Often, since you have just 3-4 days to get away, it’s difficult to think of places to go and things to do, as opposed to having a whole week or two to plan a real vacation. To help you with some of your planning, I have found some great websites you may want to check out:
- This site offers special events and great deals for places to travel to from around the country and even outside the United States. http://travelwithkids.about.com/cs/holidays/a/memorialday.htm
- This site offers 8 great ideas for things to do on Memorial Day.
- This site offers a “green” perspective of celebrating Memorial Day by keeping your car in the garage and having fun at home.
Many of the online travel sites are still offering last-minute deals for Memorial Day weekend. Here are some of my favorites:
Do not waste a lot of time hopping around, trying to get the best deal. Usually these sites are up-to-date and very competitive. They are mostly working with the same information from the airlines, hotels, etc. However, the hotels and airlines often offer more incentives, so it might be worth comparing prices with them, before booking through the travel web site. There are programs you can join, such as Hilton Honors, which will give you discounts. If you are an AARP member you can get discounts. There are auto clubs such as AAA that offer discounts. Sometimes, even your credit card companies have special deals they can offer you. However, don’t spend hours trying to save 10-20 dollars, because it’s not worth it. Your time is worth something and it’s a vacation, after all. It’s supposed to be fun and relaxing – not get you all stressed out before you ever even leave.
With the prices of gas, you may also choose to stay at home and enjoy time with family and friends. There is certainly nothing wrong with that. You will have less stress and planning, as well as not have to fight any crowds or crazy drivers on the roads. Of course, to make it a safe and fun weekend, you still have to do some planning. If you will have guests, you certainly are going to want to make sure you have food to feed them. Plan your menu early and get to the store before the crowds. I suggest no later than Thursday, because a lot of people will get paid and they will hit the grocery store on Friday. Then Saturday and Sunday they will continue to go back to the store for those things they have run out of, or forgotten. Then you can just sit back and relax and say, “I’m glad I’m not fighting those crowds today.”
Speaking of menu, what types of foods are good to eat during Memorial Day? I am a traditional woman most of the time. I like turkey during Christmas and Thanksgiving, and hot dogs and hamburgers for Memorial Day. However, there is no reason to feel you have to stick with a traditional menu. Here are some basic, traditional menu ideas, as well as items you might need to add to your grocery list:
Hamburgers and Hot Dogs Cooked on the Grill
- Hot dog buns
- Hamburger buns
- Hamburger meat or patties
- Mayonnaise or salad dressing (i.e. Miracle Whip)
- Pickle relish
- Sliced cheese
- Charcoal Starter
- BBQ sauce
- Grilling utensils
Steaks on the grill are also easy to add, in addition to your hot dogs and hamburgers. For this, choose a thick cut of meat, as it will make a more tender and juicy steak for your guests. I also suggest using your favorite recipe or store-bought marinade. It’s best if you can marinate the steaks for at least a few hours before putting them on the grill.
For something to serve on the side, I suggest you consider any combination of beans, potato salad, cole slaw, and potato chips.
For the beans, I suggest cooking them in the crockpot the day before and warming them when your guests are ready to eat. I would offer my potato salad recipe here, but I don’t have one. I just mix it up and it always tastes great. However, I can tell you the ingredients I use…potatoes, mustard, mayonnaise, dill relish, onions, and boiled eggs (you can leave out the onions if you prefer). I make a typical southern-style mustard potato salad. There are plenty of recipes on the web for this type of potato salad, if you’re interested. For the cole slaw, I make mine from scratch using cabbage, carrots, cole slaw dressing, and my handy Vitamix blender. However, the cole slaw can be bought in a bag, already chopped. Then all you have to do is add the cole slaw dressing (either homemade or store bought).
Another traditional favorite to throw on the grill is corn on the cob. Just buy the corn in the husks and put it on the grill just like that. Make sure you have plenty of the corn holders to put in the ends of the corn, to make it easier and less messy for your guests to handle their corn. Also, if you are going to opt for the steaks, you may want to buy some large baking potatoes and have these as well. Make sure you have butter, sour cream, bacon bits, and shredded cheese on hand to offer your guests.
Salad is also a nice side dish to go along with the steaks. For salad you may want to make sure you have a nice variety to offer your guests:
- Shredded cheese
- Salad toppings
- Bacon bits
- Salad dressing
If you are like me, I am not thrilled about making desserts. I just do not like baking; etc, because of the mess and hassle. There’s no need to worry, just pick up some ice cream or a pre-made cake or pie while you’re at the store. This time is really about relaxing and enjoying your friends and family. It’s not about trying to impress your guests or being perfect. They will be happy all the same. If my family reads this, they will be thinking, “Sure, why don’t you take your own advice?” Well, if you read the About Us section and my bio, you will see that’s part of my problem. I have been stressed and so I am trying to learn new ways of doing things and “de-cluttering” my life. I am a slow learner and always a work in progress.
That’s about all this southern gal has to offer for this Memorial Day. I hope you all have a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend. Most importantly, remember to relax…it will all work out in the end.Google+