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My Journey with Planners
I blame Instagram.
I started following #planneraddict on Instagram around 2014 and quickly became enamored with all of the planner styles, stickers, and hand lettering that accompanied these pretty pictures and posts. I built a “Planner Addict” board on Pinterest to keep track of pen recommendations, sticker shops on Etsy, and even free printable planners I’d found. Bullet journaling (#bujo), washi tape, Staedtler pens and Papermate Flair pens also became part of my knowledge base.
My favorite organizer was the Filofax, but I couldn’t justify paying $100+ for one, so I decided to make my own A5 organizer. I used printables I’d pinned and bought an A5 ring binder and supplies. It was bulky, but it captured my meal planning, daily and weekly tasks and schedule, and even had some ruled paper for journaling. I used it for a couple of months and it was very helpful in keeping our cross-country move organized.
But it was tedious printing out new meal planning and calendar pages every week. I also wanted to capture more about our lives than my makeshift system could handle.
I eventually gave up my homemade A5 ring binder and gifted it to my daughter. I returned to stalking the Filofax USA website, hoping for a super sale that I knew would never come and even joined a planner/organizer sell/swap group to see if I could get lucky and snag a Filofax on the cheap. No dice.
Fast forward a couple of years.
The Mormon Mom Planner
January 2016 found me 5 months pregnant with our little miracle baby. I had OB appointments to get to and a baby wish list that kept growing. We were also starting to talk about homeschooling Elle. (More on that in a future post.) I remember seeing a Pinterest pin that showed an organizer I’d never seen before: it had a beautifully decorated standard planner layout with LDS-relevant pages. I followed the link and discovered, for the very first time, The Mormon Mom Planner.
It took me a week or two to swallow the price ($42 after shipping and tax), but I finally ordered it. It has been one of the very best purchases I’ve ever made.
My 2016 Mormon Mom Planner (the fully loaded LDS planner with lots of family-relevant pages) handled my calling as the Relief Society 2nd Counselor (that was the mid-week activity planning one in our ward), homeschooling Elle, my pregnancy, and a very unexpected move. It handled an unforeseen summer job, enrolling and withdrawing from a university, and another job. My 2016 planner made holidays, meal planning, FHE, and tracking scripture study so much easier.
I loved my Mormon Mom Planner so much I got it again for 2017. I opted for the horizontal layout this time and I’ve loved it. The creator, a Utah native, has thought of pretty much everything I’ve ever wanted in a life organizer – which is pretty impressive considering how much I like to plan every little thing.
Instead of telling you about my planner, I wanted to show you my planner. It was so helpful for me to see planner-in-action shots before I got my first one, and I hope this post helps you too.
A Final Word Before We Begin Our Tour
All of the pictures below were taken by me, Jen of MiddayMornings.com. The 2017 horizontal Mormon Mom Planner (also known as Mothers Who Know Planner) was created by Melinda of intheleafytreetops.com. I purchased this planner on my own dime and at full price. The opinions expressed are my own. I honestly love this planner. That is all.
My 2017 Mormon Mom Planner
I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as a Mormon. I know it, I live it, I love it. This version of Melinda’s planner contains pages that are relevant to those who are interested in holding weekly Family Home Evenings, participating in our annual and semi-annual General Conferences, and keeping up with the study material for our church meetings. It is chock-full of quotes and hymn lyrics from the LDS Church. For me, I love the reminders of my faith sprinkled throughout the planner and this was one of the biggest draws.
I love how the cover is laminated. It makes it durable while still being flexible. The metal spiral binding allows the planner to lay flat. This was the only cover art available for the horizontal layout since this was its debut year, but I absolutely love.
I made myself a little bookmark from a giant paper clip and a little pink grosgrain ribbon. (Pro tip: burn the edges of the ribbon to prevent fraying.) Clipping the current week’s layout and the monthly layout together allows me to easily jump between the two.
Weekly Horizontal Layout
Here you can see the horizontal layout of a random week in May. It has a Monday start and each weekday has lined and unlined space. Saturday and Sunday only have unlined spaces and split the space typically reserved for one weekday. Some weeks I could use a little more real estate on Sunday, but so far it hasn’t been a huge issue.
The Mormon Mom Planner has a tracking chart for the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. I’ve often been discouraged in the past about my scripture study habits. Keeping track of what I’m reading helps motivate me to read more and to be encouraged by the progress I’ve made.
A Fun Note About My Scriptures
I am an adult convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When I was investigating the religion I was given a free copy of the Book of Mormon. (I still have that copy of the Book of Mormon and will pass it on to my daughters so they can see the questions and insights I had while investigating the LDS faith.) I was a poor college student and getting a complete set of scriptures to study from was not in my budget. While meeting with the missionaries one day I received a beautiful surprise: they presented me with a complete set of scriptures. The set had been donated to them by someone and was in noticeably used condition. There are notes from the previous owner in the margins of the Book of Mormon, the pages were no longer gilded, and the binding on the triple combination was loose. But there was no greater gift those missionaries could have given me than this complete set of scriptures. I continue to treasure them 12 years later and whenever I run into the previous owner’s notes, I say a little prayer of gratitude.
