Day-to-day life with small children is often chaotic (but you knew that, right?). For me, it’s easy to get swept up in the chaos and the feeling, or actuality, that there is always something that needs to be done. Whether it’s dinner, homework, laundry, or cleaning, our two kids keep us on our toes. They seem to fill the day-to-day so completely that it can be tough to get out there and have a little fun. But, recently, my oldest daughter and I assembled a few simple snacks, threw everything in a canvas bag, and headed out for a little picnic. We weren’t after anything fancy, just some time together outside on a crisp fall day.
And guess what? It was a total blast. We spotted a hawk and lots of other woodland creatures. We explored a bit and then cozied up to a warm mug of hot squash soup, plus apples and good bread. It was great fun to frolic outside, and for me, it was a powerful reminder that the best times are those that emphasize family and togetherness.
So, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by to-do lists this season, why not head out for a laid-back picnic? Bundle up, pack a few favorite snacks, and get outside. During the coldest months, think about an indoor or car picnic. Whether you visit a local park, drive out to the countryside, or set up in the backyard, creating family fun and lasting family memories is easier than you might think.
Head below for a few pictures from our fall picnic adventure and the recipe for a thermos-ready roasted squash soup!
Everything You Need to Have a Simple, Fun Fall Picnic! 1 of 9
A fall picnic is a great way to get out and have fun, even in cold weather! Add fall flavor and keep warm by bringing along an easy-to-make roasted squash soup.
Simple Pleasures 2 of 9
My daughter wondered why we didn't have a picnic basket for our outing. It would have been nice, but since we don't have one, this sturdy canvas bag was perfectly portable and lightweight.
Snack Time 3 of 9
Keep things simple for your fall picnic, with finger food staples like bread, sliced cheese, apples, and dried fruit and nuts. Bring a few enamelware or plastic plates, plus napkins and water or a thermos of something warm.
Soup’s On! 4 of 9
Serve soup for a crowd with enamelware mugs —— no spoons required!
Roasted Squash Soup 5 of 9
Capture the flavors of fall with an easy roasted squash soup. (See recipe below.)
Taste Test 6 of 9
Happily, my toughest critic was a fan of the squash soup. (The mug doubles as a hand warmer.)
Tree Climbing 7 of 9
Even in the late fall, the woods are fun to explore. We climbed trees, did some bird watching, and collected a few pinecones.
Small Treasures 8 of 9
My daughter spotted this tiny dandelion. It was surprising to find a flower so late in the season.
Happy Kid 9 of 9
Taking a short break from the everyday was fun for both of us. This happy smile says it all.
Roasted Squash Soup with Citrus and Thyme
1 medium-sized kabocha squash, stem cut off, halved and seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon each ground cumin and coriander
pepper to taste
zest and juice of one orange
4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Slice the squash into 2-inch wedges and arrange on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and spices. Roast for 30 minutes, flip, and roast for 15 – 20 minutes longer, or until wedges are soft and have browned along the edges.
Allow wedges to cool, and then scoop the flesh out of the peel.
In the pitcher of a blender, combine the peeled roasted squash, any remaining juices or oil from the baking sheet, orange zest and juice, and 4 cups broth, and puree until smooth. If needed, add an additional cup of water.
Pour mixture into a saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Check salt and pepper levels and adjust as needed.
Serve immediately, or pour into a large thermos and hit the road!