At our family picnic we have a few annual traditions.  One is to take a whole family portrait every year.  We always line up in the same spot on the great lawn at our picnic site. Another picnic tradition is homemade pierogis made by Grandma.  She makes enough to feed everyone, but they always disappear quickly from the sharing table!

Getting ready for the annual egg toss!

Every year we have an egg toss, balloon toss, and play BINGO.  These things help make picnic planning easier  because activities are already planned and most everyone already knows how to play. Using the family picnic fund (collected by donations each year) the picnic planners get prizes for the egg and balloon toss winners, but the BINGO prizes are grab bag gifts brought by every family member. It’s hard to say what is more exciting, yelling BINGO or picking and unwrapping a prize.  You never know what it could be.

This year we started a new tradition with a silly photo opportunity for the family. One of the co planners, Kate, with some help from her mom, gave everyone a chance to be silly and dress up like one of our favorite foods: pierogis!

We’ve already got plans to make a few other cut-outs so even more family members can join in the photo fun at one time.
These are just some of the ways we make our family picnic special every year.  What are some of your family’s traditions?

At our family picnic there are always a few children’s games ranging from about 3-5 games total. These are simple party games that have to work for children of many different ages.  This year we played musical squares,  hot pierogi, and had a sponge and cup relay race.

For the sponge and cup water relay race we made sponge balls using a tutorial from Martha Stewart. Dividing the children into two teams (the children decided to make it boys vs. girls).  They each raced to fill up their 20 oz. plastic cup first by squeezed the water out of the sponge ball one at a time.  If you were wondering the girls won this race.

Musical “squares” was our picnic version of musical chairs.  We covered 10″x10″ cardboard squares in colorful scrapbook paper and set them out on the grass.  Using portable speakers and an mp3 player the game was played in the same fashion of musical chairs.  The children had to sit down on the square when the music stopped, but there was one less square than child each round.  This was a great game and the squares were much easier to transport than 16 chairs!

Hot pierogi was another take on a classic party game.  In honor of our Polish heritage we changed hot potato in hot pierogi.

A pierogi is a delicious Polish dumpling and a family favorite food! We made our pierogi for this game out of scrap fabric.  Setting out our squares from musical squares in a circle with one spot for each child participating the game was played in the same fashion as the classic hot potato. The children passed the pierogi around in a circle while music played. When the music stopped the person holding our fabric Polish dumpling was out.  The last child left not holding the pierogi wins!

Classic party games are classics for  a reason! They lend themselves to any celebration or get together, easily enjoyed by children of any age, and were adaptable so that we could easily play them at a picnic without needed many supplies.

We also had a few more games for both adults and children.  Be sure to check back tomorrow for more about those!

At the family picnic every September we usually keep decorations to a minimum. This is for mainly two different reasons: 1. there isn’t too much decorating space at the picnic site and 2. the person planning the picnic has so much to bring already there is no need to add to his/her load.

We did want to add some special touches to the picnic this year. One way we did that was by making special buntings to hang on the two food sharing tables as well as the table with the game prizes on it.  We made the buntings, pictured above, in colors that coordinated with our blue and yellow invitation.

We also added coordinating paper accents to  old glass jars and bottles filled with flowers from a family member’s garden. Theses added a simply beautiful touch to the community tables.

One final touch was making a large bunting personalized with our family name. We used scrapbook paper and contact paper to make this one so that it will hopefully lasts for years to come.

The invitation for the family picnic has always been fairly casual because the picnic is always on the same day of Labor Day weekend every year, almost always at the same place, and because there is no need to RSVP.

Usually the picnic planner sends out a flyer, but this year we decided to do an email invitation. Without the expense of printing and mailing we were able to create a more colorful  invitation that was free to send out.

Using a picture of the picnic site as a the background we made this brightly colored picture invitation with all the important information.  The picture was emailed out along with the link to the map/directions to the picnic site.  A paper invitation was mailed out to those family members who do not have an email address and at the picnic we double checked to make sure we had the current contact information for everyone. .


a family picnic!

This week we have posts all about a recent annual family picnic that  elevencupcakes contributor, Erin, just helped plan with her sister and cousin.  This annual event has been going on for many many years and is a wonderful end of summer tradition.

We’ll be sharing our invitation, games, decorations, and a few other special ideas from our family to yours.

We hope you enjoy!

Hopefully we’ve inspired you a little bit this week to go have a picnic. We’ve got one last thing to add to your picture perfect picnic. After you’ve planned your recipes, packed your basket, and grabbed your blanket why not take a minute to write up a menu?

It adds to the ambiance and lets everyone know what they’ll find in your basket. Our menu had a lemon theme, it’s a favorite summer flavor of ours.  We had Limonata to drink, lemon pasta salad, turkey sandwiches with lemon mayonnaise on pretzel croissants, and icebox lemonade cookies for dessert. Everything was very refreshing on

We hand wrote out our menu we attached it a piece of cardstock so that it would be sturdy enough to stand up.  To download our picnic menu template click here.

We hope you have lovely time on all of your summer picnics!

Not all picnic grass is perfectly level sometimes it can be difficult to get your cup or bottles to balance. We came up with this great idea to make a level surface for your next picnic.

Using an old board from a board game we created a chalkboard “table” to use at your next picnic. We chose one that folds up into quarters because it fit perfectly in our picnic basket.

If you were wondering this board came from the Home Improvement game.

We covered ours in chalkboard contact paper. We used this because it’s waterproof and adds another fun element to our table.  Peel and stick the paper to your board.  If your board folds in quarters like ours you’ll need to cut the contact paper where the board is in two pieces so that it will fold up the same as before.

After that you are ready to go! Cups and dishes stay upright and if you made a chalkboard like us you’ll have a space for games and drawings, while you are picnicking . 

Don’t forget the chalk!

You might remember we think every party should have a game. We  made this game to play at your next picnic.  Kids and adults will have a blast trying to see who can find all 8 things the fastest. Use the backside to add your own things to “I Spy.”  Don’t forget to pack a pencil, marker, or crayon to check off the circles.

You can download & print  the pdf for this game by clicking here. 

As you may remember from our Earth Day post we love paperless invitations.  Not only do they help the Earth, but they are so quick and easy to make they can help make any regular occasion a little more special.

An adorable email invitation for a picture perfect picnic from pingg.

We love the website pingg for e-invitations and e-cards.  pingg features an extensive gallery of images and invitation/card designs all with the clean modern look we love. Using one of the PopSugar Network designs on pingg we made this adorable picnic invitation. Sending an invitation, whether email or paper, can set the tone for your party and helps get your guests excited about the upcoming event.  While your special someone is at work send them an invitation to your picture perfect picnic.  All you’d need to do is pack your picnic basket, grab a blanket,  and get ready for a lovely evening.

The website for the invitation is  just as great as the email.

This week we’ll be featuring photos, ideas, and projects from our version of a picture perfect picnic.  We love picnics because they are a simple celebration that is just as perfect for an intimate gathering of friends and family. We thought we’d start the week off with an inspiration board full of our favorite picnic finds, ideas, & items.
1.  Always have cutlery ready with this Earth-friendly Urban Picnic Roll-up it comes with bamboo utensils and napkins for two.
Handmade by Nicky at NstarStudio $25

2.  Take a seat on this gorgeous Hand Woven Country Style Turkish Picnic Blanket.
Handmade by Turkishtowel $24

3.  Use this great tutorial for table lanterns from Design*Sponge to light up your picnic during the evening hours.

4.   Pack your treats in these green (both literally & figuratively) BPA free & recyclable food storage containers.
Food Storage Set by Preserve $13.99

5.  Keep everything cool and fresh with a green ice mat non-toxic and made in the USA.
From Crate & Barrel $3.50

6.  Be sun safe! Don’t forget to apply sunscreen. We love California Baby No Fragrance SPF 30+ Sunscreen Lotion.
From California Baby 2.9oz $19.99

7. Keep the kids entertained with My Picnic Sticker Stories featuring Charlie & Lola by Lauren Child.
From $5.99

8. Everyone will enjoy a round of horseshoes before or after eating. Play using the Schylling Rubber Horse Shoe Set from $10.04

9. Don’t let the weather stop you from having a picnic. With this Melissa & Doug Picnic Basket your little ones will always be ready to go. From $15.07