Plan Your Days with the Christian Planner: Catholic Edition

On a bookshelf in my office, you’ll find planners dating all the way back to 2013. I recently found a few more in a box in my basement and will be adding them to the shelf as well. For me, a planner is not something I use all year and then throw away. It’s an essential part of my record-keeping for home and work. 

While 2020 has meant that out-of-the-house activities and work travel came to a screeching halt in mid-March and still haven’t really resumed, that doesn’t mean I don’t still need a planner. In some ways, I need it more than ever. I’ve been exploring new-to-me ways to use planners and new planner formats, and I’m very impressed with the new Catholic edition of the Christian Planner. You can use this high-quality planner at work, home, or school — and it doubles as a spiritual journal. 

I’m a beginner at using planners for spiritual journaling, but it’s a practice I’d like to try more often, ever since I listened to a recent episode of the Catholic Momcast in which Lisa Hendey shares how she uses her planner as a spiritual journal.

The Christian Planner: Catholic Edition offers a weekly two-page devotional spread. At the bottom of one of the pages you’ll find references for the Sunday readings and a quote from Sunday’s Gospel. The rest of the space is for you to use however you’d like; one page is blank and the other ruled, so you can doodle, letter a quote, write … or even use some space for pre-planning the week ahead.

The spiritual content in this planner begins as soon as you open the book, with an overview of the liturgical year and four pages of “Seeking Sainthood” worksheets with prayer/journaling prompts, bucket list, and yearly spiritual goals.

I prefer that my planners contain liturgical-year information; the monthly views in the Christian Planner: Catholic Edition boast feast-day information and the liturgical designation for each Sunday of the year.

Another aspect of the monthly view I’m finding useful is its 6-week format. You won’t see those split boxes with two days jammed into the space for one because the planner only offers a 4- or 5-week grid. With a 6-week grid, there’s plenty of room, and it’s good to see the extra days preceding and following the current month. The dates for the current month are in bold type, so they stand out.

The monthly pages also contain a to-do list, Scripture quote, and reflection/action questions to help you celebrate your blessings and contemplate ways you’ll serve God and others in the month ahead.

The weekly pages in this planner are divided into day and evening sections, but do not have specific times written in. That allows for flexibility to use those sections for appointments, scheduled tasks, or simply to-dos, whichever you prefer. There’s also a list section in the side margin, a habit tracker, Scripture quote, and some extra “free space” for whatever you need.

In the photo above you can also see that instead of tabs for each month, this planner has a little shaded index section. No more bent tabs, but it’s easy to flip right to the month you want to view.

The Catholic Edition of the Christian Planner is available in hardcover with a lay-flat binding and elastic to help keep your page open, as well as two bookmark ribbons so you can easily flip from monthly view to weekly view. There are three color options, including plum, celery, and this lovely sapphire blue.

The paper in this planner is high-quality, bright white 70-lb. paper, and the planner measures approximately 7 inches wide by 9 inches high. There’s also a slip pocket on the back cover for those extra papers or receipts.

Do you like to try before you buy? You can download free PDFs of the Christian Planner to see if the format works for you. These PDFs don’t include the Catholic content, but the basic format is the same. You’ll be asked to provide an email address, and then you’ll immediately receive access to the downloads.


Copyright 2020 Barb Szyszkiewicz
I received a free copy of this planner for review purposes. Opinions expressed here are mine alone.

Never Say Never: My Bullet Journal

The Bullet Journal is THE THING in the planning & productivity world these days.

“It’s a fad,” I said. “A bullet journal is not going to work for me.”

And then last week I went on vacation. I didn’t take my computer and I didn’t take my planner.

So I started a bullet journal in the small notebook I’d brought with me, in case I needed to write anything down.

It just seemed to make sense. And that whole index-at-the-beginning thing? A lifesaver!

My Michele Quigley Catholic planner. @franciscanmom

I’m a confirmed fan of the paper planner, and a loyal customer of Michele Quigley, whose planners I love because they are beautiful, well-made in a family business, functional and contain all kinds of useful Catholic data like the daily readings, saint of the day, quotes from saints, papal prayer intentions and more.

My Michele Quigley Catholic planner. @franciscanmom

I purchased the notebook addition for the back of the planner and use that as my “bullet journal” for work. I also have a section there for organizing book reviews, because I don’t want those to fall through the cracks (that’s not the way to stay on the good side of authors and publishers!)

I wasn’t using a bullet journal for anything else, but did have a brain-dump notebook that I used on and off through the winter and spring. That sort of fell off when summer came along.

Since I double-dog-dared Deanna Bartalini to try (and report on) using the bullet journal and have actually begun using one myself, I figure that the least I can do is play along and link up at her CatholicMom.com post.

