Check Your Calendar!

Everyone who knows me, knows that I live my life according to lists and calendars.  My desktop, my computer, my car dashboard, my bedside table, my Iphone are all littered with lists.  Lists of things to do today, tomorrow, this year. Lists of how to improve myself, things to sign the kids up for, improvements for the house.  I LOVE lists almost as much as I LOVE calendars.

I have various versions of my calendar available at my fingertips regardless of where I am.  I have digital copies on my phone and my laptop.  Few things excite me as much as a fresh, old-school, paper and pen day timer.  It’s a sure-bet Christmas gift!

I stumbled across this Dry Erase Calendar Wall Decal ($35 USD)from PBTeen on one of my favourite home sites, Remodelista.

What I find so appealing about this calendar is that kids can have a visual of their week’s programs and play dates.  It is a great way to encourage accountability while giving the wall a punch of colour.

*For younger children, drawing pictures or symbols of their activities can prepare them for the week to come.


The week before Labour Day: new shoes, new markers….

…new binders.  How I loved back to school shopping when I was a kid.  The smell of Laurentian pencil crayon shavings. A new school bag.   And then Labour Day would roll around, the last fireworks from the Canadian National Exhibition would erupt, just out of sight of our house, and the next day school would start again for another year.

My own kids are starting grades one and three this year, which means I get to prepare for back-to-school all over again, but this time, from a mother’s perspective: crowded malls, sold-out stores (doesn’t anyone EVER carry a size one and a half shoe?) after school activity shuffling: it’s not nearly as fun now, is it?

But the new school year still means new beginnings for me, possibly more so than the ticking of the clock past midnight on New Year’s Eve.  Every year, I remind myself that I can be more organized and on top of what’s going on with my family, so in that spirit (and because I wanna have fun, too!) I’ve made my own back-to-school shopping list:

1.  A new day planner.

I’m a bit of a Luddite when it comes to planners.  I want paper. I want to hold it in my hand,  and always know where I’m supposed to be when, regardless of whether I have battery power or not. Last year my friend Karen introduced me to the MomAgenda line of day planners, and once I got past the idea of carrying something with the name “MomAgenda” embossed on the cover (it’s subtle, really!) I fell in love with it. It has everything I need: a week per page starting in September every year (just like school calendars!)  with space to write in up to four childrens’ daily activities,  pages to keep track of all those little things you want to write down (most notably, a place to write down your favourite wines)  Pricey? A bit, but they’re worth it. And they’re available at Indigo and Chapters here in Canada, which saves you the shipping — although, if you sign up for the newsletter on the website, you get an instant 10% off coupon.

2. A new binder.

Nothing fancy here, although I’m tempted by these covers. I use binders to organize my life: a simple, three ring binder with tabs and clear plastic envelopes, which I switch out as I start and finish various projects.  Except, I’ve wrecked and destroyed my binder in the move and I’m in need of another one.

3.  A menu planning system:

It’s the bane of most working parents: that moment when you walk in the door with a hungry, grumpy child or two in tow, and realize that you have absolutely no idea what to make for diner. Over the years I’ve tried a couple of different menu planning options, most notably Saving Diner. It’s a great system – healthy, inexpensive meals with a ready-made shopping list for you to take to the grocery store – but the recipes didn’t appeal to my kids. If anyone knows of a meal planning system – be it software, a website, anything – and wants to recommend it,  leave us a comment. I’m all ears.  And knives and forks.

What’s on your shopping list this year? And more importantly, do you know what you’re making for dinner?