Vacations over

Last week, I promised you more about our vacation. The trip up and down the mountain on the ski lift was fabulous, and not the least bit frightening. The scenery was as spectacular as all the rest of it had been. Later this same day, we got to go out to the stables and see the beautiful Percheron horses that would be pulling the carriage that we would be going sight-seeing in. They are among the largest horses used for many things. The carriage had three bench seats and we were scattered among them. Everyone had a wonderful time, as our driver, a sweet lady named Nancy drove us around several back roads. We not only got to see some scenery, we also saw several deer and I’m not sure, but I think we saw an elk. When we finished the ride, she allowed the children on board to pat the horses and her assistant helped hold some of them up so they could see better. I know that the little young man who turned four that day is the only one who will remember it. It was a truly wonderful day all around! We went back to the house for the evening and started getting clothes ready to be loaded the next morning, only problem was, it began raining during the night the guys had to load all three vehicles as well as the trailer in the rain. It was not pleasant to say the least, they were all soaked. We all pitched in where we could from inside the house and tried to keep the more mobile of the little boys out of the way, sometimes it worked and sometimes not. Anyway, everything was finally loaded, including all the people and we went down the mountain. We stopped in the town of Angelfire and went into a really nice shop where we could buy souvenirs and such, everyone had a great time in the shop and the lady who was running it was friendly and helpful, and loved our stories about the bears. I got the impression she had heard various stories before and she added a couple of things herself. Soon we were back on the road and in about eight or so hours, we were back in Texas at my granddaughter’s home. We spent the night there and on Sunday, it was back to Devine, and on Monday, it was home for me to face a busy week. It culminated in having part of this same group at my home for a true birthday party for my four year old great grandson. He loved his presents and his birthday cake and ice cream. Thanks again, family, for a wonderful vacation!
This coming Monday is Labor Day. This is the only holiday that has always been on Monday, so therefore it has not fallen to the changes that some of our other holidays have. It is still celebrated on the first Monday of September, just as it has been for many years.
The Knights of Labor in New York City first celebrated Labor Day in 1882 and 1884. Labor Day is now a legal holiday throughout the United States and Canada. It is just about midway between July 4th and Thanksgiving, which is why the first Monday of September, was chosen as this holiday.
Labor Day has always signaled the official end of summer fun. In the past, school always began the Tuesday following Labor Day. This no longer holds true in most school districts, with some having begun classes on the 14th of August. Many families plan their last get-together of the summer, their last trip to the lake or coast, or their last camp out for Labor Day weekend.
In south Texas, we will have lots more weekends with good warm weather (hot, actually), however, we will still be having days of 85ºF to 90ºF well into November, and we won’t be surprised if we can wear shorts at Christmas.
Now, I know I’ve said this unlimited times, but, if you go on any type of outing and take food along, be sure to keep hot foods hot, and cold foods cold. Did you know that you could use your ice chest to keep foods hot? Pour a gallon or so of hot water into the ice chest, close the lid for a few minutes, then drain the water out. I always put several sections of newspaper in the bottom before setting hot casseroles or pots in to keep from damaging the ice chest. I have not tried this with anything other than the cooler type, not the foam; however, they would probably work just as well. Also, if you have casseroles and they are fairly flat on top, you can cover them with foil and then use your cake/cookie cooling racks to add another layer. This works well and I’ve done it in the past, I just forgot about it until I saw how my daughter brought us food this weekend.
Here are a couple of our favorites for picnics/get togethers that are good hot or cold. They’ve both been around for a long time. Enjoy!
Uncle Ben’s Baked Beans
5 to 6 strips thin-sliced bacon
1 can (32-oz) pork and beans
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
Cut bacon cross-wise into 1/4-inch pieces and fry until crisp, remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Pour beans, onion, bell pepper, sugar and barbecue sauce into a 2-quart casserole, stir to mix. Sprinkle bacon on top. Bake at 350ºF until thick enough to suit your taste.
Jo’s Baked Beans
3 cans (15½-oz) size
1 envelope onion soup mix
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
3 or 4 strips thin-sliced bacon
Mix beans, soup mix, brown sugar and mustard together in a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with bacon slices. Bake at 350ºF 30 to 45 minutes or until bacon is cooked and crisp.
Layered Spinach Salad
1 package fresh spinach
1 medium-size head of lettuce
8 green onions, sliced, including tops
1 box (10-oz) frozen peas
1 can chopped water chestnuts (optional)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup salad dressing
1 cup sour cream
1 envelope Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
8 slices, cooked crumbled bacon
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (not the kind in the green box)
Wash spinach and lettuce; drain well. Place spinach in large bowl. Shred lettuce and place on top of spinach, top this with frozen peas and water chestnuts (if used). Mix dressing ingredients together and spread over top of salad, all the way to edges of bowl to seal it. Just before serving, top with Parmesan cheese and bacon.