It’s time to face the fact that a week from today, my boys will be back in school. Far from the elementary-aged children they both were the first time I mentioned one of them in How to get a 6-year-old to eat pesto six years ago, my young men are now going into 7th and 10th grades.

I’ve seen much less of them this summer than in summers past. My oldest had a job, went on a mission trip, and is now gone for a week. In fact, he’s casually visiting his first college this week — an art school. My 12-year-old spent several weeks at camp, went on his own mission trip, and is now away with his brother. The first day at school won’t mean what it used to mean — a much quieter house and more "me" time.

That doesn’t mean it’s no a big deal, though, and I usually make a big deal with food. I will cook breakfast before they leave. (They usually get their own breakfasts.) They will come home to homemade cookies, and there will be traditional first-day-of-school takeout Chinese for dinner. I buy it twice a year — the first and last days of school.

Breakfast will mostly likely be pancakes. I’ve seen some creative pancake ideas lately, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll have my act together enough to send my young men off with a plate full of inspired pancakes. Here are some ideas that are in the running.

Spirograph Pancakes — The 1970s kid in me thinks this is the most fun pancake idea ever. These are technically named Pangraph pancakes, but they’re made with a tool that’s similar to the classic Spirograph. If you have a kid who is resistant to learning how to cook, I bet this would get them to at least make pancakes. (via Siapancakes)

Mr. Potato Head pancakeMr. Potato Head Pancakes — Whip up some real whipped cream, grab some fresh, organic berries, and create everyone’s favorite manipulative potato man. The recipe suggests "gluing"  the fruit on with peanut butter. I think you can skip the peanut butter and just place on the fruit.  (via pop! by Yaz)

Double Chocolate Pancakes — This is not, I repeat, this is not an everyday pancake recipe. This is a soften-the-blow-of-the-first-day-of-school pancake. Perhaps even a breakfast-for-dinner pancake on the first day of school. You could skip the chocolate sauce and top with berries and yogurt. (via People)

Pancake Pops — I would need to make about 100 of these to satisfy the appetites of my boys, but if you have younger children, this is a cute way to serve pancakes on the first day of school. (via Little Inspiration)

Pancake Muffins — If everyone in the house likes his pancakes a little different than the next guy, this is the way to go. Make one batter and then add in whatever you want. Chocolate chips, bacon, and blueberries are all good choices. (via Family Fresh Meals)

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