The Promised Planner Post

August 26, 2007 @ 1:43 pm | Filed under:

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!

    Related Posts


10 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. sarah says:

    I got the MomAgenda refill this year, so I’ll let you know how I like the spiral bound edition. I actually really liked the sewn binding of the one I got last year (which was a surprise, I thought it would be a hindrance, but I didn’t find it to be). However, the price tag is steep, so I decided to try the refill and see how I like it. I do love being able to fold the page back all of the way.

  2. xixi says:

    lol small and wieldy.

  3. Math-U-See Blog says:

    Carnival of Helpful Back to School Tips

    Its that time of year when everyone is getting back into the swing of schooling. Though some of you just never seem to stop With all the activity, the blogs of MUS users are full of fun stories and great ideas. So rather than just keep the go…

  4. Jeanne says:

    Your links under Elsewhere On the Web are having a bit of an identity crisis. The first two links seem inter-linked and the third and fourth seem inter-linked – so I can’t get them to work.

    You’ve sent me all over looking at planner stuff in the last 24 hours, and it’s been fun and quite non-productive : )

    What I want to know is why it is so hard to find weekly planning pages that start on SUNDAYS? And that give Sunday a full column for planning? And that have the days of the week horizontally across the top of the page? Hhhhmmm, sounds like I need to design my own page.

    And oooooooo, the Circa Levenger stuff is really tempting….

  5. Melissa Wiley says:

    Ooh, thanks for the heads-up! I’ll go fix those links now.

    The MomAgenda has the days of the week across the top of the page. But the week starts with Monday, which: I’m with you.

  6. Jennifer in OR says:

    Spiral bound, able to completely fold back – very important to me, too! I bought a very cheap planner this year, mentioned in this post. It’s working just fine. We started up our homeschool last week, and that thing kept me right on track! I actually had NO planner at all last year, and survived. But I was feeling a need, intensely so, to be more organized this year.

  7. Amber says:

    You’re amazing! I’ve had almost no internet access for the last month, but yet when I do get to a computer wondering if you’ve put anything up about planners (as I desperately need one now that I can’t check my computer umpteen zillion times a day) you have the post right there on top! And this isn’t the first time you’ve done this either – really, it is a little spooky. 🙂

    Anyways, thanks for the post and the reviews, I’ll be checking out the links and making a decision before I leave the land of electricity (a.k.a. my parent’s house).

  8. Amber says:

    For whatever it is worth, I decided to go with the Family Organizer (, which one of your commenters mentioned somewhere. I think my first choice would have been the Catholic Women’s Planner, but the school year one was all sold out when I checked this evening. This one looks good though too, and besides, anything has to be better than scribbled notes on a small notepad!

  9. stef says:

    Thanks for the mention, Lissa! You don’t mention (unless I missed it) which one you’re going with this year.

    I just put my Circa/Rolla/DIY together today. (Yay! We’re all psyched about it — heee….) My post is here:

    Now to see if it will hold up to the rough and tumble of our daily life!

  10. Ann @Holy Experience says:

    Has anyone told you lately how you just bless, bless, bless?
    Keep posting ’em!
    Your warmth, wisdom, and gracious spirit have impacted so many… Your review of planners last year was the catalyst to our DIY MomAgenda planner which has immensely changed the quality of our days–and how we spend our days is how we spend our life! No small thanks to you!

    I so appreciate you, Melissa.

    All’s grace,