This post is sponsored by Conagra. All fun ideas, recipes, thoughts, and opinions are cooked up here at The Pinning Mama.
Unicorn Snack Mix is a ULTRA fun snack that your kids will LOVE helping you make! This is just one of many ideas for having a little fun and getting back into a routine no matter what this school year looks like for your family. See just how we make it and incorporate it into our routine below!
Back to School – What does it look like?
Back in the classroom 5 days a week.
All virtual for the first 9 weeks.
Hybrid model with some days in the classroom.
Deciding to homeschool.
Enrolling in an online program.
There have never been more options or less certainty than we are all facing this year. If there is one thing I know, it is that
There is no one right answer!
This year is definitely going to look different, and will probably keep us on our toes and continue to change and evolve by the day.
Whether we go back, stay at home, or have some combination of the two, to THRIVE instead of just survive, we 100% need a routine in our lives.
Beyond a school routine I have put together a few fun ideas to make my life a little easier as a parent and make sure the kids keep having fun amidst all the changes that can be stressful. Making sure they have FEEL GOOD moments throughout all the changes is so important to us!
My thought is that no matter how many changes we have to face, or how different things look, we can still have fun and have the “Feel-Goods” by keeping a routine that lets us add in some fun!
Keep Easy Snacks + Meals On Hand
Since I may be a full time mom AND a teacher with a full time job too, making sure I have my pantry fridge and freezer stocked with easy, tasty options makes my life SO.MUCH.EASIER.
This takes the stress out of mealtime and also empowers my school aged kids with things that they can grab and make themselves, taking one thing off my over flowing plate. Plus, it also gives them the ability to make choices and empowers them to be able to do something themselves.
My list looks like this:
Hearty Breakfast Ideas:
My kids absolutely LOVE the Odoms Tennessee Pride Sausage Biscuits. We get the 24 count package and to keep it fun we add little extras for different flavors throughout the week.
It would take me forever to make biscuits, sausage, bacon, eggs, etc to put together each morning, but by using the Tennessee Pride Sausage Biscuits, I am able to pop it in the microwave and dress it up in minutes!
These are great because they come in 12 stay-fresh twin packs that keep well in the freezer. We usually use them for breakfast, but they also make great snacks, lunch and occasionally a breakfast for dinner- especially when you load them up! They are still made with the original secret family recipe which is no doubt why they are so tasty!
Here is some inspiration for the unique breakfast sandwich flavors my kids like most!
Extra Yummy Breakfast Sandwich Ideas:
- Maple Bacon Breakfast Sandwich– drizzle bacon with a bit of maple syrup while cooking and layer it onto the sandwich
- Egg & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich– Add fried or scrambled egg and a slice of cheese
- Avocado, Egg & Everything Bagel Seasoning Breakfast Sandwich– This sandwich is filled with avocado slices, egg, and everything bagel seasoning.
- Cheddar Salsa Breakfast Sandwich– Add a slice of cheddar and a scoop of salsa for an extra yummy boost on even the busiest morning
- BLT & Egg Breakfast Sandwich– A little bacon, lettuce and tomato make everything more delicious!
I like to keep a bin full of single serve options my kids can grab and go with. This allows me to have “mom-approved” snacks where the kids can get them anytime they need a little pick me up between meals.
Some things I like to stock this with are:
- Dried fruits
- Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn Popcorn (comes in a 6-pack of 1 oz bags (sold at Walmart!)
- Apple sauce
- Hard boiled eggs
Quick + Filling Lunch
We love to utilize high quality frozen meals, especially at lunch time. Why? I will give you 3 really great reasons!
- Saves time- quickly get back to the next thing
- Less clean up – and the kids can do it 100% by themselves!
- Offers choice – you know the kids never want the same thing
With two growing, and VERY hungry boys, one of our favorites is the Banquet Mega Bowls Country Fried Chicken. These bowls are packed with flavors and FOOD! My oldest is 10, and will frequently eat a whole meal and still want more, but these fill him up. For example, this one is a warm and hearty dish with a combination of chicken breast fritters and creamy mashed potatoes topped with savory homestyle gravy, corn, and shredded cheese.
