A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I took our kids on a hike and nature walk at a nearby environmental center. We spent a few hours together exercising, exploring, and simply enjoying being outdoors.
everyone closely examining a toad
The kids surprised us and hiked almost two miles without complaint. We picnicked along the way, and were fortunate to encounter much wildlife. My eldest even caught his first snake (a harmless worm snake) in a rotten log. Both boys found and caught toads and collected an assortment of treasures to bring home with us.
Often on my husband’s days off we end up driving around town doing errands, maybe popping in the science center for a quick visit, and then back home again for afternoon naps. It’s a predictable routine we have down well. And while I don’t hate it, it isn’t exactly memorable or rejuvenating.
But whenever we ditch the store-hopping-norm and venture out into the woods or splash around in a river, magic happens.
My family has been no stranger to fast food over the past couple of months. We have ordered more meals through a little intercom than I care to count.
Even though we felt this compromise was warranted for a while due to my all-day morning sickness, it’s not a habit that we want to stick around.
Call it convenient, call it cheap, but you can’t call most fast food healthy.
When you are on a trip or out of the house and you don’t have a packed lunch or meal for everyone on hand, it can seem like your choices are limited to golden arches or your neighborhood friendly cows or a host of other fast food restaurants that aren’t always good on your wallet or your stomach.
My mother-in-law is Italian. And like any good Italian, she is an excellent cook. We try to make it a habit of never turning down a meal made by CeCe.
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot from her about cooking and I’m certain my love for all things pasta is significantly related to her prowess with noodles.
She bought me my pasta maker (one of absolute favorite tools) for making fresh pasta, and taught me how to make spaghetti sauce from scratch. My husband gets his love for garlic honestly and I’ve learned that more garlic usually is better.
I am so thankful that my husband’s parents are local and so involved in our lives. They both give us so much of their time and bless us in countless ways. And so, as often as I can, I like to show them my appreciation in one of the simplest ways– by feeding them delicious food.
Yesterday they came over to our house and watched our kids so that my husband and I could go to my OB appointment together. (We got to see our baby!)
When we got back home, I made them this dinner to say a big “THANK YOU!”.
A crispy breading on the chicken, fresh mozzarella*, and the sweet flavor of fresh basil make this chicken parmesan a restaurant worthy meal. The convenience of boxed pasta and pre-made sauce also makes it a quick and easy meal that can be ready to eat in just thirty minutes.