Recipe: Savory Autumn Scramble

While I was sitting at the car shop getting my oil changed, I perused through the Better Homes & Gardens magazine. There are usually some great recipes in there and the October issue did not disappoint. I quickly snapped pictures of each one and am determined to try them out throughout the season. The first attempt was the Savory Egg and Sweet Potato Scramble. The original recipe is here, but if you’re anything like me and my husband, you need a bit more meat to make a dinner meal. I decided to add some good ole Bob Evans sausage, because nothing is more Ohio than Bob Evans. Yum.

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Here’s the updated recipe:

Start to Finish: 35 mins

Ingredients:

8 eggs
1 lb package of sausage
1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp butter
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and thinly sliced
2 green onions, sliced
2 cups baby spinach
bottled hot pepper sauce (optional)

Directions:

1.  Cook and crumble sausage in a skillet for 10-15 minutes until thoroughly cooked. Set aside.

2.  In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, milk, cumin, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

3.  Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Toss in sweet potato and green onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are almost tender, about 8 minutes.  Add spinach. Cook until slightly wilted, about 1 minute.

It is amazing how big spinach is until it’s cooked for a while. Unreal!

4.  Mix sausage into the skillet. Pour egg mixture over potatoes. Let the egg cook and seep down to the bottom of the pan. At this point, I raised the heat to medium-high because the egg just wasn’t cooking fast enough. After the initial cook, begin mixing the cooked egg portion into the rest of the scramble, letting the uncooked part go to the bottom and cook. Continue this method until all egg is thoroughly cooked but still moist. This will take about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve right away. Makes 4-5 servings. Add hot sauce if desired. This will reheat (like for lunch the next day) but I wouldn’t recommend more than three days.

And there you are. It was a pretty easy meal. We really liked it with the sausage added in. Hope you enjoy it as well!

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Review: Huffman Park – Fairfield, OH

A couple of weekends ago, my mom and I went to a new park in Fairfield to make some rain barrels. I’ve been wanting a rain barrel for a while. We have well water at The House, so water isn’t a challenge here, but I really want to be a better steward of the resources God has given us. Rainwater is one great resource.

But before I get going on how great rain barrels are and how we made ours, I want to share about the park!

Huffman Park

2100 John Gray Road
Fairfield, OH 45014
513.867.5345 (Fairfield Parks & Recreation)
Website

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left: rock at the entrance with benefactors of the park. right: windmill used to aerate the pond through an underground tube.

This park has a very cool back story. I remember hearing about it a year or so ago, and now, having seen the finished product, I’m very impressed.

The Huffmans owned the property, 22 acres, and maintained the property as natural open space for their kids to play in. When the couple died, the family donated the property, land and buildings, to the city to be turned into a public park. The two conditions were that it had to be a learning park for families and all the materials in the house had to be repurposed (whether in the park or through the Habitat for Humanity Restore facility). I believe the park staff said that 92% of the house was salvageable and repurposed in some form or another. Even if that’s not the right number, the percentage was very high. Some of the trees on the property were repurposed into playground equipment.

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clockwise from top left: tunnel with an overhead viewing spot in the center; wood balance beam and a rock circle; bumble bee monkey bars (there is some metal on this but even in the hot sun it was cool to the touch); pond with native aquatic plants to attract waterfowl.

Not only is there play equipment for recreation, there are quite a few places for learning more about nature. The property includes several learning spots like a butterfly garden and a fruit and nut orchard. We even saw a persimmon growing on one of the tiny trees growing there.

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clockwise from top left: orchard learning station; tiny persimmon tree with fruit; more playground equipment and tree steppers; beautiful flowers to attract butterflies.

Last year, I took a community garden class down in Cincinnati. At one point I stopped attending (I’m not sure if we were done, or I pooped out), but I learned so much about natural gardening techniques. I would love to take more classes like that (especially for the free price) in the future, but I was so excited to hear that they would have community garden plots at Huffman Park. I had to check them out while I was there. They are completely self-service, so if you don’t maintain them yourself, they will die. But it’s a great idea and there was some good stuff to see.

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This was late in the summer and the plants were already getting brown and scorched in that heavy heat, but I bet it looked great during the growing season!

Baby corn and some peppers. Yum!

Baby corn and some peppers. Yum!

