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Can you hounds help me out with some dinner party advice?

Hi everyone. I agreed to have mr. gator extend an invitation to a coworker to bring his family (wife, wife's mom and five kids aged 2-8) for an early dinner and evening at our place. We have fun things like a pool and a dog that I thought the kids might enjoy.

I asked about any food allergies and dislikes, and the response was that they "prefer to have a family-friendly environment". What the heck does that mean? They're a family and we're being friendly...

The best we could deduce is that they don't want alcohol around. My husband did stop at their place for an afterwork dinner once and noted that no beer or wine was served.

Do you think this is the case? And is it polite to suggest that a host not serve or drink alcohol? I know an adult beverage would certainly help an evening with small children go by more easily for me.

Thanks for any help.

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  1. I would go ahead and have wine and beer to offer if it were at my home. The most a person can do, is to say "no thank you". You certainly aren't going to offer it to the children, so I don't know what "family-friendly atmosphere", means to them.

    Whatever you have planned, they should appreciate, since it's a very nice invitation extended by you and Mr. Gator.

    Good luck ~

    10 Replies
    1. re: mcel215

      I sure hope it goes well for you -- that sounds suspiciously like a bad omen.

      (like you're going to invite a family with 5 kids over and then do beer bongs and have pole dancing contests?)

      1. re: sunshine842

        Thank you both. And if it does go poorly, I am leaving for a trip the next day. So I actually get to flee the country and leave the experience far, far behind me.

        1. re: sunshine842

          I wouldn't necessarily take it as a bad omen. I only have 2 kids, and they are now 8 and up. I am sure they are extremely grateful that anyone would want to entertain their entire brood. At the same time, they are likely feeling some anxiety. Will the kids behave themselves? Will they eat the food you serve? This age range can be particularly difficult, even under the best circumstances and even if they are very good kids. And all but the oldest are too young to be anywhere near or in the pool without a parent very close by.

          I would have some drinks on hand, make the offer when they arrive. But, if they clearly show no interest in alcoholic beverages, I think it would be nice if you abstained as well. As host, your job is to make your guest feel comfortable. Sometimes that means at the expense of your own comfort.

          It could also just mean that they expect a very casual environment in both food and atmosphere.

          1. re: centralpadiner

            Why would it be "nice" if the op "abstained as well"? Misery loves company? This attitude has me flummoxed. You invite people to your home and they should take "you" as they find you not the other way around. When people are kind enough to offer me food and solace I adapt myself and do not expect them to adapt anything. It doesn't sound like the Gator's are planning a Bacchanalia but a pool party with a dog. When I am invited to someone's house I don't question either their motives or their ability to keep it clean and wholesome. Please do not alter what you would ordinarily do because they want "family friendly" and ask them what they mean by that. It may mean please don't have naked dancers near the kids but whatever that's a serious brood to entertain. My parents had 8 kids and being invited anywhere meant the hosts quite simply "had" to like us as they knew what they were getting in to. We were always scrupulously well behaved. My father might have killed us if we weren't (no not really) but the point is that the guest is the one who adapts not the host. Did this rule change? I think not. Have a nice party and do it your way. Don't sweat the small stuff. If these people don't appreciate the generosity of whatever you have to offer than you really don't want to know them.

            1. re: KateBChi

              "the guest is the one who adapts not the host"

              I truly disagree with this. While I was raised to not behave like another persons home is the equivalent of a restaurant where my every little whim will be met, that doesn't mean a good host can't go out of their way when there are certain things that make the guest uncomfortable. It's the host's job to make their guest feel welcome and comfortable. If abstaining from alcohol is needed in order to make teetotalers feel welcome, then so be it. When you invite someone to your home, you automatically take on the reality that you may be a bit uncomfortable or thrown from your normal routine.

              No one is questioning Gator's generosity in hosting this group. She asked for suggestions and got some great advice. We all await an update to see how it goes.

              1. re: centralpadiner

                Guests should be made to "feel at home". Where I live in central PA MANY people do not drink for religious reasons. We can't even have my SO's parents over because we keep alcohol in the house and they refuse to go to restaurants that serve it (still can't figure that one out). I agree that you should abstain if they do in this case especially since that comment was made. When they come in I would quickly offer your beer or wine along with all your other beverages and if they go with iced tea and soda, follow suit.

                Along with the comment about family friendly, perhaps this also speaks to the type of food they would hope you serve as well as topics of conversation deemed appropriate in front of children (avoiding innuendo and the like).

                1. re: centralpadiner

                  I see your point and agree in some cases, but I don't think it's a blanket issue. If a friend was struggling with addiction then no, I'm not going to crack a beer in front of her. If someone works for a rabbit rescue, then rabbit isn't going on the menu for a dinner party that person is invited to.

                  But where does it end? If I invite someone over whose religious beliefs tell her it's wrong to live with someone before marriage, do I make my boyfriend sleep on the couch lest she be offended?

                  I don't think that just because someone doesn't engage in certain things (be it drinking alcohol or eating meat or whatever) it doesn't mean that they are uncomfortable around those that do.

                2. re: KateBChi

                  strongly agree. -- if they don't approve of your lifestyle it's best to find out sooner rather than later -- I would certainly want a drink with the five kids there + pool + dog + grandma!

                  1. re: bayoucook

                    "...I would certainly want a drink with the five kids there + pool + dog + grandma!"
                    But that's what Valium's for...

          2. They may not realize they will be the only guests and concerned that a party might get too rowdy for their comfort.

            2 Replies
            1. re: HDinCentralME

              I actually thought it meant you should put away those "honeymoon" videos!

              1. re: Sarah

                I was thinking along the same lines - maybe a way of saying they're not into the swingers scene...{:-0

            2. maybe they meant they prefer a sit down family style dinner not one where the adults are on one table and the kids on another or in the kitchen. Or maybe they mean the kind of food kids will eat and nothing too fancy.

              1. You are a sweetheart to do this for their family. Maybe Mr. Gator can do more sleuthing to find out what "family friendly" means? Like, "We're looking forward to seeing you all on Friday. And we want to make sure you're comfortable with what we have planned. It'll just be your family, me and Mrs. Gator. And Buster: the kids will love him. We're thinking of burgers on the grill, by the pool. Should we pick up some soda for the kids, or juice? And Mrs. Gator and I sometimes have a glass of wine with dinner, are you comfortable with that?" Then if he objects to the alcohol he has his chance to state his position on it. Like, "we don't drink alcohol, but we'll be happy to bring seltzer." Or, "we prefer not to be around alcohol." Which would be a bummer, but at least you'd eliminate the stress of uncertainty.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Niblet

                  Niblet, I like your direct approach.

