Organizing the Family Calendar

The past couple of years, I have kind of honed a system for keeping up with our crazy family calendar. Certain times of year get really insane and the only way I hand the insanity is to be organized and on top of things.

I use two things to help keep us organized. The first is the Happy Everything Agenda. To me, there's not magic in a specific agenda. You find one that you like and has the components that you need and want. For me, it has to be cute, it has to have month and week views and most importantly it needs to not cost me a million dollars. I think the Happy Everything Agenda meets those needs for me. I need to be able to write it down by hand and have it out before (as apposed to just on my phone, but I'll get there too in a minute).


Week View!

Month View!!

For this next year (its a 17 month calendar that runs August till December), I decided to go with the mini agenda because it will fit in my purse better. But it still has the same elements, just a little smaller (and $11 cheaper!). 

The second part of my system is using an app called "Cozi" on my phone. I use the free version which runs ads and doesn't include some things that the full version offers, but it is enough for me. The main reason I like this app is that you have 1 login name for your family, but you can login from multiple devises, so Kyle and I can keep the same calendar on our separate phones. So after I write things in my agenda, I add them to the Cozi app.

On your home page, you can navigate through the different options but see your events right in the middle.

I also really like the list feature. You can make grocery lists or any lists. They can be shared lists, or you can assign them to other family members or just for yourself too. 

But probably my most FAVORITE feature, is that is lets you color code each of your family members. So when you put events in the calendar it will put the persons colored dot for who is participating in the event! It serves our family (and my color-coding brain!) so well and we really like it!

So that's my system! It's fairly simple, but it works for us! 

Today is Pinterest Day for the Babywise Network! We are all talking about one of my favorite topics: Organization. Read all of the posts here:

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Hi! I'm Carrie! I like to drink Earl Grey Tea, watch Gilmore Girls, hang out with my man, read a good, suck-you-in fiction book, play with my babies, take long bubble baths, and learn about Jesus. Connect with me on Facebook for even more Wiley Adventures!

Making The Most Of Your Kids Schedule {How To Get Things Done}

(This post originally appeared here on Chronicles of a Babywise Mom as part of a Babywise Blog Network Day!)

Making the Most of Your Kids Schedule {How To Get Things Done}

One thing I get asked a lot from other moms is how I get anything “else” done (other than keeping 4 little humans alive). Some days, it can be a challenge to figure out when I’m going to shower much less do the laundry or write a blog post. The honest answer some days is, I don’t get anything else done. But for most days, the beautiful thing about Babywise and a Parent-Directed Schedule is that it provides a framework for the day and offers opportunities to be productive and keep your home running smoothly.

It doesn’t take a very long time of using Babywise to see the ways it benefits your baby. I have watched all of my babies relax into the schedule and thrive from consistency and from getting enough sleep. But what’s great about your baby and kids benefitting from a schedule, is that you also reap benefits.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a “day in the life of” post about what a typical Monday looks like for me. My sister called me after reading it and said “You had a very productive day… how did you do that?” As I read back over it, it was so clear to me that the reason I was so productive that day is because I utilized my schedule in ways that allowed me to spend time with my kids and get things done.

Here are a few tips to make your schedule benefit you to get things done:

1.    Make a schedule and write it down

I always like to think of my schedule in the “ideal” realm whenever I’m making a new one or adjusting one. If things went perfectly, this is how the perfect schedule would look. It RARELY ever fleshes out completely to the ideal, and recognizing this is important, but it gives me a starting place, a goal, and a place to come back to if I need to re-group.

Just because you write something down doesn’t mean it will magically happen, but it certainly helps with the “mommy brain” and helps you stay ahead of yourself instead of later in the day thinking “Oh yeah… I was going to try to do it this way”.

2.    Plan Ahead and Make A List

Make a list. The days that I make a to-do list are significantly more productive than the days I leave it to chance. The tasks continue to float in my head until I have to end up staying up late to get them done or putting them off.

Look at your daily schedule and think through times that you can plan on showering, household chores, devotionals, fun (ß dare I say it!). The key times I plan for are naptimes, independent play times, and screen times. None of those things are a free-for-all in our home, but are always a planned, consistent time.

3.    Think creatively and flexibly

If you are really struggling to complete a specific task because of lack of time, think through your schedule to how you can move something around or change something. One of the best changes I made in my schedule was moving screen time to the time when I am fixing dinner in the evening. Like most Moms, it is my most stressful, tired, time of the day. It might be as simple as moving family dinner up 30 minutes or back 30 minutes to create more time for bedtime routines or more time for dinner prep.

