I did a Twitter search the other day for #needmoretime and came across some pretty funny tweets. Most of them were from students who are dreading the impending summer finale, but one made me laugh out loud. I’m paraphrasing, but it was along the lines of “Holy crap, it’s August! In 5 minutes, it’ll be October. Holy #$!@ it’s almost 2017!”
Nothing could be closer to that particular truth. As a kid, it really seems like two months out of school is so long.. it seems neverending. As a parent, it can seem that way too, especially if your kids were bored after three days of summer vacation, and to pass the time they now bicker and cause trouble.
This summer has been very bittersweet for me… I want to drag it out as long as possible because I just love the weather and being able to get out for some family fun: bike riding, hiking, walks, the beach, picnics, etc.
Unfortunately, at the very same time, I want it to speed by because we all really miss Tyler. Six weeks was going to be tough and we all knew that going in, but it’s hard for us to dwell on his absence for too long, it gets upsetting. I’m so happy that we’ll get to see him in just 11 days. I also know that the end of camp will be bittersweet for him, as he says goodbye to old and new friends he’s made at camp, and hello to his family. Poor kid, torn between two good situations!
We have been trying to fill the time by staying busy and getting outside whenever possible, and one way we’ve done that is by way of the picnic. We have various destinations in the area that we enjoy visiting, usually it’s near some body of water:
Binbrook Conservation Area
Nelles Beach Park
All of them are pretty decent areas, with only one that requires admission (Binbrook). They’re fairly clean, easy to get to and there’s a good number of things to do at each one.
Quite a few years ago, when both the boys were still little, I came across a couple of pretty awesome picnic treasures that I scooped up, and made sure to use. Before kids, we didn’t really picnic too often, and I wanted to change that.
The first was this all-weather blanket that folds and zips up into an easy-to-carry add-on. It’s completely washable and portable. We used to bring a ratty old comforter, but when I found this, I was so happy!
The other awesome picnic treasure is this charcoal BBQ. It’s small, but also portable. The case has a durable strap, and a built-in mini cooler. It’s perfect to stash a couple of burgers or cans of pop in!
I also happened to find a mini picnic set, complete with plastic plates and cups, straws and a tablecloth. I embellished it a little and added S&P, toothpicks, paper plates, napkins, tablecloth clips and cutlery. The cutlery shown is something that my husband’s workplace sells @GT_French and they’re completely biodegradable. I love the colours! We’re excited to take these camping with us!
Whenever we return from a picnic, I try to clean the tablecloth right away and restock our picnic pack, so that if we want to spontaneously head out for an afternoon, it’s easy to grab everything we need a go. It’s just a matter of packing food. We make sure to grab some tongs and a BBQ lighter, along with the necessities: charcoal and a larger cooler (when my kids were both still small, it was easy to get away with a couple of hotdogs, but not anymore!)
What kinds of things do we bring to eat? Well, definitely hotdogs and hamburgers. Throughout the summer I usually have some kind of pasta salad in the fridge (the boys’ favourite pasta salad is this one!).
Sometimes it will be potato salad, and other times, I’ll have a fresh garden salad ready and I’ll just put it in a large zipper-topped bag, and add some dressings to the cooler bag. I’ll also try to add some fruits, maybe a bag of chips and if I have something already made, I’ll add a dessert too.
Once or twice, I’ve even purchased or made by hand, a large round loaf of bread and turned it into one giant sandwich to cut up. Those are easy to transport, but depending on what you have on the giant sandwich, it can get messy. So skip the condiments and tomatoes, and add them after cutting the sandwich.
Do you enjoy picnics too? I’d love to hear some other food ideas or picnic destinations! Please share in the comments!