Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Family Night: A drive and a picnic!

Last year, I had planned a picnic to a particular spot many times and each time it rained! We tried again this past weekend and had beautiful weather! It is a short drive, but a beautiful one down what I call a "cute road" which means that trees are growing on both sides and make an arch over the road. It is an even cuter road if it is a dirt road or has a neat fence!

I packed a picnic dinner ~ and off we went! The bugs were out in full force, so we didn't sit still for very long, but it was a fun time anyway!

This is a really neat historic site of a church that was built pre-Civil War. It was burned a couple of times during that time in history - and now is a peaceful place to visit. It is meaningful to us because David proposed here!

The trees were stunning with sunlight filtering through:
And, the little ladies had fun trying to figure out how to pump water!
As I was packing our picnic, I was thinking about the practical vs. the charming. You all already know that I go for charming over practical - packing our meal in enamelware, canning jars and a roasting pan is harder to transport -but so much more charming when you get there!

I can definitely appreciate the value of practical too - but wonder, how do you decide where to draw the line between charming and practical? Do you tend towards one or the other? Just curious... :)


Mary Ann said...

I usually choose the practical over the charming.:-) But for picnics I do love the charming aspect so I prefer to make it a little cute. And picnics are our preferred date night so I like to come up with special touches!

Some charming touches that I love and put into practice are: a wicker basket for transporting, a cute tablecloth/blanket and cloth napkins. I prefer to use non-disposable plates and glasses, but that depends on where we're going.

Our picnics are often just a short drive so I don't always have to use the cooler. Food safety is important though so if I think that the food is going to sit at all, into the cooler it goes. I have been known to transfer it to the picnic basket once we get there, just for cuteness sake.:-)

I use a lot of ziplocs so everything fits in a smaller space. I've learned to keep a simple (but nice) menu so the food is easily stored and transported.

I love the picture of your carrots in a Mason jar. How cute! I may have to try that. With the right basket and menu, Mason jars would be an easy way to carry food and adds a simple touch of charming.

Leanne said...

I let practicality win if I'm starting to get stressed to the point of sinning. It took me a long time to get to this point (and I"m still not perfect at it yet); however, I learned there is no point in planning a "fun" thing, if I"m going to be a basket case getting it done...
so I buy store bought cakes,
wrap in gift bags,
avoid activities that will provoke me to anger with my children.
Oh...and I try to let go of the fear that people will judge me for taking the "easier" way. I remind myself that nothing is "easy" with three very small, very active little boys in tow!
I love all of your ideas, Monica! I often take a small portion and replicate what makes sense for me and then enjoy the results!!

DairyQueen said...

Well, I probably tend towards practical, but your charming pictures have given me an idea! My sweet husband is in the midst of his busy planting season, and doesn't get home until very late. Instead of saving his dinner, I might get a babysitter for an hour and go have a quickie picnic with him and go with the charming over the practical!

You certainly know how to make your family feel special!

What a beautiful place for your husband to propose to you!

Amy @ Keep'n The SunnySide said...

I LOVE charming, but usually choose practical. I like "easy" wrapped up in a neat little package so to speak. We love picnics, but it is our time together that is most important, then comes yummy food. How or what we eat it on depends on how spontaneous or planned our day is.

angela said...

I must say that go for the practical but wish I went for the charming more often.

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Practicality all the way here! : ) (I do love your charming pictures, though.)

I also just wanted to say that the two previous commenters (Mary Ann and Leanne) show lots of wisdom in their comments!

Julie Willis said...

I tend to get a bit to practical....but in my dreams all is charming. I agree about the cute road...spring green trees are beautiful.

Wendi said...

I do a little of both. I love to pack things in canning jars! They are cute and fit nicely in the cooler. If it won't fit in a canning jar I go for ziploc or plastic wear for ease. I bought some inexpensive plastic plates so I don't feel the guilt of using disposable but won't be upset if they don't make it home.

We are planning a picnic evening on Friday. After seeing your pictures I can't wait!

Anna said...

I go more for practical. I do like the charming, and I love the top picture you have of the flowers in a vase. I am not very good at thinking of those ideas myself, but I like to see what other people have done, and copy some of those things.

La Familia Garcia said...

I'm Practical with a touch of charming! But your picnic looks beautiful and makes me want to plan one for our family!

Davonne said...

I'm always practical. No matter what. Sometimes I wish I could be more charming, but one of the things my husband loves about me is that I'm always practical (which, in our house, also means frugal!), and I'm currently working on embracing myself just how God made me, practicality and all!

I LOVE your picnic though, and I have a few mason jars - I may try that sometime. I normally just pack everyone a sack lunch type thing (practical because each person has their own bag), or if I want to get fancy, I'll put the meal in a picnic basket, but the dinner is definitely not cute like yours!

Cheryl said...

Wow, it's picnic weather where you are already?? It's still cold here. I enjoyed seeing your picnic pictures. I am a practical gal, but I do love charming. You have just showed how you can have both. I may have to slip in a little charm next time we have a picnic. Loved the flowers in the coffee pot on the table cloth. I also love how you used the camping enamelware plates. We don't camp often anymore, and my plates just sit up in a cabinet. I will be sure to use them next time we picnic.

Elise said...

Charming...every day of the week. It is sometimes met with eye rolling by people that don't understand. Even if only I appreciate it, I love it, so I go for charming. AND, it makes for cuter photos!!
Love your picnic!! I am going to have to take one of those with my family. On another note, where did you get your enamel ware dishes??
Thank you!!

Patty Williams said...

Beyond charming ! What special memories you are making for your children! They'll be able to think back to all these times they've spent and in turn enrich their own childrens lives with some specialness ! (is that a word?, it is now!)

More than Survival said...

I love and enjoy the charming that others create... but I end up going practical!! I try to incorporate one thing that is charming...!

angie said...

Like most commenters, I love the charming but usually choose the practical. But I do find that my children behave better at the dinner table when they perceive that it is "special."
Last week, while my kids were on spring break, we took many picnics for lunch. One day we even went to Target! We ate the lunch I had packed and the kids got to order one item from the cafe. It wasn't a fancy presentation, but it beat being inside on a rainy day. On another day, we took our picnic to a park. I used our soft-sided cooler. But I looked admiringly at a grandmother who had packed her family's lunch in a wicker basket wrapped in a gingham tablecloth.
As we talked about food storage earlier, Monica, I think it is a matter of changing habits and taking the extra step to put the food in a pretty serving container. Carrots look more appetizing in a Mason jar than the bag they came in.

Anonymous said...

That's it! I'm planning more picnics right now...your pictures have inspired me! Plus, you've reminded me to slow down and be a little more charming with the small things, thanks :D


Stacey said...

I prefer to be more charming, however, when time is short I turn towards practicality so I am not frazzled (which tends to lead towards a not so great time for all). The added care it takes to be charming does make a difference though.
My hubby also propsed to me there! A very special place indeed.

Robin said...

I love the charming stuff you do, but am so practical. I think that's why I enjoy your blog so much because it helps me think differently. Maybe you'll rub off on me!


The Wilcoxson's said...

I am more practical over charming, just because if we go somewhere there is a lot of planning involved with 5 toddlers. I hope that when they get older I will move over to the charming side, but we will have to see.

*carrie* said...

I definitely appreciate charming, but I tend towards practical. Love you!

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

We did both when my kids were younger (especially when my daughter was growing up). It was so worth the time and effort to create beautiful memories.

There were also busy days when we were already out and about when we stopped at KFC or the grocery store for a last minute picnic.

Mom said...

Love these photos of your charming picnic! :) I like to keep things simple, so for me that usually means practical as well. However, I see no reason why you can't have some of both! Picnics feed more than our bodies and if a charming picnic feeds your spirit more than a practical one, I say go for it! :) Plus, I've been on the receiving end of more than one charming picnic you prepared -- very nice! :) Lots of love, Mom

Me said...

Hubby is DEFINITELY practical. I am DEFINITELY charming.

We are so night and day that it isn’t even funny. One year for my birthday, he gave me a kitchen ladder. Hmmmm…. :/ Another year, I got car tires. For my birthday that same year (8 days before Christmas), I got a car battery. ;)

Anonymous said...

Dear Monica:

I was struck by how many people prefer practical over charming.
I'm sure it's a matter of time and money in most cases, but I'm with you. I do prefer charming over practical!

Love your pictures.

Love you, Grandma

Unknown said...

What a neat picnic with your family, Monica! :) I used to be pretty much on the charming side of things, but with each baby ;), practicality has won out...I just realized that I was becoming UN-charming while trying to create a charming mood more oft than not and decided that it wasn't worth it! However, I LOVE your blog because you have all the ideas and then I can just copy! :P HEEHEE! That's what I'm best at anyway, finding creative ideas from creative genius' and copying! :D I am also really close to having my new baby and tend to take it easy on the crafting/charming around these times...this summer though, I want to make sure I throw a little charming back into the everyday, kwim?!Thanks for the inspiration! :)