Thanksgiving 2012

This may go down in history as the very worst post I’ve ever written.

Which actually  makes it kind of exciting. Historic in a way really.

But nonetheless … a terrible post in terms of writing.  Mainly because there isn’t going to be any.  This is going to be a pretty picture post.  You see, it’s Sunday night and I’ve just spent the past 3 days cooking, preparing, serving and cleaning. I said my last entertaining word around 1 hour ago when our last guests left.

Then I fell into a heap on the floor.

Oh … you know what … I think I actually got the timeline wrong.  The heaping happened around 3 hours before the guests left.  It was an unfortunate incident which you will see more of in a moment.

O.K.  Onto the Thanksgiving dinner inspiration photos ’cause I know you like those.

No more writing.

At all.


Start looking at the pictures now.


The meal began early in the day gathering tomatoes from the garden for the Caprese salad.

It already sounds idyllic doesn’t it?  I mean come on.  Gathering tomatoes from the garden for God’s sake?

I   D   Y   L   L   I   C

Heirloom Tomato Platter


The front porch was swept …

Front Porch Broom




… and the planters planted.

Porch Fall Planters



I know!  Totally pretty.  Idyllic if you will.
20 people came for Thanksgiving dinner tonight.
Not a single one of them came in the front door.
Every SINGLE one of them came in the back door.

Fall Planters


Once in the house everyone was greeted by the menu in the kitchen.
For the first time in 15 years I changed our Thanksgiving menu.
In anticipation of this I stocked up on lots of booze to send my guests into an alcohol induced haze.
That plan worked on everyone who was drinking.
Everyone else wanted to know where the hell the White Trash Salad was.



The table.

This is what last years table and outdoor festivities looked like, with mismatched antique plates.

This year I went all white rectangular.  Snazzy.

Table 3



Table 1
Table 2
Table 4


I gathered all of the moss around the table at the cottage last year and this year.

Again with the idyllic.

You know this whole idyllic thing is going to end soon, right?

Because nobody lives their lives this way.

My Thanksgiving is no different than yours.

It’s a shit show.

Table 6
Table 7

The kids table.

Kids Table


Maple Sugar suckers to make ’em happy,

and personalized chalkboards to keep ’em busy.

Shockingly … this little plan actually worked.

The kids stayed and ate at their own table without wandering into the grown up room where the stripper was performing.

Kids Table 2


The meal ended with SEVERAL pies including apple, cherry cheese pie and the star of the show,

Pumpkin Pie made with real pumpkin


Then it was just a matter of the Great Gobble Off and shoving everyone out the door.

(video to follow in the next week or so)  (of the gobble off, not shoving everyone out the door)

Table 8


Everyone left out the back door as well.

Luckily I anticipated this and did planters by the back door as well.

Fall Cabbages In Planters


Seems nice doesn’t it?

A lovely Thanksgiving.

Fall Planter


And it was.

For everyone who managed to squeeze into the dining room.

Seems I underestimated how big 15 people are.

Me, one of my sisters and my niece quietly ate in the kitchen.

We had no cutlery.

Or chairs.

The cutlery was on the dining room table at our place settings which were taken over by my apparently enormous family and we felt stupid going to get it.

I found 3 teaspoons which we all ate our Thanksgiving dinner with.



See?  Even if someone’s life looks idyllic, it probably isn’t.  Which is not to say it isn’t fun.  Or enjoyable.  Or hilarious.  My non idyllic evening was all of those things.

Or so I thought as I sat, in a heap on the floor.



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  1. Kim says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Karen and thanks for keeping it real.
    That last shit show photo is priceless! Seems like a great time was had by all especially those in the kitchen.

  2. Evalyn says:

    Yet another difference between you and Martha Stewart – who I adore, don’t get me wrong. But while Martha would have totally eaten her dinner on the kitchen floor with a spoon rather than disturb her guests, she would never have shared the experience with her public. Thank you for being a regular person like me.

  3. cc says:

    you are my inspiration Karen… loved the white and table settings, and I am so envious of your tomatoes, why is it that those dam worms find mine before they even get a friggin chance… lol
    I would have loved enjoying your company and feast.
    Great job and a really nice post.

