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The eight members of my side of the family spent 3 full days in Pigeon Forge over Labor Day weekend (see the trip recap here). We stay together in a large condo with a full kitchen, and we prefer to eat most of our meals right there.
This year we set up a shared Google doc and signed up for the things we each wanted to bring. My Mom, sister, and I all love lists and organization, so this method works well for us. 🙂
One person is in charge of the meal they sign up for, but we all three pitch in to help get things on the table before the meal. We also bring paper products, water bottles, coffee, creamer, and milk.
Here’s what we ate:
- Sausage and egg sliders on homemade bagels, blueberries
- Baked cheese and sausage omelette, fruit, muffins
- Toast, yogurt, fruit and granola
My parents brought their coffee airpot, which kept the coffee hot and fresh all morning for our family of coffee drinkers.
- Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad (served in an assembly line so everyone could customize it to their taste)
- Loaded hot dogs with leftover BBQ, slaw, and mac & cheese
- Homemade pizza, veggies
- Paula Deen’s BBQ Pork on Hawaiian Rolls, Slaw, Mac and Cheese, Summer Succotash Salad
- Beef enchiladas, refried beans, Spanish rice, pineapple casserole, chips
I didn’t get any pictures of the delish homemade pizza my sister made the first night. For my supper, I fixed my go-to BBQ pork with all the southern sides.
Here’s the Mexican feast my mom made for us – featuring one of my all time favorite things she makes, Beef Enchiladas.
This meal was amazing! My mom makes everything from scratch and prepped everything ahead of time so that all she had to do was bake or reheat the items. Visit her blog today for details on how she did all the ahead of time prep.
Even though the kitchen is stocked with dishes, we bring paper products to make cleanup a little easier. My dad always volunteers to be in charge of loading the dishwasher and washing the prep dishes.
He and my mom serve our family so faithfully. This is one way Dad expresses his gratitude for the good food we serve and the money we save in the process!
We celebrated my Mom’s birthday one evening with Tillamook ice cream and three flavors of my sister’s homemade cookies: chocolate chip, peanut butter white chocolate, and molasses snickerdoodle. I always say that baking cookies is her spiritual gift. They were amazing! 🙂
Some of our best memories from the weekend were made around this dining room table. My mom mentioned on Friday that we were short two chairs, so Paul and my brother in law sat on coolers so that we could all sit around the table together.
It takes a lot of work and preparation to pull these meals together, but it’s worth it for the connection and fellowship we share around a quiet (well, not so quiet but quieter than a restaurant) table.
Eating meals together allows us to serve each other – as we prepare the meal, as we pass bowls around the table, and as we clean up afterward. It’s also so much cheaper than eating out every day.
If you’ve never tried this, I definitely recommend it! You could ease in by just bringing breakfast and lunch. You may find that it makes vacation even more enjoyable.
More vacation meal planning ideas here: