EntertainingBackyard Bonfire & Friendsgiving with AE Outdoor November 16, 2015This is a sponsored post by AE Outdoor. All opinions are 100% my own. For us, outdoor spaces are a big deal. My husband has always had this affinity for being outside and he’s trained me well. When we moved into this house, the yard was overgrown and had a major slope. We’ve since done a lot of work out here, but it’s by no means a finished outdoor space. We graded the lot so that the slope isn’t so severe, re-installed a little sod in some areas to minimize the mud, and put up a privacy fence for Miss Gracie. The patio and any finishing touches will have to wait quite awhile. I’m a perfectionist by nature and am really bad about wanting a space finished to really use it and entertain. I’m working hard to kick that to the curb and just live in our home and our spaces as is. We love having bonfires and I was really sad that we wouldn’t have an outdoor spot to enjoy them until atleast next fall. Then it hit me….why?! The leaves had fallen off the trees, completely covering up the mud. If you remember our fall front porch post, we got a great set from AE Outdoor, but the entire set wouldn’t fit on our teeny porch. This is the Bethany 6-pc Deep Seating Set. We still had two armchairs and three ottomans waiting for a home. I loved working with AE Outdoor on this set because of course the set is beautiful, high quality, and really comfortable. But, they also send you fabric swatches ahead of time so that you can plan! You know exactly what you’re getting. I wanted a neutral palette out here for Thanksgiving, so I used some of my own pillows. I knew they would be perfect around our fire ring. For entertaining, the ottomans provide extra seating, but Chris and I love enjoying a backyard fire, just the two of us. So the two comfy armchairs are a perfect fit for that. We decided to host a simple Friendsgiving this past weekend. As I said above, we’re not waiting for “finished” or perfect spaces to have friends over and enjoy their company. We brought the set out around the fire ring and added an old weathered bench for additional seating. A few throws and pillows brought from inside make the space extra cozy, but still casual. I gathered pumpkins from the front stoop and laid them around. For me, entertaining is becoming more and more casual and simple. We have this old weathered picnic table already set up near the fire pit area. Chris actually made us this during our first year of marriage for our first house’s back deck. It’s old and loved, but I won’t part with it until it rots! A casual stack of plates, a pitcher of something to drink and a few glasses set out is all you need. And I have a thing for hanging pictures outside. I love the instant homey feel it brings. I keep nails ready on our fence or in this case on the side of the shed so that I can bring a picture outside and have a backdrop for the evening. We enjoyed a great casual potluck dinner and then headed to the fire ring for s’mores. I used one of the ottomans as a little side table between the two armchairs and set up a simple little s’mores platter. I used my go-to organic décor: tree clippings from the backyard. I love the look and texture of greenery and the best part? It’s free! Rosie got to experience s’more making for the first time. She’s too little to eat them yet, but that didn’t stop her from trying. “Rosie, this is a s’more,” turned into her jamming it in her mouth before I could even react. I got it away before we had a choking situation on our hands, though she was covered in sticky marshmellow. Memories. The best part about a fire to me is enjoying it late into the night. Something about it is so calming and invites you to stay and chat. Some of our best conversations with each other and with friends have happened around bonfires. This Friendsgiving was no different. I snapped these pictures earlier in the evening knowing it gets dark at 5:30pm here now that the time’s changed and any pictures of us actually enjoying the bonfire would be black with a few orange flames. We have zero outdoor lights installed yet, so even with the fire, you need a flashlight to make it out here. That’s okay, though. We’re embracing and enjoying the unfinished! We sure do love this little spot, though, and I think we now have weekend plans for the all of the coming winter months: you can find us right here. Anyone want to come join? S’mores will be provided.