Best Laid Plans

BLP Ep #91: Q&A – Dividing Household Labor, Hobby Calendar Recs, Planner for Part Time, and More!

April 25, 2022

Planner Peace

I am loving the Planner Peace submissions — keep them coming! This week’s comes from

I am finding my planner peace with Google calendar, Todoist, and the Erin Condren Daily Duo. I feel like I am finally finding my groove after much trial and error with this hybrid planning approach.

Google calendar allows me to see the big picture of my family’s schedule (myself, husband and three kids; color-coded to my heart’s desire!). Todoist allows me one place for notes and to-do’s on-the-go. Finally, the EC Daily Duo allows me to pull information from both digital tools and plan my day. It keeps me on paper throughout the day, and more focused that way.

We also have an EC weekly whiteboard displayed in our kitchen.

I hope my kiddos are interested in paper planners when they are older, too!

~Alison R via blog comment


1- Advice for using planning tools to help with dividing the mental load at home? Ahhh, such a tough and perennial question. Things we use/have used: visible calendar, vertical ownership of certain tasks, regular meetings, emails back and forth. It’s still tough! Book recs: Fair Play by Eve Rodsky & Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu

our much-used/loved EC whiteboard

2- Recs for a hobby calendar with monthly pages + blank pages embedded? Yes! This lovely Ashley Shelly option is sold out currently, or a classic EC monthly — on sale here last I checked!

3- Planning out books to read with kids — I don’t have a good system but I have a feeling some of you might! Listeners/readers – please share your ideas!

4- Planner for someone that needs a full day list 2 days/week but not every day? Ideas: Inamio or Wonderland have so many blank spaces in the back that you could dedicate one to a daily when you needed it! Or, pick a unique/flexible layout like Spaces or try a disc-bound like IWP (new designs just came out and their paper is to die for) — you could add in blank pages or use her daily pad just when you needed it.

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Leave an Audio Question or Comment:


  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns April 25, 2022 at 11:06 am

    Chiming in with some book source ideas!

    1. Every other month, posts a kids next list. They break it out by picture book, middle grade, and young adult. ( We are in the picture book stage of life so I request every book from the list from the library and they are almost always hits, so I bet the middle grade suggestions are great, too. I also recommend checking out this books for adults – they post a next list every month and that is how I get ideas of what to read for myself!

    2. I have sourced picture books is this substack newsletter: ( It’s picture-book focused but there must be substack newsletters that address chapter books! I love the advent of substack newsletter. I don’t know if this is a new thing or maybe was more for academia and has expanded? I subscribe to several reading-themed substacks, a guest from BOBW that talks about gender equality, Emily Oster, etc!

    • Reply Sharon April 25, 2022 at 6:35 pm

      These are fantastic suggestions, thank you Lisa!

      • Reply Emily F April 26, 2022 at 1:48 pm

        I agree, these are great!

  • Reply Dominique April 25, 2022 at 12:23 pm

    Response for question number 4 – I have been using the Rocket Panda Planner for about a year and half. It was recommended on this podcast (but I don’t remember by whom.) The daily pages are great – and you date them yourself and then erase them when done. You can scan and have a e-copy if you want. I also don’t need to do a detailed plan for every day and have found this to be a great solution for me. The couple of downsides are it only works with specific pens, and erasing takes a couple of minute (I can usually do the whole book in 10 minutes while on a call or something.)

  • Reply Elisabeth April 25, 2022 at 1:49 pm

    I read a lot of picture books with my kids; I mostly lean on the new title releases through my library online system! I will also put holds on a number of books by the same author (one we know and love, Chris van Dusen, for example), and then suspend the date those holds will come in to scatter them over time.
    I actually just put a new Christmas book on hold this morning…with a suspension date until November 30, 2022!

  • Reply Amy F April 25, 2022 at 1:57 pm

    More book source ideas! When my kiddos were young, I made heavy use the library. I always looked at the book displays – the librarians would pick out titles to display, often inspired by a particular theme. Also a fan of looking up past Newbery and/or Caldecott award winners and nominees.