Ok, back to the rain barrel class. Sara was our teacher and there were 6 of us there making 5 barrels. My mom wanted to make one and I have wanted one for a while, so we both made our own. She ended up giving hers away, but ours is proudly out front in its bright, bright blue (that will soon be remedied with some spray paint…it is kind of an eyesore right now). We quickly went through the process and started at it. The hardest part was the hole saw. We had it figured for either not enough torque or too much. One of the men came over and helped stabilize the saw for me while I guided it because it was just too strong for me. I have two little snags in my t-shirt from where it shot off the top of the barrel towards my stomach. I was not harmed. I felt like wonder woman!

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clockwise from top: two of the “students” and our teacher Sara on the right; mom snapped a pic of me in action!; cutting the big hole to sit under the downspout.

We had a great time and learned a lot more about the park and made a couple of friends. Sara is the first naturalist on staff with Fairfield Parks and she is very enthusiastic about her job. She is looking for more ideas of things to teach Fairfield/Butler County residents. The classes are open to anybody, but they are a little more expensive if you live out of the area. Costs seem to be primarily for supplies. They have concerts, painting and photography classes, yoga, bird watching/learning, stargazing, etc. There are tons of activities for kids. Call or visit the city website (above) for more information. http://gettotheBC.com has a lot of great information about other activities throughout all of Butler County. It’s a definite must-visit for the local tourist.

In the meantime, I’m going brainstorm how to paint my new rain barrel and get it ready for next year’s growing season!

Yes, I realize that the spout is too close to the ground. We're working on that as well. :)

From start to finish!  Yes, I realize that the spout is too close to the ground. We’re working on that as well. 🙂

Homeymoon!

We don’t have many pics from the wedding just yet. People were very gracious with not taking photos during the ceremony, and our hired photographer has been very busy, what with it being wedding season and all. We do have one preview from her and a few others though to share. Also, I apologize for the pics being stacked one after another; I didn’t have time to edit them into multi-images.

meandlanna sadiepreviewFirst Dance - Lanna cake

Isn’t that fun? I am dying to see more photos!! Honestly, pins and needles here.

We decided not to spend a great deal of money right off the bat (especially with all the money we spent on the wedding) and so we stayed put and had what we are calling, a Homeymoon. We didn’t go anywhere, get away from The House or anything, didn’t put any major time constraints on ourselves. And it was glorious! This was my first time living in The House and it was nice to get acclimated to the territory. Plus, I was exhausted. Very wiped out.

We were instructed to open our cards the very next day (well, at least one of them) and discovered a gift card to Ruth’s Chris Steak House in downtown Cincinnati, a note of a reservation made for the next night, and tickets to the Reds game! It was our first time out of The House, since I had stocked us up with food. We really didn’t need to leave just yet. We had a blast. We got an appetizer of veal-stuffed ravioli. So wonderfully good! I got lamb chops for my main course and Matt got the steak filet. It was very upper-crust and way pricier than we would ever have done ourselves. They knew we had just got married too, so they came and chatted with us quite a bit, put rose petals on the table and gave us a complimentary dessert!

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The seats to the Reds game were pretty amazing too – just about 100 ft from 1st base. We only ever go if the tickets are free, or if there’s a large group of friends going and we’re sitting in the cheapo nosebleed section. They won, too! That doesn’t normally happen when I come to a game so that was a very nice treat!

130608 redsgameWe also went to Target and picked up a bunch of the bigger items we had wanted, but didn’t get in gifts. We now have a pretty good amount of storage in the bathroom and have most of our kitchen supplies and bed linens. It’s been great getting everything put together. Another great was checking out with $740 worth of stuff and only having to pay $40 above what the gift cards would pay for. We definitely made out like bandits! And Matt was excited because he had things to put together. 🙂

The only other big outing we did was to the Cincinnati Museum Center. The original plan was to go to the zoo, but it was raining cats and dogs. By the time we got downtown, we thought that was enough wildlife for the day and decided to romp around indoors.  130608 unionterminal02130608 unionterminal01130608 butterfliesThey are showing a special on the monarch butterfly at the Omnimax. It was really beautiful. They did a preview of the dinosaur show coming up, but there’s not much to report on that except for the baby in the third row’s reaction. She kept crying and saying, “Bye bye! Bye bye!” lol. Sad that the mom did leave with her right after the film started; I think she would’ve liked it once it got started, but I’m glad she wasn’t in there crying the whole time.

We also went up to Tower A where they used to control all of the many trains that went through the terminal. I love the art deco appearance of the building, but it was completely functional in its day. Now, there are still trains that come through, but not nearly the same volume. The tower has some really cool artifacts and an incredible view!

