Mother of the Bride

Mother of the Bride

The Diary of a Mother of the Bride

Our daughter Veronica is engaged to her longtime boyfriend Brian and this is something of a record of my part in that engagement and subsequent marriage.  They have been dating for 11 years before he proposed.  We have known Brian all that time and we are very fond of him.  This is my record of my part in all of this and leading up to the big day.

Gordon and Julie Whann

Pearl City, Hawaii 1987

I am Pregnant with Veronica


My little Veronica was born on July 6, 1987 in Honolulu, Hawaii at Tripler Army Medical Hospital.   The PINK hospital.

Me with Veronica

(Before Gordon left on deployment he made the origami mobile to hang above her crib.)

Gordon was deployed at the time on the U.S.S. Worden in the Persian Gulf.

When he deployed I was 6 months pregnant with Veronica, alone in an apartment in Pearl City with no automobile and I didn’t know anyone.  I would walk to my medical appointments because I couldn’t afford the bus or a taxi.  I do look back on all that walking I did as being very good for my health though. 

We were on a waiting list for Navy housing and I did get in about 2 weeks before Veronica was born.  I had to move in myself.  My mother, grandmother, and two of my little brothers, Frank and Ben, came over to help me.  We were living on Valkenburgh Street.  Valkenburgh was the Captain of the U.S.S. Arizona.

I went into the Operating Room all alone after being in labor for 30 hours.  Because Veronica was breach they gave me a C-Section and when I came out of surgery it was my mother who told me that I had a GIRL!  I was so drugged and so pleased at the same time.  🙂

Of course, Gordon came home when she was 3 months old right after she got over all of her colic and when she was sleeping through the nights.  (I will always resent him for that.)  But he fell in love with her the second he saw her and he has always been madly in love with her. 


January 22, 2018

Engagement Announcement!

Our little girl, Veronica, and her longtime boyfriend, Brian, are engaged!

He popped the question underneath the fireworks at Disney’s Magic Kingdom in front of Cinderella’s Castle.  Ahhhh……

Gordon and I are very happy!



Veronica and Me

Engagement Party March 2018

The tile of the photo of baby Veronica, Gordon and myself in our backyard in Honolulu, also two postcard signed prints by Diana Hanson-Young signed to myself and Veronica that I gifted to her.  Oh, and that is Veronica’s baby blanket that I wanted her to have.  🙂


Engagement Photos


That would be the DAY they will be getting married.

Veronica and Brian

Just a few of their engagement photos.  They were taken at Fred Howard Park out in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

Probably my most favorite one.



June 1, 2020

Look What I Found?

It was my corsage from Veronica and Brian’s wedding that I had pressed between the pages of a vintage New York cookbook.  Where incidentally, the Kelleher family all originated from New York.


 January 19, 2020

Happy 1st. Anniversary Veronica and Brian

The Ploughman’s Lunch

Vintage Cheddar, Smoked/Honey Ham, Salad Items, Homemade Vinaigrette, and Homemade Tomato Chutney

If you would like the recipe for this magnificent Irish Classic Lunch…….

Click Here For:  St. Patrick’s Day

For Veronica and Brian’s 1st. Wedding Anniversary we wanted to make them something a bit special.  Brian always touts his Irish roots through his grandfather who came over from Ireland and settled in New York in the 50’s, marrying his Puerto Rican wife, and eventually settling in Florida.

Veronica’s roots are also of Irish and Scottish decent. 

Therefore, we made them an Irish Pub Ploughman’s Lunch.

So very Delicious!



January 19, 2019


The Wedding Day

The 11 Year Anniversary of their First Date

Forever Your Little Girl

The Millennium Falcon Cufflinks Veronica gave to her Dad.

Gordon and I goofing around before time to leave for the church.

And I am enjoying the heck out of my new camera.  We had just bought it a few days prior so we were literally reading the instruction booklet in the car on the way to the wedding.

Julie’s New Camera!!!!  🙂

Wedding?  What Wedding?

You aren’t leaving me alone again, are you?


The Church

The church was absolutely beautiful.  This photo just doesn’t do it justice.  It had such huge windows and glass doors all around it.  It was a Spanish style Catholic Church with lots of terra cotta tile.  All around the grounds were so many lovely areas for taking pictures.

Not to mention that the day itself was so beautiful and sunny and warm.  Veronica and Brian could not have asked for a prettier wedding day.

Gordon and I in our wedding best.


Brodie with Gordon, l, and with McKenzie, r.


The Siblings, Heather, Jeff and Gordon, far right. 

Heather’s husband Pepper second from r.

Pepper Dean, and Deanna front.

