Sign up for the TODAY newsletter

You have successfully subscribed to the TODAY newsletter.

Subscribe now and get trending stories, celebrity news and all the best of TODAY.

How to have the 'perfect' picnic: You don't even need a hedgehog

by Patrice Poltzer /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY Contributor

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter

For some moms, social media is an endless source of awesome craftiness.

For the rest of us, well, it can trigger anxiety and inadequacy issues that make us want to bash a handmade pinata filled with homemade, organic, dairy-free treats.

All too often, my own pinning sessions take on a "stages of grief" trajectory, as happened recently when I wanted to go on an impromptu picnic with my family.

Stage 1: Shock and denial: I refuse to believe that a human actually made this watermelon so closely resemble a hedgehog. NOT POSSIBLE.

Stage 2: Pain and guilt: I’m staring at the finished product on my computer screen, sad that my son Jenson will never know what it’s like to have a mom who can turn his food into animals. We shouldn’t go on a picnic…ever. I AM SO SORRY, JENSON.

Stage 3: Anger and bargaining: Who are these people? How do they have the time? How does their brain come up with these ideas? How are they transporting this hedgehog to the picnic?

Stage 4: Depression, reflection, loneliness: I am probably the only mom in America who couldn’t turn a watermelon into a hedgehog. I couldn’t even make my son’s sandwiches into really simple butterfly shapes. Where did it all go wrong?

Stage 5: Upward turn: But it’s so nice outside and a picnic COULD be really fun even if we don’t have a vegetable skeleton...or at least I think it could still be fun.

Stage 6: Reconstruction and working through: Jenson is not even 2 and I can still make this experience a really great one for him even if NOTHING we bring is worthy of a pin board.

Stage 7: Acceptance and hope: I have my own talents and while Jenson will never know the feeling of biting into a bear-shaped pizza, he will hopefully one day appreciate that his mom is always up for a spontaneous activity.

So there you have it. I went through all of these stages while I was getting “inspiration” for our family picnic. I didn’t end up using any of the ideas I came across and you can see how our picnic turned out in this video.

My tips on creating a fun, non-crafty picnic:

1. Kids just like to be outside and runaround so you’ve already won!

2. Make the shopping for the food part of the actual experience.

3. Turn the journey to the picnic spot into an adventure. If you normally drive everywhere, take

a bus or a train.

4. Keep the food simple. Think finger foods that require no utensils.

Patrice Poltzer is a producer at the TODAY show and the author of Furst Bites (, where she and her 21-month-old son review restaurants from a family persItpective. Subscribe to her YouTube channel to see more parenting and food videos and you can follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter