who's in the kitchen

60th birthday surprise


Yesterday was the last birthday celebration for my sixtieth birthday. It all started three days before my birthday, on March 1st. We were invited to the Grossers for Friday night dinner for my birthday, which was on March 4th. There was a birthday hat at my place setting and we celebrated along with two other couples who are very close friends.

The celebration continued the next night, when I walked into a surprise party at my friend’s house. I was shocked. It’s not easy to surprise me — I’ve been planning events since I was a little girl, so I’m usually on top of things. The one time I actually would have been surprised was my bridal shower right before I married Jerry. My friend Janet Grosser’s name came up in conversation, and Jerry said, “Oh, when I was talking to Janet about your bridal shower...” He stopped, but it was too late. He looked at me sheepishly and said, “I messed that up, didn’t I?”

Fast-forward to about three weeks before my sixtieth birthday. My friend Ilyce had texted two friends and me that her husband had scored tickets to an amazing comic at a comedy club on March 2nd. She wanted to know if we were all available. The Tuesday before the show, one of the girls texted to ask what time we were meeting on Saturday night, and if we should go out to eat first, as the club was not kosher. Ilyce invited us to grab a quick bite at her house before the show at 8:30. Since the show was at 10, I asked if 8:30 was a little too late. She assured us that the comedy club was near her house, so we’d have enough time to get there.

After Shabbat, I went upstairs to change. Black is slenderizing and goes with everything, so I tend to always show up in black. As I was about to slide on my black boots I stopped and asked, “Should I wear my red suede heels tonight, just to change it up a bit? After all, we’re going to a club.”

“Sure, why not,” Jerry said. “You’re almost 60. Once you hit 60, you can dress any way you want. I do.” I reminded him that he has dressed that way since I met him 15 years ago. 

Our friends, the Finks, picked us up, Jerry holding the platter with the food on it. As we got into the car, Bev said “Why are you wearing those shoes?” I knew it, I knew they would be too much. I told her to give me a minute and I’d run in and change. She assured me they were fine, she was just concerned that they would get ruined in the snow. (She later told me she was just trying to throw me off). 

We got to the front door, and as I was about to ring the bell, the door opened. It all happened so quickly. I remember looking straight ahead and seeing a couple or two who didn’t belong there, then someone holding a camera. That’s when I realized. I tripped on the doorjamb and almost fell backwards. Jerry was just as shocked. (He had been kept in the dark as well — that was one smart move.) There  were friends and family from near and far. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. 

On my birthday itself, Jerry and I, and our friends Rhonda and Aaron, did one of my favorite things — we went bowling. And yes, I wore my birthday crown!

The following night I went out with five dear friends who I have been close with since elementary school. We laughed, shared stories and had a blast, as we’ve been doing for over 50 years.

And last but not least, all my kids and my granddaughter, along with Jerry, took me out yesterday for brunch.

It was a birthday celebration that spanned almost a month, and I loved every minute of it! Made turning 60 a whole lot a whole lot easier!

Speaking of surprises…

Surprise Kiss Cookies



One cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. of vanilla

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

36 milk chocolate kiss candies, unwrapped

1/2 cup confectioners sugar


In a large bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, and flour and walnuts. Stir until well blended.

Cover dough and chill in the refrigerator for two hours, then preheat oven to 375 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Measure about 1 Tbsp. of dough and shape around one chocolate kiss, rolling to make a ball. Place dough balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 12 minutes or until cookies are set but not browned, the edges may be golden.

Allow cookies to cool for five minutes. While they are still warm, roll in confectioner’s sugar and set on a wire rack.