July 15, 2013 | in Nanny
An impromptu picnic sounds fun in theory, but it can quickly become an unorganized mess if you’re not armed with a few time-saving tricks. These hacks can help you plan the most efficient and effective picnic, even if you don’t have an entire day to plan and pack the gear.
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- Hull Strawberries With Drinking Straws – Snag the container of washed strawberries you have in the refrigerator and a few drinking straws. When you get to your picnic site, simply push the straws through the berries, starting at the pointy end and going through the hull. Slide the strawberries off the straw in the same direction, and voila! No more hulls, and no need to pack a knife.
- Freeze Water Bottles to Keep Foods Cold – If you have a few hours of preparation time, empty a bit of water out of a few plastic bottles to allow room for expansion, then toss them in the freezer. When they’re frozen, they’ll help the ice in a small cooler keep foods cold. When they’re set out in the hot sun for a few minutes, they’re an icy cold refreshment to stave off dehydration.
- Light Up a Nighttime Picnic – There’s something charming about the idea of a picnic under the stars. At least, there is until you make your way outside at night and realize that the stars aren’t quite bright enough to illuminate your feast. Before venturing into the great outdoors for a midnight snack, toss a gallon container filled with water and a headlamp into your bag. Strap the headlamp to the container, lighted side facing in towards the water. The liquid will disperse the light, creating a romantic glow that allows you to see what you’re eating without blinding you in the surrounding darkness.
- Pump Up the Jams – If you have your smartphone on hand and a plastic cup, you have the means to keep the picnic party going with some fun, summery tunes. No worries about a lack of external speakers; dropping your phone into the cup with the internal speakers turned up will boost the volume, allowing everyone in your party to hear your music without the need for clumsy wires and speakers.
- Wrap Glass Bottles in Fabric For Easy Carrying – Spread a thin tablecloth out on the floor, positioning it so that it looks like a diamond from your perspective. Place two glass bottles, butt ends together with the necks hanging out, at the base of the diamond. Pull the bottom corner up to cover the bottles, then roll the whole thing up into a tube. Keep the cloth in position, then stand the bottles up. Tie the loose ends together, and you have a handy handle for toting your wine bottles and your picnic cloth, all in one!
- Clip Flatware to Brown Bags With a Clothes Pin – Pack your picnic lunches in plain, brown paper bags, then fold the opening down. Run the handle of lightweight flatware along the fold, then clip the tip with a clothespin. Everyone will have their self-contained meal kit, and you won’t have to wrestle with a mass of heavy silverware at the bottom of your basket or bag.
- Fill Straws With Salt and Pepper – Salt and pepper are staples for the picnic table, but packing shakers is a mess waiting to happen. Instead, seal the end of a drinking straw with cellophane tape, then pour salt or pepper into the tiny container. Tape off the other end, and you have portable seasonings in small doses!
- Serve Condiments or Deviled Eggs in a Muffin Tin – Muffin tins are great for making baked treats, but their individual compartments also make for great storage and serving. Pop deviled eggs into each compartment of one tin. Fill another with dollops of ketchup, mustard and other creamy condiments, then wrap with aluminum foil. As long as you keep the trays upright, you’ll have a mess-free way of toting your necessaries without being forced to bring along an array of cumbersome bottles and jars.
- Keep Drinks Bug-Free With Cupcake Liners – Bugs are a constant nuisance, especially when you have sugary drinks nearby. Keep those crawly critters out of your drinks by inverting cupcake liners over the mouth of a cup, then poking a straw through the paper. You’ll be able to drink as much as you like, but bugs won’t be able to find their way into the glass.
- Spill-Proof Canned Beverages – Keep a few of these stake-based cup holders on-hand, and you’ll never have to worry about another spilled picnic beverage again. Collect the tin cans from canned foods, and wash them thoroughly. Cover them with bright paper or fabric for a decorative touch, then drill a hole in the bottom to attach a thin dowel rod. The rod acts as a stake, and the can is the perfect size to house a can of soda. No more spilled drinks!
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