How to Pack for a Picnic with Essentials from Miles Kimball

It’s a gorgeous summer Sunday. Your plans to get some housework done today fade as soon as you look out the window and see the sun playing on the softly rustling tree leaves. No, this is a day for a picnic with your family. A few phone calls later, you have a plan to meet your sister and her crew at the park by a nearby lake. Now, the question is, what picnic items will you need? Fortunately for you, you’ve been a devoted Miles Kimball fan for years, so you have everything on-hand for a perfect afternoon outdoors.

Your Picnic Checklist

Because a picnic is essentially a “moveable feast,” your thoughts turn to the food you’ve agreed to supply: your famous potato salad, hot dogs and buns, and a cake (chocolate, your spouse has insisted). You head to the kitchen, and pretty soon, the whole family is down there with you, risen from their beds by the smell of boiling potatoes and rising cake batter in the oven.

In a couple hours, the food is ready, and the family is — well, on their way to being ready. Now for the “moveable” part of that feast you’ve prepared. You already have hot dogs, condiments and buns handy, and you pull out your Bun and Hot Dog Keeper Set, one of your first Miles Kimball purchases. Next comes that spectacular potato salad, the recipe for which you keep top secret. Into the largest of your cheery, summer-themed 6-piece Strawberry Mixing and Storing Bowls it goes. These bowls are perfect for picnics, with their plastic snap-on lids. You start whistling as you pack the picnic lunch. This is getting fun.

Now your cake is ready to frost, and your youngest insists on helping. You hesitantly agree, wondering how much of that frosting will go onto the cake versus into her mouth and all over her chubby little 4-year-old cheeks. Oh well. Once the cake is ready, you pop it into your Miles Kimball 12” Cake Carrier. Check.

It’s time to start packing up the car with the help of your spouse and oldest son. Good thing you purchased that trunk organizer last summer, which included a cooler to keep perishable items fresh. You know how important it is to keep food items cool in the summer heat, especially things like your potato salad. Hopefully your sister will also remember her picnic essentials, like that Miles Kimball Double Decker Insulated Food Travel Tote you gave her last Christmas. She loved it, of course, since you had it personalized with her name.

More Picnic Items to Have On-Hand

Everything seems ready, but you wrack your brain trying to think of anything else you might have forgotten. That’s when your little girl comes outside carrying her Melissa & Doug Cutie-Pie Butterfly camp chair, and you can’t resist sweeping her up in your arms and kissing her, she’s so adorable. The sight of her little chair also reminds you of a few more items for your picnic. You run into the garage and grab the deluxe picnic table cover with cushions, which will make it so much nicer for everyone to sit at those public picnic tables and benches, which can be so dirty sometimes. You know your niece Jenny will especially appreciate this, since she’s always excessively paranoid about microbes.

But wait. What if there’s not enough room for everything on one picnic table? Or worse, what if there’re no picnic tables left? What time is it? We better leave soon, you think, before all the tables get taken. Suddenly calm is restored as you remember you actually purchased two of those amazing red folding picnic tables from Miles Kimball a couple years ago, since they were so handy and reasonably priced. We can always use those, you think, if we miss out on getting a picnic table. Plus, we could set them up right on the shore of the lake, in any pretty, shady spot of our choice. You recall that the folding tables even have special beverage holders for your brother-in-law Eddie to put his favorite beer. Your heartbeat returns to normal as you fetch the efficiently compact tables. Thank you, Miles Kimball.

Un-Pestered and Grateful

Finally, everyone is in the car and you’re backing down the driveway. You decide to text your sister once more to remind her to get ice for the 5-Section Condiment Server she’s bringing. Your mouth is watering as you already anticipate a hot dog with onions, relish and mustard. Just as you’re pressing “Send,” an annoying fly lands on your wrist. Gross. But then, the one last thing you forgot flashes through your mind. Stop the car, honey. You get out and return to the kitchen, where you grab your Picnic-Size Food Umbrella. There is no way insects are going to ruin this delightful picnic.

Your kids laugh and play in the back seat during the drive to the lake. It’s one of those moments of joy and exhilaration, and gratitude is your attitude. You consider how lucky you are — a wonderful spouse and children, a beautiful day ahead, and everything to make it enjoyable with the help of Miles Kimball.

How to Use & Care for Vinyl Patio Covers & Tablecloths

When temperatures start to rise and summer is in sight, there’s an excitement in the air you can’t help but sense — it’s that spring thing. The back yard, perhaps covered in snow just a few weeks prior, begins to poke through in small green shoots. And after being indoors most of the time during the colder seasons, you can’t wait to be outside again gardening, playing with the kids, or having friends over for a barbeque on the back patio.

