Mother’s Day offers opportunities for each and every one of us to demonstrate affection for the woman who cares so much for us each and every day of the year. While presents on Mother’s Day are always appreciated, what most moms want is the gift of time spent with their sons and daughters.

Since Mother’s Day arrives in the bloom of spring, one of the best ways to let Mom know how much you care is to prepare and a meal together in the great outdoors. To make Mom feel special and pampered, however, it’s a good idea to serve the meal on a special picnic table set just for her. Mom will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

It’s not necessary to spend hours slaving over the stove either. In fact, preparing most of the food beforehand lets everyone relax and enjoy Mom’s special day together. To keep the mood light and festive, set the table with a pretty tablecloth adorned with bunches of flowers placed in jam jars, and then carry out the food packed up in a picnic basket. Place a few well-chilled water bottles in the picnic basket to keep the food chilled. You’ll create the atmosphere of a spring picnic without Mom having to endure the discomfort of eating on the ground.

Rather than fixing an elaborate meal, choose foods that help keep the conversation flowing. Bite-sized vegetables served with a few dips are a good idea. Mom will get a kick out of sandwiches wrapped like presents in waxed paper. Place bows on the sandwiches to match the flowers, tablecloth and napkins, trim them with Mother’s Day stickers, and you’ll have all the table decorations you need. Fruits served in ice cream cones topped with whipped cream make a fun dessert.

This Mother’s Day, give Mom the gift that she wants most: time spent with you. With a little planning and preparation, you can surprise Mom with a festive meal outdoors that won’t take one minute away from the time that you spend with her.