An Arctic Picnic

The friendly people at Tiger Sheds are my guests today sharing their ideas for how to picnic, Arctic-style. There are a couple of recipes too that I’m going to try, like banana fairy cakes.

I’m drowning in property listings at the minute as I try to find us a new home and now that I’ve checked out their playhouses I think we need a garden big enough to accomodate one of these babies. Now that’s the kind of playhouse I dreamed of having as a child!

It’s bitterly cold out there, and there’s not much to do. These two are never good combinations, as many mothers know as this leads to boredom. I know from experience that bored kids leads to trouble. But there is a simple way to do something fun with them, that doesn’t cost too much either. Go out for a picnic with them. A picnic in the dead of winter, I hear you say?

Yep, a picnic in the dead winter, or as I’ve coined it an arctic picnic. Instead of going to the park, you have the picnic in your garden shed. This way you are outside, but protected from the elements. Depending on how full your shed is, you can either clear a space big enough for your picnic, or clear it all out and completely transform it into an arctic wonderland with paper cut-out snowflakes, ice caves made of a nest of white and pale blue cushions and blankets, and wild penguins lurking in every corner. (They’re just cuddly toys, so no worries. They probably won’t steal your food.) After a good sweep out and cobweb removal, your shed will be ready for its transformation, and you can opt for some garden furniture as your table and chairs, or go for the traditional large picnic blanket. If you can, choose a blanket with a winter theme on it to set the scene. For the illusion of snow, you could also place an old, white bed sheet on the shed floor. You should definitely consult your creative helpers, i.e. children, when designing your arctic wonderland.

Oak Trees In the Snow at Dawn

The scene is set, so now you need the food. Some treats and goodies should be prepared. For the main, consider a pasta salad. Simply cook the pasta and add mayonnaise or tomato puree, or make one of each if you have a mayo fan and a tomato fan, as I do, then choose some ingredients to go in your salad. Tuna, sweet corn and mayonnaise is a classic, as well as tomato puree, sausages and peas. Ask your helpers what they want, and see what they come up with. You may need to reign in their imagination eventually, as cornflakes with tomato puree and pasta really doesn’t go. Nevertheless, let them have a food combination go.

For the pudding or dessert, how about some banana fairy cupcakes? You’ll need 2 eggs, 100g self-raising flour, 100g butter/margarine, 100g soft brown sugar, and 1 old banana that has been left in the bowl too long. Whisk all these ingredients in a bowl until the mixture is smooth and airy, then pour it into cupcake cases and place it into a pre-heated oven (200⁰C / Gas 6) and bake for 12-20 minutes. The time varies from oven to oven. While they’re cooking make some icing to go on top. Add some yellow food colouring to the icing for that pretty, yellow cupcake look. Your kids should have control over stirring both the cupcake mixture and the icing. (And licking out the bowl, but they’ll mention that bit, trust me.)

For drinks, you could have some healthy orange juice or some homemade hot chocolate. Or both. For the hot chocolate you need 10 cups (not mugs, tea cups) of dry milk powder, 4 three quarter cups of sifted sugar, 1 three quarter cup of unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 three quarter cup of non-dairy creamer. Add all these ingredients in a large bowl and mix them together. This recipe serves about 15 mugs worth, so the leftover mix should be stored in an airtight container. Tupperware will do the trick. Pour four moderately heaped spoons in a mug and add boiling water. Stir well and top with whipped cream, marshmallows or nothing at all, depending on how you like your hot chocolate.

Now, pack it all up in your picnic basket and off to your arctic picnic you go. Remember some coats or a portable heater for the shed. Think of some activity for after the picnic, too. You could take a board game with you, as something to do together once everyone has eaten their fill. Or play some word association games, such as finish the story, when someone starts a story with one sentence and every person gets to add a sentence.

You’ll be able to enjoy each other’s company and have a fun day out without actually leaving your home.

Penguins

**This is a sponsored post folks**

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