‘Defending the underdog’ Local woman offers gift of second chance
INSIDE: Trainers talk getting in shape • Healthy recipes for the new year • Tips for organizing around the house
Happy New Year! It’s January, the start of a new year, a new beginning, a chance to make the upcoming year exactly what you want it to be. For many of us, this time of year is filled with the urge to make resolutions or changes in our lives. Whether that be to get in shape, save money, open a new business or be a better version of ourselves, I hope that each of you find exactly what you want in the upcoming year. Inside this edition you will find a woman who has made it her life’s mission to help both people and pets live happier lives. Through adoption and pet rescue, she has given a second chance to many. You will also find tips for working out, eating healthy and getting organized in the new year. Also, you can find the latest and greatest new releases in books, movies and music, inside. So, take a look inside this edition of 400-The Life, and we look forward to spending 2018 with you!
IN THIS ISSUE
Stephanie Woody Publisher, Forsyth County News
CONTRIBUTORS STEPHANIE WOODY, Publisher FRANK REDDY, Editor TRACIE PIKE, Production Manager BRADLEY WISEMAN,
Director of Video Production, Photographer
KERRI IVIE, Creative Services Manager
COVER: Adoptive mom born with desire to love 4 Get in shape in 2018
Healthy recipes for the new year
Organize your life
KELLY WHITMIRE, Staff Writer ISABEL HUGHES, Staff Writer ADLEN ROBINSON, Contributing Writer CARMELA BARHANY, Advertising Director CONNOR KELLY, Advertising LOUANN BROWNLEE , Advertising
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THE LIFE | January 2018
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Susan Fischer has raised, or is in the process of raising, 12 kids with varying types and degrees of special needs. She and her children run Fischer Farm, where she tries to adopt out many of the animals.
‘Her biggest asset is her heart’ Local woman fills home with love and adopted children
The names of the young people and children in this story have been excluded in order to protect their identities.
By Frank Reddy
usan Fischer used to get in fights. Small in stature as a kid, Fischer got picked on by bigger kids who saw her height as a weakness. By the time she was 9 years old, she’d developed a thick outer skin to fend off hurled fists and hateful insults in school hallways. Defending herself was only part of it though — young people in middle school and high school can be crueler than many
THE LIFE | January 2018
care to remember or imagine. She’d stick up for countless other kids being bullied too. “I was always defending the underdog,” Fischer said. “I never started the fights, but if there was someone getting picked on just because they were different or made to feel bad because of who they were, I was right there to support them and stand up for them.” Now 54 and a single mom living on a farm in Forsyth County, she’s still doing just that. In her lifetime, Fischer has raised (or, is in the process of raising) 12 kids with varying types and degrees of special needs. In the middle of that, she also man-
aged to find time to raise two children of her own. Seven of the children have grown up and now live lives of their own. Currently, five adopted children live with her on the sprawling farm home, which at any given time boasts 15 dogs, 20 cats, a donkey, two potbelly pigs, goats, chickens, ducks and a Guinea fowl. All of the critters have been rescued from tough circumstances. Some of the animals get adopted out as part of the family’s pet rescue, while others tend to stick around a little longer, sometimes living out their lives on the Fischer Farm. “A lot of animals live their whole lives
5 with us because they’re not adoptable. We have some limping ducks and a grumpy pig and a donkey that’s not people-friendly,” Fischer said, taking members of the Forsyth County News on a tour of her property on a recent December afternoon. “And, that’s OK. My kids like to share the love they feel with these farm animals, because, just like the pets here, they’re getting a second chance at life.”