130608 trainsThe Huz and I love learning about how things work and the more technical and mechanical, often, the better! There were some really fun vehicles that would drive over the rail cars and pick them up then rush all over the place, sometimes putting them on a truck load. The guy driving was suspended way above the ground and it was crazy how fast they could drive!

130608 unionterminal03I love this city. Cincinnati breathes home to me and even though the highway system drives me nuts, I love driving into it and seeing that familiar skyline. I’m so glad that we chose to have a Homeymoon and spend time around the city and in our home.

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2012 Elections

English: Ballot Box showing preferential voting

English: Ballot Box showing preferential voting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This has been a frustrating election season for me. I was very fortunate that I was out of the country for the last presidential election. I definitely voted – applied for an absentee ballot and everything – but I was able to avoid all the propaganda. Well, not all of it. I did manage to get one piece of election material, for the Butler County Commissioner, go figure.

Let me mention too, that I have certain doubts about the voting process. The year following the last presidential election, I was back home and was able to vote. When I returned for the mid-term elections, I was given a provisional ballot because their records showed that I was in Japan still. Even though I was standing right in front of them with my license in hand, and proof that I had shown up in person the previous year, they would only let me complete the provisional ballot, which who knows if those even ever get counted?!

Anyway, this year has been frustrating. I remember a friend saying on Facebook that she had a conversation with a poller with the Republican Party asking if she would vote for Person A or Person B. She asked the woman if there were any better candidates? That’s how I feel pretty much across the board this time.

If you’re like me and still up in the air about who to vote for, might I make a suggestion to you? I’m not going to get into who you should or shouldn’t vote for – I want to point you to some great tools to help you decide.

A few years ago, I found this really wonderful website called Project Vote Smart.  Here’s the “About Us” from the website:

At a unique research center located high in the Montana Rockies and far from the partisan influences of Washington, our staff, interns, and volunteers are working hard to strengthen the most essential component of democracy – access to information. Project Vote Smart is a non-partisan, nonprofit educational organization funded exclusively through individual contributions and philanthropic foundations.

I think what I love most about website is that it is non-partisan. Just taking the data that’s out there about the candidates (Presidential and Congressional) and organizing them into a logical format. On the website, you can look at most of the big issues and where different candidates stand on those issues. You can research a candidate and see their voting history, organization involvement in the past, financial records, and more!

One of the neatest things is something called a “Political Courage Test.” Project Vote Smart sent the Political Courage Test to candidates and asked them to answer questions honestly about a variety of topics: Abortion; Budget, Spending, and Taxes; Campaign Finance; Capital Punishment; Economy; Education; Environment and Energy; Foreign Policy; Guns; Health Care; Immigration; Same-Sex Marriage; Social Security and ; Administrative Priorities. Then, based on how many questions the candidate answers and how indepth they answer, they get a rating on their political courage.

Might I point out that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have not completed the Political Courage Test. In fact, they ignored repeated requests for them to complete it. Anyway, I really appreciate having the stance of the candidates in their own words on certain issues. It’s not all of where they stand, but it’s pretty comprehensive.

There’s also this super handy tool that’s even cooler than the Political Courage Test! It’s the “Vote Easy” matching tool! Check it (here):

You click which campaign you’re wondering about, Presidential is default, but you can also pick the Congressional candidates too. Then, using the topics at the top, answer questions how you would answer. THEN, the screen will populate with these fancy, awesome, cool picket boards with the candidate faces which will jump forward or backward depending on the percentage of similarity.

Pretty stinkin’ cool, huh?

Also, if you are in Butler County, OH, and would like to know what to expect on the ballot this year, you can run over to our trusty-dusty county elections site: http://www.butlercountyelections.org/

Here are the issues on our ballot this year:

  1. State Issue 1: Question presented pursuant to Article XVI, Section 3 of the Constitution of the State of Ohio
    Gov’t speak: “At the general election to be held in the year one thousand nine hundred and thirty-two, and in each twentieth year thereafter, the question: ‘Shall there be a convention to revise, alter, or amend the constitution[,]’ shall be submitted to the electors of the state; and in case a majority of the electors, voting for and against the calling of a convention, shall decide in favor of a convention, the general assembly, at its next session, shall provide, by law, for the election of delegates, and the assembling of such convention, as is provided in the preceding section; but no amendment of this constitution, agreed upon by any convention assembled in pursuance of this article, shall take effect, until the same shall have been submitted to the electors of the state, and adopted by a majority of those voting thereon.”
    Layman’s terms: do you want to vote for a convention to come together to revise, alter, or amend the State Constitution? If there’s a majority in favor of it, then a convention will be formed to decide any changes. If there are any changes decided upon, they can’t be made until Ohioans get to vote on it and get majority. (This issue was started in 1932 and every 20th yr election after that.)
    – (added 11/4/12) My comment: I did a little research on this particular issue. It has been put on the ballot every 20 years since 1932, and I wanted to see if it had ever passed and how often. According to Ballotpedia.org, in the 4 elections that Issue 1 was on the ballot (1932, 1952, 1972, and 1992), it has been defeated. My fiance and I were thinking that if it were passed this year, it would open our state to passing legislation allowing same-sex marriage or other amendments that would not be desirable to a faith-based community. We decided we would be voting “No” on this issue.
    .
  2. State Issue 2: To create a state-funded commission to draw legislative and congressional districts.
    Gov’t speak: (1) Remove the authority of elected representatives and grant new authority to appointed officials to establish congressional and
    state legislative district lines. (2) Create a state funded commission of appointed officials from a limited pool of applicants to replace the aforementioned. (There are a whole lot of details on this step…I would check out the ballot for all the details.) (3) Require new legislative and congressional districts be immediately established by the Commission to replace the most recent districts adopted by elected representatives, which districts shall not be challenged except by court order until the next federal decennial census and apportionment. (4) Repeals current constitutional requirements for drawing legislative districts that avoid splits to counties, townships, municipalities and city wards where possible, and when not possible, limiting such divisions to only one division per governmental unit, and also repeals requirements to form as many whole legislative districts solely within a county as possible. (5) Mandate the General Assembly to appropriate all funds necessary to adequately fund the activities of the Commission.
    Layman’s terms: Appointed officials can put together a new commission to realign the congressional and legislative districts in the state. It will be State funded and the commission will be made up of applicants who are then chosen by a group of random 8 state judges in the Court of Appeals, who were chosen by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio. These will not be elected officials. There are quite a few requirements on how these people will be chosen, to create “fairness” to all political parties.
    My comment: I personally am not a fan because they are not people who we are electing. I understand that population and wealth may be distributed differently than when the districts were first put together, but let’s find a way to fix that with the people we’re voting for.
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  3. Butler County Issue 24: Proposed Tax Levy (Renewal)
    Gov’t Speak: A renewal of a tax for the benefit of Butler County, Ohio, for the purpose of funding the Butler County Public Children Services Agency for services to abused, neglected, and dependent children at a rate not exceeding two (2) mills for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to twenty cents ($0.20) for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for a period of five (5) years, commencing in 2013, first due in calendar year 2014.
    Layman’s terms: Renewal of a tax for Butler County Public Children’s Services Agency. Good for 5 years. Tax is existing and amounts to $0.20 for every $100.00 earned.
    My comment: We’re already paying this tax. It’s minimal. This is just to renew it. It’s for hurting kids. That’s a no-brainer to me.

There might be some city issues/ordinances that come up on your ballot. If you’re in Butler County, I suggest you check out the website and put in your address info to get a sample copy of YOUR ballot. If you’re out of this county, I’m sure there is something equivalent to it for your area. Check it out.

The most important thing is that you exercise your right to vote. Get out there and stand for what you believe. And if you don’t vote, you forfeit your right to complain about it. The only thing worse than not voting is not voting and then griping about it.

Getting Married: 32 Weeks – Silent Auction

We interrupt this regularly scheduled program for an important announcement. If you don’t know me very well (which, if you are part of Matt’s crew, that is probably pretty true), I would like to share something that is very heavy on my heart with you. I have sought to be involved with the international community since I graduated from high school. I was intending to become a Bible translator and trekking the wilds of Nepal, teaching the Nomadic tribes about the love of Christ. Through a series of events (some felt unfortunate at the time, but the end result, I will not complain about 😀 *heart*) God took me through three unlikely countries (for me) before plopping me right back to southwest Ohio and saying that it would be here that I would serve Him. When I came home from China, I thought that God would send me back there at some point. I started offering English lessons to some of the workers in Chinese restaurants in the area. I worked on learning more about the culture and the language. But God decided to use my exposure here to teach me about something else.

Buy it on Amazon!

