Thursday, June 13, 2019

It's a planning frenzy for this organization nerd...

Happy almost-summer everyone! It *finally* feels like spring here in WNY, just in time for summer, yay. :-0 But it's been lovely, truly, albeit a bit rainy. But we need the rain for the flowers and plants to grow, yes?

I have an organizational topic for us to share today, and although that may sound totally uninspiring, I have to tell you that the excitement of all of this has taken over my life, and I'm not being sarcastic. 😂 I've *really* enjoyed my foray into the previously unknown-to-me paper planner world, and picking something out for myself. Yes, I still use a paper planner. Although I do use the Google Calendar on my phone, I still thrive only when having something physical to look at when planning my days and weeks. I'm also a daily to-do list maker, and I love the ease of keeping all of that in one place.

This all got started because I forgot to put my order in during the pre-order phase for a new Blessed Is She planner, which is what I've been using for the past 2 years. That is a fantastic planner. Since I missed the pre-order, I thought to myself: "maybe I'll take a look at what else is out there." Well.

*falls down YouTube rabbit hole*

I had no idea that there were planner launches twice per year (fall and spring), planner conferences, and people who make planning and decorating their planners with stickers a full blown hobby. Scrapbooking is certainly a hobby, and this seems to be an offshoot of that, so it makes sense, but I had just never thought about it before. Although I don't see myself taking up the scrapbooking path, I'm quite fascinated by those who do. And there are so many planner options! Layouts, daily/weekly/monthly options, vertical vs. horizontal, to-do list placement, meal planning opportunities...my head was spinning, but after my first lunchtime YouTube marathon, I felt all invigorated.

Let's do this! :-0

I knew that what I was looking for was a planner with an hourly layout for each day (I absolutely NEED this for my sanity with my crazy, always evolving teaching schedule each fall and spring semester, but also to keep track of meeting times, appointments, and other good stuff like that) but I also like to see the entire week in one shot. This is apparently called a weekly planner with hourly layout (who knew?) and they're actually not as prevalent as I thought.

Weekly planner with hourly layout

Before I fell down the YouTube rabbit hole I was looking on Amazon, and almost none of the ones I found had this sort of layout. The big planner companies (that I didn't even know existed prior to this little adventure) all do, but I had to know the name for what I was looking for. Once I got that figured out, the video watching continued in earnest, and I eagerly lapped up videos of women unboxing their new planners (which is definitely a THING, believe you me), as apparently I was just in time for the nationwide academic year planner launch. I prefer academic year planners, to be sure. As a person who went to school for many, many years, they are uber comforting to me, like a solid old friend, and as I now work on a college campus, the academic option that begins in July or August each year works perfectly for me. I found that there were all these planner companies with enthusiastic followers filming videos on how awesome their planners are, and I admit it, I got caught up in Planner Frenzy. :-0 I'm telling you, I really had fun with this. Happy Planner, Emily Ley Simplified Planners, Inkwell Press, Plum Paper...my head was spinning with all of the customization options, and all of the beautiful planner covers. I had no idea that I could become so overwhelmed picking out a planner. 😂

I ended up ordering an Erin Condren Life Planner, which is apparently the Cadillac of planners. I chose the academic year start, hourly layout, a neutral/pastel color scheme for the interior, and I customized my outside cover. It just arrived yesterday, and I'm kind of in love with it:

😍
This planner is the cutest size ever (7x9), has a SUPER sturdy laminated cover and awesome, indestructible gigantic coil that this company is known for, absolutely gorgeous, thick paper that pens do not bleed through, and I just CAN'T EVEN with how much I love it. I have my beloved hourly spread for each week, to-do list area for each day PLUS one on the side where I can put weekly tasks that don't need to be done on a specific day, note and goal pages for each month, a cover with fall leaves that is absolute perfection, and it even has my name on it. 😍 I mean, I LOVE it. It comes with pockets, a separate perpetual calendar to keep track of birthdays and holidays, and a snap-in ruler to keep your place. I also purchased a separate snappy-in thing (this is called a DASHBOARD, I feel so fancy and planner savvy 😎) that lays out meal planning for an entire week, with grocery list on the back, and it's WET ERASE (sorry to keep shouting, but this is all just so INGENIUS) so that it won't smudge, and some wet erase markers. I am in NERD HEAVEN, I cannot even tell you. It does come with a few seasonal stickers, and so I went wild last night applying them to their correct holidays and occasions. I don't even recognize myself anymore. 😂

