The Best Thing We Added to Our Home All Year
Our boys are planners just like their parents. They love to know what’s going on, what to anticipate, what they can look forward to. This has been especially important in a year where all routine has been blown out of the water. They went from being in class to virtual school to a hybrid schedule, with the occasional holiday and snow day thrown in for good measure. My wife Beth and I, meanwhile, scramble to balance working from home while maintaining a household and occasionally venturing out. And through it all, strangely enough — our wall calendar has served as an anchor.
Family calendars are certainly not new, but our large, custom-made wall calendar has been a helpful solution in a year where time feels like it’s lost all meaning.
In the past we used a giant sticker calendar that adhered to the wall, but when we updated our kitchen this summer, we wanted something that complemented the new look. Originally we tried a large-format framed calendar, but it didn’t quite harmonize with the kitchen. It hung like a photograph on the wall, and would swing back and forth when bumped.
Instead, my wife created a custom glass calendar mounted an inch off the wall’s surface. The glass and mountings are a 23 5/8 x 25 1/2 inch dry erase board, intended for office use, that she purchased on Amazon.
But there’s a custom twist that really makes this work for our family. She designed the calendar template and had the vinyl printed, cut, and adhered to the glass at American Sign Studio, a local printer. She had them stick it to the back of the glass board (not the front) so the writing surface would remain smooth. (Any DIYer with a Cricut vinyl cutter can also design and cut their own template.)
We redraw the calendar in dry erase marker every month, color-coding the different elements: black for the general family schedule like hikes and virtual church services and birthdays, blue for our boys’ activities, red for my wife and green for me. It’s easy to update as schedules continue fluctuating throughout this crazy year.
The raised mounting gives it a bit of character and makes it feel like a deliberate addition to the kitchen rather than an afterthought. The boys like to take creative liberties by decorating it here and there: Christmas trees and snowmen over the holidays, fireworks for the Fourth of July, confetti over someone’s birthday. The only downside is, occasionally, when they get carried away and the calendar becomes less a tool and more like abstract art.
But if it keeps them involved and gives the whole family a central communication point — a little structure in a structure-less time — we’re all for them making it their own.