Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day!

Since 1894, the first Monday in September has been celebrated by people across the United States as the official Labor Day holiday.  Originated as a tribute to the social and economic contributions of American workers, the holiday has over the years also come to signify the unofficial end of summer.

When I was growing up, Labor Day was one of two "bookend" holidays that signaled the beginning and ending of summer vacation from school as well as the arrival and exit of summer neighbors escaping the cities of Chicago and Detroit for the relaxation of the lake.  Just like clockwork, caravans would start arriving Memorial Day weekend, bringing with them kids, dogs, boats and the promise of a lively, fun summer.  All too soon, the end of August would roll around and, with it, the last hurrah of summer.  Labor Day was always filled with swimming, boating, grilling and partying; as if we all knew we had to pack a whole winter's worth of fun into that one weekend before all the summer families piled into their cars and decamped back to the city for the long, cold days ahead.



This year, I'm celebrating Labor Day weekend with the family of my heart.  We had a cookout last night that brought back fond memories of holiday picnics of my youth.  While we're not on the lake (so no boats), we still had plenty of adults and kids (about 20), dogs (five!), a man-size grill (huge), a big yard and oodles of food.






We, of course, had the holiday essentials:  burgers, brats, hot dogs and watermelon plus a few extras like chocolate chip cookies, chips and salsa, salads, roasted veggies...











...shrimp and an enticing display of adult and kid friendly beverages.











Later in the evening, we capped things off around the fire pit in the back yard with hot, gooey, (what cookout is complete without them?) S'mores!









Smores:

Break a graham cracker into two equal pieces.  Place half of a Hershey chocolate bar on one graham cracker half.  Toast a marshmallow over an open fire until golden brown.  Place toasted marshmallow on top of chocolate bar; cover with other graham cracker and gently squish.  Eat and enjoy!








Laughter was the music of the night and everyone had a wonderful time, including the dogs!










How are you spending this Labor Day weekend?  What dishes are essential for cookouts in your family?  For those of you outside the U.S., does your country have a holiday honoring workers?  Do you have a holiday that signals the end (or beginning) of summer?  What's your favorite goody to make over an open fire?

Labor Day isn't a traditional gift-giving holiday but I'm making it one here at TRD.  One randomly selected person leaving a comment on today's blog will receive a book from our stash!  

~PJ

47 comments:

  1. Happy Labor Day. We're not cooking, we've been ordering take out the whole weekend. We had Chinese Mexican cuisine yesterday and today we're having pizza. We love to roast marshmallows.

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    1. We've had a lot of pizza this weekend too, Jane. It had been a long time since I toasted marshmallows. Have to admit, they sure tasted good! :)

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  2. We're spending the weekend at our getaway on the water near Santa Barbara, California. Resting, relaxing, reading and Margaritas! No Labor in sight!

    Wish you all a terrific weekend!

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    1. Oh, Flora, that sounds lovely! Margaritas were flowing last night...which may be why I slept until 7:30 this morning! ;-)

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  3. Anything we can grill is usually on the menu. We usually have macaroni salad and chips and dip. Corn on the cob, watermelon, a relish tray, and a veggie tray round things out. For dessert, if we have a fire, s'mores are on the menu. If we are feeling ambitious, we make homemade ice cream.
    It all really depends on where we are on the holiday. I miss being near extended family. The get-togethers were large and a lot of fun.

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    1. One of last night's guests (a chef) brought roasted veggies (w/roasted pineapple) that was out of this world good. I had three servings. :)

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    2. Sounds like a wonderful combination.

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  4. Not celebrating Labor day here, or any other holiday for workers. But I do love to have a cookout with the family. Grilling corn plus pineapple & cheese sandwiches are some of my favs.

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    1. Grilled corn is one of my favorites but it's been so expensive this year that we haven't had it very often. What kind of cheese do you use in the pineapple sandwiches? That sounds interesting!

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    2. I prefer mine with Cheddar but my sister loves mozzarella.

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  5. oh great pics yumm, staying in watching some ball games whoo
    hot dogs, chips relaxing
    kimh

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  6. No celebration this year ... Everyone is working!!! It used to be a holiday when I was growing up, but not so much now. But it does signify the end of summer to me. Guess I"ll just pick out a good book and read. Yay!

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    1. It used to be a holiday when I was growing up, but not so much now.

      It's true, Trish. When I was young, almost everything was closed on Labor Day. Nowadays, businesses use it as a reason to hold big sales. I work in retail and was surprised that I wasn't scheduled to work today. Many of my co-workers weren't as lucky. :(

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  7. I hope everyone that has off enjoys the day. We are going sailing on my husbands sailboat. Hopefully the weather will be good.

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    1. Hope you have a wonderful time, Maureen!

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  8. Had our grill yesterday with tons of roasted veggies and a long walk with family. Today, I confess, it's reading a book on this lazy labor day.

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    1. Today, I confess, it's reading a book on this lazy labor day.

      I'll be doing that this afternoon!

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  9. We usually attend an annual barbecue, but the hosts' son got married last weekend and it was too much all at once. Instead, they had barbecued hotdogs and hamburgers, corn on the cob, and cold salads at the wedding reception! (It was a first for me, but they called it a "country themed wedding" - so that the groom or groomsmen didn't have to wear a jacket....)

    Today is clean-up day around here. Everyone had to work on Sat/Sun, so today the guys clean up the garage while the gals clean up the house. (I might sneak in a book tonight, though!)

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  10. Hopefully I'll be able to get some writing done on my WIP today! I've neglected it sadly the past few days and it's time to get back to work on it. I have a deadline to meet after all, lol. (Albeit self-imposed but a deadline is a deadline!)