Erin, Kelcy and Heather back.

(Gordon’s sister and her husband, and children.)

Gordon’s Aunt and Uncle, Susy and Bob

Gordon and I with Niece Deanna


Behind the Scenes

As the Mother-of-the-Bride, I did slip behind the scenes to check on all the girls, especially Veronica.

Here I am putting on the bracelet that I gave her for her wedding day. 

It matched her dress.

Veronica’s new sister-in-law did everyone’s hair and make up. 

She is married to Brian’s brother.

Brian’s Aunt did the Flowers


Veronica’s Bouquet

(That is the lace from my wedding gloves from my own wedding in 1985.)


I thought that Veronica’s hair looked so lovely.

  Marissa did an excellent job.

The Bracelet I gave Veronica

She Looked Beautiful!

Veronica, Brian, and the Priest in the Church

Two of my Favorite People at the Wedding, Brain’s Grandparents

Their love story is the West Side Story love story.  They were living in New York when they met.  He, an Irish boy from immigrants from Ireland, and she, Maria, the lovely girl from Puerto Rico.  They met in the 50’s, fell in love, and forever blended their Irish/Puerto Rican roots.  When you look at the Kelleher Family you can see their dark Puerto Rican features, which I think are beautiful.  Yet, the roots they seem to taut the most are the Irish ones.  Brian even incorporated his Irish traditions into their wedding.

Veronica and Brian with their Young Bridal Party

Nicholas and Juliette

(Nicholas was the Ring Bearer and actually carried the same pillow down the isle that my little brother Ben carried down the isle when Gordon and I got married at our own wedding.)

The little ribbons that you see tied on the flowers and vases were taken from my own wedding dress.



The Reception Hall


Welcome to our Love Story…….


The Memorial Table

I have never heard of this but I loved it!  The thought of having a table with photos of those that have passed, but yet are still with us.  What a beautiful sentiment!  Of course Veronica included my Grandmother and Grandfather, (her Great-Grandmother and Great-Grandfather), and my Great-Aunt Margie and Great-Uncle Ray, (her Great-Great Aunt Margie and Great-Great-Uncle Ray).  You can see them to the very left of the photo below.

I have always wanted to tell this story of my Great-Aunt Margie and now is as good a time as any.

When Margie was a young girl of 8 she was out playing with the neighbor’s children.  Margie lived in a house with her mother, her father had died and left them all alone.  In order to have some money Aunt Margie’s mother took in a border, a man.  Aunt Margie tells us that when she was little her mother was always having to go out looking for her to come home for supper because she was always out playing with the neighbor’s children.  Apparently there were a lot of them, a big family lived next door and they had lots of playmates for Margie.  Well, one day Margie was out playing and went home early for some reason.  She couldn’t find her mother.  She called for her but she couldn’t locate her so she went looking about the house.  She then found her mother in the border’s room.  Her mother had taken a shotgun and killed herself in the border’s room.  They believe that she killed herself in his room so that he would find her and not Margie.

Margie’s mother did ask the neighbor’s next door that if anything did happen to her would they take in Margie?  They told her yes.  Yet it was one of Margie’s older brother’s who was about 21 that took Margie in.  He had just gotten married.  Margie told my grandmother that she knew she was a burden on them and she always felt bad about that. 

My Great-Aunt was the nicest person in the world.  You would never know to look at her that she came from such a sad past.  She was always smiling, always happy, always nice and polite.  Her generation never talked about the sad things they went through.  I didn’t find out about any of this until after her death.  Now, all I want to do is hug her and tell her how sorry I am that she had such a sad childhood. 


Sugar, also on the Memorial Table

Gordon said he heard someone ask why a dog is on the Memorial Table?

I’m glad I wasn’t there to hear that.  I would have turned around and asked, “Why Not?”

Out of all the humans on that table how many of them have hurt people throughout their lives?  Most likely ALL of them.  And how many of those humans have told lies?  How many of those humans have deceived?  How many of those humans have sinned?  Well guess what?  Sugar never hurt anyone.  She never lied to anyone, she never deceived anyone, she never hurt anyone. 

So, what I would like to know is why are there humans on this table? 


Gordon and his niece Erin helping themselves to some libations. 

And there is Kelcy! 

Always the life of any party!

Brodie with his friends Jason, and Justin, and Pepper Dean, Brodie’s Uncle.

Gordon and Julie

Enjoying some Appetizers before we go into the Reception Room.

Scallops on the Half Shell and Chicken Meatballs, just a few of the appetizers served.

I am very embarrassed to say that I really overlooked the FOOD!  I know!  Right?