A second chance In addition to the pet rescue, the Fischer Farm has a community garden at the top of the hill. They sell produce as well as eggs laid by the ducks and chickens. Money is in short supply for the family, but they supplement their income with the little bit made from the community garden and pet rescue, which Susan said are more like nonprofit organizations than businesses because most of the money comes from donations. The remainder of Susan’s income comes from money she made after she sold a daycare center and private school she used to own. There’s also some adoption assistance from the government. She said the family scrapes by as best they can. “Financially, we make it work, but if you actually knew how much money we brought in verses how many people there are here at this house, you’d go ‘oh no, we can’t live on that,’” she said. “Because, it’s all about being extremely frugal. We don’t go out to eat but once a month. We don’t go on vacation, because there’s no money to do that. We have only one car (a 12-passenger van). Nobody drives but me.” The van comfortably seats her current number of adopted children. As to why she’d want to be guardian of so many young people, Fischer said it’s part of God’s plan. “I’ve known since I was 11 years old that I wanted 12 adopted kids and two birth kids,” Fischer said. Currently, she has three high schoolers, a second grader and a preschool aged child at her home. Each child has a challenge to overcome. “It ranges from autism to Asperger’s to a traumatic brain injury,” she said. “They all had fetal alcohol syndrome and one has cerebral palsy. They’ve got a lot of stuff going on.” All of her children were homeschooled until several reached high school age. Three of her children attend a local high school in Forsyth County, one attends an elementary school and another is homeschooled because of his age. All of her 12 children range in age from 33 to 3, and they come from a diverse back-
THE LIFE | January 2018
Currently, Susan has three high schoolers, a second grader and a preschool aged child at her home. This photo includes other foster children who have been in her care.
ground. “It’s a cultural rainbow here,” she said. “I have black and white and biracial and Hispanic.”
They love their momma People ask all the time how she does it. “God and I do it together,” said Fischer, who has been divorced and single for about 20 years. “Everybody in this family has chores and jobs and everybody helps each other out, and you just do it as a family. If you’ve got three kids, you might as well have 12 because you only have two hands.” If she doesn’t answer her phone, folks who know Fischer get the following message: “I can’t come to the phone right now because I’m either holding a kid or an animal.” Ronny Roach of Cumming knows just how busy Fischer can get. He’s been doing handyman work for the family for about five years and gets a firsthand glimpse every few weeks of the entire operation. “She does a good job of taking care of those kids,” Roach said. “She’s a hardworking woman, and she does more good in this world than almost anybody you can imagine.” Added Roach: “Her biggest asset is her heart.” Scott Frederick, who is the swim coach
for three of Fischer’s children, said Fischer is “really good with those kids. She’s stern to them as needed, and she knows exactly what each kid needs. To her, it’s no big deal. You’d never know she’s got so many children, because she doesn’t complain or really talk that much about it.” He went on to say that she is “so unassuming when you meet her … and, she’s just an amazing person.” When praised for the good she does, Fischer is quick to dismiss it. “I’m just doing what I need to do,” she said, but acknowledges that if it wasn’t for her the young people in her care might have tougher lives. “These kids, there’s no telling where they would have been if they hadn’t been adopted and they’ve done exceptionally well … They’re very well-mannered and well-disciplined and they’re just great kids and they love their momma and they feel safe and loved here.” She will defend them until the day she dies, Fischer said. Because, just like the young people in her care, Fischer was born with the desire to love and to be loved. As she fought in her school days to protect herself and others from the bullies of an unfair world, Fischer stands up for these 12 with the heart and ferocity of a prizefighter. “I’ll be there for them,” Fischer said. “Because it’s God’s plan for me.”
o t “ W y e Personal trainer Wendy Hood, right, works with a client, above and right, in her studio.
