Looking at my calendar, every single night it was booked. Dance classes, martial arts, church groups, Scout groups — it never ends. It is to the point that we rarely find time to sit down together and eat. Not to mention we have numerous dietary issues in the family as well, so I just can’t win.

But every so often I break out the big guns, clear off the kitchen counter, and we make pizza. I don’t mean pop a frozen in the oven. I mean everyone gets dough, the kitchen becomes a sticky mess, and we all make our own pizza. Flour flies, marinara splatters, and our dog is scrambling to gobble up dropped mozzarella and pepperonis.

We bond over kneading the dough, eating handfuls of black olives and pepperoni, and my oldest son putting the spiciest things he can find on his pizza creation. The pizzas bake for only a few minutes and then we’re all gathered around the table, eating the fruits of our labor.

Dough for your crust comes in many forms. If making your own is too time consuming, or you just don’t want to, you can get pre cooked pizza crusts from most groceries. But several groceries and local pizza places also sell their dough in ball form for you to roll out at home. This works great in my family, so all six of us can make our own personal pizzas.

A jar of marinara or pesto, fresh mozzarella (OK, maybe it’s from a commercially sealed bag from the grocery), and your favorite toppings are all that stand between you and a family night of fun. Whether you’re a margherita purist or you love the adventure of pineapple and jalapenos — a family pizza night is one way to stop the busy and enjoy time with your family.

These nights are more than just dinner. They’re memories, laughter, and time with family that we all can enjoy.

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