Fire And Light Productions – Where Kids Thrive and the Stage Shines!

Fire And Light Productions – Where Kids Thrive and the Stage Shines!

After watching the very first play performance that my kids were in with Fire and Light Productions, I said to my husband,

“I wish everyone knew that this kind of family entertainment was right here, in their own backyard.”

If I didn’t know this opportunity existed, both for my kids to learn dramatic arts, and for the great theater enjoyment it provides, I would surely want someone to tell me, so Forti-fy is broadcasting the news!

What is Fire and Light?

Fire and Light Productions is a faith-based theater and production company created to engage and inspire a love of the human story among audiences and artists.

Fire and Light Productions began as a youth theatre club in October 2010. It has grown from about 35 kids doing skits in a church basement (sans costumes, sets and technical equipment), to a troupe of more than 100 actors, ages 8-18, performing six productions a year.

Founder Lisa Ellis, would want you to know that Fire & Light Academy is more than just a theater program; she considers it a ministry. “As our troupe portrays a story, we steal a glimpse at another person’s perspective and walk of life.”

Some of the shows that Fire and Light has put on over the past several years include; Beauty and the Beast,  Pippi Longstocking, Pride and Prejudice, Cinderella, Korczak’s Children,  Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Tuck Everlasting, The Butler Did It, Tom Sawyer, 42 Street and Annie…just to name a few!
So, as a mom, why would you be interested in Fire and Light for your child?

Well, if you have a “theater kid” that is an easy answer! Fire and Light provides a wonderful venue for your child to develop in their acting abilities, and really learn dramatic arts. All the directors take the art of “story telling’ seriously, and as such, fervently train your kids to make those stories come alive. Kids whose goal is to learn more and grow in their abilities will definitely meet those goals in the program. Students are educated in voice, stage movement, character development and dance.

And if you don’t have a theater kid? This is what is really interesting. I have seen siblings of kids whose brother or sister is in a show, become really engaged in what they see – where they are actually willing to try it out. Whereas if they had never been exposed to theater, they would say it was the last thing they would ever want to do. And yet, those are the same kids that once they get involved, are trying out for a major role after just a short time in the program.

But again, the beauty of the program is that there is a place for everyone. Maybe you have a child who is artistic and likes to paint or build sets, or perhaps likes tech support, costuming, or make-up. Before you know it, your once reserved child has found a niche and found out they actually love theater!

As a member who lives in the community, why would you be interested in Fire in Light?

Because of the great entertainment it provides! Every season, there really is something for everyone – young and old! Grab a friend, or a group of friends, and hangout doing something different – watching live theater! If you are a parent, take the whole family out for an enjoyable night of recreation. If you are a grandparent, spend a fun afternoon or evening watching a show with your grandchild – perhaps grab dinner or a treat before or after the show – make a memory of it!

Check out Fire and Light Productions 2019-2020 Line Up!

Click on each performance for ticket information.

Would you like a taste of what Fire and Light is all about? Come and take a sneak peak behind the scenes!

Friday, November 8, 2019 at 1 PM – 3 PM Bethlehem Lutheran Church 3705 S. Anthony Blvd, Fort Wayne

You can watch rehearsals, talk with staff and even register for the Spring Semester.

Fire and Light Spring Productions will be Frozen Jr. (Elementary/Middle School) on April 3 & 4 and

Newsies (High School) on May 15 & 16!

Don’t miss out on the fun. Fire and Light will take up to 8 new students for spring!

(And you know what – Fire and Light is made up of almost all volunteer moms – great forti-fyers!) cool

Who Gets Wine Headaches? Me!!!

Who Gets Wine Headaches? Me!!!

Or at least I used to.

In February I had given up on wine, tired of the headaches, congestion, stomach issues and more.  I knew a glass of wine just wasn’t worth it, and resolved myself to only have it a couple times a year on special occasions.  It probably shouldn’t have made me sad, but it did.

There was just something so charming and picturesque about sharing a bottle of wine with friends or my husband to celebrate, commune, or even just to unwind.  It was just one more thing I was having to give up due to intolerance ( I had long since given up on gluten, sugar and most dairy.) I was disappointed.

I stumbled across Scout & Cellar from a holistic group I belong to.  When I read the claims made about mass produced wines and their contents, I was shocked (and skeptical).

