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Coach Mom Newsletter - Oct  2012

Going Digital ...
Digital Calendar That Is

Like a toddler with his blanket, so I have been with my spiral-bound calendar for years. It has gone with me everywhere and has been my brain to help me remember everything from a password on the school website to bringing team snacks to a soccer game.

Unfortunately, my handy-dandy calendar system included a few challenges:

  • My family could not access it at all times. (And I wasn’t reliable with updates when I tried to solve that problem by using a large wall calendar alongside it.)

  • I lived with the fear of misplacing it.

  • Annual events like birthdays were slipping through the cracks if I forgot to transfer them over to the new calendar.

  • It had to be carried (not a big problem, but it did add one thing to my arms).

  • If I forgot to take it out with me, I might not have the information I needed (for example, the address of a speaking event or phone number for the leader of the event).

  • I needed to purchase it each year (again, not a big problem – maybe $8-$10, but it did cost me something).

The things I like about my spiral calendar:

  • I’m visual. I like to see the big picture of month-at-a-glance in order to plan.

  • I like to work each day with my calendar open and ready for quick jots, details, etc.

As my school-year-based 2011-2012 calendar came to the end in June, I decided to take what I felt was a bold and progressive move (I know, go ahead and laugh.) to go digital with my calendar. Yes, the thought of it actually increased my heart rate.

Because I heard moms singing the praises of cozi.com, I decided to try their calendar system. It is free, so there is no risk. There was a small learning curve that tempted me a number of times to get in my car and dash as fast as I could to the local office supply store for a 2012-2013 spiral-bound calendar, but I promised myself to give it a real chance for a few months. After three months, I am glad I made the change.  Like the hands-on calendar, it has its pros and cons, but the pros outweigh the cons.

Pros for the digital calendar:

  • It is always with me because I use the cozi.com app on my phone.

  • It can be easily printed in week-at-a-glance or month-at-a-glance.

  • Everyone in the family has access to it--by computer, iPad, or iTouch. They simply need to know the site and the password for entry.

  • When I update my calendar on one device, like my cell phone, it automatically updates it on all other devices.

  • It is easy to input all the details I need to know for each event--what, where, when, who, and a place for notes on other information such as directions, or what to bring to that event, reservation reference numbers, etc.

  • It has options to repeat an activity (especially helpful for weekly appointments such as piano lessons, and also birthdays, too).

  • It can link to on-line calendars such as school calendars, so that I don't have to input school holidays and other important dates.

  • All family members who have phones can receive text message reminders for events.

  • Grandparents can stay abreast of the family schedule, great for knowing all the details of attending grandchildren’s sporting events or concerts.

Cons for the digital calendar:

  • When our printer was on the blink, I was unable to print out my month-at-a glance sheet.

  • When it prints out the month-at-a-glance it has a limited number of characters per appointment (it can’t squeeze as many words on each day as I could by writing it.)

  • It takes some time to figure out.

Most of the “cons” are easily solved: If the printer doesn’t work, it should be repaired immediately anyway.  Though all the needed info may not show up on the box, I can always look on the iPad, my phone, or the computer to see the details. Yes, it takes some time to figure out, but once I invested a few hours in it I was set to go.

Another thing I like about cozi.com is the shopping list feature. It’s nice to say, “Go enter it on the cozi list” when a child says they need toothpaste. There is also a to-do list, which can also be emailed or messaged (although I wouldn’t recommend doing this often for your husband unless he asks!). It even has a place to journal notes and photos on the calendar.

I’m not the expert in this digital calendar thing yet, but after three months of use I give this program two thumbs up.  

A few tips:

  • Keep the calendar up and handy on a tablet such as an iPad when you are working at the computer. This enables you to enter details from informative emails onto the calendar without having to go back and forth between tabs.

  • Post the website and the password somewhere near your computer so that the children can access the calendar easily.

  • Print off calendars by the month and put them in a central location to use as an easy reference for yourself and the family.

And as long as we are keeping up with events so well, we will probably do better remembering birthdays. That leads me to introduce this month’s book giveaway….

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Book Giveaway!

Win Every Birthday Is a Special Occasion, a new release by Janice Byrd.  Janice’s book, a perfect gift for a birthday celebrant, covers all-things-birthday, including the origin of the “Happy Birthday” song, the history of famous birthdays such as Christmas and President’s Day, and a peek into birthday customs around the globe. This quick and entertaining read also includes recipes, a fill-in-the blank dedication page and creative and fun ideas for celebrating from the day you’re born through your 100th birthday. For more info, visit Janice's Website.

To be entered in the drawing, recommend the Coach Mom e-book October Special for $2.99 by posting the following link on your Facebook page or Twitter account: http://tinyurl.com/9n39pck. Then email Brenna with “birthday book” in the subject line to be in the Friday, October 19 drawing.

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Coach Mom on Mission

Please pray for Brenna and her family as she wraps up her time of mission and ministry in Africa Oct. 2-9.

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