A Neighborhood Progressive Dinner

6:30 AM

As I've mentioned before, we have great neighbors. Of those neighbors, there are four families (counting ours) who make an effort to spend time together on a regular basis. Coincidentally, they are also all families with children!

Ainsley builds a tower with her little sister, Olive.
Easter weekend, we organized a Progressive Dinner (with kids) for our four families.
If you've never done one, it pretty much sounds like what it is. Dinner progresses from one location to the next and the party moves from one location to another. In our case, we had appetizers at Andy & Kate's house, walked down the street to Skip and Niki's house and served the kids their dinner while the grown-ups sat outside, drank wine and nibbled on leftover appetizers (which we carried with us down the street). Then we walked literally next door to Mike and Jill's where the grown-ups ate while the kids watched a movie. Afterwards, we tromped across the street like a big crazy parade to our house where dessert and coffee was served. Here's what that looked like in reality...

 A whole lot of folks.
Four families and a total of 13 kids.
Appetizer location - Andy & Kate's

Here are the names starting at the bottom row and moving up, left to right:
Everett, Hazel & Olive (twins), Dylan, Keira, Dorien, August, Brooklyn, Ainsley, Easton, Grayson, Mike, Niki, Skip, Kyle (wearing Wilder), Ashley, Wyeth, Andy & Kate.
Same group, only the photographer Jill is now in this photo!

It was an unseasonably warm evening, and it was a lovely night for a walk down the street.

Here's the group at Skip and Niki's house all ready to serve dinner to the kids!

Niki did an amazing job preparing food for all the kids - it was delicious!
Home-made macaroni and cheese with tons of veggies and fruit for everyone. Served on lovely vintage dinnerware! 

Brooklyn and Ainsley, the oldest girls, finally had a chance to talk together!

Of course, Wyeth wouldn't part from me and Kyle. He chose to bring his food outdoors to the picnic tables where the parents were talking.

Kyle talks with Mike, Kate and Andy while Milli the Dog prowls for dropped food bits!

Niki and Jill serve drinks.

It was a beautiful evening! Sitting and talking with friends, nibbling on food and periodically checking on the kids...

Kyle and Jill chatting.

After the kids ate, they trickled out to the backyard where Skip and Niki have a pretty cool playground set. I'm pretty sure we almost maxed out the weight limit on it.
Poor Skip had to quickly remove some dog doo which would, of course, be traipsed through.

Dorien came inside to keep me company while I fed Wilder.

As the sun set, the kids slowly moved into the next backyard of Mike and Jill's house where the grown ups were to have dinner.

Jill had prepared the main course - a veritable Mexican feast!! We had a fantastic salad, chicken enchiladas, Mexican corn on the cob, rice and a tamale dish.

Jill and Kate prepare to bring the platters to the table.

Meanwhile, Mike set up a movie (Inside Out) in the loft area for the kids to watch while we ate.

It was a brilliant plan! Other than Wilder being with us, we ate our meal undisturbed!

I am getting hungry just looking at it!

Here we all our - at last! 
People, this is a seriously fun group of folks. The laughter was non-stop.

I know not every neighborhood has this fun, "neighborly" vibe, and I am all the more grateful that we found that here. Friends for our kids and friends for us!

 After the kids' movie wrapped up and we finished Jill's spectacular meal, we walked across the corner to our house where I had made a kids' dessert (Chocolate chip bars) and a grown-up dessert (flourless chocolate torte). Both desserts were very well received and we thoroughly wore our kids out. After eating, they dispersed throughout my house to play for a bit until bedtime. 

For those who had not received the "grand tour" of our house, Kyle led that tour (mostly to the men).  The guys were interested in our current and pending renovation projects - especially since they all live in really old houses, too. It's always good to know what projects the neighbors have already undertaken. And what tools they might have on hand....heh heh.

We wrapped up the party around 11:30!
I'm happy to say the whole thing was a complete blast - even WITH all 13 kids! 
In case you're wondering how that's possible - I highly recommend doing a separate kids' dinner and then putting on a movie while you eat the grown-up meal. That worked like a charm.
Maybe you'll be inspired by ours and get to "progressing" with your friends and neighbors!

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  1. Nice post!! Good to see everyone enjoying the delicious dinner. My best friend will be hosting a dinner party at one of local Chicago event venues and will help her in arranging everything for the day. Hope everything will go best.