Essentials for a Summertime Picnic in the Park

Over the weekend, it was Jeff's birthday. Last year, we spent the day at his new favorite spot here in AZ - the golf course. However due to a lower back injury he's been experiencing, I planned something a little more relaxing to celebrate his birthday and for us to relax and enjoy together: A Summer Sunday Park Picnic. Back in the Fall, we had a park picnic at a spot we came across in Scottsdale, but I wanted to try a different and new to use place. During July 4th weekend, I came across a local park, just 40 mins north of us in a place called Fountain Hills. Since it's a little higher elevation than us here in the valley, it was a little cooler, not to mention the huge lake the park is surrounded by has a huge fountain in its center. When the fountain is gushing, and a wind blows, it creates a mist to help cool down people walking the park or just lounging under the trees - which is where we picked our spot for our picnic.

Different from the picnic we planned in the Fall (read: Enjoying A Fall Picnic In The Park), passing by a gourmet market to pick-up a mix of salads and wrap sandwiches, I prepared the picnic feast at home, with the summer fruits and foods I had on hand. I made us Jeff's fave potato salad the evening before, and I did pick up some better deli meats & cheeses for our lunch. Reusable containers came in handy for packing the potato salad plus fresh cut strawberries, watermelon, and a mix of feta with red grapes. Recycled juice containers came in handy for our beverages I also made: Limeade for me and fresh brewed tea for Jeff. A pretty blue glass wine bottle I also recycled came in handy for a small vase of three Gerber daises from the bunch I picked up during my weekly grocery trip. A burlap tote I had gotten from the Winter Market came in handy to carry the sheet, fabric, napkins, melamine plates, cups, the wine bottle vase, utensils and a cutting board. Tip: Bringing along a cutting board helps to give one flat surface when you're doing a ground picnic. And although the "basket" for a picnic is a must, it may not keep the foods as well chilled as need be (especially mayo based salads & sandwich meats) so we did also bring a small rolling cooler for the drinks and extra ice - plus the handle helped to hold two tie-on covered pillows I brought to help make the ground more comfortable for Jeff... Needless to say he not only ebjoyed the food but the water view too - which is a rarity to be near (in comparison to FL living) here in Arizona...

Although I made the potato Salad the night before, I made hoagie sandwiches in the morning with a splurge (for us) on some special deli meats and cheese. To hold these stacked sandwiches in place for transport, I cut them in half, and wrapped them in parchment paper, before wrapping in a Ziplock baggie.

Jeff was happy - Food + Water view!

Picnic Attire:
Dress in lightweight cottons and linens to help keep you cool...

Making hubs happy makes me happy...

Picnic Tip:
Put that extra flat sheet from your sheet set to use: Bring it along for a park picnic... along with a few throw pillows for added comfort while lying on the ground...

 I know Jeff would have loved to have gone and played golf (like we did last year for his birthday) but that just can't be this year. But we were still able to get outside and actually enjoy the outdoors - more relaxing - and left the park as two happy campers! --or is that picnic-ers? :)

Earlier last week, when I wrote my blog contribution to the Hadley Court blog, I wrote a post about organizing a summer picnic, which included a list of essentials, a link to recipes, and several picnic ideas to inspire you from backyard picnics, to parks, to even a mention of beach picnics. If you missed my post, you can read at: The Essentials for Organizing an Easy Summer Picnic...

 Pulling together your own picnic, for a park or the yard really doesn't take much, it's not expensive, plus it's way to get out and peacefully enjoy summertime outdoors...

Sandwiches cut in half and wrapped in parchment paper before wrapping in a ziplock baggie helped hold these beasts together for transport. I repurposed Jeff's everyday lunch meat containers for sides (such as potato salad and fruits). Cooler packed with ice plus Limeade, Ice tea and water. (Non-alcohol & no soda picnic) -- an important essential to a picnic here in AZ: stay hydrated!

Having a list on the fridge helped keep more organized for Jeff's B-Day... but I don't have any idea what "came" is... lol (hate when that happens!!) I either meant cooler, cutting board or card... Jeff got upset because he tried to bring speakers for his iPod but the batteries were dead - But in all honesty - we didn't need the music... it was such a nice break to listen to a warm breeze wrestle in the trees, birds chirping, ducks quacking and the WATER chopping against the sides of the pond... not to mention the misting cooldown we got when the fountain shot up! (105 temp must have dropped 10 degrees!)

Pulling together most picnic essentials the night before helped me get ready quicker Sunday morning - even-though I did edit (not take all in above pic) most everything fit perfectly in the burlap tote...

What does it cost to have a picnic (for two)?

Groceries - Let's say $30 (or less)
and below is a list of using what i already had, but for some items, in new ways -
Picnic Basket - Gift from Jeff's mom (2009)
Stripe Sheet (RL queen) + Stripe Melamine sq. Plates + Cutting boards - HomeGoods (2011-2014)
 Ikat Blue Melamine Plates + Blue cups - Target (2010)
Polka-Dot Tea Towels - Pottery Barn (2014)
Natural Linen Euro pillows (covers) - Ikea (2012)
 Buffalo Check Napkins + Plaid fabric + Denim pillow - Goodwill Thrift Finds (2013)
and my plaid strapless dress was also a thrift find - $5 at Goodwill during 50% day.

Find an ideal location to suit you and your mate or your family and enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by!

Note: This post is sponsored by HomeGoods and shared on the Happy By Design Pinterest project. All thoughts and opinions are of my own.

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