                  1. re: Isolda

                    I think this a good idea as well.
                    I also think you are going out of your way to make sure the evening is a success, which to me, shows a lot of sincerity.
                    If you want to hide the booze is up to you. Me? I'd do as I'd always do when inviting guests over; have plenty of drinks, both alcoholic and non-. If they get offended, well, too bad, they can decline the offer next time.

                    Perhaps the parents are worried that their 5 kids are too much to handle for most folks and are simply putting that out as a warning of sorts. In other words, "prefer to have a family-friendly environment" might be their way of saying "We really appreciate your offer, but realize we have 5 kids. They're great and all, but they ARE children and we hope you can understand. Some people in the past just didn't realize this and were somewhat frazzled."

                  2. Thank you all so much, some really good points have been raised! As a non-parent, I have to admit I that I never really thought about how anxiety inducing it must be to take 5 kids into someone else's home.

                    We gave the invitation because the mister and his friend were discussing food, and it came up that I really enjoy cooking Thai food and the friend said he and his family had never tried any and would love to someday. We were also aware that the family has no access to a swimming pool and it's been brutally hot lately.

                    I planned a menu with a variety of mild Thai foods that I can make "plain" and "finger" versions of for the kids, dug out some cheapo small toys that I have from Thailand, and plan to lock my breakables in the bedroom. And I picked up some pool inflateables.

                    That's about all I've thought up.

                    I really appreciate the input on what family friendly means to you, it's very helpful.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: alliegator

                      As a parent, we look for food the young'ins can eat and an activity schedule appropriate for their attention spans and our enjoyment.

                      You seem to have planned for these quite well.

                      Like someone else mentioned, at these ages, pool play needs to be heavily supervised with adults in-the-water with the children. (and as a PSA announcement, please remember that children sitting in an inflatable can tip over and go under in a heartbeat.... I know a few parents who had big scares when they relaxed their watch ...)

                      Relax, enjoy. Serve the Thai food. Have fun watching and playing with the kids and then enjoy your moment of silence when they head home!

                      1. re: _jj_

                        I'm late to this party, but I'll chime in as a non-parent pool owner. Once at a pool party, I was standing next to a parent poolside, when I happened to glance down at the pool and saw what led me to deliver the line "Hey, your kid's drowning." That child was 3 feet away from her parent, desperately struggling to keep her face above water, and never once called out.

                        On the drinking thing, while I find it hard to imagine there are people who care if OTHER PEOPLE drink, my Mother assures me this is true. We're Southern Baptist, and although my Dad has the occasional beer, my Mom refused to let me serve anything stronger than bellinis at their 50th anniversary party because she thought some of her church friends would be horrified. I ranted about hypocracy, but she says it's not about that, but about respect.

                        So...if it were me, i'd offer them the beers when they arrive, and if they refused, I'd abstain during the kid-watching portion of the evening (well, i'd do that anyway), and if there were a quieter time later on, I'd privately pour myself a beer in a glass. Surely, they aren't going to sniff your glass and inquire.

                        1. re: danna

                          Instinctive Drowning Response

                          a bit off topic, but important, hope the moderators will give it a break. the child danna mentioned was exhibiting classic drowning symptoms. wild splashing and yelling can be a sign of a aquatic distress, but someone actualy drowning will be focused on trying to keep their mouth above the water, won't be yelling or calling out, and won't be wildly thrashing.


                          we all know it, but its good to be reminded that children should never be left alone in or near a pool, even for a minute.

                      2. re: alliegator

                        I think you've gotten great advice (if divided on the alcohol issue) and you get that bringing 5 little kids to someone's home is stressful. With 5 kids in that age range my primary concern as a parent would be lifeguarding. I would probably abstain and ask my husband to drink very minimally for that reason alone, which may feel awkward if the host is a pressuring type - which you obviously are not. Especially if one or both of the parents can't swim that well, they might need you to be an extra pair of eyes in the pool. Sorry, as a pool-owner you are probably all over the safetey stuff already...
                        Oh, and hot dogs. Good advice. It's just not worth even one of the kids getting upset because there's no familiar food. Or, if they offer, you could ask them to bring a dish their kids enjoy.

                        1. re: alliegator

                          That sounds fun! I would agree with the other posters who have said to be up front. I have a glass of wine or beer with dinner probably 99% of the time but wouldn't want to make anyone uncomfortable. I have some friends who would be uncomfortable with that for religious reasons, and others who bring bring their kids to beer pong type events(usually super bowl parties or stuff like that where the adults are drinking). I think it's best to be up front and find out what's up for these particular folks.

                          1. re: alliegator

                            It sounds like it's going to be a lot of fun! As a former homeowner with an in-ground pool I understand completely about having people with kids over. Pool toys are great (and squirt guns) but don't rely on any inflatables to keep kids safe. I was always in the pool, treading water near the deep end, when there were kids swimming. If I had to go to the bathroom, everyone had to get out of the pool until I came back. A neighbor's 4 year old son drowned in the time it took for his grandmother to take his plate into the kitchen. Tell the kids not to yell "help" if their sibling is splashing them - "help" is for drowning or almost ready to sink situations ONLY.

                            As for alcohol - I'd have it on hand and drink some of it myself, but also have juice and soda for the kids and any other non-drinkers. I have a few friends who are recovering alcoholics and they don't want anyone to change their style of entertaining just for them. If I had a party and didn't serve booze it would make them uncomfortable. I do get some of that carbonated grape juice (Martelli's?) and/or good bottled carbonated water for the non-drinkers.

                            Have fun! I have 5 nephews from one brother and herding that many kids around can be a job! I'm sure the parents are thrilled to be asked out somewhere with their kids. Eating Thai food and expanding their food universe will be a special treat!

                          2. I think no alcohol is exactly what they meant, and because they know it's rude to ask a host not to serve it, they used the bizarre euphemism "family friendly." So even though we drink wine with dinner (adults, of course) almost every night as a matter of course, I would have no problem not serving it the one night someone with this request came over. One of them may be an alcoholic who is desperately trying to stay sober, or maybe grew up in an abusive home where alcohol fueled the abuse, or they're Mormons, who really knows?