Photos by Bradley Wiseman
Get in shape for 2018 Fitness ‘not a one-size-fits-all thing’
By Adlen Robinson Whether you want to lose some weight, or just want to live a healthier life, this is the month millions of people dust off their sneakers, grab a bottle of water and head to the gym. Forsyth County resident and personal trainer Wendy Hood left corporate America and founded My H.E.A.L.T.H Kick. The acronym stands for Helping Everyone Achieve Life Through Healthy Habits. Hood is passionate about helping others. “Being healthy is all about setting goals, making good choices and living a healthy lifestyle,” Hood said. “How can you live out your mission if you are not healthy?” Hood trains clients in her home gym and also teaches physical education and martial arts to children in four Montessori schools. When asked about tips for fitness and health goals for the New Year, Hood advised you make a plan. “I think it’s helpful to ask yourself, ‘what do you want your life to look like?’” Hood said. “Instead of yo-yo dieting, change your lifestyle — eat real, unprocessed food, exercise and drink lots of water.” Hood advocates a 90/10 plan when it comes to eating. In other words, if you
THE LIFE | January 2018
are eating clean 90 percent of the time, you can eat things that are not so healthy 10 percent of the time and you will be fine. Karen Cleveland, one of Hood’s clients, said her primary goal right now is to gain muscle, learn all she can about nutrition, and live a healthier life. She works out with Hood several times a week and she also does routines Hood designed for her at home. Genesis Performance & Fitness Owner and Certified Personal Trainer Brian Teague said his team is dedicated to helping clients get fit and stay that way. Teague became a personal trainer back in 2000 while working in corporate America. In 2002, he left his job and entered the world of fitness full time. Teague opened Genesis three years ago and never looked back. “We have small groups — no more than 12 individuals, with one personal trainer for every six clients,” Teague said. “We really get to know our clients, which helps us hold them accountable.” There are 16 sessions every day, so clients can choose the best time for them. The exercises change daily, offering no oppor-
Tips for staying on track with a fitness routine
Brian Teague, Genesis Performance & Fitness owner and certified personal trainer, helps a customer with weights.
tunity for boredom. Mary Moffitt, director of operations and certified personal trainer at Genesis, said fitness is “not a one-size-fits-all thing. With metabolic conditioning, you continue to burn calories even after your work out.”
Moffitt said personal trainers try to help design a personalized program for clients to help them reach goals. “We know how busy people are with work, kids and just life in general, so we try to be realistic,” she said.
THE LIFE | January 2018
• Try to exercise first thing in the morning so you get it done. • If you don’t have a gym to go to, have some routines you can do at home for those days when you just can’t get to the gym. • Watch a 30 minute television show and commit to exercise during the whole thing. • Use bribery on yourself. Commit to working out three times a week and reward yourself when you reach your goal. • Purchase some new workout clothes and/or some walking/running sneakers. Don’t forget good socks. • Find a friend, or better yet, team up with your spouse to hold each other accountable. • Don’t forget your headphones and music. Create playlists with upbeat music to keep you moving. • Set realistic goals for yourself. • Stay hydrated all day. Always keep a water bottle nearby. Use filtered water if possible. • Even if you don’t have time to do a long workout, shoot for 10 or 15 minutes. Some exercise is better than none at all. • Make it a habit. Remember: If you do something every day for 30 days, it becomes a habit.
New year, new you: Recipes to kick-start healthy habits It’s no surprise that, come January, gyms will fill up with many people who don’t frequent the facilities the other 11 months of the year — the equipment taken by dozens who have made their New Year’s resolution to be healthier. Here are several recipes that let you enjoy your favorite foods, just with a healthier kick to them.
