Thursday, August 23, 2007

Homemade Personal Planner

I've spent, well, wasted, more money on day planners, calendars and organizers than I have on shoes. I love planners; I love the newness of crisp white pages in August, before the squares are inked and penciled and erased and crossed off. I love choosing just the right pen and pencil to use, it needs to make just the right sound as it crosses the paper. I love filling in birthdays and anniversaries with plans of sending cards.

Then life happens.

Piano is cancelled and meetings rescheduled. Dinner plans change and babysitters cancel. Cranberry harvest comes and planned activities forgotten. Cards are still waiting to be mailed and more items are crossed off than are left to do. Soon the planner is even left to itself. Is it life? or am I using the wrong planner, still?

After reading Dawn's post about homemade planners, I decided it was time for me to get busy making my own. I searched the web looking at all the free printable planning pages and perused Staples section of day planners and teacher planners. Finally I had all the ideas I could manage.

The basic weekly planning page is a two page spread. On the left is my menu planner, grocery list and store slip. On the right is my weekly planner, starting with Monday and ending with the weekend. I've found that keeping the weekend together, at the end of the week, makes planning for it during the week easier and when it gets here I'm more prepared.

Starting from the left is the Menu Planner. Unless we're having company, camping or preparing for vacation, I only plan the dinner meals. I typically have at least a 2 week menu ready to go. As I plan the menu I add all needed items to my grocery list, which is the next column. The far column is for the list of items that can't be bought at the grocery store. I also makes notes in that column when a gift is needed or the next music lesson book is required. As I make stops during the week, I grab my notebook and buy the items on the list. If for some reason I don't pick up all that week's items, I transfer them to the next week. I don't like flipping back and forth in the planner because I've found I always miss something.

Now, on the right is the weekly planner. Starting with Monday and ending with Sunday. I fill in the date and use the space for both my personal to do lists and my homeschooling plans. You might notice that on the right I have red writing - I have a special red pen I use to write in birthdays, anniversaries, Holy days, feast days, Holidays, special events and activities that take us away from home. That way at a quick glance I can see if anything out of the ordinary is happening during the week. Out of the ordinary is anything other than laundry, meals, baths, church, school, homekeeping. Then I pencil in to do's and homeschooling lessons. In my planner I write out the details of our read alouds, Story of the World, tea time, Catholic Mosaic and science.

Other pages included in my homemade planner
Page 1 - Moveable Feast Days, Holy Days of Obligation, Secular Holidays (moveable)
Page 2, 3 - 2006-2009 calendars
Page 4 - Favorite Prayers
Page 5, 6, 7 - Snippets of Saints, kids like
Page 8, 9 - Liturgical Calendar - Gospel Readings for Sunday Mass

At the end I have blank pages for notes, 4 pages for gift ideas to remember, and the last page is a future planning page - a 12 square grid, one space for each month. I jot down ideas here that might be fun to do, but aren't appropriate for the current season.

After I had compiled all my pages and found just the right cardstock to use as the front and back covers, I took it all to Staples and they spiral bound it for $1.99.

Was this helpful?  Do you feel like you know what you want in a homemade personal planner?  Let's get a discussion going?  Leave a comment please.

Why I'm Happy

The first picking of fresh, young, sweet garden corn

Home-grown zinnias on my dining room table

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Back to School Confusion

Grace: Mom, can you believe there'll be a 4th grader, 3rd grader and 1st grader this year!?

Lou: Who's the 1st grader?

All of us in unison: YOU!!!

Lou: No way - I am not doing 1st grade school.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Hardwood Bombing Range Air Show

We ventured out this morning to our first ever, up close air show. And here is what I heard:

(by a mom to her husband and two young boys) You mean they have guns here?!
Yes, dear lady, there will be guns at the military bombing range.
(by me) Why are we waiting in line? Is there something to see?
(Lee) We're gonna see the machine guns.
Oh good!

(Lee) When are they gonna blow up the firetruck?

(Lou) Let's go home; I don't want to see the firetruck explode.

(all boys under age 100 after the firetruck exploded) Awesome! Cool, flying metal.

(Lee) Look what I found, a blown up shell casing.

And my very favorite of the day:

(Lou) I feel like I have a fever; I think I need a slushie.

We're home and the earplugs have been thrown away. I have a feeling I will be stepping over these for a few days until all the reenactments have been reenacted.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Assumption Mass

Back at the kneeler after communion

Lee: Do you have the recipe for those hosts?

Me: No.