    Mine were reluctant readers when they were younger .. I would often pick out books that I thought might be of interest and casually leave them in a spot where a bored child might be looking for something to do and *oops* fall into reading. It didn’t always work, but often was!

  • Reply coco April 25, 2022 at 9:03 pm

    would love to know about choosing books to read for 4th grader.

  • Reply Elizabeth Wine April 25, 2022 at 10:34 pm

    #3: I have heard some people mention Read Aloud Revival before, it does look to be somewhat faith based but looks like she does some seasonal lists.

    #4 I have a (dated) Day Designer that I love, lots of room to write things. They have an undated version that has 90 daily pages (undated) but also some weekly and monthly spreads.

  • Reply Gizem Karaali April 26, 2022 at 1:44 pm

    In relation to your question 3, maybe some of your readers might enjoy our book blog:

    Book bunnies are a little bunny named Marshmallow and another named Caramel reading and reviewing books. Sometimes their mommy bunny Sprinkles also writes reviews.

    We publish twice a week and have reviewed a wide range of books so far.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 26, 2022 at 8:09 pm

      This is soooo cute!

  • Reply Emily F April 26, 2022 at 1:51 pm

    For the question re: children’s books: for children’s books suggestions are great! She comes out with a list of 100 picture books before each summer and you can download lists from previous years.

    And I ditto what others said—children’s librarians are so fantastic and helpful! At your local library, I highly recommend picking up a paper copy of “The Book Page” (it’s free) and has some suggestions there as well.

    • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns April 26, 2022 at 4:36 pm

      I hadn’t heard about Everyday Reading! Going to check that out as I am always looking for picture book suggestions for our 4yo!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 26, 2022 at 8:08 pm

      Ooh love these!!!

  • Reply Jaime Zadoff April 26, 2022 at 9:31 pm

    I can’t wait to look all of these book suggestions up!
    I LOVE “What We Do All Day” for ideas: — she has tons of lists. (And I second “everyday reading.”)

    To keep track, I created separate shelves (and made them “exclusive”) on my Goodreads account. I created shelves for 4 different age groups (preschool, elementary, middle, high school) so I can add to each list as I come across ideas.

  • Reply Jaime Zadoff April 26, 2022 at 9:36 pm

    I’m excited to look up these book sites!
    I love “What We Do All Day” — — she puts out such great lists.
    I also second “everyday reading.”

    To keep track, I created separate “shelves” on my Goodreads account (and made them “exclusive”). I created four different age groups (preschool, elementary, middle and high school) so every time I get a new suggestion I can just add it to that list!

  • Reply Caitlin April 27, 2022 at 7:09 pm

    A public librarian chiming in–in addition to checking with your librarians (highly recommended), your library catalog might have a function where you can keep running book lists, not just for holds. Poke around a bit or ask your librarian if you aren’t sure. I have so many lists in my library account in my catalog, including books for my daughter.

    Another feature your library catalog might have is “more like this” suggestions and/or access to Novelist K-8. Again, your librarian will be able to show you this if you don’t find it easily in your catalog.

    I also have to plug browsing at the library and letting your kids browse. You never know what you’ll come across and sometimes the things your kids pick up will surprise you.

  • Reply Jenny April 28, 2022 at 11:02 am

    I don’t know if your school library or your public library has a good children’s librarian, but that has been the best source of recommendations for our 11 year old. The New York Times also frequently reviews children’s books in roundups and someone just alerted me to the Indiebound recommendation lists which breaks out picture books, middle grade books, and young adult. They are released every other month and are archived, so you can always go back and look.

  • Reply Anne July 9, 2022 at 8:52 pm

    Highly recommend this book: How to Raise a Reader, by Pamela Paul and Maria Russo, editors of The New York Times Book Review. Combining clear, practical advice with inspiration, wisdom, tips, and curated reading lists, How to Raise a Reader shows you how to instill the joy and time-stopping pleasure of reading. Best thing is that it comes with curated age appropriate reading lists and the library has most of them. I use it mostly for my 4yo, and get a new set of books every other week or so.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 9, 2022 at 9:20 pm

      Ooh great rec! I will check it out!

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