Archive for July 7th, 2006

Planners for Moms: Circle of Days

July 7, 2006 @ 4:40 am | Filed under: ,

Ta-da! Let the oohs and ahhs commence because the Small Meadow Press planner is here!

You know, I love it when people think outside the box. Lesley Austin is so good at that: she can take a tired old idea and reimagine it so that it becomes something entirely new and beautiful. She’s done it again with her planner, and she is right in saying that it isn’t your ordinary day planner.

Lesley writes:

If you are like me, you have tried many planners with the fervent hope that they will be just the right thing to finally keep some order in your day. So many pages, so much potential, so exciting! And then you find that you don’t use many of the categories, or that you don’t like looking at all that you have to do in a day all at once, or you begin to feel guilty because you are not using yet another system. I have done this so many times and was tempted to do it again, when the idea for A Circle of Days came to me.

This is not your usual planner….I see it as a sort-of-perpetual planner. A container for all the tasks we hope to accomplish during the day. It has twenty-one cardstock pages inside its covers-three for each day-one for morning, one for afternoon and one for evening. I find it more peaceful to see what I want to do for a part of the day, rather than the whole day. It is less overwhelming.

Lesley’s system uses small Post-It Notes to keep track of each day’s tasks. She has assigned a Post-It color to each of her children and one for herself. After a task is completed, the note either goes in the recycling bin or, if it’s a recurring event, gets stuck in the back of the planner until its time rolls round again.

Immediately, I’m thinking: FlyLady. You could make post-its for your daily and weekly routines and your zone work. It would be the prettiest “control journal” going—pretty enough to leave on your counter all day, for sure. The order page mentions a few other uses people have envisioned:

…one young lady plans to use it to organize her studies in the coming year, and a dear friend is using it to house inspirational writings that she turn to throughout her day.

If you’re wanting a permanent record of your activities (like the way I use my dayplanner to record what the children have read or studied each day, and to track Wonderboy’s medical and therapy history), you’ll want a more traditional planner. But if you’re looking for a way to bring order and beauty to your daily home management tasks, this is an inspired solution.

You know, I think it actually embarrasses Lesley a bit the way I’m always raving about her lovely creations. But I can’t help it. I so admire her sweet simplicity, her attention to detail, her ability to infuse even the most mundane of tasks with real beauty. She approaches her work with such care and gentleness—she’s like my favorite line from Anne of Avonlea:

“I’d like to add some beauty to life,” said Anne dreamily. “I don’t exactly want to make people know more. . .though I know that is the noblest ambition. . .but I’d love to make them have a pleasanter time because of me. . .to have some little joy or happy thought that would never have existed if I hadn’t been born.”

That’s exactly what Lesley Austin does (and I know she’ll be even more embarrassed when she reads this). How many little joys and happy thoughts she has brought into my world since the day I happened upon her booth at a homeschooling conference!

Other planner reviews:
Catholic Woman’s Daily Planner

Motivated Moms Chore Planner

Picture Book Spotlight: How Do I Love You?

July 7, 2006 @ 3:58 am | Filed under: ,

006001200501_aa_scmzzzzzzz_v51207944_How Do I Love You? by Leslie Kimmelman, pictures by Lisa McCue.

“How do I love you, little one? Let me count the ways…” says the mama alligator. (Or maybe it’s the daddy; who can tell with alligators?) And she begins to name all the ways she adores her young’un, much to my own young’un’s delight.

“Twelve, I’ll love you when you’re grown; thirteen, I love you small,” I read. “Read that part again, Mommy,” Beanie begs. She caught me in the midst of my Tasmanian-devil impersonation as I was whirling through the house trying to get it ready to go on the market (which it now officially is, gulp) and asked me to read this book to her, and when we snuggled up together on the couch with the smell of Windex still lingering in the air, the look on her face was like the end of a Mastercard commercial. Putting your house on the market on the spur of the moment: Hours of labor. Reading to your kid even though the realtor is about to walk in the door and the house ISN’T READY YET: Priceless.

“Read that part again!”

She loves those lines, about how the mama will love her little one when she’s grown and loves her when she’s small. At the end of the book she turns back to that page and asks me to read it “two more times.” The art makes her giggle: now the baby alligator is grinning at its reflection in funhouse mirrors. And the breadth of the mama’s assertions of love seem infinitely satisfying to this five-year-old lass.

It’s a simple book, and a sweet one. The art is lively and fun, whimsically painted in a palette of greens and blues—cool colors that manage to convey deep warmth. This parent and child adore one another, and that’s what my little girl wants to hear.

“Fourteen fifteen sixteen
each silly dance you do,
or spin you spin, or grin you grin
when you try something new.”

Eventually the alligator pair runs out of fingers and toes to count off, and the mama says that “when it comes to loving you, well, twenty’s not enough.” The little alligator is glowing with glee by this point, and Beanie’s face mirrors that emotion.

“Go back to twelve,” she says, snuggling in a little closer.

The Windex will just have to wait.