Tuesday, 30 August 2016

The fruits of my labour

Don't worry readers!  I've realized that I've been blabbering on about wedding stuff for a while now!  Today we take a break from anything wedding to talk gardens.

I live in a 2nd story condo so I don't have any yard... but what I do have is a (in my opinion) very large balcony.  I've tried growing tomatoes in pots for 2 years in a row and have never had more than a tomato (or 2) come from them.  This year though... John helped me out.
hydroponic tomato plant
John has a dream of a big garden... and when I say big I mean more like BIG so I guess we are in the testing phase of a new kind of gardening this year... so that we (he) can decide if we can upgrade to a larger operation once we have a yard.  That new kind of gardening?  Hydroponics.

From my understanding hydroponics is growing things in water.  So what you are seeing above is a container (hidden behind the black one) filled with perilite (sp?) and absolutely no soil.  Water is pumped through  3 times a day for about an hour each time (I add nutrients to the water so that the tomatoes don't actually need any nutrients from the soil).  Any excess water trickles out from the bottom of the bucket (that you can't actually see - it's orange though).  The orange bucket has 2 tomato plants growing out of it.  Why 2?  We had originally bought 2 plants but then it took us (John) a while to get the hydroponics set up so the plants were looking not so lively anymore.  So we bought one more that we were certain had a decent shot at growing and put one of the other better looking ones in with it.

These plants have been through a bit though.  Improper fertilizer, insufficient power sources, broken pumps, insufficient water sources, and having to live indoors while my balcony got redone for at least 2 weeks.  But somehow they have still managed to do really well (in my opinion).

hydroponic tomatoes
Currently, however, the pump is broken.  This means that unless I water them manually (like most people do with their gardens) they don't get any water.  So three times a day I go out there and scoop water from the black smaller bucket (that already has the proper nutrients in it) into the larger orange one... when the water in the black bucket runs out (about every other day) I mix up some nutrients into some fresh water and add that.

Here is my pickings of about a week that I haven't gotten around to eating yet (I suppose I could probably stop purchasing tomatoes now).
Those cherry tomatoes come from another plant.  It isn't looking nearly as great (but give it a break, it also had to live indoors for at least 2 weeks while my balcony got finished)

I have some other plans on my balcony as well.

Left:  Lemongrass and purple calla lily mixture.  The calla lilies were doing great a couple of weeks ago which is probably when I should have taken the picture.  I think I put too many plants into the planter though.. maybe.
Right:  The pink ones I actually got from church for mother's day (all the women in the church get something - not just those with kids).  It came in an itty bitty planter so I'm pretty impressed with how well it has done!  
Behind the pink ones was a longer planter that we attempted to grow some spinach (it wasn't successful) and some swiss chard (which I already cut and made for John (I'm not really a fan of it)
I also have 2 tall white planter with just some shrubs in them... I wasn't lying about having a large balcony!

In the future I'm sure we'll have some sort of greenhouse going in our yard... John has already spoken about wanting one someday and I think it would be pretty cool to have a large abundance of fruit and veggies just growing in the yard!

Friday, 26 August 2016

The People at the Wedding

I usually do this on my other blog but today I'm doing it here and linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching to tell you 5 different types of people at our wedding.

The wedding party

We are having an uneven wedding party.  I'm still unsure of how exactly I feel about this but in the end I knew John wanted 2 and I only had 1 for my side so... why not?  Really, what's important is that John and I get married; and not how many people are in our wedding party or attending.

The guests

We kept our numbers to under 200 so far we've got a grand total of 43 people coming.  Should be a nice, small wedding if people don't start RSVPing.  We are using an online service to keep track of our RSVP's that is working out well BUT I don't think people understand that they have to go on it and say that they aren't coming (if they aren't)... we clearly have a bunch of unknowns!


Yes I said photographerS... there is more than one so you best get ready to have your photo snapped and always look top notch and keep your finger our of your nose.  People will be are ready with cameras!


In case you somehow are able to escape the photographers there will also be 2 videographers... we should have our day well captured in the end.  Our plan was to only have 1 videographer but then she asked if she could bring a second shooter (which isn't actually costing us anything!)... we couldn't say no!  The audio person is to help capture audio for our videographer... you might not even see him.. he has a pretty easy but important job.

The bride and groom!

That's right, John and I will be attending our wedding!

Oh, and of course, all the staff at the event location.

If you haven't RSVP to our wedding yet (and have your invite sitting on the counter, stuck on the fridge, or tossed on the floor... what are you waiting for!?!  I'm looking to order you all some prezzies for attending and I'm guessing I'll have approximately 120 or so people leaving without a favour at this rate!

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

First Dress Fitting

A week ago I had my first dress fitting and there's some good news.  I still like the dress!

Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling too great the day of the fitting so I walked in there looking a bit like I just rolled out of bed to get there.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016


I've mentioned it before and I'll mention it again... we are using an online service to keep track of all our RSVP's.  In my very limited experience with keeping track of a large quantity of RSVP's this seems like the best option (not that I've ever done it before or anything).

The service we are using is AnRSVP (just in case you are interested in using it too)

First, the problems.

Everyone on your guest list has to have a different first and last name combination.  This didn't work out for us.  So, say for example you have 2 people you are inviting that are both named John Smith... that's not allowed.  We had not 1, not 2, but 3 instances where people had the exact same name.  It was an easy fix for us though.