An Ounce of Prevention

First things first, however. Your patio furniture or picnic table has been sitting through the long, chilly days, out of sight and out of mind. Whether you live in a region where it snows, or simply gets cold and rainy for part of the year, any yard furniture is at the mercy of the elements. Even during warm months, it can be damaged by dirt, tree sap and UV deterioration from the sun.

That’s why it’s smart to use yard furniture covers when you’re not using your back yard, either for a couple days or an entire season. Durable, waterproof covers are available not only for yard and patio furniture, but for grills, air conditioning units, condensers and even lawnmowers. Constructed of vinyl, a type of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), these covers can weather whatever the environment has to dish up. Well-designed covers are easy to slip on and off, generally wipe clean easily, and are elasticized around the bottom so they stay secure.

A Little History of PVC. Furniture covers are only one product among countless others that are constructed of super-versatile PVC, which was first invented back in the early 1920s by a rubber scientist named Waldo Semon. Due to the durability and versatility of PVC — it’s easily moldable, and by addition of various chemicals, it can be made rigid or flexible — it is the top manufacturing material for dozens of industries, including construction, automotive, aerospace, communications, health care, textiles and retailing.

Vinyl, a type of PVC, is the third most used plastic in the world. About 75% of all vinyl manufactured is used in construction because of its strength; resistance to moisture, corrosion and abrasion; ease of maintenance; and low cost. According to the Vinyl Institute, life-cycle studies of PVC/vinyl show that this material actually helps protect the environment, taking into consideration low greenhouse gas emission, and conservation of resources and energy.

Vinyl Furniture/Table Covers and Tablecloths. Just as the benefits of vinyl make it the perfect material for use in outdoor furniture covers, it is also ideal for outdoor (or indoor) tablecloths. Soon during the growth of plastics manufacturing, it was found that vinyl could be coated on the back with a synthetic, non-woven backing. With its cloth-like consistency, protective and long-lasting characteristics, ease of cleaning, and ability to be imprinted with all kinds of attractive colors and patterns, vinyl is indeed a natural for tablecloths.

Vinyl Cover and Tablecloth Maintenance

While vinyl is easy to care for, there can be issues with vinyl covers or tablecloths staining, wrinkling or becoming moldy. Here are a few guidelines for caring for your vinyl tablecloth, which will help keep it clean, attractive and usable for years:

  • To prevent staining, always wipe up spills from your vinyl tablecloth/cover quickly, using a soft, non-abrasive cloth or sponge.
  • Outdoor dirt or food stains can be removed using a combination of dishwashing detergent and water. An antibacterial kitchen cleaner can also be used, especially if there was raw meat on the tablecloth. If the cleaning product instructions direct, wipe down afterward with a damp cloth.
  • Isopropyl (or rubbing) alcohol works well to remove grease and ink from a vinyl tablecloth. Dampen a white cloth with the rubbing alcohol and rub the stain from the outside toward the center to prevent it from spreading. A stain from a food-based dye can be removed using a solution of one part hydrogen peroxide and one part water. Let the solution work on the stain for several minutes before wiping with a damp cloth. If the stain remains, try using full-strength hydrogen peroxide.
  • Vinyl tablecloths should occasionally be given an overall cleaning, especially if one side is lined with a woven material. For this, you can use a tub, large sink or washing machine. Wash in cold water with mild detergent, and if desired, a non-chlorine bleach. After washing, the tablecloth can be placed in the dryer with other items, and dried at a “low” setting. Monitor the tablecloth in the dryer every 5 to 10 minutes, and remove it promptly when dry to avoid wrinkling.
  • For wrinkles in your vinyl tablecloth, try ironing it on a low heat setting with material, such as a damp towel or cotton/polyester cloth, placed between the vinyl surface and the iron. Use quick strokes while ironing, being careful not to apply enough heat to melt the vinyl.
  • To store your vinyl tablecloth, roll it up on a sturdy cardboard tube rather than fold it, to prevent creases.
  • If mold grows on your vinyl tablecloth, spread it out in the direct sun for several hours. The UV rays of the sun actually kill any active mold. After this, wipe it clean using dishwashing detergent and water, or a kitchen cleaner. Then, rinse the tablecloth with water, and wipe it down one more time with white distilled vinegar to remove any remaining moldy odor.