Tag Archives: organization

My Current Favorite Apps for Organization

29 Dec

I have to confess, I’m getting rather forgetful.  I think it’s a combination of getting older and having a lot going on with 2 kids, their school, and all their activities.  Plus, I have some daily medications to take that I was taking at random times or not at all.  So, this year I found 2 apps for my smart phone that have really helped me, and thought I would share.

Cozi Family Calendar

On my previous phone, I used to keep all my appointments and places to be on the basic calendar app on my phone.  In March, I upgraded to a new phone, and I didn’t like the calendar on it as much.  Plus, my husband was always asking what was going on and couldn’t remember what I had told him.  So, I came across the Cozi Family Calendar & Lists app.  You set up your account with the name for your calendar and a shared family password.  This allows family members access to the calendar from the web sign-in or by downloading the app on their smart phone.  Next, you set up family members and assign each family member a color.  You can also enter their e-mail address (if applicable) so they can receive reminders by e-mail if they don’t have the smart phone app.  Then, you add events to the calendar.  For each event, you can put what the event is, where it is located, select which family members need to attend, select if it’s a repeating event, add a start and end time, and then set a reminder.  If the family member has the app on their phone, the reminder will be a notification sent to their phone.  If they do not have the app, the reminder will be an e-mail.  Finally, you can add notes.  For example, if your event is a potluck, you can add a note to remind you to bring the dish you need.

The shared calendar is really all I use it for now.  You can also create to-do lists and grocery lists, but I haven’t tried that yet.  There is now also an option to import information from Google Calendars.  Additionally, you can upgrade to Cozi Gold to gain more functionality for $29.99/year.  At this point, I’m just using the free version and really happy with what I can do with it now.

MediSafe Meds & Pill Reminder

I first found this app earlier this year when my younger daughter had to take a dose of antibiotics.  You know, the kind that is 3 times a day for 10 days.  I lose track of time, forget what time each does is supposed to be, so I wanted to find an app to help remind me of all that.  This app can do that, plus I found out that it was great to set up a reminder for my daily medications, plus more.

First, you set up yourself as a user, and anyone else you want to track meds for.  In my case, I made a profile for myself and for each of my 2 daughters.  You can set up the other users as Med-Friends with their phone number, so they are notified for your meds or you are notified for their meds, or as an internal profile, if they don’t have a smart phone to use the app.

Then, you can set up the medications.  First, you can decide if it’s scheduled med or an as needed med.  I have daily medications, so those are scheduled meds.  For my daughter’s antibiotic, I set that up as a scheduled med as well for the number of days she needed to take it.  For the scheduled meds, you also set what time of day it needs to be taken, and it will create a notification on your phone.  When it is time, there is a notification the pops up and you can select Snooze (if you can’t get to the medication right away), Take (if you are taking it right then), or Skip (if you decide you don’t need it that day).  If you do nothing, it will continue to remind you every half hour until you Take or Skip it.  It records this, and if you want you can also export this data to Microsoft Excel to give a record to a medical provider or for your own reference.

For as needed medications, I add things like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, inhalers.  You set it up with the dosage that is needed, which is nice for the kids so I’m not squinting at the bottle trying to decide how much to give them.  Then, when you need to take it, you can tap on the Med Cabinet button on the main screen so the time is recorded.  This is great because I usually forget the time I take a dose and then don’t know when it’s ok to take the next dose.

Another nice feature is that when you set up a med, you can set it to help show what the medication looks like.  There are different shapes and colors for pills.  Also, there is a drop shape for liquid meds, syringe for injectable meds, and an inhaler shape for inhalers.  Colors can be chosen for those as well, i.e. a blue inhaler or purple liquid.

This has really been nice to have the reminders, annoying as they are at times, but I know that I’m taking my meds more reliably now.  Plus, I can better record what and when I give meds to my kids, which is nice.  I’ve tried writing it down to track, but then I lose track of the paper.  I almost always have my phone with me, so it’s just as easy to have it all on the phone right now.


So, these are my 2 favorite apps to help with my organization right now.  What are your favorite apps to help you with organization or daily life?


Disclaimer:  I did not receive any compensation or benefit for writing my review and thoughts on these apps.  This is based solely on my opinion and usage.  I wanted to share how they have benefited me and hope they may help someone else as well.

Fun Lunch Containers

24 Feb

Just before the start of the school year this fall, I came across a deal for Bright Bins on Mamabargains for $8 each.  Since the school that my children attend does not have hot lunch and I have to make a lunch everyday for my older daughter, I thought it would be nice to have a reusable container to use for their lunches.  Here is one of her first lunches that I made in the Bright Bin:

Bottom part of Bright Bin packed with baby carrots, grapes, and honeydew

Bottom part of Bright Bin packed with baby carrots, grapes, and honeydew

Top half of Bright Bin packed with a cookie and turkey and bread "sushi"

Top half of Bright Bin packed with a cookie and turkey and bread “sushi”

Bright Bin packed in insulated lunch box with Thermos FUNtainer of water

Bright Bin packed in insulated lunch box with Thermos FUNtainer of water

I occasionally used the silicone muffin cups shown to help divide things up more.  The Bright Bin lasted about half the year, when the top latch broke.  It’s still usable if you use a rubber band around the whole bin to keep it together.  I started using the second one I purchased instead.  However, the top part is pretty shallow, so if my daughter wants something besides a sandwich for her lunch, it’s not ideal.

