Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Liam's First Picnic

I wanted to surprise Daddy with a fun event mid-week.  We needed something to lift our spirits and make a normal workday evening feel a bit like the weekend.  But it needed to be free, local, easy, and not interrupt our evening time frame for dinner and bedtime routines.

Hmm.  On went my thinking cap.

And then I got it! 

I decided to surprise Michael by meeting him at the barber shop after work and handing him his overnight bag, just as he got out of the barber's chair.  He was so surprised to see us!  I told him to go to the restroom and change into what he found inside the bag, and I had packed the bag with a T-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops.

Unbeknownst to him, we were about to experience our first picnic as a family of three at a nearby park.  It would be our already-planned salmon dinner, which I had cooked ahead of time and then packed, along with asparagus, buttered rolls, cookies, and ice cold lemonade.

But nobody wants to eat cold salmon and asparagus, right?  No problem; I had a plan.  I would heat up our dinner plates using the microwave near the entrance of our local Panera Bread, which was right near the park entrance.

Perfect.  And sneaky, sneaky.  ;)

Only an elderly couple sitting by the microwave caught on to what I was doing and smiled.  I dashed back out of that Panera Bread before the smell of fish wafted through the air, realizing that I was breaking many social morés but willing to do it for the chance of a hot dinner and a great family memory.

My crazy plan worked...and my men were happy!  :)

Our old-fashioned, classic picnic basket set (with that lovely gingham lining and real leather straps) came with four plates, four cups, and plastic flatware -- and was just $5 at a thrift store.  Our checkered blanket was only a few bucks, too, cut right off the roll at the fabric store.  Yay for saving money!