(Image courtesy of IStockphoto)

 How Much Does A Picnic Cost?

Would it be fair to say "nothing?" I mean, if you're going to eat lunch (or dinner) anyway, it doesn't cost anything to take the meal outside, spread a blanket on the grass, and eat in the shade of a favorite tree. If you don't have a backyard, is there a nearby park that would work?

I remember, as a child, eating many week night suppers at a park not far from our home. Usually it was a one-dish casserole meal, wrapped in a beach towel to keep it warm. We had a box in the trunk of the car filled with re-usable plastic plates, cups, cutlery, and tablecloth. We'd grab that casserole, an insulated jug of lemonade, and we'd be on our way. Those are happy memories for me--I should do it more with my own children!

Think about putting together a re-usable picnic set from thrift store or yard sale finds. Consider it an investment in recession-proof family fun.

Recently I came across an idea for keeping wasps away from a picnic. The wasps aren't too plentiful yet in our neck of the woods, so I haven't tested it out. I'd love to hear if any of you do this, or have another idea. Email and I'll post your answer on our blog.

Take a small plastic water or pop bottle. Cut the top off and then turn it upside down and invert it into the bottom half. Put some syrup or other sweet liquid in the bottom of the bottle, and set it a little distance from where you're eating. The idea is that the wasps will go into the bottle to get at the sweet liquid, and then won't be able to get back out through the narrow neck. I wonder if it would help to smear some petroleum jelly or something around the neck of the bottle to make it harder for the wasp to get back out? I'll give it a try!

On The Blog Last Week!
Last week on the Econobusters blog, we shared many wonderful articles and posts. Many of the comments that were left are very useful as well, so make sure you read those also!

  • Read about my fabulous find and my wonderful savings from Weekend Wonders. If you come across some great savings while out shopping, don't forget that you can join in and share with other readers your great bargains!
  • Do you need some new recipes for chicken? You can find two new recipes here.
  • Starbucks lovers will want to definitely read about this frugal offer.
  • Tired of folding your towels? Read about my new way to improve our towel clutter!
  • Looking for some beauty products but low on cash? I listed some free samples in Friday's post! Be sure to check them out.
The Weekly Recipe
Have you ever had the Sonoma Chicken Salad at Whole Foods Market? It is my favorite chicken salad to take along on picnics, but I don't like to pay the price they charge for it, so I made my own version of their recipe and I would like to share it with you!
If you would like to make this version of the chicken salad even more frugal, look for boneless, skinless chicken breasts, red seedless grapes and celery advertised at rock-bottom prices, and then stock up. I buy my chicken breasts at $1.77 or so per pound to keep this recipe as inexpensive as possible. Grapes at around a $1.00 or less per pound are also a good deal.

Wine Country Chicken Salad
4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless), cooked and chopped into one-inch cubes
1 bunch red seedless grapes, cut in half
2 celery stalks, cut in half lengthwise, then chopped finely
1 cup chopped walnuts (or any other nut that you prefer -- toasted almonds are very good as well!)
1/2 to 3/4 cup mayo (or to taste)
1-2 tablespoons Apple Cider vinegar
2 teaspoons poppy seeds or celery seed
salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl, whisk together mayo, apple cider vinegar, poppy or celery seeds, salt, and pepper, set aside.
In another bowl, combine the chicken, grapes, celery and nuts.
Pour mayo/vinegar mixture over chicken and veggies then mix together.
Cover and place in the refrigerator for two hours (or overnight) to chill and allow flavors to heighten. Serve with whole grain bread or crackers with dark green leafy lettuce. Delicious, nutritious, and refreshing on a hot day!

This Week's Tutorials

 Picnic Blanket with Rock Pockets

Photo courtesy of Erin at House on Hill Road

I love to take a blanket with me anytime we go on a hike, to the park, lake, or just on a picnic. Here is a wonderful tutorial from Erin at House on Hill Road.  She was a guest blogger at Sew,Mama,Sew and she graciously shared her Picnic Blanket with Rock Pockets design.  Personally, this is my favorite picnic blanket I have seen so far. Never again will I have to worry about the corners flying up while I am trying to place the food out!
Idea Center
Here are some other great links that I found this week while searching for picnic ideas for you!  Hope you enjoy!

  • Get the family together and make your own picnic table! Family Fun has the best idea and a free plan to create your own!
  • My little ones love to pretend like they are throwing their own picnic, so here are some printables from Wonder Time to make that fabulous kid-friendly picnic.
  • If you are traveling, Picnic Recipes and Games offers a listing of picnic areas in the United States.  They have over 109 listed!
  • Picnic Recipes and Games also has many different ideas for games, recipes, and more!  You can check them out here.
Molly's Money-Saving Digest

I'm excited to say that my May Digest is now available. We have all the usual goodies, along with a focus on education. This covers everything from fun pre-school activities you can do at home, to saving money on college costs. You don't need to be a homeschooler to find lots of useful tips in this Digest. I know you'll love this issue as much as I do.
What others are saying about Molly's Money-Saving Digest for May 2009:
"Molly has delivered yet another inspiring yet ultimately practical issue dedicated to all the areas which matter most to homeschooling families, which I'm sure you'll find well worth the cover price of $4.95!"--Michelle Smith, TOS Research Panel
". . . May's issue is my favorite issue of Molly's Digest so far! It was encouraging and refreshing--exactly what I needed to read this week!"--April Elstrom, TOS Review Panel
Molly has a wealth of information and support to share in one easy-to-read, handy resource for an incredibly low price!  At under $5, you'll recoup your cost of this E-Book right away. And you'll more than recover your investment as you are encouraged to keep going strong in your commitment to the Lord and your family. 

You can also purchase January, February, March, and April digests.  Don't forget about the free binder covers that we created for those of you who print your digests!
We Want to Hear from You
We have some great topics in the works for Molly's Money-Saving Digests, and would love to include your stories and ideas. We're working on July's Digest right now. You're in for a treat with this special issue on frugal fashion. August's featured topic is organizing and September we will be talking about decorating. Show us your stuff! We'd love to showcase your talent and ingenuity, and give you a free Digest! We're always looking for "goal-getter" stories, examples of up-cycled or re-purposed objects, and frugal decorating ideas. Send me your story--Remember, if we include your contribution in a Digest, you'll receive that issue FREE.   

Until next week! 
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Do you have something to share?  Write to us at  All submissions become the property of and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC ("TOS") and will not be returned.  Making a submission constitutes full consent to the Econobusters' Submission Guidelines and Release, and a grant of unlimited permission and continuing, non-exclusive rights for and TOS, to print, publish, broadcast and use all portions of your submission, including without limitation your full name, on and other Internet websites owned or operated by TOS, in Molly's Money-Saving Digest and all other electronic, digital and print publications produced, created or published by TOS in accordance with the Econobusters' Submission Guidelines and Release posted at Econobusters.  TOS will make reasonable efforts to withhold personal names if requested at the time of original submission.
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