Author Topic: Entertaining A Large Group - New Question in OP and Post #18 - UPDATE Post #41  (Read 7133 times)

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StuffedGrapeLeaves

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I need some help, e-Hellions!  We're having a large group of people over to our house in in about a month, and I'm freaking out a bit about food and entertainment.  We've never entertained such a large group before, because we've always lived in apartments and this is our first "real" house. 

Some more details:

1) There will be 12 adults and 8 kids.  The kids ranged in age from 13 to 2, and a mix of boys and girls. 
2) We have a backyard, so hopefully the weather will be nice.
3) We have a dining room and a living room and some folding chairs - people are going to be spread around.
4) No allergies or dietary concerns, but some of the kids are a bit picky. 
5) I thought about grilling some burgers, but I don't know if we're going to get a grill in time for the get-together. 

Any ideas for food and entertainment?  I'm especially worried about entertaining such a large group of kids.  My own DS is 3, so we have some toys for the younger kids, but not sure what to do with the tweens and teenagers. 

Thanks in advance!

ETA: I have another question: can someone suggest the best way to keep drinks cold for such a large group?  We'll probably have some beer, sodas, juices for the little kids, and water.  Our refrigerator is definitely not big enough to hold all the drinks we'll need. 
« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 07:59:55 PM by StuffedGrapeLeaves »

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2012, 10:42:28 AM »
What about picking up a croquet or bocce ball set for the yard?  That would keep the older kids amused.  Maybe even some of the adults.

If you have the grill, burgers are a great idea.  I'd add some hot dogs for the little folk, though.  Or if you want to upscale it a bit, you could do kebabs.  If you don't have the grill, are you allowed to have an outdoor fire?  If so, a weinie roast for the kids!  For the adults, I think I'd just do a large cold cut platter, with cheese and nice fresh rolls so every one can make the sandwich they want.  Lots of different salads are great, especially since you can make a lot of them ahead of time.  Potato salad, pasta salad, coleslaw, regular green leafy salad with a choice of dressings, wild rice salad.  Check the recipe folder - I know there are lots of good recipes there.

Veggie and fruit trays are great for snacking, maybe a hummus dip with pita chips.  Dessert could be a simple sheet cake.  Everyone loves cake!   ;)  And if it warm, add in the ice cream.
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Irishkitty

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2012, 10:53:23 AM »
Hi!

My DH's immediate family is massive, so we've entertained similar size groups all from our tiny home.
Usually we have to do a BBQ/outdoor event because we don't have a separate dining room, and our living room is too small to accommodate everyone.

If you do get a grill in time I'd recommend a selection of burgers, sausages/hotdogs, salmon with a wholegrain mustard marinade and some chicken and vegetable skewers.

If you don't, then go for family favourites that can be prepped in advance in big batches - things like meatballs and spagetti (ok the spagetti is last minute, but the meatballs can be done in advance and simply heated). Serve with lots of salad and garlic bread. It's usually a big hit with DH's family. And on the slim possibility that there's any leftover they are excellent for freezing.

Chicken & Broccoli in a creamy sauce with either breadcrumbs or mash on top is another good one.

This is a lunch thing I make occasionally but could work here in bulk:
Cook some pasta. While it's cooking chop some onions & sweat them in butter. Add canned Tuna, Sweetcorn and tinned soup (Cream of Mushroom is what I use) and season. Mix this with the drained pasta and place into an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with cheese and when you want to serve it heat it up in the oven until the cheese melts. Voila!

As for entertainment, we don't have kids of our own, so I usually make sure we have some games they can plan (monopoly, checkers, cards) and some age appropriate DVDs (The Invincibles, Ratatouille, etc) if you have them. And if you have any space in your garden and you have tennis rackets and a ball... or some other suitable sport thing... At the end of the day, you can always tell the adults that the kids are welcome to bring some toys/games for the older kids as you only have items suitable for 3yo's or adults.

Good luck on your first big hosted event!

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WillyNilly

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2012, 10:58:46 AM »
You know whats fun, affordable and takes up little space to store for future parties?  Hula hoops.  Adults like them, kids like them, and they cost like $3.  A cheapo badminton set is fun too - even without a net or anything (kids are good at improvising games).

A party food I love to have is chopped veggies with dip.  First of all, you can do it yourself so its affordable and then put it out in batches - left over celery stalks and carrot sticks and pepper strips can easily be used by you after the party (in salads, stir fries, soups, frozen for later use, etc).  Its an easy finger food, colorful, and dieters and parents are always happy to have a healthy choice to munch on. A cheese platter again is a crowd pleaser and again, put out in batches so there's plenty, but if you have left overs you can use them later (most cheeses freeze very well).

I like to always make sure to have a bowl of mixed nuts out too - its a nice protein munchie (most party foods I find to be very carb-heavy).

If you are concerned over people socializing (different social groups mingling, etc) a fun thing I've done is to look up some random fun facts (either related to your party - wine facts, or sports related, etc, or to your guests - places you know a few guests have vacationed, or hobby some guests are into) and print them out and mount on a colorful card and tuck them randomly around areas guests will be.  If there is a lull in conversation people tend to look around - they will see the card, read it, and IME share the info (like a Snapple fact - don't you always share your Snapple facts?) and voila conversation starter!

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2012, 11:00:29 AM »
Although frowned upon, a lot of my circle's backyard parties are BYOC.  Bring your own chair.   :D  It seems silly for hosts to purchase/rent enough chairs for everyone for a casual party.  And those folding lawn chairs in a bag are cheap and just about everyone has one.  And if Grandpa and Grandma don't have chairs, well, they can use the ones from your patio set.
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StuffedGrapeLeaves

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2012, 11:07:52 AM »
Thank you so much for all the suggestions!  You are making me feel better about pulling this off.   ;D

Please keep them coming!

