Monday, April 23, 2007

Cozi Central Will Make A Calendar Girl Out Of Me.

First of all, what's not to like about a program that let's you do this:

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A toll-free number that you can call to get your grocery list, with your husband's mocking additions, read to you over the phone. Just one of the features of Cozi Central, a free, downloadable and web-based program consisting of a calendar, shopping list, message center and an amazingly effective cell phone interface that are meant to centralize the complex schedules of the modern family. In other words, I believe it can actually help me to remember to pick up the kids at guitar lessons and remind me to stock up on coffee filters. Why, it's like having a wife!

(We're a Mac family, so my experience is based on using on the web version of the program. The program is available to PC users as a software download.)

I was working on my new site this weekend, trying to get it up and running for my first review for the Parent Bloggers Network scheduled for Tuesday, April 24. So imagine my surprise when I re-read one of the scheduling notices they've sent me and realized it was actually due Monday, April 23. Next time, I'm going to pay attention, read all of their emails out loud and even try not to move my lips.

I can't help but think that this could have been avoided if I had remembered to mark the deadline on my Cozi Central online calendar, one of the main features of the program. After logging on you can post your family's appointments and events to the calendar which is color-coded for each family member. Each registered user can then log on from any computer, see what is on the schedule and then add events of their own if they'd like. If your kids are smart-asses like mine, expect to see things added like, "Disneyland" no less than twelve times in the next month and the appearance of "Mall" on almost every weekday after school. Also beware of the husband who may try and make birthday parties and any visits from your mother mysteriously disappear.

The shopping list is hands down my favorite part of the program, and the one feature I think I'll be using the most. I pride myself on my mammoth grocery lists, writing down everything I can think of that my family will need for the week. It's the cavewoman in me, except instead of going out and hunting or gathering food I drive to the store in my gas-guzzling minivan and bring everything home in plastic bags. My lists are invaluable on these excursions, but the only problem is I frequently forget them on the kitchen counter. Or I can't read my messy handwriting and end up buying three cans of Raid instead of a head of lettuce. On Cozi you can type out everything you need, categorizing them into grocery, wholesale and 'other', and then either print it out or send it as a text message to your phone. Or, the most brilliant part, as I've already demonstrated - you can call the toll-free number and have your list read to you.

As I mentioned I'm using Cozi on a Mac and can only utilize the web version. From what I've read the downloadable version provides the user with many more options when using the program, like more shopping list features and screen savers. I found the single calendar view on the web version limiting, but multiple calendar views are available on the PC version. Also, I found the online version slow in loading at times, and this can become frustrating when just trying to switch over from one page to the next. But it was intermittent, and not enough to keep me from using the program, or from amusing myself by writing down things like "cheese cheese who doesn't like cheese" on my grocery list and then listening to it over the phone.

I highly recommend giving Cozi Central a try. It's free, and takes only a few minutes to set up. I'm thinking it may be the first step in getting my family organized, and I like the fact that it gets everyone involved in the scheduling process. And with Mother's Day coming up the whole family will be able to see my entry for May 13, "Mother's Day - mom sleeping until noon."

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Anonymous said...

Valiant effort!!!!!!!
its me(??)!!!!!!
Good Job!!!!!!!!!!
You ROCK!! (??)

Seriously -- a brilliant review (!!) and true to the spirit of Sweatpants mom -- very entertaining AND informative.

much success in this new venture -- its a smash hit already!!!

Diane B. said...

I tried, but Blogger wouldn't let me. So now I'm the SECOND commentor on your new site ever.

Great job! Looking forward to reading more.

The audio grocery list just cracked me up.

Domestic Chicky said...

Yay SPM!! I love this idea (your site), and I love this idea (cozi central)...on my way now!


Catherine said...

Man, I'm bummed! The audio thing isn't working for me... although the idea of having my grocery list read to me... know, maybe my cell phone was worth buying after all.

As always, thanks for sharing, SPM. And congrats on the launch of this new site! Looking forward to more...

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