It might also mean you need to eliminate something from your schedule or relax your schedule on something. One of the biggest critiques to Babywise or scheduling in general that I hear is that it lacks flexibility. My thoughts are that if you have a schedule, YOU are in charge of it and can flex it to fit your needs. If it were just a free-for-all every day, I would feel like I amserving the day more than my day serving me.

Ultimately, I think it is important to remember why you use a schedule in the first place. For me, it is because it helps meet the needs of my whole family, not just a baby or child, and it keeps my family running on a long-term basis as well as a daily basis.

Related Posts:

Hi! I'm Carrie! I like to drink Earl Grey Tea, watch Gilmore Girls, hang out with my man, read a good, suck-you-in fiction book, play with my babies, take long bubble baths, and learn about Jesus. Connect with me on Facebook for even more Wiley Adventures!

{Weekend Recap} Beach Vacay Edition!

My weekend started on Wednesday last week with an awesome Beach Vacay!! A few months ago, Gary and Tash started talking about doing a Beach Vacation this Summer and we were ALL ABOUT THAT! Great friends + The Beach + Great Times = COUNT ME IN!

We ended up renting a house at Bay St. Louis. It is a Mississippi beach and I LOVED IT. The house was beautiful and amazing. It was so nice to just walk across the street and be at the beach. The sand was soft, the water was clear, and there was no one else there (literally there was only one other family a little ways down from us one day). PEACEFUL is a word I use to describe this beach. 

This friend, yall. I can't tell you how good it was for my heart to spend face to face time with her and to meet her babies. Tash and Gary have loved us so well through the years and have been a part of such major milestones in our life, that when we left Texas they were some of the hardest to leave. 

Tash also taught me that if you put your arm on your waist in pictures, it makes your arm look skinnier. She so smart about these kinds of things. 

See?! The beach was across the street!! Isn't it beautiful?

On Wednesday night after we ate dinner (Wingstop for the win!) we walked down to the water to dip our toes in. The kids loved it. Archer LOVED the sand. The water was so shallow, which is so perfect the ages of kids we have right now. 

Gary's hair did some really special things on this trip. 

On Thursday, we headed out as soon as we could get everyone ready and spent the morning on the water. The kids had a blast playing in the sand and "swimming" in the water. 

I'm so great at the sunscreen, yall. Really really great. 

During naptime, Tash and I had some kid-free time reading time. And this time on the beach with my dear friend, a great book, and the empty beach.... this was soul-filling time! I've never been a big beach person, have always preferred fun cities or mountains, but since having moved here a year ago, I'm falling in love with the water. There is something to me about standing and looking out on this vast body of water that God made that makes me feel like I'm being filled up and restored. 

This sweet girl turned 6 on Thursday, so we celebrated with brownies (her request). So thankful we got to be together to celebrate this day for her! 

Thursday night it rained and stormed and my children woke the whole house up with screaming. Nonetheless, we went out on Thursday morning and it was so wonderfully calm. The calm after the storm. It was overcast which was perfect since I was fried on Thursday. The kids splashed and played in the water and built sand castles. 

It rained late -morning through early afternoon again. But after naps it had cleared and we went back down. Again, so peaceful and EMPTY. 

Saturday we woke up and got packed up to leave! No one wanted to leave, but the Combs' were coming back with us to our house for a night and I was looking forward to having them in our home! 

Saturday was also a special day to celebrate this sweet boy turning 4! 

Birthday donuts!

When we got back to our house, the kids napped and then we had a little birthday party for the squish. It's an off year for him (read more about How We Do Birthdays here), but I think he still managed to have a special day with friends and our family :). 

Also, this awesome mom forgot candles. So he just "blew out" the lighter instead. 

After cake, we went to Cici's Pizza because that's where the birthday boy wanted. We all survived the experience. 

Before bed, "Uncle Kyle" played some songs and we prayed together. 

And then Tash and I stayed up till 2:30 in the morning talking and laughing and crying together. I love having my people in my home! Also, selfies at 2:30 in the morning mean someone is going to look at the wrong end of the camera phone. 

On Sunday, our friends left early to hit the road back to Texas and we got up and ready for church. I spent the afternoon finishing my book, and washing the sand out of our clothes. It was such a fantastic vacation and one I hope to repeat in the future!!

Hi! I'm Carrie! I like to drink Earl Grey Tea, watch Gilmore Girls, hang out with my man, read a good, suck-you-in fiction book, play with my babies, take long bubble baths, and learn about Jesus. Connect with me on Facebook for even more Wiley Adventures!

