Paper Planners 2017

"There is something about just sticking a pen to paper that can make things feel a bit more solid and in some ways more official." Elise Cripe

I have noticed recently that paper planners are back. In full force! Of course it wouldn't be 2017 (almost) if the planners weren't stylish, fun and chic. Aaaaand, you can also accessorize them to the nines. Mom confession: in November Nash walked in from school with his construction paper turkey hat on and it hit me. I completely missed his Thanksgiving Feast at school. I wasn't late. I completely missed it. MomFail right there. I realized then and there that I needed something better than my phone to keep track of the bagillion things that I schedule for myself and the kiddos. My phone calendar is great for syncing with The Hubs and setting audible reminders for appointments and such. The problem, I have noticed, is that I use my phone for so many other things, that my main priority for having it isn't to set appointments and keep my calendar. I don't reach for my phone to use the calendar. I don't pick up my phone first thing in the morning to see what's on my calendar. I pick up my phone first thing in the morning to check all of the crazy goodness that is Instagram. In an effort to find something that would be better, I remembered that my older sister keeps a planner and is pretty darn good at saying, "That sounds great but I need to check my planner and I'll get back to you." Who does that? Who even has a planner anymore?! Apparently the organized moms that aren't bald from ripping their hair out. That's who. So here, now, I'll share with you all of my research that I did on the planner world that has been hiding in plain sight.

There are five main planners that I found that are all fantastic. Erin Condren Life Planner, The Mormon Mom Planner, The Day Designer, The Happy Planner and START Planner. They all have some fantastic features that I'll be sharing so let's go!

*All of these opinions are my own. I am not affiliated with any of these companies. I am simply sharing my recent research to hopefully help someone out that has also been wanting to purchase a planner for the new year. 

The first one that I will share is the Erin Condren Life Planner. The one thing that sets this planner apart from the rest is the customization. Because of the available ways to customize it though, it does come with a price tag to match. This bad boy (as shown with this particular cover and with the upgraded gold coil is a whopping $70. Not to say that it isn't worth it to have a nearly completely customized planner that you will *hopefully use for 365 days, it just might be worth it. Take a look.

The website has several interchangeable covers that you can choose from or you can choose a permanent cover. You even get to pick the color of the spiral and add your name if that's how you roll.

As for the inside of the planner, you can choose between the colorful or neutral layout. I can't decide between the two. Some days I would want colorful and other days I would want calm and neutral. ha. 

From what I saw, the quotes that are spread throughout are different between the color and the neutral options. There are also plenty of note pages that pop up sporadically.

Each color option includes a year at a glance.

In researching the planners I noticed that most of them have this layout for the day to day planning. The set of three vertical boxes seems to be very popular. I can't remember exactly, but my sister utilizes this layout by putting appointments in the top row, workouts in another row and I can't remember what she uses the last row for. Meals maybe??? Sorry Sis. *This particular layout is the reason that I couldn't commit to most of these planners. For me, the whole purpose of getting a planner was to be able to plan out my days with the times already there. Because of how I picture my plan for the day in my head, I need to be able to see the day broken down by the hour and this layout did not do that for me. I have just enough going on that I need the planning pages to be more specific. Although I imagine that the flexibility of this layout is what is attractive about it. You could use a row for the kids, one for you and one for your hubs. Or a row for the family, one for work and one for church. Like I said, this layout is very flexible and customizeable which is why I can't use it. haha. I'm not Type A or OCD about most things in my life, but the things where I am, look out! If it ain't exactly what I am wanting, close won't cut it. ;) 

This one does have an option to see the entire week spread out with the hourly breakdown that I was looking for. It does not however, have room for anything else and that is a bummer.

Continuing with the options for customizing, the ECLP is also available in a horzontal layout, if you would prefer that. 
Overall, the Erin Condren Life Planner is extremely customizeable and definitely a great resource. It also has several different "snap-ins" like a meal planner or a workout tracker. I almost forgot to mention that this planner includes some stickers that would be extremely helpful throughout. It is definitely a wonderful option. 

After I discovered the ECLP, I went to my sister and said, "Hey! Tell me more about this planner that you so love and adore." Which brings me to the next one on my list and the one that my heart truly desires, but isn't the one my wallet purchased. Don't worry. The confusion will subside and it will soon become clear. All in good time. 
Ok. So as I describe this planner and the thing that I LOVE about this planner is that it has things that are important and useful for me in my spiritual life. There are pages that are specific to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (More commonly known as Mormons.) I'll go into more detail as I get to each of those. If you are not a Mormon, have no fear! The Mormon Mom Planner is also available in a non denominational version that does not include the Mormon specific quotes, articles or planning pages although you may enjoy them and find some of them useful to you and yours. 

*Indicates pages not included in the Mom on the Go Planner (it's the same price)

Like the ECLP, The Mormon Mom Planner comes in an array of colorful cover options. You do not, however, get to pick your coil cover. LAME! hehe. This one here is my favorite (today) and is the one that I was planning on ordering. This one is a little bit more budget friendly coming in at $34.99. It cannot be customized as much as the ECLP but there isn't much that you need to change. For me there was only ONE thing that I wanted to change. Keep reading.

This page is perhaps my favorite thing about this planner. There are several of these pages titled, "It's the Little Things". This is where you get to know your children on an individual basis specific to this year. What do they need? What do they want? What are their favorite things, interests, personal strengths and weaknesses? It is a glimpse of each child that if used properly, forces you to look at your children one by one and focus on that one. Not the kids as a whole but the kids as individual people because that it what they are. Too often I find myself grouping their needs together when the reality is that their needs are nowhere near that of the one standing next in line. So this alone was a HUGE selling feature for me.

Who doesn't  want a Christmas Gift guide built right into their planner!?! I mean genius, right!?! There is a continuation of this page that includes where to purchase each item and whether or not the purchase has been made. I mean seriously. This guide could help prevent the forgotten presents. You know, the one that you find a month after Christmas because you *forgot* that you purchased it and hid it so well that even you couldn't find it. HA! Man! I am so glad I have NEVER done something so ridiculous! 

*This planning sheet, although specific to instruction by modern day Prophets, it is a planning sheet that can be used for family night in general. In our church, we reserve Monday nights for our families. We refer to it as Family Home Evening or F.H.E. This is generally supposed to include a mini lesson or spiritual thought, an activity, music or whatever AND of course a treat! Obviously it doesn't have to be that structured, but the idea is to have a designated time when as parents we can teach our children about God. So, here is a handy dandy planning sheet that allows you to plan your F.H.E.s for the month and it also includes a place to jot down notes from any family council that you may hold. Family councils are a great way to find out what is going on in your lives as a whole and as individuals as well as how they blend together as a unit. It's a time to talk about budgets, moving, extended family concerns and needs, or whatever the heck else you want to discuss as a family. This is a designated place to right it down to keep track of goals or needs to follow up on. Love this.

*Another faith based page that is also extremely useful to anyone. These are declarations that were addressed and proclaimed by Prophets of God. One talks about the importance of the family and goes into detail about things that we specifically learn about in that regard. The other is a testimony about Jesus Christ. Declaring that He lives and loves us. These are works that we tend to hold dear, so having them built into the planner is fabulous.

*This page is simply to remind you that you haven't been reading your scriptures everyday. Bahaha! Ok ok. It's really here to gently remind you to make time to read from your scriptures. To get that daily connection with the Lord. 

*We have this wonderful program called Visiting Teaching. In the past there has been this stigma attached to it that you have to get into the home of each sister that you are assigned to teach or you are a failure and are going to rot in... well, lets just say that in recent years there has been a clarification on the subject. On Sunday, the womenfolk that aren't teaching the tweens and teens or the wee ones at church, attend Relief Society. All of the women are members of it but on Sunday, there is a class just for women that teaches us how to be awesome in every aspect. I would say that overall the main message that is taught, is that you are enough exactly as you are. The Lord accepts you exactly as you are and loves you for who you are. The amount of service that you provide to your fellowmen is enough. The way that you teach your children is enough. Although it never seems like it, the amount of laundry that you got done today, is enough. You are enough. Do your best and that will be enough. Anywho. In there, we are each given a companion and are assigned sisters that we are "in charge of", for lack of a better term. The overall point is to get to know them as individuals and to make sure that their needs are being met. We inform our ecclesiastical leaders of any needs that arise in their lives and overall just be their friend. Make sure that every sister knows that she is remembered and is important. Let her know that she can has someone to count on for anything, should the need arise. It is a fabulous program and can be tracked on this page.

At the beginning of each monthly section you will find this little gem. It is a place to quickly map out goals that you have for these different categories. Whether it be an annual goal that you want to keep writing to keep it fresh in your mind, or a new goal or need that has popped up along the way. I appreciate that it has a section for Heavenly Father, My Spouse, My children, Extended Family, Friends and a blank one (prolly for you). Having a separate section for each of these is important because they each need their own care and attention. This page each month, allows for that.

Here's where this one just makes you say, "Did they really think of everything?" To which you reply to yourself with, "Why yes. Yes they did!" A back to school shopping list. Right there IN your planner! The place where you plan things! It has the stinking back to school shopping list and school information IN. THE. PLANNER! Mind Blown.

It doesn't stop there! Oh no! They included a back to school schedule. Which it looks like you can write a schedule for each kid on each day of the week and then some. It also has a section for goals and to do's. (Just in case you couldn't read the page that says, Goals: To Do: I gotchyou.) The reason that I like the Goals section is because there are certain things that I want each of my kids to work on throughout the year. My oldest, for example is a chatter! (based on this post alone, I bet you can't guess where he gets it. But hey! At least I'm thorough.) My next one has speech classes. This is a place where I can write that down so that I can remember to stay on top of it and help them with it.

This. This right here is the reason that I did not buy this planner. Remember when I said up there ↑ that I NEED to be able to see my days broken down by the hour. This should show you how important that is to me. I wanted SO BADLY to get this planner. I so wanted it to work for ALL of the reasons that I listed above, I want this planner just for those pages and haven't yet ruled that out as an option. Because, ya know, it makes complete sense to buy a planner, rip out every single weekly page just to have the 2 dozen extra pages that are there. Don't tempt me. 
Overall I completely love how this planner has the ability to completely organize my entire life as it is right now. If only those doggone weekly pages had an hourly layout as an option. Then this would have been mine.

All of that brings me to The Day Designer. This chic little bit of lovely is the planner that I ultimately purchased. It was the only one that had the hourly layout that I was so desperately searching for. Seriously though, look at it! It is beautiful! This spiral bound version is what Whitney English calls the Flagship planner. There is another option available with a leather snap closure cover and binder rings that allow you to add available printables and basically whatever else your little heart desires with ease. When it came down to it though, the $59 price tag of the Flagship Planner, although not that appealing in and of itself, was a far cry from the $159 price tag of the A5 Luxe Edition. I'm all about buying the best that you can with the money that you have, but let's be honest. I don't have 160 bucks to spend on a planner no matter how "luxe" it is. In my dreams! The Day Designer is also available in an array of beautiful choices and below you'll find my top 3.

This little love is the planner that I purchased in all of it blue floral goodness. It makes my heart happy and makes me want to open it to fill its pages with nothingness. Or my busy schedule. Whichever.
The Spotty Dot was an instant favorite.  Super darling.

 I loved the soft femininity of this blush grid. This cover option along with one other is exclusive to Belle and Blush. Once over at Belle and Blush, I actually ordered through them because I received a 10% of coupon for signing up for their newsletter. Don't worry, I won't keep it. ;)

Here she is! The hourly breakdown in all its glory. There is a page for each and every one of the 365 days of the year. So yes, that seems a little daunting and perhaps might be a bit more than I will use at certain times. The reason that this was so important to me is this: I have 3 kids of my own and while 2 of them are at school, 1-3 days a week I am caring for a total of 3 others. On Tuesdays, the girls come at 7:30. The boy comes at 12 noon. The girls get picked up at 2:30. MY boys have piano at 3. Hunter has to be picked up at 3:30 to come home to get ready for scouts which is at 4:00. Also the time that Nash has to be picked up from his piano lesson. Then Hunter gets home from scouts at 5 and last month Nash had soccer at 5:30. Then the boy gets picked up somewhere in the evening. Not every day is like that, but I find myself, often, with a schedule that is about as busy and need to be able to see it broken down like this. Especially if I want to get anything done like, laundry or heaven forbid, a sewing project. The amount of time commitment that is demanded when you have kiddos in school and in extra curriculars is a bit intense. The hourly breakdown allows me to see where I have time and where I definitely do not. Like Tuesday after school.

Here is a closer look at the daily page. There is a quote (like most of the others) included at the top of each day. Then (I really like this part) there is a section for the top 3. That is, the Top 3 things that really really really need to get done that day. Like going to your 2nd grader's Thanksgiving Feast at school, for example. There is also a box that says Due. This could be for bills, work deadlines, projects or assignments at school, etc. I plan to use this box to keep track of goal deadlines that I give myself. Whether with a project at home, church or within my personal growth. It also includes a box for Dollars, Don't forget and Dinner. I have a feeling that The Hubs will love the Dinner box as long as I use it. I am TERRIBLE at meal planning. TERRIBLE! Hopefully having that daily box staring me in the face will help with that a bit and will also help keep me from biting off my love's head when he asks what's for dinner. Every. Day. (let me clarify. He asks every day but only gets his head bit off every other day. Sheesh! I'm not a monster!) Next to the hourly breakdown is a checklist. Mine will hopefully include a daily workout of some kind, water reminders and a chore for the day. Remember, the idea is to set your expectations REALLY high so that even if you get half of what you had hoped finished, you're still a winner!

Each planner has a monthly spread where you can see the month at a glance. This is a great place to include school breaks, vacations or when The Hubs is traveling for work, or on a "Mandatory Team-Building Snowboarding Trip to Breckenridge". hahaha! How do I get me one of those!?!

These next few are printables that are available through Day Designer. They do not, however, fit in the planner. There are a few ways that you can jimmy rig it, but these pages are so wonderful that I wish they were just included in the planner itself. I hate jimmy rigging things that are supposed to be pretty and organized. It seems to defeat the purpose. I digress. The point is that they are available and more importantly, they are FREE! So print away! Figure out where to store them later.

With all of the pressure that the internet, Pinterest (I love you Pinterest) and we, ourselves, put on us, it is so incredibly important to remember that we have our own talents and strengths. Thanks to Day Designer, there is a printable that will help you remember yours!

I handled the bills for the first 8 years that we were married. I'll be honest, I was very on top of it, but it stressed the crap out of me. To the point that I nearly had a nervous breakdown over it. SO now The Hubs does the bills and I am forever grateful. If you, though, are the awesome one that takes care of the finances in your home, there is a bill tracking sheet available to help keep things on time and in order.

If you ask me, a daily gratitude sheet isn't just for November!

Because it is such a genius idea, Day Designer has also made its own Gift Idea tracking sheet that includes where to purchase the item. Don'tcha love it?

Since we all know that Santa isn't the only one in need of checking their list twice, Day Designer has in fact, included not one, but TWO check boxes so you can actually check it twice!

I imagine that this page will be used much like the relationship goals page that the Mormon Mom Planner has at the beginning of each month. It is a place to plan out and hold yourself accountable for goals that you set for yourself, your kids, spouse, career, etc. 

I think and hope and pray that this planner will help me get and stay organized this next year. 

But WAIT! There's MORE!
I thought she said there were TWO more planners! Well there are. I am going in order of discovery. These next two weren't made known to me until after I purchased the Day Designer Planner. SO here goes. Hang on. I promise the information is worth it.

The next planner is also very popular because of its super cute design options. Part of the fun with this one is that each cover option is an entirely different planner throughout design-wise. The layout is the same but the color schemes and quotes are completely different depending on the cover that you choose. I love this! You could choose a different layout each year and end up with an entirely different experience! With a price tag of only $29.99 it is a bargain! (It's available at many retailers, BUT among those is Hobby Lobby! You know what that means! 40% off coupon baby! They also have a really good selection of washi tape, stickers and clips to prettify and personalize your planners.)

One of the major flaws that I see with this planner is that the rings are plastic. Now I'm not saying that my planner is going to be abused and run over with my truck, but with 3 kids and being on the go, it is definitely going to get tossed around, squished and smashed. Not to mention my three year old is perpetually in the "do whatever mommy is doing stage" and things tend to disappear and break. Just sayin. 

As you can see here, the inside is so bright and fun! Something that you may need to get you excited about opening it on the daily to keep you motivated.

Of course it comes equipped with a monthly at a glance page.

I'm loving the monthly overview pages that give you a quick glance at important things for the month. Birthdays, special events and things that you really just don't want to miss that month. 

Again we see the three box system for each day. This one has it specifically broken down into morning, afternoon and evening. As I mentioned before, it clearly works for many people because that's what we see in almost all of the planners. If that isn't an issue for you, then this too is a great option. 

We made it to the last planner!!! Woot woot! If you're still reading, wahoo! This last one is priced at $55 and is one that I actually wish I had found before ordering my Day Designer. Not that I don't think it will make me happy everyday as I design my life, this one is basically the same, but comes in a weekly AND hourly layout combined in ONE planner! Can you imagine having your entire week on one open page with hourly breakdowns so you can see exactly what your week looks like!?! No? Just scroll a little and I'll show you the START Planner.

From what I can tell this is the only cover option for this The Hustle Weekly Planner. Super cute though. I could have been very happy with it.

Like the Day Designer there is a pouch right inside the front pocket.

You start in this one by plannig THE BIG PICTURE so you can break the goals down later. It is important to have life goals. If you don't, what's the point? Make some and strive to reach them. It will give you a sense of accomplishment.

Here we go! The Golden Ticket! This weekly spread has the hourly breakdown that I have deemed absolutely necessary for me. It has a Top 3 for the week and plenty of space for notes and to do lists.  What's that, you ask? Down there at the bottom... keep scrolling...

It has daily water and workout tracking symbols! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this! I need to drink more water and I am so eager to get back on track with my workouts, so this added feature is fantastic. Yes you can get stickers to track this same thing but the fact that it is already printed right there on every page saves so much money in stickers! Well done.. I think this might even deserve a slow clap.

Among its other strengths, The Hustle Weekly Planner also has a monthly budget/savings tracker at a glance. Super wonderful. 
Side Note: The START Planner is also available in a Hustle Daily Planner. I'll be honest, It is basically the exact same as the Day Designer Planner. I don't know which came first, the chicken or the egg, but for realz. It's the same planner.

So there you have it. All of the information on planners that you never knew you never needed. ;) You're welcome. It was my pleasure. Seriously though. There are some amazing planners out there. So if you're feeling the itch to put pen to paper again, do it. Hurry and order yours so you can get started before the new year starts! While you're shopping, don't forget to hit up Etsy for any possible planner accessory that you really never knew you absolutely need in your life! I personally loaded up on a whole bunch of absolutely beautiful planner crap from PugPaperCo. I received it all today and already very strategically placed everything in my Day Designer. I LOVE it all!

Before I go... if you are still yearning for more information about each planner, here is a link to a video review for each planner individually. Good luck and Happy Planning!

The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Ok peeps. I have obviously been mia with my blog posts and my tutorials in particular. I have SO MANY tutorials to post so keep an eye out because they're FINALLY coming! My 2 1/2 week vacation this Summer was definitely needed, but put a hole in my plans to blog. Oh well. ha. I'm sure many of you have seen these gorgeous Proclamations floating around online, in your friend's home, in your dream home, etc. They are very popular right now.
For those of you that are not familiar with what the heck this thing is, head on over to here to read it. It was read in an address to the women of our church that was broadcast live in 1995 and read by our beloved Prophet (at the time) President Gordon B. Hinkley. It has since become an iconic piece of our religion that helps us understand a bit more about our purpose here on this Earth.
When I first saw this ginormous piece of wonderfulness, it was on a local buy/sell/trade page on Facebook. She had started out making them with the frames but pretty quickly switched to selling just the file for a WHOPPING $5 and mentioned where you could get it printed. Literally YEARS later (like 2) I finally decided where I wanted mine to be and set out to make it happen. (Check the end of the post to see where you can download a proclamation of your own!)

I started out by purchasing, downloading and printing this particular Proclamation from The Rain Barrel on Etsy. She is local here in The Valley of the Sun, but you can download it from anywhere. Obviously. ha. When asked by others where to get it printed, she suggested Office Max or Staples. I did neither. I researched to make sure I was getting the best quality for the money that I had. I ended up at Costco and printed a 20"x30" Poster Board. This is different than a regular poster. It is thick foam board that is very sturdy (for these purposes). I would not recommend letting a toddler play with it but it will withstand whatever happens to a picture hanging on the wall. Mine has been pelted with Nerf arrows and darts and is still ticking. I digress. I don't know if all Costcos do, but mine had the option to get this 20"x30" poster board printed in an hour! Say what!! This was particularly fantastic for my impatient self, because once I want to start a project, I want to start it NOW. So naturally, Big Sis and I set out to do this together. 

The next step was the wood. I wanted a frame with a little more substance than some that I've seen out there so I purchased 1" x 4" pine boards for the main frame and 1" x 2" boards for the trim around the edge to add a little something extra. I couldn't find the right color on its own, so I mixed my own. I stained the wood using a 50/50 mix of Minwax Special Walnut and Classic Gray. It was the perfect color for what I wanted.

Once the boards are stained and cut, be sure to do a dry fit so you can make adjustments BEFORE it is screwed and nailed together!

I cut the pieces at a 45* angle to get a mitered joint. To attach them securely, I used a Kreg Jig to make the pocket holes so that I could get a tight and strong hold in the joints. This was my first project using a Kreg Jig so I followed this simple tutorial to get the idea. Gotta love Shanty2Chic! Once you get the main pieces cut out and the pocket holes drilled, screw it together using countersinking screws. The easiest thing to do is to buy the screws that are the Kreg Jig brand to make sure they are the right kind. I used 1 1/4" screws for this project.

When attaching the 1" x 2" boards to the outside of the frame, make sure they are standing on their side so that they are taller than the 1" x 4" so it actually adds some dimension to the frame. For this part I simply used a nail gun to attach the 1" x 2" to the frame.

The final step was attaching the print to the frame. Ideally I would have had used a router to make a ledge on the back of the frame for the print to sit in, but alas, I don't have a router. Instead I opted for staples. Because I wanted my print to be straight when I flipped it over to attach it with staples, I applied a piece of packing tape to the BACK of the top and bottom of my poster board. Then flipped it over so the print was facing up. Next I simply laid the frame onto the poster and pressed down where the tape was. I was still careful when flipping it but the poster stayed in place and I was able to staple it down.

DISCLAIMER: When putting this together, I realized that some of the wood had warped in the awesome record heat that we have had in AZ this year. My joints are not perfect because I only had the weight of my sister standing on it to help get the wood tight. I had the option to follow some tutorials to get the wood less warped, start over or live with it. In the end I decided to live with it for a few reasons. 1. I was not in the mood to start over. 2. It actually added to the rustic feel that I was going for. 3. I don't always mind when something LOOKS homemade. Overall I LOVE how it turned out and it adds the perfect touch to my stripe wall that I did when we first bought our house over five years ago.

Get your own Proclamation!