Families today are busy, and the family calendar is typically the glue that holds everything together. There are lots of different apps to help you keep track of everything, so how do you determine which one is best for your family? Which apps are compatible with which devices? And what about the good ole’ paper calendar? We have some great tips to keep your family on track!
Creating and Organizing Your Family Calendar
Episode 140, July 1st, 2016
Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.
JOHNER RIEHL: You know who holds the typical family together and makes it run smoothly? You might be thinking it is mom, it is definitely not dad – at least in our family – you can probably even make a case for the baby being the boss but in truth it is none of those. The MVP of the modern family is the family calendar and today we are talking all about creating and organizing a calendar for your family. I’m your host Johner Riehl and this is Parent Savers.
JOHNER RIEHL: Welcome everybody to Parent Savers – your online on the go support group for parents of infants and toddlers and pre-schoolers and kids that are either getting ready for elementary school or maybe have some elementary school kids or if you’ve got young kids, you are in the right place. This is Parent Savers and I’m your host Johner Riehl.
Thank you so much to all of you for listening who join us every time a new episode is released and especially for those of you who continue these conversations with us on Facebook and Twitter and let us know what you are thinking or give us some feedback on some of our cool segments. Make sure to check out the Parent Savers app so you can listen to all of our episodes wherever you go – that’s a great way to get it. You can also get it if you prefer to get your podcasts different way, we are on a ton of other platforms but speaking of all these different segments, we are going to have some fun ones later today, here is the famous Sunny – the head mommy at New Mommy Media – with even more details on how you can get involved and it is easier than ever now.
SUNNY GAULT: It is easier than ever. I like it that you said famous. Am I internet famous? I hope I am like 15mb of fame, you know. Yeah, so you guys can join us from wherever you are at in the country and in the world if you can access a link that we send you, so if you have access to that which means you basically need to have a desktop computer or a laptop computer. You need to have a good internet connection which is usually about 2mb upload speed or more and Google Chrome browser.
If you guys have those, you can actually join our show now and record right along with us; we love hearing from parents all over the place. You guys have some amazing perspective. It is a nice way just to kind of revitalize the show a little bit and get some new people talking and your opinions and stuff are always awesome. So, that’s great; if you want to participate, go to our website at www.NewMommyMedia.com and you can click on some of the banners that we have there that say “Hey, you want to be a parent on our show” just click on that and it will give you some more information about how you can join us.
As Johner mentioned, so we have these segments that we have in our shows and it is a great way if you guys are like “I don’t know if I am ready to do a whole episode yet but I really do want to be a part of your show”, we have these great segments and again, everything is listed on our website but a couple I just wanted to highlight today. So when you have parenting questions that you would like some of our experts to answer and there is a whole list of well first of all the experts that have ever been on our show, it is listed on our website, but we have a team of about 20 to 30 or so well, it is always kind of various, of experts that are willing and interested in answering any questions that come in.
So they are from a wide radial field so whatever parenting questions you have, send it to us, we will try to get it answered and the cool thing is that we take your question, we take the answer and we put it on a future episode so that other parents can listen and benefit from it as well. So, that’s a great way to reach out to our experts.
Also as Johner mentioned, we are always looking for story ideas; you know we have done … what is it now, this is episode 140 so we have done 140 episodes for Parent Savers alone. New Mommy Media has probably 550 episodes total, it is crazy. So we have covered a lot of different topics; there are always new topics out there that we need to be exploring but we would love to know what our audience has to say and what topics are of interest to you because that is kind of information that we want to be giving you guys.
So, please reach out to us. You can do that through our website or even through Facebook, send us a message, post on our wall; Parent Savers has their own page and check us out that way and we would love to get these ideas and vet them and see if it is something we can explore for you.
JOHNER RIEHL: Alright and just so everyone sort of has an idea of who is talking and who is doing what, let’s all as part of the conversation, introduce ourselves. We can talk about how many kids we have. Sunny, why don’t you start us off?
SUNNY GAULT: Alright. So, I have four kids. My oldest is a boy – he is 5; and then I have a 4-year-old boy and then I have twin girls … I know, I know, they are so many … and then I have twin girls who are 2 and a half. So we had them just kind of boom-boom-boom-boom and they are still young enough so that the calendar is becoming more and more important because this year my 5-year-old started kindergarten and that opened up a whole other dimension of him needing to be places at certain times and stuff like that. But we are just at the cusp of this and already I feel like my world is unraveling and I can share more of that in the episode because you are right Johner, it is all about the family calendar. So I got to figure this out somehow.
JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, it really is and so this is Johner and we have three boys – a 9-year-old, a 7-year-old and a 4 … he likes to say he is 4 and 7/8th … he is coming up on 5-years-old. And so between the three of them, the family calendar is a huge part of us with sports and we will kind of dive in that a little bit later but we are joined also by David and Amy Mitchell – the hosts of the Organized Family podcast so please introduce yourselves.
AMY MITCHELL: So we are Dave and Amy Mitchell out of Utah and we have 5 children between the ages of 18 and 10 – two boys and three girls; so that means we have three teenagers right now and like they are saying, you when you are little, they are busy in activities and stuff but boy, as they get older, it just gets busier and busier so it is nice to figure out your family calendar while all the kids are little so as it just gets crazier, you would have got that under control and it is a great resource to keeping everybody organized and on the same page.
