Feeding The Hungry One Bite At A Time

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One of our favorite annual events in town is Taste of Texarkana which raises money for the Harvest Texarkana Regional Food Bank. Many of the community’s best restaurants, caterers, grocers and vendors gather to give out approximately 1,000 samples of their signature dishes to the hundreds of folks that come out for a fun time and great food. Read more of this post

Fun, Friends and ‘Vino’ at the Avinger Wine Festival

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I never exactly associated Texas with wine country. But the Lone Star State has a surprising number of locally owned wineries that produce some unusual and delicious varieties of vino. We discovered many of those at the first Avinger Wine Festival earlier today. Read more of this post

Jathan And Heather Attend A Texas Wedding Shower

A Texas wedding shower

Jathan Fink/Jadeworks Entertainment

There seem to be two things that folks like to celebrate in Texas, getting hitched and birthing babies. Hopefully in that order. So on Saturday we went to our first wedding shower in the Lone Star State for two of our friends, Jake and AnaLyse, who are about to start the next chapter of their lives together as husband and wife.  Read more of this post

Winter Magic and Mystery

Writing a letter with a pen

This December, discover the magic and mystery of the winter season.

December 2011

Dear Friends,

Last month faded silently into the past as we embraced December and started the final chapter of yet another year in our lives. Unfortunately, with the new month came a horrible cold and bronchial cough that takes nearly forever to shake. At last I’m on the mend though, and just in time too!

As for so many of you, December is a hectic but joyful month filled with plans to see friends and family. We were supposed to start this month with a visit to Arkansas to watch our dear friend Regenia exchange wedding vows with her new sweetie. But illness knocked me upside the head like a breadbox and rendered me immobile, so we were homebound and I slept the week away. Don’t you hate it when that happens? I guess we’ll just have to catch up with them during our next visit or hope that they head east and pop in on us.

Because I’ve been sick, we haven’t been doing a whole lot of cooking either. What’s the point when you don’t want anything more than broth and crackers? But Heather did whip up a few dishes when I was feeling up to eating, so you’ll see those in the days to come. Cranberry Zucchini Muffins, Macaroni and Cheese, and White Bean Chicken Chili are a few of the recipes you can look forward to.

We’ll be cooking up plenty of foods later this month, however, when we host our annual winter game day event. This is one of our most beloved gatherings, as our house is packed with good friends from morning till night. The event is very casual, we watch movies, play games, and laugh until our sides ache. We’re also incorporating a recipe exchange this year, so for every dish our guests bring, we ask them to provide the corresponding recipe so we can share them with everyone in attendance. We may even feature some of those yummy recipes here this year, so stay tuned.

One of the perks of being homebound with a cold is that I always have plenty of time to read. This month I’ve discovered new authors, rode a rollercoaster of suspense and solved a baffling mystery. In a few days, you’ll find out more about this thrilling novel when we announce our new book club selection. I can’t wait to share it with you!

Something I can share with you now, however, is great savings. We’ve been working hard to build our collection of retailers so we can feature our favorite products and brands with you at exceptionally low prices. Simply visit our Shopping page and you’ll discover great deals on everything from books to gourmet treats, stylish clothing to kitchen gadgets and vacation packages, all at rock-bottom prices!

Whether you’re shopping, diving into a good book, cooking up a storm or getting together with friends and family, we hope you have fun this December. Enjoy your time off, take in a movie or two (we can’t wait to see the new installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise and new Spielberg adventures TinTin and War Horse), and settle into the winter season. This is the perfect time of year to relax, recharge and indulge in a season filled with winter songbirds, snowball fights, snowmen, eggnog, snow angels or piping hot cocoa by a flame-filled hearth. Whatever you’re doing, make it memorable and enjoy the magic of the moment.

Love,
Jathan & Heather

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Together You and I

Mums in the pumpkin patch

Huge pumpkins and beautiful mums announce the arrival of fall with big, bold color.


October 2011

Dear Friends,

Recently we dropped in on one of our favorite people and caught up on life, sharing our challenges, triumphs, and dreams. It was one of those philosophical conversations we all have at times that was filled with what Oprah always calls, “Aha!” moments. By the end of the afternoon, we walked away with a pocketful of little epiphanies, but one stood out more than all the rest: If we put aside judgments and live with an open heart, we rise toward greatness and make great strides toward finding peace and ultimately, happiness.

We loved that thought, for it was so profound, and yet really quite simple. Leave judgments in God’s hands, and simply love one another. Perhaps British novelist C.S. Lewis put it best when he said, “Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives.”

With that thought in mind, we decided to make a concerted effort to simply enjoy the people that populate our lives and demonstrate affection for them in whatever way we can. For an elderly housebound couple, we baked a cake and delivered it to their home. When we accepted a last-minute invitation to share a garden-fresh meal with friends and neighbors at their tiny cottage, we prepared our favorite Bread with Herb Butter and a tossed salad to share with everyone there.

Yesterday, we hosted our Fall Fiesta and served some of our signature Mexican and Tex-Mex inspired dishes like Toasted Flautas, Janet’s Chilaquiles, Spanish Rice, Chicken Enchiladas Salsa Verde, Seven-Layer Dip, Chunky Guacamole with Serrano Peppers, and more. The addition of libations like Margaritas, Strawberry Daiquiris and Pina Coladas rounded out the meal. But it wasn’t just the food and alcohol that everyone enjoyed, for all of us embraced the opportunity to gather together, make new friends and laugh with old ones. Happiness ricocheted through our house like a lightning bolt in a thunderstorm, striking all of us to the point that we thought folks were going to spend the night. We love parties like that! Nothing makes us happier than when everyone has a good time and asks to be invited again soon.

This month, we’re also taking pleasure in the tasks of the season, like planting mums, buying pumpkins, going to college football games, and canning and freezing the last of summer’s veggies. We also begin planning our big parties for later in the year, including our annual Fall Feast, Winter Brunch and Game Day, and a new celebration, our First Feast. It is a lot to do, but we love this time of year with cooler, crisper weather, tons of color, and reasons to indulge in seasonal treats like caramel apples, hot cider and yummy pumpkin pie.

We hope you have the opportunity to make special memories with good friends this month too. Take a group of your best pals to a local festival like the 42nd Annual Ohio Sauerkraut Festival in Waynesville, Ohio or meet some of your favorite authors at Books by the Bank, a local book festival here in Cincinnati. (If you go, be sure to visit our friends Brock Clarke and Michael Griffith and pick up one of their latest books!) Or you can simply host your own little soirée or movie night and hang out with good friends. Whatever you do, great people make for special memories and many more chances to add a little more happiness to your life. Live well!

With love,
Jathan & Heather

p.s. We love Dolly Parton‘s new song, “Together You and I.” We feel that it really embodies the epiphany we talked about earlier. Watch the fun video for this tune below.

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment. All rights reserved.