Family gatherings are the best. Maybe yours are with actual family, or with friends who are like family. With our clan, we most often head up to Priest Lake, Idaho, for mountains, s’mores, huckleberry picking, and paddle boarding at sunset on the lake. Or, in the winter, we dive into knee-deep powder, hot chocolate, and chess by the fire at Schweitzer Mountain Resort. We happen to live in a part of the world where the outdoors is right out our doorstep.
No matter where we go, our schedule pretty much goes like this: get up, exercise, talk, play, sleep, and eat, then do it all over again the next day, and the day after that. It’s what connection and vacation time is all about.
YET – even on vacation, and maybe especially on vacation, people still need to eat (good food!), and work in the kitchen must still be done. We have found a system that works very well.
BEFORE everyone arrives, we create a google doc that includes who is cooking what night, who is on kitchen clean up (K.P.), and who is on house clean up.
There are so many benefits to this kind of planning:
- The cook can prepare ahead of time and even make the food ahead of time and freeze it. This minimizes the time spent on vacation in the kitchen.
- When you are on, you are fully on. But when you are off, you are free to nap, read, go on a walk, or do whatever you want without worrying about feeling the pressure to help out in the kitchen.
- We don’t repeat meals. Everyone specifies what they are making so we have a nice variety during the week.
- The work load is spread out so no one gets resentful or overly exhausted.
- The kids help. This is a huge value for us. We are a family and everyone pitches in for the good of the whole.
- The cousins get to “bond” while they work. We usually pair cousins together rather than siblings.
A little preparation goes a very long way when it comes to setting up a family vacation for success. This is one way we’ve done that and it works out beautifully! This allows more time for FUN.
Being the designated cook is also great. You can enlist the help of all of the family, turn up the music, and make it a party. And never fail, a spontaneous dance party always breaks out in the kitchen at some point.
How do you set up your family vacations for success? I’d love to hear your ideas!