When you think of the word “picnic,” do you automatically associate it with warm and sunny outdoor excursions to the park or the beach? If we open our minds a bit, though, we can quite easily visualize picnics happening anywhere, at any time of year.
Picnics don’t have to take place out of doors. A picnic meal can be set up on the living room floor, at the office, or in the treehouse out back. All it takes is a little imagination and a bit of whimsy. What really makes a picnic a picnic is a thoughtfully packed snack or meal, a blanket for sitting on, and good company. It doesn’t require sun, warmth, or outdoors if those three ingredients are not available.
Consider using a Picnic Basket or Tote that includes cloth napkins and washable, shatter-proof dishes and utensils. Not only do these picnic sets give a picnic style, they make the experience environmentally friendly, too. Here are a few tips to ensure a perfect picnic:
- Packing a salad? Take your dressing along in a separate container and add it to your salad just before eating. Your lettuce and veggies will stay crisp and delicious.
- Avoid bringing foods that need to be reheated if you won’t have access to a microwave or other cooking device.
- Hard cheeses, fruits, hummus, crusty bread, and chopped veggies like broccoli, carrots, and cucumbers make excellent picnic fare. They’re healthy and don’t require refrigeration if they’ll be consumed that day.
September is Apple Month, and it’s the time of year when thousands of families look forward to heading out to the local orchard for some apple picking fun. My family is no exception. In fact, we live in a part of the country where apple orchards abound. Picking our peck is a big deal, so we like to make a day of it.
An increasing number of apple orchards have expanded their offerings beyond picking fruit. Many have on-site cafes where you can enjoy a meal after you’ve spent time meandering the rows of apple trees searching for the perfect specimens. Our family prefers to take along a picnic basket filled with our favorite foods — chicken salad, crispy veggies, cheese chunks, and buttery crackers. Just in case the orchard we’ve chosen doesn’t have any picnic tables, we bring along our portable chairs — comfort is a must. Once we finish our picnic, we can kick back in our chairs and take in the crisp, clean pre-autumn air.
Orchards may not always have restaurants, but it’s not uncommon for them to sell baked goods containing the very treasure you came to pick from the trees. Apple pies, apple dumplings, and — our favorite — apple cider doughnuts provide the perfect accompaniment to our delicious picnic lunch.
At the end of the day, with bags of apples and packages of pies in hand, we head home with full and happy tummies until Apple Month rolls around again next September.
My daughter and I have “afternoon adventures”, as we call them, at least once a week. Some times we go to the park, sometimes the museum, but we almost always have a picnic at the end of our adventure. There is something exciting and relaxing about enjoying the nice afternoon temperatures and dining outdoors. With the amazing new picnic baskets available today, adults and children alike can easily enjoy dining al fresco any time they choose! These are not the wicker baskets of the past. They come with not only a fully insulated container that holds food and drinks, but also a full place setting for two! Plates, silverware, cloth napkins, cutting board, and even a cork screw come tucked inside. They are super convenient, super stylish, and super fun! Plan your own afternoon adventure, and don’t forget your picnic basket.
The economy has most families looking for ways to save money and as summer approaches the lingering question may be whether or not to take a vacation.
If a vacation seems out of the question then you may want to consider a “staycation” and explore the area you live in for free!
A few summers ago when my children were easily bored at home, I decided to explore our city for a week and make it an adventure for them. So, for the next five days we had a blast. On Monday we took our own tour of the downtown area. After finding the best place to park which happened to be $5.00 for the day (if you got a stamp from a local establishment) we started out on foot. We visited 2 very old churches, a museum and touch a trolley ride. We packed our lunch in our ready to use picnic basket and ate a picnic, too. On Tuesdays the zoo offers free admittance so that is where we spent the day. We made sure to go to all the shows and also took advantage of the zoos wading pool. Wednesday was our day to volunteer to deliver meals to the needy. This was a great experience for my children to see the great need in our city and be a part of the solution. On Thursday we went to a sprinkler park and we made sure to pack a picnic lunch with lots of water. Don’t forget the sunscreen either. On our last day I let them decide where they wanted to go from a short list I had come up with. They chose the discount movie theater and off we went. It was nice to be in the air conditioned theater. We went out for ice cream afterwards and talked about our stay-cation.
My children were definitely surprised at the fun they could have without leaving town!
If you are new to a city there is usually a directory that lists most of the attractions and the chamber of commerce is also a great resource.
Have a great summer no matter where you go – you may surprise yourself!