Life between the hours of 7 and 8:30am are interesting in my house. We have three "shifts"; junior high, elementary and preschool.
Junior high leaves the house at 7:25am. I get up just before 7am, make breakfast and his lunch and then wake my son. He stumbles down, eats, goes back upstairs to get ready for school and he's off at 7:25am. He doesn't mess around, which enables me to wake him with just 20 minutes to get ready for school. It's a beautiful system.
After he exits I make two more lunches and three more breakfasts. And then I wake the next three kids.
They eat, get dressed, and pack up for school. We make two stops. First elementary school, where the second shift exits the car. Next stop is preschool, where my baby exits the car.
Last year, when my youngest entered preschool, one of my mom friends told me we should do breakfast. It dawned on me that I could do breakfast. In peace. I hadn't thought about eating breakfast anywhere other than my kitchen or my car until my friend mentioned it. We discussed the perfect place to meet up and decided on Panera Bread.
It's cozy, but quick. But it's not too quick. The food is made fresh and the atmosphere is perfect for a mom meeting another mom to just catch up and enjoy a meal.
And so it began, our monthly breakfast (or lunch) date at Panera. For breakfast? Toasted french toast bagels. For lunch? Tomato and mozzarella panini. Every visit I leave feeling refreshed and thankful I took the time after my busy morning full of "shifts" to enjoy a good friend and good food. I especially appreciate that I don't feel like I needed a shower after I get in my car, because I don't smell like greasy fast food.
These "dates" were the beginning of me realizing it was time to take time for me. Busy mornings can take their toll, and it's therapy for me to sit and relax every once in a while. It's also nice to eat food I didn't prepare myself. Breakfast at Panera has become one of my favorite ways to start the day. The food is fresh, and I leave ready to tackle my day.
While I do enjoy the "adult time," my kids are never far from my mind. I usually leave with bakery treats for my munchkins, and when they open their lunches up the next day at school they appreciate them very much.
Panera lovers everywhere can now participate in Panera's Breakfast Backstory Challenge. MyPanera cardholders will be asked to complete three actions to win a badge. After you complete them, a prize is loaded onto your Panera card and you're entered to win a culinary experience trip to New York City for two!
Need a MyPanera card? Sign up at Panerabread.com.
So tell me, for your chance to win a $100 Panera Bread gift card, what's your favorite way to start the day?
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