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.

WILD ZOO HALLOWEEN

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: https://kidszoo.org/

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

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.

You can find more information about the local Safe Families chapter here.

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

Seriously A Mac and Cheese festival? Wow!

Enjoy UNLIMITED samples of mac & cheese from about 20 local culinary partners included in your ticket price.

Happening Saturday ,October 12, 2019 Headwaters Park

Get all the details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/404876040164601/?active_tab=about

 

Brickworld Fort Wayne 2019 – LEGO® Fan Exposition

October 12 & 13, 2019 at the Grand Wayne Center.

Open to the public

Saturday 10 am – 6 pm
Sunday 10 am – 5 pm

Bring the entire family for an afternoon of fun! See 32,000 square feet of spectacular creations all built from LEGO bricks by local LEGO enthusiasts.

Find all the information you need here: https://brickworld.com/brickworld-fort-wayne/

 

3rd Annual Pumpkin Train

The perfect fall event for families and train lovers! Join us between 9AM and Noon on Saturday, October 12th and Noon to 3PM on October 13th. Trains run rain or shine. Tickets sales begin September 25th.

Take a festive 15-minute train ride aboard a historic, heated caboose and select a pumpkin at the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society’s 3rd Annual Pumpkin Train. All trains depart 15808 Edgerton Road, New Haven. Each ticket purchase includes one pumpkin. For additional pumpkins, please purchase additional tickets.

All info can be found here: https://fortwaynerailroad.org/event/2nd-annual-pumpkin-train/all/

 

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.

 

WILD ZOO HALLOWEEN

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 Halloweeen See your favorite zoo animals, explore the Treat Trails, pick out your own mini pumpkin, and more. All info can be found here: https://kidszoo.org/

 

Human Library

This sounds absolutely fascinating!

The second annual Human Library Fort Wayne MAIN event will be held at the Allen County Public Library, On October 12, 2019. 9am-5pm.

At the Human Library, people from your very own community become ‘open books’, sharing their story with Readers (that’s you!) who ‘check them out’ for a short time to listen and dialogue. It’s a great opportunity to talk with someone you may never otherwise meet in order to open to new ideas and experiences.

Get all the info here: https://www.humanlibraryfw.com/books

 

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. 

Mountain Biking in Fort Wayne

Mountain Biking in Fort Wayne

Indiana’s mountain bike trails are better than most people realize or expect!

Morsches Park

Morsches Park, in Columbia City, Indiana, is just a short drive from Fort Wayne and also offers nearly 10 miles of mountain bike trails. The trails are just off of Highway 30, so are easy to access, and the park also hosts a playground and paved trails for non-riders to enjoy. Unlike Franke Park, the Morsches Park trails are not “leveled,” but  are fun for beginners and advanced riders alike. Current trail information can be found on Instagram at @morschesparkmtb. 

Winona Lake Trails

Just a bit further from Fort Wayne are the Winona Lake Trails in Winona Lake, Indiana. These trails wind around the paved Heritage Greenway trails and offer a wide variety of off-road trails for all levels of rider. The sandy green trails are fast and flowy and the black trails challenge riders with steep, twisting climbs. The nearby Winona Lake Village is a great place to relax after a day of riding, with restaurants and shops for everyone. Trail information is located at https://winonalaketrails.com/ or on Facebook at Winona Lake Trails. 

DTE Energy Foundation Trail

These are by far my favorite trails in the area, and are constantly evolving and growing. As a part of the Michigan Parks and Recreation system, they do require a day (or yearly!) pass for entry, but is is worth both the fee and the 2.5 hour drive from Fort Wayne to Chelsea, Michigan. The DTE Energy Foundation Trail currently boasts 21 miles of built flow trails, all rideable by a beginner, but fun and challenging for advanced riders as well. The trails are bi-directional, so run clockwise on certain days of the week and counter-clockwise on other days, meaning that there are effectively twice as many trails to ride. Information on the trails is available at https://dtetrail.org/, with up-to-date trail closure information on Facebook at DTE Energy Foundation Trail. 

Potawatomi Trail

For a bit of old-school backcountry-style mountain biking, head up to the Potowatomi Trail in Pinckney, Michigan. Like the DTE Energy Foundation Trail, the park requires a Michigan Recreation Pass to enter. The trail is a 17-mile loop, and within about 15 minutes of the DTE Energy Trails if you’re looking for a full-day of riding. The trail is probably best for intermediate riders, though there are no technical features that a beginner couldn’t ride. It is not as smooth as the more modern “built” trails, but has the standard rocks and roots of traditional mountain bike trails, plus plenty of climbing for anyone looking to gain fitness. More information is available on the Pinckney State Recreation Area page on Facebook.

Franke Park

Franke Park, located just behind the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, is home to around 10 miles of multi-use trails. The trails range in difficulty from the green beginner trails to the more challenging yellow and red trails. The park is open year-round, though, like most other mountain bike trails, is closed when weather conditions cause the trails to be muddy, as use during those times damages the trails. Up to date trail conditions can typically be found in the “Franke Park MTB” group on Facebook. 