A quick search on the internet uncovers tons of articles containing the same information I was seeing there…..that most wines contain TONS of additives such as: gluten, sugar, fish bladders, egg whites, high amounts of sulfites, pesticides and on and on.  Even wines claiming to be organic aren’t always. There’s not a ton of regulation on wines here in the states, and so it was no surprise to me that all this was done without warning labels.  It’s no wonder so many people (especially women over 30) all of a sudden can no longer tolerate wine…our bodies are tired of the junk and looking for something healthier! When I tried their wines, I was still skeptical, but was quickly amazed….No Side Effects! Not after the first glass (or others) and nothing the next day!  You see, our wines come from many different, small, family owned wineries across the world that are committed to growing grapes and making wine organically and bio-dynamically.

I was hooked, but the kicker was when my husband turned to me and said, “Wouldn’t this be fun to do together?”  So that’s what we’ve been doing…we do wine tastings and other events together and have a great time. If you’d like to learn more about this tasty, organic, Keto friendly wine, I’m your girl!

Like to try before you buy? Call or message me to set up a tasting (free of charge to you) to try several different wines.

Aimee’ Penn

Associate Manager

Scout & Cellar Independent Wine Consultant

Phone: 260-312-4248 Email:

BRAVAS – Have you heard of it?

BRAVAS – Have you heard of it?

A few weeks ago Heather posted this on her FB page:

“Ambia introduced me to the @bravasfood caramel apple burger, and while I was apprehensive, it was AMAZING-and they have gluten free buns to boot!”

So I asked her a little more about Bravas and this is what she said:

Bravas started as a food truck and has a free standing location down on Fairfield (next to the old original Casa D’Angelos building). They are local and farm to table with a menu that adds seasonal flavored burgers.

In the fall, they offer a caramel apple burger, which in all honesty, I was not excited to try. My dear friend, Ambia, said we were having them. Period. I honestly think I could even have just gone for the Bravas Patatas with their special aioli. Back to the burger…I ordered a gluten free bun with my burger, and it was, indeed, marvelous. Fresh local apples, bacon, and a homemade caramel sauce-y kind-of-thing, plus an amazing hamburger. So so good. Ambia was lucky enough that her husband wanted to go back there for dinner that night, so she ate two in one day.”

Bravas isn’t about a cool atmosphere, it is just a basic walk-up-to-the-counter and order, then sit at picnic tables, kind of place. The food is so worth it though!

Bravas has both a food truck and a brick and mortar location. This summer they had a food truck at the Barr Street Market on the Saturday morning during the Three Rivers Festival. Isaiah and I ran the “Runners on Parade” 5k that morning, and I had a Bravas patatas poutine with egg after the race. Ah-mazing!

Here is some info from their website:

Bravas got its start in 2011 with a specialty hotdog cart on the streets in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The goal from the beginning was to offer something new, but to do it with only hotdogs. The cart would travel downtown to One Summit Square for lunch and hit The Landing for the late night bar scene on the weekends. The feedback through social media was overwhelmingly positive and in 2012 the brother/sister duo of Bo and Becky Gonzalez worked on the food truck concept.

In late 2012, Bo crossed paths with Zach Croy who shared the same vision about what food trucks and restaurants should be. Zach, who trained at the New England Culinary Institute, was working at Josph Decuis when he left to work full time at Bravas. Zach took on the culinary side of things, launching multiple Dogs of the Week and creating Burger Nights which eventually led to the creation of our first restaurant. To this date we have created over 50 different hotdog stylings and over 30 different burgers. The list will continue to grow.

Now in 2015, we have our Specialty Burger Joint at 3412 Fairfield Avenue where we explore a different realm of the culinary world. We butcher, cure and grind all of our burger meat in house. Controlling every stage of the process to ensure the best quality. This process is timely and takes up to three full days. The end product is a super tender burger with extreme flavor. Literally the only thing we use to season our burgers is salt. Salt and time.

We still operate our Hot Dog Cart and Food Truck seasonally from April through November with the same menu we got our start with. Only now, we also have a permanent home base in the 46807 neighborhood. We are extremely grateful for the support Fort Wayne has shown our company. We have a passion for this thriving city and look forward to doing our part in revitalizing Fort Wayne.

From Fort review:

“Three constant burgers stay on the chalkboard menu: The Classic, featuring lettuce, tomato, onion and jalapeño remoulade; the Bravas Burger, featuring chili, fries, bravas sauce and provolone cheese; and the PB, a burger with peanut butter, peppers and white cheddar. The truly unique Caramel Apple burger, sadly, only appears in the fall. Yes, you read that right: Gonzales invented a burger topped with bacon, pickled green apples, white cheddar and caramel sauce. It sounds weird, but it tastes heavenly. And vegetarians should stop by for his house-made veggie burgers, made with roasted mushrooms, kidney beans, tofu, beets and cashews, along with a special spice blend.”

