Christmas Traditions

Photo courtesy of the Carolina Ballet

Part of the pure joy of having kids at Christmas is the traditions you are able to continue with them…either those from your own childhood or ones you wish were traditions from childhood. My parents weren’t what you’d call theater goers (until they were forced to endure my performances in my high school years) and I never got to see a live performance of the Nutcracker ballet as a kid, so I could hardly wait until my children were old enough to take in a matinee show. This year, we got to take a break from the party planning, tutorials, and traveling for photoshoots to go.

Photo courtesy of the Carolina Ballet

Melbourne isn’t a metropolis, so the performers at the Nutcracker performance were all local school-age children with a sprinkling adults. Even so, I think they had a fine showing. With our last-minute tickets, we sat in the way top of the theater away from anyone who might be bothered by squirmy children. I was worried about them bothering the other patrons, but worried without reason as they were completely enthralled through both acts! This may become one of my favorite traditions with the kids; maybe next year we’ll venture to a bigger city with a professional ballet troupe production.

Afterwards, I took the kids and their friend out for an early dinner. I gave them a great list of places we could go, and was thrilled when they all screamed for Panera Bread, as I had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket from them to go try their soup. (As a caveat, I love Panera soup, the tomato is my favorite and I buy it at Target for my dinner all the time even without a bribe.) And, quick service is essential when dining with three small children.

As another boon to going to Panera, my daughter’s cute little friend who came with us also wanted soup–“broccoli cheddar with a  baguette, please” she said. (Fabulous manners, little friend!) Demonstrating to my children that yes, you can eat a vegetable and still live through the experience. Me, I had my predictable Vegetarian Creamy Tomato. Not that I’m a vegetarian, I’m quite the cave girl, but Panera’s is the hands down best if I don’t make it myself. I love the little chunks of tomato that scream “fresh!”  and the flavorful but not overdone seasoning. It’s easy to make tomato soup bland and uninteresting, but it never ever is there.

The tomato is available every day of the week, but Panera is nice enough to post up a daily soup menu on their website if you want to make sure of their selections before you go. Even better, call up their catering service and order a bunch for your next event to make it even more hassle free–their little bowls would be so cute with hand-painted wooden spoons tied to them with twine for individual servings.

In exchange for and unbiased review of their soup, Panera passed me some free soup and a few dollars–it all goes to keeping this blog up and running!  
 

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