DAVE MITCHELL: So, I am David Mitchell and I do some of the technical stuff behind the scenes of the Organized Family podcast.
AMY MITCHELL: He does all the technical stuff.
DAVE MITCHELL: Yeah and you can find that at www.OrganizedFamily.co.
JOHNER RIEHL: That’s great.
SUNNY GAULT: Awesome. I love that we are bringing on more podcasters on the show, I love this, this is great and it is great to have you guys on today’s episode. I am excited to talk to you guys.
JOHNER RIEHL: Before we jump into the conversation, we are going to look at a new app that we think is worth checking out for you guys with young kids; Smartphone’s are a big part … I know many of you maybe make the choice not to use your kids on Smartphone but a lot of you actually probably listening to this podcast on a Smartphone right now and I bet your kids maybe have gotten a hold of it. And we are always on the lookout for good apps that we think are constructive and they are actually worth your kids’ time as opposed to some of the mindless stuff that we don’t want to see them play.
So today we are looking at an app – it is called Toontastic Jr. Pirates, it is from Launchpad Toys and this is a free app and this is … some of the … these are some of my favorites and we can find free apps that we think are useful and really beneficial and really can appeal to the kids. This is one of those. It is called Toontastic Jr. Pirates and so the idea of this one … it is from Launchpad Toys and you can search for that on our episode, we will have a link to it … is there are sort of three different story frames – there is a beginning, a middle and an end which these little sort of animated cartoons with pirates.
Kids can drag the characters around and record their voices to sort of animate the scene then add some music to it and you end up putting together a little bit like a minute and half long video that sort of has a beginning, middle and an end that is all just voiced and created by your kids. And it is something that if you are working with young kid, you can help them with the titles and stuff, if they aren’t able to type.
If you have like a 5-year-old or a 6-year-old who is just starting to learn how to type or wants to name them simple things; the key part really isn’t what it is named, the key part is really the content and so I just recorded one a little bit earlier so you can kind of get a sense of like what it is and so this is like a little pirate … can you guys hear this a little bit, let’s see. I called this one Pirates are Weird. So it has like a little bit of music and the ships come up but then you can record your own sounds and so the pirate appeared.
So during what was happening, I was moving around the characters around the screen and so that was wonderful voice acting by me but it sort of gets you guys an idea and I think you can check that out and we can maybe add it to our introduction.
SUNNY GAULT: Okay wait so I have some questions. So it doesn’t have any voices, you have to add all of the voices yourself or you and your kid or you have got to record it somehow, right?
JOHNER RIEHL: Correct, you have to record it so it uses the mic and so it gives you a countdown in big 3, 2, 1 and then you record your voices and as you record, you can drag characters across the little cartoony screen so they be closer to the treasure chest or to slip on a banana peel; there is a monkey in the one that I did and I had the monkey walk the plank making monkey sounds and the kids loved doing it too. And so you can just really have a lot of creativity and it is your sounds and you get to pick the music too.
SUNNY GAULT: Oh, that’s kind of cool. And then what can you do with that afterwards? Is it something like if I wanted to share it on Facebook or something like that?
JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, you can save the video afterwards and you have it, it is on your phone, it is a video that you can share and it is kind of cool; it rolls the credits of all the people that did the animation which is really cool but then also it is a film and it is by whoever you want to say it is by and you can call it whatever you want too. Totally shareable.
SUNNY GAULT: I love the fact that it is free – we talk about this on the show – because you never know what your kids are going to like; we may think that this is an amazing app that would be so much fun but think about we are using our adult brains to think that way and who knows what kids are going to like. I think my boys are really going to like this, they love to dress up like pirates and do these kinds of stuff in real life and they are all about story-telling right now and they are kind of really getting into like ghost stories – they are really into ghost stories right now.
So this might be something that I can download, I can try with them but because it is free I don’t feel like there is this huge obligation and I know like 2 or 3 bucks is not like a huge obligation but it is for something my kids are going to be like “yeah, thanks mom, whatever”. And so I think it is a cool idea, I should probably check it out.
JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, it is totally worth checking out, I think it would even appeal to older kids as well so if you have kids of broad range of ages, it is something that I think a lot would enjoy.
DAVE MITCHELL: I was just thinking … you said that and then I thought my kids maybe they could do like school projects using this.
JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah and this platform does have other at this point it is particular one I think it is pirates which I think it is appealing to slightly younger but they do have other just Toontastic and this Toontastic Jr. there is also a Toontastic where there are arts; I think some of those might be paid but this particular one is a free one really great way to jump in and if your kids do get into it, then you know – hey, maybe we can check one of the other ones.
SUNNY GAULT: So I saw a review on this and who knows if this is accurate so the poster said “I am an 11-year-old girl” – which you know, who knows if that’s true – they said “I would much rather play the regular Toontastic, the game is mainly only fun for really little kids but it is not bad in my opinion”. So it sounds like this regular Toontastic might be kind of the older … this junior thing I think is for little kids like Johner said and the whole pirate thing kind of appeals to younger kids.
JOHNER RIEHL: I don’t know. I think it is definitely worth checking out – something that you can see for yourself if your kids would enjoy it and maybe you will like it too and get to make some cool pirate voices and monkey.
SUNNY GAULT: That was really good. I am impressed.
JOHNER RIEHL: Thanks.
JOHNER RIEHL: Today on Parent Savers we are talking about creating and organizing your family calendar with David and Amy Mitchell, the hosts of the Organized Family podcast. Welcome.
AMY MITCHELL: Thank you.
DAVE MITCHELL: Thank you.
JOHNER RIEHL: So we are talking about the family calendar and so I know you guys have older kids range of 10 to 18 but what do you guys use right now? How do you guys stay up-to-date and on track? What kind of calendar do you use?
DAVE MITCHELL: So, the two of us … we use Google Calendars so I am a little bit of a techy kind of guy, I am in the software industry as a profession and so we got onto Google and have our own domain through our Google App stuff. So all of our kids have their own personal emails through that family domain and then we have a shared calendar that we all of us use and we also have our own personal calendars as well.
JOHNER RIEHL: How does that work? Is that like an app that you open or it is like a bookmark? Is it like synced straight to your phone?
DAVE MITCHELL: So, it is Google Cal and it is just like iCal or any kind of other web-based calendar but you can also have that synchronized to your phone as well.
JOHNER RIEHL: Nice. And so when did you guys really start using a family calendar? When did you guys see the family calendar was something you really needed to integrate and be able to share with a lot of different people, not just you two but the kids?
DAVE MITCHELL: So, when we were first married we even found that we needed to have a calendar that we would use but when we first got married Google Calendar didn’t exist so we just had … I had a Franklin Day Planner and Amy, I am trying to remember what you used?
AMY MITCHELL: I have always just used the paper kind of a wall calendar. Once the kids started getting older and maybe they had their own electronic sort of their own phones, they started going to the electronic version where everybody could input activities into the calendar from different places, you know, if they are out at school, they have got a recital on the weekend or whatever they could be entering that or if Dave was at work and there was a company party that could be entered in …
It just became very convenient as everybody was getting older to go to an electronic version that we can all input from out at different places.
JOHNER RIEHL: I think for us it is as … and Sunny was saying kind of in the intro like once your kids get into elementary school a lot of more activities kind of start, it might be doing some organized sports, there might be some sort of club scout or girl scouts or adventure guides … just more activities are sort of adding to the calendar and I think that when you get married and then you kind of bring your calendar together with your spouse or partner and then when you start having kids, their stuff starts getting on there.
But an interesting thing I think after a little bit of the kids starting to run around and I would say by the time that our kids were like maybe 6-years-old, maybe even 5, they just wanted to know even if they didn’t have a family calendar … they were like “alright, what are we doing this weekend”, like “what’s going on today”, “what’s going on Sunday”. The kids sort of want to know what to expect and the family calendar became a really great resource to be able to go through with them just so they would know before they could even be active participants in it.
AMY MITCHELL: I agree with that. And I found our kids are the same way. And so we still have a wall calendar in our dining area, so as we are sitting around the table and they are asking, and trying to fill for what’s coming up that day or later on the week. When they are little they can relate to a hardcopy calendar where all of the days of the week are laid out. And so we still have that in our dining room because when we are talking, they can refer to it.
JOHNER RIEHL:Yeah, the kids kind of need to see it for it to be real.
AMY MITCHELL:Yes, right. So I think there’s still place for those wall calendars sometimes for them to just get a grasp of the week and a glance at the month,
JOHNER RIEHL:Yeah, definitely! I think that there can be the concern, and maybe I am getting ahead of myself as a little bit of how do you juggle an electronic versus a hardcopy calendar, and keep it up to date, and not have version confusion if you will?
DAVE MITCHELL: In other words, having the kids stay a little alerted or something like that?
JOHNER RIEHL:Yeah, have something be on some spot and not be on the other?
DAVE MITCHELL:Yeah! I think more than anything what we do now is most of the activities and the events are in the shared calendars. And the wall calendar has major events, things that probably won’t change that much. For example if we have a family reunion and it is planned, that’s really not going to change that much.
DAVE MITCHELL:But the things that might change might be…
AMY MITCHELL:Soccer practice or…
DAVE MITCHELL:Soccer practice or dates that the kids have.
JOHNER RIEHL:Yeah… So what made you decide to kind of use the Google Calendar versus any other calendar or programs? Was it convenience? You said you are pretty techy. Did you do some research?
DAVE MITCHELL:It was the first one that we had and it was out electronically back in the day.
DAVE MITCHELL:And you know, when you are on a platform it is really hard to move off of one.
JOHNER RIEHL:Right, that’s definitely true! And so what are some things you really like about the Google Calendar?
DAVE MITCHELL:So one of the things I really like about it is our ability to share the calendar. And to manage the sharing is really easy. I can add… Like for example, I was looking at the calendar recently and saw that two of the children aren’t even on it. And, mostly because they don’t have electronic devices yet, but it was really easy to just say: well, ok, let’s add them to it and give them the right that they need in order to create events as well as just see the events. And then Amy and I can manage the whole calendar and the sharing between the two of them. So that ability to just manage that between the two of us is one of the things that really appeal to us.
JOHNER RIEHL:Have they ever gone rouge and started creating like fake calendars or…?
AMY MITCHELL:Not yet…
DAVE MITCHELL:No, thankfully they are a little bit more responsible than that.
SUNNY GAULT: And hopefully they are not listening to this podcast and get that idea Johner.
DAVE MITCHELL:You just give them a good idea!
JOHNER RIEHL:Sorry, I’ve got my snow cone tasting contest…
AMY MITCHELL:You can add grandparents to your calendars too if with some of these apps, you know, they can just see what their grandkids are doing or what you have on your schedule too with that sharing option.
JOHNER RIEHL:Yeah, I will say like in our case just the thought of our family calendar makes the grandparents heads spin.
SUNNY GAULT: I need to ask a question about Google Calendar though because I want to embrace Google Calendar. My problem is I’m a Mac person and iCal like…I use iCal for everything. I even use the reminders in iCal. So I am so set up as a Mac person. My husband is not a Mac person. In fact he can’t… He has an iPad. But he can’t even access a lot of stuff at work, it’s really hard, but he can look at Google Cal. So what I have tried to do multiple times is I guess whatever link that iCal creates for me for a specific calendar, there is a way to put in Google Calendar. But I’m telling what-whenever there’s an upgrade or something to one system, it just goes crazy.
We don’t even know that the calendars are syncing. We just start getting mad at each other. I was like: why did you schedule something this day, there is something in the calendar, like… You know, because have to like live and die by this thing, right? And so I just find that, you know, things aren’t necessarily sync. And I am not saying it’s a Google Cal issue. I’m just saying maybe just Apple isn’t quite on board with, you know, sharing calendars and stuff.
But I want to be on board so much. But I am a Mac person and it is just… Do you have any advice? Because I can’t be the only parent out there that is struggling with this!
DAVE MITCHELL:I can totally understand that! In fact a couple years ago I basically said you know what, I am done supporting all the PCs at the house and we are all going to be using MACs, and so we still use MACs here at home. I got an iPad, I use an iPhone. And I think part of it is that…I don’t know what to say except that our just synchronies pretty well. There have been a couple of times where I haven’t seen a particular even show up, but usually it is just a synchronization and a timing thing more than anything else. And then we’ve… When you go to Settings on your MAC you can actually say what particular account you want it to link to and Google is one of the options of one of the internet accounts that you can add.
SUNNY GAULT: Right! And another question, another follow-up for the Google Cal stuff. How do you easily access you Google Calendar? I can’t imagine… I mean, maybe bookmarking a link or something? I always find it difficult to actually get into Google and access those types of things whereas, again, I’m on my computer and iCal is right there.
DAVE MITCHELL: Mhm, right. So I usually access mine through my phone. And I look at it just through the calendar app on the iPhone. I don’t use anything else. And so adding an event is easy. I can say add the event, choose what calendar goes to and it goes directly to that calendar and I can take a look. I can hide week calendars. For example, I am at work and I don’t necessarily need to know that my daughter has a music lesson at this particular time. So I will hide the family calendar while I am at work just so that I don’t have to worry about, you know, information overload.
AMY MITCHELL:And notifications popping up.
SUNNY GAULT: Oh, yeah, notifications too, that’s true.
JOHNER RIEHL:Yeah, and you are in the middle of maybe some other meeting and it is… The snow cone contest comes up.
JOHNER RIEHL:Sorry about that, folks! But it is interesting because I feel like with technology the lines are blurred. It used to be such a…for me at least, a divide between well, that’s something I need to do on my desktop computer; oh, that’s something that I’m comfortable doing on my phone. But now it sounds like you sort of…you can do the calendar from either place, but, you know, a lot of things that you thought you had to do on your desktop, you can actually do on your phone, Sunny. You can just use your phone as the place for calendaring.
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah! So the app that you are using on the phone, did you say that’s…or it’s just calendar?
DAVE MITCHEL: It is just a calendar standard application that comes with the iPhone.
SUNNY GAULT:I didn’t realize that that could do and accept the functionality that you are talking about. I figured that was just for iCal stuff since I was using it on an iPhone, honestly.
DAVE MITCHELL: Yeah! No, it is great. We have a…My e-mail also goes through Google, you know, Gmail and so anything I sent through there, calendars are synchronized. I don’t use the reminder stuff that comes with the phone by default. I use something else, but… And yeah, everything just syncs.
SUNNY GAULT: Oh, good!
JOHNER RIEHL:Yeah, and everything just syncs to a crazy degree now. I think that I got an e-mail about an event that I was doing at a location… I know I even put it in my calendar. And I got a notification from my calendar that hey, you better think about leaving soon, because you have this thing coming up at this time. Like, have you guys seen that stuff? Like have that happened to you guys where it sort of just knows?
AMY MITCHELL:Yeah! Sometimes there are organizations that are saying: hey, can you help the school with this or can you help with this, or whatever. And it will link it yes to your calendar and put in all of the details of the time, and the location, and the address. And right, it is crazy how it does sync with your calendar that way too.
JOHNER RIEHL:It is amazing! It is… Some people find that stuff super scary. I find it really helpful.
DAVE MITCHELL: I would agree.
JOHNER RIEHL:But I actually… No, we actually use a totally different calendar program. And I want to get into that. But I think we should probably take a quick break right now. It is a good time to do it and then we can jump right into that. Plus any other maybe calendar recommendations or sort of ideas that we may have. So we will be right back.
JOHNER RIEHL:Welcome back everybody! So today on Parent Savers we are talking about creating and organizing your favorite…family calendar, your favorite calendar. Well, that I want to talk about so I think that was what I was thinking about. So our family uses an app called Cozi, C-O-Z-I. I think I’ve talked about it in the past on the show. Have you guys heard of Cozi?
AMY MITCHELL:Yeah, we have.
JOHNER RIEHL: Well, it works really well for us. It is an app, it is a dedicated app. There is a free version and a premium version. We actually just use the free version. And it has a family calendar where it is basically shared across the app. So if I make an addition to it, Christina opens the app, she can also kind of see the calendar. And you can easily… It is sort of like Google Calendar. You can mark all the people and everyone has a different color, and who’s got to be at this place and where.
What we also like about Cozi though specifically, is that it has some other functionality like shared shopping lists, or like notes that we can sort of collaborate on all within the app. So, in addition to sharing the family calendar, we can share some other details too. And for us the Cozi calendar is the official calendar record. If something is going to happen, it is got to be on the calendar first. And if someone gets there first then they get priority, unless it is something that needs to be negotiated.
SUNNY GAULT: Like a slushy contest or something, right?
JOHNER RIEHL: Exactly! Christina has a book club, so she has them all on the calendar. And I have a beer club, which is sort of my reaction to book club like… And so… But what I have done with all the dads that I’ve invited is that I mapped out all the dates for the whole year and said: get it on the family calendar now, because if you are there first, you can get priority. And so we map out the dates like an year in advance, just so that we can get on the family calendar.
SUNNY GAULT: I recently had to post a physical sign… We have two garages that go into our house, single car garages, whatever. And I put a sign. I printed it out on the computer, put a sign on each door that says: have you checked the family calendar recently? If it is not on the family calendar, it is not happening! Because my husband was forgetting to put like his work schedule and stuff and that…Obviously that will directly impact me and our four kids that I am trying to manage.
So I am like: we need a daily reminder. And again, I am more of a tech person, you know as opposed to my husband. I am like: I need a physical reminder every time this guy comes in the house that he has to do that. I should post a picture of it and put on the episode page for our website so that you guys could see it. A literal sign!
JOHNER RIEHL: There’s a ton of different I think things that we've just touched in there. I think we need to dig in a little more deeply too. I think the first would be like Dave and Amy, what about the work and family calendars? For you is it all combined? You are saying like you turn off notifications, but does your stuff for work automatically go on the family calendar? Or how do you guys juggle that?
DAVE MITCHELL: So one of the biggest challenges, at least for anybody who’s got to a job outside of the home or something like that, is that you are kind of dependent upon what the company uses for their technology. For example at work right now we use Outlook. And so that Outlook calendar is the work calendar. And I try not to… I don’t pollute essentially our family calendar and our activities with anything like, you know, I got this meeting with particular group. I don’t want to pollute the family calendar with that.
So I try to keep the two separate. And Amy just knows that from 7 o'clock in the morning until 5 o’clock at night I am basically at work, five days a week. And that’s really easy for us just because I have a steady time that go in. If I were to have different times to go into work, then I would have to put this on my personal calendar, and that she would look at my personal calendar, and make sure that that’s synchronized with everything else that was planning around. That’s, I think, how we would probably handle it in our home.
JOHNER RIEHL: It is funny. There’s so much reliance on the Cloud, because Sunny, that’s like your complaint and like you really need the synchronization to happen.
SUNNY GAULT: Well, and like I said, you may not even know that is not syncing until it is too late, and then you are at odds with your spouse over why are double booked.
JOHNER RIEHL: So you can just assume it hasn’t synced.
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah! Or that you forgot. We were talking about this earlier, you know, about how sometimes you can unselect some calendars. Well you unselect it, and then you forget to put it back on, you know.
JOHNER RIEHL: And that’s a danger!
SUNNY GAULT: Yes!
JOHNER RIEHL: Have you guys found any other programs… I know that you obviously use Google Calendar. I talked about Cozi. Have you found other calendar programs that you guys have ever heard of or have seen people use?
DAVE MITCHELL:So… I mean on iOS I use occasionally… Sometimes I go and use something called Fantastical. And that’s a great one just to see all kinds of different calendars. And it presents the information in a different way than the defaults calendar app that come on iOS. And there’s also a version of it for the Mac as well. And what I like about that one as opposed to maybe just the regular calendar app, I can see a week at a time, or if I do a certain gesture on the phone, I can see month at a time. Which is nice to be able to toggle between the two, because sometimes I just need to see what’s happening this week, and another times I need to see maybe a bigger picture on: ok, what days are a little bit more free and have a little bit more space in them. And so that’s one that I’ve like to use.
JOHNER RIEHL: Fantastical, yeah… I might need to check that one out. I may be happy with Cozi, but always to check other things out. But like you said: once you are sort of committed, it is hard to switch.
DAVE MITCHELL:It is.
SUNNY GAULT: Ok, so a question! Let’s talk price here! Because is Cozi free? Or any of these things free? Because I have trouble…
JOHNER RIEHL: Cozi is free. The version we use is free. But you can get a premium version that helps remove like some of the ads. So with the free version like it might be sponsored by ******** one week or something, so… Sorry.
SUNNY GAULT: It might be sponsored by beep.
JOHNER RIEHL:Oh, and some of the things are slightly different color and you might see some of the logos. But it is not intrusive. I am sure Cozi would love it if we paid for the premium version. But the free one has enough functionality for us.
SUNNY GAULT: And Fantastical? Is there a price for that?
DAVE MITCHELL:There is. And I don’t know exactly what it is. And you have to pay for the different versions for it too. So for example you have to pay for the iOS version and that’s a separate price from the Mac version. And they are apps that actually install on your computer or on your phone.
SUNNY GAULT: So apps are probably not that expensive if they are app, right? We talking like a couple buck kind of thing?
DAVE MITCHELL: Umm sometimes apps can be expensive.
JOHNER RIEHL: Cozi costs $5.
SUNNY GAULT: Oh, ok…I can handle $5. What I don’t want is reoccurring fee every month. Like I’ve got enough stuff. Like I don’t want to pay to get organized. That sounds bad, I know.
JOHNER RIEHL: You know, but I mean, if you think back to the days of like Franklin planners and you know, Dave said he was using like you were paying money every year to have your calendar, your week at a glance.
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, but how much did those cost? What $10 for a year? I will be able to pay $10 for a year, I guess.
JOHNER RIEHL: Well that’s what I guess … that’s what I am saying thinking about that with your app price point if you find some that you are going to use. And I think a lot of them do have free versions that you can sort of test out on a limited basis.
DAVE MITCHELL: They do.
JOHNER RIEHL: And see if it is for you.
DAVE MITCHELL: And I think Fantastical has a 14 or a 30-day trial for the Mac version. For the iOS version, that would be a little difficult for them to do, I don’t know that they have something like that.
JOHNER RIEHL: I totally just got the pun when you said it that time … I just thought it was called Fantastical but now that you said Fantastical, I totally got it.
SUNNY GAULT: Your eyes have been open.
JOHNER RIEHL: One other thing I do want to talk about … a few other things, but that we just sort of touched was dealing with conflicts, you know, the whole like I said on Beer Club I tried to get it in early so Cristina knows that’s my day but you know, what if something comes up that needs to conflict with that? How do you guys deal with conflicts as like there is something you need to calendar but something is already there?
AMY MITCHELL: I think we definitely do a lot of talking when we have conflicts; you weigh out – is this a one-time event or will this happen again in a few weeks, could that be bumped and you go to your thing … just a lot of coordinating and weighing the importance of the conflicting activities to decide who can make it.
JOHNER RIEHL: Do you find that that happens naturally or you need to sort of set a conversation like “Hey, we need to talk about calendars”, like “grab a beer, this may take a while”.
SUNNY GAULT: You are talking about the Beer Club. Like “oh, I want to go to my Beer Club”.
JOHNER RIEHL: Okay “here, grab a nice, cold ice tea, this might take a while”. Is it sort of like that or is it just sort of it happens when you are driving between soccer practices.
AMY MITCHELL: You know, our family has a regular time each week and it is usually on Sundays where we kind of look at the week at a glance and that’s where you are going to see any conflicts that may come up and so it is nice when the whole family is together and before you are right in the middle of it, you have a chance to figure out who needs to be where and if somebody needs to coordinate rides because you can’t … you take care of all that on Sunday, the beginning of the week, and then as each day comes, we all have breakfast together – it is usually 15 minutes before the first person leaves for the day – so it kind of changes depending on school or work schedules.
But then that morning we just remind everybody again because like you said earlier, Johner, kids just like to know what to expect so we just briefly in the morning say “don’t forget, right after school, you have scouts or don’t forget tonight, we are all headed over here anyway” and you just kind of briefly remind them what to expect for that day but there is a lot of open communication and talking before you are right in the middle.
JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah and there are sort of two levels of it, like you were saying, there is the one level of just as parents – physically how are we going to figure out this puzzle of getting everyone to the places they need to be and get childcare covered and everything – and then the second level of just letting everyone in the family know what to expect.
DAVE MITCHELL: What is interesting is when your kids start driving then there isn’t just the coordination of the parents figuring out who is going to be where but it is also “okay, you children are going to be coming back from school driving back from the train station at this time and then you’ve got soccer practice” that somebody is going to be taking this car here and somebody is going to be taking that car there. There is a lot more logistics that have to go in the play as well.
SUNNY GAULT: So you have to use that “notes” function … the calendar entries to be like coordinating with the Honda, you know, who is driving the Honda.
JOHNER RIEHL: Each car gets a schedule.
SUNNY GAULT: You know, I want to reiterate what Amy said … I think it is such a great idea and something my husband and I just recently started to implement was … and we picked Sunday too so I guess that is just like mentally start of the week but it is also a time where usually our kids are sleeping in because they are younger, they don’t usually get up until we tell them to get up.
But anyways, we are able to kind of wake up early and start the day and meet and we bring our calendars, whatever that kind of looks like, it is usually me and my laptop, down to the kitchen table and we just kind of chat about what is planned for the week just to make sure … and we started this after the whole lack of synching between the calendars that we are just like listen … if technology fails on us, this is our fail safe, you know, we need to talk about it at first.
It is helpful because sometimes we are entering stuff in the calendar, I like to put stuff in the calendar that I am thinking about like I need to know about but it isn’t necessarily something I need to attend; like I belong to a lot organizations and stuff and I know that they are meeting that night and if the stars and the moon and everything sync, I can go to it but I also just need to know that it is happening so I can respond and I don’t know … like it is important that I know about it.
But if I don’t go through that with my husband and say “this is not a mandatory thing I have to do”, he will just look at it and will be like “oh, you’ve got all these stuff going on this week” and I am like “yeah, some of it is just I need to know about it versus I need to actually attend” and if we didn’t have that meeting for me to go through all that, it could be really confusing.
JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, Christina sort of has a rule that anything that everything that comes up that is even a possibility, she puts it on the calendar.
AMY MITCHELL: I think one other thing when you are looking at your calendar is before you get caught up at all these little things, you just step back and you just make sure that those things are most important to your family get on the calendar. So say before summer comes or Christmas even, we will sit down with the kids and say “alright, it is summer. What are the things you want to do before summer comes and goes and we didn’t get to it”. They will say “we want to go camping or we want to go to the water park” or whatever and so you make sure those most important things get on to your calendar.
We do the same at Christmas at the beginning of December, we sit down with all the kids say “what are your favorite Christmas traditions” and then we make sure we set aside a night to make gingerbread houses and we set aside a night to go Christmas carol or whatever they have chosen that year, it gets on the calendar because it could get so filled in with all these little things. You look back and say “gosh, where did we lose that childhood with our kids and we didn’t get to do those things that we know they love because we are so busy doing all these other things”.
So sometimes it is also that before a big timeframe, you want to make sure you get those important things in with everybody’s impute before it slips away.
JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, the December calendar gets crazy and what we … what would help with us with our kids too is they will say “hey, we want to do these things” and we are like “hey, totally on board with that” but look at the times that we can actually do it like if we do this visit to the Polar Express train then we don’t necessarily have time to do this and I hate having conversations like that but it sort of helps them see it as we don’t have an infinite amount of time, we have to make some choices.
AMY MITCHELL: And it is good for them to weight it – you know, actually I want to do this more than any things so then you make point for that but when they realize we can’t do everything, they realize some things just have to go and maybe next Christmas or something.
JOHNER RIEHL: Absolutely, I feel like we have talked a lot about technological calendars and everything synching in the cloud but you said you also have the wall calendar. I want to talk a little more about hard copies. Can you … like how big this wall calendar that you use and like is where do you get it?
AMY MITCHELL: We have a couple different ones but it is just a simple flip one you can get at the dollar store, you can get from Wal-Mart for four dollars. It is nothing too detailed because we use our wall calendars primarily just for that overall look of the day, the week and the month so it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Some of them have pictures at the top or whatever appeals to you but it is a simple calendar.
JOHNER RIEHL: Just look for stuff with big date boxes that you can write in and use a pencil, right?
AMY MITCHELL: Right.
JOHNER RIEHL: And have an eraser handy.
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah so who is in charge for erasing and changing it when a change is … whoever made the change?
JOHNER RIEHL: It is you Sunny, it is a 100% you.
SUNNY GAULT: That’s how it would be in my house. This is why I am like anti-physical calendars.
JOHNER RIEHL: One more thing to manage, right? Well, it really does help and it helps the kids see it.
DAVE MITCHELL: Yeah. Amy takes care of most of the physical changing in the calendars.
JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, we were just over to a friends’ house and they have the wall calendar and that is their official family calendar. They can have whatever electronic calendars they want but the calendar of record is the wall calendar and they end up doing more than just the big events, they kind of get everything on there. If it has to be on there that is sort of what makes it permanent is getting it on the actual, physical hard-copy calendar.
DAVE MITCHELL: My mom used to do that too and she had color codes for everybody so I was blue, I had a brother who was green, sister red and another sister yellow and she would underline the different activities for who had to be to what activity.
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, I have also seen the calendars and it can be really big like on a wall usually like in some sort of entry way or something where it is the draw-erase boards. I really like that for some reason the whole eraser thing doesn’t you know eraser on paper kind of thing … it just kind of feels clumsy to me but like draw-erase where you can, you know, completely get rid of it and it is pretty easy to do. I know, at least with my kids, they love chalkboards, they love draw-erase.
I haven’t done anything like that with them and I really … and you know, they are still a little too young to really involve them in this whole process but that is something that I am thinking about once I mean with four kids and especially in that small range of time where you know, I have a 5-year-old and 2 and a half year-olds and they are all crammed in there. I know that their elementary school years and their high school years are going to get really busy and I do want to involve them in that. So that is one thing that I have considered.
Right now, I think they are too young. A – they don’t really need it and B – right now, they would probably just smear everything off of it because … and then there is all my work down into the tubes. But that is something I have seen that I really like too and they color-coordinate it too like you are red and you are blue and you are green and visually I like that too, it seems very organized.
DAVE MITCHELL: I was downstairs in our 18-year-old’s room and she uses that draw-erase calendar for her activities that she has got and she also has one to the side that has a list of all the things that she has got to do and some of the dates like some of them have to be like apply for a scholarship to this particular place and stuff like that seems helpful for her.
JOHNER RIEHL: I think the key is that it takes discipline and commitment to it and you really just need to see how important it is because I think a fear for me of doing that we would be stuck on February 2015 for like … because I would just get so tied up and everything else that I wouldn’t be updating it.
SUNNY GAULT: You know and technology, you can use technology for that too because that is pretty much what I use. I have and I guess it syncs to my iCal but I don’t really use that in that way and I think it is called the Reminder List and I have just each day, I have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and I write down or type out or whatever the different things I need to accomplish that day and it is really easy for me if it doesn’t get done on Monday, I just move it to Tuesday. Doesn’t get done on Tuesday, I move it to Wednesday so it is not really like … it has to happen on the 3rd or has to happen on the 5th … most of my stuff is let’s just plan things out a week in advance and use the calendar for other stuff. But if we are breaking down to-do list that’s one idea that has really helped me in the past.
AMY MITCHELL: I think the key is being organized and finding something that works for your family whatever it is. If you find electronic is better or you find that hard-copy is better, you just find something that works best for your family and you stick to it and you talk, you keep that communication open and you use those calendars and that is how you stay organized and on top of all those activities.
DAVE MITCHELL: And we try and talk about this and other topics on our podcast, I mean, this week we are talking about teaching our families values and all the things that go into that but I mean, we talk about organizing your car, organizing your home and when you look at calendaring and all the different activities that you are involved in as a family, what is your real goal.
It is not necessarily to get the kids to this particular soccer game or get the kids to that particular activity or make sure that the two of you are coordinating your activities but rather you want to have a calendar to make sure that you have time scheduled to spend time with your kids, teaching them the values that you value the most and building relationships with your children as well as with your spouse. And a calendar when properly utilized can help you do that and you grow together as a family and as a couple when you plan properly.
JOHNER RIEHL: That’s sounds like something that could definitely benefit our family so I think we will be checking out your podcast for sure and I think that organization helps as I think that something that I think that we all I know in our family we are trying to improve. So lots of good tips and I think the calendar is just but one part of it but hopefully this was helpful for everyone talking about it. Thank you Dave and Amy for joining us.
DAVE MITCHELL: Thank you.
JOHNER RIEHL: Thank you everyone for listening to us today. For more information and to check out … we put a link to their podcast on our website if you want to learn more about David and Amy. That would be at www.NewMommyMedia.com but we are going to continue the conversation for members of our Parent Savers Club after we wrap things up so for more information about how you could be a part of that, you can visit the member portion of our website.
SUNNY GAULT: Alright, so before we wrap up our show, we have a segment called Parenting Oops and this is kind of a segment that highlights our parenting fails and we have all had them so let’s commiserate together and this comment comes from Laura and so Laura says:
We were eating at one of our favorite restaurants with my elderly aunt who has the habit of taking extra sweetener packs, individual jellies and such things home with her. When the waitress came to ask if we needed anything, 4-year-old Savannah says “Can I please have some more strawberry jelly. Aunt Patrice puts it all in her purse.”
You’ve got to love kids and their honestly. In my house this would probably be like my kids love … so this isn’t me stealing it but it is still my kids stealing it … those are the creamers that sit on the tables, we don’t go to restaurants a lot but you know that little ball that they have like the liquid creamers and even nowadays they have all these amazing like flavors.
Like when I was a kid – no crazy flavors, it was like, you know, half and half but now they have all these flavors and if I leave to go to the bathroom or if I am not just watching my kids like a hawk, they will take them all, they will stuff them in their pants or wherever they stuff them or I will come back and they will be just like this milk moustache, like some chocolate-flavored creamer or something all over their face. So, anyone else’s kids ever done this even if they were perhaps younger, I mean hopefully your teenagers aren’t still doing these stuff. Any experience with this or is it just my kids?
JOHNER RIEHL: I think the sweetener is pretty close to home for me. That is something that I can see my parents doing, my mom especially, stocking up on sweetener.
DAVE MITCHELL: I am thinking condiments but I think … there was a guy at work who used to take chopsticks, any place he would go, he would just collect chopsticks from any restaurant.
SUNNY GAULT: Well, that makes sense because you are not going to reuse … you don’t reuse anybody’s chopsticks, right. Isn’t that like a personal use item? Kind of like a toothbrush, you wouldn’t use it again, right? I mean, it is one of those … I mean, you would use it for yourself again but what I am saying is the restaurant wouldn’t use it again, would they?
JOHNER RIEHL: Well, it is just like a fork.
SUNNY GAULT: No, I thought they were all kind of disposable … is that only the classy joints I go to.
DAVE MITCHELL: No, it was the wooden chopsticks that he would just take and …
JOHNER RIEHL: So he has got a drawer at home … he probably has a drawer full of wooden chopsticks.
DAVE MITCHELL: I think he does.
SUNNY GAULT: That’s awesome.
JOHNER RIEHL: But I also love the part where the kids are being honest and calling them out.
SUNNY GAULT: I know, crazy. Alright, well …
JOHNER RIEHL: I should ask Aunt Patrice for a jelly though …
SUNNY GAULT: I know, right. I wonder what flavors she picked out, see if there are any good ones in there. Alright, thanks so much for sending this in. If you have a funny Parenting Oops story, we would love to hear it and share it on our show. You can go to our website at www.NewMommyMedia.com , click on the Contact link to send us an email. You can also send us a voice mail straight through our website as well or reach out to us on Facebook or wherever you can find us online – we are everywhere.
JOHNER RIEHL: That wraps up today’s episode of Parent Savers. Thanks again for joining us! We appreciate you listening! Don’t forget to check out all our sister shows on our New Mommy Media network, we’ve got:
• Preggie Pals for expecting parents
• The Boob Group for moms who breastfeed their babies
• Newbies for those going through it for the first time
• Twin Talks for parents with multiples.
This is Parent Savers! Say it with me, Sunny: empowering new parents!
This has been a New Mommy Media production. The information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. While such information and materials are believed to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.
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