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December 03, 2012


Sorry, I can't help with the chairs. All I got out of this post was "Ah man, I wish I could find a good book club." Good luck with the busy week/end.

your kids are big into letters. Have you heard of alpha-bots? Check out lakeshore toys.
Also, I forgot to RSVP to your dinner party, but I'm attending. Well, in spirit. Save me a shrimp!

Soup and hearty bread sounds like a good dinner party menu to me. Put a cheese, fruit and salami tray out. Plenty of wine. Everyone can sit around the house, no problem... Now I want to throw that party.


And if you're really lucky, somewhere they'll have a bin of the now clearance cushions that fit these -- I think they were down to $2.99. They're nice and squishy, though I guess these guests won't really be sitting on these chairs every day!

Now all you need is a nearby Ikea?

On the soup: do you do any prep with the dry peas?

On the chairs: does your < 19 chair count include couches and, I don't know, stairs? Do you have locals coming? If so, ask them to bring folding chairs.

How brave to host a birth family - family reunion! I hope it is lovely.

Take it from experience, all 19 people will not sit down at the same time. As long as you're not throwing some sort of formal meal, that is. They will sit wherever there's room (including couches and loveseats) and stand around holding plates. Assume that if you have enough chairs for half the people, you should be good to go.

And I would suggest (strange as this sounds), hiring a babysitter for the night to keep Caroline and Edward out of your hair. I held a 40th birthday party for my husband and we hired two babysitters to watch the 5 kids that were going to be there. (We share the babysitters with one of the families invited, so we just had them bring their kids over and hired both girls while everyone else hired their own sitters at their own houses.) Fed the kids hot dogs, strawberries and Cheetos in the basement playroom and got to enjoy an "adult" party upstairs. Best $50 ever! Otherwise I would have spent most of my night catering to them and pretty much missed the party.

And you topped me on the appointments. I have 10 appointments/classes scheduled over the next 4 weeks and I thought that was bad! But never more than 4 in a week.

We had 30 for Thabksgiving last year, without enough silverware, let alone chairs. People were good about taking turns, tbough, and it was a humorous icebreaker, since most people didn't kbow each other. As long as the booze, food and conversation are plentiful, you'll be fine Have fun!

I'm so selfish - all I could think was that your week sounds like lovely fodder for future blog posts!

I have to say that 19 people for dinner is an event to throw money at. I second the babysitter, rent some chairs, rent a bartender, order some party platters, --consider making a list of everything you could outsource and then decide what's going to lighten the load the most. Good luck!

You are so right on about the qualities of a hostess - I know everyone will have a blast! Also, I miss your recipe blog. Thank you for sharing this and the other one last week.

More than ever, that post is just screaming for a stomach flu to hit on, say, Thursday morning. Sorry to say it, but your past experiences do trend that direction.

Here's hoping that lack of chairs is the biggest glitch you have in all that organized chaos!

The dried peas really soften in an hour? This is a revelation.

Still adore and often use your homemade fire-roasted tomato soup recipe... Julia's Soup, it is called around my place. For interest, or not, Ina suggested tossing some barley into the pea soup. It's fab, nice texture... I toss it into the pea process... or maybe a bit later... tad more liquid... this is how I recipe... I don't... I'm am no Smitten Kitchen...

Good luck and good heavens... plenty of wine, babysitter and you will be good to go... Can't wait to hear stories.

Okay, if you are kind enough to POST! DAILY! I can at least make an effort to comment on said posts since I read your posts and enjoy them very much. Jealous that you have Chinese classes offered nearby for the kids and sending good thoughts for a surplus of chairs.

Can't wait to read about these upcoming events! I really enjoy your blog and look forward to every post. I have been very happy lately!!

Sooo -- what are you doing in your spare time? Hope you have a wonderful time with family and friends.

My book club makes its selections next week! Which means I can read yours, first! Let me know, I'm having trouble deciding what to recommend this year.

IKEA for silverware for the masses is a godsend. Can the kids picnic on the floor?

Praying to the seating gods that you figure that one out. I will tell you this: when I am invited over to someone's house, I usually care not where I sit. I'll sit on the damn floor and hold my plate in my lap as long as there is laughter and happy people (but I won't eat the soup and you can't make me.)