    I have to say, looking at all those yummy pictures definitely has me hungry PJ, lol.

    Happy Labor Day everyone! :)

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    1. Good luck with the writing, Lisa! I'll be doing some review writing later today.

      Glad you enjoyed the photos. The food was yummy! (she says as she munches on leftovers for breakfast) ;-)

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  11. For me and mine, it will be a day of rest. It will also be one of memories as I look back at my own childhood and the "picnics" that my parents always had for our family and friends at our house. They were wonderful fun times shared by approximately 100 family and friends that went on all day. There were games and dancing and lots of gossip while catching up on family happenings. How wonderful and family oriented the 50's and 60's were. I truely miss those times.

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    1. Betty, the Labor Days of your youth sound a lot like mine. Both of my parents came from large families and in those days we all lived within an hour radius. Since we lived on a lake, our house was the natural gathering spot for family picnics. So many wonderful memories!

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  12. I wish I'd been at your party. We don't do anything special anymore. I guess that's a good thing since the remnants of Hurricane Isaac have come to visit us. Lots of storms, humidity and just nasty weather. Happy Labor Day to all of you

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    1. Hope Isaac isn't too rough on you, Ruth. We're getting the humidity here and scattered thunderstorms but missed the worst of it this time around.

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  13. Happy Labour Day! :) Not many traditions for Labour Day in Canada for us. Usually just trying to get everything ready for school... but now that school is over, not so special or unique anymore....

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  14. Happy Labor Day, PJ! I'm glad to see you're having a great time. :) The food looks delicious!

    I'm spending Labor Day at home because I've been under the weather and the hubby is working. It's an all pajama day here!

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  15. Happy Labor Day! All the food looks yummy, PJ, and it sounds as if your summer is ending on a wonderful note.

    We're having a quiet day here. The two sets of grands that have to split their holidays are with their moms this year, and three family members have public safety jobs that often require them to work holidays. All are working today. But we have three family birthdays coming up next month. We'll get together for a big family party then.

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  16. Happy Labor Day... It is also celebrated here in Canada too... The days when we had the cottage, there would be a big weenie and corn roast on Sunday and then the guitars would come out and we would have a good old sing a long. Those days are gone now. So it has been a quiet weekend of relaxing and reading...

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  17. What a great celebration y'all had! Our family is getting together this afternoon for ribs, baked beans and birthday cake. Should be fun.

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  18. Your family celebration brought a big smile to my face. It's so nice to see that traditional get-together. Keeping families close is wonderful.

    My husband I just returned to our home in Florida after spending the summer hiking in the mountains of North Carolina. Our family is not located very close to our home so we've decided to give any get-togethers a miss this year as I'm still surrounded by unpacking. Will hook up with family soon.

    Happy Labor Day to everyone. Enjoy!

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  19. Happy Labor Day to my family of the net.

    I spent Saturday at a cookout with the family of my heart. Ribs smoked and barbecued, chicken barbecued and enough sides to feed a third world country, I am still full.

    Today was just my son, BF and I, I don't have a grill so don't have a lot of recipies for that. I made scrambled eggs with wild mushrooms for breakfast(it doesn't take that many so it wasn't that expensive but very special). Making chicken and dumplings now and using some nice spices to dress up that dish. Can we say Scarborough Fair? Everytime I use these spices I think of the song, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.......LOL

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  20. I love to have hamburgers (with cheese) when there's a cookout, and some kind of fruit salad, those are the essentials. My favorite goody to make over an open fire is the traditional marshmallows, there's nothing better. I've actually never made S'mores, I guess I'm missing out. :D

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  21. Happy Labor Day everyone! Cook food is definitely a must for any day especially long-weekends. The family went hiking yesterday so today is going to be a rest and relaxation day. I wish we were having a barbecue but will am happy with the food we have had so far. Ice cream, corn and fried chicken :)I think today's menu is going to be seafood soup.

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  22. Yay for those that fought for a labor day holiday. My mother's birthday is 9/1 so we always get to celebrate her birthday. This year was her 90th so we had a special party for her. Today I will cook the usual labor day foods such as hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, macaroni salad, just salad lol, beans, corn on the cob and maybe some other extras lol. And my nephew and his wife just had their first child at 42 and 45 - it came a week early so they missed the party. Now we will have two birthdays to celebrate on Labor Day!

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  23. Happy Labor Day! We are not doing much today just setting around and relaxing. My niece is headed over here to get my husband to work on her computer. We cooked out on Friday.

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  24. Today other than a couple loads of laundry, I'll be relaxing enjoying some r&r with some pleasant reading material (ie: some surfing and good romance books) :-) hope everyone else has an enjoyable day too

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  25. Looks like you had a wonderful day, PJ!
    I want a S'more! There is no such thing where I live Down Under and I've always wanted to try one. I wish everyone a happy Labor Day.

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  26. Happy Labor Day, everyone! :)

    We didn't do anything special here being as we both had to work. We have had some celebrations this summer. My daughter graduated college and two weeks later got married then started her teaching career at an elementary school.My son will be getting married in November. This has been a really great year for our family.

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  27. We're visiting my daughter 's family. My granddaughter is almost 10 months old already! She's into everything!!

    We have hamburgers, brats, sweet corn, German potato salad, chocolate chip cookies and ice cream!

    EASY relaxing dinner with snacks , wine and beer!

    Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!!

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  28. Relaxing,Reading ,hop bloping..((yayyyy)))!
    redz041@yahoo.com

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    1. Hi Rubyswan! Thanks for stopping by to visit! :)

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  29. We had tacos....with all the fixins' Happy almost fall!

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  30. It was also my nana's birthday, so we spent it giving presents, eating ice cream cake and watching movies :-)

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