Franke Park in Fort Wayne has some great trails for mountain biking!

Fort Custer

Also in Michigan, the Fort Custer Recreation Area trails are a great destination for riding (and also require a Michigan Recreation Pass). Just over 2 hours drive from Fort Wayne, the August, Michigan trails include three separate loops. The yellow trail is an easy, moderately flat, loop. The red trail is flowier, with more climbing and technical features. The green trail is a fun mix of the two others, with a bit of climbing and some technical features, but not as much as the red loop. Combined, the three trails are around 20 miles. 

Prairie Creek Trails

A newer trail system within easy driving distance from Fort Wayne, the Prairie Creek Trails are located just outside of Muncie, Indiana. They are growing quickly with the help of a number of dedicated volunteers and host weeknight group rides during the summer months. Information is available at https://prairiecreektrails.wordpress.com/ or on the Prairie Creek Trails Facebook page.

 Indianapolis Trails: Fort Harrison, Southwestway Park, Town Run

Indianapolis is home to several mountain bike trails. Each park has unique features. The Fort Harrison Trails are located at Fort Harrison State Park (you do need a State Park day or annual pass to enter) and are similar in style to some of the trails at Brown County State Park. Information on the trails is located in the “Fort Harrison Mountain Bike Trails HMBA” group on Facebook. The Town Run Trails and Southwestway Park Trails are both city parks with no use fee. Town Run Trail is about 6.6 miles of fast and looping trails just off of 96th street. Trail information is located on “Town Run Trail-Indianapolis” on Facebook. Southwestway Park is on the southwest side of Indianapolis and has a surprising amount of elevation change. It is a multi-use trail, but includes a fun flowy section, as well as some rooted technical trails. Up to date trail information for all users is at “Southwestway Park Trail Users” on Facebook.

Brown County

Brown County State Park is the furthest trail from Fort Wayne on this list, but also widely considered the mecca of Indiana mountain biking. Located in Nashville, Indiana, Brown County has a wide variety of trails, including built flow trails like Hobbs Hollow and the brand new Weedpatch, beginner friendly trails like Pine Loop, and challenging technical trails like Bobcat, Walnut, and the notorious Schooner Trail. As a state park, it does require a day pass to enter, but has fun and trails enough to make the drive and the park fee worthwhile. The most current trail information can be found at “Brown County Mountain Biking” on Facebook. 




Hesitation Point at Brown County State Park

There are certainly other trails within a 2-3 hour radius of Fort Wayne that I’ve failed to mention, such as Rangeline in Anderson, Indiana, Potato Creek State Park in South Bend, Indiana, and others. While northeast Indiana may not be a destination for mountain biking, there are trails enough to keep most riders busy every weekend all summer long–with variety and challenge for all levels of riders. 

Do you have a favorite bike trail to share? Please let us now here!

13 Kids Keeps Me Running

13 Kids Keeps Me Running

Primarily it keeps me running around all day in the car!  However, in order to keep me somewhat out of looneyville, I try to rise early every morning, slip on my shoes and head out for my daily run. I only began running several years ago…and I started with itty bitty baby steps!

In 2017 I was new runner, 9 months into the sport and having only run one race. My daughter Hannah asked me to run the Atlanta Peachtree 10k on the Fourth of July when she heard I had began running. No sooner had I finished that race when I signed up for the Fort4fitness 10k with my daughter Emily.

As we entered race week, something came up and Emily was unable to do the race, so Natalie willingly jumped into her place-having never gone over 3 miles before. We also ran with my son-in-law, Joseph, and daughter Mary. I look back over my timing then and my timing now and am awed and amazed at what the body can do with training. God has truly given us incredible bodies.

My 2nd year at the Fort4Fitness fall festival I had my sights set on the half marathon in hopes of improving my half marathon time from the IndyMini half marathon in May of the same year. Daughters Hannah and Mary, along with my training partner Tim, agreed to pace me to beat my previous time. I did indeed beat that time and had a beautiful race day as well. Hannah was champ pushing me on for the last 2 miles when it became very hard. This was especially kind, since she had not trained at all for this race outside of her normal weight training/CrossFit workouts

For the race this fall, I went back down to the 10k so my son, Isaiah could get a longer race in. As always, the downtown race course was great, peppered with a multitude of friendly runners and volunteers. Different groups cheer you on and play music along the route and the energy is terrific!

To finish the race, you enter Parkview stadium in left field and run the outfield warning track and finish by home plate while they announce your name and put you on the Jumbotron. If you are into the race vibe at all, to have this one in our community is tremendous.

They put great effort into making this event special, from when you pick up your packet (which comes in nice Vera Bradley shopping bag), go through the race expo, support and drinks on the course, post race stretching options with local physical therapists, and post race food and entertainment. 

The Fort4Fitness fall festival is our community’s largest fitness event.

There are also training options in the months ahead if you want to train with other runners, although I haven’t participated in that personally.  You can find all the information on the event here: https://fort4fitness.org/fall-festival

I love different races in Fort Wayne and New Haven for different reasons, but the Fort4fitness is definitely my favorite!