Tuesday, January 26

Continuous Family Calendar

Funny story at the end, but first…

I keep track of all our events, appointments, and such electronically (in Outlook’s calendar) but a big problem is that usually I’m the only one who looks at it. So a few years ago, we implemented a new system, which looks like this these days.


On it, we can see the events of the current day as well as the next two. Circled letters stand for the person(s) involved in the event. Every evening, I erase the current day and its notes, write a squiggly line under the next date to indicate it’s the “current day” now, and fill in the empty spot with the new date, three days away, and its events. So, the current day just keeps cycling through the columns – left, middle, right…

Any large erasable board would work; I chose to make my own wipe board. It hangs in our hallway just off our kitchen so everyone can check it and know what’s happening. Additionally, it’s helped me so much because it forces me to look at my electronic calendar each evening, specifically three days hence, so I know what to add to the wipe board. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve said “Oh, that’s right! I’d forgotten!” And best of all, I still have two full days if I need to prepare anything for that forgotten event.

We used to just show two columns: “today” and “tomorrow.” We also had a bunch of bright clingies that we’d received with another laminated calendar a while back. Since none of the girls were reading yet, it worked well to help give them an idea what was going on. e.g. crayon = school for Heidi, apple = school for Sophie, red balloon = something fun!

DIYwipeboard (12)

Unfortunately, the clingies eventually lost their clinginess and all my attempts to revive them were in vain. Am now trying to think of ways to make (or buy?) some. Any ideas or leads?

I’ve started to loosen my grip on the reins of control and perfection by letting Heidi write some of the stuff too. Loved this from a year ago when she was just learning to read… Our task for tomorrow: laundry.

DIYwipeboard (14)

In the photo above, you can see that I was still marking lines between days, as well as lines for our meals (which made it easier to see when events were happening in a day), with the erasable pen. And they were constantly getting erased.

I finally got smart and added some ribbons and rick-rack under the glass to designate the lines instead. It’s so much quicker now to erase a day and write in the new details for the next day.

DIYwipeboard (17)

Well, I hope that covers it. If not, you can always ask.

So to finish, my funny story:

In my quest to add more structure to my life this year, I certainly think it’ll help that my cousin Jana is living here with us. Some of her über-responsible, über-orderly tendencies will surely rub off on me, right? Yesterday morning, she had to be out the door at 7 a.m. I was so surprised to find her still in bed, asleep, at 6:57. She’d never overslept before; apparently, the volume on her alarm clock had been turned down to silent by accident.

So what does she say while she’s rushing to get dressed – in the clothes she laid out the night before – and grab all the things she needs for the day – all neatly lined up next to her door? She says, and I quote, “Oh shoot. Now I won’t have time to make my bed!” 

And did I mention she’s 19? Oh, yes, I do hope I learn some things from her these two years she’s with us!


  1. :o) Hi.
    Wonderful story, and idea!!!

  2. Hi Karin,
    Ich mag dein wipe-board sehr!Es ist sehr kreativ!---und ich liebe meine "über"-Tochter Jana!
    Sie ist in 13 Schuljahren nur 2 MAL zu spät zur Schule gekommen - wenn ich mich richtig erinnere!

    ;) Jutta

  3. We have three months planned out on dry erase boards. The current month is always on the fridge. I just want to figure out how to keep the many little fingers in this house OFF the board!!! I cannot tell you how many times half a phone number was rubbed off...so, that a little stick person old take it's place. :) You gotta love kids! I hear I will miss those moments in a few years.

  4. Is it the little fingers? Or the big (Daddy) fingers drawing those stick figures? : )

  5. Jana's time will come...wait til she has 3 kids...then the bed won't even cross her mind as she is trying to tie shoes, zip coats, find the lost books, etc, etc. Not that I am speaking from experience. :)

  6. Oh, that's true, Karee -- you're much more like her personality than like mine. So I'll just a wait a few years, eh? : )

    P.S. So are you saying your bed ISN'T usually made these days? Or that it just isn't at the tip of your mental to-do anymore?



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