When we do this, we like to spend part of the time with just the 4 of us, and then the remainder of the time we like to invite other families and friends down to join us. This year we have people coming down on 3 different occasions.
Now, I know that some people might not think staying in a vacation rental and cooking your own meals is a "vacation" but to us, it still is, because while yes I'm still cleaning up and cooking, all other things are pushed to the side and we just do whatever we want. Plus, I love to cook and we prefer to eat out as little as possible.
One thing I do is have our guests plan and prepare a few meals. It all depends on how many days they stay, but I usually ask them to do one dinner and one breakfast and bring any snacks they might want to share. We don't ask them to pitch in towards the house. This is fun for a few reasons. It gives me a break, and I get to taste other people's cooking. YUMMY!
I'm just getting ready to sit down and start making a plan so I know how many meals I need to prepare and how many will be prepared by our guests. I usually type out a list of what I want to make while we are gone (not necessarily by day, but at least what the meal options are) then as I make them, I check it off the list. Sometimes I even prepare things ahead of time (spaghetti sauce, taco meat, etc..)
Planning ahead and delegating makes vacation much more enjoyable for me! I cannot wait! I'll be sure to share my menu ideas when I have them made!
With Joy UNquenchable,