Wednesday, June 28, 2017

June 2017 Reading List

The Reluctant Brides Collection 
An Unexpected Surprise by Rosey Dow
Ribbon of Gold by Cathy Marie Hake
Light Beckons the Dawn by Susannah Hayden
The Reluctant Schoolmarm by Yvonne Lehman
School Bells and Wedding Bells by Colleen L. Reece
Rose Kelly by Janet Spaeth

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Easy Tex Mex Bake

8 ounces uncooked thin mostaccioli or penne
1 pound ground Turkey or Beef
2/3 cup medium or mild salsa
1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn, thawed and drained
1 container (16 ounces) low-fat cottage cheese
1 egg
1 Tbsp cilantro
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

Brown meat, drain. Add corn and salsa. You should have your pasta cooked and drained and ready to layer in a 11x7 baking dish. Start with a layer of the meat mixture then a layer of pasta. Combine cottage cheese, egg, cilantro, pepper and cumin in bowl. Mix well. Add the cottage cheese layer over pasta.

Add the remaining meat mixture over cottage cheese...then top with shredded cheese.
( I said all of that to say..."Layer Meat, Pasta, Cottage Cheese, Shredded Cheese")
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until heated through.

Thursday, June 15, 2017


I haven’t been able to work on our past sentimental stuff lately. I’m keeping up with our current memory making. We celebrated our 25th anniversary with a vow renewal and are leaving in a few days for our 3 week trip. We have finished our camper renovation, although a few things will still need done once we’re back home. I’ve decide to donate our vase and candy jar so that someone else can enjoy them when they celebrate their 25th. Our silver frame with our wedding picture is going into our master bedroom china cabinet. I’ve trashed our sign, the bubbles are put away for our grandkids, the party favors are gone, and the flowers are compost. I still need to sort through the digital pictures. I’m not sure I’d wear my dress again, but I’m not ready to donate yet. I donated my wedding dress a couple years ago. Thank goodness we decide to keep it simple.

Memories/Photos are a big category. It took 3 years working about 10-20 hours a month to get our digital pictures organized. I've spent the last year working on our photo boxes of loose pictures. I'm using photo boxes instead of putting everything into albums. I’ve dismantled a few albums we did make. Our family pictures are all in the photo boxes or are digital. I still need to organize some of our photos inside the boxes before I start scanning. My husband and I do have a wedding album and albums that I made of our childhoods and I may need to sort through them again. We finished our 4 kid’s baby books years ago.

My husband and I spent a weekend two years ago getting our 4 children's papers culled down from 10 crates into 4 accordion folders. It was great because he is less sentimental about homeschool type papers and I had been overwhelmed. I sorted and photographed our bulky memorabilia that I have in a bigger tote last KM round. We each have a small tote for awards and bulky memorabilia that I sorted last KM round too. Our gallery wall is a work in progress, I have a few things to hang, and need to add pictures to a couple frames. I’ve got two photo boxes for our grandkids memorabilia. I have a handled tote for my dad’s papers and stuff.

I have a good system that works for us; I just need to continue to get everything into it. This is more than a 2 week job; I’ve spent 6 yrs. working on it so far. I have at least another year of work on printed pictures not including scanning. I’m guessing this is a 10 yrs. job, mostly because we’ve collected but didn’t have a good system to enjoy them. I was too overwhelmed with this category to do much with them while raising our children, but have more time that they are grown. 

Shawn and I.

Our wedding photo tablescape.

Our photo storage area in the living room. I'm thankful that we have it stored in a visible place for our family to enjoy.

The inside of one of our photo boxes.

I cut down chipboard to create year dividers, I used labels, mini stamps for the year, and stickers.

I'm using a matstack to create event dividers and journal cards if I need to write something about the events.

Our memorabilia stored in the basement.

Monday, June 12, 2017

My 8 Year Blog-Aversary

I created this blog on June 12th, 2009. Thanks you to the visitors of my blog A Welcoming Heart.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Our Silver Jubilee Vow Renewal

On June 6th, 1992 Shawn Sr. and I said "I Do" and on Sunday we said "We Still Do" 25 years later. We pledged our love to each other all those years ago and we’re renewing our commitment that it’ll last a lifetime. We had a family celebration to renew our vows in the beautiful Whetstone Park of Roses, followed by dinner at Mozart’s Piano Cafe'. The Lord has been good to us.

The Whetstone Park of Roses.

Jennie and Shawn Sr. by the fountain.

We did our renewal ceremony in the Small Gazebo between the Perennial and Herb Gardens.

Jennie reading her vows.


Shawn Sr. reading his vows.

The Kiss.


The kids blowing bubbles at us.


Shawn Sr. and Jennie.

Shawn Sr. and Jennie.


Richard III, Brittany, Arileise, Richard IV in the Small Gazebo.



Richard III, Brandon, Shawn Sr., Arileise, Jennie, Brittany, Nastasja, and Richard IV at the Wedding Arbor in the Wedding Mall


Us kissing by the fountain. 