  Click below to see their full menu:

3412 Fairfield Ave. Fort Wayne, Indiana (260) 745-7002 Hours: Tues.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

If you are interested, I found this article on Bravas’ “back story”.

I am pretty sure I know where my husband and I are going this weekend! wink

Lots of different activities happening around the area this weekend to forti-fy you and your family!

There are still a few Farmer’s Markets you can catch yet:

There is a MASSIVE amount of activity  – 40 different events – going on all day this Saturday!

Click here for all the details.

The Kuehnert Dairy Fall Festival will run for seven weeks, with the opening day on September 13th, 2019 , and continued through October 27th, 2019. Admission includes all activities on the farm including: visiting the freestall barn, where the cows spend their time and eat; learning how baby calves are cared for; view modern farm machinery and watch robotic technology milking the cows! Activities included dairy cows, baby calves, 5-acre Corn Maze, Straw Mountain, Corn Pit Play Area, Cornhole Games, Tile Swing, Holy Cow Football, Pumpkin Checkers, Moo-go-Round, Tether Ball, Milk Bottle Bowling, Nutrition Stations, Hayrides, Robotic Milking Facility Viewing Room, bonfires, Pumpkins and pumpkin painting, Milkman’s Hamster wheel race, 2 Ninja Warrior courses, Jenga, Milk Truck Express, Scavenger Hunt, photo opportunities, Playground area, Jump Pad, and Farm Tours. New for 2019 – pedal kart track! Visitors enjoyed delicious dairy snacks featuring soft-serve ice cream, grilled cheese sandwiches, ice cold milk, and a hotdog and smores while sitting around a bonfire only feet away from the cows.

Located at: 6532 W Cook Rd. Fort Wayne, Indiana 46818, Take Hwy 33 North off West 30

Chick here for their website and lots of pictures and more info on this event.


October 11 – 13, 18 – 20, 25 – 27 / Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo
Break out the costumes and enjoy some merry-not-scary fun during Wild Zoo Halloween See your favorite zoo animals, explore the Treat Trails, pick out your own mini pumpkin, and more. All info can be found here:

Fun for all ages; the 12-acre maze is the LARGEST in Northeast Indiana and features a new design every year. The events area includes games, 20 ft tube slide and other activities included in the admission price. Walkthrough the 6-acre pumpkin patch and select your favorite pumpkins and gourds to purchase. Held annually mid-Sept thru October. All info can be found here.

FARM SITE ADDRESS 3150 County Road 43 Waterloo, IN 46793

Friday 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM Saturday 12;00 PM – 10:00 PM Sunday 12:00 – 6:00 PM Please note; Ticket booth sales stop 1 hour prior to closing.

Halloween Spooktacular

  Auer Performance Hall, Rhinehart Music Center,
Purdue University Fort Wayne. Get all the details here.

1808 Bluffton Road, Fort Wayne, IN 46808 260-747-0989

Hugh’s Bakery and Coffeehouse

Hugh’s Bakery and Coffeehouse

When I saw this picture today, I just wished I lived a wee bit closer to Bluffton.  For those of you who are closer to Bluffton, consider yourself blessed!

These are all the creations of Lydia Yaste, owner of Hugh’s Bakery and Coffeehouse. She is the daughter of a good friend of mine.  Lydia has grown up alongside my kids – making crafts together as youngsters, camping trips and playing on the Frisbee field.  Several years ago she added “Business Owner” to her repertoire of skills.

And here you can view her skills……



Although not pictured above, rest assured that Hugh’s offers a tasty variety of soups, salads, sandwiches and quiches!



And this is what Lydia’s Customers have to say….

 “I have tried almost all the featured lattes and love them all! The caramel pecan rolls are great and I finally tried the quiche today and it was amazing! So glad Bluffton has a great coffee place like this!”

“More than just coffee. Their lunch is phenomenal! Best chicken salad sandwich (croissant) I’ve had; hands down. The staff is super friendly also.”

“Hugh’s potato soup is over the top delicious, better than my fav in Ft Wayne.
And the baked oatmeal is also delicious breakfast item, filling me up for a reasonable cost.”

“Always greeted by a smiling face and a cheerful “Good morning”. Everything I have tried has been incredible! Highly recommend this place to everyone!”

“Got a cinnamon mocha frappe and it was incredible. Service was great and everyone was very kind. Most certainly going back.”

