“This is the gift I really wanted…

to be with my family and friends. I love you all.” That’s what Nonna said through tears, sitting in front of a beautiful Rispoli cake bright with candles.

In grand fashion, we celebrated my mother-in-law Betty’s 85th birthday this past weekend.   Fifty or so family and friends –  compiling of  7 of 9 children, grandchildren, in- laws, my mom Meg, Ceceila Rahner and the Reuthers all gathered together to enjoy the party.

Al and I went down friday night to get a head start with the set up. There when we arrived were Nonna, Kate and Paul Mundell and Paul’s girlfriend Natalia up from Philadelphia and Haverford College. Margaret, Jim and James arrived shortly after. Michele stayed back home to go to a sweet sixteen. My sister-in-law Debbi was away at a conference only getting back by the end of the party. At the conference she met and had lunch with Temple Grandin.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_Grandin  (I added a photo of their meeting.) We missed Deb and she always takes a lot of pictures which I really missed. I mistakenly left the memory card to my camera home ( yes, I was sick over that) and had to rely on Grace and Kate’s iphones for photos.

Saturday morning, Margaret and I went off to Costco to get supplies for the party. She thought we should use two carts but I thought that was unnecessary. With our one cart piled high but smartly filled to capacity we got in a good workout pushing it around and then strategically loaded up Nonna’s little car. The important big shop was checked off the list.

The day of the party was a little cool. Unfortunate because earlier in the week we enjoyed temperatures in the high 70’s. Happy there was mostly sun and thankfully no rain, tables and chairs and food were set outside but most of us took to eating indoors.

We started off with grand platters of perfectly cut mozzarella and tomatoes and bread from Joe Leone’s. We had dips and chips and cheeses, crab claws and shrimp cocktail. We grilled hamburgers and hot dogs also as appetizers. The main course consisted of Joe Leone’s orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage, meatballs, and chicken francese. We also enjoyed grilled strip steak, two kinds of green salads, Marilyn’s lasagna roll ups and orzo and vegetable dish. Jane brought a delicious smoked ham and mashed potatoes.

The season’s signature drink made it’s debut. The Tai’d. It was inspired from Margaret and Jim’s recent trip to Hawaii. The latest libation consisted of pineapple rum, pineapple juice, lime juice, ginger ale or seltzer, tai basil and a lemon grass stick. We never did acquire the Tai basil but regular basil seemed to work pretty well. For most of the day the tai shaker didn’t get much rest.

Throughout the day the little Carey girls, Ella, Tori and Alex ran around happy to play with James and Grace. The girls, with James assistance and Doug consulting, painted clay flower pots and had a fun time.

For dessert we had the Rispoli cake and fruit that Tony and Cindy brought, Cindy Depice made a new yogurt cake she wanted to try and her much loved chocolate chip bundt cake. The party continued after most of the guests left. We stayed up late laughing it up with the Reuthers enjoying the time together.

Sunday morning was another nice day and little less cool. Margaret made egg, ham and cheese on english muffins again like she did the day before. She and I and Kate took a nice walk up to the beach. The boardwalk that Sandy washed away was in progress to be rebuilt by summer. After the walk, we packed our bags for the ride home. Al and I took Kate, Paul and Natalia with us to drop them off at Penn Station to get their train back to Philly.

Great weekend, fun for all.

Happy Birthday, Mom. We love you.

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5 Responses to “This is the gift I really wanted…

  1. Betsy Antinori Mundell says:

    Hamburgers and hotdogs as appetizers? Really? Appetizers? Why not slabs of foie gras? Meatball subs? Deep fried mac and cheese? I think I may have to do an intervention!

  2. Jethro Bowdeen says:

    Durn it! I done mist it agin. I alweeys wunted to go ta won a dem dere yankee partees.

  3. Cindy A. says:

    Hello Family & Friends ~ Thank you all for the gift of love and friendship!

  4. margaretdale says:

    Ro — awesome post. Great party and great food — that steak! We missed the CA and NC contingents (as usual). Thanks for the pics.

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