In the Spring when Sadie visited her childhood friend in Indiana, I immediately began receiving text messages with pictures of a Bumble Bee luncheon Gail had planned for my mother’s arrival. Next thing I knew an entire Bumble Bee tablescape had been smuggled back to Texas in Sadie’s suitcase, This is definitely going on your blog, Lauren, were Sadie’s words to me.
She unpacked a delightful group of table setting paraphernalia: placemats, plates, a tea towel, S&P shakers and vase–all loaded with Bumble Bees, and I debated for a while what kind of Bee party I would have. Then it hit me.
These three were coming to town.
It was time for a Bumble Bee Picnic for the Nieces and Aunt LaLa.
Apart they are Layne, Larkin and Abby. But together they are the Nieces, a powerful girl squad of curls, braids, squeals, dresses, leotards, kittens, yellow, babies, pets, glitter, ponies, sparkles, tinted chap stick, nail polish, head bands, purple, missing teeth, tangles, bossiness, jewels, tiaras, drama…are you getting the picture?
This little harem of girl power is a blessed blast of ‘girliness’ which I don’t get often living with three boys. I had planned to have our picnic when everyone was here over the 4th of July, but when Daddy ended up in the hospital, plans changed a bit.
We will definitely have our Bumble Bee Picnic (or a wintery version of if) when the Nieces return at Christmas, but I still want to show you how FANTASTIC it would have been! It is never too early to show the Nieces the basics of entertaining.
The success of a picnic really relies on one important element: a tray as the centerpiece. Without a hard, flat surface drinks and flowers will topple over in no time at all–the tray basically serves as your table. After spreading out a soft, blue and white striped quilt, I placed a coordinating tea towel on top of the tray and then arranged all the essentials we would be needing: drinks, desserts and daisies…well, mums because I couldn’t find daisies.
Lets talk aesthetics:
Placemats by Mary Lake-Thompson were such a fun addition. They are paper–which is ideal for a picnic with for the Nieces–and have a sweet little place-card already printed on the mat itself. The drink, napkin, silverware, wine cork and wine spill are printed on as well. How fun would these be to use for a wine and cheese party on the patio????
When shopping at a lovely little boutique in South Padre, I grabbed these Mackenzie Childs straws and cupcake cups just because I loved them. At the time, it didn’t occur to me to use them for the Bumble Bee Picnic, but then black and white checks ended up complementing the blue and white gingham on the placemats very nicely. Plus a bit of black provides a sharp but necessary bit of contrast to every tablescape. This is true for clothing ensembles as well.
Our menu did not call for silverware, and the centerpiece tea towel and nearby watering hose makes for the perfect napkin. Honestly for kid picnics, don’t stress about every element you would normally use on your table. Kids never use napkins and will probably wipe their hands on the picnic blanket anyway, why not break a few rules and let them? Or just let them jump in the pool afterward.
Melamine plates decorated with Bumble Bees (and resemble paper ones!) looked so picnic-y! Mason jars and an old-fashioned milk jug complemented the Provencal feel, and allowed for the beautiful color of the Orange Mango Fizz to pick up the same rich color from various parts of the picnicscape.
One of the salad plates from my china pattern held the dessert–I added some Bumble Bee stickers as a border to stay on theme. In fact, I added a few of these stickers to many elements of the ‘scape to add additional texture and Bumble Bee-ness.
Small details like stickers or twine are inexpensive touches that add layers to your setting.
Let’s talk cuisine:
This picnic is for kids, so I didn’t go out of my way to blow their minds with gourmet treats. I did, however, plan a menu that was both elegant and kid friendly: Flower shaped tea sandwiches made of almond butter and lavender honey (a play on a typical PB&Honey sandwich), grapes and cheese are oh-so-French and a little piece of Bumble Bee Chocolate for dessert. I found this chocolate by Adam Turoni when flipping through a Southern Living at the hospital with Daddy. To find a ready-made dessert which was also on theme was a gift…and I ordered it from my Father’s hospital room that day!
For the Orange Mango Fizz, I added Pellegrino to Orange Mango juice for an unexpected bit of bubbles. Plus–the kids think anything carbonated is “coke” which is obviously cool.
I know the thought of a picnic can sound like a big hastle. So, have one anyway. They are so much fun, and can really take us back to another time when fresh air and home made food was the norm, sticky hands and faces weren’t a big deal, and the sweetness of honey was nothing compared to time spent with family.
-ciao for now-
photo credit: Corrie Barto