With 5 KIDS currently ranging in age fromÂ First GradeÂ to college, our lives are anything but boring. In fact, “blissfully chaotic” would best describe any given day.
If you take one glance at our family calendar, in addition to work and school, you are likely to find: soccer, baseball, tennis and basketball try-outs, practices and games, doctor and dentist appointments, Girl Scouts, deadlines, boardÂ meetings, PTO, interviews, vacations,Â Date Nights, birthdays, project due dates,Â youth group and so much more. More often than not, there are two to three of these on the same night. Our twoÂ boys both play Travel Soccer in addition to playing on their school and/or recreation leagues. One son plays regular season baseball, All-Star baseball and Fall baseball. He also plays Travel Basketball. The other son plays on the High School Tennis Team. You can only begin to imagine what their schedules look like. Then there areÂ our girls and all of their activities. You get the picture.
If I wasn’t a planner by nature, I would have waved the white flag years ago. Instead, I live in a state of “organized chaos”.Â Years ago I bought Sharpie markers in various colors…
I assigned a category for each color: birthdays,Â sports activities, doctors appointments, school related, Disney Moms Panel items, parties, vacationsÂ and so on. Each color corresponds with a different category on the calendar.
Here are a few snapshots of what a typical month on our calendar looks like…
Things run quite smoothly as long as everyone checks the calendar in the morning, writes sticky notes for themselves or remembers to set a reminder on their smart-phone. I’ve lost track of how manyÂ different times and places we sometimes have needed toÂ write down reminders for various events. Nearly every afternoon my husband will call and ask, “What do we have going on tonight?” WeÂ then decide who is dropping which child off and which of us is picking up another one.Â Often weÂ carpool with other families and need to coordinate with their schedules as well. I will say it is an extremely rare occasion that we forget an appointment. I’d venture to say that at this point in my life, I have mastered the art of multi-tasking. While I have found a method that worksÂ for us, I have often dreamt of the equivalent of an “easy button” for scheduling our busy lives.
Queue the hallelujah chorus…I do believe I have found it!
Simply put, HatchedItÂ is a FREEÂ online calendar and family management tool that enables you to organize and keep track of all of your family’s events in one, easy to navigate website. No more sticky notes, SharpiesÂ and paper calendars? They had me at “Hello”…
When you first join HATCHEDit, you will need to set up your family calendar. You’ll choose a color for each family member, which will make it easy to identify appointments with a quick glance.
You will have your personal calendar, as well as a family calendar at your fingertips. You can even invite other extended family members to view any events that you have not designated as private. Have grandparents who want to come watch your child’s soccer game? Give them access to the schedule so they can choose one that is convenient for them.
One of the coolest features that I have yet to tap into is that they already have an app for Android phones and they will soon have an iPhone app as well. I’ve been looking for a reason to ditch my Blackberry, and now I have it. 😉 Soon, I’ll be able to update the calendar on the go and my husband and oldest children can access it from wherever they are. I won’t have to write the same thing down in multiple places and nobody can claim that they “can’t see the calendar on the wall at home when they aren’t there” anymore!
I’m “Freshly Hatched”, meaning I have only recently discovered this amazing site. I become downright giddy as I realize the endless opportunities for simplifying my life that have just opened before me.
For example, not only canÂ I use HATCHEDit to track the events that my family hasÂ scheduled, but one of the coolest HATCHEDit tools is the “My Groups”Â function. Check this out! You can create groups to use as a “gathering place” for coordinating events,Â sharing ideas and information. Are you a member of a Book Club wanting a central place to share your thoughts? If so, color me jealous…someday I’ll have time to read again. Are you a “Team Mom” needing to coordinate refreshments at a game? AÂ “Classroom Parent” arranging the class parties?Â The designated organizer for a big, extended family reunion?Â A coach scheduling practices for your team? If so, you’re probably tired of endless emailsÂ threadsÂ cluttering up your inbox. It can become a tangled web all too easily. That’s where the “My Groups” function will come in handy. Only the people that you invite to that group will have access to the information, and it’s all in one neatly organized place.
Excited yet? There’s so much more too! There’s an online address book, which will come in handy in oh-so-many ways. A “Curate It” board for displaying your favorite things,Â a Blog Roll for keeping up with posts from your favorite sites…the list goes on and on.
Best of all, HATCHEDit is completely FREE!
As I mentioned before, I am just now delving into the possibilities of how HATCHEDit is going to help ORGANIZE and STREAMLINE my family’s schedule. Naturally, the Disney Mom in me is already thinking of ways to use it for coordinatingÂ our Disney vacations.Â I am super excited to introduce thisÂ amazing new onlineÂ toolÂ to my readers! Today marks the first in a new series on my blog! Be sure to check back as I share with you as our family makes the transition from colored Sharpies, paper calendars, sticky-notes and afternoon phone callsÂ to ONE,Â quickly accessible, simple to read, easy to use, FREE online calendar!
I hope you’ll join HATCHEDit.com too! Through this series on my blog, we can discover this incredible new resource together. I invite you to start with this tutorial below, create your family calendar and then come back to Memory Maker Mom to learn more soon!