{Friday Favorites} July Catch-Up!

Since I've been a little MIA with Friday Favorites the past few weeks, I have some catching up to do.

Starting with one of my favorite people who came to visit me: Kara! We had planned this trip for her several months ago and I'm so glad she was able to come. It's just important for your people to see where you live, you know?

Kara is a tea drinker like me. In fact, she's the person who taught me how to drink tea like I like it: with milk and sugar. 

My kids adore Aunt Kara. They were so excited about her visit, even though they wished Uncle Dan and Hattie could have come too! We went and ate at Mellow Mushroom with our small group and I'm so glad she was able to meet them!

One of our favorites was on TV that night (WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO ROMCOM MOVIES???!!!)... they don't make them like this anymore.  

The next day, we went drove through downtown and we went to see the Battleship and walk around to see the planes and tanks.

She recommended this book to me which I am now currently reading. (In case you didn't see my facebook post, I have completely deviated from my Summer Reading list. And that's ok, because I'M A GROWN UP! I MAKE MY OWN RULES!)

AND my FAVORITE part of her visit was having a girl's dinner out to eat at one of my FAVORITE restaurants here: OK Bicycle Shop.  

Also, happening earlier this month, my nephews Jackson and Jonah were staying with my parents while Joel and Ashley were leading a youth mission trip in New Orleans! I got a lot of good nephew time and if you didn't know this about me, I'm crazy about my nephews! They're some of my FAVORITE people.

They came over a couple of the days to play while my parents worked. I loved getting to have them here and my kids LOVED having cousin time. We SO missed Cason and Cohen though.

My dad and I took the kids to the Estuarium and had such a fun time! My kids love aquariums and I love them too. It's so great for all ages. I love watching babies see the tanks full of fish and I love seeing my bigger kids explore and learn. And I like learning more too. What was neat about this place was that it was all native fish and animals to our area. Since we are still newbies here, there was a lot to learn and see! 

At the beginning of the month, it was our turn to host our Dinner Party group and Kyle and I decided on a Texas menu! Kyle woke up crazy early to smoke a brisket all day long, and OH MY WORD was it amazing. Brisket is my favorite. (Brisket breakfast tacos are really my FAVORITE). Our dinner party has become one of my FAVORITE things ever right now.... we all look forward to it every month! This month, we served Texas caviar, brisket, salad, mac n cheese casserole, bacon wrapped green beans, and blackberry cobbler baked in mason jars with a scoop of bluebell on top. We also introduced our friends to Big Red. Having friends around my table is my FAVORITE. (PS, I have never in my life laughed as much or as hard as I did on this night. Ever. I can't really tell you why. But really. All the laugh-crying. ALL OF IT).

(sorry for the awkward picture guys)

And finally, this past week we celebrated MY BIRTHDAY. That's right, I turned 32 this past week! I had so many fun surprises and thoroughly enjoyed celebrating. I decided I didn't want a big party this year since we are having such a busy Summer, but that ended up meaning I had several small celebrations all week long! 

One of the gifts Kyle got me was this teapot I had mentioned falling in love with when we were at Disney Springs! Isn't it adorable?!

We went to lunch on Sunday to celebrate and my mom brought me a cake. She knows how much the little things matter to me!! My uncle treated us all to lunch! 

Jen sent me this awesome official Olympics T-shirt and she signed the accompanying note from Michael Phelps. ha!

Cassie sent me this vintage-style Gilmore Girls poster and I'm IN LOVE with it. It's my new favorite for sure! This poster is from one of my favorite Gilmore episodes: You Jump I Jump Jack. I jung it up on the messenger board in our entryway. 

Kyle took me on a date to one of our favorite restaurants downtown. Well, first went went to the causeway to a different restaurant but the wait was AN HOUR AND 45 MINUTES! No maam, we will not be dining with you this evening. We switched our plans and still had a great night! Everytime we got through the tunnel, Kyle and I hold our breath like we are 5.... makes me giggle.

If you have stuck with this whole post, congratulations.... you win a MEDAL OF HONOR for being the best blog reader ever... so to both of you... YOU'RE THE BEST! 

I'm linking up with MomfessionalsGrace and Love Blog, and Little Bit of Everything Blog for Friday Favorites! Join Us! 

Hi! I'm Carrie! I like to drink Earl Grey Tea, watch Gilmore Girls, hang out with my man, read a good, suck-you-in fiction book, play with my babies, take long bubble baths, and learn about Jesus. Connect with me on Facebook for even more Wiley Adventures!

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