First off, my Mom’s party was a complete success!  Luckily one of the guests was a pianist, so we had a piano accompanist!  Um, let’s just say I have no videography skillz!  The first part is singing Happy Birthday, the rest is singing around my Mom’s piano, which went on for over an hour and everyone had such a great time!


So I started my weekend on Friday meeting my brother Charlie at my Mom’s house going through our last minute plans.  We ended up meeting my sister for lunch at Erik’s Deli in Oak Park.

Then onto the store to pick up last minute items, which would be the first of three trips to the store before party time!

it took all our willpower not to buy this 3.2 pound can of corned beef hash!

I needed a recipe for a big sheet cake, and found complete success in this recipe – I copied here recipe to the T and everyone said it was extremely moist.  Find the recipe for the Texas Sheet Cake I made here.

Let's just say that there was 2 sticks of butter in the batter, and 1 stick in the frosting!

One of the appetizers I was going to make was chicken pesto meatballs.  I had planned on making my own pesto, or worst case scenario buying some, but as luck would have it, my Mom had just made some and let me use hers – thanks Mom!

Pesto Chicken Meatballs (adapted from Big Bold Beautiful Food)


2 pounds chicken breast, ground in food processor
2/3 cup pesto
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of pepper
2 Eggs


Mix all ingredients until well combined.  Shape into balls a little smaller than golf balls. Bake at 350 for 10 – 15 minutes.  Finish off with pan fry to crisp up.

The only difference between the original recipe and mine is that I used chicken breasts and ground them myself, left out the onion and omitted the splash of milk, I didn’t think they needed it.  Wow, these were good.  I was going to have a dipping sauce with them, but I was overruled as they stood on their own.

So Friday night my Mom wanted to go to a pizza place we went to as children – Jim and Pete’s on North Avenue in Oak Park.  Only one slight problem.  My mom’s sister and niece were flying in from Washington D.C. and Richmond, Virginia to surprise my Mom!  Of course Charlie and I knew they were coming, but weren’t exactly sure when they would get to my Mom’s house since they would be taking a cab.

Well its 6:30, Mom starts to say she’s hungry, Charlie and I are like “really?  we ate kind of a late lunch!”  We kept putting her off, hoping that they would show up and we’d go out to dinner together.  Finally I said “Mom, I have a dilemma, I ordered something for your birthday that was supposed to have been delivered earlier, and we can’t leave the house until it arrives.

It was then we decided to order pizza – and literally about 15 minutes later my Aunt and cousin walk in!  I thought my Mom would be completely surprised, but I think Charlie and I whispering gave her some clues that something was up!

Hannah and I got back to my Mom’s house on Saturday around 11:00 and we all finished cleaning and setting everything up and doing the last minute cooking.  My sister and her family came over to decorate – its funny, one of the signs said “Happy Birthday Jerry – Only 7!”

We finished cooking, got the beer and wine stocked – completely overestimated the beer drinkers and underestimated the wine drinkers, but it worked out okay!

first pumpkin beer of the season! this beer just tastes like fall to me!

Time for family pics!

my cousin Karen and Hannah
Jennifer and me

My Mom and Aunt Martha

Me, Hannah, Jenn, Mom, Aunt Martha, Claire (Jenn's daughter) and my cousin Karen
Hannah and her cousin Paul
Hannah and her cousin Claire
Hannah and Nana

I think these two pictures sum up if my Mom has a great time or not!

My mom is really involved in the 19th Century Women’s Club of Oak Park.  Here she is with a couple of her friends from the club.  The tall woman at the front was hilarious.  After one particularly fun song they sang, this woman bent down and kissed the top of my Mom’s head!

My mom did not want any gifts, although some people did bring them, but requested canned goods to be dropped off at the food pantry.  That is another organization my Mom is heavily involved in – she’s so busy at 70!

It was interesting – we put on the invitation:  Open House – 6:00 to 10:00.  Well, I am pretty sure everyone came at 6:00 and stayed until 10:00!  All told I think we had about 50 people there – the last of the group left around 10:20, we all cleaned up and then we opened her gifts and cards and before we knew it, it was 12:15!

Hannah and I slept over and I made pumpkin pancakes for breakfast.  I’d been promising them to my brother since he saw them on my blog last year!

my plate

Needless to say I was so tired when I got home yesterday.  I picked up food for lunch, we started watching the Bears game, I did a couple chores then ended up falling asleep on the couch for about an hour – nice!

Thanks for all the comments on the Oprah video – don’t you just love everyone’s big hair!

And today marks the first day of voting for Foodbuzz’s Project Food Blog!  Would love for your vote!

Go to this link.  On the left hand side of my profile there should be something that says “I am entered – vote!”  That will take you to my Foodbuzz home page and at the top there should be a tag at the top that says “vote for this entry!  Hopefully that works! 😀

Can’t wait to catch up on what you all have been doing! 😀