What was I thinking?  Well, it wasn’t about food…..  🙂  I hardly took any photos of the delicious food we were being served.

Everyone in our group enjoying the food and drink.

I love this photo of the Choplin’s from the back!  🙂

After all, most people focus on the front. 


The Ice Sculpture

This was truly beautiful! 

The Irish Claddagh Ring with the Heart, and their initials carved below it.

Gordon at our Table #1 (Whann)

Justin, McKenzie, Brodie and Jason

McKenzie and Brodie

Shaka Uncle Jeff (Gordon’s brother)

Sweet Deanna

Gordon Photobombing Kelcy and Susy


Here Comes the Wedding Party

The Best Man and the Maid of Honor

The Adorable Little Ones

Veronica and Brian and their Niece Juliette


The Father/Daughter Dance

Mr. and Mrs.

The Beautiful Wedding Cake

(Apple and Pumpkin)


Now Comes the Fun Part!

We had a DJ, there was lots of dancing, but NO ONE could compete with Nicholas!  I think we are seeing the talented Puerto Rican DNA here.

The BEST Dancer at the Wedding!

I think it’s the children that make a wedding special. 

Veronica and Brian’s Nieces and Nephew’s stole the show over and over again!

Lots of Dancing

Brodie and McKenzie Gracing the Dance Floor

Deanna could do some very cool tricks with her wheelchair.

Veronica Throwing the Bouguet

Brother and Sister, Veronica and Brodie

At the End of the Day….. 

May the Force Be With You….. Always……

You can see Gordon here blowing bubbles to Veronica and Brian and Brian noticing, looking at Gordon and laughing.  I took the photo.  I may be behind the camera in so many of these photos but I am there to capture them.  The difference between me and the wedding photographer is that I know the people involved and their personalities.  He/she only knows them as the groom, the bride, the father of the bride, the mother of the groom…..  I’m sure that the wedding photographers will do an excellent job.  But I am hoping that I took the photos that no one else knew to take.  I’m hoping that my daughter and her new husband will view the photos that I took as being special, different, another perspective. 

Congratulations to the Bride and the Groom on their Wedding Day!

We will love you forever!

Gordon and Julie


January 17, 2019

The Rehearsal, and The Rehearsal Dinner

(I do love that Veronica had the Rehearsal and the Rehearsal Dinner on the 17th., while the wedding will be on the 19th.  That way we do get the 18th,. to prepare for the wedding.  Most people don’t do this.  I do thank Veronica that she thought ahead and gave us this extra day to prepare.)  🙂

Gordon and I inside the church where Veronica and Brian will marry.

The Wedding Program


The Beautiful Cross

(I did notice a candle that was still lit as the church lights were dimming and people were leaving.  Being the “fire safety” girl that I am I was venturing over in order to blow out this candle that was still lit in the corner.  But just as I was on my way to blow it out Gordon’s sister Heather inquired as to why it was still lit?  That is when we were told that Jesus lives in that candle.  O.K. whew!  That was a close one!  Almost blew out Jesus.  And now we know where he lives just in case.)  🙂

Let me just say that we are not Catholic.  Veronica isn’t Catholic either.  I was raised into the First Christian Church, a.k.a., Disciples of Christ  when I was born, and Gordon was raised Episcopalian.  But we, as married adults, never really attended any church and raised our children to be Spiritual people, not necessarily religious people.  So, when it came time to Veronica getting married we were a bit surprised that she would be having her wedding in a Catholic Church.  But Brian’s family are Catholic so this was more the wedding that Brain’s family wanted for Brian and Veronica.  But, it was a lovely church and not to skip too far ahead, but also a lovely wedding.

Veronica and Brian did have to take classes for about a month through the Catholic Church on compatibility, which they failed, but the church married them anyway.  And as I asked, “Then why have you take classes on compatibility, only to have you fail them, but yet they marry you anyway? 

Gordon and Veronica Rehearsing the “Walk Down the Isle.”

I wanted desperately to intervene when I realized that Gordon and Veronica would be rehearsing the “Walk Down the Isle.”  That is a traditional NO NO!!!  Although I don’t really believe in superstitions I do like to honor some traditions and the only time a bride should “rehearse” walking down the isle is NEVER!!!  It should be the one time at the wedding with her father.  NO REHEARSAL!!!

But, I did hold my tongue and went with the flow.   🙂  And yes, I do hold my tongue quite a bit, I just never get credit for it.


Brian’s family hosted the Rehearsal Dinner at Grillsmith and it was very nice.  We had an entire room to ourselves.  It was so nice having so many Whann’s, and Kelleher’s in attendance.  Seeing family from out of town for the first time in many years.  Everyone coming together to celebrate.

Brodie and his girlfriend, McKenzie

Veronica and Her Bridesmaids, Brian and his Groomsmen

SHAKA!!  (Jeff also lived in Hawaii.)

Gordon’s brother, Jeff, and Brodie and McKenzie

Julie with Erin and Deanna, and Julie with Susy, Gordon’s Aunt

(Susy is 83, has Parkinson’s, and take’s Karate Classes.  Don’t mess with her!)

Gordon’s parents did not attend the wedding much to everyone’s relief.  I’ll just leave it at that.  Also, my mother did not attend either.  Much to my relief.  🙂  Everyone that came to the wedding was wanted, and appreciated.  That is how it should be.  We shouldn’t dread seeing family.  We should be happy to see them and be with them. 

Brodie left, and Gordon right, Jibber Jabbering away, like only he can do…….. 🙂

Veronica Receiving her Special Gift from her Father

A Gift of Semi-Precious Stones that Change Color

Veronica Gave us some Very Nice Gifts

Veronica Talking to her cousin Kelcy

Veronica and Brian’s Star Wars Cake

I Love You, I Know…….

(That is their Theme.)


January 14, 2019

Veronica’s Closet

Actually, it is Veronica above my closet……

The gold frame belonged to my grandparents…….it housed a mirror.

You can see the mirror here behind my Grand-Parents and Great-Grandparents.  I knew that I wanted it.  The mirror actually suddenly fell off the wall after my Grandmother, Nellie Mae died, and as it was falling toward my nephew Joseph, my brother Frank sprung into action and grabbed Joseph, who was aged 2 from the floor, preventing the mirror from falling onto him. 

That mirror would have done some major damage to Joseph had it hit him.  It even could have killed him.  My brother Frank was always very fast and very athletic.  When our horse Prince threw Frank one day, and tried to trample him, Frank quickly got out of the way and saved himself.  Frank always was the fast one, the smart one, the athletic one. 

Several years ago I spotted the frame in my parent’s barn and I asked if I could have it?  They told me that I could.  And now it houses Veronica’s senior year portrait and a few little pictures that my grandmother bought in year’s past.



January 2019

Mother of the Bride Dresses

Entering my Closet

Dresses, Sweaters, Skirts, Purses, Shoes………

Did I mention that I HATE Shoes??

Trying my best to come up with clothing for the Wedding Rehearsal, Wedding Rehearsal Dinner, and the Wedding Itself.

It’s not an easy task when you are 57.  🙁


December 22, 2018

The day we picked up the wedding dress…….

I think that I can get away with these shots of the wedding dress without getting into too much trouble.  🙂

Veronica and I went out to Clearwater to pick up the wedding dress.  She had one final fitting.  All that was required was a snap to be sewn on and they did show us how to snap up the bustle for when she dances and for at the reception so she doesn’t have that long train to deal with. 

The ladies at Athena pinning up the bustle.

Veronica with her Dress, Ready to take it Home

Bahama Breeze Island Grill

This was always a favorite thing to look forward to for me.  Seeing my daughter in her wedding dress and getting it fitted and altered, and then our fun relaxing time at Bahama Breeze on all those Saturday afternoon’s for our cocktails and appetizers and entree’s. 

Seeing as how this was our last time to be here, I wanted to savor it.  This has been such a fun mother/daughter event for us.

Veronica’s Cocktail’s

Veronica’s Shrimp Taco’s with Rice and Beans

We always played with the appetizers but we always ordered the Firecracker Shrimp.

Julie’s Fish Taco’s

We do have a thing for taco’s……..

What a great Mother/Daughter Day!


December 15, 2018

Bridal Shower

Gifts and Food Ready to take to the Bridal Shower

A Small Bag of Goodies

Artichoke Appetizer (Recipe Below)

Vintage Italian Ring Cake

(Recipe Below)

This is something that I absolutely love to do…….

bring food, with all the dressing and adornments, to an event.

Therefore I was in my element.  🙂

I decided on a Vintage Italian Ring Cake for a nice dessert for the Bridal Shower.

I actually found 2 of the ring cake pans on sale at Tuesday Morning in their thrift pile.  I love them!  I am keeping one for myself and giving Veronica one for herself.


Gordon and Julie, June 22, 1985

When your daughter is getting married, you cannot help but think back to your own wedding.  Here is a photo of Gordon and myself at our wedding.  It was sent to me recently by my cousin, Susan Keith.  A photo that she took at our wedding.  I decided to gift it to Veronica in the card I bought for her here.  (The lovely lightening strike going through Gordon’s head is either a “spirit photo,”  or just a reflection.  I’m hoping for a spirit photo!)


