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It’s National Picnic Month!

This one simple activity has a whole month dedicated to it. And our family has been taking advantage of it for generations.

My grandmother had a flair for picnics. She kept a wicker picnic basket at the ready stocked with the staples: cloth napkins, tablecloth, paper plates & disposable flatware. My favorite item was a salt shaker with a squeeze-open lid, only she never kept just plain old salt. It was seasoned salt, and with the lid on auto-close, it was never a cause for bad luck spills. It was fun to pull back the lid and color the white of her picnic-special-hard-boiled eggs with orange spicy yumminess.

Did blueberry pie and taco grease end up all over your napkins? Keep your picnic linens stain-free by spraying them with a 3:1 Pro-Tek solution before tossing them in the washer. You can keep a bottle of Pro-Tek solution in the laundry room to take care of pretty much any stain.

I inherited her love of picnics and keep my own basket at the ready. I don’t have her no-spill salt shaker, sadly, but I do collect those miniscule packets of salt and pepper from take-out meals, and I keep my cloth napkins and tablecloth packed in my on-the-go hamper. 

August is National Picnic Month, and I think it’s wonderful as a country we set time aside for this simple way to be with friends and family. It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to create traditions that gird us into the more complicated days of adulthood, the sweet memories that take the sting out of aging.

This is my secret: I totally cheat with my homemade blueberry pie. It’s a frozen crust and a can of pie filling. No one seems to know the difference, especially if it’s drowning in melting ice cream.

My grandmother has passed on, and my sister, Lisa, and I aren’t the kids at the picnic anymore–now we have kids of our own who are starting to get old enough to make us grandmothers. Lisa and her family live 2,000 miles away in New York, but she and Kevin came out to Grand Junction for a week, and the first thing we did was gather up our rambunctious man-boys and hit Lincoln Park for a family picnic. The miles and years melted away with nothing more than a badminton set, a homemade blueberry pie, and build-your-own tacos. A tablecloth homied up the metal picnic table like a charm. That was all the magic we needed to transform near strangers into family once again. 

I like to be earth-conscious when our family picnics, and that’s why we try to keep our trash at a minimum. Cloth linens are my big go-to because it’s easy to fold up the mess and throw it all in the washer when I get home. We also try to use recyclable items like bottled water and cans of soda–which are a special treats in our low-sugar household. Aunt Lisa made up the idea of turning a dirty paper plate over and flipping up the edges so the back can be used to keep taco grease out of the blueberry pie. Smart cookie! The double bonus? We cut our paper plate use in half.

What are some of your picnic memories? Favorite picnic recipes? Share them below, and happy National Picnic Month–happy spending time with your family–from all us here at Pro-Tek.