Tag Archives: Family

OVERscheduled

We are really over-scheduled here at the Doe house. John and I prefer to limit outside activities to zero, but with a bunch of birthdays, concerts, detentions, music lessons, and such, we can’t avoid leaving the house with all the kids at least once each week for the whole month of March (including Spring Break). Yuck.

"The Kids"

(We don't have this many kids, but some days, it feels like we do.)

The kids have a serious case of Cabin Fever and have gotten pretty squirrely in the evenings to the point that I want to ground them all forever so I can legitimately send them to bed early every night. Forever.

But that’s mean and sort of uncalled for, right? So instead, we’ve been doing extra chores in preparation for the Big Combined Birthday Party on the 17th. (Two of the kids, my sister, and I all have birthdays in March, so we do our parties all at once. It’s rowdy and fun!)

Candles spell out the traditional English birt...

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App Review: Getting (and staying) Organized with Cozi

Disclaimer: I have not been approached by anyone to write this review and I will receive nothing for it. Should you choose to purchase the item featured here, I will not receive any compensation whatsoever. You’ll be more organized, though, and that’s compensation enough for me.
This is the first in a series of monthly reviews that I will share. Products, services, and apps reviewed will all be chosen based on their suitability for use by parents who are attending college. (I do not intend to turn this blog into a review blog, so I will limit my reviews to one per month.)

It should come as no surprise that John and I can’t afford iPhones, neither the phones themselves nor the monthly bills that would come with them. I think an iPhone is the purchase I am most looking forward to when I graduate college and get a grown-up job.

We’ve come up with an alternative that works rather well, however.

John and I both have the cheapest cell phones/plans available and we both have iPod touches, too. With WiFi at home and at work/college, this isn’t as inconvenient as I had expected it to be, though I have been known to get a phone call from Campus Services every now and then because someone found my iPod in the bathroom. Again.

I love my iPod touch and I have since the moment I wrestled it free of its excessive packaging. Since then, I have been an enthusiastic sampler of free apps.

Two free apps that have been major factors in keeping my family and me organized are Cozi and iStudiez Lite. (I use iStudiez Pro now, but I started with the Lite version. Both are very good and obviously I like the Pro version better–more options to customize.) The iStudiez review will be posted next month.

Now on to the review!

Cozi is a web-based family calendar that integrates shopping and To Do lists with meal planning and a family journal. Each family member has a color in the calendar so it’s easy to see who needs to be where at what time. The shopping list updates in real time as you add items or check them off and it’s linked to your meal plans. The To Do list can be assigned to a particular family member.

Image representing Cozi as depicted in CrunchBase

My favorite aspect of the Cozi app, though, is the calendar reminders.

I don’t know about you, but I am a very, VERY forgetful and disorganized person by nature. I have lost my keys because I left them on the roof of my car, I’ve forgotten diaper bags, and I’ve even forgotten to pick up children from the bus stop a time or two.

My Cozi account is linked to my cell phone and I receive text reminders to do important things, like pay bills, pick up children, and go to work.

With five of our six family members in school and the 6th in preschool, we’re pretty tightly scheduled. I struggled for a long time trying to design a system of my own for keeping track of everyone’s activities and then I stumbled on Cozi.

There are a couple of things about Cozi that I don’t like. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I hate these things! I hate that the ad-free version of the app cost me $6.99 but now it’s free–you do need a website account in order to use the app.

I hate that the ad-free account on the website is $49.99/year (regular ad-full accounts are free). In the interest of saving money, John and I deal with ads on the website. They’re not that bad, really. The ads on Facebook are worse.

I would have to say in all fairness that Cozi is the app that has organized our family better than any other system I have tried–paper calendars, write-on/wipe-off calendars, generic cell phone calendar, etc. I have tried it all. I am a huge fan of  Cozi and I talk it up every chance I get.

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I had a job, or why I didn’t go to college before I had kids

I had a job straight out of high school at a local fast food restaurant. It was a decent job for someone my age that had no job skills or work experience and it carried me through that first summer as an official adult. It was hard work, but they had to pay me to be there, right?

When fall rolled around that year, I registered for a Calculus class and an English class at my local community college. My parents made too much money for me to receive any kind of Pell Grant-thing and no one had talked to me about scholarships, so I hadn’t applied for any. I ‘borrowed’ money from my parents–I should probably pay them back someday–to take those two courses, but I hardly ever went to class.

Lucky me, the instructors still practiced instructor-initiated withdrawal (they don’t any more) because I would have failed both classes if my professors hadn’t had me withdrawn from their classes. Something about me rarely coming to class, never having my homework done (when I did bother to show up), and missing all the test days must have tipped them off that if no one was making me do it, it wasn’t going to get done.

My first semester of college was a total flop.

Fail

The next spring, I got married. I kept working, but had no real interest in attending college and my then-husband (now ex) had no interest in supporting my decisions regarding college or anything else. Then I got pregnant and then divorced before the baby turned 1. I kept working, but by that time, I was feeling a stronger interest in attending college, but with no idea how to go about it.

My roommate/co-worker was taking a college-level accounting class and I was interested in the material she was learning. I may have flipped through her textbook a few times. Which may or may not have made me more interested in this whole accounting-thing.

And now, 11 years later, I’m attending college. I’ve almost got my 4-year degree in Accounting (just 10 classes to go!). And then I can get a real job. Just like a grownup.

P.S. After the lovely employees of my local financial aid office sent a  scathing polite email to our parent university, requesting an updated timeline, my appeal was reviewed and approved. I’m saved! I finally received my funding on Friday, which is good, since I spent the money for the electric bill on all the textbooks.

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Rather Have a Root Canal?

So I have a root canal scheduled at the dentist for tomorrow. . . . makes me wonder why the phrase “I’d rather have a root canal” was created. So tomorrow I will drop off my niece that I watch during three days of the week with grandma, go to my dentist appointment, pick the niece back up, go home and then continue on with my three classes worth of homework.

Honestly, I’d rather have a root canal, but wait! Does that turn of phrase still apply? Do I get the use of this after I just had that particular procedure done?

I suppose I will go back though the ages with anthropology, and wade through the economics, and finally round out my day with with obscure theories and statistics that somehow work with organizational theory and behavior. *sigh* And what makes this process insanely difficult is the daytime children’s television that will be entertaining the niece while I attempt to focus through the local anesthetic which will invariably wear off during my first half hour of study. Dinosaur train! (head throbs); Super Why! (jaw aches); Sid the Science Kid! (takes yet another dose of Tylenol). Yeah, I can totally see this one coming.

So I guess I will have to do some more research and find out who uttered that they would rather have a root canal, and what the alternative was. Will keep you posted.

Back to hitting the books,

John D.

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