Overstuffed: February 2015 Overstuffed

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Why Everyone Should Use a Paper Planner

Okay, so maybe not exactly everyone should use a paper planner. If you are one of those people who loves your Google calendar and phone alerts then maybe paper isn't for you. Maybe I'm just tired of all the people that tell me paper planners are obsolete and I should definitely go digital, because I'm here to tell you that digital is not where it is at for me in calendars and planners.

I would never show up anywhere. Believe me, I've tried the digital thing. Google calendar and me are not friends. At work, I try to use it, sort of. At least, I get alerts to go teach my class (set up by the department secretary), and my students will sometimes send me their calendars for scheduling. But mine hasn't been updated for several years.

This post contains affiliate links.

5 reasons why paper planners are the best thing ever, and why I'll never go digital when it comes to my calendar.

A paper planner is the only way I can keep my life together. So paper it is.

HEY I'm giving away one of my favorite planners! Come enter here: Celebrating Motherhood Planner Giveaway (ends 5/19/16)

Now, I've already written extensively about the paper planners I've used in recent years and their pros and cons. Today I'm going to tell you all the reasons why I keep using one, even as everyone around me goes completely digital.

1. The act of writing helps me remember better


I recently came across an interesting article about how writing is superior to typing when it comes to remembering. Not only did I feel vindicated about my insistence on using a paper planner, it cleared up a lot of things about my personal learning style for me.

When I was in college studying opera performance, I used to go through notecards by the thousands. The notecard company must have LOVED me! I used them to write the lyrics to my arias over and over and over again. I would literally sit down at a desk for two hours and write out Italian, German, French, and English lyrics on my notecards. I would then try to write them from memory, compare with the music, and do it all over again. That was the only way I could memorize the lyrics.

Nowadays, when I am learning a new song, I feel I don't have the time to sit down and write for a couple hours. So I listen while doing the dishes, I listen while in the car, and I try to memorize that way. For me, it is ineffective. I was blaming it on being 40, but instead I think I'll blame it on not writing it down.

When I write something in my planner, I remember it 90% of the time, even if I don't look at it again. If I type something into Google calendar, it's gone from my psyche in a matter of seconds. Just like that Facebook status I just wrote, er, typed.

I like to color code my planners, so these are my favorite pens to use to write in my planner. However, I keep thinking I should try these erasable pens that everyone raves about. Because if there is a downside to using a paper planner it is that you can't just delete appointments with a key stroke, so really good erasable pens would be pretty awesome.

2. My planner can also serve as a journal


I have kept every single planner I ever had. I have also kept every single journal I've ever had, and that's a lot. The only digital record of my life is this blog, and I even have hard copies of that. While most of my journals live in a bin in my basement, I occasionally enjoy digging them out and reminiscing about my life. Except I still stay far away from my embarrassing teenage boy crazy volumes--I may never be ready to revisit those journals!

Planners are the same. While many are in the bin with the journals, a lot are just on the shelf in my office. Sometimes I pull them down and flip through and I remember things about my life that I would have otherwise forgotten. When is the last time you flipped through your Google calendar and reminisced? Just saying. (In a very fun, teasing manner, mind you.)

3. I can see everything at once


I know you can see lots of things at once with your Google calendar, but I like to be able to see not only my calendar, but my to-do list, random notes to myself, inspirational quotes, etc. All on the same pages. I like that I can do that by opening my planner.

I also like that my specific planner has a lot more than just calendaring pages. It has holiday planning pages, it has note taking pages, it has budgeting pages, it has goal setting pages. You get the drift. Not only does it tell me where to go and when to be there, it helps me with many other aspects of my life.

4. It's easier to use, and more accessible


Bria, my 14-year-old,  recently got herself into a huge scheduling snafu, and I said, "That's it! I'm getting you a planner!" She protested mightily that she absolutely didn't want one and when I asked her why not, she said, "Because! I'll have to open it up!" (I actually did find a planner for her that she doesn't have to open, and she loves it! This Bloom planner pad was the perfect solution!)

But that's the best part. It's easy to open up your planner and write something in it! So much harder to get to your computer and type your schedule, and even my phone is annoying to use that way, for me.

I don't have to learn any technical anything. I don't have to worry that my battery will die and suddenly all of my appointments for the day will be inaccessible. It's all right there in my book, which only becomes inaccessible if I forget to bring it with me. Maybe that's happened a few times, but mostly it lives in my purse, so it's all good.

5. It makes me happy


It really does. I LOVE writing things down as they inspire me. I love going through my schedule and making necessary adjustments. I love how cute my planner is. I love how functional it is. I'll just never have these feelings about the Google calendar or even my iPhone. I just won't.

The Mom on the Go Planner is cute, functional, and incredibly customizable.

This is my awesome friend Trisha. She has the same planner as I do and loves it just as much. I love that we use our planners totally differently--we customize them to our own lives.

Here is what my planner looks like this week:

Using a Mom on the Go planner to plan my weeks out the way I like it. Best planner ever.

The sad thing is that I just added three more things to it since taking this photo last night. Also? My teenager is going to kill me off this Saturday, basically.

I divide my daily sections into Me, Kids, and Other. (Other is stuff like deadlines, sometimes The Maestro's schedule, school events, etc.)

I use the bottom section to keep track of what I wear to work  I hadn't actually been to work yet this week when I took the photo, so here is a photo of a prior week.

Using a planner to keep track of wardrobe choices for work.

I would wear the same thing every few days if I didn't do this, I promise.

Here is a photo of Trisha's planner from her Instagram (used with permission):

A Mom on the Go planner helps keep your life on schedule.

Trisha divides up her days between herself, her kids, and her husband. She uses the lower portion mostly for menu planning (I don't DO menu planning, LOL). She puts a monthly focus in one of the boxes on top to remind herself each week. She also adds inspirational quotes and other random notes the same way I do.

I asked Trisha what her favorite things about her planner are, and she had thoughts that were similar to my own:

"I love the ability to see everyone's schedule. Especially a week at a time. I love having things laid out so I can see everything. I especially love it when I am meal planning so I can see when I have time to cook and prepare or when I need to have something quick. I also use the boxes at the top to remind me of my monthly happy project goals. I love adding stickers and using different colors. I'm a big fan of the tabs, too, since I usually need to flip back and forth a lot.

"It's also a way to make me feel better about not journaling since I can keep it and see the things I've written down. It grants me the ability to reflect on previous months, too."

See? Everyone should have a paper planner. And that's why I am giving one away gave away my favorite planner ever! Even though you missed the giveaway, check out why I love it so much below:

The Mom on the Go planner is cute, customizable and extremely functional.


A 2015 Mom on the Go planner.  Totally cute and extremely functional. I already reviewed two versions of this planner in my big post about planners, but some good changes have been made in this years' version.

First of all, they added back the metal spirals. I had mentioned that they had them before and went to plastic for the one I currently have (I like my planners on the academic year instead of the calendar year--this planner is available both ways). The plastic spirals haven't been as sturdy, so I am pleased to see they went back to metal.

Mom on the go Planner with pocket

They added a two-sided pocket! I can't wait to get my own pocketed version in July! I love to have a place to stick things like handouts from church, fliers I need to keep, and other random things like that.

Otherwise, it's the same cute and wonderfully functional planner that I love. Here are some other examples of the pages in the one I'm giving away:

The Mom on the Go planner has several birthday planning pages.

Several Birthday planning pages.

Mom on the Go planner

Month at a glance with a small space for note taking and look-ahead calendars.

The Mom on the Go planner has wonderfully detailed holiday planning pages.

Incredibly detailed holiday planning sections in the appropriate monthly tabs.

Mom on the Go Planner weekly planning pages.

Weekly planning pages.

There are many more awesome features. I truly love this planner.

Are you ready to have one of your own? Go buy one HERE. (The planners for the 2016-17 school year should be coming around May 30 for pre-order--I can hardly wait!)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

How I Know I Married a Musician: Part 10

Due to my shoulder, I can't really lift my camera. And I'm just so sick of trying to get a decent Sunday photo with my phone. Especially when the girls are in their comfy clothes before I manage to get out of the car. I mean, HOW do they do that so fast? It's freaking 9:30 pm now and I'm still wearing my Sunday dress. I may actually decide to sleep in it since it's too much effort nowadays to get dressed and undressed.

I digress.

So today's Sunday photo will be more of a life at the Overstuffed house on a typical Sunday afternoon. 

The older girls have some big theory tests coming up through their violin and piano lessons, so The Maestro decided to work on quizzing them with some flashcards.


He had them clapping rhythms, identifying musical markings, and naming the notes.


Things got pretty competitive. Bria is all quiet and stuff until you CHALLENGE her. It wasn't even a contest, but she HAD TO WIN.


My favorite part is seeing the musician that I married feeling a bit better. Of course, he went to bed for a few more hours after the theory quiz.


And because this can't be a How I Know I Married a Musician post without a funny musical misquote from The Maestro...

When he was getting really sick last week I told him he had to get his butt to urgent care in the morning. He asked me to look up the hours so he knew what time to leave the house.

"I want to be there right at the downbeat."

Happy Sunday!


More about how we help the girls practice their music:

Friday, February 13, 2015

Maybe This is a Trial

The Maestro and me. Pneumonia for him, shoulder surgery for me. This isn't a trial at all.

This morning I had a physical therapy appointment.

I only wish it were as straightforward as that. I'm stuck in this shoulder sling for another month, and as long as I'm in it, I am not allowed to drive. I also can't easily get myself dressed (I'm doing better, but still need help with some things) or do my own hair.

These simple tasks have fallen on my dear husband. My dear husband who has had pneumonia for the last week and a half.

This morning I had a physical therapy appointment.

Getting ready wasn't easy. I needed extra help from The Maestro, as usual, and while he was trying to get my hair up into a ponytail, he got a little frustrated.

"I think that maybe this is a trial we are going through," he said.

The Maestro doesn't like to call things in his life "trials." Not when he sees that others are going through much more difficult things. What's a little shoulder surgery and pneumonia at the same time while there are people who are homeless or dying from cancer or who have lost children?

But this morning, after a difficult day yesterday, he was finally willing to concede that maybe this is a trial.

While it was my hair that was the proverbial straw for him, it was really everything about yesterday that truly broke the camel's back. I returned to work this week. Teaching at a university doesn't allow for so much time off just because you had shoulder surgery. Besides, my job is not physically strenuous, so I didn't think it would be too bad.

And mostly it wasn't. I do admit, however, to being pretty naive to just how limited I was going to be after this surgery. Even though I don't have to do heavy lifting or anything overly physical at my job, I do have to play the piano. And while I can do it sort of well, playing the piano in a beastly sling isn't easy. I didn't think about the fact that I wouldn't be able to write on the board with my right hand. I tried doing it with my left, but it's slow and ugly. And just being at work for six hours a day completely exhausted me.

For The Maestro, my being back to work requires him to drive me there, park the car, carry my computer bag, walk me to my classroom, and help me unlock the incredibly heavy door. Then he has to pick me up at lunch and do it all over again after lunch.

That all doesn't sound so bad, but he has to pick up all of my slack now that I am helpless. He has to be the one to drive the girls to their various lessons and activities. I can't do dishes, and while I can do laundry sort of, I'm not very quick. The list goes on.

Yesterday, he spent a lot of time in the car getting me to my doctor, to work, to Sophia's violin lesson, to my institute class in the evening. He got nothing work-related done and he is still suffering from pneumonia, after all. We know this because he also had to get himself to a doctor yesterday and they took another x-ray and verified this.

I think the worst part of the situation is that I feel well enough to clear snow, but I physically cannot do it. He feels terrible, but he can still clear the snow better than I can, so that means he is the one that does it. I almost called someone to come do it for us, but he wouldn't allow me to.

Because this isn't a trial, after all.

But now that it is maybe a trial, I think I'll get someone over here shoveling stat!



PS Because maybe this is actually a trial, I'm finding that post surgery blogging isn't as easy as I thought it would be. Sure, I can type on the computer fairly easily, but that might mean that you're just going to get a whole lot of navel gazing type posts in the next several weeks. Because I'm finding I can't do the projects I have planned, I can't really lift my camera to take photos, and the rest of my life is making me so exhausted that blogging is taking a back seat. Hang tight, and I'll be back in full force eventually. In the meantime, I'll try to write something worthwhile, but I make no promises. Or hey! Maybe I'll finally post all of our vacation photos.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Fun Family Movie Night With The Boxtrolls

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Universal Pictures, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #BoxtrollsFamilyNite http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV


Enjoy a movie night with your kids, The Boxtrolls, and white cheddar popcorn. Plus a fun game to play while watching the movie.


In our small town we have exactly one movie theater. It is the only movie theater within a two hour drive, and it only has five screens. It doesn't have fancy stadium seating and is just like the movie theaters I frequented as a child 30 years ago. Because there aren't a lot of screens, movies sometimes don't make it to our town, or, if they do, they don't stay very long.

It's frustrating for my kids, because sometimes there is a movie they'd really like to see, but we don't get a chance to see it in the theater. That's why we love having our family movie nights every week. It gives us a chance to see all the movies we missed out on in the theaters, plus spend some fun time together as a family.

The Boxtrolls was one of those movies the girls really wanted to see while it was in the theaters, but we just weren't able to get there before it left town due to other life commitments. So when it came out on DVD a couple weeks ago, I didn't hesitate to run to WalMart and pick it up.