Cute extra pouch I bought to keep all my pens, markers, and other planner supplies in

I have been really enjoying this, for sure, and I'm all motivated to keep better track not only of my own stuff, but appointments and other commitments for the kids (which grow and grow the older they get, it seems) that we usually only keep on the family monthly calendar in the kitchen. But then...sometimes I forget about those things, and you know, I need to ferry them there, so I need to know those things! I'm slowly filling in my calendar for July and August with Anne's Girl Scout camp dates, Henry's high school work study schedule, basketball camp, and altar serving dates. It's definitely a calming experience for me, and is helping me to not feel like I may cry all the time with all of the changes happening right now in our lives.

How do you keep track of your daily and weekly schedules? Do you use a paper planner or another system? If so, you KNOW I want to know what type of planner you have, what features you like about it, and photos would be even better. 😍 Post in the comments!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

A summer of reading the classics with my kids...or at least I hope so :0

You know how it goes. You have a picture in your mind of what it will be like to summer with your school aged children:



You will cavort barefoot in the yard while eating popsicles. Baby goats might be involved. You will take adventurous road trips in which the children will never whine that they are bored.You will lounge in bathing suits under the sprinkler. You will grill delicious food, and sit in the garden reading the classics while drinks adorned with fresh mint sit by your side.



Or, well, maybe your vision isn't EXACTLY like mine, but ultimately they all involve your kids being well behaved and great sports about all of the activities you really want to do/will really make you feel like a parent who achieves actual worthwhile parenting goals. But it never turns out  QUITE that way.

We don't have a pool, or even a yard that lends itself to easily playing with balls of any kind. We live on an urban postage stamp and space is at a premium. Although we've had a sprinkler, it does little more than make our uneven backyard a swamp. Balls go over the fence with reckless abandon. Lacking a back deck or easy access to the back yard, grilling only takes place in the kitchen and often involves the smoke detector going off. The kids still want to play video games far too much of the time. All road trips involve whining. And getting them to read over the summer is like pulling teeth.

It's a keeping-it-real kind of post today. 😂

As a librarian, I take the reading thing pretty seriously. Henry has always been a great reader, but this past school year he has not read anything on his own, just things he had to read for school. Anne has struggled a bit with reading, and goes weekly to the school reading specialist. She has improved significantly, but it's especially important for her to keep reading over the summer. She, however, has decided that she only wants to read books that are well below her reading age level, probably because they are easier for her to read.

I read most of the C.S. Lewis Narnia series with Henry when he was Anne's age or a year or two older, and we both loved them. My attempt to start up The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe with Anne at bedtime ended in an attitude-y declaration that she wasn't enjoying the story. I've sent a bunch of samples to her Kindle, and I'm hoping to go through them with her to find something she is enthused by, though I sense that the problem is just her own stubbornness, which is tougher to fix than finding a story that catches her fancy. But at any rate, the selections include (she will be in 3rd grade in the fall):

Harriet the Spy
The Secret Garden (available for free on Kindle if you're a Prime member, fyi)
Charlotte's Web
The Princess and the Goblin
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew
Ballet Shoes

I remember several of these books from my own childhood, and they are quite nostalgic for me! I don't mind reading the fairy series that she favors, but goodness, I need a break from the monotonous, fixed plotlines you find in those books. :0 I like the summer to have a "theme," if you will, in terms of reading. Harry Potter, summer thrillers, maybe classical mysteries. For Anne, I want her to embark on books of substance, classics or otherwise nostalgic childhood reads from my own lifetime. For Henry, I just want him to read...something. Something that he enjoys, to get him back into reading for pleasure again. He read And Then There Were None with his literature class, and this morning expressed an interest in Murder on the Orient Express, which I immediately jumped on in full enthusiasm. :0

And Agatha Christie -along summer!

*party time!*

What are you planning to read this summer? Do you have suggestions for getting kids interested in reading more classical books? I'm all ears in the comments!