                            But i's your job as hosts to make them feel comfortable and welcome. You know the evening will end early with kids that young, so I think what I'd do is serve something basic for the kids, like burgers, and then maybe steaks on the grill for the adults. They sound like a conscientious family who will know to pack up and leave when the 2 yo gets whiny (at least you can hope and pray that they will!), then as you and your husband are cleaning up, open that wine or beer and congratulate yourselves on having survived an evening with 5 kids under 8!

                            1. I think that you deduced and/or intuited correctly, that 'family-friendly environment' (to them) = no booze served. As you - in your capacity as hostess - brought up the issue of 'dislikes', I do not think that their stating their preference (as you have deduced it to be) is impolite; they did not demand that no adult beverages be served, but rather subtley (albeit vaguely) stated a preference. I suppose some parents of young children might not wish to explain why someone at a dinner party got tipsy (on the tamer side of the hypotheitcals) or retired to the restroom to throw up from overindulgence (on the extreme side of the hypotheticals), if the children are not yet old enough to understand complex or unfamiliar adult behavior. I'm sure such would never happen at your dinner party, but one has no idea what strangers have experienced elsewhere, where the host(ess) was not as thoughtful as you, and where they - as parents - had little or no control over the environment of a social gathering. Ever see Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton's 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf'? :-)

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: silence9

                                I really don't get that "family friendly" = no alcohol. And really, serving alcohol does not equate in my world in any sense at all to explaining" tipsy" to a child (on the mild side)because no one would be tipsy to throwing up (on the even more ridiculous end of thing). I think you are going overboard here--Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton????? Come on, it's an early dinner party and perhaps people will have a glass or two of wine. Every adult I would invite, including my spouse and myself would have self control. The comments are beyond odd to me. . . .

                                1. re: Billie Jean

                                  Because you and your spouse have self-control when it comes to alcohol, you assume that that is the way of the world?? You extrapolate a reasonable world from who _you_ choose to associate with?? Now whose comments are being beyond odd? Lastly, that little smiley face at the end of my initial comment/post (above) indicates the opportunity for a bit of humor, as regards the Taylor/Burton comparison. Like here. :-)

                                  1. re: silence9

                                    I don't think it's unreasonble to assume that adults will act that way. . .

                              2. Niblet's direct approach is really best. Frankly, it wouldn't have ocurred to me that "family friendly" = no booze.

                                I don't think they are being particular gracious in their request, though. This seems to be something they should inquire about when the invitation is extended, not thrown out as a reqest (or worse, requirement) after accepting the invitation.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: LeoLioness

                                  You said: "This seems to be something they should inquire about when the invitation is extended, not thrown out as a reqest (or worse, requirement) after accepting the invitation.". That is not at all the scenario that the original poster of this thread provided. According to her, as hostess _she_ was the one who solicited any possible "allergies or dislikes" from the prospective guests. The guests did not "throw out a request" nor a "requirement" after the fact. The hostess inquired, and the guests responded. Politely, it would seem, as understood by the term "prefer" (and not "demand")...

                                  1. re: silence9

                                    I think there's a big difference between stating a personal preference (I don't drink) and an attempt to dictate those of everyone else (I'd prefer there be no alcohol).

                                    This is all speculation though, as evidenced by different interpretations of this request. For all we know these people just don't want there to be any strip poker games played.

                                2. When you invite a family with small children, you HAVE to think outside the box. You asked about allergies AND dislikes. They responded in a very polite way they they wanted a family friendly environment, which I think does mean that they dislike alcohol around the children. Think about this.... they have to drive home after the party with those small children. What kind of an example would they be setting for those kids if they got behind the wheel after drinking? Even worse, what if they had an accident on the way home due to having too much to drink. I think they are being responsible parents in this case. If you need a drink to get through one evening with small children, then you should not have invited them. As someone else said, have your glass of wine after they leave.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: basketwoman

                                    If someone needs alcohol to be locked up otherwise they will drive drunk then they probably shouldn't leave their homes, ever.

                                    1. re: LeoLioness

                                      Sorry, I don't understand what you are saying. I did not say that alcohol was the only reason they could be locked up. But, we all know drinking and driving do not mix.

                                      1. re: basketwoman

                                        Of course they don't, but there is an implication in your post that the person driving would be drinking. Moreover, you statement "if you need a drink to get through one evening with small children" suggests a moral cast on the act of having a glass of wine during a pool party. Hardly a sin, but then, I'm not an American-- although that said, even my American friends don't go mental over the idea that having one drink means needing it to cope or that it automatically leads to crazed driving and bad example setting.

                                        1. re: basketwoman

                                          You misread my post. Yes, obviously people shouldn't drink and drive. That's not exactly a newsflash.

                                          Your original post seemed to assume that alcohol = people driving drunk, and this act being especially egregious because children would be in the car. Again, if the mere presence of available booze is such a temptation for some that it causes them to get drunk and drive their kids home, then there problems go a lot further than their host offering them a glass of wine.

                                          1. re: LeoLioness

                                            I agree with you. I have a glass of wine every night, so I'm not opposed to it. I was just pointing out another aspect of the situation, as others have done. The op did say that that adult beverages would help her get through an evening with small children. She asked politely, they replied politely. She should ask them if she is not sure what they meant.

                                    2. Family friendly? I guess it depends on the family. For us, alcohol was considered family friendly. But maybe there's a recovering alcoholic in their family. Maybe they don't want children to be around alcohol. I don't know. But to be on the safe side, I would:

                                      1. Have a backup of "kid friendly" foods around in case they don't take to the Thai food
                                      2. Keep alcohol to a minimum
                                      3. Since it's a pool party, refrain from nude sunbathing. ; )

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                        Haha - your family must be like my mine - if I told my mom there would be no wine with dinner, I don't think she would come :)

                                      2. To me, it means they want Appelbees type food. Since you asked specifically about likes and dislikes, that's their preference. JMO but I wouldn't go with Thai food under this circumstance, until you know them a little better and know the kids. family friendly to me means they're asking for hot dogs and hamburgers and chips. And honestly, that will be a lot easier than trying to make plain and spicy versions of various Thai finger foods.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: rockandroller1

                                          I think the whole point was to get this couple to have some Thai food in the first place. That doesn't mean some "kid menu type" food is ill advised.

                                          Personally I don't want to get stuck in the rut of children food vs. adult food and hope to not have to deal with this in the future but I remember being taken to dinner parties and being forced to eat the "adult" food, like the applesauce pancakes I had to spit into my napkin at 5 years old.

