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I am so ready for warm weather- so much so that I am obsessing over everything I want to do once it’s warm outside. That’s what a cold winter spent looking at a frozen lake in the midwest does to you!
I made a resolution this year- well, I guess it’s more of a resolution and a goal for this year to be amazing. That doesn’t mean over-the-top with expensive trips, purchases & outings. It means that I want to be present in my life, making mindful decisions about household matters, what we eat, what invitations we accept and what we do with our free time, and living intentionally so that I (and by default my husband and children, and whoever we are spending time with) we make the most of our life.
To accomplish this I’ve 100% embraced combining KonMari + Hygge to live my ideal life. <– This post goes into detail about how I’m combining these two amazing methods. So, what does planning a picnic have to do with KonMari or hygge? Kind of everything! First of all, we don’t go on many picnics. And by many, I mean any. And given that we live in an area that lends itself to picnicking adventures, we really should. When we’re feeling the need to get out of the house, we can venture out to the beautiful countryside of Michigan, head over to Lake Michigan or one of the many rivers in the area for a picnic date. If we’re staying put for the weekend we could easily incorporate picnicking into lake life- a picnic party with visiting friends and neighbors or a picnic on a boat would be a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, rather than scarfing food down in the kitchen & heading back outside. (<that’s what I mean by intentional living.)
Picnics fit the definition of hygge perfectly: Hygge is more than a style trend, it’s a mindful lifestyle of coziness, togetherness and contentedness.
These picnic ideas will help you (and me) plan a perfect picnic! From our picnic menu to finding a great picnic basket and the perfect picnic blanket, we’re bound to have a memorable day.
Picnic Basket Menu
You can’t have a perfect picnic without food! While there are many picnic food ideas, I want to plan a picnic menu with food that isn’t overly complicated, but also not thrown together hastily. Finding a good balance is the plan for this picnic menu!
I’ve been planning to make “pressed sandwiches” for, oh, about 15 years. I first saw them in a Martha Stewart magazine and thought the presentation was really fantastic. (I just Googled and I swear this is what I first saw in the magazine. It was in 1998, so a few more than 15 years. Time flies…) Pressed sandwiches have become more popular and I’ve decided this is the year I’m making them!
These pressed Italian sandwiches look incredible! With Italian deli meats and fresh mozzarella, these will please most everyone! As Seasons & Suppers points out, they are easily customizable, too, so you can add or remove ingredients based on your guests’ preferences. (If you would like a vegetarian version, Seasons & Suppers seems to have everything! These Pressed Roasted Vegetable Sandwiches looks a.maz.ing. My vegetarian daughter will love these!) The sandwich paper can be found here.
Seasons & Suppers <–recipe
Cooking & Beer has the full recipe, but as blogger Justine says, feel free to add anything you like or have on hand as far as fruit, vegetables and proteins go- the dressing is what makes this pasta salad a crowd pleaser! You can also leave the chicken out to make this a vegetarian side dish.
Cooking & Beer <–recipe
What’s a picnic without fruit & cheese? Jaime at the Joy of Kosher shows us how to put together a simple, but delicious, grazing board with fruits, cheeses and jams in just about 5 minutes!
Joy of Kosher <– how to
With the fruit grazing board, you may not need dessert. Who am I kidding? Of course you need dessert. These mini cheesecakes from Let’s Dish Recipes look delish! They use just a few ingredients, will be easy to keep cool and using individual mason jars means no messing dishing up of dessert. (Do you have these little mason jars? I use them all the time! For being small it’s surprising how many things I use them for!)
Let’s Dish Recipes <–recipe
Of course you could skip making beverages all together and bring water bottles, or a bottle of wine, or beer, but if you want to make a picnic drink these recipes look really good!
Little Miss Party Planner has a great post on hosting the perfect picnic that includes the “how to” for this infused lemonade. It’s surprisingly simple, making this a great drink for picnics and every day! Picnic hacks: freeze lemonade in ice cube trays or freeze an inch or two in the bottle to keep your drinks cold longer! (Get the bottles here.)
Little Miss Party Planner <– how to
If you’re looking for a perfect picnic cocktail recipe, this gin fizz recipe from Delicious Magazine looks refreshing! Fresh strawberries add a splash of summer fun, too.
Delicious Magazine <– recipe
Picnic Basket Supplies
Every picnic needs a basket, and these baskets are perfect for an outing.
This is a great basket- it’s traditional in style and has plates, glasses, utensils and napkins for 4 people, along with an insulated lining to help keep foods cool.
If you’d prefer a picnic cooler, this is a great option! It has place settings for 4 people, and an insulated area that keeps food hot or cold up to 12 hours.
I have a picnic backpack very similar to this one, but this comes with a blanket. (See? I have intentions to picnic, I just never get around to it! That’s about to change.)
If you need a picnic blanket, these are super cute & cozy looking! (Click pictures for product linking!)
Places to Picnic
- Plan a picnic at the beach – if you’re lucky enough to live near one of the great lakes or along the coast, a picnic at the beach, especially just before sunset and followed by a bonfire, would be incredible!
- Plan a picnic at the lake – many lakes, especially lakes with public launches or at state parks, have picnic areas for people to use.
- Plan a picnic at the river – if there isn’t a lake nearby, I bet there is a river! Typically any place you can access the river for kayaking or tubing will have an area where you can carve out a space for lovely picnic along the riverbank.
- Plan a picnic on a boat – no boat? No problem! Check Groupon to see if there are any boat rentals near your area. We’ve rented pontoon boats in Florida and even in Chicago to take on the Chicago river! It’s a ton of fun and pontoon boats are incredibly easy to maneuver. (So easy that my 5 year old nephew can easily handle ours with minimal guidance, lol!) With a small group of people, renting a boat for a perfect picnic on a lake or river may be more a lot less expensive than you’d think.
- Plan a picnic at a state park – or any park, for that matter. A short hike to a scenic area to take in a little nature would be good for all of us, and the perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday.
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Check us out on Pinterest, too! Our Summer board is full of great ideas!