My Favorite Family Organization App

My Favorite Family Organization App

As a busy mom of three kiddos, anything that helps me stay organized and improve my efficiency is on my list of favorites.  If I can have all of that at my fingertips, all the better.  I have tried many apps over the years: calendar apps, to do list apps, menu planning apps, shopping list apps, apps that try to combine some combination of the above.  Time after time I tried them out and then ended up deleting them after being disappointed.  That was until I found Cozi.  This has quickly become my favorite family organization app!

CoziThis app is just too good not to share with you.  And best of all, their basic version (and trust me, it is far from basic) is FREE!  This app has become the virtual command center of my busy life.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of the links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission.  Doing so will not increase the cost of any purchase and does not influence my opinion.

My top 5 Favorite Features

  1. Calendar
  2. Shopping Lists
  3. To Do Lists
  4. Meal Planner
  5. Recipe Box

There are certainly more than five features to be found in this great app, but I thought I would give you a virtual tour of my favorite features.  The best part is that each one of these is available in their free version!

Calendar

Over the past few years, I have really become accustomed to using the built-in calendar on my iPhone.  It has worked pretty well and a few of the recent upgrades, such as a reminder when to leave for my appointment based on traffic, make it helpful.  Even though I wanted an all in one app, I was a bit hesitant to give up my iCalendar.  However, Cozi makes it really easy.  I was able to sync my iCalendar to Cozi and all of my appointments I enter on my phone automatically sync over.  The best part is anything I color code to be tagged to a specific person on my phone comes into my Cozi calendar as coded to the correct person.  This allows me to keep the handy “it’s time to leave” reminder on my phone but keep all of my family’s scheduled loaded into the calendar.

So why on earth would I want to keep two separate calendars even if they automatically sync?  It’s simple, my kids are too young to carry around smart phones, however, I still want them to see the calendar and know what plans are.  Each week I print out the weekly calendar, share it at our family meeting (Check out my FREE family meeting guide + printable here) and place it on our command center on our fridge.  Once a month I print out the monthly calendar and post that in the command center as well.

Cozi Calendar View Screenshot

Shopping Lists

These alone have been so great for my husband and me.  Previous to this app, I would print a shopping list each week, write down our meal plan and then plan out our purchases from the two main stores we shop at.  Either my husband or I would do the shopping.  Sounds fine, right?  Well, when one of you has the shopping list but the other is doing the shopping: Fail.  When someone loses the list 1/2 way through the trip: Fail.  When the list doesn’t make it home and I can’t remember what the meal plan was for the week: Fail.  It was just never a great option for us.

Enter Cozi!  We have one shopping list for each of our two most frequently shopped at stores.  Either one of us can add items to the list at any time.  The new items automatically update across all devices.  I am able to organize the list so the list is laid out in order I will go through the store.  You are able to click to check-off each item as you go.

My husband normally does the shopping and he no longer has to wait for me to finish the list before heading out to the store.  He can leave and I can finish the list and have it ready for him by the time he gets to the store.  With the Gold (paid) version, there is even an option to send a notice that a new item has been added to the list.  This is great for those last minute additions.

Expert Tip: Quickly add items you realize you need as soon as you think of them so you won’t forget

NY - 2014 Banner

To Do Lists

This has been a lifesaver for me!  I love lists!  I feel like I’m always making lists.  The challenge is that sometimes I can’t remember where I left my great list that I made.  Or I’m out and about and want to add something to my list or remember what was on the list.  I have transitioned nearly all of my list making into Cozi.  In fact, one of my favorite lists is my planning list for this blog.  Whenever I get a great idea for a post, I jot it down on my list so I won’t forget.

My next favorite to-do list is my “Honey Do” list.  Yes, my husband has his own list.  Whenever I need him to take on a project or there is something around the house to be done, I will add it to his to-do list.  Now he knows exactly what I would like for him to work on just by going into the app.

Bonus: I have one more to-do list I want to share with you…  I created a to-do list for my freezer meal stock!  We have a deep freezer in our garage and this is the primary location for our freezer meals.  Now, instead of having to guess what we have or going out there to see when I’m meal planning for the week, I can just pop over to my to-do list and see exactly what’s in stock.

Cozi Freezer Meal Snapshot

Meal Planner

Remember when I mentioned that I kept trying different apps to try to find one that did what I wanted it to do?  I can’t tell you how many meal planning apps I’ve tried and deleted.  Meal planning can be a four-letter word in my house.  (Shh…please don’t tell anyone, but I won’t even let my kids as me “What’s for dinner?”)  Unless I have a plan, I want to cry when they ask.

Those of you that have read my bio or some of my previous posts, you know that I’m married to a chef.  An amazing chef!  A chef that cooks me amazing dinners…when he’s home.  Unfortunately, because I’m married to a chef, that is not most nights, and dinner prep is left to me.  Hence the abundant supply of freezer meals!  I have found that when I plan out our meals at the beginning of the week and we shop for everything we need, it relieves immeasurable amounts of stress.  I know exactly what we’ll have each night and know I have what I need to make it.  Quick and easily prepared meals make the list whenever possible.

The Cozi app has a great meal planner.  I typically only use it for dinner, but it has options to plan for Breakfast, Lunch, and snack too.  The best part is that it puts it on my calendar!!  So remember when I mentioned that I print the calendar on a weekly basis?  The menu is already printed on there for all to see.  Now whenever my kids want to know what’s for dinner, all they have to do is look at the calendar.  (Mommy meltdown averted!)

