Sand sculptures and picnic lunches

School was about to begin and we decided with another Mom friend of mine to take the kids on one last outing before they would need to go to school. Just about an hour away is Lappeenranta, which is right next to the Russian border and is has been built on the shores of the great lake area, the Saimaa. Every year the city opens a park full of sand sculptures. This year the theme was heroes. There were all sorts of heroes featured, superheroes from the comic books, athletes and everyday heroes such as doctors. Since the beginning of the summer had been so rainy, some of the sculptures had suffered a bit and were being fixed up.

lappenranta hiekkalinna

It was not long after we arrived and it was almost noon, so we decided to give the kids a little snack of watermelon, as we would have our picnic lunch later in the afternoon. My four year old was sitting on the bench eating her watermelon when a reporter for the local YLE (Finnish national public radio) radio station stopped by and asked if she interview one of the children. Bella just happened to be right there.

Have you been here before? “Yes, many times.”

Did you think the sculptures are better this year than before? “Yes, much better.”

Which is your favorite sculpture? “That castle over there” (It was the only sculpture that we had had a chance to look at since we had just arrived.)

What is your favorite thing to do here? “Eating” (munching on her watermelon, all through the interview)

I do have to mention, that she had never been to Lappeenranta before nor had we ever visited the sand sculptures before. She just conveniently came up with answers to the questions. After the interview, we had to let the reporter in on this little detail. I’m not sure I would have handled an interview so smoothly at four years old. At least she did give her correct name and age, when asked! And I forgot to take a photo of the whole deal. I was concentrating so hard on listening to her answers that I completely forgot even if I was holding my camera the entire time.

lappeenranta sand sculpturesrakuuna dragonlappenranta finland sand sculptures

It was quite late into the afternoon before we left the sand sculptures and went to find a greener park with shade for our picnic. We found a park that had a pavilion that the kids enjoyed creating their own performances and large trees that brought us a bit of shade after being in the sun all afternoon.

roasted vegetable salad

I had made a salad bar style salad, with a basic salad base and then different options all in their own containers. This was the most convenient since we had different age eaters and sometimes the little ones haven’t really learned to eat nuts or if there is someone with a dietary restriction everyone is able to build a salad to their taste.

Roasted Vegetable salad

Roasted vegetables

1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into sticks
1 generous handful of string beans, washed
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Prepapre the vegetables. Peel and cut the sweet potato into sticks. Wash the string beens and cut the tips off. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and lightly toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Bake in the oven until tender and the vegetables have gained a bit of color at 180 C/ 350 F. Allow to cool and then place into a separate container.

Mixed greens (Romano, kale, curly endive lettuce, spinach…)
Cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Grapes, sliced in half
Cucumber, cubed
A few sliced strawberries (I happened to find a few last strawberries in my patch)
light vinaigrette dressing (lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, handful of parsely, or other gardern herbs, finely chopped)

Toss the salad and place into a larger container.

In separate containers pack with: roasted and shelled peanuts, cashews, dried cranberries, cheese cubed, pumpkin seeds, or anything else that takes your fancy.

picnic lunch

Lappenranta picnic

fixing the sand sculptures


  1. What an interesting outing, even if they have been there many times! 😉 Love the looks of the salad–and a great idea for a portable lunch that can be individualised. While we are traveling we often go to one of the groceries here that have salad bars so that I can make such a meal and work around all my food sensitivities. Love Bella’s embellishment of the truth for the interview!

    1. We certainly had a chuckle at Bella’s answers. And I am sure you have all sorts of creative solutions in use when you travel regarding your diet. I suppose little by little people have become more aware making it a bit more easier for you. I have quite a few friends with either celiac’s or sensitivity to wheat and so I get excited whenever I find a recipe that works for all.

    1. I think we all enjoyed it…now looking back, the day was so warm as the crisp, cold weather that changes the the color of the leaves has arrived and the kids must remember their hats and mittens every morning as they go to school. I couldn’t help but smile at her as well, she pulled it off with a completely straight face 🙂

  2. What amazing sand sculptures and I am sure the kids will treasure days like these when older and look back. Bet the reporter had fun too interviewing your daughter 🙂

    1. I’m hoping that perhaps someday they will find this blog to look back and read. It’s the perfect place to capture some of those everyday moments that otherwise would just slip away. At the moment they will come and look at the pictures and see what I’m doing and then go back to their play.

  3. Oh WOW, that’s my kind of outing. Looks amazing. Ha, your daughter sounds like she’d make an excellent politician 😉 And I do love that eating was her favourite activity. Your picnic salad looks lovely.

    1. Yes, I think Saskia you would have loved it with your kids. It will be interesting to see what she or any of the kids will become when they grow up. Each has such a distinct personality and areas of interest. 🙂

    1. Aren’t they, I have often thought that if we were to only live in an adult’s world it might become quite dull…children bring out the inner child in us and make us laugh and do silly things that otherwise might have been left undone. ❤ kids

    1. It was the perfect this to do on those last days before school. The weather was perfect, the small city of Lappeenranta was beautiful and overall it was very pocketbook-friendly. 🙂

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