                                        2. What happened to ASKING? Instead of guessing and conjecturing ask them flat out what they mean by "we prefer a family friendly environment." You have invited these people to your home and while you certainly want to make them comfortable, still, it's your place. And I wouldn't take not having beer and wine at dinner as a sign--I'll have a glass or wine or a beer when going out but I rarely if ever have one with a meal at home.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: MandalayVA

                                            Agreed on asking. Frankly, I am surprised by the number of people who assume that means no alcohol. For one, alcohol is hardly counter to "family" in any notion. Attaching morality to a drink is really off putting, although as I noted to basket woman, maybe this comes from not being American? Having a pissup is one thing, but that doesn't seem to have been on the table anyway.

                                            I wouldn't even imagine that family friendly means Applebees. In fact, I imagine it more meaning, prepare for the inevitability that managing five kids is a challenge in itself so don't go through crazed precise timing dinner party lengths here. And don't be surprised if a three-year old has a melt-down, because that's what they do sometimes. And it probably might be a good idea to move your breakable items just in case. As for food, it should be having something ready just in case, being prepared that some palates may prefer bland- but as we've seen here, sometimes that can just as easily mean that a kid will go nuts over spicy.

                                            I suppose for me, family friendly means a more relaxed atmosphere in which one does not have courses or carefully plan out presentations; or that within this the one cooking and hosting realises that one parent may be distracted by a different kid or issue and that the kids themselves will have a particular thing.

                                            Although again, that's me: the woman answering your question of allergies and preferences in terms of 'family friendly' may well mean something like Applebees.

                                            1. re: Lizard

                                              I'm American. I don't have kids but several of my friends do. When people in my social circle say that an event is "family friendly" or "kid friendly" it means that children are welcome ....if there was no alcohol, it would be rather shocking, to no one more than the parents themselves.

                                              1. re: Lizard

                                                I didn't think family friendly meant no alcohol either, but casual atmosphere, food and the like.

                                                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                  I agree - to me "family friendly" means an informal meal where there will be food that little kids would like.

                                              2. I agree with family-friendly probably equals no alcohol. Any restaurant that is named "X family restaurant" in this area means no alcohol

                                                As the youngest kid is 2, I would also think in terms of baby-proofing, i.e., take the Ming vases off the coffee table.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: coney with everything

                                                  In my mind lots of "family friendy" restaurants have alcohol. Rather it's that they have high chairs, probably have paper table cloths, and something besides pate and lobster tail on the menu. And I agree that I personally would have assumed that they meant a low key atmosphere where everyone could relax and eat comfortably and if a little one wanted to wander away from the table you wouldn't look askance as one of the parents followed them.

                                                  1. Thank you all for the replies and opinions. I think Niblet has a great approach, and I had initially shyed away from asking what they meant by family friendly, for fear that it would make them feel weird about their request.
                                                    I do plan to stick with the Thai food (with other stuff on hand) because the parents were enthusiastic about trying some.
                                                    I'm still somewhat on the fence about the alcohol. I had ordered a case if Thai beer to go with the food and I think I will just offer it along with other things to choose from. Like, "we have Thai beer, iced tea, sodas, juice, or I could make a nice tropical cocktail..." and take my cue from them at that point.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: alliegator

                                                      Even though I have kids, I always do what Niblet suggested if I don't know the kids that are coming over. My kids have different tastes than other kids, so you just never know. You might want Mr. Gator to say something like, "I know the whole idea was get together for some Thai food, but we were thinking about also making a little (whatever typical kid food you are comfortable with) just in case the younger ones don't like it, especially since some dishes might be a little spicy for the younger ones. How does that sound?" They will either be extremely grateful, tell you not to bother because they are confident the kids will eat what you are serving (or what them to be forced to), or will offer to bring something along that might suit the kids better. Honestly, we always make sure that we have a pack of hot dogs in the house, just in case.

                                                      I like what you suggest for dealing with the alcohol and I think it is very appropriate. However, I do abstain if my guests are not interested in alcohol. That's just how I would be.

                                                      1. re: alliegator

                                                        We've fed the nephews and nieces (ages 4-13) a menu with fresh spring rolls, fried tofu, curry and fried rice. They particularly like fresh fruit, so I included a bowl of pineapple, papaya, mango, citrus and cherries on the dinner table.

                                                      2. I'm going in a totally different direction. I don't think 'family friendly' has anything to do with alcohol one way or another. I hear it instead as a subtle plea to leave grandma's china and crystal in the china cabinet, that burgers or chicken or spaghetti might be a better choice than Dover sole with Brussels sprouts and couscous. They know you like to cook, they are probably worried that you are going to go to a lot of trouble making something amazing, and their kids are going to be saying. Ewww, what is that. I never ate that before. Mommy, I don't like it. Even well behaved kids can suddenly turn on their parents in a new place faced with new food served by new people.

                                                        I don't think it would be rude of them to ask that alcohol not be served since you went out of your way to ask about it and this party is purely for entertaining that one family, not a larger group. If you need to keep an ice chest with beer and wine in your bedroom or someplace else private so you can sneak off and take a belt after their 4 year old manages to climb to the top of your curio cabinet, displacing the family photos in the process, go for it.

                                                        Were you specific about either bringing or wearing swimwear? Their own towels or yours? Eating while wet on the patio? In and out of the pool with food available, or everyone sit down at once for a shared meal? Someplace to put the 2 year old down for a nap? (some kids can sleep anywhere, others will only settle down in a quiet dark room.)

                                                        I think Niblet was right on the money when he suggested you tell them as much as possible what you have planned and get their feedback. You sound like great hosts, I'm sure its going to be a good get-together.

                                                        1. I would assume the "family-friendly" request = please keep it causal because we have five kids (young ones too). Family-friendly = no booze doesn't come to mind when I hear that term.

                                                          I would offer a range of beverages and not worry about their opinion on booze around kids. In my experience, people who truly have an issue with being in the same room (or pool area) with alcohol are vocal about it.

                                                          I know several people in recovery who will say straight out they can't be around alcohol in a social setting but thank you very much for the invitation. I know some others who are very religious and say the same thing. At that point, the host can then say we will or won't be serving alcohol at the event.

                                                          1. I didn't think the request was referencing alcohol, either. I was thinking more along the lines of keeping the breakables and treasured heirlooms out of reach and hey, if you want to serve us on paper plates with plastic cups, that would be great.