Lee: Can you find one on the internet?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A Few Observations

Hawaiian shirts. DH and I went out for dinner and music last Friday and counted more than 10 men, over age 45 in bright, flowery, palm leafy, sail boaty Hawaiian shirts. We both chuckled, thinking about the future and wondering if we'll still be with it or if we'll, I mean if he'll be wearing a Hawaiian shirt. Well, fast forward to the next night at my cousin's outdoor wedding. I couldn't help myself, I started counting Hawaiian shirts and then began to fret because a very with it 12 year old was wearing a very cool Hawaiian shirt, as was my 36 year old cousin (only 2 years away for my honey), as was my big city, stylish 50 something uncle. My theory was blown in less than 24 hours. Hawaiian must be making a come back; now where did I put those pineapple burmudas from junior high?
Midweek hotel stays are great. Better prices and fewer people. I did however find a few people begging to be watched. Like for example, this young couple with one toddler. They came waltzing into the waterpark with enough gear for a 3 day campout. They set up camp at a nearby table where mom started giving orders to dad about where the child could swim, what waterslides he could use and that he was not supposed to go underwater or drink the water. Well, mom plopped down with a magazine and dad hopped in the kiddie wading pool with his boy. They made a beeline for the teeter totter, which squirted water as you went up and down. Mom gave a look and they were off to something new, the cloth swings, which admittedly didn't look very sanitary. Dad pushed the little guy, he laughed, mom gave a disapproving look. The waterslide came next; the boy went underwater, probably swallowed a little by the way he was coughing. Mom had had enough. She called them in and they packed up all the gear. Mom passed the huge (Texas huge) beach style bag- the orange mesh kind with splashes of pink and yellow tropical flowers- to dad and she carried the boy out. I doesn't seem right to pass judgement on this situation, but I will say they would've had a lot more fun if mom and dad were both playing with little junior in the water, maybe even splashing a little.
Next up, my three year old. His favorite part at the waterpark is the hot baff, which in adult language would be the hut tub. What harm could a cute little boy who likes to soak in the hot baff bring anyone? Well, the lifeguard seemed to think a lot! I stopped counting at 24 whistle blows, but 6 of those whistle blows were at my son. He walked up the waterslide; used the sprayer to spray all the little girls in the face at point blank, stood on the teeter totter, lugged the tubes from the tube corral to the kiddie pool and sat in the lock and dam play area, twice. The lifeguard was busy. And so was I.

Check This Out

What have you done for me lately? That's what Janet Jackson asked back in the late 80's, early 90's with her #1 pop song. But a better question would be: What have you done for your marriage lately? Check out this website for ideas to strengthen your marriage.

Dark Chocolate....Lower Blood Pressure....need I say more. I just wish it said a lot instead of a little. Or hourly instead of daily. Anyway, I'll be stocking up.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Calling All Nature Lovers

Back in April, Dawn posed a question. She wanted to know what the stumbling blocks were to nature study. Read her post and comments here. Most people felt they didn't know enough to get started. This summer I came across two awesome books about nature study and observation.

Northwoods Companion: Spring and Summer by John Bates - This book takes a look at nature in 2 week blocks. I just finished reading August 1-15, which highlights the flora and fauna to watch for in this time span. For example nighthawks, shorebird migration, scat and blackberries, mushrooms, freshwater sponges and many more. I like his style of writing: informational, scientific, witty and story-like. There is also a Fall and Winter edition.

Wild Wisconsin Notebook by James Buchholz- This is similar, but it highlights the year a month at a time. Great bits of trivia about plants and animals that can be shared at the dinner table and make for interesting conversation.

Now go and enjoy some nature today. Have you noticed the Canadian Geese flocking in fields over the last week? They must be gathering for their fall migration. There is so much beauty to notice outside, one just has to be aware.

Send a Boy to Camp...

...and here's what happens.
  • first you'll have to label EVERYTHING so everyone knows who the ratty old towel and past its prime pillow belongs to
  • on the way to camp he will help you search for just the right gas station to stop at to pick up cream sunscreen and a disposable camera; it will cost $20; he won't use either
  • he will come home with the brand new bar of soap still in its sealed box
  • the ratty old towel will still be rolled and perfectly clean when he unpacks, as will the washcloth
  • all the underwear will be used, but none of the clothing (try to figure that one out)
  • try as he might to explain carpet ball, you will never quite get it, but he will remind you he was the grand champion and beat a 16 year old
  • he will learn catchy camp songs that can only be sung at top volume, in the van
  • he will hum the tunes the rest of the day so that they penetrate your mind and even when you want to fall asleep all you can think is: I like bananas, I think papayas are sweet, but nothing can beat the sweet love of God

And it's that sweet love of God that allowed him to have, quite possibly, the best 4 days of his life. Oh Lord, I thank you for camp counselors who give up their summer to do your work; I thank you for providing Lee with the perfect camp experience and taking care of him when I couldn't be there. Amen.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Saint Alphonsus

Having writer's block? Well, say a prayer to St. Alphonsus, the patron saint of writers. Then start blogging away with a renewed spirit. Or put your pencil to paper and start planning for the coming months. Dawn has two posts with wonderful ideas to get you started planning for August and September. I've started jotting down a few things in my day planner as to how we will celebrate our Faith in August.

St. Alphonsus (1)- add this saint to our repertoire of saints to pray to when stumbling, we already pray to St. Anthony for lost items and its worked every time, now we have a writing helper

St. John Vianney (4)- confession, it's been a while

Transfiguration of the Lord (6)- read story in children's bible and display art at dinner table

Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary (15)- attend mass, swim in pond, eat lots of fruit, take fruit basket to Sister C., read ?

St. Monica (27) and St. Augustine (28)- mother and son, display art at dinner table and check out all the summer forts my boys made, with them of course.

Getting this down on paper was fun. I love pulling out my idea books and planning. And using my new homemade planner made it even better this time. I will post about my planner soon. But today I'm off to paint a table, light weeding in the garden, piano and movie night at church.