One of the places this came up was with a child having the same name as my grandpa.  To fix this problem I grouped my cousin with the rest of his brothers and sisters.  So instead of it just saying "John" on the first name spot it says "John, sisters name, other sisters name" and I gave that line an invite count of 3.  I know that family can't make it already so I wasn't too worried about how I set it up.

The other problem was with John's side.  He has an uncle with the same name as his grandpa and an aunt with the same name as his grandma.

The solution to this was also an easy one.  John told me that his grandparents wouldn't be RSVPing for themselves anyways so for the first name for his grandparents I put Grandpa *his first name* and on the next line Grandma *her first name*.  This way the aunt and uncle (whom will likely have enough knowledge of the internet to RSVP for themselves) can RSVP for themselves using their actual names and we can just do it for his grandparents.

The other annoying part was that I put the names into the online program in the order that I had them listed on my list... so according to families.  The program jumbled them all up into an order I couldn't understand.  So eventually I just put them in alphabetical order to make people easier to find.

I also put the names in individually,,,  I know you can also do some importing of stuff but I figured I would have more control over the names if I just did it myself (plus, on the document we were keeping track of their names I also had written in if they were my aunt/uncle/grandparent.... I would have just had to do some editing anyways.  It took a bit of time... not a lot.  What did get frustrating was that I missed some people and then because the list wasn't ordered the same as my hard copy it was hard to see who I missed putting in.  But I eventually figured it out and now our RSVP list matches our hard copy list.

The benefits

The program keeps track of your RSVPs for you!  I don't have to worry about forgetting to mark someone down as a yes and what kind of allergy they have.

You can make your own questions to accompany your RSVP.

We have just 2 questions...
1) If there are any allergies (our caterer is willing to work around these)
2) What kind of song(s) they would like to dance to that night.

The program also lets you know how many invites you need to send out.  I think we ended up with 94 that were going out.  It helps when you need to know how many invites you should be printing or how many envelopes you need to buy (it's just too bad John didn't have his list finalized before I ordered the invites and envelopes).

The online service gives us a unique (but easy to type in) URL that we included on our invites so that guests shouldn't have too hard of a time RSVPing.

According to the site as of right now we have 17 people attending our wedding.  Should be a small and intimate wedding with only 6 songs people want being played during the dance portion.  People likely don't realize that we need them to respond with a no if they aren't coming.  But, about 3 or so weeks before the wedding we will get on all these people that haven't responded and likely just do it for them.  Hopefully, we get a lot more responses to make this job a little easier on us!

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Wedding Invites

Our wedding invites have all been sent out so I guess it's safe to talk about this now...

I wanted to make sure we used our engagement photos somehow because sometimes you never end up seeing a single engagement photo of a couple at their wedding.  Since we aren't using any of our pictures for our guestbook it was an easy decision to use one in our invites.  We had TONS of great pictures to choose from because our photographer is AMAZING!  Click here to see some other photo options we considered for our wedding invites.

The design.

John and I decided on all the wording for our invites.  We knew we wanted a Bible verse somewhere on the invite as well and I really didn't want the front of the invite to be too wordy (I was looking at some examples and one in particular just seemed too jumbled with words).  Because our wedding venue is outside of the city just off a highway we also decided it was important to include a map to where the venue is.  BUT, we didn't want the map on another piece of paper because that just adds to printing costs... so we made sure that got on the back of the invite.  Other than the important information for date, time,and location the only other thing we needed to include was an RSVP date and how they could do that.  We are actually using an online service for our RSVP (hopefully it works... I'll talk more about that next week).

But in the end we did not design the invites.  I have a very talented cousin that was (hopefully) more than eager to do this for us.  All we had to do was pay for printing and get some envelopes that would fit our cards (we had our cards designed so that 2 would fit on a regular piece of paper to help cut printing costs).

We had them printed at Staples... all we did was drop off our USB with the file of the invites on it and explain what we wanted.  They charge you to open the file on the USB but it was only $2... and in my opinion to do that in store rather than online ensures that you are getting the invites done properly... well worth the $2.  I was warned about them charging a fee for cutting so John and I had already planned to go to his parents place on Monday to use their paper cutter.  BUT, then the employee at Staples told me the fee to cut them would be $3 to get them all done... so I "splurged" and had them cut it.  My reasoning (other than it only being $3) was that if they messed up on the cutting I'm sure they would reprint them free of charge (we actually might not even know that they messed it up) but if we messed it up we would be back at Staples paying to have more invites made.

So all in all we paid $5 extra to have them printed at Staples but we are pretty happy with the results.  PLUS, it only cost us $78.87 to get 120 invites printed (so 60 pieces of paper) which was well under our budget of $150.  When we added some envelopes (I just bought a pack of 100... so some people are getting invites not in an envelope - but we are handing some out so I think that's ok) it came to $103.46 which is still a good amount under our budget.

I didn't even look into any other types of wedding invites... I know that at Michaels you can get a package of them and you can design them online with their program. But even then you still have to pay printing costs and we would have likely needed to get more than one box of them (I'm guessing one box might have 50 invites or so)... so I still think we went the smarter route.

A huge thank you to my cousin for designing these beauties!

the front

the back