                                                            We have friends with four boys, fairly close together in age. When they were younger, I had to beg this family to come over for dinners, etc. My friend was sure we did not want/could not handle the chaos that was her family and she was always stressed out when they went to other people's homes. We loved them for who they were and enjoyed every chaotic moment but that poor mom couldn't relax.

                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: jlhinwa

                                                              I guess it's all in the interpretation -- statements like "we'd like it to be family friendly" has, in my life, been used to hide the rather breathless delivery of berating me for daring to expose their little angels to the sins of alcohol, followed closely by a detailed picking apart of my religious education and background, with a final course of witnessing and finger-pointing as to how I'm going straight. to.hell. because I have wine in MY house.

                                                              Tends to make one a little tetchy when you hear that phrase the next time.

                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                Yikes. I hope those people were never invited into your home twice.

                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                  Oh my. I'm sorry you had to be on the receiving end of that :( How disheartening that people can be so holier-than-thou.

                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                    Sunshine, that would make me a little touchy, too! I know exactly the kind of people you are describing and I do my best to steer clear. (I was practically ostracized from other moms in my old neighborhood because I let my then 3-year-old trick or treat. Shocking, I know.)

                                                                    We are members of a Lutheran church, which is a denomination that does not seem to have a problem with moderate alcohol use. (And they don't try to change the story about Jesus' first miracle into turning water into grape juice instead of wine, haha!) Our pastor--who I would defy anyone to describe as not being family friendly--hosts an Oktoberfest at his home every year complete with German beer. They also host an annual Christmas open house, complete with full bar. I've never seen anyone snockered or out of line in anyway. Kid of all ages are always welcome and present.

                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                      Usually for me, "Please keep it family friendly" means "Please don't act like you and your girlfriend are anything but friends", so I tend to naturally bristle at the term as well.

                                                                      I'd be tempted to say something like "Oh, family friendly....does this mean the orgy's out?" ;)

                                                                      1. re: GirlyQ

                                                                        Funny. If the comment were about food, I'd be totally ok with accommodating kiddie palates. I remember when mine were too young to have developed a taste for certain foods (I do realize some people never outgrow that stage).

                                                                        If it were moralizing on the other hand, I'd figure I'm in for a LOOOOOONG evening... :|

                                                                      2. re: sunshine842

                                                                        Ah, yes, the sins of alcohol! Several of my close friends do not have any alcohol in their homes, mainly because of their belief that while alcohol is not off-limits to Christians, they set a better example to their children by not drinking it. Fair enough. I don't practice that myself, but I do understand and respect it, and my friends aren't judgmental of me.

                                                                        However, neither this approach, nor our more moderate approach, exposing kids to alcohol at home periodically in small amounts, seems to be a good predictor of whose kids will binge drink in high school. The kids who end up in the ER for alcohol poisoning come from all different types of homes.

                                                                        Honestly, the only strong correlation I've seen personally is that those who grew up in homes with rampant alcoholism tend to be terrified of alcohol and never drink. And yet, statistically, adult children of alcoholics are more likely to become alcoholics, so my purely anecdotal evidence isn't borne out by the science.

                                                                        So as far as "the sins of alcohol" go, it seems that every person has to sort this out for him/herself. Cheers!

                                                                      3. re: jlhinwa

                                                                        We were the last in the "group" to have kids and I could never understand why my friends didn't want to come to our house for meals. Same as above, they couldn't relax because they were worried about how the kids would behave, or not!

                                                                      4. Yeah, I'm thinking about mom's anxiety a little bit here now. I think I need for the mr. to pass along that they should bring a few favorite toys and reassure them that anything breakable, sharp, or poisonous is kept well out of reach already because of our 1 1/2 year old dalmatian. Maybe making a few jokes about the destruction that pup was capable of until properly trained (and still sometimes in naughty moments) will put mom at ease a bit and realize that just because we're kidless certainly doesn't mean we live in a perfect place filled with valuable breakables.

                                                                        1. If you asked about "food allergies and dislikes" and that was actually the thing to which they responded with "family-friendly", I am inclined to think that they're talking more about food than drink.

                                                                          Maybe you have a reputation as being a foodie-type person and considering they have 5 very young children, they're concerned, among other things, that the children will not be able to eat anything you serve. I would plan on buying a couple packs of hot dogs or ordering a couple of pizzas and setting out some grapes and carrot sticks with ranch dressing. Have alcohol on hand but be prepared not to drink in case it was the other thing.

                                                                          (And brace yourself for you will likely find a few things scratched, dented or broken when they leave. You'll need the alcohol then. :) )

                                                                          1. There are a lot "maybe they meant this..." or "maybe they meant that..." responses here. Why don't you ask them what they meant so that you know and don't have to guess?

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: chicgail

                                                                              Alliegator, can you please post a follow up? I am dying to hear how the evening went! Thanks for such an interesting thread.

                                                                              1. re: dvsndvs

                                                                                Yeah, curious minds want to know...just remember to keep your response family-friendly!

                                                                            2. Sure I'll post a follow up! Everybody's been so helpful, and there are a lot of bits of info here that I'm sure will help me make the day a success. This is going down on Saturday,and I'm sure after they're gone, I'll want nothing more than to plop down with my laptop and a beer, lol! Going out to buy the food today, and I'll be sure to throw a pack of hot dogs and buns into my cart :)

                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                              1. re: alliegator

                                                                                I can't wait to read it! I'll be watching this weekend for the follow-up. Have fun!

                                                                                1. re: alliegator

                                                                                  i just want to see a post from a new chowhound this weekend about how they went to a dinner party that wasn't family-friendly as they had requested lol

                                                                                    1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                      Ya just never know, haha! Maybe I should hire a clown, too :p

                                                                                    2. re: alliegator

                                                                                      Did you ever ask them to clarify what "family friendly" means to them?

                                                                                      1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                        it quite obviously means nothing fancy since young children will be there

                                                                                        1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                          Quite obviously that is *your* interpretation. Half the respondants here think it means no booze. If it was quite obvious the OP wouldn't have felt the need to ask the question in the first place.

                                                                                    3. I'm thinking the posters who suggested that "family friendly" means some food that will appeal to kids (esp kids who have not tried Thai food) is correct. Your plan of having "kid friendly" Thai sounds good, but I'd also have a bag of frozen chicken nuggets and some tater tots or mac n cheese on hand. Something that easily goes back in the freezer if no one wants it, but is easy enough to prepare in 20 minutes if the kids will not eat anything else. Despite my love of all types of cuisines, my kids are not yet so adventurous, and it can depend on the night as to whether I can convince them to eat something that doesn't look like food they haven't had in the past.