Getting the Gifts and Wrappings Together

One thing that I love even more than the gifts themselves, are the little “extras” that I love to include in gifts.  As in the Mr. and Mrs. Napkins, the little toffee treats, the ornamental balls filled with candies, the beautiful wrappings of paper, bags, and bows……. and even a few Irish Cream Candy Bars.


My Beautiful and Delicious Vintage Italian Ring Cakes

(I even included the recipe as an added bonus.)


The Cake Ready to Take to the Shower


The Vintage Italian Ring Cakes

I actually found this recipe online here……..

Click Here for Ciambellone Ring Cake Old Days Italian Staple


Greasing the Pans with Butter and Flour

When I first made this cake I destroyed it!  I filled the pan way to high with the batter.  (I think it’s best to only fill the pan a little over half way up so as not to run over.)  The batter spilled out and all over the oven.  I was so distraught and upset about it.  BUT, when I tasted it, it was the best cake I had ever tasted in my life!  The only thing that I can think of as to why it was so delicious was that I had let the batter sit about a half an hour before I placed it in the ring pan to cook it.  I think the secret to having it be ‘the best cake I’ve ever tasted in my life’ was by having it sit with all the other ingredients in the bowl for 30 minutes before I cooked it. Really!

I need to recreate it in order to know for sure.  But baking it the correct way was delicious, but not as delicious as I had originally made it, when I screwed it up.

Ingredients:  as written by Elisa Gennari


  • 3 eggs
  • 300gr (2 and ½ cups) all purpose flour (or 270gr – 2cups whole wheat)
  • 200gr sugar (1 and ½ cups)
  • ½ glass of vegetable oil (1/2 cup)
  • 1 glass of milk (1cup)
  • 25gr of baking powder
  • orange or lemon zest, grated
  • 5gr of butter to grease the pan


  1. Preheat the oven at 180/200°C (350/390°F). Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix it with a whisk, or put them into the food processor and turn it on. Mix until evenly combined.
  2. Grease your baking pan with butter and then add some flour and move the pan to even distribute the flour on the surface. Add the batter and cook for 40 minutes. You can check if it’s ready by piercing the cake with a skewer. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready.
  3. IMPORTANT! do not open the oven in the first 25 minutes or the cake will collapse


The Batter

The Rings Ready to Bake

Fresh out of the Oven, Looks like a Giant Donut

Ready to Zest an Orange, a Lemon, and a Lime, also to sprinkle some Powdered Sugar

It was so pretty with the flecks of Orange, Yellow and Green.


Artichoke Appetizer Ready for the Bridal Shower


Our Artichoke Appetizer Basic Recipe:

Artichoke Appetizer

2- 8 oz. jars of marinated artichoke hearts (chopped)

We use 4.

1 medium onion (diced)

We use 1 1/2

1 garlic clove (finely chopped)

We use 3 – 4

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

We use 4

1 sleeve Saltine crackers (crushed) or you can use 2 cups bread crumbs in place of the Saltine crackers.

1 tsp. oregano (dried)

1 tsp. basil (dried)

(Can also use dried parsley here as well)

2 eggs (whisked)

We use 4

Drain jars of marinade into a medium sauté pan and use the liquid to sauté the onion until translucent.  Add the garlic and cook another 3 minutes.  In a large bowl place the sharp cheddar cheese, crushed Saltine crackers, the dried herbs, the chopped artichoke hearts and the eggs, stir to combine.  When the marinade, onion and garlic mixture has cooled then add to the other ingredients and mix together.  Place the mixture into a greased casserole dish.  We just spray ours with Pam cooking oil spray.  Bake at 350* for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.

We don’t follow the recipe to the letter.  We tend to add more of the things that we like.  We always alter recipes to suit our personal tastes and dietary needs. 


This is a favorite recipe of ours that we do have featured on a few of our website blog posts.

This is also a recipe where you can add fresh herbs, or dry ones. 

Crackers or bread crumbs…..

Lots of EGGS!!!

Marinated Artichokes are the best.  Just be sure to remove any of the hard outer layers and discard them.

Whenever I do make any of our artichoke casseroles I also make a few of them.  Some I freeze for later on.  One I refrigerate to bake the following day.  And one I always bake immediately for dinner that night. 

The one above I am going to bake the following day to take to the Bridal Shower.

The one below I am baking for myself for dinner that night.  🙂


I did make this Artichoke Appetizer the day before and I refrigerated it until until the day of the party.

Ready for the Oven, it Looks Great!