I also picked up a big 10-count box of Pop-Secret Movie Theater popcorn for movie night.

The girls enjoy doing movie-themed activities on our movie nights, so I went to The Boxtrolls official website and downloaded some coloring pages. Sophia had been home sick for a while, so she happily went to work coloring them while her sisters were at school.



Once they were colored, we glued them to a box to act as a die to throw.


Before we watched the movie, we each took turns rolling our Boxtrolls die. Whichever character it landed on became ours for the duration of the movie!


Even the teenager loves getting involved in our movie night antics!


Every time we spotted our own Boxtroll (and somehow all five of us managed to roll different characters!) during the movie, we got a treat. The Maestro rolled the character of Fish, so he may have gotten the most popcorn--lucky him!

You could do this game with any sort of treat, but our special treat was White Cheddar Popcorn. We are trying to banish sugary treats from the house, and The Boxtrolls is set in a town called Cheesebridge where all the characters absolutely love cheese. White cheddar popcorn was the perfect non-sugary treat for this movie night.


The popcorn is so easy to make--just pop one microwave bag of Pop Secret movie theater popcorn. While it's still hot, dump it into a bowl and add about a 1/2 cup of grated sharp white cheddar cheese. Stir it up well so the cheese melts a bit, and you have a yummy treat that is perfect for watching The Boxtrolls with your family! I made a couple bags for our movie night, and it lasted through all of our character sightings just fine.

Family movie nights are such a great way to spend time together, have fun, and even talk about some of the issues that come up during the movie you are watching. We loved The Boxtrolls (I think the girls have watched it a few more times since!) and the wonderful messages of family, kindness, and individuality it promoted.


If you haven't already, I highly encourage you to run to Walmart yourselves and pick up a copy (while supplies last)!

Sunday, February 08, 2015

On Being Helpless


I am the mom. It is my job to make sure my children are fed, clothed, and healthy. I am the one who knows where they need to be and when and it is my job to get them there. I help with homework, I make them do chores, I clean up their messes and fold their laundry.

Moms are not supposed to ever be out of commission. I'm supposed to be the one that takes care of my kids when they are sick, after all. And my girls have been pretty sick lately with the super bug that has been going around.

And then that super bug hit me and Joel both. Great! Just what we needed, right before I was going in for shoulder surgery. Thankfully, my own mom flew in to save the day, even though she got a little more than she bargained for.

My surgery went well--the doctor had been concerned that there was more extensive damage than what they could see on the MRI, but it turned out to be better than he thought. This means a quicker recovery. I had a pretty good case of laryngitis along with all the anesthesia and pain killer nausea. Yesterday was the first day I was starting to feel a little more like myself.

Which is a good thing, because The Maestro has just been getting sicker and sicker. He finally went in to be seen this morning and learned he has pneumonia!

I am thankful for my mom who came thousands of miles to take care of me, my kids, my house, and even my sick husband. I've been like a little toddler who can't do my own hair, get dressed for myself, or do the most basic of tasks.


Yes, even when you are 40 years old, you still need your mom! I also have amazing friends who showered me with things to help my recovery to be more comfortable and have helped out with driving my children places, cleaning my house, driving my mom to the airport and waiting there with us until we knew the flight was canceled (ugh--but we have her a little longer!), driving my mom and kids to church, bringing dinner, and much more.

It's hard to be on the receiving end of service for me. I don't like it. But I appreciate having such wonderful people in my life who see what needs to be done and don't hesitate to do it.

I started my physical therapy just two days post-surgery. I can see I've made progress, which is good, and I look forward to being able to use my arm more and more. Not just so I can be more independent again, but so that I can be on the giving end of the service again.


(It was stake conference this weekend--Bria went down to Green Bay with friends--more service!--so she could participate in the youth activities. She took a selfie for me while she was driving back so she could still be in the Sunday photo.)

Happy Sunday!

February 2015 Visiting Teaching Printable

This month's Visiting Teaching message is "The Attributes of Jesus Christ: Without Sin."

Already, my idea of striving each month to work on these specific attributes is foiled! I'm not going to be without sin, no matter how hard I try!

But after reading the message and thinking about it extensively, it is something I can definitely strive for in my life. I may never be perfect, but there is repentance and a desire to be without sin--just like King Benjamin's people. I love the mighty change of heart that they undergo and that they have no more desire to do evil, but to do good continually.

So my little "attribute card" for this month highlights that scripture.

Free printable download for the February 2015 Visiting Teaching Message: The Attributes of Jesus Christ: Without Sin.