A Farewell Dinner Party

Two years ago, I shared this post, about saying goodbye to two couples from our small group at church that we dearly love. And here I am, two years later, sharing another group photo of our precious small group friends as another couple make the move from Pennsylvania to North Carolina.

As one last event before our friends moved, the small group threw them a little dinner party. It was laid-back (the only style we know), outside, and full of laughter and wild children antics. (As seen in Aiden + his buddy being shirtless, and in all the kids joining forces to push little C in the toy car!)

We had a taco bar, which I highly recommend/may not ever serve anything else for a large group!! I made crockpot shredded chicken the day of (this recipe!), and ground beef + onion + spices the day before so I only had to heat them up in the microwave before the party. The taco bar also had cilantro-lime rice, chopped onion, chopped cilantro, chips and salsa, guac, chopped tomatoes, black beans + onion, and even Doritos-flavored hard taco shells! Everyone was so kind to pitch in, potluck style!

The trick to having a dinner party with 6 kids under 5 is to have hotdogs/pouches/kid food READY TO SERVE as soon as people arrive. The kids ate first as adults chatted, and then all us parents could make our own tacos and chat while the already-fed kids played in the yard.

There was a little baby section of soft toys on picnic blankets, and I borrowed the idea from Bailey to create an extra seating area around the picnic area. There was also bocce and cornhole, though admittedly it was hard to play a real game while younger kids used the cornhole set as a slide haha.

The decor was simple: brown paper on the table with fellowship-related verses written on it, house plants as centerpieces, and this

Dessert was an ironic cake my dear friend Lauren made! It got lots of laughs and helped add some humor to the sadness of friends leaving.

People arrived around 5 and stayed long after it got dark--which, in my mind, is the mark of a successful event! The kids ran around with glow-sticks (and the older boys put their shirts back on and wrapped themselves in the picnic blankets because it started to get chilly!), and we sat under the twinkle lights laughing about SNL skits and future Youtube channel ideas. That might have been my favorite part of the whole event, when it got dark and we sat around the table still talking. Hosting + being a mom meant I spent lots of time helping my kids, quickly eating, refilling the water pitcher, and all the other little things that had to be done. But by the end of the evening, the kids were calmer and more willing to sit on our laps, and everyone had already had seconds/thirds of dinner and dessert, so I got to sit and laugh with friends. The very best end to an evening.

Of course, goodbyes suck. My friend Heidi is a someone who I hung out with every single week. Our kids were friends. We cooked each other meals when the other one had a new baby. We shared maternity clothes, we babysat for each other when there were appointments and date nights. We ate countless meals at each others' houses, had each other over for countless play dates. It is really hard to say goodbye to such kind, wonderful friends. But having one last hurrah before they moved was such a delight and I'll treasure our memories together.

(Plus, it gives me hope that despite Courtney & Isaac moving away two years ago, we've had them visit + visited them this past winter!)

What's your favorite meal for a big group? Have you hosted any fun events this summer? 

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