Put it in the oven about an hour and a half before the party.  That way it has time to cook, cool a bit, and you have time to get it to the party while still warm.  🙂


The Bridal Shower

Veronica and her friend Sarah, left.  Veronica and her friend Deva, right.

Sarah is Veronica’s Maid of Honor in the wedding.  Deva’s daughter is a flower girl and Deva did the Bridal Shower for Veronica.

Disney Love Songs Quiz

(I didn’t do as well as I thought I would.)  🙁

The Mimosa Bar

(My favorite)  🙂


Veronica Opening Gifts

These beautiful doilies were crocheted by Brian’s grandmother who is from Puerto Rico. 

Just Beautiful!!!

Opening some of my gifts now.  🙂

Cute little take home gifts for everyone that attended.

Deva did a wonderful job planning and implementing Veronica’s Bridal Shower.


Veronica and Chewie in her backyard.


December 1, 2018

Bride Pin

Gift from the Bridal Shop

This is pretty much the only photo that I can show of Veronica’s wedding dress without my getting into trouble.  🙂

I really did enjoy our trips out to Clearwater for the bridal fittings with Veronica, then we would swing by Bahama Breeze for lunch.

We would always order something tropical to drink, a few good appetizers, and a different entree each time, all the while looking at a great view.



August 2018

Veronica Said Yes to the Dress

I was so proud of Veronica.  She found this lovely bridal shop out in Clearwater.  Athena’s Bridal Boutique.  The owner is Greek.  This area of Florida has a very high population of Greek-American’s.  Veronica pretty much knew which dress that she wanted so today was about saying Yes to the Dress.  🙂

Luckily, we had NO RAIN today!  It was beautiful!  HOT, but beautiful!

Mother/Daughter Day

I swear I have never seen so many beautiful wedding dresses in my life.  It made me want to get married all over again.  And they sure did put my wedding dress to shame.  🙂

The Sign Reads:

If you buy your gown from us and the wedding falls through. 

We’ll sadly share the tears but the dress belongs to you.


Now that the dress is chosen it’s time for lunch.

Lunch at The Bahama Breeze

I told Veronica it was my treat!

Tropical Drinks…


Main Course…

Perfect ending to a perfect day.


July 2018

 Getting Together for Dinner at P.F. Chang’s

Save the Date

Before Gordon left for overseas we wanted to get together with our children and Brian for one last dinner until Gordon comes back.  We talked about the wedding plans and they gave us the “Save the Date” card.

The dinner was great, the food was great, the company was great.

As you can see no one is particularly traumatized that Gordon is leaving for awhile to work overseas.  We’re used to it.

Dinner was Delicious!


Veronica and Brian

A Nice Family Get Together


June 2018

Italian Gift Basket

Ready to take to the party.

A few small pots, pastas, olive oils, marinated artichoke hearts, marinated sun dried tomatoes, red sauce, Italian fennel crackers, garlic roaster, tomato paste, dish towels……

Ready to Assemble the Gift Basket

Originally we were going to throw Veronica and Brian an engagement party at our house in our new lanai extension when the weather got cooler this year, as in the autumn.  So, I had started buying a few things here and there for the couple because I had it in my mind that I wanted to give them a big Italian Pasta Party and then Gordon and I would present them with this great gift basket to take home.

When Gordon got his new job and we found out he would be going overseas we realized that we would not be able to give them the party that we wanted to so we just assembled all the goodies and presented it to them at one of their many parties that people have been throwing for them since they announced their engagement.

Gordon brought home this metal thing from a yard sale where he just paid $2.00 for it.  I loved it but I knew that we just don’t have anywhere to put it so I thought that we could fill it with goodies and give it to Veronica and Brian.  It fits in with their home nicely actually.

In the center is a cute tile that we found at the Keel and Curley Blueberry Festival from one of it’s vendors.  I also got her business card when I saw her work and I knew that I would love for her to make some personalized tiles for us later on.

A Closer Inspection of the Gift Basket Contents

The Gift of Tiles

These are a few of the personalized tiles that I had made for the happy couple. 

Tiles By The Sea


Ask for Linda

We ordered some for us as well and we even gifted one to Brian’s parents marking their engagement photos that they had taken in Tarpon Springs. 

We even gave them a bottle of wine from a Tarpon Springs winery.

We wanted to gift them before Gordon left for overseas.

I think they liked everything.  🙂


Scouting out possible Reception Venue’s

Julie and Gordon


Keel and Curley Pub and Gift Shop

Henry Flagler and Henry B. Plant

Two Henry’s Beers

(I guess you can figure out which one Plant City is named after.)

