Many thanks to Jotje (from We Really Didn't Need Another Filofax Blog!) for these excellent reviews of the Family Weekly Planner and Family Life Book from Organised Mum!
When Laurie heard that I had bought this year’s Weekly Family Planner and Family Life Book she asked if I would do a review for her blog. I’m of course most honoured to do so!
This is the first time I bought a Family Life Book. However, I am using the Weekly Family Planner for the 5th year now. This is a wall calendar that I hung on the side of my kitchen cabinet, so that every family member can have a view of the current week.
We have 4 kids, and every family member has his/her own column!
The best – award-deserving feature: a clear flyleaf, where I write everybody’s name and all fixed schedules. This saves a trillion hours per year on rewriting the same stuff over and over again. I swear!
The planner is supplied with a small black dry-erase marker that is clipped on the planner itself. The quality is outstanding: Even after a full year of use, it is not empty! The felt-tip is small enough to write in the boxes, and best of all: it’s usable on the plastic sheet, but also on the paper pages!
On the left are (detachable) sheets for Todo’s and Shopping. I don’t use these, unless my Filofax is not at hand. Then I scribble what I have run out of on the shopping-list, or a reminder for DH on what he needs to do.
In the very back of the Weekly Family Planner is a huge and very strong and durable paper pouch, that usually gets a bit overstuffed with all the classroom-lists, garbage pickup-schedules, stickers, booklets etc.etc. I must say, it is soooo superstrong that it never ever has ripped! Fantastic quality!
Our family honestly could not function without this planner. I have no idea how I coped before!
Now over to the Family Life Book
You will find that the Family Life Book has a lot of similar features as the Life Book, with some great differences. But let me start at the beginning.
Here is the book with the paper slip still wrapped around it. As you can see the book can be closed with a purple ribbon:
And here without the paper wrap (and the ribbon pushed towards the back):
The backside of book:
Upon opening the Family Life Book you’ll find the same Personal Info page that the Life Book has:
Next are two pages where you can fill in the weekly schedules of up to 7 (!) people. It is subdivided into AM, PM, After school and Evening. Superb!
Then you have a yearly overview of 2012 and 2013. The planner lasts from Mid-August 2012 until the end of 2013.
Personally, I wouldn’t know how to use these tiny boxes. The only thing I can think of is highlighting holidays/vacations?
Excuse the blurry picture below. It shows Useful Numbers on the left and a birdseye view of 2012 and 2013 on the right:
And here – finally – the essence of the book: the weekly spreads. As you can see the week has a grid layout, allowing for a complete columns for up to 7 people. Ideal for our family of 6!
Additionally there is a column for your meal plans and a column for weekly Todo’s and reminders for Next week.
When all 4 of my kids have a different schedule or playdates on the same day, and I also have to record my own appointment and work times of DH, a weekly diary tends to get messy and I loose the total overview. With these boxes, this is no longer an issue!
Closeup of the weekly view:
After the weekly pages there is a separate tab for the monthly planning pages:
On the first page you can fill in your regular expenditures to keep track of your budget:
Then you have a page to record the Todo’s for the month September, followed by a record of your income and outgoings in September:
Next: Monthly layout of October, Todo October, Incomes/Outgoings October and so on.
Personally I’m very bothered by the fact that the monthly overview is one time on the left, then next month on the right. Bugging! Also, I would have LOVED LOVED LOVED a two-page spread of the months (like the Life Book has (see Laurie's post with page by page photos of the Life Book here) …
In December we get to my favourite part: the Christmas & Holiday planning pages:
First you’ll have a whole page for all your Christmas plans, which is great for outlining your general plans.
Then a page for your Christmas budget. On the right page you have a list for Christmas cards. Invaluable! First write down whom you want to send a Christmas card, then check the box after you have done so.
Next is the Christmas Presents list. I advice to use that list throughout the year, so that you’ll already have lots of idea’s (or maybe even have done the shopping) when it’s actually Christmas!
Then there’s the Summer Holiday Planner, that Laurie already described in her review of the Life Book.
And finally in this section: two pages to record thoughts and plans for 2013 and two pages for 2014.
Unlike the Life Book, the Family Life Book does not have the detachable shopping lists in the weekly pages. Those are located behind their own tab.
Three perforated lists per page, plenty of pages, that will surely last for the duration of your Calendar!
Finally a birdseye view of 2014 and 2015:
In the picture below I am holding the two repositionable clear dividers to indicate your week/month or whatever page you’d like. They have top tabs. A very nice feature is that you can write on these dividers with a dry-erase-marker (e.g. for the weekly schedule of your kids) which saves re-writing time. Downside (in my personal view): you’ll have to turn the divider first before you can add something on your pages.
In the back of the book is a little paper pocket that holds the stickers that are supplied with the diary, and a little address book, that you could then transfer to the following year. Good thinking!
Pages in the address book:
Very nice and useful stickers!
This year I also ordered a package of household stickers to mark the ever-changing pick-up days for dustbin, garden waste, paper and plastic …
The paper quality is fantastic, too. Heavy paper, that accepts all kinds of pens without bleed-through. This year’s paper seems to be thicker than last year’s even! I haven’t seen a mention of this on their website, so I hope I’m not imagining things …
Of course you might wonder, how I – being a One Life, One Filofax kind of gal, am using this? Well, to be honest: I have already dismantled the wire and repunched the weekly pages (plus lots of the others aswell) for my A5 Filofax. Size-wise it’s a perfect fit! I’m very happy about this, and can’t wait to put it into action. I can’t believe I haven’t thought of this before …!