Company is Coming!
This is by far one of my favorite LISTS. I wait a full year for this week to come around. Planning a family vacation or holiday requires lots of lists and checklists. If you are well-prepared everyone in your family will have an awesome vacation.
The magic doesn’t happen by accident. A great family vacation requires careful planning. My goal is to create those lifelong memories that help make us a family.
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What’s in it for me? Why would I go to all this work?
It isn’t very often I get the chance to “mother” or “smother” my grown children and their families, so when I get the chance, I want it to rock. I want my daughter, son-in-law ( who is a son), and our son and his new wife ( who we love) to feel like they have had an amazing relaxing vacation.
No rules or schedule for anyone, everyone will do what they want, they know there will be delicious food planned for the week. Let me point out that they drive almost 12 hours to get to the lake in Minnesota, so they deserve an awesome vacation.
Another reason we like them to come is that they bring our grandchildren- It’s all part of the plan.
Planning a family vacation is a monumental job if you don’t organize and make lists. When the time comes to shop and implement you are ready. So what lists do you have to make to be sure you are prepared? As you can guess, it starts MONTHS before the big week arrives.
Before you begin planning meals, you need to think about the people who are coming. What are some of their favorite dishes and how can I get things prepared seamlessly, how am I going to cook, and still enjoy all the fun? I am also expecting to make special meals for the little guys who may not like the grown-up food.
Do you have a special family occasion in the future and need help with making a list of how to organize a menu? Remember, you will need to plan for 3 meals, plus snacks. Don’t get overwhelmed when making your lists.
- List dry foods with a long shelve life and buy those 3 weeks before you need them. This includes the non-food items seen below.
- Next, make a list of foods you will buy frozen or can be frozen, purchase 2 weeks ahead.
- Make a list of all refrigerator foods and a separate list for produce and bread. Make one trip to the store one week ahead, and the second trip1 or 2 days before you leave.
- Be sure to get your free complete menu for the week along with some recipes and tips.
- Egg dishes, I make some kind of egg dish each day and have started using the crockpot for overnight egg casseroles.
- Bacon, Bacon, Bacon. I make 2 pounds every morning.
- Don’t forget fresh fruit & juice
- Have cereal on hand for the kids.
- Coffee of course
This can get a little tricky because we may not all be together for lunch, and many days we head out in the boat to a beech, so I often have to pack lunches
- Cold turkey, ham, cheese and other sandwich ingredients.
- We usually have leftovers from dinner as a choice because I ALWAYS make too much.
- Don’t forget sodas, juices, and lots of water.
- Summer food like hot dogs, brats, & watermelon.
Make sure you plan your meals out completely and have a “plan B”. You will need to adjust based on activities, appetites, and weather. Lots to think about, I know. For everyone else, it all happens easily, but you want them to think that. They are on vacation. I try to plan for lots of grilling and several side dishes.
- BBQ Ribs
- Taco Pie
- Cheeseburgers and Brats. I make two cookie sheets of sliders.
- I plan for a fresh fish fry on the last night, but am open to getting pizza if we don’t catch fish.
- Fruit Snacks
- Cheese sticks
- Potato Chips
- Chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers – You guessed it
- Beef sticks – lots of them from our local meat market
- Sweets ( cookies, bars, & ice cream)
Non-food Shopping List:
- Paper Plates
- Plastic cups
- Wipes (for hands on the beach)
- Insulated lunch bags- just a few
- Cooler for food
- Cooler for beverages
We have grandchildren, so I like to plan for fun things to do that don’t include the iPad. We get enough screen time in the winter!
Plan Fun times that include everyone are the activities that result in the best memories.
- Swimming- Don’t forget beach towels & Sunscreen
- Painting rocks- I put old t-shirts on the kids and use bright permanent markers.
- Play in the sand- Be sure to have a bag of sand toys.
- Water balloon toss – Buy good balloons with a wide top.
- Rent a jetski – We rent one for the whole day. This can get kind of pricey, but we use it every minute.
- Fishing- DON’T FORGET LIFEJACKETS and worms. The reason we like the life jackets pictured here is that they don’t rub the child’s neck or ride up.
Traveling to the beach by foot or going for a picnic requires a list for sure. You don’t want to have to go back because you forgot sunscreen or drinking water. We seriously used one of these beach wagons loaded with all of their beach equipment. I am totally getting on!. It holds 150 pounds, so we could even put a “tired little swimmer in there for the ride home.
- Campfire- We have songs we sing from when our kids were little and now the grandkids can sing along too. We love roasting hotdogs and marshmallows and found this great campfire roaster that does both. We use this particular roaster to keep little fingers safe and they look like new every year.
What if it Rains?
- Monopoly – We start a game and leave it up for a couple of days
- Jigsaw Puzzles- We ALL love to do puzzles and the little guys can help
- Family movie night
- I have scanned out family photos and we always love the laughing and stories that come with watching the slideshow. Check how I did it.
- Small sets of Legos
- Make Slime
Take lots of pictures and make a shared folder just for the week.
Then make the shared folder your TV screensaver!
I leave the little fingerprints on the doors and windows long after the vacation is over just for me.
P.S. Get a 5-days of menus with recipes and cooking tips.