 Our grandbabies, Richard and Arileise in the Formal Rose Garden. 

Shawn Sr. and Brandon on the Iron Observation Tower in the Formal Rose Garden.

Jennie and Nastasja in the Heritage Rose Garden.

We'll be celebrating our 25th with a 3 week trip to Pennsylvania. It's only about an 8 hour drive from Ohio. We'll be visiting a week each in Hershey, Lancaster, and Gettysburg. We never had a Honeymoon and have never been away from the kids but for more than 2 nights. We homeschooled and are very close but they are young adult now. It’ll be scary leaving home for so long but really fun.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Invent Your Own Casserole

1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Choose one from each category:

Sauce Makers:
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of celery soup, undiluted
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can Cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained

Choose one Fish/Meat/Poultry:
2 (6-ounce) cans solid white tuna, drained and flaked
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cups chopped cooked ham
2 cups chopped cooked turkey
1 pound ground beef, browned and drained

Choose one Pasta/Rice:
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1 cup uncooked rice
4 cups uncooked wide egg noodles
3 cups uncooked medium shells

1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs

Choose one Frozen Vegetable:
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 (10-ounce) package frozen cut broccoli
1 (10-ounce) package frozen Italian green beans
1 (10-ounce) package frozen English peas
1 (16-ounce) package frozen sliced yellow squash
1 (10-ounce) package frozen whole kernel corn

Choose one or more Extras (Optional):
1 (3-ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained
1/4 cup sliced ripe olives
1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles
1 (1 1/4-ounce) envelope taco seasoning mix

Combine 1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream, 1 cup milk, 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper with Sauce Maker (omit sour cream and milk when using tomatoes). Stir in Pasta/Rice, Frozen Vegetable, Fish/Meat/Poultry, and if desired, Extras.

Spoon casserole mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9- x 2-inch baking dish; sprinkle with your choice of toppings. Cover and bake casserole at 350ยบ for 1 hour and 10 minutes; uncover and bake 10 additional minutes.


Chicken Casserole: Cream of chicken soup, broccoli, rice, chicken, Parmesan cheese, and breadcrumbs.

Ham Casserole: Cream of celery soup, Italian green beans, wide egg noodles, ham, garlic, and 2 portions Swiss cheese.

Turkey Casserole: Italian-style diced tomatoes, spinach, medium pasta shells, turkey, onion, garlic, mozzarella cheese, and breadcrumbs.

Vegetarian Casserole: Italian-style diced tomatoes, yellow squash, rice, olives, 4 portions celery, 4 portions bell pepper, garlic, parmesan cheese, and breadcrumbs.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Our Trip Notebook

We are celebrating our 25th Anniversary with a 3 week trip to Pennsylvania.  We are very excited!

We haven’t spent more than a weekend away from our kids in all these years, 3 weeks feels like an exciting yet scary dream. Our young adult kids are telling us this is a test to see if we can get along as empty nesters. LOL We married young, had 2 kids before we married, and were pregnant on our wedding day. Yep, life happens. Our kids are 28.2, 25.9, 24.9, and 21.

I thought I'd give a glimpse of how I set up the Notebook of our Trip Plans. I used supplies that I already had at home and didn't spend any money. It did take many hours of research to come up with activities for 3 weeks. We decide to not completely fill up our time and are only visiting 1-3 places most days. Some days we'll stay at the campground and relax or enjoy the amenities they provide. We've prepaid for at least 3 activities each week. We'll be enjoying those but some of the extras we can decide to skip we we want. We want to have fun and to have as much of a stress-free trip as possible.

Our Trip Notebook is filled up. 

I have a supply pouch.

I have a free calendar and writing paper.

I made a list in the front of my notebook of our travel plans.

I made a cover page for each of our sections in the notebook. Our sections are:

Gifford Pinchot State Park Campground: Arrival June 19- Check out June 30

Lancaster, Pennsylvania Week of: June 19-24, 2017

Hershey, Pennsylvania Week of June 25-30, 2017

Travel Day: June 30

Codorus State Park Campground: Arrival June 30- Check out July 8

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Week of: July 1-8

In each section I added our reservations in order of the days we’ll be using them. If we didn’t need reservations I printed a page of the basic info of the place for reference. This is our reservations for the first campground we'll be staying at. State Park Campgrounds allow a 14 day stay so we need to visit two State Parks on our trip.

Our plans for Lancaster, PA. and our reservation info or places we plan to visit.

The second page of our Lancaster, PA. plans.

One of our reservation pages. We have many more.

This is a sample of the pages I printed for activities that didn't need reservations.


Our plans for Hershey, PA. and our reservation info or places we plan to visit.

The info on the second State Park Campground we'll be staying in.

Our plans for Gettysburg, PA. and our reservation info or places we plan to visit.

The second page of our Gettysburg, PA. plans. We also have travel literature from Gettysburg.

We got other travel literature for our trip emailed to use. All our reservations were email too. I'm keeping everything in a folder in our email in case our notebook is lost.

I'll keep a backup of our files on my computer for our trip on my laptop too.