That was harder than expected! I made a new rocket and then tailored the disconnect to times when I wanted things to happen. I fired straight up. The first stage then dropped off and I fired 100% horizontal. The second stage dropped off, and then the guessing game began. I waited until I thought I was about horizontal (some testing ahead of time helped me figure out when that would be) and then I fired up the last stage. The orbital camera would flip on and then I'd fire for just a bit longer. Knowing when you're at the ap and pe AFTER you have orbit is easier. So I orbited a couple time, fired retro at ap and proceeded towards the landing location. Took me about 3 launches with gui to get my rocket right and then think about the staging. One without to mess up badly. One back with gui with some edits and then one without. The last one went perfect. A bit of a hack but fun nonetheless. I miss seeing Valentina's face though! Here is a picture of me coming back in for the landing. I couldn't tell if the landing was optional or not. It turns out in this run I didn't stick the landing. I was messing around and didn't destage before heat got to me.
You can see the aero forces only because my other screen cap turned them on. I was using steam's F12 key. Is there a ksp bind for that?