Even though I still have about 20 boxes of decorations to unpack we were thrilled to have our first guests over for dinner. A good friend from graduate school lives in upstate NY and visits Ottawa frequently. We decided to invite them over for an early Canadian Thanksgiving and catch up a little. I found a few yummy recipes from Good House Keeping (see below) that we decided to give a try. They ended up being a little more difficult than expected but Rob is a great cook and everything turned out amazing.

While he was prepping the food I decided to take a challenge Jen from iHeartOrganizing recently gave us and attempt to throw together a festive table setting. I am no design expert but enjoy learning through practice and trial and error. Since a lot of our decor is still packed I had to get creative with what I could find and my goal was to spend less than $15. It took about 20 minutes to put this together using what I could find around the house. I ended up buying paper napkins, mini pumpkins, and a floral arrangement putting me at about $20 CAD.

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The table and chairs are a recent purchase from IKEA, Mockelby table ($699 CAD/USD) and INGOLF chairs ($59.99 CAD/$49.99 USD). It was the first time we were able to use the set and I just love it. The table is a great size for 4-6 adults and 2 kids at each end. There was plenty of room for all of the food without getting in the way. The table is heavy and sturdy which I also appreciate with littles around.

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When I think of fall I think of bright yellows and oranges mixed with deep purples and greens. While we were shopping at the store for our dinner menu I found this beautiful bouquet. We also picked out a few small pumpkins. I just love the white ones. A little different and great for kids to doodle on for a little extra personalization. If you have a large party coming you can also tags each pumpkin with names for a subtle seating chart.

Underneath are a variety of lace dollies I have collected over the years at thrift and antique stores. I just layered different sizes and shapes on top one another until it looks complete. This was the first time I was able to use them and was so excited with how well they worked on the table.

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I picked up the napkins at And That this past weekend when we were in NY for $3.99/pack of 75. I always have mason jars around for baking or a spin on drinking glasses. The lids were from a co op purchase I did a few years ago for Parker’s first birthday party.

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I managed to locate a few things to help decorate the buffet. It’s unnecessary but in my opinion always a nice touch to write out the menu for a dinner party. White boards are easy to make with an old frame, piece of light colored paper and a white board marker.

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As I mentioned a little earlier we decided to try a few new recipes from Good House Keeping. We couldn’t find any squash and forgot to buy the sherry vinegar but we made it work! I definitly recommend these recipes.

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Cider-Glazed Pork & Apples  |  Crispy Roasted Potatoes with Caper Vinaigrette  |  Thyme-Scented Squash Gratin

The food was amazing, company was fun, and we had a wonderful evening entertaining our first of hopefully many guests over the next few years.

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