I am Thankful for…

My family and our traditions.

This Thanksgiving I was touched when my mother-in-law stood up and said what she “was thankful for.” She touched briefly on all 20 of us in a beautiful, three-minute kickoff toast. She shared with the entire room how thankful she was for me and how both my husband and I were doing such an amazing job raising our little Henry. This was by far the greatest gift she could have given me. It was an incredible compliment coming from a mother who raised five respectful, kind and thoughtful boys…well…young men. Thank you for sharing your table with me and so much more…


When you think of Thanksgiving traditions, you may bring up watching the parade or cooking in the kitchen. We do something a little different. Every Thanksgiving morning we bundle up in our thickest socks and long sleeve thermals to trot around a local suburb. Chicago is not typically warm in November so layer it on! Some families even dress up as turkeys, wear matching tutu’s, full dinosaur costumes and more. It’s quite entertaining. Henry was rocking his Dad’s wool hunting socks that became full leg warmers (see photo). What’s better than starting the holiday morning with family and burning a few extra calories before indulging in some delicious food?

Sharing THe Table

We always ask, “what can we bring for dinner?” We were instructed to bring wine, NOT because of my mediocre cooking abilities, but because my mother-in-law is a sensational chef. And she loves to cook, especially for the people she loves. She spent three entire days prepping a masterpiece of a menu that I am still drooling over. For starters, we had an apple squash soup sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and lightly drizzled with a chipotle cream along with a “create your own” deconstructed salad complete with every topping imaginable: olives, candied nuts, goat cheese, spiced peppers, fruit, to name a few.

We had turkey prepared two different ways, deep-fried with seasonal spices and oven baked with a lemon flavoring, a roast, grilled vegetables, sweet potato wedges, stuffed shells and baked Ziti, a killer southern Italian pasta dish. If sweets are your thing, don’t worry she had that covered, too. We finished off the meal with a selection of sweet options: traditional pumpkin pie, double layered cheesecake, apple spiced cake and a pecan pie topped with either homemade whip cream or caramel sauce. Yes, all from scratch! If the food wasn’t enough to mesmerize you, check out these darling seating placements. Hosting goals.

Tips for a holiday tablescape

  • Use brown paper instead of plastic to cover the table. It is more durable and perfect to label your seating arrangments. You can find this in the painting section of your local hardware store.
  • Flowers keep it fresh. You can use any type of flowers just make sure it flows with the color of your tablescape.
  • Ribbon has multiple uses. You can tie your silverware together with an elegant bow or add a pop of color.
  • Anything festive. Pick some decor items to bring your table to life…garland, ornaments, fruit, snow globes, woodland animals, etc..
  • Candles are a must. These can be used for height in your composition or as a lighting source.


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