No-Fuss Dinner Solution: The Picnic


No-Fuss Dinner Solution

In June I had my fourth child, and he is with me 24/7 because I’m breastfeeding. We’ve been fortunate to spend a lot of time with our kids this summer, but it has certainly been hectic. Thus, our house is a disaster. We’d love to socialize at home with friends and family, but we are a little embarrassed by the mess.

Solution? PICNICS!

family picnicMy husband and I are huge advocates of community and connection. If you’ve read my other posts you may have seen me refer to “crappy dinner nights” a few times. The idea is to invite people over for whatever meal you happen to be making that night – and you can’t clean your house or make anything fancy. It’s meant to be very casual. Well, casual is great until your newborn cries from 5-10pm every night, your entire house looks like a tornado ripped through it, and your floors haven’t been cleaned in… a while.

Instead, let’s share a meal in the great outdoors! Picnics have become our family’s new go-to, and our latest mission is to invite others along. Here is a low-maintenance way of getting people of all ages together for a meal. Host your picnic at a public park with a playground and you’ve got your perfect solution for anyone with small children.

Let me break down the benefits for you:

*The mess is not made in your house – it’s quickly picked up and thrown away.

*The nearby playground or park provides awesome outdoor entertainment and exercise for the kids.

*You can let the kids be kids! They can yell, scream, run, and play without you having to worry about them smashing anything.

*Meal planning is simple. Every family brings their own family’s food. You don’t have to worry about making too little or too much food. You also don’t have to worry about your kids not eating what someone else made. And, if your child has allergies, you know better than anyone what to pack for them.

*The schedule is loose. Wanna eat first and then play? Wanna play first and then eat? This is your picnic and you can do what you want to. You can also choose whether breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even snack time is the best picnic time for your group.

picnic*Picnic food is quick and easy. Depending on your ambition level, here are a few options:

            A – Cut out cute dinosaur-shaped sandwiches, stamp them with everyone’s names, and pack all your organic homemade sides and special cut-up fruits and veggies in your adorable monogramed picnic basket.

            B – Quickly throw together some sandwiches, toss a bag of carrots and chips into a cooler with an ice back and a few water bottles. (I make wraps because they are easier for my kids to handle than bread and they don’t get soggy.)

            C – Grab some Subway sandwiches or any fast food and tell the others you didn’t have time to pack up a meal. They’ll understand.

*You can bail any time without being rude. Since it’s easy to pack up your picnic, when your kid is losing their mind or needs to nap, you can easily head out without feeling guilty.

Picnics are an easy and fun way to socialize and enjoy a meal with others. Invite as few or as many people as you want. There is no limit! Focus on the socialization and beautiful surroundings, and less on what’s served, and your family will have a blast. The beautiful weather won’t last much longer, so get out there soon!



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Jolene grew up in Luxemburg, WI. After going to college in Stevens Point and working for a year in the Milwaukee area, she moved to De Pere, WI to get married, start a family, and pursue her career. Both the youngest of six, Jolene and her husband always wanted a big family. After struggling to get pregnant, their family was jump-started by having identical twin girls, Eden and Ellie, who are now 5. Then came Jude, who will be 3 in August, and they just welcomed James, Baby #4, in June. Both she and her husband work, and Jolene owns her own company,, planning large scale entertainment events across the country. Because she has to travel for work, Jolene has used a breast pump while flying, driving, walking and talking, and has the war stories to prove it. Her keys to success (aka survival) are the members of her support system, starting with her husband and extended family, and ending with good coffee and a sense of humor.