Another week has come and gone, and it’s Thursday again. This is the day we 4 Moms try to convince our 35 children to entertain themselves and each other without talking to us every 14 seconds. That’s not because we don’t enjoy our children’s company or conversation, but so that we can write a post on a topic that we hope will be helpful to all you younger moms. You can’t wait for your children to begin talking, and we’re trying to convince ours to stop for breath every now and then.
In case you’re wondering, it doesn’t work. The kids still knock on the door every 14 seconds to show me their latest picture, or ask me to dress the doll again, or hug my leg and beg for a “boo.” No, they don’t all do that; you know what I mean. Some want to discuss the news story they heard on the radio yesterday, or the shape of a graph for a particular type of equation, or what Americans were thinking when they elected Obama and what he really should do to fix the economy.
I like to see and hear what they want to show and tell me but for your sake, Dear Reader, I hurry them along and shoo them out again. So you can learn what I know about picnic foods. Trust me, you’d learn more from my children.
“What does the Shoe family eat on picnics?” you ask. The Shoe family doesn’t do picnics. Maybe we’re wet blankets. Somehow picnics just haven’t entered our family repertoire, and I’ve never thought to feel guilty about it. Should I?
That’s not to say my children don’t know about picnics – see? Didn’t I say you would learn more from them than from me? My little ones beg for picnics several times each week, and they nearly always get them. “You want to go play outside? For a long time? While your older sisters are doing math? Off of the deck and away from the front door? Of course!”
When my Littles go on picnics in the woods surrounding our house, they usually carry little brown bag lunches with them. Don’t worry; I know the story of Hansel and Gretel, so I remind them to stay close enough that they can see the house peeking through the trees. Because they are too little to know better, I skip the formality of individual wrapping for their foods inside their little lunch bags. This means the only trash that
might will be left to blow around our 5 acres is (1) brown and (2) biodegradable.
When they ask for a picnic lunch, the contents are usually a surprise until they head out the door with their lunch sack in hand. I don’t worry about keeping suitable foods on hand, because variety is part of the fun, and tiny amounts of 8 different things are more exciting than a sandwich and a bag of chips.
Contents may include:
- carrot sticks
- 1/4 apple
- 1/3 banana
- peanut butter and jelly “robot” (Perry’s way of saying “rollup,” a sandwich made with a tortilla and rolled up)
- a few almonds
- a few chocolate chips
- a leftover dinner roll made into a pb&j
- chunks of cheese
- a cookie
- cucumber slices
- a roma tomato (some of my kids LOVE tomatoes)
- a few tortilla chips or pretzels
I might also give one child something special to share with all the others. Sometimes this is a secret surprise, so the others don’t know about it until the happy bearer pulls it out. If there’s anything better than a picnic bag full of surprises, it’s one more surprise when you thought you were done!
As you can see, the menu is nothing groundbreaking or even exciting, but the sampler style lets them trade bits and pieces with each other and gives them plenty of choices, and they think it’s great fun. They think it’s even better if I write each child’s name on the bag. It’s so easy to prepare that I don’t mind doing it nearly anytime on the spur of the moment, and I keep a large pack of little brown lunch sacks in the cabinet.
The other moms are talking about it too:
What’s your favorite picnic food or tradition? Link up!
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No blog, or no time to post? Share your favorite picnic food or tradition in the comments!
- June 23 – 4 Moms Q&A: homeschooling, meal times
- June 16 – 4 Moms: homeschooling the challenging child
- June 9 –4 Moms Naptime linky
- June 2 – 4 Moms talk about church