StuffedGrapeLeaves

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2012, 11:08:24 AM »
What about picking up a croquet or bocce ball set for the yard?  That would keep the older kids amused.  Maybe even some of the adults.

Silly question - our backyard is sloped.  Can you do croquet or bocce ball on a sloped yard? 

mechtilde

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2012, 11:10:46 AM »
I've seen some pretty big single use disposable grills (in case you don't have one by the time of the party). Also useful for any vegetarian BBQ guests you may have in future!
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Irishkitty

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2012, 11:15:59 AM »
What about picking up a croquet or bocce ball set for the yard?  That would keep the older kids amused.  Maybe even some of the adults.

Silly question - our backyard is sloped.  Can you do croquet or bocce ball on a sloped yard? 

Being that I don't know what bocce ball is I can't answer  :P
Is it like swing ball? - where the ball is attached on a sting to the top of a pole and there's a coil, and people stand at either side, one person has to try and get the string back to the top by hitting the ball, the other person aims to get it to the bottom. Or you can just play it like lobbing in tennis.  That might still work with a sloped garden if you can get the pole straight. Each person stands across from each other (not up or down of the slope)
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NyaChan

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2012, 11:25:13 AM »
My family tends to entertain in bulk.  Typically we put out all the food in one area, have people serve themselves, and then spread out to wherever they feel comfortable sitting.  I would have a tv area or couch area for the teens - we usually all congregated in the basement to talk or watch movies separate from the adults.  Wouldn't worry too much about them - put out some games and odds are they'll entertain themselves with a combo of that & their own electronics. 

Some things to think about for logistics:
-are you comfortable with having colored drinks in the house/on the carpet?
-have a trash system in place and be prepared to replace with new bags during the party
-you might want to decide ahead of time which of your child's toys you are willing to share during the party.  It would make things easier to control if you put away the rest of them
-are there areas of the house you don't want people/kids getting into?  Make sure to shut doors and keep a wary eye out for wanderers

Food:
If you are planning for people to be served outside and eating outside or even if you aren't, I would avoid food that is too heavy or creamy for a hot weather party.  Go for picnic foods - avocado/black bean/corn salad w. tortilla chips is a good app and side dish.  If you don't have a grill, you can still do crockpot pulled pork, shredded jerk chicken, or bbq beef sandwiches.  Dessert - I recommend a fruit platter + another dessert, maybe a punch bowl trifle.  Granted it isn't the healthiest dessert, but it is yummy layers of chocolate cake, fruit, jam, cool whip, and melted frosting.  Really easy to make and looks good.  Serves a bunch of people. 

WillyNilly

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2012, 11:26:44 AM »
What about picking up a croquet or bocce ball set for the yard?  That would keep the older kids amused.  Maybe even some of the adults.

Silly question - our backyard is sloped.  Can you do croquet or bocce ball on a sloped yard? 

Being that I don't know what bocce ball is I can't answer  :P
Is it like swing ball? - where the ball is attached on a sting to the top of a pole and there's a coil, and people stand at either side, one person has to try and get the string back to the top by hitting the ball, the other person aims to get it to the bottom. Or you can just play it like lobbing in tennis.  That might still work with a sloped garden if you can get the pole straight. Each person stands across from each other (not up or down of the slope)

Bocce is closer to bowling, sort of like across between bowling and horseshoes.  It wouldn't work well on a sloped yard.  But croquet can work so long as you have some relatively flat patches.  Growing up we had a yard that essentially had 3 levels, it was mostly level, slope, mostly level, slope, mostly level.  We played croquet often - the slopes made the game more fun!

Frisbie works well on sloped yards though.   :D

NotTheNarcissist

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2012, 11:29:00 AM »
You have some excellent suggestions already so I will just say my family & I recently buried a time capsule & it was s big hit with everyone young and young-at-heart.

StuffedGrapeLeaves

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2012, 11:30:41 AM »
You have some excellent suggestions already so I will just say my family & I recently buried a time capsule & it was s big hit with everyone young and young-at-heart.

This is intriguing.  How does this work? 

StuffedGrapeLeaves

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2012, 11:31:55 AM »
What about picking up a croquet or bocce ball set for the yard?  That would keep the older kids amused.  Maybe even some of the adults.

Silly question - our backyard is sloped.  Can you do croquet or bocce ball on a sloped yard? 

Being that I don't know what bocce ball is I can't answer  :P
Is it like swing ball? - where the ball is attached on a sting to the top of a pole and there's a coil, and people stand at either side, one person has to try and get the string back to the top by hitting the ball, the other person aims to get it to the bottom. Or you can just play it like lobbing in tennis.  That might still work with a sloped garden if you can get the pole straight. Each person stands across from each other (not up or down of the slope)

Bocce is closer to bowling, sort of like across between bowling and horseshoes.  It wouldn't work well on a sloped yard.  But croquet can work so long as you have some relatively flat patches.  Growing up we had a yard that essentially had 3 levels, it was mostly level, slope, mostly level, slope, mostly level.  We played croquet often - the slopes made the game more fun!

Frisbie works well on sloped yards though.   :D

Thanks for answering, WillyNilly.  Yeah, I don't think bocce will work well.  Frisbees and croquet might, though.  Our yard is level, slope, level, so croquet will probably be fun. 

NotTheNarcissist

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2012, 11:50:44 AM »
I googled how to create a time capsule for the basics.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2012, 10:04:30 AM by NotTheNarcissist »