The Free App That Makes Family Planning Easy

Did you know that it’s possible to bring on an anxiety attack just by looking at a child’s sports schedule? It is. And I had one.

Back in January, when the winter chill had clearly messed with my head, I decided to sign my children up for Little League and soccer. Perhaps it was while watching them try to tear each other’s hair out over a sticker book. Or maybe it was when my older daughter pushed her little sister off the couch because she was blocking her view of the television. Either way, I signed them up during a major bought of cabin fever. With an intense longing for temperatures above 5 degrees, I envisioned a springtime full of outdoor family fun, free of winter stress and worry.

I was a fool.

The carefree springtime of my fantasies was quickly replaced with the cold, hard reality of juggling the logistics of two kids, four sports teams, and two shell shocked parents. Oh, and I can’t forget about dance classes and Girl Scouts. Apparently, we overextended ourselves.

Stress Free Sports

You see, in many areas of parenthood, we now consider ourselves well-seasoned. My husband is expert at school drop off. No easy feat when dropping your kids off on the shoulder of the Long Island Expressway during rush hour would be less complicated than your school’s drop off lane. When he’s away, I can do dinner and bedtime solo like a champ.  We can both do a road trip with our eyes closed. But two kids in spring sports? We may as well be first time parents bringing a newborn home. Except, instead of a “Baby on Board” sign, we need something to say, “Excuse our excessive speed while we try to get to our fourth game today.”

Who knew life could get this busy? Apparently everyone I have mentioned spring sports to. Where were these people when I was guzzling wine and signing my kids up for every activity available to them? My husband and I also thought it would be “fun” to run a half marathon this spring. Because who doesn’t have time for two hour training runs on the weekend? Good idea.

All of these decisions were made in the dead of winter. I am convinced that getting trigger happy with children’s sports registrations was our version of Jack Nicholson running around an abandoned hotel with an ax.

An actual photo of me this January.

Thankfully, I discovered a FREE app that has made our lives so much easier. Still crazy, but easier.

*** Disclaimer – This post contains affiliate links and I earn a small commission from sales rendered through the links. As always, I only feature companies that I know and love.***

Cozi is a complete game-changer. It’s an app that allows you to coordinate all of your family’s activities through a shared calendar. When you have two kids with jam-packed calendars and two parents whose crazy schedules do not end at 5 every night, it’s a necessity.

And okay, I use the word “discovered” lightly because my friend Lea told me about Cozi months ago, but I never set it up. She raved about how much easier it made coordinating the busy schedule of her family of five. She also noted that the words, “It’s in the Cozi” helped prevent many an argument – it’s worth it for that alone.

Let’s be honest, I didn’t get Cozi up because I’m lazy and maybe I get great satisfaction from complaining about my husband not telling me when his gigs are.

Spring sports changed everything. When I looked at the schedules I knew that I could never remember who was supposed to be where and when, let alone make sure my husband was on the same page. I also knew that my husband and I had to know each other’s schedules if we were ever going to get our girls where they needed to be. Shouting, “Oh yeah, I have a conference call tonight at 7,” from the shower wasn’t going to cut it when one of us needed to be on the field.

I set up Cozi in a matter of minutes, plugged in all of our practices and games, plugged in all my after-work meetings and events, had my husband do the same, and breathed a sigh of relief. Our schedule is still crazy, but plotted out on a calendar that my husband and I both have (and changes in real time) made things feel manageable. Plus, if you sign up before May 31st, they are offering a free printable that puts the entire summer schedule on one handy sheet – that camp schedule is no match for you!

Plus, there are so many other perks. My husband usually does the grocery shopping (I know, don’t hate me) but I never seem to manage to send him a list until he’s already been there for 30 minutes. And for a dude that always has his phone muted, my frantic texts go unseen until he’s home without the tub of yogurt I desperately need. With Cozi, your family can have a shared, running grocery list. If someone picks up lawn bags on their way home one day, they can take it off the list with the click of a button.

Get Cozi, the #1 family organizing app

There’s also a ton of other amazing features. It allows you to meal plan and look up recipes. The best part? If you find a recipe you like, you can add all of the ingredients to your grocery list with the click of a button. Whaaat? Amazing!

And do you want to know the best part? It’s free! Yes, free! And I’m talking forever free. Not a free trial that charges you after a month. You don’t have to provide any payment info at all. You can upgrade to the paid version separately, but so far our family is completely happy with the free version and has no plans to upgrade.

If you want to manage your family’s crazy schedule with ease, click this link and watch everything fall into place. It truly is all you need to keep your sanity this sport’s season. Well, that and a well concealed flask.

 

Cozi, the #1 family organizing app

The Perfect Mother’s Day Gift (Other Than a Day By Yourself)

I love Mother’s Day. It’s the one day all year when I don’t have to worry about planning, coordinating, or buying anything… said no mother ever.

Mother’s Day is great. Your little ones come home with adorable crafts that, since they are dated and labeled with “Happy Mother’s Day,” you actually won’t throw away once they go to bed. If you’re like me, you’re lucky enough to even watch the world’s cutest Pre-K class sing songs about how delightful you are. You might even get breakfast made for you while you lounge on the couch. But none of this comes without a cost.

Husbands, while fantastic at making killer waffles and telling the kids not to bother Mommy while she’s peeing, often forget that Mommy isn’t the only mother that should be celebrated on Mother’s Day. There are grandmas and great-grandmas that need to be wined, dined, and gifted on this day, and that means Mommy needs to step in.

Gifting with Ease

In other words, moms, it’s time you thought about buying your mother and mother-in-law some gifts for next Sunday. Because chances are, your husband hasn’t. Lucky you, StoryWorth isn’t just a perfect Christmas gift, it’s also a perfect Mother’s Day gift.

I’ve written before about how much StoryWorth has meant to our family, and it wasn’t just talk. We gifted my mother and mother-in-law with StoryWorth last Christmas, so now, in addition to their beloved Papa, our family members will have more keepsake books being written about their lives. Thanks to StoryWorth, old family stories and anecdotes will not get lost with time, but will be remembered and retold by my children and future generations.

Mother's Day StoryWorth

And it’s invaluable for moms who thought that Daddy was taking care of gifts this year, because it’s the perfect last minute gift! There’s nothing to be shipped – just log in and choose to have your StoryWorth gift emailed on Mother’s Day morning. You could even wait until the big day itself, and Grandma would be none the wiser!

If you’d like to give the gift that says you love someone so much that you want to learn more about them, buy StoryWorth this Mother’s Day by using this or any of the other links provided.

And if any dads out there are reading this, be a Mother’s Day hero and let your wife know that you’ve taken care of everything this Mother’s Day! Which means – buy Storyworth AND make some dinner reservations that include everyone!

PS: To My Dearest Husband. If you’d like to get me StoryWorth, wow, that’s really sweet. Just make sure it comes with me shamelessly sipping on wine while watching a Real Housewives of Beverly Hills marathon while you tend to the children.

StoryWorth: The Perfect Holiday Gift

What do you buy someone who has everything – especially when “everything” is not hyperbole, but a literal observation of their basement? Finding the perfect holiday gift for parents, in-laws, and grandparents is one of the most daunting tasks of holiday gift shopping. My kids are insatiable gluttons who want demand everything. They’re easy. The 65 and older crowd, however? They don’t want any more “stuff” in their house.

If every knick knack you perused on Black Friday left you with nightmares of your future self tossing it in a dumpster after you shipped your folks off to the nursing home, well I’ve got the gift for you!

StoryWorth touts the tagline of “The most meaningful gift is family.” Of course that’s true. It’s also true that you’ll be kicked out of Christmas dinner (or at least gain a few dirty looks) if you arrive empty handed. Luckily for us, the perfect holiday gift is here. StoryWorth brings the gift of family to a whole new level.

How It Works

Each week, StoryWorth emails your gift recipient a question about their life. They then write or record their answer (story) which is shared with you upon completion. At the end of the year, all of the stories are bound in a keepsake book.

There are a range of questions that prompt recipients to share childhood memories or ask them about life’s moments that brought great emotion. Some questions allow the recipient to share their experiences during historical events, or even provide an opportunity to express their values and beliefs. Questions are sent to you ahead of time for vetting, and you are always given the option to select another question or even write your own.

Why It’s the Perfect Holiday Gift

In case I haven’t mentioned it before, my father-in-law is the most kind and thoughtful man. Buying gifts for him is nearly impossible, as we feel that, for all he does for us, he deserves a 6-month trip to Europe. It’s safe to say that gift ain’t coming from us anytime soon, so last Father’s Day, it was a Godsend when I stumbled upon StoryWorth.

StoryWorth has taught us so much about this incredible man. We learned that his childhood in Chicago epitomized the Baby Boomer generation (there were 40 kids on his block alone). We learned that his grandfather worked his way up from office boy to Vice President of a railroad. Who doesn’t love visions of their grandfather as a mischievous boy, sneaking coal into his brother’s Christmas stocking? Most of all, we have amazing stories to share with our daughters about their beloved Papa. Even as old women, my girls will be able to read these stories, written in their dear Papa’s own words, and remember his warm heart and gentle manner. They will also get to recall his favorite joke, which I’m sure thrills him!

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

The one criticism I had about StoryWorth is that, as the weeks went on, I feared I’d bought a completely selfish gift. Remember when Homer Simpson bought Marge a bowling ball that had “Homer” written on it? StoryWorth is like that. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to finding one of my father-in-law’s stories in my in-box. Whether they make me laugh or cry, these stories never fail to warm my heart.

As he does, my father-in-law made me feel much better about this. He reminded me that StoryWorth allows the recipient to reminisce about the good times in their lives, reflect upon the bad, and, most of all, it allows him to share his life with his loved ones. He also loves StoryWorth as it helped him to channel his inner writer. Seriously, here’s an excerpt from his answer to the question: “What is one of the bravest things you’ve ever done and what were the consequences?”

I think people are brave throughout their lives, doing little things and big things they know are right, and doing them fearlessly. Trying new things they know they won’t be good at right away, or things that might make them look funny at first. Getting up every day, going to school, going to work, doing things you like to do and things you don’t like to do, doing what you are supposed to do to support yourself and your family, and make the world a better place. That is brave. I guess brave is an attitude you have to do the right thing, no matter what the consequences.

How lucky are my kids to call this man Papa?!

The Most Meaningful Gift

StoryWorth helped me realize that there is no more perfect holiday gift than telling someone that you love them so much that you want to know them even more. This holiday season, if you are looking for the perfect holiday gift for a loved one, buy a subscription to StoryWorth. It truly is “the most meaningful gift.”

If you use the link below (or any of the StoryWorth links within this post) to order StoryWorth, I will receive a small commission. (I made it clear that, even in gift giving, I’m selfish, right?) Seriously though, please know that this is my first affiliate post. I sought them out because of how much StoryWorth has meant to my family. But if this works out, get ready for me to start schlocking things left and right!

www.storyworth.com/mamatries

StoryWorth: The Perfect Holiday Gift

This post contains affiliate links. Any purchases made through these links earn me a small commission.