  4. FLP says:

    Beautiful day in our little town. Walk on the Rail Trail and now leftover turkey. Today it is sandwiches but tomorrow I am considering The Best Chicken Curry Salad recipe. Have you made it with leftover turkey?

    • Karen says:

      FLP – I haven’t, but I’m sure it would be great. Didn’t even think of it! I may just put that recipe to use myself. ~ karen!

  5. Spokangela says:

    See? IDYLLIC. That cracked me up. I love the menu. What a celebration of the harvest! I am off to the store to get me some of those pepper plant dealies you have in your planter. I saw them the other day and I love how you paired them with the cabbages. Beautiful ideas and awesome post Karen!

  6. Sherry says:

    wow… this was a great post to return to, and I laughed out loud… been gone, too busy for too long but arrived home to make a dinner for my beautiful family blend, sadly pissed off my sister cause i chose to stay home _ wouldn’t go to her house and loved every minute of the sentiments and food I lovingly prepared… nothing surprising or particularly delightful, except that we gave extraordinary thanks for being together. Thank you for the laugh this morning – Your posts always make me want to be better, but I for one would not have enjoyed the floor. I would have noted your beautiful decorating and been so grateful for your attention to detail. Have a restful day!

  7. Kim Kline says:

    Brilliant. I think every single second of this experience sounds like perfection.

  8. Susan says:

    Where did you get your plates?

  9. Auntiepatch says:

    This was the best post EVER! Well, maybe not EVER but it was great!

  10. Barbara says:

    Not Barbaea BARBARA!

  11. Barbaea says:

    I would love to have celebrated in such a festive place. Even (especially) on the kitchen floor. Looks like it turn out perfect! Happy memories for all! Thanks for sharing.

  12. Reg says:

    Lovely, lovely pictures. Everything looks perfect. Even you sitting on the floor, because you must have been exhausted. That’s a lot work for a lot of people. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Janet says:

    Simply put, I absolutely love your post.

  14. Karen says:

    You made me laugh out loud. This post is awesome.

  15. Mary says:

    My favorite part was the phrase “shit show”. Nice to know I am not the only one. My ungrateful brother-in-laws show up every year empty handed and then proceed to get drunk. None of them are married (wonder why?) so I get to host every year as my Mother-in-law is elderly. I HATE this holiday! So much work for a meal that they eat in 15 minutes and then they start the annual Thanksgiving poker game. We don’t have a white trash salad, we have a full blown white trash Thanksgiving. So wish I could at least have one “Martha Stewart” thanksgiving….

  16. Pat says:

    Gobble, gobble! Yep, the hostess with the mostess. Sometimes I feel like throwing the meal on the table and going upstairs with a good book and let them all fight over the last piece of pie!

  17. Totally idyllic and adorable. I kept waiting for the gnomes to show up or the other shoe to fall.

    Next year, invite me, my hinny is pretty small. :)

    • Karen says:

      Hah! I’ve decided to just blow out a wall to accommodate a longer table. So feel free to let your hinny grow. ~ karen

  18. Kath Fryia says:

    I made your pumpkin pie with my own homegrown pumpkin. Everyone loved it. Idyllic.

  19. Melissa says:

    Congrats on a job well done. Love your decorating, inside and out. My daughter is getting married next Fall and has choosen white pumpkins, mercury glass and succulents as the base of her decorating. It was nice to see your silver with white pumpkins!
    Thank you. Happy Canadian Thankgiving.

  20. Tigersmom says:

    Awesome! I bet you three in the kitchen had a better time than everyone else.

    Now, on to business:

    1.Even your broom is cool!

    2.Please tell me where you found those fabulously sexy curvaceous salt and pepper shakers.

    And 3. I think Margaret approved of your beautiful table setting.

    Congrats on pulling off another entertaining coup.

  21. Ruth says:

    LOL! The floor situation actually looked more FUN than the dining table. :-)

    Lovely planters… what is the name of the plant/vegetable that has the lavender in the centre?

  22. Deb says:

    Everything looked absolutely gorgeous. Happy Thanksgiving.
    Great post! (As always)

  23. Langela says:

    I would have preferred the kitchen floor over the dining table any day. It’s always more fun when you don’t have to ‘act’ all grown up and such.