                                                                                      1. im sure we can survive till at least sunday, maybe even monday for your reply alliegator. and i'm sure all of us wish you a great evening.

                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                          Your post made me think "Rib Man Lite".

                                                                                          1. re: fern

                                                                                            LOL, wonder how many of the posters here remember that chapter (ok, epic) in chow history.

                                                                                            We also have to remember that Alliegator leave on a trip the day after the event. Who knows it may be a week before we hear anything!

                                                                                          2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                            Speak for yourself, Kaimuki, I came here today hoping to see a report on this party! (and also hoping I was right that "family-friendlly" was just a timid, roundabout way of telling the hosts not to drink alcohol, not because I want this to be the case, but because I like to be right. ;)

                                                                                            Alliegator, as you're packing to flee the country after your pool and dog debauch with your case of Thai beer and 5 kiddos under 8, please think of us and post here.

                                                                                            1. re: Isolda

                                                                                              You are hilarious! I bet you'd be a fun person to watch Top Chef with.

                                                                                              1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                I just checked in for an update, too! I am betting that the family-friendly reference was a plea to "I hope my five young children don't destroy your home and valuables!"

                                                                                                1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                  Well, allie appears to have fled the scene of the crime without leaving behind a record of what happened. hopefully a post will be forthcoming soon or we may have to organize a 'gator hunt.

                                                                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                    followed by a recipe for gator ribs :)

                                                                                                    1. re: smartie

                                                                                                      I thought she mentioned at one point that she was going to go out of town after the dinner, so unless that was in jest, hopefully she will post when she gets back!

                                                                                                      1. re: DCLindsey

                                                                                                        It was a tongue in cheek response regarding an old CH thread about the ribs man where the OP never came back to tell us the ending.

                                                                                              2. Late to this party, but as a parent of two insanely, mind-bendingly clumsy and destructive kids, family-friendly for me means: please, for the love of your chosen deity... leave the fine china behind closed doors, and do not serve water in your favorite handblown tumblers as I will feel compelled to buy a whole new set when my 50 pound three year old knocks it over with his sleeve!!! I have to bring my own chair covers when dining in my mother's cream-suede upholstered dining room.

                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: toutefrite

                                                                                                  This is the one that hits home for me. I was thinking not the best table cloth or most fragile glasses.

                                                                                                  1. re: calliope_nh

                                                                                                    I'm thinking outdoors and maybe plastic cups for the kids. Five kids to me mean, I hope there's a play area where they won't break stuff and you won't mind if they work off an excess of energy if we're there long. I would ask for feedback on plans too. Did you get a chance to ask yet?

                                                                                                    1. re: S_K

                                                                                                      the event was this past weekend, but the OP had to leave town the next day. probably with cleaning up all the broken china and crystal, getting the pool repaired, picking up tranquilizers for the dog, and returning the liquor to the liquor cabinet there was no time to post.

                                                                                                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                        As someone with more than one friend\family member with unruly children, that made me laugh out loud. Thanks, KMan, I needed that.

                                                                                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                          Okay KaimukiMan, that was funny to the point of almost making up for the suspense of waiting to read the ending! Thanks for the giggle...it has been a long day and I needed one badly!

                                                                                                  2. Hi everyone!!! Wow, so many new responses, I need to take a few minutes and check them out. First off, please accept my apologies for taking so long to tell you about my dinner. I left on vacation the very next day, and have been so busy the last few days.
                                                                                                    Ok, the dinner. It was eeenteresting. First off, the alcohol. I offered alcohol along with a selection of other drinks. Mom (whom I'd never met before) was quick with a "no thank you, we don't drink". Ok, so we also abstained. At least that they saw, haha! Unless someone sipped my juice, they would have no way of knowing it was "special".
                                                                                                    The food went over very well. I made pork satay, fish cakes, tom kha soup, pad thai, fried rice, cashew chicken and mussaman curry. I made some plain chicken and pork and pineapple and melon chunks for the kids. They ate that and went in for some of the normal food. No hot dogs were needed and I was surprised that cucumber relish, of all things, seemed to be a favorite with this crew.
                                                                                                    The kids were pretty wild, but nothing was broken or damaged. I was a little surprised that mom asked me to put the dog in the bedroom because the dog seemed to be something they were interested in seeing. Maybe she was concerned about one of the younger ones getting knocked over? the pool portion of it all was fine. It's 4 ft. at it's deepest, so all five adults were able to stand around and keep the kids well supervised. The yougest was even put down to sleep in a playpen.
                                                                                                    And, they turned out to be extremely religious. Which is fine. But the family-friendly thing took a bit of an uncomfortable turn when questions came up about why we don't attend church. And how unfortunate it is that we have no children.
                                                                                                    So all in all, it was not an event that made me want to run for the hills. I was pleased that my food, though watered down, was a success. But my idea of a fun dinner is not one that is shared with people that come into your home and make remarks about your lifestyle beyond things like "your plates are lovely".
                                                                                                    More food for me next time :)

                                                                                                    And... please don't hunt me down and deep fry chunks of me for a tasty snack! I'm an old gator, the meat might be a bit on the tough side :p

                                                                                                    21 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                      LOL. Sounds like you handled the situation with grace and tact, but good on you for deciding you need not dish out more of it for people who think you're headed for the fiery gates.

                                                                                                      Welcome back and thanks for the update, allie. I for one have been waiting with bated breath. :)

                                                                                                      1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                        Thank goodness you posted. I have been checking this thread constantly!

                                                                                                        As non-dog owner and parent of a small(-ish) child, she may have not wanted her kids playing with the dog to the point of an incident.

                                                                                                        My son LOVES dogs but because he doesn't "know" dogs, I am always concerned he will over stimulate or a play in a way that would cause a dog to nip/bite.

                                                                                                        The religion questions? Yikes. I was raised to NEVER discuss religion, money or politics with people you don't know well.

                                                                                                        1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                          What a spread! you sound like a great hostess, both welcoming in the face of weirdness AND serving awesome food.

                                                                                                          The church thing would have rolled off my back, but I swear, on the kids thing... i would have had a bloody tongue from not saying something liike "well, we were afraid they'd turn out like *pointed stare* some other children we've been around"

                                                                                                          1. re: danna

                                                                                                            How could I forget to comment on the kid thing.

