Stop! It’s Planner Time. 

Homeschooling is yet another excuse reason to browse Michaels and eyeball the pretty planners and pens and craft kits. Gimme it ALLLLL, please and thank you.

I managed to exercise some restraint today, and I left with only what I needed. YAAYbooo!


A 12 month Happy Planner box set and a pack of lined/graph filler pages. (The planners are on sale this week, and you can use coupons on the accessories!)

“Don’t you already have a Happy Planner?”

I do! This new one will serve as our homeschool idea holder and record keeper. I decided to stick with this brand because I really, truly love the setup and quality.


My original planner going strong six months in!

My original planner still looks brand new despite being flipped through several times a day and shoved into my purse regularly. It’s a tough little cookie.

The 12 month planner is perfect for our homeschool needs. I can customize the dates and begin my planner with June 2017 and end with May 2018. We plan to school year round to allow ample time for breaks when necessary and eliminate the end of year cram panic that would undoubtedly consume us.

The extra folder inserts (that I purchased months ago) will hold our association paperwork, receipts, and any other information I want to keep handy. The lined and graph pages work for reading logs, attendance charts, curricula and resource notes, contact information, co-op plans, etc. Disk style binding is the way to go!

Here’s how I plan to utilize our planner for daily use.

We’ve chosen to go with unit studies, so the note column along the left edge of the weekly pages will list our theme along with any books that correspond. 

Each day of the week has three vertical boxes. The top box will record lessons and subjects we incorporated into our weekly theme. The middle boxes will contain our Bible study topics, memory verses, service opportunities, and mini prayer journal. The bottom boxes will include our outings, friend dates, group meetings, or special projects.

Here are a few more snaps for anyone curious about this particular planner!


A bold watercolor look.  “Best year ever!”


Inside the cover.


Monthly dashboard and pretty tabbed pages.


A blank monthly view.  You fill in all dates yourself.


It comes with all the dates you need for a full year and quite a few extra pretties.


12 month vs 18 month.

Homeschoolers, do you use a planner?

What’s your favorite?




Ways To Use Your Planner Without Actually Planning


My Happy Planner just *getsme.  

I try not to post similar topics back to back, but I’m still on my planner high.  I’m finding more and more uses for my planner, and I really want to share!

Now, of course I use my planner for appointments (IF we ever had any…), meal planning, social events, etc.  But more than anything else, I’ll be using my planner as a record keeper.  As I said in my last post, I’ve always made lists or used notebooks to organize and keep track of things.  I now keep all of my “records” in one planner, and I’m already absolutely ecstatic after less than a week’s use.

Here are some things I include in my planner that aren’t actually plans.


We already stick to a precise budget, so this is basically the support system to go along with it.  I store receipts in the nifty pocket folders I added, and I jot down what was purchased, from where, and the amount spent into that day’s slot.  I know when bills were paid, how much money remains for each budget category, and so on.  It’s like having an up-to-date bank statement with you at all times.  (Old receipts get added to the compost bin!)

Energy Usage & Efficiency

This one may sound a little over the top, but it’s made so much of a difference in my personal happiness and in our finances.  I jot down every load of laundry I do, every run of the dishwasher, and how often we use the A/C and heat.  When I first started taking note of my laundering habits a few months ago, I was blown away by how much laundry I did.  (six to ten loads a week.  TEN LOADS A WEEK!?  Insane.)  I also saw that we used our A/C on days that were perfectly comfortable.  All it takes is one degree to turn on your A/C.   Keeping a record of things like this has made me so much more aware of how much we waste.  It’s easy to dismiss your waste when you don’t even see it. I’ve been able to adjust my household chores to a much more efficient level.


My homeschooler doesn’t do well with elaborately planned lessons.  We go to the library, close our eyes, and grab ALL THE BOOKS.  We do “class” riding in the car, at the grocery store, or while I’m cooking dinner.  It’s much easier to write down our accomplishments after the fact rather than plan to do XYZ and then feel like poo for not being able to check it off as completed.  I’m pretty certain my oldest child is the anti-lister. Spontaneity is her game.

Church Notes

Our pastors are known for using a bajillion verses during each service, and I absolutely love it.  Taking notes is mandatory for me.  That sermon isn’t just good for that one Sunday.  It’s good on Monday when the blues hit you hard.  It’s good six months from now too.  And like a good movie, you always find something new each time you experience it.  I also teach Sunday School (as does my wonderful husband), and I like to record who is present, the topics or verses discussed, and games played.

Memory Keeper

Planners are an excellent way to preserve memories.  A simple “Baby met great-grandma today” can make your heart do that funny, about-to-explode-with-happy thing as you flip through your pages.  Maybe you’re looking back a few months to find the ingredients for that delicious orzo salad, and you come across “I spent the day cuddled up with my babies watching movies.”  You’ll never regret hoarding sweet memories.

Moral Booster

Maybe this is just me, but I’ve always felt more energized and productive when I can check off tasks or look at a page full of accomplishments.  I need confidence builders.  I need a positive outlook.  I need momentum.  My note taking has always provided that for me.  I can open my planner and see that YES, I am needed for important things.  I can see that YES, I AM making progress in so many aspects of life.  I can see that YES, I. Can. Adult!  

