Put the paper side of the insulation on the bottom against the drywall.
Owens Corning calls it Kraft Faced, that's the vapor barrier. It has a tar-like coating that seals it and adheres it to the fiberglass.
R-19 minumum, that's 5 1/2 inches of Fiberglass.
R-30 is better @ 7 1/2"
The blow-in will have a chart on the bag that shows depth required for different R values, and how much you'll need for the sqft. of coverage.
Recessed lighting is the worst to deal with. Most other electrical fixtures are fine to cover. Make sure your light bulbs are all within the manufacturer's maximum watts. There are two different types of recessed lighting, IC and non-IC. IC is basically saying insulation coverage, and non-IC is do not cover.
IC fixtures have thermal limit switching that will shut the power off to the bulb when the heat gets too high. Non-IC fixtures have no safety built in and will stay on until you turn it off. The heat build up from a halogen or a multiple tube flourescent fixture is pretty high. Watch your neighbor's house on a frosty morning, if they have recessed fixtures on, the frost on the roof will clear out over them quickly. You will have to stay clear of non-IC fixtures by a couple of inches. I have turned a 5 gallon bucket over on top of them to keep from burying them.Remove the bucket after you're done and clear away the insulation that falls in against the fixture. On an IC fixture, I usually stack fiberglass around them, then blow the rest. That way, you can just pull the fiberglass off if you ever have to service or replace them. I also trust fiberglass more than blow-in for resistance to fire. That may just be in my head, but I live by it.
In Minnesota, I think you'll be OK with the gable vents. With the snow and ice you guys get, I'd rather not penetrate a roof anywhere. Vents help your cooling bill more than they help heating. You will probably be fine with the gable vents.
Did I leave anything out?