Prior to the Blueberry Festival we stopped off at the Winery/Brewery to look into possibly having our daughter and her fiance’s wedding reception here.

The Restaurant and The Pub

Me, looking over the menu because after our tour we will be eating dinner here.

Gordon Checking out the Two Henry’s Beers

Keel and Curley is a Winery and a Brewery

Waiting for the Bride and Groom to Arrive

The Party Barn

Veronica and Brian have Arrived

Just checking out possible wedding reception venue’s.

The Pond


Pretty Gazebo and Grape Vines

Veronica and Brian Checking out the Veranda

Two Henry’s Light Fixture

Hanging inside the Party Barn

The picnic tables would have to go but we all loved the beautiful bar in the back.

Touring the Winery Grounds

Keel and Curley is a Winery that makes Fruit Wines, such as Blueberry, Key Lime, Strawberry, Tangerine, Peach, Raspberry, Wildberry, etc.

The Winery and the Blueberry Fields Forever…..


The Ripened Blueberries


Inside the Winery Building

The Beautiful Labels

The Cobalt Blue, Blueberry Wine Bottles

I LOVE all the Wine Labels


The Brewery

Brian and Veronica inspecting the Brewery Part of the Tour

This is all so Interesting!

The Two Henry’s Label Sign

I do LOVE the Multicolored Bicycle


Key Lime and Peach Wines

With our tour finished we are back in the pub and ready for some wine with some appetizers and some dinner.

Appetizers of Gator Tail and Calimari

The Wedding Guide

Dinner has Arrived!

That would be Brian’s big Burger and Fries

Gordon and Veronica’s Shrimp Tacos

And MY Delicious Mushroom Veggie Burger with Fries!  🙂


Baking for the Engagement Party,

March 2018

I am very proud of my Irish Soda Bread here.

Irish Blessing

May the road rise to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sunshine warm upon your face.

The rains fall soft upon your fields and,

until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

The Party was about a week before St. Patrick’s Day, an important day in the Irish Kelleher family, (Brian’s family), and our wee little Veronica also hails our Scotch/Irish bloodline from the Keith’s and the Kirby’s.  So, every year Brian and Veronica celebrate the holiday and I wanted to make them some of my Irish Soda Bread to give just to them to enjoy after the party was over with.

And a special Irish Soda Bread for the Happy Irish Couple!

If you would like my recipe for the Irish Soda Bread……

Click Here for our:  St. Patrick’s Day

I also gave them the poem above, as I knew they would appreciate it and I even suggested that perhaps since they are very proud of their Irish roots that they may want to incorporate it into their wedding as well.  (Mother’s CAN make suggestions.)  🙂

The Cake for my Daughter, Veronica’s, Engagement Party

If you would like that recipe as well……….

Click Here for our:  Cakes


This is a favorite cake of our family’s and I couldn’t imagine making anything else for the party except this one.  Veronica grew up loving Angel Food Cake and I knew I had to make one.

It does look a bit Retro, doesn’t it?


Making The Cake

So, to start off with just make your Angel Food Cake as per the package directions.

I always use the mixer that my Grandmother gave me, I even use her Angel Food Cake pans that were passed down to me.

What I like the most about using a ready made cake mix is that all that is required here is water and it tastes delicious.


Bake According to Package Instructions

When using these Tube Pans before you place them into the oven make sure all of the air bubbles are gone.  Just tap the pan on the counter a few times.  That will bring the bubbles up to the surface.


Of course, when the cake is ready remove from the oven and place upside down over a bottle so the cake can cool without collapsing.


Now for the Frosting

You will need to make a double boiler for the frosting.

Gordon Adding the Egg Whites to our Bowl

This is a Vintage Cake and Icing Recipe

We made the Double Boiler by placing some water in the bottom of a pot and then bringing it to a boil, then adding a bowl over top of it.  The steam will then cook the frosting as you make it.



2 Egg Whites

1 1/2 Cups Brown Sugar

1/4 t. Cream of Tarter

1/3 Cups Cold Water

Dash Salt

1 t. Vanilla

Food Coloring

Adding the Brown Sugar to the Egg Whites

Next Come the Cream of Tartar, Water, and Dash of Salt

Next we Put a LOT of Green Food Coloring into the Mix

Look How Pretty!


You do need a Hand Held Electric Mixer for this.

Place all ingredients except vanilla in top of a double boiler, (do not place over water), beat 1/2 minute at low speed on electric mixer.  Place over but not touching boiling water.  Cook, beating constantly to stiff peaks, about 7 minutes (do not overcook).  Remove from water.  Beat in Vanilla.


So Delicious and So Beautiful!

Very Retro Looking…..