  24. marilyn says:

    hahah karen so great! the table looks awesome but where do you put the food. do you serve it or have it buffet style?and there have been many dinners like that at our house..its still always fun. happy thanksgiving.and your pie looks amazing!

    • Karen says:

      Marilyn – We put the food on the kitchen table and everyone served themselves then went and sat down in the dining room. Or the kitchen floor. ~ karen

      • sera says:

        I was going to ask just that. Last year we set all the food out on the table, and things were too big and hot to pass, so we all had to get up and roam around or pass plates. It was actually pretty funny, but I’m definitely doing buffet style this year. Also, you’re right. Thanksgiving should be in October. There isn’t enough time between Thanksgiving and Christmas either.

  25. Mary Werner says:

    for all this and 3 teaspoons, we give thanks, honestly give thanks for you and your wonderful post – helps me put into perspective my own idyllic event that we attempt every year – no one else wants to go thru the **** show trouble but loves to come and watch us do it and we are thankful for that also since we usually laugh and remember all the non idyllic moments the most – go figure

  26. Janie Farmer says:

    Are those flowering cabbages in the planters? Are they easy to grow? I can only grown hardy hibiscus in the yard. Even my tulip & daffodil bulbs are afraid of me, they refuse to come out of the ground.

    Happy Thanksgiving! Get your happy any way you can.

  27. ev says:

    Your table was lovely, as were the seen and unseen outdoor arrangements. Waiting with bated breath to hear how your guests (seated and not), liked the new menu. Through the years I have heard guests gripe that this dish or that dish was missing. Tragedy! Like the white trash salad! Well, I hope you had a great time anyway!

  28. Cassie says:

    Those benches will do that to you. We have one and unless you have little kids sitting on it, you aren’t gonna fit as many as you think :) Better kick a few off your list for next year or just SET UP a table in the kitchen. Thanks for pictures of your “shit show”. stunning.. er. I mean idyllic.

  29. Bonnie says:

    I’m still guffawing (is it too early in the day to “guffaw”?) that everyone came in through other door.

    Karen, it did look “Idyllic”. The table setting, especially blew me away.

    Do you let others bring any of the menu items or other items on their own?

    My family (ok, the Hubby’s) specializes in the the white trash salad. Have had 2 SIL’s bring it along for the same dinner one time. Nice having that take over as the main dish and having the turkey, etc,. end up as the sides…. Yeah….

  30. Kristina says:

    Looks and sounds like an idyllic time was had! Having five silverware stealing dogs, I compleately understand the improper use of a teaspoon. This morning’s oatmeal will be eaten with a fork, unless I decide to wander around the yard looking for a spoon. Oh, hey! Is that my spatula behind that bush?!

  31. dmarie says:

    It’s good to know that idyllic doesn’t mean “unrealistic”….I prefer the sitting on the floor eating with spoons– Looked like a lot of laughs….On a completely off note, I want your shoes in the picture of you on the floor…Could you possibly clue me in on the them???

    • Karen says:

      dmarie – Oh! Thank you. They’re deerskin moccasins. You can get them on the native reserves around here or at touristy sort of spots around cottage country in Ontario. Softest, most comfortable footwear ever made. ~ karen!

  32. Cindy Marlow says:

    It was beautiful (at least what you chose to share in photos) and I hope you know it was time well spent in giving your family the kind of Thanksgiving they deserve. Can’t wait for the gobble off. Watching last year’s video cracked up my entire family. This year WE have a new tradition!

  33. Amie Mason says:

    Did you paint those pumpkins white? I’ve never seen a white pumpkin…. until now!

    • Karen says:

      Amie – Half of the pumpkins are fake and half are real. (the big ones fake … the little ones are real) But I often buy real large white pumpkins. They started selling them around these parts a few years ago. Love the white pumpkins. ~ karen!

  34. Karol says:

    Wonderful! Makes me excited about my Thanksgiving plans. But is it just me, or at first glance do those white dining chairs look like a toilet from behind. What a concept!

  35. Alicia Herron says:

    oh… also.. are the plants in your arrangements edible?(they look it) and if so… will you eat them <– said like Harry Caray of Saturday night live.

