Planning with Kids Book Review

I had a moment of clarity on my way home from a Melbourne bloggers meet-up late last year.

Not only had I enjoyed chatting and sharing wisdom with some lovely bloggers, I had also witnessed the awesomeness of ‘The Planning Queen’.

Nicole from Planning With Kids, mother of five, blogger and RLP (really lovely person), whipped out a large container of beautifully made BLT rolls that she had prepared that morning to share with us all. If that wasn’t enough, she also had a separate container of rolls for one of her boys who preferred different fillings and she had come with small containers of snacks for each of the two children who had accompanied her, along with drink bottles etc.

I, on the other hand, had a box of half eaten biscuits for my boy, hastily chucked under the pram and I had to buy a bottle of water when we got there (and I hate paying money for water). I am pretty sure I hadn’t even had time for breakfast that morning, let alone time to make salad rolls! I was in awe… jaw dropping, heart stopping awe.

Then came that moment.

As I strapped my two boys into their car seats I suddenly knew how Nicole did it! I knew how she managed to be so organised. I’d figured out the secret! It was all in the containers!

If I only had a matching set of Tupperware containers in varying sizes, then, and only then, I could be as organised as The Planning Queen!

On the drive home it slowly dawned on me that my moment of clarity was perhaps more of a moment of insanity. Even if I had those matching containers I still wouldn’t have had anything to put in them, and knowing me, I wouldn’t have been able to find the right damn lid for the right damn container anyway.

Ok, so Tupperware was not the secret to Nicole’s success…. there must be something more.

I read Nicole’s blog. I’ve even been known to book mark the odd post, and write the odd sticky note. I’ve learnt a lot from Planning With Kids, but when I heard that Nicole was writing a book, then I knew I would finally know every one of her secrets. I would read her book! And read it I have!

Ok, so merely reading the book hasn’t miraculously made me into an organised person, but then neither has a selection of Tupperware containers! Nicole’s book has helped me pin down some ideas and make progress towards a more organised and less crazy day to day life, and to me that is what the Planning With Kids book is all about.

All through the book Nicole shares her personal journey. She tells us what has worked for her in the past, how she manages things now, and gives lots of ideas on ways to manage day to day tasks as well as bigger family issues and events. I love that she talks about systems needing to ‘grow and evolve with your family’, and I love that there are no ‘you must’ ‘you should’ ‘you have to’…. just lots of really good ideas.

The book covers every aspect of life with kids with loads of ideas, information and shared experiences to make life as a parent a little saner. From tips and tricks to help you cope when you’ve had no sleep during the baby phase, to things to think about when deciding if, when, and how much pocket money to give your kids (and I am in both those places at the same time on my parenting journey!). It’s very easy to read with lots of sub-headings, tables and highlighted areas so you can easily find the information you need even if you only have time for a quick skim.

After reading Nicole’s book I am less daunted by the idea of planning and more able to see how just the simple act of writing things down, making a list or plan, can help me gain a sense of control over things that previously seemed so scattered and unachievable. I may never have the Planning Queen’s love of spread sheets, but I am making progress!

planning with kids book

Win The Planning With Kids Book! - Competition is now closed.
I have one copy of Planning With Kids to give away to a Picklebum’s reader! To win you need to leave a comment on this post and tell me why you need to read Nicole’s book. To be eligible you must be an Australian resident and you must leave a valid email address. Entries close Sunday May 29th, 3pm (EST).

Congratulations to Ash who won my copy of the Planning With Kids Book – thanks to everyone who entered and left such great comments.

You can buy Nicole’s book – Planning With Kids, directly from her blog or from many book stores.

Nicole will be at Dymocks book stores signing copies of her books on the following dates…

Sydney – Rouse Hill Fri 3rd June
Brisbane – Chermside Fri 10th June
Melbourne – Southland Sat June 25th
For more information visit the Dymocks Wesbite.

You might also like our five fun family games ! bounce-off-banner

Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:

  1. says

    Cool! Sounds like I need to give this book a read too!

    As for my entry:
    I need to read Nicole’s book because at the moment I am finding it hard enough to organise time to do the dishes, let alone time to take my kids for a walk, or the the park, without coming home and being so behind on everything I throw my hands in the air and wonder why I bothered!

  2. says

    I’m just learning how to juggle life as a work at home mum with two little ones…Five – and organised! I’m in awe! I tried the tupperware thing too – it worked for a while :) I think I need a better solution, like Nicole’s book!

  3. says

    I am the Mum who has to go back inside the house three times to make sure I have phone, money, keys and a spare nappy.
    I am the Mum who makes an all-fruit lunch box for playgroup because there is no bread in the house.
    I am the Mum who makes coconut milk to put on the porridge because there is no milk.
    I need this book!

  4. Trace says

    I followed one of your links one day and found the Planning with Kids blog… which I have been going back to time and time again. (this isn’t something I do very often! so I kind of feel like I have extended my horizons a bit here!) and have been hearing a bit about this book. I would love a copy!

  5. says

    I need to read a copy of Nicole’s blog but I am also in awe of her organisational skills. Having a book to refer to would be the key because then I can take it at my own pace. Her blog has been one of my favourites in forever. I think hers was the 2nd aussie blog I started, the first was Karen @Misc Mum. Thanks for the great review, good luck!

  6. says

    I would love to win this book. Although I only have two kids I am quite disorganised. Mind you, I think the lady with 7 kids should win.

  7. says

    I absolutely need to read Nicole’s book and set my house in order. As much as I love my kids, some days in amidst the chaos I forget to love my life too and I think that’s just because I am not as organised as I’d like to be.

    I’d really like my children too to have the experience of an organised household which leaves mama less stressed and with more quality time to spend with them.

