Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How-To Plan a Picnic

It's about time I made a how-to post that doesn't remind you of school.

How-To Plan a Picnic 
by Hayley Robinson

There are not too many beautiful autumn days left in the year, so what is one way that you can be outside and make the most of it? Plan a picnic!

Just in case you're not comfortable with planning an outdoor lunch, here's how to look like a pro when you take a friend, family member, or anyone else you care about on a special autumn day picnic.

You will need:
  • A blanket or a location picked out with picnic tables (several parks have these)
  • A basket or cooler that can carry the food safely to the location without it being spoiled (You might need a couple of these: one cooler/basket for the food, another for the blanket and silverware, cups, napkins, and plates)
  • Recipes for your favorite packed lunch
  • Silverware, Napkins, Cups, Plates, etc. (Paper and Plastic work well, unless it's a slightly windy day. If so, the picnic might end in an empty cup chase!)
Step 1: Location, Location, Location
You always want to pick the location which is the most convenient. If you're going out on a Sunday picnic with your family after church, it might be best to pick a location closer to the church, your house, or if it's not too much trouble, a scenic location that you don't always go to! Wherever you go, make sure that it's convenient, but also special.

Step 2: Picking the Day
When you plan the location, you want to keep the day in which you will be arriving in mind. It might be a bad idea to plan a picnic right after your dad's ultra-busy day at the office planning an event he's been working on for weeks, or the day right before your friend has two papers and a project due. You also want to keep a close watch on what the weather will be for that day. If it's rainy, cold, or foggy, or if you just had a snowfall, it will likely be a bad day to have a picnic. Of course, the weather can be beyond your control. Simply be on the lookout!

Step 3: Menu
The key to making a lovely picnic is to keep it simple. Don't make a 4-hour recipe that has to cook overnight and bake in the morning that you can't refrigerate in a cooler. Make sandwiches or salads or even soups that you can keep in a thermos (if you can manage to bring the right serving-ware). Sometimes you don't even have to go that far into preparing. What our family has done in the past is go to Subway at 10 in the morning, buy sandwiches that don't have very much wet ingredients (so that they aren't soggy by lunchtime or afternoon) and keeping them in a cooler. For sides, we buy boxes of cookies and bags of chips from the grocery store with cans of soda, lemonade packs, or Gatorade. Overall, it's a delicious and memorable lunch that I'll remember for several years to come! I repeat: keep it simple. You'll feel so much better knowing that you did your best without the stress.

Step 4: Decorations
If it's a bit of a special occasion for a picnic, I suggest sweet and simple decorations. Maybe find a classic wooden basket to keep the food in (if a cooler is not needed), or a decorative blanket that you don't mind having on the ground. Perhaps find paper plates with flowers on them, or break out the nice glasses and silverware (if you can manage to keep them safe). Be creative, keep it simple, and have fun!

Step 5: Enjoy!
By this point, everything should be ready to go. Hopefully these tips were helpful for you and that you will have a beautiful autumn picnic while the season and nice weather lasts!

Question for the Reader: Do you enjoy picnics?

"Jesus said to them, 'Bring some of the fish you have just caught.' So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, 'Come and have breakfast.' None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish." --John 21:9-13

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