Recipe Box

I am so excited by this last tool for two main reasons.  The purpose of the recipe box is for you to explore recipes (Cozi has these all queued up for you!), add them to your recipe box and then get a prepared list of ingredients that you can very easily add to your shopping list.  Brilliant, huh?  That feature is pretty cool all on its own.  But you can also add recipes of your own.

We usually do “Taco Tuesday” in our house.  Obviously, I know the recipe for tacos, however, I’ve listed out each of the ingredients so I can just click a button and add them to my shopping list (over and over again nearly every week).  I have also done this for our freezer meal prep sessions.  I have found that one of the most daunting things about preparing for a freezer meal session is the recipe curation and shopping list planning.  Now, when I find a recipe we like, I add it to the recipe box and the next time we want to include it in a meal prep, all I have to do is add it to the shopping list and it pulls over all of the ingredients.

Power User Tip: I created a “recipe” for the items we buy at the store each week.  Now, rather than having to add them to my weekly shopping list, I just add the “recipe” shopping list and it pulls in all of the staples automatically.  This saves me time and effort when I’m trying to make sure I add all of the basics to our list each week.

Cozi Weekly Shopping Staples

Are you still here?  Have you downloaded the app yet?  Did I mention it’s FREE?  What are you waiting for?  I hope you will love my family organization app as much as I do!

 

Cozi

Must Have Craft Tools

Must Have Craft Tools

There have been times that I’m a little surprised by how impressed people are with the crafty creations I make.  I love making people happy with something handmade and enjoy creating something that impresses them, however often I usually feel that anyone could have made the same thing.  The truth is, that with very few exceptions, you really can make just about anything…if you know the secret!

The great news for all of your reading this post is that I’m going to share my number one crafting secret with you.

Are you ready?

My number one secret for being able to make any craft project is…

Having the right tools!

That’s it.  Think about it, you wouldn’t try to skydive without a parachute, why would you think you could be successful making a project without the right tools to do the job?  Ok, maybe it’s not quite that critical, but for me, there is a short list of tools that I wouldn’t dare take on any craft project without.  If you are ready to start making some beautiful craft projects, I strongly recommend starting out with the following basics in your arsenal.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of the links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission.  Doing so will not increase the cost of your purchase and does not influence my opinion.

Must Have Tools

Here is a list of my “must have” tools that you will find at close reach in my crafting studio and I couldn’t live without.

  1. Paper Trimmer – on the surface this tool seems pretty simple.  However, I find myself using mine all the time!  It is so easy and convenient to trim paper.  It also makes trimming project leftovers easy so I can store them and use them for the next project.  You can even substitute the cutting blade for a scoring blade.  This comes in so handy for putting nice, professional fold lines in cards and other projects.
  2. Needle-nose tweezers – This one may seem a bit out of place.  Previous to finding this tool, I had only ever heard of tweezers as something to pluck hairs.  I received my first one in a toolkit and it has risen to the top of my must-have tools.  It is perfect for picking up small pieces of paper and placing them expertly exactly where I want them.  It is especially useful when said pieces of paper are covered in glue.
  3. Craft Glue – This is my all-time favorite glue hands down.  It was recommended to me about 9 years ago and I have never found a glue that I have loved so much before or since.  I stock up on this glue whenever I find a good deal on it because my crafting pretty much comes to a standstill anytime I run out.
  4. Tape Runner – There are times that I prefer a tape runner over liquid glue.  I don’t have any hard and fast rules for which I use when, however, I always have both on hand.

My Supporting Role Tools

These are the tools that I’ve either recently started using or don’t necessarily come out on every craft project.  However, I still love them and am happy to have them close at hand when the project calls for it.

  1. Adhesive eraser – This handy little tool really helps me clean up projects and make them look more professional.  You use it similar to how you would use any eraser.  Only instead of erasing pencil, you erase errant adhesive from your projects.  It works like magic and helps get rid of anyplace you got a bit too much adhesive.
  2. Pick-up tool – This is a new one for me but I already adore it.  It is really two separate tools in one.  One end has a tacky surface and works like a charm for picking up small pieces of paper.  The other end has a chisel end on it and works great for holding down said paper to apply liquid adhesive to it.  I’ve only used it once so far, however, it was the first time I didn’t get glue all over my fingers when I was trying to hold the paper down to glue it.  I suspect that this tool will quickly move up to my must have list.
  3. Zots – I use these handy little things pretty often.  They are an awesome adhesive when no other adhesive will stick well.  They can also grip on to heavier items when that perfect piece of bling weighs a bit more.
  4. Crop-A-Dile – This tool punches holes of two different sizes and can set eyelets and grommets.  I really like using this when I make tags and instead of just punching a hole, I’ll set in a quick eyelet and as fast as that, I have a beautiful and professional looking tag.

Bonus Must Have

My last recommendation is so much more than a tool, but it is hands down the number one reason I can create so many beautiful projects so this post wouldn’t be complete without me sharing.  The Cricut Explore Air is incredible!  It can cut any design you can think of on any one of 100+ different materials.  It can draw designs, creates score marks to make beautiful cards and boxes, and comes with some powerful software that allows you to design projects wherever you are.  (Hint: Be sure to check out the Cricut Explore on Amazon…the last time I checked, the price was a great deal!)

I hope you have found this list of my must have craft tools valuable.  I would love to hear about your list of must have tools!  If you liked this post, I also hope you will sign up for my mailing list.  Just for signing up, you will get a great family meeting guide and printable.