Blog Series: Back to School Prep with Hi Sugarplum!

A conversation with a friend spurred me to ask 5 fantastic blogging Moms “How Do You Prep For the School Season”.  All this week, I will be hosting a series of guest bloggers on the site and having them explain how they prepare their families for the upcoming school season.   I am excited to have my friend Cassie of Hi Sugarplum! kick off the blog series!

Hello fabulous Courtney Out Loud readers! I’m Cassie of Hi Sugarplum!, and I’m thrilled to be guest posting today. Courtney and I have been carrying on a blog affair for quite some time, so I feel really at home here. I can only hope some of his charm, wit and mad-skills will rub off on me.

I have two kids, 5 and 10. My son considers himself a pro, as he’s entering 5th grade, and my daughter is starting Kindergarten.


I helped her get excited for this big change by creating a special place in her room to do schoolwork.

art center collage

Not that she’ll have a lot of homework in the beginning, but she feels important having a work area like big brother.


And other than shopping for new backpacks, shoes and supplies, our biggest preparation for returning to school is a mental one. See, we take our family vacation the very last week of Summer Break. Typically we go to the beach with no friends or electronics…just the four of us spending time together. It’s a full week with no schedules, limited rules and no outside distractions. We all return relaxed and connected, and my goal is always to continue that feeling through the school year.


This means setting some firm (and selfish) boundaries, and sticking with them.

1. Limit Activities
My Son is allowed no more than two extra-curricular activities at a time…one sport and one musical instrument. Driving from place-to-place and out every night for practices is exhausting for all of us. And exhausted equals cranky and unhealthy.

2. Learn to Say ‘No’
This is a tough one for me. I’m a working-mom, so I have a fair amount of guilt that comes with it. Early on, I agreed to help in the classroom, chair committees for the PTA, cook food and do crafts. The requests are endless, and I was left feeling overwhelmed. Plus, all the extra stuff I was doing was taking me away from spending what little time I had with my kids. So I’ve learned to say, ‘No’ a larger percentage of the time. It’s not always easy, but the trade-off is a less-stressed mom, which is a nicer and more fun mom.

3. Make Family Time a Priority
Apart from sitting down to dinner together most nights, we are also fairly selfish about our weekends. My kids have plenty of friend time, but we don’t allow sleepovers and play dates every weekend. They don’t always love this, but if they are constantly gone, or someone else is always over, then we aren’t connecting and doing things as a family.

hawt dogs

Soon enough, they’ll both be too old and too cool for Family Movie Night, but until then, I’m going to make sure we have every opportunity for one! I’d love to hear how you keep your house from getting chaotic during the school year. And are you as crazy about making sure your kids get enough sleep as I am? Thanks for having me, Courtney! Hopefully putting this in writing will help me stick to it!

Thank you Cassie and you are so right!  Taking time out as a family is one of the best things you can do to ensure a fantastic and successful school year.  Even if it is just a weekend at home, blocking time out with no distractions or visitors is a great way to not only have a small reprieve from the chaos of life but also give yourself the opportunity to be full present for your kids.  However, what I love most is Cassie’s ability to say “No”.  By effectively managing her time, she is able to spend more of it doing the things that are important to her.  And you know what….a happy. stress-free Mom is the best kind of Mom in my book.

So tell me….do you and your family take some time to regroup right before school?  Do you have a special place you love to go?   Or better, have you learned the power of “No”?  If so, leave a comment and share your experience.

Tomorrow Courtney from A Thoughtful Place with sharing how she kicks off the school with a little something for her children’s teachers.

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10 thoughts on “Blog Series: Back to School Prep with Hi Sugarplum!

  1. So true Cassie! As a mom of two, both senior-one high school, one college…I know all too well how quickly the time goes by. We have always made it a point to sit down as a family for dinner. It is a time to reflect on the day, find out what is happening in our kiddos lives and sometimes even get caught up on the latest gossip (with teens this is a good thing). We have always been about routine during the school year. Especially when it comes to dinner, bedtime and making lunches (we do so the night before). This helps eleviate stress in the mornings (particularly if a teen has overslept!). With teens/college age, they are all about their weekends, so we try to carve out time on Sundays…Church, Lunch or Dinner, and evenings as family time. And yes, from a mom who has volunteered each year that my kids have been in school (way too many to count) learning to say NO is a must. Not always easy, but it makes for a much happier mom and family!!

  2. Amen to limiting activities. We do the same – no more than 2 per season. We also devote 1 night a week as “family night”. We play a game together- turn off all electronics and just enjoy each other!

  3. So agree about limiting activities- I know kids who have one every nights and all their parents do is drive around…the kids have no idea how to just do nothing. And yes as well to making time for family time- as we all know, the time passes much too quickly not to take advantage of it while we have it. Great post Cassie…loved seeing more pics of your beautiful family- my little red has that same pink tutu bathing suit and I LOVE it!!!

  4. I’m going to echo Courtney with a HELLO GORGEOUS! *whistle* (c: I think your plan is brilliant…honestly it’s all too easy to let them get bogged down with activities and friends and by the time you get together, everyone is too exhausted to enjoy each other. Frowny face. I love how dedicated you are to making your family a priority, it’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it! (c: Courtney, what a fantastic blog! I can’t believe we haven’t (virtually) met until now! You can bet your bowtie I’ll be back tomorrow (c:

  5. This was an excellent post, Courtney and Cassie! I think saying “no” is hard for all moms. I stay home, but I am constantly getting requests to help with various ministries at church, etc. etc. Learning to say “no” has been a long road for me, but it has been a real benefit to my family. I love that you limit the extra curricular activities, Cassie. I plan on doing that for my oldest. I want her to find something she can enjoy and excel at, rather than feel pulled in 10 different directions.

    Already loving this series!

  6. Pingback: Blog Series: Back to School Prep with Simplified Bee | Courtney Out Loud

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