Category Archives: Day Planners

Planner Review: Motivated Moms Chore Planner

FamilyTimeMine winners, your planners are (finally) on their way. I know they didn’t make it time for January 1st, but you should have them by Thursday at the latest.

I have two more planners to give away. I think you’ll be very excited by this first one: the Motivated Moms Chore Planner. I love this thing. (Kathryn wrote about it here.) It’s a download and you print it out yourself. Even though I’m already quite happy with my daily planner, I like the idea of a daily chore planner to help me keep on track in my beautification efforts.

Click below to read the rest of the review and to enter a drawing for a free Motivated Moms chore planner.

Continue reading Planner Review: Motivated Moms Chore Planner

Day Planners for Moms: FamilyTimeMine (and a Double Giveaway)

When I started yakking about my favorite day planners over at Lilting House a long while back, I had no idea what I was starting. Look at this:


That’s just this week’s searches, and only the top chunk of the list. I let
go of the Grab button too soon and didn’t feel like redoing it.

It seems I’m not the only one with a planner obsession.

I also learned that if you review them, they will come. I wound up with more planners than you could shake a Bic at. (Har.)

Here’s one with lots to like about it: the FamilyTime.Mine day planner. The company sent me two sizes to look at: a purse-sized 5 1/2" x 8" model, and an 8 1/2" x 11" model. (I’ll be giving them away at the end of this post.) Both are spiral bound, which I’ve decided is my preference for a planner. I really need to be able to fold back the cover for easy writing. The front and back covers are sturdy plastic, also a plus. I like the colorful confetti design on the little one. Actually, they’re both quite festive. The colors on the larger one (this is the "Collage" pattern) are brighter than they appear in this image.


Okay, these images are not to scale. The one on the left, Collage, is the 8 1/2 x 11" model. There are other cover designs available, too.

Enough about the outside! Open them up, and the first two pages are a heavy card stock, folded so there’s a large flap on the left-hand side. I have the August 2007-Dec. 2008 versions, so the flaps read "Fall 2007" and "Winter 2007." I assume the 2008 version has front flaps for Winter and Spring. Open the flap and you have a fold-out grid for writing out your weekly master schedule. In the back of the planner are two more of these folded card-stock pages, with two more seasons’ worth of master schedule grids. This is a pretty nifty feature, I must say. The flaps do add a little bulk to the planner, but these are skinny planners compared to other brands on the market, so even with the flaps they are not unwieldy at all.


(Click image to enlarge.) The weekly schedule on the left is the folded-over part of the flap.

Apart from these master schedule pages, the paper is thin. I haven’t pen-tested these but I’m guessing there’s bound to be some bleed-through. I’m a felt-tip pen kind of girl (or better yet, fountain pens), so thin paper makes me crazy. This is the only major strike against the FamilyTimeMine, but for me it’s a biggie.

After some instructional and promo pages (which you could tear out), there’s a page for personal info, emergency numbers, and holiday dates. On the other side of that begin the monthly and weekly calendar spreads. This planner has the monthly spreads inserted before each month’s set of weekly pages (as opposed to the MomAgenda which has all the monthly spreads together up front, a feature I am wildly fond of).

The monthly spreads are nice and clean, with big clear boxes. (REALLY big, in the 8 1/2 x 11" version.)


The weekly pages are a page per week (not a spread per week).


You’ll note it’s a Monday-through-Sunday week.

The gray columns on the side of each page are a perforated list area. You can tear these off or fold them over. That’s a neat feature, although I’m not crazy about the fact that every page is perforated (including the monthly calendar grids—not the card-stock flap pages, of course). Call me picky, but I don’t like the perforation running down the line between Sunday and Monday on the monthly calendar.

It’s a clean, functional format, though, with lots of writing space and little visual clutter. There are teeny tiny quotes at the bottom of each weekly grid.

Back-of-the-book extra pages include a babysitter info page, a kind of personal yellow pages space, some pages for recording phone numbers & email addresses, and two blank lined pages for notes.

Behind the two final flappy card-stock master schedule pages is a page of FlyLadyesque stickers for birthdays, bills, holidays, vacation, Important! events, ball games, and other events for which you might enjoy a colorful reminder. The back cover (that nice sturdy plastic again) has a very nice side pocket for tucking stuff into. I think I would prefer a bottom pocket, but this is still quite a nice feature.

Checking around, I see prices ranging from $10.15 (for the smaller size, at Amazon) to $16.99 (for the larger size, at (The larger size seems to be about $13 at Amazon.)

