve been waiting for that “spare” moment to happen, SO many events have transpired that I have failed to journal while in the moment. I’m not getting any younger; I’m not going to remember things unless I write it down, take a picture (or 10) or there is some sort of food that’s part of the event that will create a dendrite in my brain that will stir up the memory when I get a whiff of said food at a later date. I have blogged about my not blogging before. I probably will again. I need to write and it’s extremely frustrating when I don’t. There’s also something to be said for “use it or lose it.” There was a time when I could write rather well without it being a struggle. For example, that last sentence took me about 5 episodes of backspacing until I was satisfied with the wording.  Good grief.

I have a ton of pictures I want to post, cakes I want to display, stories to tell and, eventually, recipes to share. I heard someone once say that if you haven’t given up, you haven’t failed so here I am again. I’m at it again and I’m making an effort to be organized and set a time to write even if I don’t post.

That being said, here’s a “brief” description of the whirlwind that has transpired in our family since the end of May:

  • I “possibly” tore a tendon and/or ligament in my foot and “possibly” broke a toe carrying my toddler to bed at 3 in the morning
  • My sons dug out my crutches so I could hobble about
  • I had to go for x-rays the day before 2 graduation cakes needed to be done so Natalie and Noah started the cakes and icing while I headed to Eaton, Ohio for my doctor appointment with Isabelle as my helper. I took her for lunch, waited for the downpour to let up, then headed to Dayton for fondant as we did not have enough for both cakes and didn’t have time to order any.
  • MEANWHILE, back at the ranch, my boys are digging through closets and our storage shed to find my walking cast so I can work on the cakes the next day (even though I was supposed to get off of the foot ASAP)
  • My oldest who was due May 29 went into labor that night
  • Grandbaby #2 Rosemarie Lee was born June 1, 7:17a.m. Praise the Lord!
  • However, instead of heading off to see my new grandbaby, I had to go to our catering kitchen and finish cakes with Natalie and Noah. Natalie had to leave for an interview, came back to help some more then had to go to the theatre for play rehearsal.  I love doing cakes and I love our clients but that was not where I wanted to be that day. Plus, I was in excruciating pain (which made me a tad grumpy but Noah was a good sport, I must say). I confess my heart was not in it and I did not do as good of a job and I normally would have. :o(
  • FINALLY…Noah and I met up with the rest of the family at the hospital to FINALLY hold my new grandbaby and see my firstborn on her first day as a mommy. Talk about overwhelming…..
  • Went back the next day, hobbling on crutches, to see my grandbaby. By that night, my foot and ankle were pretty sore and pretty swollen.
  • SO…the rest of the week, I tried to be a good girl and sat with my foot up. Anyone who knows me knows I like to keep busy. This has not been easy! I kept the kiddos busy with school, cleaning missions and laundry while Natalie covered the shop all week AND had rehearsals for the play she was in.
  • Jump to this past Thursday, my daughter, Corinne, called to let me know she was coming into town early. She and her husband had already planned on coming in this weekend to see her first niece but Josh was informed that he might be working Saturday but they would not be able to let him know until Saturday SO…inhale…Corinne decided to pack her and Autumn Rose up and head on down to stay for a long weekend. YAY!
  • Meanwhile, back at the catering kitchen, Natalie and Noah were to the rescue again by starting a cupcake order.
  • Always the one to be obedient to doctor’s orders, the kids and I met up with Corinne to visit with Lenae and the new baby. (We’re on Friday at this point. Are you keeping up?)
  • Saturday A.M., I went in with Noah for the cupcake pick up.
  • Headed home but stopped for pork loin and sides to take to Grandpa’s for family get-together. Again, “staying off my feet.” Hobble, hobble….
  • Loaded up The Great White and ventured to Grandpa’s to visit with the grandbabies (and their parents and Grandpa). (Natalie could not join us as it was performance night for the play!)
  • I’d like to interject that I had Benjamin throw together a rub for the pork that was outstanding, I must say.
  • Natalie and Jillian left to pick up their BFF, Noah, and head to Richmond Civic Theatre where Corinne, Ben, Noah and I joined them to watch their production of The Tempest by William Shakespeare. Natalie was “Iris”, a sassy spirit. The play was fantastic as was Natalie. Proud mama.
  • MEANWHILE, Craig hauled everyone back home including Grandbaby #1.
  • Sunday… we slept in. Kids scrounged up pancakes and Corinne procrastinated about heading home. She was anxious to get home to her hubby but didn’t want to leave at the same time. It was a sweet visit and I’m glad she came early. My Autumn and her Autumn, though, have become pretty tight and I’m not sure how long they can go…she did say they might come visit again, soon, because Josh didn’t get to see the baby! We shall see…

So…this is a “quick” rundown of the past 10 ..T-E-N ..days of my life. A lot was left out! SO…somewhere in this…I passed myself coming or going….

