Simple Thanksgiving Table

I just finished a years worth of photo editing so forgive me as I try to catch up on a few things!  Today I thought I would share our simple Thanksgiving table from last year. 

We had gotten invited to a friend's house for Thanksgiving last year but our son ended up getting sick so we stayed home.  Whether or not we head to someone else's home for the day, I continue to try to carry on the tradition of cooking a turkey and putting together a simple but festive meal just for our immediate little family unit. 

I love being able to continue our own traditions while still spending the day with family or friends.  Back home we would do this on Thanksgiving Eve and we will continue do so either the day of or the day before depending on our plans that year.

Besides the food, the only real decorative elements here are the place mats and napkins.  I love having a few neutral place mats or table runners that can dress up a table any time of year while still making our place settings feel a bit more special than the day to day. 

Depending on your Thanksgiving serving style, if you keep all the food on the table during the meal, you really don't need too much decor.  I love that these simple paper napkins add that Thanksgiving element with very little work.  You can find Thanksgiving napkins pretty much anywhere but I especially love shopping at T.J. Maxx or HomeGoods for pretty ones.

And here is our little family that day.  We just had snow this week so it is crazy to look back and see that this time last year, things were a lot warmer!

Looking back I am reminded that sometimes having these simple holidays together can be just as sweet as the big ones we had back home.  Of course we miss our family but these quite days together have their own special element that I am sure I will continue to look back on fondly.

Hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving week however you spend it.  Whether big or small - you can still make it special for those you spend your day with!

Fall Backyard Dinner Party

A couple of times a year now we host a casual backyard dinner party for my husband and his work teams.  It has become a fun tradition where work and outside of work life collide.  We love having people in our home and getting to know the people my husband works with everyday is an extra bonus.

We conveniently live just down the street from my husband's work which is out in the middle of nowhere.  So people are able to pop by after work and stay for as short or long as they would like.  It is low commitment on their part but provides a great opportunity for team bonding. 

After two years of living here, I finally pulled out my hot drink carafes!  It was so nice to dust these beauties off and put them back to work.  It ended up being the most perfect fall day to accompany some warm drinks.

A friend of mine (another co-worker's wife) helps with the majority of the food.  She always does an amazing job with the most delicious food.  Her desserts are always a major highlight!  And it frees me to focus on getting the house ready - especially this time around with my six month pregnant self!

 Look at this Oreo cake!  She makes everything from scratch!  So impressive!

Now that we have hosted this gathering a few times, it has been fun to reconfigure the set up each time to better accommodate the festivities.  Since it was such a nice crisp fall evening, I decided to keep the tables close to the fire pit.  I put out blankets on the chairs around the fire and I separated the food from the desserts so people could wander around to different stations.  It felt good to pull out all my old entertaining strategies!

I used some of my leftover fall decor for the centerpieces.  I wanted them to be simple yet pretty.  I love the ritual of walking out into the wooded area of our backyard to pick out a few stems to put in vases.  And bonus - I didn't even bother to fill the vases with water!  One less mess to deal with!

We even dug out our old tiki torches that we used to keep out at our home back in Sacramento.  The more we entertain, the more some of our old standbys start coming out. 

We continue to be in such a different season than to before we moved here.  But being able to have people in our home, the creative practice of setting up for a party, and seeing these pictures keep the moment alive just a little longer - are all reminders that it is just a matter of time before we find our place.  Being patient and allowing it to happen naturally has been such a gift.

Firefighter and Dalmatians: Family Halloween Costume

I love a good family Halloween costume.  So this year I was on the hunt for something bump friendly and a costume for our son he could get more wear out of.

While I loved our Superhero costumes from last year, I quickly realized that the costume for our son would be a one time wear.  We already have a Melissa and Doug construction worker outfit that our son loves so adding this firefighter costume to our collection was an easy sell.

The firefighter dress up outfit from Melissa and Doug comes sized for ages 3-6.  Our son is two so we have quite a few years of dress up ahead with these.  Plus he is super into fire engines and the sort so he was pretty happy when we pulled out his new costume this weekend to take some pictures.

To make this a family costume I pulled together some simple dalmatian costumes for my husband and I.  Brent did roll his eyes a little this year about our costume.  I suppose not the most masculine!  But he was a good sport!

I purchased some black and white felt and headbands from the craft store.  I hot glued the ears and then used gold safety pins for the spots on our shirts.

Here is a our little firefighter in action.  He's not as big on smiling for pictures these days - so these candid shots show a little more of his genuine excitement.

These ones I like to caption as him already bossing around his little sister!

Earlier this month my parents were here visiting and my husband and I were able to take a few glorious nights away for our anniversary.  Of course when we came home, grandparent spoiling had been in full force!  They bought him a motorized fire engine!  He completely loves it and it worked out well that we could also use it for some photos!  

We have a fun little street near us in our small town that puts on quite a big trick or treat event.  We are looking forward to seeing our son take in the whole celebration.  Though he does know a bit more about candy this year so that will be an interesting new parenting experience to tackle!  Hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween!

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