So, a friend of mine had gotten some other lunch containers, and I was admiring them at the park one day when we had a playdate and picnic.  She had sistema Lunch Cube To Go for her girls to pack lunches in.  I looked them up online a few times, but didn’t ever get around to ordering.  Then, I noticed that the Safeway in town had a few of the containers, and decided to try a Salad To Go container.  It was exactly what I was looking for so that my daughter could take leftovers for her lunch (she doesn’t mind cold tortellini or lasagna!).  The Salad To Go containers have a tray that fits inside, making a lower section and upper, divided section, along with a fork and knife, plus a small round container.  They are BPA free, microwave safe, freezer safe, and top rack dishwasher safe.

Salad To Go container pieces

Salad To Go container pieces

But, I don’t pack salads in it for her, I pack a full lunch like this:

Salad To Go container packed with cheese tortellini in the lower portion, tangerine and pita chips in the upper portion, and hummus in the small round conatiner

Salad To Go container packed with cheese tortellini in the lower portion, tangerine and pita chips in the upper portion, and hummus in the small round container

Container put back together

Container put back together

Salad To Go in lunch box with Thermos FUNtainer and ice pack

Salad To Go in insulated lunch box with Thermos FUNtainer and ice pack.  I kept the fork and knife out so they wouldn’t get messy inside with the tortellini

So far, it has gone really well with this one.  Both my 6-year-old and 4-year-old can undo and redo the latches, and it has held up well going back and forth to school.

I was just at Safeway again, and they had a whole display of sistema To Go containers, Soup Mug To Go ($6.99), Salad To Go ($7.99), Breakfast To Go ($6.99), and Lunch Cube To Go ($5.99)!

sistema Display at SafewaySo, of course, I had to expand our collection:

sistema Containers

I now have a Salad To Go for each family member, Lunch Cube To Go and Breakfast To Go for each of my girls. My oldest loves pink, so her latches are all pink, my youngest loves blue, so her latches are blue.  My favorite color is purple, so mine is the purple one, and I got a blue one for my husband.

I got the Lunch Cube To Go to have another option for lunches.  It has a large section on top and a divided section on bottom, with a latched cover in between the two sections:

How the Lunch Cube To Go looks opened

How the Lunch Cube To Go looks opened

The Breakfast To Go containers I got for the days that we are running late and have to have breakfast in the car or when we need to pack a breakfast to take along somewhere.  It is similar to the Salad To Go; it has a larger container with a top part that fits in and has a spoon that clips into that top part.  Here is a picture of all the pieces:

Breakfast To Go taken apart to show different sections and the spoon

Breakfast To Go taken apart to show different sections and the spoon

The kids love the new containers, and hopefully we’ll get a lot of good use out of them.



Disclaimer: I did not receive any product from Bright Bins or sistema, I purchased all of these myself and wanted to provide information on how I use them and how they work for us.

DIY PVC Bike Rack

13 May

I was tired of the bike and scooter mess in my third garage.  I had been shopping around to see if there was any kind of small bike rack I could use in my garage, but they were a little out of my price range.  So, I searched on the internet some, and came across a few plans to make a bike rack out of PVC pipe.  I recently used PVC pipe for a sign project for Bountiful Baskets, and it was really easy to work with, so I decided to give it a try.

I used these sites to help with my plans: Project #4 – DIY Bike Rack Made from PVC Pipe, Make your own Bike Rack, and PVC Bike Rack

My supplies that I purchased at Lowe’s:

40′ of 3/4″ Schedule 40 PVC pipe, cost $8.12 for 4 10′ sections of pipe
34 Tees, cost $8.74 for 3 10 count bags and 4 single tees
6 90 degree elbows, cost $1.86

Total = $18.72, plus tax

You may opt to use PVC cement to hold it together, but I did not use any at this point.  It is staying together well, plus, I want the option to adjust, add, or take away as we get new scooters or bikes.

You also will need a way to cut the pipe.  There is a pipe cutting tool available, shown below.  This one was $9.97 at Lowe’s.  I bought it, but will probably return it since I was able to use my tree cutting tool, also shown below, with success.  You can also use a small hacksaw to cut the pipe.

How you cut your pipe will depend how many items you want to store, and on the size your bike tires and scooters.  For the scooters, I made it wide enough so most of the scooter could fit in.  For the bikes, they have 2″ wide tires, so I cut the pipe to have a 2″ wide section in those parts.  Here is a picture with my dimensions:

I ended up with the following:

20 8″ sections
10 12″ sections
12 10″ sections
3 5″ sections
6 3.5″ sections
6 1.5″ sections’

If you decide to use 1″ PVC pipe instead of 3/4″ PVC pipe, you may need to adjust the measurements slightly, and the cost will be a little higher, but shouldn’t be too much more.

This was a really fun project for me.  It took a little trial and error to get the openings the right size, but after that, it went pretty smoothly.  This turned out to be the perfect size for the opening of my third garage, so we can easily open up the garage and get the bikes and scooters out right away.  I also made sure to get my kids involved.  My older daughter counted out the number of tees and elbows from the plans I drew up, then both my daughters helped me count out the items we needed at the store.  I did all the cutting, but they were able to help with the assembly.  I have found some other neat PVC ideas online, so we may be doing more projects like this in the future!

Keeping a Freezer Inventory

16 Apr

Since I got my deep freeze, I’ve been wanting a way to be able to keep track of what is in it.  It’s a chest freezer, so things can get lost at the bottom pretty easily.  I looked at some examples online of freezer inventory sheets, and then put together one the way I wanted it. I have a column for the date, a column for the item, then 10 columns for quantity.  The quantity columns have a \ to show what has gone in, then when I take an item out, I cross that line, making an X.  The picture below is a little blurry, but gives you an idea, and you can find the actual document here to download and use in Microsoft Excel.

Since I was printing it out, I typed in what I already have.  I will add other items by hand, then will print a new sheet when this one fills up.  I have this on a clipboard with a pen hanging on a 3M hook above my freezer in the garage.  It’s not real pretty, but it’s functional for what I need.

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