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Less Miserable

1-DSC04403Last year, Richmond Civic Theatre announced that it was one of a handful of community theatres that did not miss the opportunity to nab performance rights to oh, I can’t stand it….Les Miserables.  Ever since, I have been trying to contain my “estaticness” and resist the temptation to act as crazy as some of my theatre friends who have Instagrammed, Twittered & Facebooked all manner of fanaticism since before  the movie was released in December. Y’all are ridiculous. And I love it! I have been preparing myself mentally to audition for Madam Thenardier. I know I can sing the part (I sound fantastic in the van) and the character would be a blast to play!  People who know me know I would have fun with it.  I purchased my soundtrack CD, picked up audition materials, YouTubed the piece to rehearse and wrote audition dates on the calendar. This was going to be a once in a lifetime thang, ya know?

As the audition dates have approached, I began to feel conflicted and wasn’t sure why. I’m not afraid of auditioning. I’ve done it before, had fun, got a part, had a blast with Pirates of Penzance! I’m ready to do it again.  Recently, I was listening to my Les Mis soundtrack and the youngsters were around so I skipped “Master of the House” because it has “bad words.” It hit me that, even if I were to get the part of Madam Thenardier, my little kids would not be able to see me in the play because of language and heaviness of subject matter and, if they were to see it, I would have to justify to them why it’s okay for mommy to use “bad words” simply because they are being sung and fit the character.  Wow. What was I thinking? True, the language suits the character but it doesn’t suit mine. Another time last week, little 3 year old Seth was sitting on my lap in the evening, as he usually does, and the thought hit me that I would be missing several months of our evening routine of cuddling. No biggie to the theatre or the rest of the world but it means everything to Seth in the evening. Especially since we started our catering business, I have to be gone sometimes during the day. Then it was time for lullabies. Seth likes to hear the one I wrote for him, “Teach Me Lord” or “Deep, Deep” then his lullaby is followed by Isaiah’s regular, “Amazing Grace.”  That, too, would not be happening for awhile as I know a rigorous rehearsal schedule is in store for those who get parts.  Then there’s the hilarity that emanates from the kitchen when the kids are doing dishes in the evening or my huge homeschooling, business-owning, catering to-do list. BUT, I’ve been telling myself, this is a once in a lifetime chance!

It was from the deep recesses of my mind that that phrase re-emerged from the past. I heard it on TV. It was Regis and Kathy Lee.  Yes, I used to watch the show on occasion. On one particular show, Kathy Lee was talking about how she was going to be hosting the Miss America or some other Pageant and, in order to fit the dress she wanted to wear, she was weaning her baby. Say wha? She was weaning her baby to fit a dress. Why? Her words still ring in my ear; “It’s a once in a lifetime chance.” I remember thinking, “Isn’t being your baby’s mommy a once in a lifetime chance?” So here I am, struggling with my once in a lifetimes, looking at each of them and, while I think working with the people at the theatre is fabulous, my little ones are precious and I have to be away from them enough as it is when we cater. I was able to do a play before because we didn’t own a business…that changes things quite a bit!

SO, I will be excited for my friends who get parts and I will continue to wear out my soundtrack. I will help with costumes and come see the play in August (as should everyone else) and I KNOW it will be fantastic! But I will be passing this round. I was feeling a tad miserable over missing out, but then I remembered what I would be missing out on if I didn’t miss out on Les Miserables and then some of us would really be miserable. Did you get all that? BUT, theatre peeps, please hold off on Fiddler on the Roof for a few years because I have sworn to my family that I WILL BE GOLDE!!! Well, I want to at least try. :o)

