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    Our Journal

    Organization

November 23, 2015

Who’s Bringing What to Thanksgiving Dinner? Coordinating the Family Meal Plan

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Written by: Danielle Dannenberg

Coordinating the Thanksgiving dinner menu for a big family requires a level of organization comparable to planning school bus routes or air traffic control patterns. I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to hosting holidays at our house, but it’s only because I want everyone to be calm, cool, and collected the day of the event. Imagine the chaos that would ensure if we ended up with five turkeys and no mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving!

For potluck-style holidays where the main attraction is the dinner table, I take extra measures to make sure everyone brings a different dish and we have a balanced meal. This usually manifests in the form of an elaborate flow chart, which evolves into a detailed family email, and potentially annoyance when Aunt Debbie hits “reply all.” Let’s not talk about the year when Uncle Mike didn’t get the memo and we had to suffer without chocolate pecan pie…

This year I’m trying something a little different and I have a good feeling about it. I’m lucky enough to be a part of the Flayk Beta Testing Group, which means I get special access to the app before it’s released to the public.

I’ve started making dish-specific lists for each meal I’m cooking. I listed out each ingredient for my favorite gluten free sweet potato casserole and vegetarian wild mushroom gravy recipes. Hopefully this way I’ll know if I need brown sugar…  before Thursday morning rolls around.

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Plus, I’ve decided to nix the mass email and am going to attempt to coordinate what everyone’s bringing through the app. Using the calendar feature I created an event for each dish and assigned the appropriate person as the event owner. I even set up automatic reminders 1 week and 2 days in advance so I don’t have to do the nagging myself! Flayk will send them a phone notification to remind them about the smoked turkey or the apple pie.

It also gives people backup if, for some reason, they can’t show up with the dish they were assigned. For instance, if Nancy can’t bring the stuffing, she can easily flayk it, everyone will get a notification, and someone’s likely to claim it in a heartbeat because we all know it’s not Thanksgiving without stuffing― much easier than the email chain.

Thanks to Flayk, we’re on track for a stress-free, balanced meal ― complete with mashed potatoes and chocolate pecan pie.

October 22, 2015

The Two Most Important Things I Learned About Family Management as a Nanny

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Written by: Flayk Beta Tester

As a nanny of two kids it’s my responsibility to drop off and pick up Noah and Ethan for all of their scheduled activities. Their parents make the plans and then rely on me to make sure they make it to music class, swim practice, speech therapy, and playdates. Once in awhile, Noah’s swim practice collides with a playdate their mom has set for Ethan and the mom and I have to coordinate to make sure we’ve got it covered. I’ve been with this family for two years and these are the top two do’s and don’ts I would recommend to keep your family organization on point.

# 1: Do communicate daily to stay on top of changes in plans and new activities

If you set a schedule at the beginning of the week and assume it will stick, you face the risk of life getting in the way. Let’s face it, we’ve all had to back out on commitments if something more pressing comes up. When something on the schedule changes it benefits everyone to communicate this as early as possible. Now we use Flayk to let the family know if someone can no longer follow through with a task. Ethan’s mom might plan to pick him up from school, but if a work meeting runs late she will flayk the task to me to let me know right away and find out if I can fill in for her.

Last week I committed to going grocery shopping for the family, only to realize that with a few extra playdates I only had about 15 minutes without the kids every day, certainly not enough to check off all the items on the list. Since I was able to flayk the task early Friday morning, they knew right away and the dad could stop by the store on his way home from work. So much easier than frantically texting all of them. Plus, if I had waited until they got home on Friday to tell them I didn’t have a chance to go grocery shopping, they would have had to go out again after an already long week.

# 2: Don’t rely on sticky notes to do the job

The kids’ mom and I laugh about this now, but it wasn’t funny at the time. In the morning the two of us agreed that I would bring Noah to the park for a playdate from 2-4 and she would pick up Ethan from swim practice, which also ended at 4. I took the kids to the library before she left for work and since we usually came home for lunch she left a note on the counter telling me she forgot about a parent-teacher conference that afternoon and asking if I could actually pick Ethan up from swim practice ― this was back before we all had Flayk. Well, the kids and I ended up having a picnic lunch that day and never came home for lunch, which means I never saw the note. When their mom and I got home at the same time that night we were both shocked to see that Ethan wasn’t with the other. A look of panic rose on each of our faces as we realized no one picked Ethan up from swim practice! Of course, Ethan was fine, but the miscommunication we faced proves that notes on the fridge don’t always do the job. Life isn’t perfect, things come up and you have to be able to rely on flexible solutions.