I got ahold of a book called “Not For Sale” by David Batstone. This book began with an account of a normal man, in a normal suburb, who found out a young Indian woman was found beaten and left wrapped in a carpet on the side of the road a few streets over from him. This woman was kept in debt bondage to a local Indian restaurant and then cast out, left for dead. It amazed this man that something like this was happening in his own backyard. This was my first real exposure to Human Trafficking.

And then it happened in MY own backyard. I discovered that it was happening to people who I had come to know and had spent time with. I was floored and began to investigate even more about this issue. Learning more about Human Trafficking, the various forms it comes in (debt bondage, sex trafficking, slave labor, child slave labor, child sex trafficking), God began to put these people on my heart. He brought a Bible verse to my attention:

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
– Isaiah 58:6 (ESV) –

Yep, we thumbs up.

I was so excited when my dear friend Amy Davis shared that God had been pulling her heart towards this same issue and to these hurting people over the years as well. She has been such a blessing and helped me get beyond just thinking about the problem and raising awareness to actually doing something concrete. We started out by going through the Love146 Task Force curriculum with a group of people at our church and others. We got a Fairfield police officer to come and speak at our church about the issue in our own hometown. Also, Matt has totally come on board to help whenever work permits and that is such a blessing!

This past weekend, we organized a Silent Auction to benefit a ministry reaching out to women in the sex industry in Dayton, OH. There are so many things I could point out about Human Trafficking in Ohio. Ohio is in the top 10 for human trafficking, with Toledo being the number one city in the nation for Child Sex Trafficking recruitment. Kids are regularly taken off the street and transported to other cities and states for the purpose of prostitution and pornography. Many active adult sex workers were forced into the business before they were 18 and most have experienced some form of abuse as a child. It pains me so much to know that there are people and children hurting like this, and that the demand exists at such a high level in our state.

This was our first time ever doing a Silent Auction and I honestly had no idea what to expect on support and amount raised. When we started talking to people about it, the promises for donations came pouring in. We would come into church and someone else would hand us a basket or bag of items they wanted to donate. The women’s ministry group at the church organized all the food and refreshments. And just when I was getting discouraged about not selling enough tickets, we had a few people come up to us that morning to buy some.

Three Citizens…yes, I realize there are four of them. They still sound good.

The week before, we had a bit of music debacle, but it all worked out with finding a new group that is fantastic! [Insert plug here] These are Three Citizens. We are so grateful that they came out to play for us. We had a great time with them.

We raised over $1,000 for Oasis House! It was so good! God definitely was in control of the whole thing. If you would like more information about Human Trafficking and the impact in Butler County, you can check out the Butler County Human Trafficking Awareness Facebook page. We are completely grassroots right now, but who knows what God will do in the future?! He has done crazier things in my own life so I won’t hold Him to any plan of mine.

Here’s a link to Oasis House, as well: http://oasisforwomen.org. I’m looking forward to spending much more time with them in the future!

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I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on WeddingWire.com

Getting Married: 46 Weeks

I was looking forward to the week following the last post since I figured we had the two big things booked and locked away, so I could relax a bit, enjoy being engaged. Sadly, southwest Ohio weather had another idea. I started getting a bit of a sore throat by Sunday night which progressed to a full-on sinus infection by Thursday. That made for a miserable week with barely any sleep, lots of coughing and a Z-pack.

While I haven’t been up to par, that doesn’t mean we didn’t make any headway on the wedding plans. We decided to do our own invitations to save some money. I’m excited and have been brainstorming ways to make them fun and creative without going overboard. Matt met me near my work place on a half day to have lunch and hang out a bit before going in to work the afternoon. We stopped into Michaels to peruse. I’m glad we did. They were having a fantastic sale on paper and stationery. We got an amazing deal on the blank card stock and envelopes we need for invitations including some card stock for embellishments and our separate reception invitations. When I say, “We got an amazing deal…,” I mean, we got everything paper that we needed for under $50, plus some fun red/yellow flowery things that we can use to decorate for the reception. I can’t wait to start experimenting with designs and trying out different things. I will post some of the outcome on here for you all when I get them going.

After chatting with my sister one night, I decided I should go ahead and schedule my wedding dress shopping date. There has been a great summer sale going on at David’s Bridal this week, but it seems too soon to go get my dress already. We’re planning to go on Labor Day weekend, hoping for a sale, and also hoping that I can get myself in a little better shape by that time. There are going to be 10 of us there if everyone can show up! It’ll be so much fun though, and I want to try on the truly awful dresses too, so I’ll have some pictures for you.