Adding the Vanilla, the Final Step

Now it is perfect for me to spread onto my cake!

It does harden quickly so you must hurry!

Ready to take to the party……

With all the other stuff……

Veronica and Brian are having a Taco Bar and everyone is bringing food so we bought some extra bags of Tortilla Chips and Taco Sauces.  We also stopped by the Latin Supermarket Buffet and bought some Yellow Rice with Black Beans and some Fried Plantain’s.  (I do have to say that when we brought out the Fried Plantains there were many excited gasps!)  🙂

And our Gifts to the Bride and Groom are Pans and Baking Sheets and a Pizza pan.


At Veronica and Brian’s House

Lovely Kelcy Arranging the Cupcakes

Veronica with her Dessert Table

The Future Groom, and the Future Bride

The Lovely Dessert Table

(You can see my cake.)


 The Taco Bar

This was Delicious!!

Veronica’s friend Deva and her mother gave the Taco Bar to Veronica and Brian.  Deva’s mother also gave Veronica and Brian the lovely wine barrels.  (Trust me, I’m jealous!  They are such nice wine barrels.)  🙂

Veronica and Kelcy Setting up the Taco Bar


Julie’s Mexican 7 Layer Dip

(Veronica’s Favorite)

The Story of my 7 Layer Dip

When we were living in Hawaii a few of the “Mom’s” that we knew were bringing a Mexican 7 Layer Dip to various kids parties, school functions, etc. and Veronica and I loved it!  I have always loved Bean Dip, I grew up eating that because my mother loved it so.  Well, when I discovered the 7 Layer Dip I asked for the recipe and I was just really given a list of ingredients to then LAYER on top of each other.  So, that’s what I did.  EXCEPT, we didn’t like all the layers so my 7 Layer Dip is only 5 Layers.  🙂

I know what you are thinking.  So, why don’t I call it my 5 Layer Dip?  Because when I do no one knows what I am talking about. 

For Example:

Everyone:  “What are you bringing to the party, Julie?  5 Layer Dip?  What’s that?” 

Me:  “It’s just my 7 Layer Dip except with only 5 Layers.”

Everyone:  “Oh yeah!  I LOVE that!  I keep forgetting you only use 5 Layers.”

See?  So therefore I always call it my 7 Layer Dip otherwise no one knows what I am talking about.  🙂


Therefore, I Proudly Present to You…..

Julie’s Mexican 7 Layer Dip

(with only 5 layers)

The Ingredients:

Frito Lay Cans of Bean Dip, I used 4 Cans

Sour Cream

Chopped Tomatoes, Deseeded

Chopped Black Olives

Spring Onions

Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

McCormick’s Taco Seasoning

(You can also add a layer of Guacamole if you like. 

Normally I don’t use the Spring Onions but I did here for the party.)


The first thing that I do is to remove the Bean Dip from their cans and place into a saucepan on a medium high heat.  I just want to warm the Bean Dip through.  Most people would use Refried Beans but I prefer Bean Dip.

When the Bean Dip was ready I placed it into the serving dish that I would be using.  I chose this one because I thought I could change up some of the ingredients and make it adult AND kid friendly.  (Some kids may not like olives or spring onions, etc.)

After I had placed the Bean Dip into each slot I then placed the entire serving dish into the refrigerator for about an hour, uncovered.  I wanted the Bean Dip to harden a bit.

I then removed it and added the sour cream over the bean dip.  I didn’t place sour cream in every slot.

After I placed the Sour Cream onto the Bean Dip I put it back into the refrigerator, uncovered for about 30 – 45 minutes so that the two flavors could meld and harden a bit.

I then added my Chopped and Deseeded Tomatoes to a few of the slots, and some Sharp Cheddar Cheese.

Some of the Slots are more Plain than Others

I put a few Chopped Black Olives as well.

I panicked when I realized that I had NOTHING to put in the center!

Latin Supermarket to the Rescue!

They had a nice tomato salad that fit perfectly!

Oh!  And I sprinkled some McCormick’s Taco Seasoning on top!


I also brought some Barefoot Sangria but I then found out that Veronica made a lot of Sangria herself.

So, my bottle became a gift to the future Bride and Groom while we enjoyed Veronica’s Sangria.

I will have to get her recipe and add it HERE!

The Taco Bar was an Excellent idea!

Gordon Enjoying his Food and Sangria

Veronica, Me, Kelcy and Sarah

Gordon with our Niece Kelcy

Brian Goofing Off


Veronica and Brian

The Whann’s and the Kelleher’s

Veronica and Me, Always a Balloon in my Face  🙂


The Mother of the Bride