Splendor in the Grass



With this year’s record rainfall, wind storms and snowpocalypses (snowpocalypsi?) behind us, and as we spring ahead into lengthening days, it’s time to head outside to “blow the stink off ’ya,” as my father-in-law loves to say.

And what better way to bid good riddance to winter than a springtime picnic? For all the vitamin D-deficient, wildflower-deprived, still-slightly-soggy families out there, I have just what you need to plan and execute the perfect picnic.

Pin and plan

As your kids treat your living room as a parkour course on yet another rainy day, pin your way past cabin fever. Head to Pinterest and save every crustless sandwich recipe and twee everything-on-a-stick hack. Conveniently forget that your children eat only beige food.

Collect your gear

You’ll need a chic basket (preferably handmade by a women’s collective in a developing country), melamine plates and biodegradable, plantable flatware embedded with seeds so you leave violets in your picnic’s wake.

Plan your menu

Don’t sell yourself short with PB&Js (unless you’re going fancy-pants with pomegranate jelly and sprouted bread, obvi). Think hand pies, heart-shaped cucumber slices and skewers of fruit arranged in rainbow hues. Bonus points if you stick to a theme of one of the month’s regrettably overlooked holidays (like National Candied Orange Peel Day, May 4, or my personal favorite, Eat What You Want Day, May 11).

Pack the food

One easy rule to follow: Everything on the menu must be either wrapped in brown kraft paper and twine color-coded to each child or layered parfait-style into a Mason jar.

Hike to your picnic spot

Park picnics are for amateurs. Find a hilltop that overlooks a bucolic scene instead.

Enjoy your well-deserved picnic

You’ve hauled blankets, a basket weighed down by homemade watermelon-mint lemonade and a crew of reluctant kids to your picnic spot. You sit down only to have the waterlogged grass soak through the seat of your pants. Your kids refuse to eat anything but the strawberries off the itty bitty cheesecakes you baked. And you realize that a dark, heavy-looking cloud is heading right your way.

But you’ve got this. You tucked a can of pinot gris beneath the prosciutto-wrapped asparagus. Take a sip as you watch your kids chase each other through the spring blooms and crouch to investigate a busy earthworm. The weather will turn for the wetter any moment, but don’t worry: Your picnic blankets can double as ponchos. After all, you planned the perfect picnic. 


Catherine Ryan Gregory

Catherine Ryan Gregory

Catherine Ryan Gregory is a Portland writer and mother to 1-year-old Maxine and 3-year-old Edie. She hikes with the kids rain or shine, can't keep the house clean and blogs about trying to be a good—or good enough—mother at TenThousandHourMama.com.
Catherine Ryan Gregory

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