Keeping Track of Memories
I began dabbling in hand lettering in 2017. (It’s actually one of my New Year’s resolutions.) Elle got me a hand lettering kit for my birthday that teaches you how to draw some fun doodles to jazz up your journals and greeting cards. I decided to draw the little flower doodle in my planner with the word “joy” in amateurish hand lettering. Though the flowers made me feel accomplished and the word “joy” is something I strive to feel every day, I was not feeling joy this particular week.
My husband and I were in the middle of deciding which job he should take. One meant that I would definitely have to quit the out-of-the-home job I loved. The other meant a lot of travel initially. During my weekly one-on-one with my manager I ended up sharing all of the concerns I’d been carrying. She was incredibly understanding and allowed me to move past the fear and focus on what mattered most. That evening I used that day’s unruled space to record the experience. Capturing those kinds of memories helps me remember the tender mercies God puts in my life when I just look for them.
Accomplishing Goals Versus Staying Busy
Each week’s layout has this little grid that keeps me focused on what I want to do, not just what is right in front of me. Using this grid has allowed me to achieve a more purposeful life. There are two slots of write-in goals. I’ve made daily goals for exercising, reading, and creating/crafting.
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
-Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
In 2017 I wanted to drastically cut our food expenses. Groceries, fast food, restaurants – whatever could be cut, I wanted to cut it. My Mormon Mom Planner helps me do exactly that. We plan for and eat leftovers consistently now to reduce wasted food (and money!). We plan when we know we’ll probably eat out so we can stay motivated to eat at home the other days.
Each of these monthly grid views (you can technically use it for whatever you want, I just use it for meal planning) comes with at least 4 checklist-type boxes to the right. I’ve been using these checklist boxes to capture what we have in our fridge, freezer, pantry, and basement to better use what we have. Over time I’ll be able to see which ingredients were purchased but never used which should encourage me to never buy that item again.
Grocery shopping and meal planning are homemaking arts that have taken me a few years to refine. But with my Mormon Mom Planner, I feel like I just made my biggest breakthroughs yet.
Making Church More Meaningful
Towards the back of each month there is a two-page spread where gospel-related thoughts, questions, and answers can be jotted down. I take my planner with me to church and it’s helped me focus and remember the things that were taught and the feelings I felt. There’s space for to-dos and inspiration and general notes. I really have loved this spread in my planner. I love looking back at previous month’s pages to remember what I’ve learned and what I committed to do and become.
Family Home Evening
We hold our Family Home Evenings on Sunday nights. It happens more consistently and is better quality when we do it then. As Family Council items come up during the week, I add them to this spread. I act as secretary and take down any action items and we review them the following FHE. We feel the Mormon Mom Planner has helped us be more purposeful in our FHE experience.
Summertime and Holidays
This year the Mormon Mom Planner has a Summertime Schedule (pictured above). This page will come in handy when the inevitable “I’m bored” complaints start. “Oh, you’re bored? Well, it’s Wednesday, so why don’t you go create something.” “Oh, you’re bored? Well, tomorrow is Friday and every Friday we’ll go to the library.”
The opposite page (not shown) has space to capture ideas for summertime activities. As Elle says “this summer, let’s….” I hurry and jot that activity in my planner so we can actually do it when the time comes.
Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas planning was a breeze last year. Each of those holidays has a special layout where you can write to-dos, a special menu, and even a recipe. My absolute favorite thing about the Christmas planning section is the gift-giving layouts. There is space for everyone – your immediate family, your extended family, your parents, neighbors, church friends, and work friends. You can jot down an idea, the approximate cost, and even if it needs to be gift-wrapped. It’s incredible. And once you’re done with each item or individual, you can get to put a satisfying check mark beside it. The Mormon Mom Planner is the only reason anyone got a Christmas card last year.
Year in Review
After the Christmas planning section there’s a Year in Review two-page spread. This is where I jot down major milestones and events. This layout will help build our 2017 Shutterfly photo book.
I am currently the Personal Progress
Specialist Cheerleader in my ward. I participate in the program alongside the girls. My Personal Progress chart is representative of what we’ve invited the girls to accomplish and I keep it in one of the back pockets in my Mormon Mom Planner. Our Young Women are phenomenal. They are involved in so much good in their homes and communities. The biggest “complaint” I hear from the girls is that they just don’t have time to do Personal Progress. That’s when I get super excited. These girls “don’t have time” to do Personal Progress because they’re in an upcoming play, they babysit their young cousins, they help care for their disabled sibling, they sing in the ward choir, they play on the soccer team, and on and on. These girls are engaged in a good work and it’s usually a matter of showing them how much good they’re already doing than trying to get them to do Personal Progress. Personal Progress is personal and chances are, if you’re living the gospel the way we’re admonished to, you’re doing a lot more than you think you are.
Even though the Mormon Mom Planner is beautifully designed and illustrated, there are still plenty of opportunities to use fun and functional stickers. I like to get my stickers from Amazon, Etsy, and Michael’s. I keep my most-used stickers in the clear plastic pouch in the back of the planner.
That Concludes Our Tour
I hope this little tour helps you decide if the Mormon Mom Planner is right for you. I heartily recommend it. If you have the planner and have posted a tour of it on Instagram, Facebook, or your blog, please add a comment below linking it up – I’d love to see it!