                                                                                                            I learned, after years of infertility treatments and multiple losses, to never, ever, ever ask people about their reproductive lives and/or choices.

                                                                                                            1. re: danna

                                                                                                              LOL! But I could have guessed that with 5 kids, a couple would be a little wild. With zone defense, you just can't have the one on one time that good discipline requires.

                                                                                                              And ITA with cleobeach that asking about reproduction is like, well, asking about sex. Rude, rude, rude!

                                                                                                            2. re: alliegator

                                                                                                              I have also been waiting with bated breath! What a cliffhanger! :-)

                                                                                                              I am glad that it turned out fine--sounds like you were the perfect host. It also sounds like they were less than the perfect guests, by a good measure. Grilling you about your family planning and religious practices is beyond rude and tacky. (Slight aside, my husband and I chose to wait years to start a family for our own reasons. When I tired of people like your guests asking me why we didn't have kids, I occasionally would reply, with a quiver in my voice, "I am a barren woman." Stopped them dead in their tracks.)

                                                                                                              I agree that the request about the dog could have been for the dog's own safety. If they don't have animals and they have that many small children, it is likely that they were trying to prevent an incident, which is a very good thing for your dog.

                                                                                                              Sounds like their "family friendly" request covered all the bases--religious beliefs, drinking, and chaotic kid behavior. Good for you for triumphing!

                                                                                                              1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                I FLOVE the "barren woman" response and will be using that myself when asked at the next family dinner...

                                                                                                                1. re: binkychow

                                                                                                                  I just think if people are rude enough to ask those kinds of impertinent questions, they deserve to squirm a little. Not sweet, well-intentioned but kind of clueless people but the brazen, nosy, opinionated people.

                                                                                                                2. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                  My favorite response when people ask why I never gave birth to children is "Because the doctor told me I couldn't have any after all those Tijuana donkey shows". Shuts 'em up every time.

                                                                                                                  1. re: POAndrea

                                                                                                                    Too funny! People who are so impertinent deserve to be shut up with something shocking.

                                                                                                                3. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                  Yikes, if a guest in my home (or anywhere, really) asked why I don't attend church or lamented my lack of kids, I would have told them that's absolutely none of their business while pouring myself a big old drink. Tact is wasted on the rude.

                                                                                                                  Glad your food went over well, though!

                                                                                                                  1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                    You were very gracious allie :-) As someone who had no children by choice, is Agnostic and lives in the Bible Belt, I've had similiar experiences.

                                                                                                                    Glad the food was a success. Cheers to you! And your pup!

                                                                                                                    1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                      Hi, and thank you for the comprehensive update. But just to refocus and clarify, as regards your original post and the specific question you asked the guest regarding "food allergies and dislikes": as regards food or beverage-related responses, it would appear that 'family friendly" equated to _no alcohol_ served, as their preference, yes? In other words, your original question to them related to the menu, and if they were indeed responding in kind, then their odd response was about booze. Religious issues and pet/dog issues would not pertain to a question about menu/food/beverages issues, it would seem... I belabor the point (sorry!) because i want to validate (not gloat!) the initial guesses of those posters who correctely intuited the issue as relating to the guests alcohol non-tolerance...

                                                                                                                      1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                        Thanks for the update/closure, lol. I was in the mindset of the "no alcohol plz" group. You sound like a lovely hostess, and I bet the food and company will have been a treat for those folks.

                                                                                                                        But.... I have been questioned similarly, and similarly inappropriately, in such a setting. Sad to say that "Why don't you have kids?!?" turns to "Why DIDN'T you have kids?!?" as you age, and as some people still don't develop manners. Tsk. Too bad the Duchess is like a hard, dried old blackened banana, soft/sweet in the middle but dark and bitter outside; these type of folks only get the outer crust. ;^)

                                                                                                                        Pork satay -- plz do share recipe, sounds quite tasty.

                                                                                                                        1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                                                                          Oh, the pork is tasty, and very easy! I keep the recipe in a folder that a neighbor dropped by and borrowed last night, but I will get back and post it for you after it's returned tomorrow.
                                                                                                                          It's usually on of my go-to snacks for parties as it's just so easy to eat off a stick!

                                                                                                                        2. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                          I wouldn't be inviting them back either. But let's look at the bright side: the one thing you did have in common with these people was the chow. They were truly interested in trying some new food and you obliged. That's what bring us all together on chowhound and many times in life as well!

                                                                                                                          1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                            Hehe special juice! Aw it went as well as it could have and some people are just nosy or annoying...once had someone comment on me not having children too. At the time I was 24...I just looked at her and said, "Yes, and we choose to be childless for the next few years." And whenever she asked an uncomfortable question later, I'd say, "because I'm childless that's why." Kiddies will be coming just not yet!

                                                                                                                            What matters is that you handled it with dignity! What a tasty sounding spread, they were so lucky!

                                                                                                                            1. re: S_K

                                                                                                                              I cant believe someone would ask a 24 year old that! I wonder if any younger CHers have been asked...

                                                                                                                              1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                                                I wonder that too. And people tell me I look 23 now so I wonder how old I looked then! But the person who said that married and had kids early so maybe she thought I should have had children early too.

                                                                                                                            2. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                              Thank you for the update, alliegator! When I read your "Ok, the dinner. It was eeenteresting..." I rubbed my hands together and settled in for a good story. That whole process was fun; if you have more interesting guests I hope you post about it! And that menu sounded fantastic.

                                                                                                                              1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                I think your reaction, your behavior, your demeanor and the food you cooked was STELLAR! You came off like a champion.

                                                                                                                                What I don't understand is why some people feel like they have to enforce their lifestyle choices and closely held beliefs on other people.

                                                                                                                              2. I'm so sorry I left you all hanging :/
                                                                                                                                The religious thing was something that the mr. and I laughed about later. He looked at me and said "y'know, he did menion all these things they did with the church". My jaw hung, and I think I even got an eyebrow twitch.
                                                                                                                                Never, never, will I ever try to plan something by relaying messages through this man again. But it was funny once it was all over.

                                                                                                                                And cleobeach, I do get the dog thing. Not everyone has been around dogs. And she is a dalmatian, they don't always have the best reputation. Luckily, the dog didn't seem to be that interested in hanging out with them, either.

                                                                                                                                17 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                  Never, never, will I ever try to plan something by relaying messages through this man again.

