Janice Hall Heck

Finding hope in a chaotic world…

Archive for the category “MyWANA”

#WANAfriday (8/28/13): Fall Bucket List

Catchin’ up on #WANAfridays!

Here’s the #WANAfriday prompt for August 28 from Siri Paulson:

Fall bucket list — what experiences do you want to have / what do you want to spend time doing this fall?

While I hate to say Good-Bye to the Dog Days of Summer (read about the meaning of Dog Days here on WANAfriend Elizabeth Fais’  blog), I realize that fall is just around the corner. Our nights are getting a bit nippier and average daytime temperatures are dropping, too.

Here’s my bucket list:

1. First and foremost…check to see if WAWA, our local gas/convenience store, has started to offer its annual special fall coffee: Pumpkin Spice.  (Yes!  My dear husband brought me my first cup!)

2.  Publish my 200th Post Celebration for my blog.  Here are number one and two on the bucket list combined:


3. Buy mums and pumpkins at a farmer’s market for the entryway of my house. Buy a basket of apples for making apple pies.

4. Make one last visit to the Ocean City Boardwalk.  This trip has its own bucket list. It’s gonna be a long day to get all these activities in!

  •  Buy a new Jersey Girl zippered, hooded sweatshirt. You can never have too many Jersey Girl sweatshirts!
  • Get a bucket of boardwalk French fries.
  • Get a price list for buying and shipping Johnson’s caramel popcorn (and buying a bucket to check the flavors.)
  • Watch the taffy-making machine at Shriver’s Salt Water Taffy and fill a bag with my favorite flavors: molasses, chocolate mint, chocolate, licorice, green apple, and a few more.
  • Buy Manco & Manco pizza for dinner.
  • Walk the length of the boardwalk and back (five miles) to work off the French fries.

camera dump 329

Read more about the Ocean City boardwalk here: O is for Ocean City, NJ: Pizza, Saltwater Taffy, Frozen Custard, Caramel Corn,

5. Keep my blog going. Add two or three posts a week.

6. Visit my sister in California and explore the San Diego area. Maybe I’ll get to meet Zoey the Cat who lives out there! Here’s a sneak preview of the San Diego Waterfront: Tall Ship Parade, 2013, Festival of Sail in San Diego by Russel Ray. And here’s Zoey the Cool Cat now! What a cutie!

Zoey the Cool Cat Ray Russel photo

Zoey the Cool Cat. Russel Ray photo

Here are a few other WANA112s who have written about their fall bucket list.

Ellen Gregory (who, being Australian, is talking about spring)
Kim Griffin…Fasionista Wannabe
Liv Rancourt…What’s On Your List?
Siri Paulson…Fall Bucket LIst
Dianna Bell…Springtime

The Last Meow

A cat’s bucket list? Well, same as always: Eat, play, sleep. But maybe we can add playing in the leaves to that list.

cats playing in leaves

Meow for now.  =<^ ! ^>=

What’s on your bucket list for the fall? Put your link in the comment section of this post.

WANAfriday: A Good Weekend for Reading

Every Friday a WANA112 blogger tosses out a prompt for fellow bloggers to consider. The prompt for this week is:

001First Lines. Take this first line from Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani and run with it:

“This will be a good weekend for reading.”

Ava Maria Milligan took over as Big Stone Gap’s pharmacist when her cold, unfatherly father died thirteen years ago. Now single and thirty-five, her mother’s recent death leaves her in a quandary: a revealed death-bed secret causes Ava Maria to reevaluate everything about her life in Big Stone Gap.

Even so, life goes on. The big weekly event in Big Stone Gap, “The Coal Mining Capital of Virginia”  in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is the arrival of the Wise County Bookmobile. Ava’s life almost depends on this “glittering royal coach” and the life-line to the world that it brings each week. Contemplating living in Stone Creek for the rest of her life, now that town gossip flaunts her mother’s long-buried secret, becomes a major challenge. The bookmobile, at least, brings “stories and knowledge and life itself” and relief from the pain of her mother’s death.

Quaint, but clever, mountain folk contribute to the liveliness of the book: Vernie Crabtree (makes killer chocolate chip cookies in town); Iva Lou Wade, (the bookmobile librarian dishes out advice on books and love in equal measure); Mrs. Nan Bluebell MacChesney (“Apple Butter Nan” and not-too-successful match-maker for her son); Jack MacChesney (a mountain man and one of two eligible bachelors in town); Theodore Tipton (the well-educated, non-romantic, other bachelor in town); and other characters who enliven the drama of everyday life in a small mountain town.

The September weekend threatens to be a cool, rainy weekend. This will be a good weekend for reading, Ava Marie thinks. On Iva Lou’s advice, she picks up The Captains and the Kings, a historical romance. She also picks up The Ancient Art of Chinese Face Reading, and As Grief Exits.

But this book is not about reading. It is about a young woman, a town leader in many ways, who now questions everything about her life as she works through this newly gained truth about her birth father. Along with the death-bed secret comes information about long-lost family members in Italy.

