Let’s be totally real here and admit that kids “helping” you cook isn’t helping you at all. Doing twice as many dishes and prepping a meal at half the pace isn’t making anyone’s life any easier. But it brings them joy, so that’s why we let them scoop out the flour, leaving a trail of it until they (finally) dump it in the bowl. I do love cooking with Mya, but most days I just need to whip up something quick because when hunger strikes, it strikes hard. The food prep times when I welcome Mya’s help more, though, are when we picnic. Building a sandwich or stacking fruit and cheese kabobs is a lot easier than baking something from scratch. Suddenly, you’re a lot less frazzled when you don’t need 15 ingredients and precise measurements. With the help of PlanetBox, we’ve put together a how-to list to be picnic prepared.
1 || Always have a picnic bag packed. Besides just the diapers and wipes, I like to be somewhat prepared for a spontaneous outing. We have a swim bag and picnic bag locked and loaded in the car for such occasions. It doesn’t take much for the picnic bag– just a blanket, paper towels, hand sanitizer, sun hats, and sun screen. Mya usually adds her own “essentials”; and for this particular adventure, those were a dolly, giant frisbee, broken umbrella, Pua the pig, sparkly arm band, bird and bug books, and ball. She wanted more, but we had to cut her off because it wouldn’t fit in the wagon. Also, she had to walk home because she had to change her shoes from jellies to boots because the grass was poking her feet too much. Which brings me to my second tip:
2 || Don’t plan too much. This one’s hard for me. I like to have a list of things to do throughout the day and mentally checking them off the list makes me feel accomplished. But “keeping it simple” and “going with the flow” is always the winner with kids.
3 || Switch up your location. The great thing about a picnic is that it can be anywhere. There’s something about the act of eating things on a toothpick kabob and on the floor (and without silverware) that is super special to a kid. During the winter, some of our best picnics have been lunch dates in Derek’s office, random pow wows in the living room, and in the cafe area at our gym. Everyone else sits in chairs, but we prefer the floor. ;P
4 || Stock up on fresh finger foods and get creative. For us, this usually means fruit and cheese with some crackers and nuts. This time we made little bugs using babybell cheeses, blueberries, and toothpicks. (First seen at Mya’s nature party.) For more kid snack ideas, you can check out our Pinterest board here or PlanetBox has some great meal ideas here too.
5 || Equip yourself with the best tools. I’m a sucker for a good, well constructed container. Ya know, one that doesn’t somehow explode in your purse and leave crushed puffs all over the bottom of your bag. A better one than that. I usually have this in my bag for everyday dry snacks and then we use Planet Box for everything else.
I found PlanetBox when researching stainless steel lunch containers because I was tired of our plastic ones retaining smells and not sealing properly. PlanetBox offers so many options with their bags, boxes, magnets, and smaller containers. You can even customize your magnets by uploading personal photos and designs. We chose the Botanical Carry Bag, Launch Box, and “Draw It Yourself” Launch Magnets. The “Draw It Yourself” magnets are a one-time design, so Mya used a sharpie marker to design ours. In total love of her drawing of our family of 4. Looks like Mama has some big ears to hear everything. 😉
The weather was gorgeous this weekend and we were outside… a lot. Besides picnicking, we tried geocaching for the first time (more on that later!), Mya almost gave me a heart attack as she wiped out trying to BMX down our backyard hill (she’s totally fine), and Derek set up our hammock on the back patio. Once the girls are in bed tonight, that’s where I’ll be… most likely with a cool beverage in hand. Cheers, friends!
Thank you to PlanetBox for partnering with us on this post.