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

UPDATE: If I sound over-confident about getting the part of Mdm. Thenardier, it’s only because I’m not auditioning. IF I were, in fact, auditioning, I know good and well that the odds of getting a major role are slim (I not that cocky). I believe in shooting for the stars so as hit the moon. In this case the moon being the probable role of a whore (as listed in the audition materials) and then I’m back to my little kids asking, “Mommy, what role did you get?” “I’m a whore.” “Mommy, what’s a whore?” Sigh…Sound of Music is next..maybe I could be a Nazi…that would fun to try to explain, too…

Praying for our Kiddos

NOBODY else loves our kids the way we do. Of course, God loves them more but I’m talking in the human realm. NOBODY knows our kids like we do and in many cases, we know them better than they know themselves (especially when they’re young). NOBODY can or will pray for our children the way we can.  It’s easy to get busy and forget but our children need us praying for them from the time we know they’re there to pray for.  I have a morning routine that includes pulling out my prayer journal that’s only purpose is to jot down my prayers for my children (I do have another one for general prayers but this is just for my kids). I do this to help hold me accountable. I know one day, at least one of my kids is going to get a hold of these journals (if you start this, you’ll go through several) and I don’t want them finding skipped dates. They will, though. I get into funks like everyone else. If I have a breakfast catering gig and have to get up at 4:30 am, I don’t sit down with coffee and my Bible – I run out the door inhaling coffee through my nose and putting mascara on at stoplights. SO, there are MANY times I fail to pray deliberately.

I’ve taught myself, since I know those days are going to happen, to give myself visual cues to remind me-self to pray for my kids throughout the day: The Speed Limit 70 sign reminds me to pray for their safety, the bars remind me to pray they will stay from temptation and for their choice of future spouse! You can pick your own but you get the idea.

When I am able to sit with my journal, I pray either according to what’s going on in their lives, what’s going on in the world or I use a prayer guide I picked up from a church some time ago but it’s hard to come by. It’s called the Holy Spirit Helps Us Pray for our Children by Charlotte Parker.  I found some newer versions on Amazon and Abe Books. It’s 31 days of prayers and some are kind of wordy. I break it down and either pray one of the Scriptures over my kids and/or just one of the areas listed. You can get a book like that OR Tom Harmon has a simple list for praying over your children.  You can get a WHOLE bunch of other stuff at his website and I highly recommend you add him to your favorites, GO hear him speak and read anything he has written.

Anyhoo, here’s his list:

I have conveniently linked the above image of his list to his website so you can cruise on over there after you’re done here with very little effort. You’re welcome.

Pray for your kids. Pray for your grandchildren. Pray for your children-in-law. Pray for the family you will never meet.

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

 

Simple but brilliant ideas that make me feel stupid that I didn’t think of them.

 

 

I found this on accident but the original site had ucky stuff on it so I didn’t just want to send y’all there. SO, I’m posting it. Sue me. (original site is credited below). But’s these are GREAT ideas. I’m finally getting around to  a Tips Tuesday post and I can’t even take credit for it. Lame. Worth sharing, nevertheless.

In this case, even if I didn’t share it, I’m sure it wouldn’t be lost because it’s on the internet somewhere but I didn’t want to keep this to myself. 🙂

Michelle

Make Your Home a Haven Challenge

I just wanted to take a minute and share this challenge with the ladies. It’s from the Women Living Well Blog and I’m going to take a breath once a week to do this. I thought maybe someone else out there would like to as well. Just click on the button and you’ll be magically transported to the challenge.

 

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

On The Road Again…

One thing that is consistent in this blog is its randomness. We now jump from spiritual truths that convict me to our trip to Spring Creek, Pennsylvania. We left Friday to meet up with friends in Springfield, Ohio then caravaned (is that a word?) to Miracle Mountain Ranch for our 3rd Family Camp. I just wanted to share a few pics before I crash ‘n’ burn.

First, we have the seating chart. This is necessary as personalities and small-fry needs all have to be taken into consideration for a 7-9 hour road trip. We have a regular seating arrangement for every day (which changes as the kids grow…and new kids are added….) but a long trip becomes even longer if we don’t think this through!

OH, how I wish we could have decked out the Great White Beast to look like our guys’ dream van. (I later noticed our seating chart had items added to the empty seats like “Ammo.”)

Isaiah, the 5 y.o., asked every day, “How many more days til we leave?” So, Nat put this little countdown on our wipe-off board. X marks the spot and the arrow showed him how close we were getting. He took me to the board each day to inform me of “how many more days.” We learned a long time ago, anticipation is part of the adventure! Play it up!

