Have you caught yourself shifting around the clothes in your closet lately? Are those sweaters and long-sleeve button-downs slowly moving from the center of your closet to the back, in the land of Wardrobe Exile—next to your collection of bridesmaid dresses and ugly Christmas sweaters from Aunt Getrude circa 1992? If you answered “yes” to this question, it can only mean one thing: Summer is upon us.
As we head into what’s shaping up to be an incredible summer in Portland, we may also be asking ourselves, What are some fun things to do outdoors? I want to eat tiny sandwiches and drink fancy juices! Outdoors!
Enter: The picnic!
What better way to kick off the summer season than with a nice picnic? Whether you enjoy loading up your fanciest picnic basket for a day in the park, or your idea of a picnic means grabbing a family-size bucket of chicken at the local mom n’ pop diner, we’d like to help you have the best picnic season ever by sharing these few tips.
Put those basket weaving skills to good use
One of the most fun parts of any picnic is the presentation. A proper basket that holds all your plates and utensils is a key component of any charming picnic setup. Whether you like modern cooler-style baskets or the classic old-school wicker basket with red gingham lining—you may find that the storing of your sandwiches is more exciting than the actual sandwiches.
Don’t forget to bring a blanket (or two)
If you’ve packed all the essentials for a picnic—silverware, cups, napkins, food and sunscreen—the last thing you’ll want to do is forget your blanket (we speak from experience…sitting on a dry lawn isn’t the most pleasant dining experience!). In fact, packing a few blankets might be a great idea for your picnic; If you spill your tea, need more seating, or get chilly and need to swaddle yourself—that extra blanket will come in handy.
It’s all fun and games until the…
Actually—it can all just be fun and games at your picnic. Do you and your picnic date(s) love card games? Why not bring along Apples to Apples, Skip-Bo or Uno? If you’ve got a large, open park space to work with, you can even initiate a giant inflatable bowling game or a rousing rendition of bocce ball or tug of war! Who knows—maybe you’ll even make some new friends while you’re at it?
Picnicking solo? Bring a great library book to read, crossword puzzles or Sudoku!
The main attraction…
The most fun part of a picnic? The food! Whether you’re a cheese-on-white-bread kind of picnicker or an artisanal charcuterie fanatic, don’t forget to pack some fun-and-easy appetizers, and a few mason jars full of fruit-infused water (these are not only tasty and healthy, but also visually appealing!).
If you’re going to make the cheese plate of your dreams, don’t forget to pack a cutting board and proper cheese knives! Cheese is great addition to any picnic and pairs well with fruits, veggies, jams and crackers. Plus, you may find that shopping for your cheese varietals is an added bonus (many grocers are happy to give you samples).
Don’t be a litter bug…or a lobster!
Although you may have shared a few breadcrumbs with the native ants roaming the park, be sure to bring plenty of trash/recycle bags with you and to properly dispose of everything you bring to the site. Your mom will be so proud! And she’ll give you bonus points for remembering your sunscreen. We speak from experience—even minimal exposure to the sun can send us reaching for the soothing caress of Aloe vera and an ice bath.
And if you do end up a little crispy from the sun (hey, some of us have sensitive skin!), the last thing you want to do is waste that cold water on putting out a fire…and like Smokey the Bear would say, only YOU can prevent wildfires—don’t set up your fire pit in the park!
So as you shift those sweaters to the back of your closet, slather on the sunscreen and slip on your new pair of flip-flops, call up a few of your best pals and tell them: Have I got a picnic for you!
Unfortunately spending time outdoors can sometimes lead to injuries. If you’re out this summer and need quick medical attention we’ve got you covered:
Author: LivingWell PDX Blog
Adventist Health is committed to creating a healthier Portland community.