Is Ava’s future in this mountain town or in the wider world that she has come to love through her reading? Will Nan Blueberry MacChesney ever have any luck marrying off her mountain-man son? Read this well-written and enjoyable book to find the answers to these questions and to find out more about life in a small, coal-mining town in Virginia.

* * *

As for me, this will be a good weekend for reading, too. We seem to be having an early fall with almost record-setting low temperatures in the morning but warmer temperatures later in the day. I hadn’t originally planned to spend the weekend reading, but my reading group meets on Sunday, and I have to finish Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s, The Language of Flowers, before then. I have read a few reviews of the book, and it sounds like a book I will enjoy.

Language of Flowers

In my TBR stash, I have several other books waiting. I know I won’t get to them this weekend, perhaps next week.

Last weekend, I read Trenton Lee Stewart’s The Mysterious Benedict Society, a YA book about gifted children who set out to save the world. I loved the cleverness of the writing, so I picked up two more in the series at the library: The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey, and The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma.

001 (4)

I also looked online and discovered several more books in the Big Stone Gap series, so on another rainy weekend I will read a few more of Adriana Trigiani’s books:

Big Cherry Holler
Milk Glass Moon
Home to Big Stone Gap

And here are some thoughts by other WANAs on this WANAfriday prompt: “This will be a good weekend for reading.”

Ellen Gregory  On a Writing, Not a Reading Retreat

The Last Meow

What? No books about cats? What’s with that?

How about reading Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron?Dwey

Or how about 100 Cats Who Changed Civilization by Sam Stall?

Cat who changed world

Go ahead. Live a little Read a book about us world-famous kitties.

Meow for now.  =<^;^>=    

Chocolate Dream Dessert


Ellen V. Gregory, my WANA112 blogger friend, got me started on this when she suggested we do a favorite recipe for our WANAfriday challenge.

She posted her favorite, made-from-scratch, chocolate pudding.

I have never made pudding any other way than by using those little boxes of instant pudding mix. Gotta try out Ellen’s recipe for the real stuff.

Yummmmm. That reminded me of a recipe for a chocolate layered dessert that I made for church suppers many years ago. Somehow, in the throes of various moves, I lost the original recipe given to me by my friend Carol. Later, I found it again, but since it has a couple a horrendous number a few more than average calories per serving, I have not made it in awhile. Instead, I have taken healthy salads or other somewhat healthy dishes to our church dinners. (I know, boring. 😦 )

But Ellen has gotten me started again. Now that we are doing weekly potluck dinners for our visiting mission groups coming in to assist in rehabbing housing damaged by superstorm Sandy (2012), I have frequent opportunities to cook up something delicious. Those rehabbers work hard and deserve a rich good dessert, don’t you think? You can read more about the superstorm Sandy and rehabbers here (N is for Nora’s Ark  — In Times of Trouble, People Help People), and here (Jersey Shore Towns Reopen and Welcome Visitors.)

Chocolate Layered Dream Dessert

Ingredients for Layer 1

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans

In mixing bowl, cut the butter into the flour until it forms coarse clumps the size of peas. Stir in pecans. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9 X 13 baking dish. Bake 15 minutes until layer 1 is golden brown. Cool completely.

[Here’s the lazy easy way to make this bottom layer crust. Shhhh. Don’t tell.
Mix together 1 pkg pecan sandies cookies, crushed, and 1 stick butter. Press into 9 X 13 baking dish. Bake in preheated over, 350 degrees, 15-20 minutes until golden brown.]

Layer 2

  • 1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed (or whipped cream)

Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar until well blended. Add 1 cup Cool Whip and mix together. Spread over cooled crust.

Layer 3

  • 2 (3.9 oz) pkgs instant chocolate pudding
  • 3 cups whole milk

Mix pudding and milk together until slightly thickened, (about 3 min). Spread over cream cheese layer.

Layer 4

  • 1 cup whipped topping
  • 2 tbsp crushed pecans

Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Before serving, sprinkle with additional chopped pecans. Cut in squares after chilling.


For two helpings of this dish, use this recipe from Quick ‘n Easy Recipes and at Taste of Home. Another variation of the recipe for a crowd can be found at Deep South Dish. 
Substitute lemon pudding, or any other flavor pudding, for the chocolate pudding.
Crusts can also be made of crushed oreos, vanilla wafers, cinnamon graham crackers

And now you can try a few more WANAfriday recipes:

Ellen Gregory – chocolate pudding.
Kim Griffin – Meatballs and What?
Cora Ramos – Recipe for Murder
Liv Rancourt – Get Lucky!
Tami Clayton – EXOTIC Moroccan White Bean Soup from the Kasbah

C’mon now. How about some recipes from you readers!

The Last Meow

Frankly, we don’t care for the chocolate layered dessert. Just give us kibbles, and we’ll be happy. Thanks.

Meow for now. =<^,^>=

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