By Amy Ford
This time of year, brings all the seasonal feels for gathering among family and friends and sharing in one of our most favorite activities to do outdoors; picnics! The hum of conversation, the bursts of laughter echoing through the air, squeals of children at play, and of course, the sharing of food, drinks, and music; the familiarity of just being together and having the chance to unwind and catch up brings a sense of quiet comfort that for that moment, life is simply a picnic.
Picnics can be as simple as a select few to the entire extended family and neighborhood. Either way, it doesn’t have to be an extravagant design and setup. Even more, everyone’s contributions make hosting a picnic easier. Whether you are showing up or hosting a picnic in your backyard, there are some essential picnic items and quick recipes that we would like to share so that all you have to do is step outside, enjoy the sunshine, the fresh air, and the company!
1) Whether hosting or showing up, it’s always good to remember blankets and portable chairs. If your hosting a picnic, though it seems common sense, we always find it a good reminder to ask people to bring seating with them just in case.
2) Another item we find helpful is having a designated picnic tote bag or basket to carry your food, blankets, containers, towels, lotions, bug sprays, etc. Ditch the plastic bags and opt for ones that are reusable and eco-friendly. Our Rae Marie Tote bag is a great carry all bag for your personal belongings when picnicking beyond your backyard!
3) Speaking of lotions and sprays, it’s best to find one’s that do no harm to you, your body, and environment. Our Soothing Herbal Balm is a great product to keep in your picnic arsenal. As with outdoor play and gatherings, scrapes, bug bites, and burns occur and our herb balm is a great way to soothe the sting and itch that comes with them!
4) Bug sprays can be easily made with a combination of essential oils, witch hazel, and water. Bugs are not fans of lemongrass, peppermint, lavender, tea tree, and eucalyptus scents. Combine in a 4 oz amber glass spray bottle with a combination of any of the oils and you have a great bug deterrent that is safe on your skin and keeps the bugs at bay!
5) Something else we like to do when attending picnics, is to bring our own cloth napkins, water jugs, and silverware. In a great contribution to help minimize our plastic use for a happier earth home, using reusable cloth napkins, refillable, stainless steel water jugs and bamboo, biodegradable silverware is a great way to help minimize your carbon footprint this summer while picnic season is in swing!
6) Serving Utensils! If you’re bringing any type of salad, dip, or desert that requires scooping, it’s always good to bring the right serving utensils to help with your dish. This saves your host having extra dishes to do at the end of the day and helps guests to serve themselves a heaping scoop of your delicious dish!
7) We don’t know about you, but as much as we love a picnic, there is always the lingering question of, “What am I going to make?” We like to keep it simple, nutritious, and enjoyable for all. With the rise of different food allergies and wanting to be able to provide something most can enjoy; you can’t go wrong with veggie platters and fruit platters. You can take the easy way and buy something already prepared, but we find it more cost effective and fun to make and create our own! Instead of buying veggie dip to go with it, kick it up a notch and get creative by making your own hummus or bean dip to pair with your veggies and fruit! (Yes, you can make dessert hummus for your fruits too! Beans are very versatile!)
8) Salads are a great option as well! What’s great about salads is that many things pair nicely with a fresh bed of mixed greens! You can stick with traditional salads with toppings like tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, croutons, etc. or get crazy and add things like sautéed onions, roasted sweet potatoes, craisins, and chia seeds! With salads it is always best not to dress them before. If you have a special dressing to pair, bring it to be added before serving or allow others to add it on when preparing their plates. Adding dressing beforehand will wilt the greens and added toppings, making everything less fresh and crunchy!
9) And last, as the day turns to a quiet calm and you say your goodbyes and head back home, before storing away your blankets and items, be sure to give them a fresh wash! Using our eco-friendly laundry soap and line drying your blankets, has you better prepared as you await your next adventure outdoors.
“Eat, drink, and be merry!”