You made it through summer, and now school is back in session.

I remember when my mother would spend hours preparing my lunch for school. One hundred and eighty school lunches are packed before the end of the school year. Here are a few creative ideas to make the task easier:Freeze a whole month of sandwiches

- Roll up sandwiches: Cut crusts off bread; roll bread with rolling pin; spread with desired filling and roll up. Tip: Meat fillings freeze best. Do not freeze mayonnaise.

- Canoe sandwich: Scoop out center of French roll or hoagie bun to make canoe. Butter both sides and add a filling such as chicken.

Cut roll in half for lunches for smaller children.

- Pear spread: Mix mashed pears, cinnamon and peanut butter; spread on bread.

Freezer wrapping tips

Double bag everything to keep air out.

Put each sandwich in a small resealable plastic bag. Fill a one-gallon self-sealing plastic bag with the same kinds of sandwiches and label it.

Thawing instructions: Place frozen sandwich directly into lunch box. Add a frozen box of juice to keep entire lunch cool. By lunchtime, both the sandwich and the juice will have thawed.

For faster thawing, microwave sandwich for 10 seconds.

- Banana Dog: This isn't frozen, but it is fun.

Open a hot dog bun and spread one side with peanut butter, the other with jelly. Wrap it and put it in the lunch bag.

Pack a whole banana in the bag. At lunchtime, your child peels the banana and puts it in the bun like a hot dog! This may sound a little weird to some of you, but I guarantee your child will love it (if they like all of the ingredients, of course).

I hope these ideas will alleviate some of the stress you go through preparing your child's school lunches.

Spend an afternoon producing a month of school lunches and you have the rest of the month off!

Next week: Dessert dough that the younger kids at home can play with and eat.