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Back-to-School Homemade Spaghetti Dinner

This week Caroline started third grade and Thomas started first grade!

I had very mixed emotions about the kiddos returning to school. In some ways, it felt like summer flew by and in others, it felt like it was unending. We have all been ready and excited for the new school year, our teachers, and more routine back in our days. And I am over the moon to get back to more structured hours to work on Carolina Charm, to pick up less snack wrappers around the house, and for earlier bedtimes.

*This year I took both kids’ first day of school photos the DAY BEFORE school started. Wow. What a game-changer it was to not be rushing through this as the bus was pulling onto our street this year!

Back to School Dinner

To celebrate the transition from summer to school, we threw our annual back-to-school dinner on Sunday. This is one of our family’s favorite traditions. Not only does it help prepare our kids’ little brains for a massive shift in routine, but it’s also a special opportunity for us to reflect on all the summer memories we made.

Like most people, we had a summer filled with highs and lows, milestones and lessons learned. We threw one heck of a last day of school party, checked off almost every box on our summer bucket list, both kids had the best week of their lives at sleepaway camp for the first time, Caroline baked dozens of things, Thomas broke his wrist doing a scooter stunt, I made the kids 400 snack plates, ALL of us went down with COVID for the first time, we visited my family in Florida, celebrated Matt and Thomas’s birthday, had a blast on our beach vacation, hit our insurance deductible, the kids spent a week with mimi & grandad, and we went on a Disney cruise!! Phew!

So hopefully, when asked “what did you do over summer?” neither of the kids say “ummm, nothing?”

Back to our dinner though…

This year, the kids decided on spaghetti for our back-to-school dinner. But not just any spaghetti — homemade spaghetti! We had so much fun taking a pasta-making class earlier this year that we decided to try it at home together.

And it was truly SO much fun.

We purchased a pasta attachment for the stand mixer and some semolina flour from Amazon, and followed this pasta recipe. While the taste and consistency turned out great, we definitely have some practice to do on the noodle form!

And we slow cooked THE most INCREDIBLE spaghetti sauce. No seriously. It’s the best sauce we’ve ever made and Matt declared it the best sauce he’s ever eaten! We used 7 pounds of fresh tomatoes and loosely followed this homemade marinara sauce recipe, adding more and less of some ingredients plus a few extra ingredients along the way.

We wanted to host our dinner outside but it was rainy so we moved inside.


We started filling out this fun little school survey last year and it was SO sweet to see how the kids’ answers (and handwriting) have changed in a year!

And for dessert, the kids requested a sundae bar!

After dinner, we logged both kids’ heights on the wall to continue tracking how much they’ve grown throughout the year.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy school year ahead!

Previous Back to School Dinners: 2021 Sushi Dinner / 2020 Steak Dinner / 2019 Steak Dinner

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Saturday 3rd of September 2022

Taking the school pics the day before!!!!! I never thought of this but man that would make things easier. I'm doing that next week! Thank you for the tip!


Tuesday 6th of September 2022

Right? I don't think I can ever go back to first day pictures now! haha.


Wednesday 31st of August 2022

Hi! Can you link the printable again, it just takes me back to your main page!


Wednesday 31st of August 2022

whoops! Here it is!