“Took 2 dozen frosted cinnamon rolls to a volunteer work project this morning and everyone was commenting on how great the rolls where, thank you Hugh’s!!!!!!”

“The cozy atmosphere of Hugh’s Bakery & Coffeehouse makes guests feel relaxed and have a good time. The pleasant staff at this place can show how much they value their clients.”

Lydia named her bakery after her grandfather whom she love dearly, and apparently taught her a great many good things!

If you would like to work among all this wonderfulness, check out Hugh’s employment opportunities here.

To keep up with all of Lydia’s goodies, check out the Hugh’s Bakery and Coffeehouse Facebook page here:

Supporting Families in Crisis

Supporting Families in Crisis

(November 2019)

Have you ever desired to help out families in crisis in your community but didn’t really know how to do that? Or you liked the idea of serving, but thought you might not have the time?

Well, Safe Families might be just the opportunity that you have been looking for!

It was about 5 years ago when visiting Kyle and Hope over Thanksgiving that they mentioned they were considering becoming foster parents.

I really knew nothing about fostering – it was never in my “sphere of consciousness”, but because of Kyle and Hope, I became much more aware of “all things fostering”.

So last year when something came up in my Facebook news feed called “Safe Families” – I clicked on the link and found out about a really incredible organization, right here in our community.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, Kyle and Hope had been trying to get Safe Families approved in Colorado for over a year. So when I called them and told them about this great resource I had found, they already knew all about it!

The basic premise of Safe Families for Children was born out of the need to keep children safe, keep families intact, and reduce the need for foster care.

You might be thinking if Kyle and Hope were interested in fostering, how did Safe Families enter into the picture? Well Kyle and Hope did end up becoming very involved with foster care and were foster parents for 4 different children. While working within the foster care system they realized the tremendous needs within that system. And because of what they saw, Hope started her own non-profit called Foster Together, which is similar to providing the support system within the traditional foster care system that Safe Families provides to their families.  But they also knew that one of the best ways to help the foster care system was to keep more kids from entering it!

One of their very good friend’s parents were one of the original host families back when Safe Families was just getting started. That friend, Michelle, had recently moved to Colorado and told Kyle and Hope about the organization. So Kyle and Hope went and checked it out…and they were determined to get Safe Families in Colorado. With the help of hardworking law makers Kim Ransom and Jonathan Singer, and a determined lobbyist, Benjamin Waters, they did just that.  After Kyle’s tragic passing earlier this year, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, signed the Kyle Forti Act into law. You can watch the video here.

So, since my husband and I knew we wanted our family to be involved serving our local communitity here in Indiana in some capacity, Safe Families provided us a way to serve that worked within our own family dynamic and their organization. A win for everyone!

Safe Families for Children, founded in 2003, is collaboration among area churches, Christian Families and individuals, and community agencies designed to help families in crisis by giving them a network of support.  Volunteer host families, recruited through local churches, provide parents a loving home where they can safely place their children while they get back on their feet. Family coaches come alongside parents during the hosting, giving them support and mentorship. Through its dedicated volunteers, SFFC help prevent abuse, deflect children from the foster care system, stabilize families and share the light and hope of Christ with vulnerable families in our community.
There are so many different ways you can help! Whether you have just a little time and can drop off a meal once in awhile, or maybe provide or drop off some needed supplies, or perhaps you have the ability to host some kiddos, or love the idea of being a mentor and a family coach – there is a place for you to serve at Safe Families!

Make A Difference!

I would really encourage anyone who may be reading this to attend the upcoming training. You will be able to see just how you can make a difference in helping those families in our area that are in crisis.

Would you like to help, but can’t make the training?

Safe Families is also an organization that you can trust to be good stewards with your tax-deductible donations – providing everything from diapers to car seats!  Right now is a perfect time to donate, as your gift will be matched, up to $1000, until the end of 2019! Click HERE for all the details to give your help today!

Do you ever shop at Kroger?

Here’s another way you can help – at no cost to you! Safe Families has been made a recipient of the Kroger Community Rewards program!  You can now select Safe Families Fort Wayne Area to receive funds every time you scan your Kroger Plus Card. Even after selecting a Community Rewards recipient, Kroger Plus members receive the same amount of points for groceries and fuel. Click HERE for everything you need to know to get started on helping those around you – while you shop!

My son, Kyle, was always encouraging people to just “show up” and do something – anything – to make a difference in the lives of  those around you who are in need.

Safe Families is an opportunity where we can all do just that!

Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Memory Eternal, Kyle.

Find All the Information you Need Here: