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The Perfect Planner & why it works for me

The Perfect Planner & Why It Works for Me

How many of you have searched for the perfect planner?  Or worse, who has thought they found it, only to find themselves disappointed after using it for only six months (sometimes less)?!  This is usually me… I select my planner, get it all organized, and then a few months in I realize it’s falling short on my needs and expectations.  And usually a few months later, I realize I am not even using it anymore.  Some years, I purchase 2+ planners in an attempt to find the perfect one.

Last year I was at a loss for a way to stay organized using a planner. I needed one that included meal planning, had room for to-do lists, keeping the kiddos’ extra curricular activities in order, and space for notes & shopping lists, on top of its regular duties.  Obviously, that is a lot to fit into something that isn’t the size of your 8th grade Trapper Keeper!  So I decided to use my research skills to make a list of all of my favorite planners that I had used in the past, so I could figure out what I loved about them.  I also wanted to know where they fell short on meeting my needs.  Then I took the results, and did some brainstorming about how I could combine all of those qualities into the perfect planner.

The Perfect Planner

And that folks, is how the Perfect Planner was created!  I started using it last August, and to date; I am still using it!  Almost ONE YEAR with the same planner and let me tell you… it has been USED!  This is the longest I have every had a setup that I have used consistently and it has actually helped me to stay organized, aware of my schedule, meal plan, and helped me cross off my to-do lists. To top it all off, it fits in the average purse or bag, so you can easily take it with you.

The Perfect Planner

How to Create Your Perfect Planner

Now, if you are interested in creating your own perfect planner, I suggest taking a look at the supplies list and then how it is put together to decide which supplies are actually needed for your needs.  Remember, this planner is designed to fit your personal planner needs and budget.


How to Put Your Planner Together:

Step 1:

Take apart the Katie Daisy on-the-go 17 Month Calendar.  Using cord, securely tie it going through the holes at the top of the planner, then lace it through to the bottom holes, securely tying it in the back.  Cut any excess cord.

Step 2:

Divide the Katie Daisy on-the-go 17 Month Calendar in half, and slide it under the first strap in the Webster’s Pages Traveler’s Journal.

Step 3:

Take the Katie Daisy Travel Size Journal (5×7, 192 page) and divide it in half and slip it under the second strap in the Webster’s Pages Traveler’s Journal.

Step 4:

Now to create the meal planner portion.  Take one of the Traveler’s Notebook Refill Inserts and open it to the first page.  I titled this page Favorite Meals and I add to it as a meal is requested frequently from my family.  Then on the next page, using washi tape; divide the page in half.  On the first section of the divided page, using washi tape; divide it into 7 sections (using 6 pieces of washi tape) horizontally. Then use a pen to mark each section with the day of the week and the date.  On the other section of the same paper, use a pen and title it Shopping List.  I meal plan for the week and as I find things that we need or that we have run out of, I immediately add it to our shopping list. Of course you don’t need to use washi tape for this… you can simply just use a pen or pencil to section off the pages to create the same useful meal planner. Style & usability preference is totally up to you!

Step 5:

Take your newly created Meal Planner and using the front cover, slip it into the front pocket of the Webster’s Pages Traveler’s Journal.

And that’s it… you now have your very own perfect planner!  The great thing about this planner is that it is really easy to make it your own, including decorating it however you see fit.  Hopefully you love this planner and find it helpful in organizing your busy life.

Purchase Planners

Now if creating your perfect planner is just not your thing, here are a few planners I would suggest purchasing!  They each have their own style and price point.  Hopefully you’ll be able to find a planner that fits your needs and budget.  And if you are just not a planner person and just looking for a way to keep track of chores or habits, check out A Chore Chart in Pixels.

  1. Erin Condren Life Planner
  2. Clever Fox Planner Weekly & Monthly
  3. The Happy Planner
  4. Planner Perfect

I hope you have enjoyed this post and found the information in it helpful, and as always; feel free to contact me if you have any questions!  Let me know in the comments what is your current favorite planner!

Cheers & Happy Planning!




The Perfect Planner



The Perfect Planner



The Perfect Planner & why it works for me
Chore Chart in Pixels - Dreams and Caffeine

A Chore Chart in Pixels

Let’s start with the obvious question of, what in the world is a Chore Chart in Pixels?  And, why do you need one?

How it all began…

I will be the first to admit that it took a little adjustment period for me going from a full time working mom to a stay at home mom to two under two.  Especially because becoming a stay at home mom wasn’t planned and to top it off, our lives were in the middle of some pretty large transitions.  Long story short, the child development center that I ran decided to shut its doors permanently, our daughter was about a year and half old and I was eight months pregnant.  Talk about a time of chaos!

After my husband and I decided this was the perfect opportunity for me to stay at home and raise our kiddos, I realized I had no idea how to be a stay at home wife and mother.  I can just hear the gasps from all the Martha Stewarts and June Cleavers out there (my mother included).  However, neither housekeeping nor cooking have ever been something I wanted to do, something I was good at, or something I strived to do.  On top of that, having two young kiddos to care for was quite overwhelming.

The Chore Chart in Pixels is born…

I have always had a love affair with planners, pretty paper, pens, markers, and stickers!  So, after many failed attempts of becoming a consistent Martha Stewart – June Clever hybrid (hahaha… just kidding), I finally found a system that worked and allowed me to be successful.  Basically, I made a reasonable list of everything I wanted to accomplish each day and then I put it into a grid chart.  Each day I picked a pen color and as I completed a task, I colored in the box.  It allowed me to know what I needed to accomplish, plus it gave me an overview of each month.  I could see where I was struggling to complete certain tasks, which allowed me to adjust and make another plan of action to allow me to be successful.

A Chore Chart in Pixels has worked so well for me, that I have started using it in other ways as well.  I have one for cleaning the house, one for keeping the kiddos on schedule, and a personal one that I use to track bill paying, date nights, exercise, and personal growth.  What I love about this concept is that it is so easy to adjust to what you need to track.  I have also included a few pictures below so you can see how I utilize this nifty tool.  I used a black sharpie to fill in the boxes for tasks I didn’t complete, making it easy to see areas I need to work on.


Chore Chart in Pixels Sample (1 of 3) Chore Chart in Pixels Sample (2 of 3) Chore Chart in Pixels Sample (3 of 3)


Below is a free Chore Chart in Pixels, so you can simply print it and start tracking today.  I hope you find this as fun and useful as I have!  Feel free to let me know how it is working for you by commenting below or if you have any questions, feel free to email.

Chore Chart in Pixels – Dreams and Caffeine

Cheers to becoming a Martha Stewart – June Cleaver Hybrid,

12 tips on toy organization - dreams and caffeine blog

12 Tips on Toy Organization

Toys!  Your kids love them, they can be great learning tools, but how in the world can you organize them?  Toy organization can be a huge challenge.  Between Christmas, birthdays, and just random gifts, they can pile up quickly.  As a parent, I feel so thankful that everyone has given these wonderful gifts to my children which of course makes me want to keep everything, but I know that isn’t reasonable.  I’d like to share some things that have worked for my family over the past couple of years to reduce some of the clutter and organize the chaos.

Timing is Everything – When to Purge

I’ve found that it works best to cut back on the number of toys before major events such as birthdays and holidays where gifts might be given.  It isn’t a bad idea to reassess after the event either.

But what do I give up?

Toys that you could consider donating fall into different categories.

  1. Has your child obviously outgrown some of his or her toys? I’m thinking of things like jumpers, bouncers, play mats, etc.  Once you’re reasonably sure that you won’t be welcoming any more little ones into the family, maybe it is time to pass these on to someone with a need.
  2. Maybe you have toys that are constantly problematic. They might have broken parts, frustrate your child, or in some other way cause issues in your household.  You probably won’t mind saying goodbye to these toys.
  3. Duplicate toys. If certain toys perform the exact same functions or are identical, give one of them away.

Should I still hang on to some of those memories though?

Of course.  There are many reasons to hold on to your children’s toys, long after they are done using them.

  1. This one is obvious, but of course the kids’ favorite toys should stay, even if they are outgrowing them in most cases. I’m sure your toddler has something that she just won’t let go, and that’s great.
  2. Toys that were handed down to your kids should be treasured. They were worth saving for the next generation at least once, and if they still stand the test of time, hang on to them.  Your kids might enjoy giving them to their kids someday.
  3. Educational and imaginative toys! This one is big in our household and if the toys promote education, using your imagination, or anything along those lines that helps your child grow and develop, I say be sure to keep these.
  4. Sentimental toys.  Don’t get rid of these toys.  You’ll regret doing so and sometimes toys can serve as a reminder of a wonderful memory.

Now that I’ve thrown out some ideas on what to keep, how do I actually organize what I have?

Now this is the fun part of toy organization.  At least for us (slightly?) OCD people 🙂

  1. Bins, bins, bins. We like to use see-through plastic bins with lids such as these: Sterilite 6-Quart See-Through Latch Box with White Lid to control loose toys.  Our kids all get the sets of toys will a million loose pieces – having a dedicated bin for each toy set is invaluable.  As the kids get older and you’re trying to teach them to pick up after themselves, put a picture of the contents on the bin so your child knows which bin to place the toys inside.  On that topic, some toys come in bins or are somehow self-contained.  When given the choice, these can be huge helpers in keeping an organized play area.
  2. Bins with lids are nice, but something like this: Tot Tutors Kids’ Toy Storage Organizer with 12 Plastic Bins can work well too.  In lieu of a built-in solution, a storage system can meet a lot of the demands for storing your kids’ toys.
  3. Put toys that aren’t played with quite as often in a storage area and then getting them out can be a special event.  If you have lots of stuffed animals, get a net like this: Jumbo Toy Hammock – 2 PACK  It allows you to display them but get them off of the floor until your child is ready to play.
  4. If your child is old enough, have them participate in the cleanup process – maybe they will start to clean up on their own as they get older (wishful thinking?).

Random thoughts…

  1. If you have a core group of friends, you could consider “sharing” toys with them – pass down toys that your kids might have outgrown, then when they are done and you have another kid, they can pass them back. When a group of friends does this, it can really help out.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the article, that this helps you with your toy organization, and as always, I’d love to hear your great ideas!  Feel free to comment below and if you’d like to get future updates from my site, please subscribe.


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