Summer Calendar Board

It’s August, the official beginning of the end of summer.  Today I want to share with you a quick little project that has become a yearly ritual around our house.  While I have only executed this project in preparation for the summer season, I’m thinking about implementing it for fall, winter, and spring as well.  Tell me what you think.

I tend to be one of those people that approaches a particular season or time of year with a broad sweeping generalities about what I expect or hope to accomplish:

“I can’t wait for summer!  We will swim and go to the library, and then we will take a vacation, visit family, go to camps, have friends over, make popsicles and play in the sprinkler.  Oh, and I can finally clean out our play room, and tackle that project I’ve been putting off all school year.”


What really happens?  Around mid-July I wake up and realize summer has flown by and there are four weeks left before school starts, and we haven’t done half of what I had hoped.  Where did all that hypothetical time go?  We have no school.  We have nothing to do.  We’re supposed to have scads of free time, right?  Apparantly not.

And then, before I know it, the seasons are about to change and the same thing happens all over again.  First come fall {We will go to the pumpkin patch, carve jack-o-lanterns, and have a Halloween party}, then winter {We will make Christmas cookies, go ice skating, shop for gifts ahead of time}, and finally spring {I will clean out closets, organize my recipes, and have a dinner party.}.  But I always land in the same frustrating spot.  So many ideas.  So little appreciation at the front end for how short a season truly is and how much intentional planning is required to actually take full advantage of the days.

My solution a couple of years ago was to create my Summer Calendar Board, and it has proved to be super helpful.  I tackle this project about mid-May, and hang the finished product on our dining room wall.

It’s not the most attractive set-up, but it works.  Let me also say, this is not my main working calendar.  I keep my real calendar on my computer and phone.  But this is my summer at a glance, my vision-casting tool, my big picture graphic organizer.  It’s easy to throw together too…

Each month is created by taping two pieces of 8 1/2 X 11 paper together.  I tend to use colored paper, put you could use white.  I just happened to have these three shades of blue on hand, so I went with it.  First I sketch out a rough calendar grid.   Then I fill in the dates and the days of the weeks.  Once my blank calendar is finished I’m ready to fill it with all my summer hopes and dreams.

Ink comes first, and is reserved for any activity that is absolutely set in stone.  This includes things like Vacation Bible Schools, day camps, and trips that are already planned and in place.  Other ink activities are holidays {Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July}, birthdays {Rachel in June, Timm in July, Lillian in August}, and Marmalade.  Anything in ink is definitely happening.  If I haven’t planned it or signed my children up for it, it does not go in ink.  If it’s a hypothetical activity, or if I think, “Well, maybe the kids will go to that camp,” I don’t put it in ink.  I do not take ink lightly.

Once the ink events are in place, I change to pencil and start to consider what else I want our family to do over the coarse of the summer.  Things that are in pencil are sort-of permanent, but still flexible.  This year we joined a neighborhood pool for the first time.  I wanted to make sure we got our money’s worth out of the membership, so my goal was to take the kids three days a week.  I also wanted to make weekly trips to the library, and set aside a time for our kids to learn piano.  I penciled in piano lessons and library trips on Mondays and three weekly 10:00 pool outings on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.  BUT, since I had  already inked in all of our camps, VBS’s, vacations, etc., it turns out we were only left with six or seven open weeks for going to the pool.  Suddenly our wide-open summer is looking kind of full.  This is where the Summer Calendar Board project helps me picture how much or little free time we actually have.

I use post-it notes to find spots for things that I want to see happen, but are utterly flexible in nature.  Like the green “aquarium” post-it you see up there.  I also had some other trip ideas on green post-it notes along with some weekend singing possibilities for me at church.  These are things I’d like to see happen but can be shifted or even deleted if necessary.  If we didn’t make it to aquarium in June {which we didn’t}, I just move the post-it to July and look for another open day.  Are you wondering what all the little pink and yellow post-its are for?  They are my Friday Pie-Day reminders that helped me schedule when I was going to bake all those pies!!!  Where would I be without my post-it flags?

So there you have it.  My Summer Calendar Board.  I know it seems a little odd to offer this idea to you as we are approaching the end of a season, but I’m hoping you can join me in assimilating this concept into your school year plans.  Just last week I got out some paper and started piecing together our fall.  You know it will be here soon and then be gone even sooner.  Start planning now enjoy all the fun fall has to offer.  Happy August!

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2 Responses to Summer Calendar Board

  1. Nuria says:

    I have to confess I´d been wondering how could you make parties´preparations, Friday pies and raise 4 children. Might be doing something like that but, isn´t that what the agenda is for? Maybe I´m not using it well so, I´ll go for you idea and try to accomplish all my dreams with Hubs, children and grandchildren. That will be a “huge task”!!!
    Thanks for the idea, girl.
    P.S. As you can see, I´m behind reading your posts but I keep them as my “dessert” :D

  2. Wendy says:

    I’ve always secretly known you were a super mom, and this totally proves it! Love this idea…I’m always full of notions about what we’ll do “this Fall”, and I end up sliding from the first day of school headfirst into Christmas.
    Whew~ I need NYE with the Sassers just to recover ;-)

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