Mid Afternoon Snack
At this point in the day we definitely have the wiggles. I try to let the kids choose something fun.
They LOVE the SNACK PACK Fanta Orange Juicy Gels Cups. It is two of their favorite treats in one! Plus, they are packed in a 6-pack of single serve containers so no extra dishes and they can be taken on the go.
If we have extra time, I like to let them get creative with something like this Unicorn Snack Mix!
This is extra fun and an occasional treat. You only need a handful of things to make it!
Unicorn Snack Mix Ingredients:
- Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn Popcorn
- Dried blueberries
- Dried cherries
- Rainbow cereal
- Rainbow licorice (for the unicorn horns!)
With just a few things that are easy to keep on hand, you can mix up this fun snack mix. Jump down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for the full instructions.
Family-Friendly Easy Dinners
By the end of the day we aren’t always at our best, but everyone still needs to eat. Easy recipes have always been my jam. Just because I love to cook, doesn’t mean that it is easy for me every day.
I still struggle with “what should I make for dinner?!” and keeping it new and interesting in the kitchen.
One thing that is really helpful to me is keeping prepared ground beef and shredded chicken in the fridge or freezer.
This allows me to have a head start on dinner, using it to quickly prepare meal by adding a few ingredients!
Here are a few family-friendly favorites that are perfect for this pre-prepped method:
Adding a sauce like Manwich to your precooked meat, makes dinner nearly effortless – AND THE KIDS LOVE IT! Made with a tomato base and seasonings, Manwich Original Sloppy Joe Sauce is great on tacos, meatloaf, and sandwiches. Just mix this delicious sauce with lean ground beef or ground turkey, then heat and serve.
Keep it new and exciting by mixing up the flavors like I did in the Southwest Sloppy Joes above, or try all Manwich Sloppy Joe Sauce varieties. Thick & Chunky, Bold and Bourbon BBQ are all fun flavors you can buy with your online grocery order at Walmart.
On days when we have extra time in the evenings there is nothing better than a sweet treat!
While we love a homemade treat, we also keep some fast and fun treats on hand.
Duncan Hines Unicorn Cake Cup Vanilla Cake Mix with Sprinkles is ALWAYS my daughter’s choice! They are a colorful, single-serve kid dessert that come with shimmer sprinkles and cookie crumbles for a colorful dessert kids will love. Best of all, these easy dessert cups are ready in minutes. Just add water and stir. They also come in Mermaid Vanilla Cake Cups and Galaxy Chocolate Cake Cups!
My boys love the Duncan Hines Mega Cookie Chocolate Chunk Pan Cookie Mix. Preparation is quick and easy. Just combine the cookie mix, melted butter and water and press it in the included cookie pan. Bake it in the oven or prepare it in the microwave. Again, no extra dishes and it can be done in MINUTES! Plus what’s better than digging into a warm, giant cookie?! … Okay, well maybe if it’s topped with ice cream!
All the Feel Goods!
Hopefully sharing a little bit of our routine, plus some of the extra fun treats we enjoy give you some ideas for how to BOTH keep your sanity, and keep your kids having those feel good moments throughout the day.
BONUS- Everything I shared here today can be picked up via an online grocery order at Walmart to make your life just a little bit easier! Serve up extra love this year with Conagra’s favorite back-to-school options at Walmart!
Let me know what you do to keep your kids feeling good and having fun in the comments below!
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Unicorn Snack Mix
- 2 cups Angie's BOOMCHICKAPOP Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn Popcorn
- 1 cup rainbow cereal
- 1 cup marshmallows
- 1/2 cup dried blueberries
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 1/2 cup peanuts
- 5 pieces rainbow licorice cut in 2" pieces
- Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl and mix.
- Enjoy! Store extra in a zip top bag or other airtight container.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)