Savory Turkey-Spinach Breakfast Oats
BREAKFAST Guilt-Free French Toast
Prep: 5 minutes Cook: 15 minutes Total: 20 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes Cook: 10 minutes Total time: 15 minutes
Ingredients 1/2 cup oatmeal 6 oz. ground turkey 1 handful spinach 1/4 cup water Balsamic vinegar Garlic salt to taste
Ingredients 2-3 slices Ezekiel Bread 1 ¼ cup egg whites 1 tsp vanilla Dash of cinnamon Dash of salt Walden Farms Pancake Syrup. Directions 1. Lightly toast bread in toaster oven. 2. Mix egg whites with vanilla, cinnamon & salt in large shallow bowl. Soak bread slices in egg mixture, once soaked place on skillet at medium heat greased with pam. 3. Flip toast until eggs thoroughly cooked and remove from heat. Top with Walden Farms Pancake Syrup. Compiled by Isabel Hughes
Directions 1. Grease skillet with pam and add ground turkey, cooking on low to medium heat. Once the turkey is about halfway cooked, drizzle balsamic vinegar on top and add the oats and water. Wait until the mixture sticks together before adding other ingredients. 2. Add the spinach and drizzle balsamic vinegar on top of the mixture. Once the spinach is cooked, remove from heat and top with garlic salt to taste. Continued, page 10
PUBLIC SERVICE NOTICE TO THE FORSYTH COUNTY VOTERS S.R. 400
CITY OF CHESTATEE
CITY OF MATT
Propose Forsyth County be divided into: City of Cumming (County Seat) (Existing Boundries) City of Sharon Springs (East of Hwy 400, South of Hwy 20) City of Bethelview (West of Hwy 400, South of Hwy 20)
CITY OF BETHELVIEW
City of Matt (West of Hwy 400, North of Hwy 20) City of Chestatee (East of Hwy 400, North of Hwy 20) 20
Cut Out & Mail In
PLEASE TELL OUR FORSYTH COUNTY STATE LEGISLATORS TO ADD TO THE NOVEMBER 6, 2018 BALLOT A VOTE BY FUTURE CITY RESIDENTS FOR:
1. Creation Of The New City Of Bethelview 2. Creation Of The New City Of Chestatee 3. Creation Of The New City Of Matt 4. Creation Of The New City Of Sharon Springs NAME: ADDRESS:
Mail To: 4 New Cities, P.O. Box 422, Cumming GA 30028-0422
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THEY MADE THIS TIME OF THE YEAR SPECIAL FOR YOU.
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. S.R 0 40
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THE LIFE | January 2018
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New year, new you: Recipes to kick-start healthy habits Healthy Stuffed Pepper
LUNCH/DINNER Quick Bistro Box
Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 40 minutes Total time: 50 minutes
Ingredients 1/4 cup almonds 1/3 cup carrots 1 cup grapes 1/4 cup pickle chips 1 tbsp. mustard 1 whole wheat tortilla 1 slice ham 1 slice cheddar cheese 1/2 cup spinach
Ingredients 6 ounces cooked ground turkey 2 tbsp. coconut oil 1 green pepper 1/4 cup onion, chopped 1/2 tbsp. minced garlic 1/3 cup diced tomato 1 tsp. parsley 1/2 tsp. oregano 1/2 tsp. basil 1/2 tsp. rosemary 1 tsp. seasoned salt
Prep: 15 minutes Total time: 15 minutes
Directions 1. Place almonds, carrots, grapes and pickle chips in a container. 2. Spread mustard onto the tortilla. Top with ham, cheese and spinach. Roll into a pinwheel and slice into rounds. Place in container.
Directions 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat skillet and add 1 tablespoon coconut oil until sizzling. Add all vegetables and spices to skillet and cook for five to 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Add in turkey when vegetables are done. 2. Lay the peppers, cut in half and de-seeded, on a baking tray and fill each half with meat mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. *Can use soy crumbles to make the dish vegetarian.
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THE LIFE | January 2018
Cilantro Lime Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles Prep: 25 minutes Cook: 15 minutes Total time: 40 minutes
Ingredients 1 lb. shrimp, shelled and deveined 2 tablespoons olive oil 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 pinch red pepper flakes 1/4 cup vegetable broth 1 teaspoon honey Juice of 1 ½ lime 3 medium zucchini, spiralized or cut into noodles Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste 1 teaspoon lime zest 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped Directions 1. In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon cilantro, honey, lime juice and lime zest. Add uncooked shrimp and toss to mix well. Marinate for 15 to 20 minutes. 2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat, add the drained shrimp, cook for two minutes, flip, and add the marinade. Cook for one more minute and set the shrimp aside. 3. In the same skillet add vegetable broth to deglaze and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the zucchini noodles and cook until just tender, about two minutes. Add the shrimp and adjust seasoning. Toss everything and serve immediately topped with additional cilantro.
