Tips for an Old-Fashioned Picnic

With Memorial Day, Labor Day, and summer right around the corner, it’s time to think picnic! On Sunday afternoon our homeschool group held its annual year-end shindig with a homey, old-fashioned theme. I helped coordinated the event, and a lot of thought went into the details.

Hopefully this will help you plan an event this summer!



Mason Jars with Daisies, Ribbon, and Dollar Store Pinwheels (see top photo)
You’ve probably got a few Mason jars floating around your house. We do. Our pretty centerpieces consisted of Mason jars filled with yellow daisies and red, white, and blue pinwheels from the dollar store (3 per package) and tied with red and white ribbon.

Dollar Store Disposable Checkered Tablecloths
Our tablecloths were colorful, inexpensive, and disposable—perfect for a picnic!

Red, White, and Blue Paper Chains
Did you know that building paper chains can entertain children for long periods of time? I purchased individual packages of red and blue construction paper at Staples for $1.99 each and used printer paper for the white. The strips were 1-1/2″ wide and I recommend stapling them together; we tried tape and some of it came apart later.

The Menu


Because our picnic served such a large number of people, there was a $5 per family fee. We provided fried chicken and dessert and everyone brought a side item. Watermelon wedges (see dessert table picture two above) provide a naturally sweet treat and can be eaten with your hands. Just keep a bottle of hand sanitizer on the table and plenty of napkins for the juice!

{Isn’t the cake glorious? One of the girls on the committee made it.}

If you need recipes for a more modest crowd, on Wednesday I’ll link you to a virtual barbecue on Jen’s blog. Jen invited me and a few other bloggers to participate; we’ll each create an original recipe using one of the new Philadelphia Cooking Cremes. The blogger who gets the most comments on her recipe wins $500 and a year’s supply of Philadelphia Cooking Creme, so if you think mine sounds fabulous, leave a comment on Wednesday and help me win!

Tomorrow I’ll prepare an original recipe that I’ve only made in my head and take lots of photos. Then I’ll write it up and post it here on Wednesday. I don’t concoct a lot of original recipes so I’m a little nervous, but excited, too. My kids are ready to taste test! I bought all the ingredients today, including the Santa Fe Blend Cooking Creme.


Face Painting


A picnic isn’t a picnic without face painting! It’s fun whether you’re doing the painting or being painted on, ensures great photos, and just makes people happy.




Sometimes it branches out (no pun intended) beyond faces . . .






Get paints made especially for faces and don’t forget brushes. Print out a few sample designs to narrow the choices and give your artists something to follow.

Enjoy Yourself


Keep it simple: checkers, bubbles, frisbee, foursquare, face paint. Food and friends—that’s what it’s all about, right? Don’t bring stress to your picnic!

Do you picnic in the summer? What are your best tips for food, decorating, or activities?

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