                                                                                                                                  How I can relate to this comment. I have one of these too! They do make life interesting.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                    Oh yes, I can relate to this one as well! I still find myself re-learning the lesson periodically....after 30 years I should know better!

                                                                                                                                  2. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                    thanks for getting back to us this soon. busy as you are I don't think we would have caught you if we tried. glad it went well. as an active churchgoer myself, i like to keep things in perspective with that classic bumper sticker saying: "God, save me from your followers." Great to hear what other people do with their lives, nice to be invited occasionally, having it dumped on you quite a different manner. Sounds like you handled it beautifully.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                      I cannot tell you how sorry I am to have called this one correctly.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                        (Raises hand shamelessly) Me, too! Me, too! I have lived in the Bible belt and here in NE hang with lots of devout Christians and I just knew that "family friendly" was fundie code for "no alcohol." But I do wish this family hadn't beaten Allie and Mr. Gator over the head with it. They give us Christian moderates a bad name.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                        Thanks, allie, for getting back to us. Glad to hear you 'snuck' in your drink, tho given that they had no reservations judging you for your decisions to not attend church / have children, I would not have been that discreet.

                                                                                                                                        You're a much more patient person than I, clearly. And now you know not to have 'family-friendly' people over again '-)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                          LOL -- a slug right out of the vodka bottle might have been appropriate!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                            And mentioning that I am usually too hungover or drunk on Sundays to attend church '-P

                                                                                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                              and that little comment about the syphilis having rendered you sterile.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                I think lingua and sunshine want to see the rude woman's head explode.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                  narrow, closed minds make for spectacular explosions.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                    too much white hot outrage = hot air, not enough substance.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                      Oh my gosh, that is so funny...and very quoteworthy! I am filing that one away for future use!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                        I too am filing that sentiment for future use.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                  Gee, if you want to have someone over who would appreciate your hard work cooking and wouldn't ask you any questions about why you don't go to church or why you don't have oodles of kids I am available.

                                                                                                                                                3. Thanks for the post. I,too have been watching. You did a great job. Can't believe they got so personal with you. Discusing things that were none of their business. Your dog was probably better off in the bedroom than with 5 kids who might have terrorized him. Hope your vacation was more fun than the evening before. Also, glad to hear about your "special juice" :)

                                                                                                                                                  1. Thank you all so much for the kind comments.
                                                                                                                                                    I don't think it's that I'm terribly gracious or patient... just more stunned silent by a few of the things that were discussed. Believe me, a slug out of the vodka bottle probably would have been the best reaction had I not just been is some sort of functional shock state. None of it hurt my feelings, I just have never really known people like that before.
                                                                                                                                                    But in the end, for me, it was about the food. And that part made me happy. Now I just need to share it with more polite guests in the future :D

                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                      I'm very polite, love dogs and can pound them down with the best of them :-) Pick me!!! Hehehe

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                        You are truly a more gracious host than I. I can accept and go along with the no alcohol thing and have in the past, but when they started questioning the church and kids bit I quickly would have voiced my displeasure with their choice of conversation and would have probably said a couple of things I would feel guilty for not regretting later.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: twyst

                                                                                                                                                          "feel guilty for not regretting" - nicely worded.

                                                                                                                                                      2. I'd read that as 'no alcohol' (with five kids and a swimming pool, I wouldn't want to bring alchohol anywhere near the equation for simple safety reasons - you're going to want all four pairs of adult eyes fully on the ball for kid-wrangling, and alcohol is a distraction) and 'nothing too fancy-schmancy'... pepperoni pizza rather than artisnal white pizza with organic arugula and clams. (or since you're serving Thai, pad thai rather than five-alarm spicy noodles.)

                                                                                                                                                        EDIT - okay, I got as far as your responses... sorry that they were rude to you about your lifestyle choices! But glad the food went down well... and it sounds like you were as polite as could be wished for in the face of their nosiness! (I had a feeling that 'family friendly' was code for bible belt Christian, but I didn't want to be a downer.)

                                                                                                                                                        1. Your guests remind me of my 16yo born-again stepdaughter, who objects to alcohol at our parties. Just last night she stated "You know, there's no drinking in Christian homes." (Good thing mine is a Jewish household, 'cause I drink like a fish.) She continued to kvetch, so I tossed her a bottle of water "Catch! Hey. St Sarah, why don't you turn this into some wine and save your dad a trip to the store?" (I know I should be ashamed, but I couldn't help myself)

                                                                                                                                                          1. Oh my god, I got laughing at this thread so much I had to stop and catch my breath!!
                                                                                                                                                            Just back from that trip, so now I can actually take part in the discussion without feeling like I'm slithering away with my laptop in secrecy.
                                                                                                                                                            First off, thanks so much for all the advice before, and the really encouraging comments after. I love all the ways to explain why I don't have kids!! When someone is rude enough to ask in the future, I just may snap back with a rude answer.
                                                                                                                                                            And no I have so many ideas about how to go about hosting a family with kids in the future.
                                                                                                                                                            Since this trip was with a pal, mr. gator has been around to gauge how the family (or at least dad) thinks it went, and I'm feeling pretty certain we won't be socializing with this bunch again.
                                                                                                                                                            Works for me! Wish I could invite you all over so I can swill my booze and not worry about any of you drowning :p

                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                              Is that your dog sniffing pork satay, fish cakes, tom kha soup, pad thai, fried rice, cashew chicken and mussaman curry in your avatar?
                                                                                                                                                              On the kids, howsabout something casual like "we're constantly trying, as a matter of fact we tried just this morning in the pool..." {;/)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                                but doncha just wish that you had made the food just a bit too spicy for them?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                  Thats hilarious! Maybe next time have beer can chicken with deviled eggs, side of penne in vodka sauce, and finish with devils food cake...

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                                  Awwww, you sound like such a wonderful person and an amazing hostess. I hope you have a wonderful 4th of July weekend.

                                                                                                                                                                  Reading this thread again helped me have a little perspective as I am readying to attend my husband's family's annual 4th blowout weekend. We can always count on the blowout turning into a blowup of some kind and I am dreading the drama. (For some reason, the 4th is worse than Christmas and Thanksgiving put together in this family as far as family drama goes.) I have been dreading the weekend but will now remember to give thanks because it could be much worse!

                                                                                                                                                                  I will eat, drink (nonalcoholically, of course!) and be merry and try to let the craziness roll off my back.