Photo courtesy eatwell101.com
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THE LIFE |
Maze Runner: The Death Cure: Jan. 26 — The third and final film in the Maze Runner series follows protagonist Thomas, played by Dylan O’Brien, as he leads a group to break into the legendary Last City. Insidious: The Last Key: Jan. 5 — The latest in the horror franchise follows Elise Rainier, played by Lin Shay, as she investigates supernatural events at a home she lived in when she was younger. 12 Strong: Jan. 19 — Chris Hemsworth stars as Capt. Mitch Nelson in the story of the first U.S. Special Forces team deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11.
The Hazel Wood- Melissa Albert: Jan. 30 — After her grandmother, a reclusive fairytale author, dies, 17-year-old Alice’s mother is abducted to the supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories were set. Iron GoldPierce Brown: Jan. 16 — In the fourth book in the Red Rising Saga, protagonist Darrow must risk everything in a desperate mission a decade after becoming a revolutionary hero. The Immortals- Chloe Benjamin: Jan. 9 — After hearing their futures as adolescents in 1960s New York City, the Gold siblings spend the next five decades being guided by the prophecies.
Fall Out Boy-Mania: Jan. 19 — Pop punk favorites Fall Out Boy’s new album, Mania, is the band’s first since the 2015 album American Beauty/ American Psycho. The 10-track album was expected to be released last summer, but the date was pushed back to give the band more time to flesh it out. Joe Satriani-What Happens Next: Jan. 12 — Guitarist Joe Satriani has made a career of touring with some of rock’s biggest musicians and will release his second album, What Happens Next, on Jan. 12. The album will enlist the talents of Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and Deep Purple bassist Glenn Hughes. Compiled by Kelly Whitmire
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Here’s What We Did in 2017 • Together we recycled 3649 gallons of paint, 30,152 pounds of electronics and 3373 Christmas trees. • We removed over 1154 bags and 8.67 tons of trash from roadways, shorelines and parks. • We equipped over 8102 Forsyth County students and adults with the information needed to make wiser environmental decisions regarding water quality or recycling and solid waste at KFCB workshops & classes. • We recognized 11 Forsyth County schools for achieving the status of Keep Forsyth County Beautiful Green School.
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THE LIFE | January 2018
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Organizational hacks for the new year With the New Year, many are looking for ways to organize their homes. From the closet to the kitchen, here is a list of organizational hacks to make home living a little bit easier going into 2018.
KITCHEN Water bottle storage
CLOSET S hooks for jeans
Find a place for a magazine holder in your cabinet and flip it on its side, with the opening facing outward. Insert water bottles, stacking on top of one another and to keep them from falling over or taking up unnecessary space. You can also decorate the magazine holder with colorful paper or patterns to brighten up the kitchen.
Instead of folding your jeans, try hanging them using S-hooks that will conveniently fit over a closet rod and through a belt loop.
Tupperware storage from book bins To keep cabinets from getting chaotic and having Tupperware falling everywhere, in a lower drawer or pullout shelf, flip book bins on their sides and use them to make a single storage area into several separate sections. Source: Better Homes and Gardens Compiled by Isabel Hughes
Curtain rods to organize scarves and gloves Installing curtain rods on the inside of closet doors is a great way to keep scarves and gloves neat and not have to worry about wrinkles in cotton scarves.
Pool noodles keep boots upright To keep boots upright and keep creases from forming, cut pool noodles in half and use them in lieu of stabilizers. Source: ‘The Krazy Coupon lady’ blog
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THE LIFE | January 2018
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