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Summer picnic essentials

Laura Willard is a law school grad who has successfully avoided using her education for eight years and counting. She's a wife and an adoptive mom to two kids. Motherhood is the best job she never knew she wanted so much until she had it...

Plan a summer picnic

Summertime means picnic weather for those of us lucky enough to live in parts of the country that aren't sweltering in scorching temperatures. Picnics are great versatile activities -- for families, hot dates or friends. Whether your picnic is in the park, on the beach or at a fun campsite, check out our list of items you might not have known you needed!

Family picnic

Who doesn't love a great summer picnic? While those who live in parts of the country with sweltering temperatures may want to postpone outdoor dining fun until fall, the rest of us can!

Picnics are for everyone

Picnics are a great summer pastime because they're so versatile. Whether you're single and hanging with the girls, planning a date day with your new guy (or hubby of many years) or looking for a fun afternoon with the kids, a picnic is for everyone!

1Romantic dates

Picnics make great romantic dates. Plan a picnic for an outdoor date with your sweetie. Whether you're early in your relationship or an established couple, taking your dining to a casual outdoor setting is a great way to ensure distraction-free one-on-one time. Having a picnic doesn't meant slapping together a few PB&Js and a bag of chips, either. You can plan a sexy daytime date with adult food. Try a turkey caprese sandwich and a bottle of wine (assuming your chosen picnic spot allows alcohol).

2Family fun

Got kids? Children love eating in new places. Make the picnic fun by packing up an official picnic basket with "fancy" kids' sandwiches. Use a cookie cutter to make shapes out of ordinary peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. If you're normally a no-juice and/or no-soda mom, you can make it special by allowing the kids to pack a juice box or natural soda, such as Hansen's.

3Girlfriend get-together

Enjoy the carefree weekend days of summer with your best gal pals. Spread out a blanket and enjoy some of the delicious comfort foods you normally banish because of their high calorie content. Alternatively, if you and the girls want to keep it healthy, we have great ideas for healthy picnic alternatives.

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