I also broke down today and bought a sticker pack. After much indecisiveness (so many awesome options!), I brought home the Faith Value Stickers.  I ultimately chose this pack because it has so many uplifting words.  So much encouragement!  Sometimes all you need is a “YOU CAN DO THE THING!” sticker.

And to all of you that bought the 18 month planner six months late like me, take heart!  I’m going to share some uses for all those extra pages in an upcoming post!  Don’t toss them just yet 🙂

Plan All The Things

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I’m a paper-pen-pencil-list type person. If you’re like me, you know exactly what I mean. The office supply aisle is better than the candy aisle. We make lists of lists we’ll make. New notebooks are things of beauty. Ripping into a new package of colored pens or Ticonderoga pencils is akin to Christmas morning.

Making note of things that I’ve done or intend to do helps me immensely in so many areas of my life. I keep a notepad app on my phone to remind myself of blog topics, add to a grocery list (which is written out on paper for the actual shopping), and keep up with some of our activities and appointments.

But there’s just something special.. and effective… about physically writing down goals or chores. No tech device can replace that for me.  So, I’ve decided to take a leap forward from lists.

I’m stepping into the planner life.

All my lists in one book!


They have so many pretty designs.  This one called to me.  “Choose ME, Flower Child Wannabe.”

This is The Happy Planner (Classic version) from Me & My Big Ideas.  I am in love.  Like…I almost cried when I walked into the store, and they actually had what I wanted sitting right there on the shelf.  That never happens!

The Happy Planner comes in three sizes.  The BIG planner is 8.5″ x 11″ and would be great for homeschool lesson plans or maybe a student or appointment heavy professional.  The mini is 4.5″ x 7″ and has enough room for chores, appointments, meetups.  It’s also a great size for standard purses or desk drawers.  The Classic is 7.75” x 9.75” and fits in my #mompurse nicely but opens into a perfectly sized spread.


A pretty page to write your name and contact info!  The graphics in these planners are very Pinterest-y.  Pretty and motivating.

I’ve been trying to find a planner solution for several weeks now.  I studied several different brands and YouTubed reviews endlessly.  Joann had a few really pretty planners and accessories (Color Crush), but nothing with the “it factor.”  Although, the Heidi Swapp accessories were super duper prettiful.  I also very strongly considered starting a bullet journal.

I decided against a bullet journal because…

  • I can’t draw cute titles or straight lines.
  • I freak out at the thought of not being able to add pages into my journal as needed. (I’m a spontaneous and indecisive planner….)
  • I like to plan far in advance and don’t want to have to draw out months and months to plug in future plans.
  • The cost of supplies to achieve my ideal planner would be just as much as a pre-designed planner.
  • Setting it up on my own isn’t something I’d realistically do.

I’ve always used plain notebooks to organize, and I just can’t deal with that style anymore.  I need pre-printed support and pretty, tiny, sticky things.  If it’s left solely up to ME to date and set up a planner, it’ll just never happen.  The half filled notebooks in my drawer can attest to that.  I’ve had success with simple planners before, but I’m SO pumped about this one!  Pages can be added easily, and there are so many accessories, tips, and freebies to be found.

I chose The Happy Planner because…

  • When purchased on sale or with coupons, it works out cheaper than most of the rest.  (lookin’ at you Erin Condren!)
  • Add-ins or Extensions can be added easily.  They slip right in, no need to open the rings at all.
  • The DIY options are endless.  (I’m going to make and add some cardstock pages.)
  • The sticker sets are AMAZING.
  • I can find the brand locally, see it with my own eyes, and bring it home the same day.

The binding rings are actually disks.  The pages slip in and out easily.  I added this page and then removed it to check the sturdiness.  It held up really well!

I purchased this planner and the accessories at Michaels.  (fun fact – I used to work at ACMoore, and Michaels was our biggest competitor!  Sorry, ACMoore!)  The planner itself is originally $39.99, but they’re 50% off this week. (until Jan 14th!)  I also grabbed a pack of folder inserts to hold my receipts, church bulletins, etc until I can jot down all the info into the planner itself.  The folders were $7.99 originally, but I of course had a 40% off one non-sale item coupon.  AND THEN the awesome, helpful lady ringing up my items scanned another coupon for me giving me an extra 25% off the planner.

I got the planner and the folders for less than $20.



The page to the left is the beginning page of the month.  A place for birthdays, holidays, and goals.  Also a list of “Currently into” topics to list what you’re watching, reading, crafting, planning (HAH), and so on.  The page to the right is one of the folder inserts I added.

I’m still debating on purchasing one of the sticker value packs.  ($19.99 for almost 1,500 stickers. $11.99 with a coupon!)  I really wanted the “Everyday Plans” pack, but apparently everyone else wanted it too because it was sold out.

And for anyone out there thinking “My LAWD, that’s a waste of paper and money!”  Let me say…I feel you.  This planner is my “Treat yo’self” item.  I typically steer clear of things like this because I view them as non-essential and usually opt for a cheaper version.  Hence the stack of ten cent notebooks in our school closet…  Today I decided to live on the edge. I bought an expensive calendar.  Hear me roar!

I also already have plans to make cards from the pretty designs and use the other pages to make recycled paper once I’m done using the planner.

I can’t wait to share all my fabulous planner ideas and DIYs!  I’d love to hear how you make the most of your planner, whatever the style.

I’m. So. Happy.