Giveaway time! Leave a comment on this post and I’ll enter you in a drawing for one of these two planners. I’m giving them both away, so if you have a size preference, include that in your comment. The first winner I draw will get to pick which size he or she gets. I’ll hold the drawing on Monday, December 17, for a sort of hobbity reason. That ought to give me time to mail these to the winners before New Year’s. (But remember, these are the August 2007-December 2008 models, so you’ll probably want to tear out a bunch of pages in the front.)

Next up: the Bizzimom planner.

Other planners reviewed at Lilting House (this is the index page; scroll down to find the review you want):

Catholic Woman’s Daily Planner
Mom’s Daily Planner
A Circle of Days (Small Meadow Press)   

Giveaways Here and There

I’m about to wrap up the "day planners for moms" series I started at Lilting House way back when. As soon as I get this batch of reviews up, I’ll have some fun planners to give away: a Bizzi2Go planner, a 2008 Catholic saints day planner from Tan Books, and two very cool FamilyTimeMine planners.

Meanwhile, I hear MomAgenda is having a Christmas sale. Here’s my 2007 MomAgenda review. (Same page as the Catholic Woman’s Daily Planner review.) My 2006 MomAgenda review is here.

I’ll post the giveaway details in the upcoming reviews. While you’re waiting, go check out what Anne-Marie has to give away at A Readable Feasta whole basket of children’s books from Little, Brown!

UPDATED! Another big books giveaway, this one at Maureen Wittmann’s site, where a different book is being given away every day this week. Maureen is the author of the brand-new book, For the Love of Literature, which I am eager to see. Cay Gibson happens to be offering a free copy of Maureen’s book (another giveaway!) this week in one of her scrumptious Book Walks. Be sure to swing by both sites, Cay’s and Maureen’s, for a chance to win these goodies!

The Promised Planner Post

Updated with more information!

I know, I know! It’s practically September! I would assume you’ve all bought your planners already, except every day I’m getting zillions of hits for "planner for moms"-related phrases. Some of you out there are still shopping.

Catholic Woman’s Daily Planner

SamplelgThe ever-popular Catholic Woman’s Daily Planner by Family-Centered Press is in fact so popular this year that the small size, the one I like best, is already sold out. In the school-year format, that is. The 2008 Jan-Dec calendar is still available in both sizes. The school-year version is only available in the 8 1/2 x 11" three-hole-punched size. If you use a binder for your planner or home management book, you’ll definitely want to take a look at Michele Quigley’s lovely pages.

Two page weekly spread with daily mass readings, all feast days & solemnities plus a daily rosary mystery reminder. Two page monthly spread with the Holy Father’s prayer intentions and all major feasts & holidays. Daily prayers, prayer journal, address book, web log & year-at-a-glance.

All styles have the full color cover page and include 13 plastic permanent stick-on tabs (12 printed months -1 blank).

You can also order menu-planning pages and lesson-planning pages. I’ve used this planner (the small spiral-bound version) for two years and I really love it. I did wind up wishing I hadn’t gone for the extra lesson-planning pages. I liked the menu pages very much, but I just don’t have a need for lesson-planning pages. What planning I do happens right here, in blogland. I use a planner for scheduling our bajillion doctor appointments and for recording—after the fact—what we did, read, ate, saw. "Planner" is probably not the right word for my purposes—"chronicle" would be more accurate.

Michele’s planner made a lovely chronicle. And I love having the saints’ feast days printed on every day.

Here’s my glowing review of last year’s Catholic Woman’s Daily Planner.

8 1/2 x 11" edition, $24.99.
With menu planning pages, $28.98.
With lesson-planning pages, $29.48.
With both menu and lesson pages, $33.47.

Also available: a men’s version. The Family-Centered Student Planner is already sold out for this year.

Oh—and I love Michele’s lovely nature journals, only $5 each!


Now, you may recall from last year that I wound up with both the Catholic Woman’s planner and the deliciously pretty MomAgenda. The MomAgenda’s soft pastel pages and satin ribbon still make me swoon. And I still think the format, with sections for mom and up to four kids on each weekly spread, is brilliant. You can read what I wrote last year if you want to know more about it

What I wound up not liking, and one of the reasons the Catholic Woman’s planner won out in the end, was the binding. In the beginning I actually thought the sewn binding with its sturdy-yet-attractive shantung cover would be a big mark in this planner’s favor, especially with the ribbon sewn in to mark your place. I am a sucker for ribbons.

But I discovered I really, really have to have a spiral-bound planner. I need to be able to fold the cover back; I need small and wieldy. You know, as opposed to big and unwieldy.

Now that’s just my preference. The 7-hole-punched Franklin Covey-style
planners in nice leather binders have never worked for me either. They
wooed me with their nifty pockets (I got a used one on eBay a few years
ago), but you can’t fold them back like a spiral.

Well, I’m in luck. I may have been too late to snag the small-sized spiral bound Catholic Woman’s Daily Planner, but MomAgenda has a spiral-bound version, too. They sell it alone for $19.95, or in a perfectly gorgeous (and fearfully expensive) leather binder.

The spiral (sold as a "refill") has a sturdy plastic cover, metal
(not plastic) rings, and those same pretty, pretty blue calendar pages
with the special kids-and-mom format. In the back are also some
planning pages (green) and note pages (purple). The month-at-a-glance
spreads are all together in the front of the planner, which I love,
instead of spread out through the year in front of each month’s weekly

This is an August 2007 through December 2008 calendar. So is the bound version, which they call the "desktop" model.

Here’s a look at that clever layout (click to enlarge):


There are quotes at the top of the weekly pages, and last year one
or two of the quotations were not the sort of thing you’d want your
tender young readers to grab hold of. MomAgenda creator Nina Restieri
responded to customers’ complaints with concern, and my guess is that
this year the quotes were chosen a bit more carefully. If you can’t
leave your planner out on the counter all day, what good is it?

Spiral-bound planner, $19.95.
Spiral-bound planner in leather binder with pockets, address book: $119.50
Desktop planner with sewn binding: $42.


The BusyBodyBook

I reviewed The BusyBodyBook last year (here’s my post,
which was quite detailed), and this year’s version is similar, with
some improvements. Like the MomAgenda, the BusyBodyBook provides a
weekly grid with space for five separate people. It’s a totally
different layout from the MomAgenda, though—the people columns are
vertical and the days of the week are horizontal. Like this:


The left-hand pages are for notes and lists, and the weekly grid is on the right.

I quite like the light brown shading on the weekly grids (though not
nearly as much as I like those blue MomAgenda pages), but this year’s
covers don’t do much for me.

Dots_index  Stripes_index

Actually, the striped one isn’t bad; it’s just that my taste tends to run more to vintage botanicals. Or anything Lesley Austin makes.

Last year I complained about the photos that decorated the bottoms
of the left-hand pages, and what do you know? This year they’re gone:
big improvement.

There are six-month-at-a-glance pages up front, covering July 2007
through December 2008. I like the idea of seeing six months at a
glance, but of course in putting that many months on a spread, the
grids must be much smaller, and these are probably too small for my
purposes. The month-at-a-glance part of my planner is my most-used
part. The rest is for notes and jottings. It’s that monthly calendar
that keeps all my balls in the air.

In the back are some extras, including perforated to-do lists (nice
touch!), note pages, address pages, and a pocket. (There’s a front
pocket too.)

What strikes me about this planner is that it would work really well
for scheduling lessons and activities for multiple kids. I like its 7 x
10" trim size and spiral binding. The cover is heavy card stock. The
planner covers August 2007 through September 2008. (There are 2008
calendar-year versions available as well, with fun, funky covers.)

Price: $16.95.

BusyBodyBook also sells a 7-column magnetic Fridge Grid Pad. You write the names of each family member across the top and their activities through the week. Here’s a peek:


More planner posts:

Small Meadow Press: A Circle of Days
The Mom’s Daily Planner
Reader suggestions
More reader comments

Elsewhere on the web:

How Ann uses planners
Kim’s home management binder
Stef on the Levenger Circa paper/digital system
Free planning resources at Donna Young
Jen on her Teacher Plan Book

If you’ve got a planner post, send me the link!

Mom Planner Reviews, Season 2: Your Opinions

Last summer’s series on day planners for moms continues to be one of my highest search-engine traffic draws. I’m gearing up for another set of reviews, but in the meantime (and more importantly), I’d like your input. My wonderful (and dearly missed) Virginia pal, Sarah of Herding Turtles, suggested I ask my readers the following question:

Which planner did you wind up using this past year, and—here’s the pertinent question—are you still using it?

Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Last year’s planner reviews:

Catholic Woman’s Daily Planner
Small Meadow Press — Circle of Days
The BusyBodyBook

The Mom’s Daily Planner
Reader Suggestions

Mom Planners Revisited

All right, it’s been a few months—how are your day planners working out for you? Care to share updated reviews on the planners you wound up with?

Here’s another one for you to check out: the Mom’s Daily Planner by Mahoney Publishing. It’s a spiral-bound planner in a nice, compact 5×8" size. (Fits nicely in a purse.) It has tabs on the sides with the names of each month, and its daily pages are laid out in a four-column format with times running down the side. The first column is labeled "Mom," and the others are for your kids. In all the feedback I’ve received for the planner series, the ability to track mom’s activities and kids’ activities in separate columns or spaces was very high on people’s lists of desired features. (The BusyBodyBook* has a similar layout, but its format is weekly instead of daily.)

Each month begins with a one-page month-at-a-glance calendar, and then there is a separate page for each day of the month. I’ll upload a sample page at the bottom of this post. Because this planner uses a page-per-day format, it’s pretty thick (about the same size as the CWDP menu & lesson plan version) but the Mom’s Daily Planner doesn’t include extra material like the menu pages. The planners that are laid out in a two-pages-per-week format seem to include more bonus materials like to-do lists.

The cover is a thin, coated card stock in pink, blue, black, or green. The publisher is offering a free 2006 planner when you order a 2007 edition. (And as a reminder—I don’t make any money off these planner recommendations; this is just a series of reviews for your information!)


*About the BusyBodyBook—I just discovered they are offering free downloads of weekly "Fridge Grid" pages for anyone who’s interested. They would make great chore charts! The publisher is also offering a 25% discount on the 06/07 planner. Enter Fundraiser Code BBBLOG during checkout out to receive your 25% off.

More planner reviews:
Catholic Woman’s Daily Planner
Small Meadow Press — Circle of Days
The BusyBodyBook

Planners for Moms: Your Suggestions

The day planner series has generated simply scads of feedback—thanks! Here are some of the ideas you’ve shared in the comments:

Becky wrote,

I’m a geek too, but a cheap geek and lazy to boot. I found I just
don’t use the kind of planners meant to be toted around (I much prefer
a huge central calendar in the kitchen for things like that — and I
love the "Family Organizer" from More Time Moms, which sacrifices
pretty pictures for lots of spaces).

But I do like to keep a record of the kids’ work for the day, as you
do, Lissa, and I’ve found that a regular "student planner" at Staples
for under $10 does the trick. There was a lovely supermarket-brand one
a couple of years ago, but it seemed to be a one-off 🙁

Leslie recommended a planner I haven’t seen yet:

Be sure to check out the Familytime.mine planner from Tanglewood Press.
Border’s Books sells it. It has sections for seasonal, monthly, and
weekly views with large blocks for each day. It’s a 17-month planner
that begins in September and runs through December of the following
year. It is an 8.5 x11" spiral bound size, though, so it won’t fit in
most purses. About 5-7 of the moms I know use it and love it. I just
happen to be a PalmPilot kinda woman, myself.

And Ann came up with her own pretty and practical solution:

After reading your intriguing series of posts on Planners, Melissa,
I bought my own pretty (because, yes, beauty is *essential* in a
planner)hardback, spiral (it needed to lay open on the counter, if I
was really going to use it) journal, with some adhesive tabs and made
my own day planner based on the brilliant layout from the
MomAgenda…with several caveats… (A Planner for UnPlanners):

1. I didn’t label the tabs with all kind of subjects–I am only
labelling them as I actually find need to jot something down–that way
it is just what I acutally need and *use* as opposed to some imposed,
unecessary division I’ll never use. (So far, I have a tab for: Daily
Schedules, Grocery Lists, Items needed for Children)

2. I am writing only a loose skeleton for the day’s outline…no tight
schedule for me. And then as the day progresses, I write in (loosely,
only what I want to make note of) what I actually *DID*—like
**scheduling in reverse**. That is working for me. I can see what
worked some days, what didn’t, what may have been a stumbling point and
could be tweaked…and I feel a sense of accomplishment instead of
discouragement. Seeing what I *did* on a day motivates me for the next
day. And if I didn’t get to "a bone on my skeleton" for the day, I just
add it to the next day.

3. In the children’s squares, somedays I jot in what I’d like to do
with each child that day so I remember…or again, I jot in what we
actually did together. Nice to have a record of our days.

3. Finally, I am only making up one week layout at a time in the
journal… that way, if I choose not to continue (I am on my third week),
well…I still have a blank, pretty journal to write in instead of a
whole planner of scheduled, useless pages! ~warm smile~ (And one can
*always* use a journal!)

I am *most* grateful, Melissa, for this series…with some tweaking, I think this is a planner that works unplanners!

Anne-Marie prefers the high-tech version:

Me, I’m a computer gal, so Microsoft
Outlook is the one way to go. I keep separate calendars for my work as
an Usborne Books consultant, and a main one for daily appointments.
Each family member has their own color and I also color code the
different work things I do – MOMS Club, charter school, writing,
Usborne, etc.

My problem with written calendars is that either I run out of room
or they’re a mess from the constant changes. With MS Outlook, I change
everything online and just print out a new calendar to take with and
post on the ‘frige.

I’d love to hear from more folks about the planners you know and love. It’s so nice to know I’m not t he only one with this obsession.

Other day planner reviews:
Catholic Woman’s Daily Planner
Small Meadow Press — Circle of Days
The BusyBodyBook