Like Deanna, I’m not out to create a work of art here. I might use a ruler to make a vertical line–that’s it (my notebook is ruled, not graph paper). And look: I don’t even use the same color pen for everything. It’s random–and that’s OK.

My bullet journal @franciscanmom

Unlike Deanna, I’m not using this as my planner. It’s a notebook with indexed pages for whatever I need to write down at a particular time. During my vacation, I used it to track:

  • micro-reviews of books I read on the trip (7 total) for input into Goodreads after my return
  • some brainstorming for the regular feature I’ll be writing for Today’s Catholic Teacher
  • a list of dinner ideas
  • items to discuss with TheKid’s guidance counselor regarding what his classroom teachers will need to know about diabetes
  • “random airport sightings” — things that popped into my head while we sat in the San Juan airport for 6 hours. (Times like that, I wish I were a fiction writer. There was lots of story fodder going on, and I don’t mean that in an uncharitable way. Airports are fascinating places for people-watching.)

Once I let go of the idea that it had to LOOK good, I found that the bullet journal really can work for me!

Have you tried using a bullet journal? Join the linkup at CatholicMom.com and share what works (and doesn’t work) for you!

Trying out the bullet journal: Never say never @franciscanmom

Heads Up: Printable Catholic Planner Sale

The Catholic Through The Year Planner by Martina Kreitzer of Catholic Sistas is on sale today for 50% off the usual price!

I’ve reviewed this planner before, and all the things I find super useful are still in it. There are four sections, and you can choose some or all of them: Calendar, Homeschool, Blogger and Household Management. To get the full package, choose the Whole Enchilada.

Being a Hybrid Girl when it comes to planning systems, I need to write things down–and rewrite them–and rearrange them–and I like things to look nice. So the ability to reprint a page after I’ve drawn circles and arrows and crossed things out is definitely a bonus.

This planner is made to be printed out and kept in a binder (or you could take it to an office-supply store and have it spiral bound). I don’t do that. I keep mine on my clipboards–one for family-related items and one for work stuff. I also have the two-page monthly spread printed smaller, on a single page (after I figured out how to do that) and I tacked the current month and the following month onto my office bulletin board.

A previous year's meal plan calendar on my trusty clipboard. Make this planner work for you!
A previous year’s meal plan calendar on my trusty clipboard. Make this planner work for you!

But that’s the cool thing about this planner. You can use it any way you like–whatever works for you. The 2-page weekly spread, for example, has 3 boxes per date, and a space for you to write in your own label. It can be “Home/Family/Work” or whatever you want it to be–and it can change from week to week. For example, I don’t homeschool, but the Lesson Plan pages from that bundle can be used in a ton of other ways. Be creative!

Even at the regular price, this downloadable planner is a steal at $18 for the Whole Enchilada ($7.50 for just the calendar and $5 per bundle) but today’s 50% off price can’t be beat! To get the discount, use the coupon code for each individual product – CALENDAR, HOUSEHOLD, HOMESCHOOL, BLOGGER, or ENCHILADA for all the files to get 50% off at the Catholic Sistas store.

I love the colorful touches on the planner this year–the page borders on some sections like the monthly menu planner look like they were done in watercolor. So pretty! (That reminds me, I need to make a planner note to purchase some color ink cartridges for my printer so I can have these pages in color. I had to use black and white for them right now, which is why I’m not showing you this year’s page in the photo above.)

Go ahead over to Catholic Sistas to see lots of photos of the planner pages and purchase your copy.

The cover, though–it’s a coloring page! How cool is that? Get out your markers or colored pencils and make your planner even prettier.

Want a sample? Download some free weekly pages here. Try it out! All you need to do in return is share information about the planner with a friend or via social media. Super easy!

Photo courtesy of CatholicSistas.com. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Photo courtesy of CatholicSistas.com. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

The Fine Print I received a review copy of the “Whole Enchilada” version of the CTTY planner and no other compensation for this review. All opinions are my own.

Review and Giveaway: Catholic Through the Year Planner

CTTYblogtourgraphic

What’s the best part about the start of a new school year? New crayons, new pencils, fresh pink erasers, and (for moms) a brand-new calendar all ready to be filled with school schedules, sports schedules, play rehearsals, parties and dinner menus.

I use Google calendar (and various apps that support it) on my computer, phone and tablet, but a lot of my best thinking, planning and dreaming is done with pencil in hand, so for me, a paper planner is a must. I’m picky about my planner too–I like to have a Catholic planner with daily readings and the saint of the day listed. That way I don’t have to go somewhere else to get that information.

Planner.weekly.rightThe Catholic Through the Year Planner from Catholic Sistas covers all the bases. In the sample page at left (half of a 2-page weekly spread) you’ll see that the top box for each day is dedicated to the Catholic part of the planner: daily readings, saints/feasts of the day, and even the daily mysteries of the Rosary. Fridays have a little fish icon to remind you to plan a meatless meal (here’s my opportunity for a shameless plug for my pet project, the Meatless Friday feature at CatholicMom.com!) Three boxes per day below that allow you to customize your planning to your own family’s needs. Then there’s a handy checklist along the side and an area for other notes at the bottom–with a quote from a saint each week.

Customization is the name of the game with this planner. You can choose a calendar, homeschool planner, blog planner and household planner–or any combination of these. Want it all? Grab the Whole Enchilada. Everything is on sale through the end of today (7/31), and the prices can’t be beat!

My favorite items from the household planner are definitely the monthly menu calendar and the reusable to-do list and daily, weekly and monthly cleaning lists, which can be placed in sheet protectors or laminated.

If you don’t have your new calendar for this school year yet, there’s good news–your new planner is as close as your printer. Print it out and get it bound at an office-supply store, or punch holes in the pages and slip them into a binder. (For some of the household pages, I use a clipboard.)

And now for the GIVEAWAY!

Catholic Sistas is generously offering a planner for one Franciscanmom reader. For your chance to win, name your favorite feature from this planner–check the list below for ALL that’s inside. The winner will be chosen at random from all comments made before August 7, 2015 at noon Eastern and will be notified by email.

Remember, you’ve got to be in it to win it! Leave a comment to enter!

 

I’m sharing the full table of contents below from the Catholic Sistas page, so you can get an idea of what’s inside.

Here’s what’s in it:

CALENDAR details

  • 154 8.5″x11″downloadable pages to print using your own home printer or take to a printer to have it professionally printed – your choice! {you can also adjust your printer to print it in booklet size, making it perfect for tossing in your purse}
  • print in COLOR or B&W — your choice
  • beautiful cover sheet
  • 2015/2016 academic and 2015 traditional calendar available
  • this liturgical planner was created using the standard guidelines of the Church calendar, both the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1969 used in the Ordinary Form of the Latin Rite {the Novus Ordo} and the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope St. Pius V and reissued by Pope St. John XXIII in 1962 used in the Extraordinary Form {the Traditional Latin Mass – TLM}
  • year at a glance
  • 12 month at-a-glance pages {two-page spread per month for maximum use}
  • weekly planners for each month, giving you plenty of customizable space to meet your family’s needs
  • includes a personal information page,
  • contact sheet for friends, family, & acquaintances,
  • multiple pages for note taking {or doodling, if that’s what you like to do!},
  • and a meaty section on prayer, including verses from Sacred Scripture, quotes from saints, & references pulled from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well as a truncated list of common prayers.

HOMESCHOOL details

o   beautiful cover sheet
o   48 pages total
o   36 pages of blank lesson plans waiting for you to get ready for the school year! Verses from Sacred Scripture, quotes from saints, and snippets from the Catechism of the Catholic Church laced throughout.
o   grade sheet printable to print as many times as needed
o   an evaluation sheet to monitor your kiddo/s’ work habits, as well as yourself!
o   and a report card printable for you to print on card stock, making your homeschool reporting look professional!

menu plan
Here’s how that monthly menu page looks after I get my hands on it! As you can see, I’ve used this planner before–this is a 2014 menu, but the format is still the same. This is a page that lives on my clipboard for quick reference.

HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT details

  • beautiful cover sheet
  • 40 pages
  • a re-usable to-do list to keep track of what needs to get done throughout the day {lamination recommended}
  • 12 month of meals calendars, August 2015-July 2016
  • weekly meal planner printable to print as many times as you will use it through the year
  • daily cleaning list {lamination recommended}
  • weekly & monthly cleaning lists {lamination recommended}
  • fall & spring cleaning lists {lamination recommended}
  • 23 day organizing challenge which outlines different tasks to tackle
  • household tips sheet with some cool tidbits of information to make your life easier
  • around the house master project list
  • budget list for finances for all months of the year
  • birthday & anniversary list, by month
  • AND a gift list, with a breakdown to designate Christmas, birthday, or anniversary

CATHOLIC BLOGGER details

  • beautiful cover sheet
  • 53 pages
  • additional cover sheets for each blogging month
  • goals sheet for each month
  • daily maintenance sheet to keep track of your posts and what you’ve done with social media, did you pray?, etc.
  • brainstorm sheet with room to spread out and jot down ideas, tags, categories, SEO, where to promote, time and supplies needed, and any offshoot post ideas
  • guest post sheet to keep track of details for those who wish to write on your blog
  • sponsor sheet to keep track of ads, $$ coming in, and start/end date for the ads
  • AND a month of posts sheet to jot down all the post titles for the month, as well as recording numbers for all your social media

Copyright 2015 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS.
Planner image and header photo copyright 2015 Martina Kreitzer. All rights reserved.
Menu planner photo copyright 2015 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS. All rights reserved.