It’s the day! And…we’re off!

This is our catering trailer. Guess what it used to be used for. Three guesses, first two don’t count. The plan is to paint it some day with our logo, etc. Natalie said we should just change our name to “Harley Davidson Catering” because the trailer is so cool.

And….we’re off! It’s tradition – I take a “we’re on a road trip” pic and see if I can fit everyone in. NOT easy.

Do-over – some people like to ham it up.

Lunchtime! Does anybody else remember how nasty and rundown rest areas used to be? We’re talking outhouse smells. Most are so nice, now! Anyhoo, our three families took over this picnic area.

And does anyone else just chuck sanitation standards out the door when having a picnic? Clean the table first? Why? No need – it’s a picnic. Wash hands? What? And ruin the experience? I think there’s a chance I have a slight case of germaphobia. I  once thought I had O.C.D. but I actually have C.D.O because O.C.D. isn’t in alphabetical order.

Playtime!!

SO,  this only brings us to lunchtime on Friday. I will stop here and leave you wondering, “What did they eat for dinner? Did they get to the ranch before sundown? Did they, in a 15-passenger van hauling a trailer, pass a Black 2012 Ferrari ? No pics were taken so I’ll just answer that – yes…yes, we did. As did our friends, also driving a 15-passenger. (We’re pretty sure the driver of said Ferrari was shamed and decided to speed up and pass us. Ferraris should never be driven in the right lane. Just sayin’.)

I’ll try to get back with more of Fecher Family Adventures after this “short” break for sleeping, eating, laundry, phone calling, menu-planning, lesson-planning, finishing unpacking, etc.

What’s not shared is lost,
Michelle

Gorgeous Wall Treatment

This is the first time I’ve been so impressed with an idea on Pinterest that I had

to post it. Inspired by artwork made with metal, you can use a canvas, apply

stickers, decals, etc., and spray paint. Remove decals; hang white or colored

lights behind it….this is wicked awesome! This would be so incredible to do in a

cafe! While these look very elegant, I’m seeing the possibilities with whimsical

   themes or even a “rock & roll” feel. Very cool. Don’t stop here – go to the

website to see the other examples and how-to suggestions in the comments on

the site. Enjoy!

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,

Michelle

Photo & Video Scrapbooking

I feel so geeky. I came up with this here idea and if it’s already been done, don’t tell me because I’m feeling all smart and stuff. If it hasn’t been suggested before, you’re welcome.

I love digital scrapbooking. It’s fast. It’s easy. It’s fun.  The thought occurred to me that it would be way-cool to have a smart phone, which I don’t, and, while looking through a digital album, be able to watch the videos that go with the story in the album by scanning QR codes on the album pages with that phone I don’t have.

BUT, if you have a smart phone and digital scrapbook, you can enjoy this lovely memory-keeping luxury.

QR stands for Quick Response and I know you’ve seen QR Codes on bill boards, in magazines, on business cards, etc. and they look like this:

This particular QR Code takes you to the YouTube video, “Is Anybody Cuter Than Seth?”

I found a couple of QR Code Generators you can use so you, too, can place a link to your YouTube videos in your scrapbooks. The first one is Smarty Tags and is what I used to generate the above QR Code. It was SO simple. Again, you’re welcome. The other one is Kaywa and is just as simple. Copy and paste the link, click, voila – you have your code. Download your code then you’re ready to add it to your scrapbook page.

FYI, I use Storybook Creator 4.0 for my album-making. I made the following page on Storybook Creator and I just grabbed the first page I came to so the video link is a little misplaced as it’s from January 2010 and Seth wasn’t born until the next month but I just wanted to give you an idea of how you could use this.

You could label the Code, if desired. You could have a page set up comic book style that’s one QR Code after another. There are so many possibilities! You could make a digital cookbook and add how-to videos. Gift albums for grandparents would, of course, include videos from the grandkids. I’m hoping that I will be starting an album for a special group of people with thank you messages from folks from all over the country (and from a few other places) scattered throughout the album. A wedding album would have all those well wishes included throughout the candid pages. Or a simple miss you message at the end of an album sent to a loved one serving in the military abroad. You just got choked up at the thought, didn’t you?

I hope you’re inspired. Like I said, I was feeling all clever and stuff and thought you might enjoy playing with this little idea. Enjoy!

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle