Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Picnic Basket (or bag, or any container used exclusively for picnicking)

In today’s busy world, even fun requires organization and planning. And, since picnics are meant to be fun and carefree, try stocking your picnic basket ahead of time, so when the opportunity comes along for a picnic, you can walk out the door with more speed and less stress.

Here are a couple of tips to get you started:

1. Grab your odd silverware pieces from the drawer. If necessary, supplement your supply at a tag sale or discount store. Now, wrap them in a dishtowel and put aside to pack in your picnic basket. Admit it ~ it’s much more pleasant to eat a meal with utensils other than plastic.

2. When you are shopping in the discount stores, “think Picnic” and meander over to the colorful array of unbreakable glass and dishware. What a great time to replace the paper products we normally use.

3. Start collecting food containers and insulated bags that keep food both hot and cold. A wide mouth thermos is useful for chili and soups. And, you probably have a cooler, but do you have enough large and small ice packs to fit different size containers and coolers?

4. I’ve always been partial to fabric picnic cloths. They don’t get blown away and torn like paper or plastic and we save some trees in the process. Buy a piece of fabric to match your new dishware (a large square for ground picnics and/or an oblong piece for picnic tables.) Hem the edges to size, or even easier, make a running stitch about 1” from each edge and let the kids fringe the edges. They’ll love it. (Don’t forget, when packing the picnic basket put the tablecloth on top.

5. Since the trend these days is to “go green”, how about cloth napkins. I hate hemming napkins, so I always check the sale shelves in the discount stores. I have found really nice ones for under $2.00.

Now that we have the necessary items for our picnic basket (dishes, cups, silverware, picnic cloth and napkins) let’s finish up with a few convenience items, many of which you can pull out of drawers and cabinets and not even miss:

serving spoons
paper towels (I’m not 100% green!)
Hand sanitizing wipes
Corkscrew, can and bottle opener
Bread knife/carving knife/paring knife
Cutting board
Salt and pepper
Containers/wraps for leftover food ~ but remember: when in doubt, throw it out.
Plastic bags for rubbish and dirty dishes
When applicable: Charcoal, fire starter, aluminum foil for grill, utensils, pot holder

I also like to pack the car with a blanket, and water for both drinking and washing hands. Oh, and if you decide to go for a drive with no particular picnic destination in mind, throw in a Frisbee and a ball.

Now, there is nothing left to do but schedule that picnic with family and friends. And, have some fun!

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