I had to take a minute and mini-hyperventilate FOR you because WHOO LAWD, I can't even.

Wow to the family meet-up!

The soup mention reminds me of an amaaaaazing recipe you posted on your recipe blog (loved it) that included coconut milk and chicken and... (off to dig the recipe out of my poorly organized stack.)

Yay, Chicken and Corn Soup, Asianesque! (Rubbing hands excitedly...)

I am all fired up at the prospect of getting a birdfeeder for Christmas. We got a post to put in the ground today while the unseasonably high temperature still has the ground thawed. I told the side of the family that we hinted to that if they don't take us up on said hint then we'll buy our own after Christmas.

Chickadees! Blue jays! I can't wait!

Wait--your neighbors have chairs and stuff, right?

Love the book club suggestions - can't wait! I read The Dog Stars (Peter Heller) and The Age of Miracles (Karen Thompson Walker) recently and both were amazing (if you need suggestions)!

If you don't have 19 chairs, you probably don't have table settings for 19 either. Put into google "party rental" and your zip code. call and get 3 long tables (add tablecloths if you are feeling fancy), Plates and glasses and silverware for 25, and 15 chairs rented. the whole shebang would be around $100. They usually deliver for a fee ($50-ish). the best part? you give the dishes/glasses/silverware a quick rinse at the end of the night and put them back in the racks unwashed and leave it on the front porch for them to pickup at their leisure. Hereby leaving your dishwasher with a couple serving bowls and the majority of the party debris on the front porch. Yes, it is a little decadent, but oh my god, so much less stress then washing 4 loads of dishes!

Crowded + chairless = best holiday parties. The most successful holiday parties my parents threw involved people sitting on the stairs. No one feels self conscious or awkward when they're balancing food on their knees with dogs and kids climbing over them.

Heck, if you don't care to rent, have it Moroccan style on floor cushions! ("Let me take you to the casbah..." etc. Caroline can take around a bowl of warm, damp handtowels!
Just kidding... Whatever you figure out will be fine, I'm sure.

Could you drag some lawn chairs in?? I second the motion of hiring a babysitter.

1. buy chairs at target, plan to return them, forget to return them, have plenty of chairs for future parties
2. party people say you should have less chairs than party goers to promote mingling.

Totally ok to cancel the kids' activities leading up to your busy week. I'll third (whatever) the suggestion go get a babysitter. Ask a neighbor (friend? someone?) to borrow chairs for the party.

Hope your busy week goes smoothly and that Patrick is feeling in top form in no time.

what the heck is an Other appointment?

also i want to see the book club list! and i have thirty million suggestions should you need any...

Julia - I've read you avidly for a year now, since I first discovered this glorious blog. Read two current posts last December, and then immediately stopped to go back through the archives from the very beginning.

Anyway, I'm delurking for the first time (there had to be a first time, no?) to recommend a book that Patrick (and the rest of you) might enjoy. It's called Unbored: The Essential Fieldguide to Serious Fun, and it looks awesome. It came highly recommended from my other favorite blogger, Catherine Newman (of benandbirdy), and I feel like it might be Patrick-worthy.


It's funny- I've thought so so so many times about delurking, and haven't actually done it. This will probably get lost in the insanity of the week you have ahead of you, but just in case: thank you, for all the wise and witty and well-crafted sentences lo these many years. I join the gang of loyal readers here (from whom I've also gotten endless chuckles and terrific recommendations for books, lotions and potions, toys, websites, recipes) in singing your praises to the high, high heavens!

When I was younger, our family holiday dinners were always more than 20 people (we had a big extended family and a serious tendency to adopt stray kids and keep them forever). None of us had a dining table that sat more than eight people, so we turned the dining table into a buffet and everyone sorted themselves. As long as the party is casual enough that people are dressed to sit on the floor or lean against counters, having 19 for dinner can actually be very low-maintenance - especially if you go with disposable tableware.

I agree with Signe, they look extremely ucramfontoble but would look nice especially when you have all the different colours and shapes in one set.

You know, I signed up last week. Right now I'm still in the spweamd by email phase, but I'm sure that will change.And hey, at least my sink looks nice!(Thanks for the sweet comment this morning. Totally cheered me up!)

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