'NCIS' Star Vanessa Lachey Shares Her Favorite Food Hack That Changes Mealtime
Television star Vanessa Lachey recently relocated to Oahu to play the first female lead of an NCIS franchise, NCIS: Hawai'i. The fam came along: husband Nick, of the band 98 Degrees, plus their kids, Camden, 9, Brooklyn, 6, and Phoenix, 4. Her next move: sharing personal recipes and rituals in Life From Scratch: Family Traditions That Start With You, out November 30.
Recent parenting win
The kids being up for moving to Hawaii and starting at a new school.
Recent parenting miss
Realizing school in Hawaii starts a month sooner than we're used to. Summer was cut short.
Best trait my kids got from me
Laughing out loud uncontrollably.
Unfortunate trait my kids got from me
Also laughing out loud uncontrollably.
Meal I make that my family loves
Tacos with homemade guacamole. Taco Tuesday dinner was the first meal we shared as a family of five! It kick-started our Cinco de Mayo tradition, and it's something that has become special for our family.
- RELATED: Teach Your Kids to Cook
Meal I made that my family rejected
The kids won't eat my homemade lasagna, but Nick will eat it all.
Best go-to snack for kids
Anything that's dry and easy to clean up if spilled.
Snack they're still not allowed to have
No liquid snacks on the go, other than water.
Food hack that changes mealtime
I like to surprise the kids by sneaking treats into their lunches. One of my favorite things to do is carve fun shapes into their food. The red wax around Babybel cheese is a perfect canvas for a surprise heart. If you use the tip of a sharp knife, you can draw shapes on a banana peel that will turn brown so the kids can see them at lunchtime. Or I cut their sandwiches or a few strawberries into heart shapes.
Food hack I would not repeat
Trying to "hide" something by blending it into a smoothie. Kids know.
- RELATED: 20 Best Hacks for Families
Best part of Thanksgiving
Everything! It's one of our favorite holidays: food, family, football, and fun. And it's casual. Not fancy and no gifts.
Most stressful part of Thanksgiving
The turkey! I've messed it up many times. Now we cook two turkeys. I roast one in the oven and Nick deep-fries a smaller one. That gives me a safety net if one of them doesn't turn out well.
Best time of day
Worst time of day
Getting them to go to their room for bedtime snuggles.
Activity I love to do with my kids
Getting them involved in the kitchen with simple but helpful tasks like pouring, rinsing, and stirring. One of our favorite traditions is a Christmas-morning casserole that's come to symbolize family time spent together in the kitchen and at the table eating and laughing. It's an easy and delicious recipe that everyone can help with.
Activity I hate to do with my kids
The trampoline, ha ha! The moms out there get it.
Glorious thing about having three kids
There's always something happening! We are always learning, exploring, snuggling, laughing, crying, talking, reading, playing, drawing, building, growing. I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Hardest thing about having three kids
There's often one left out of a lot of things, but I see it as a learning opportunity for us as a family and individually. Sometimes you have to be self-sufficient and entertain yourself.
At least I have this down
I know I love my kids unconditionally and will always be there for them.
I am still figuring this out
How to show my kids that I love them equally as well as unconditionally. I think it comes with time. I know my kids know this. But I still question if they really know.
This article originally appeared in Parents magazine's November 2021 issue as "Highs and Lows: Vanessa Lachey." Want more from the magazine? Sign up for a monthly print subscription here