What do small families do when they entertain?

Bill and I were browsing online different outdoor dining sets. The vast majority seat a maximum of 6 people. The ones that seat 8 are pretty expensive.

“Here’s the cheap solution,” says Bill, pointing to an inexpensive wooden table with two benches meant for two people per bench. “Buy two: 2, 4, 6, 8…then you and I can sit at the ends.”

“OK,” I said. “But we only have 6 kids…”

He keeps telling me that we don’t have to fill completely that 12 passenger van. But vans, dining room sets and houses all seem similar in that you expand to fill the space you have. We like to save room for friends, and families of 8 tend to hang out with families of 6 or 8 or 10…
So, I’m proposing this expanding Amish table. It seats 22. It should accommodate us for a while.
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8 thoughts on “What do small families do when they entertain?

  1. Cool!
    When we moved into our house 12 years ago, we picked up a used dining room set, and with the two leaves, it just (barely) fits the 11 of us..and we could actually pull it out further and put more boards in there (assuming we use a table cloth to cover it).

  2. We've been squeezing round a tiny dining table forever and just this year, we picked up THREE identical farmhouse style tables. We all fit comfortably at two with room for a couple of guests, even, and the third we use for a work table. It has two benches tucked under it, so they're out of the way for kneading bread and mixing cookies and straining milk, but easily seat three visitors each. We just have to slide it up to the other two tables when needed. Perfect!

  3. We're a family of four and we just squeeze others in when we entertain. My outdoor table seats 4. Generally my husband or I will stand to let our guests sit and we have the kids sit at the kid picnic table. Someday I hope to have a nice patio set that will seat 8.

  4. We have a table in our dining room that can expand to accommodate at least one more family the size of ours (8), plus a kitchen table that seats 6. When push comes to shove we put the middle children at the kitchen table and the older and youngest children at the dining room table with the adults, or we set up a buffet and let folks sit in the living room or family room or any other spot they can find. That's how we manage entertaining anything more than 8 guests.

  5. Now THAT is my kinda table! One reason you need a table that seats more than your own brood is that you need room for company. And when your children marry, you'll need room for their new wives — and then their children. We have an 8'long farm table that seats our core family — barely (we have ten kids + one dil and one girlfriend, but when we have a “to-do” we bring in another 8' table from the barn and set the two end to end. And that is barely enough space. You can't have too long a table.

  6. Yup. Looks just about right.

  7. I'll have to look into that table. Our current table holds 6 so we have 2 kids at the corners, it is a squeeze! It will actually be incorporated into our new kitchen as an island (it has a handmade Italian ceramic top) and we will soon be table shopping. I really like the idea of long benches so fit more people in without having so many chairs to push in.

  8. I know you posted the picture of the table kind of “tongue 'n' cheek” however, I actually have a table that seats 22 adults!!! My father made it for us eleven years ago shortly before our ninth child was born(we now have eleven). Without the leaves it is a measly eight feet-but it has three leaves. It is absolutely beautiful and used constantly-we've worn the finish off both ends. Grandpa says he'll re-finish the top next time he visits. He also made a matching bench for one side which seats those tiny hineys.

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