When I started yakking about my favorite day planners over at Lilting House a long while back, I had no idea what I was starting. Look at this:
That's just this week's searches, and only the top chunk of the list. I let go of the Grab button too soon and didn't feel like redoing it.
It seems I'm not the only one with a planner obsession.
I also learned that if you review them, they will come. I wound up with more planners than you could shake a Bic at. (Har.)
Here's one with lots to like about it: the FamilyTime.Mine day planner. The company sent me two sizes to look at: a purse-sized 5 1/2" x 8" model, and an 8 1/2" x 11" model. (I'll be giving them away at the end of this post.) Both are spiral bound, which I've decided is my preference for a planner. I really need to be able to fold back the cover for easy writing. The front and back covers are sturdy plastic, also a plus. I like the colorful confetti design on the little one. Actually, they're both quite festive. The colors on the larger one (this is the "Collage" pattern) are brighter than they appear in this image.
Okay, these images are not to scale. The one on the left, Collage, is the 8 1/2 x 11" model. There are other cover designs available, too.
Enough about the outside! Open them up, and the first two pages are a heavy card stock, folded so there's a large flap on the left-hand side. I have the August 2007-Dec. 2008 versions, so the flaps read "Fall 2007" and "Winter 2007." I assume the 2008 version has front flaps for Winter and Spring. Open the flap and you have a fold-out grid for writing out your weekly master schedule. In the back of the planner are two more of these folded card-stock pages, with two more seasons' worth of master schedule grids. This is a pretty nifty feature, I must say. The flaps do add a little bulk to the planner, but these are skinny planners compared to other brands on the market, so even with the flaps they are not unwieldy at all.
(Click image to enlarge.) The weekly schedule on the left is the folded-over part of the flap.
Apart from these master schedule pages, the paper is thin. I haven't pen-tested these but I'm guessing there's bound to be some bleed-through. I'm a felt-tip pen kind of girl (or better yet, fountain pens), so thin paper makes me crazy. This is the only major strike against the FamilyTimeMine, but for me it's a biggie.
After some instructional and promo pages (which you could tear out), there's a page for personal info, emergency numbers, and holiday dates. On the other side of that begin the monthly and weekly calendar spreads. This planner has the monthly spreads inserted before each month's set of weekly pages (as opposed to the MomAgenda which has all the monthly spreads together up front, a feature I am wildly fond of).
The monthly spreads are nice and clean, with big clear boxes. (REALLY big, in the 8 1/2 x 11" version.)
The weekly pages are a page per week (not a spread per week).
You'll note it's a Monday-through-Sunday week.
The gray columns on the side of each page are a perforated list area. You can tear these off or fold them over. That's a neat feature, although I'm not crazy about the fact that every page is perforated (including the monthly calendar grids—not the card-stock flap pages, of course). Call me picky, but I don't like the perforation running down the line between Sunday and Monday on the monthly calendar.
It's a clean, functional format, though, with lots of writing space and little visual clutter. There are teeny tiny quotes at the bottom of each weekly grid.
Back-of-the-book extra pages include a babysitter info page, a kind of personal yellow pages space, some pages for recording phone numbers & email addresses, and two blank lined pages for notes.
Behind the two final flappy card-stock master schedule pages is a page of FlyLadyesque stickers for birthdays, bills, holidays, vacation, Important! events, ball games, and other events for which you might enjoy a colorful reminder. The back cover (that nice sturdy plastic again) has a very nice side pocket for tucking stuff into. I think I would prefer a bottom pocket, but this is still quite a nice feature.
Checking around, I see prices ranging from $10.15 (for the smaller size, at Amazon) to $16.99 (for the larger size, at Calendars.com). (The larger size seems to be about $13 at Amazon.)
Giveaway time! Leave a comment on this post and I'll enter you in a drawing for one of these two planners. I'm giving them both away, so if you have a size preference, include that in your comment. The first winner I draw will get to pick which size he or she gets. I'll hold the drawing on Monday, December 17, for a sort of hobbity reason. That ought to give me time to mail these to the winners before New Year's. (But remember, these are the August 2007-December 2008 models, so you'll probably want to tear out a bunch of pages in the front.)
Next up: the Bizzimom planner.
Other planners reviewed at Lilting House (this is the index page; scroll down to find the review you want):
Catholic Woman's Daily Planner
Mom's Daily Planner
A Circle of Days (Small Meadow Press)