Centerpieces, side dishes and short people tables

I could be the queen of email subscribing.  I love receiving newsletters from businesses and publications inspiring me with tips to personalize my holiday home.  Recently, I was on a mission to find centerpieces for my 25 person Thanksgiving table.

When I think of fall, I automatically think of colors such as pumpkin or cranberry, but I wanted my first holiday table to be different. Inspired by a candle wreath (is that what they are officially called?) found at Denise's Adornments in Geneva, my new fall pallet will include acorn, creme and soft brown hues.  As you will see from my image library, my creativity has come to a halt with the vase I selected.  I have tried a beautiful large reddish-purple mum and a vibrant gold mum, thinking this lovely perennial would create the perfect finish for my centerpiece.  Alas, it has not, and I am on the hunt for a new flower. 

Any flower arranging gurus out there have any ideas?

Country Living inspired the children's table, which will don craft paper
and crayons and hopefully distract my younger guests long enough to
allow their parents to eat.

As the table begins to come together, I naturally begin to tackle the
most complicated of the Thanksgiving Day planning.  The menu.   The main
dish and desserts are very obvious, but I would like to embrace a
healthier take on some of my side dishes.  How does a meringue-topped
sweet potato casserole
sound?  This month's Eating Well has a healthy
alternative to your typical sweet potato side which has made my 2010

And, since there will be some Italians in attendance, my husband will be
making his/Mario Batali's famous Stuffed Meat Loaf from his cookbook,
Motlo Italiano
.  Yum.  (Please note:  this dish is not light, but really
easy to make and is even superb as a leftover!)

As I chip away at my to-do list, I feel more confident in my hostess
abilities.  I enjoy being inspired by others and putting my own touch on a classic holiday.

How do you get inspired?  We want to know!

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