  36. Alicia Herron says:

    Usually (I believe) we are already a little overwhelmed by our family (when they arrive) by the time dinner rolls around… hence eating in another room is sometimes better! Plus… usually that’s where you can eat out of the pans that were used to cook in <— a weird love of mine.
    Your pictures are gorgeous and I hope your family helped clean up!!!

  37. Barbara says:

    Best post ever! the first one that I have ever forwarded…thanks for being so “real”….I mean the decorating and plans are perfect but rarely is life “perfect”! Thanks Karen—Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! Barbara

  38. Rebecca says:

    Wonderful! My parents had seven daughters, and with seven daughters came seven son-in-laws and with these couplings, 30 grandchildren. Our Thanksgiving was as well “idyllic”, but we surrendered to our large gatherings a long time ago. We focus on fab food, big laughs and lots of full bellies leaving my parent (back) door…That’s when you know you’re family! Happy Thanksgiving!

  39. Susan Whelan says:

    Funny how memories are made and the things that make something memorable. Of all the wonderful family meals we had over the years, the one that is unforgettable is the one that my mother ended up eating in the kitchen because there was no room for her at the table. Sound familiar?
    Your table is lovely and I like the kid’s table best. Inquiring minds want to know…how many people said afterwards, “it was absolutely wonderful but it would have been just perfect with the white trash salad.”?

  40. mimiindublin says:

    Kitchen is always the best place, and the kitchen floor must be even better! Apart from the kids’ table, that is!
    Happy Thanksgiving Karen!

  41. Jen says:

    Oh Karen…your dining room table looks so lovely….too bad you didn’t get to sit at it! Seriously it’s probably one of the prettiest I’ve ever seen, and has me contemplating going out in a rainstorm to try and dig up some moss for today. ;) I hope you enjoy today….maybe hanging out in your PJ’s and fuzzy socks with a plate of leftovers. Happy Thanksgiving to you and the Fella!

  42. Sue T. says:

    Happy Canadian Thanksgiving Day Karen ! You look so happy just to be finally sitting down , even if it is on the floor !!

    This was a wonderful (wordless) post, and I sure hope your family knows how lucky they are to have you knocking yourself out for them.

  43. Maggie says:

    Absolutely the best post ever – perfectly posed piccies (as always), witty wondrous writing (as always), a hard to beat delicious dining denouement at the end (totally worth the anticipation).
    Happy Thanksgiving wishes from the Rhineland Pfalz, Germany – we are just in the process of giving thanks for all the new wine that is now available – which can put you on the floor in the kitchen as well, but you certainly get all of the style and composition ‘heaping’ points :)

  44. Tricia Rose says:

    The meal looks absolutely fabulous, I have just Pinned the planters and I feel sad that I don’t have MY sister and niece with me to eat and giggle on the floor. You went to a lot of trouble, but just rewrote Memorable!

  45. Elle says:

    I love your Thanksgiving decor – the tomatoes, the framed chalkboard menu (must have!), the planters, the broom and those amazing white pumpkins!
    I’m sure you, your sister and your niece had a really fun meal in the kitchen – talking and laughing.

  46. rktrixy says:

    Oh, you made my day. I’m planning a dinner party for two couples, haven’t cooked in ages, have both a front and back door that people never know where to head to which…. so now after reading about your Thanksgiving, I’m looking forward to it even more. Mayhem and chaos – it’s great!

    Gotta say, I loved the table, and the kids table, and I GOTTA know what white trash salad is!

  47. Claudine says:

    I love all of it! Missed planters, new menu, eating with spoons sitting on the floor. Memories.

  48. Kat says:

    OMG!!! That is too funny! Did anyone from the dining room even miss you? I recognize those Salt and Pepper shakers with the bigger holes drilled into them! Stunning table but I really love the mismatched plates. Reminds me of the first time I ever seen something like that was about 30 years ago in Toronto at a Brit pub called Pimbletts. Changed my whole attitude on home decor for the rest of my life. But that being said Happy Thanksgiving Karen!

  49. Aimee says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, and everything looks lovely. But what great memories for those lucky enough to eat in the kitchen, with the tablespoons! :)

  50. Diane says:

    Best post ever!

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