Celebrate Back to School with Easy Meals

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Back to school is cause for celebration, right?  I am that mom who cries the days leading up to the First Day of School.  My babies are growing up, my house will be quiet and empty, and I’m sending my children into the care of someone else for the majority of the day!  So, Back to School is an emotional time for me.  I want my three children to see it as a celebration.  A celebration and excitement that something new is coming.

New friends, new routine, new environment, and growing up to be a better person one day at a time.  So, in our house, we like to celebrate Back to School, to keep a positive spin on our new routine and new environments.  Celebrations call for special foods in our house, including occasional pizza and a movie in the living room.  To celebrate Back to School, I have some easy ways to add that fun celebration to your house, while keeping your prep time in the kitchen to a minimum.  After all, your children are only home for a few short hours before going to bed to start they day all over again!  Those evenings as a family are precious!

I’d like to share Five Ideas to Celebrate Back to School:

~Plan a picnic dinner in the park.  One of my favorite easy meals for a picnic dinner is a rotisserie chicken.  On our way to the park, swing by your local Walmart to pick up a Rotisserie Chicken Meal.   This includes a rotisserie chicken, 2 pounds of potato or macaroni salad, and a 2-liter of a Coca Cola product.  Talk about low prep!   You don’t even have to cook anything before going out for your picnic!


~Take the kids out for a “Back to School” shopping trip.  Each year, we take ours out to the local mall about two days before school starts.  It’s our last family activity of the summer.  The older two like to pick out new Legos, and the little one a new stuffed animal.  This gives them something to look forward to when returning home from that first day~new toys to play with!


~Create a family movie and pizza night in the living room.  For this fun activity, I picked up a 16 inch Cheese pizza from Walmart.  I found these in the section labeled “Marketside”, just down from the deli counter.  In fact, it was right around where the rotisserie chickens were.  To set up this fun activity at home, you’ll need to do the following:

  1.  Set your oven to bake at 400 degrees.  Call the kids into the kitchen to help with the next steps!
  2. Remove the Cheese Pizza from the box and wrapping.  You don’t need to place it on a baking pan, because it bakes right on the rack.
  3. Top your pizza with pepperoni, parmesan cheese, and more of your favorite toppings.  You can make this just exactly how everyone likes!  That is why I chose cheese…it’s a blank slate!
  4. Bake your pizza according the the directions on the box and your oven.

We set up TV trays, and enjoyed our favorite movie in the living room on a school night :).


~Plan an evening of special treats.  In our house, eating in the living room is a special treat.  So is having soda with dinner.  So, when I came home with a 2-liter of Coke, alongside my Marketside pizza from Walmart, my kids were ecstatic!  To top the fun evening off, we had ice cream sundaes after dinner!

~Have a pj day.  My little one, especially, loves to hang out in her pjs.  On that same note, she is exhausted when she gets home!  Perfect!  Letting her change into her pjs and having a “pajama day” gets her comfy and relaxed for the evening….and makes our bedtime routine a little faster!

From these activities, we chose the Pizza and Movie Night.


Using pepperoni and Parmesan cheese to add a little something extra, my little one nicely lined up half of the pizza with pepperoni.  I sprinkled the whole thing with extra Parmesan cheese, and set it in the oven to bake.  I love baking these right on the oven rack.  It makes the crust extra crispy!  In about 15 minutes, it was done and we were ready to eat!  During that 15 minutes, I had time to pour some Coca Cola over ice, and set up TV trays while the kids agreed on a movie.


I cut the pizza and left it on the island in the kitchen, in easy reach of everyone to help themselves during the movies.  Two hours later, we were finishing up an effortless meal and family time.  It was off to bed for the next school day!  I love that my kids consider take and bake pizza from Walmart as “eating out”, and I love that I can make it at home and serve it in our living room!

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Carrie (887 Posts)

Carrie is the author and founder of A Princess and Her Pirates. She likes to share her Disney travel tips, crafts, recipes, and ways that she finds JOY everyday in her life! She believes that everyday brings new joy, and that everyone needs to have a little happiness in their life! She is the wife to a sweet pastor, and mom to three kiddos-twin boys and a princess girl. Carrie is a travel agent with Destinations in Florida, where she enjoys making MAGICAL vacation memories for everyone! Contact her today at carrie@destinationsinflorida.com to start YOUR vacation planning!


  1. Great ideas!! I know my kids would definitely love the pizza and movie night in the living room, especially since they aren’t typically allowed to eat there.

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