Well, here’s hoping that this week is much better than the last!

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I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on WeddingWire.com

Booked! (47 weeks)

There were just two things that I have been stressed about to get booked for this wedding, yes, even 11 months before the aimed-for date: a reception venue and wedding photographer.

This week’s post is to let you know that we have them booked! I am so confident about my vendors so far, that I’m going to do a quick review/plug for them.

RECEPTION HALL – Barn N Bunk – Trenton, OH

Borrowed from the Barn N Bunk website

First, here is the website: http://barnnbunk.com/

Both Matt and I have been to wedding receptions here, so when we found out how economical the place was, we knew we had to get it. Located in Trenton, OH, a very farming-heavy community in Butler County, OH, this venue is ideal for weddings and receptions. Barn weddings/receptions have become super popular in the last few years and this 1893 barn is definitely up for the challenge.

The owners, Bev and her husband (Tom, I believe…I did meet him, but it was for a split second), have been doing this for years. their granddaughter works in one of the shops. You can tell that the whole place is a labor of love. During the growing season, the fields surrounding the barn are filled with a variety of vegetables and beans. They have a farmers’ market and a slew of community activities throughout the year.

What amazed me was how excited Bev was about our future marriage. I’m thinking that she must see about 52 weddings a year and yet she was still so thrilled that we are getting married and having our reception there.

Here’s the breakdown of the deal:

For 200 people, we were quoted a price of $3200. This includes catering for those people of a hot buffet (there are two other buffet options available) with three meats (sliced ham with pineapple, turkey breast in gravy, and roast beef au jus) and four sides or salad options. We chose mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans with ham chunks, tossed salad with dressings, and applesauce. Matt hasn’t insisted on too much so far, but he pretty much said it was a deal breaker if we didn’t get those mashed potatoes. Naturally, I accommodated. I love potatoes too. They also provide iced tea, lemonade, water, and coffee.

Any guests above the 200 is an additional $11/person, which is a very good price based on what I’ve gathered from friends and family who have planned weddings before. We can also bring in pop, if we want, but we would be responsible for clean-up and monitoring of that. They will allow alcohol, but again, you are completely responsible for organizing that. They do have china dishes and silverware available, but they typically use Styrofoam plates and plasticware. This is where I expressed some concern. We have plans for repurposing things for this wedding – reducing our waste and lowering cost. I asked her if we could buy thick paper plates instead of styrofoam, so that the material would at least be biodegradable. Bev is in a recycling mode so she was very glad to help out and said that she would price-check for us and if it wasn’t much more than the styrofoam plates, then she would just consider it in the original cost. Just a testament that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask about something that is important to you – you may not get the answer you want, but you also just might.

I will probably do another review of the place after the wedding, but for now, I leave you with the above. I’m very hopeful for what our special day will be like.

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER – Images by Sadie – Sadie Hodge

Here’s her website: http://www.imagesbysadie.com/

Just about every one of my friends have commissioned Sadie to do photos for them. She runs the gammut of Senior pics, engagement shots, weddings, mom-to-be photos, baby and kid photo, and full family shots. She first came into our lives when my matron of honor (who will be doing our engagement photos) married her super-cool rockstar hubs. I believe that he and Sadie knew each other from school, but regardless, she did some promo shots for his band and then she did their engagement and wedding photos…then my other bridesmaid had her do mommy-to-be shots, then it seemed like just about every other of my friends had her do their engagement shots and weddings. Most recently, she has done pics of friends’ new baby boy and she was brought in for a surprise proposal session at a Cincinnati Reds game.

I have wanted her to do my wedding pics for a long time, years even! So I was so excited to hear that she was available for our wedding date. She has some different wedding packages which are on her pricing page. I have had too many friends who didn’t get a very good photographer and their groomsmen ended up with a mullet from the shadow, or heads chopped off, or missing whole segments of the night because the photographer sat down to eat his meal during the dinner. I do not plan to be a picky bride, but a top-knotch photographer is one thing I am not willing to compromise on. Sadie is the best and has very reasonable pricing for the quality of her work.

Another really great photography couple that I would have used had Sadie not been available is her friend Tammi Harris and hubs Rudy. You can find their website here. I really like the stuff that they come up with and as a husband/wife team, they work super well together.

Thanks for stopping by!

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I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!