    Pleeeeease I need all the help I can get!!

  8. says

    I’d love to win this book – I am in awe of how Nicole does it. She is so inspirational and I would love to learn how she does it all, so that I can implement it all with my family. There are days where I struggle and would love the book to give me a boost!

  9. says

    My overflowing tupperware drawer of unmatched bottoms and lids is testimony to the fact that I too had a moment of clarity (or many moments of clarity) and decided that if I just had the right combination of containers I would be an organised mum – not!

    Can’t wait to grab a copy of the book.

  10. says

    Obviously not entering the give away, but I wanted to say thanks for the review Kate! And I don’t think it is possible to have too many Tupperaware containers!!!! xx

  11. Erin Young says

    I need Nicoles book (and i second that she is a RLP!) because in 2008 when i was pre kids (pre twins!) i had the pleasure of teaching Nicole’s daughter in kindergarten. I distinctly remember a function (art gallery night) at the kindergarten one evening organised by the art teacher and in attendance were 27 children…their parents…their siblings etc etc. Every other child in the place was running riot, running circles around the room…..and then there were Nicole’s beautiful 4 children (not that the other children wern’t beautiful!) sitting intently and working busily on a craft activity, chatting to each other and quite unaware of the mayhem going on around them.

    Fast forward to 2011 and now i have 2, 15 month old girls and i want to know her secrets!!
    … thats why i need a copy of her book :oP

  12. Lauren says

    I need a copy of this book because- I’m going back to work!
    I’ve been trying to find ways to organise my household so that can happen, but I’m a bit organisationally challenged (those Tupperware sandwich boxes were invented for people like us- there is no lid to loose!!!)

  13. says

    Love Nicole’s site. It’s a great trove of info.

    I’d love to win a copy of her book cause I struggle to keep the house organised especially with one little kid & one hubby (or is that the big kid lol) I don’t know how anyone with more than one does it ;)

  14. Neen says

    As my partner so boldly told me the other day “you need to prioritise” and, much to my annoyance, loves to roll his eyes when I am searching for the dummy clip or looking for my sunglasses. I am a new mum, my daughter is 4.5 months old and I’m trying to start up a small business. My study room is constantly filled with paper piles and post it notes floating around like snow. I do not have any help from relatives or friends as we moved interstate so I would love a book at my fingertips that would give my partner and I some tips on how to plan with kids.

  15. Paula says

    I have three boys, aged six, four and two – you’d think organisation would get easier with time, however, I am sad to say no! I walked into my house yesterday to be greeted by the smell of far-too-old rubbish, a very depressing Mount Washmore and a filthy floor – I must talk to that cat, he’s letting his end of the bargain down….. ;) I decided at this point I really need to do something to save both my sanity, and the health of my husband and kids!
    I am studying nearly full time toward a Bachelor to improve my children’s (and my husband’s and my) futures, am committed to various child-oriented organisations, and try really, really hard to be everything I can to my boys. I feel I am drowning in a sea of dirty nappies, three day old weetbix and yes, the dreaded washing!
    This book sounds as though it would be my bible! I have followed it’s launch with much interest, and am dying to grab a copy – help me get my ‘chi’ back! :D

  16. Megan says

    I too thought that being organised was all about the containers… then I cleaned out my plastics drawer and realised they weren’t making me organised (same with toilet training – me buying 24 pairs of size 2-3 cars and toy story undies does not make my 3yo want to wear them, or even sit on the toilet, at all. ever.)

  17. says

    I so need this book, why? Currently miss 2 is self toilet training and I am the one trying to discourage her, so so stupid, but I am lost in too much work and the idea of having to clean up additional little messes just freaks me out. Of course the little wonder hasnt actually had any in over a week so maybe this little task is actually done and dusted.

  18. says

    I’m not sure there’s even any hope for me! But I’d love to read it… just in case there is a “magic cure for chaos” out there. :-D

  19. Sammy says

    Have recently had third child, eldest starting school, hubby shift worker, medical issues with number 2 often feel like running in opposite directions. Love some directional guidance and tips

  20. says

    Oh I totally need this book! I need to get me some clarity! I am Choas Queen at the moment..wouldn’t it be nice if I could change that crown to say Planning Queen instead?

    Wow.. and it sounds like I need to get me some Tupperware too – who knew?!

  21. Katy says

    I desperately need Nicoles book! A new mum with now 4 children and I am struggling with the everyday logistics of running the house and organising the family. The book would be bound to have some wonderful ideas I can implement to start getting things much more organized – from the chaos it is now.

  22. says

    I would love this book because I need to leave my “lady-of-the-last-minute” ways behind me. BTW you’ve helped we with this Kate, with your post about Winter Menu planning :) I’m really good at, you know…ummm, procrastinating. Not great with 3 munchkids in our family!

  23. says

    I only have one kid so i don’t have much excuse but I think i need this because I grew up spoiled and now I’m grappling with the things I need to do at home that I didn’t learn from school.

  24. Kirsten says

    I sometimes feel like im a chook with her head cut off, running in circles and nothing really getting done. Some planning and organizing is definately needed here!!

  25. Paula Connell says

    Not only for mums but day carers as well ( well still am a mum, but now a 2nd mum to my little day care dots.)
    Love the review and would love to win the book.
    This is definitely going to be on the best seller list.

  26. Kate Fletcher says

    I need to read this book as last year I jumped from three kids to five with the birth of my twin baby girls. Sometimes I am organised but I can never seem to make it last. I need some advice on how to keep on top of things. I want to spend more time with my children, playing, reading books and creating art and not feel guilty or worried about housework and the myriad of other things on the to-do list! A book by another mum of five is probably just what I need!

  27. says

    I have 4 kids and a film-making (oft absent) husband so I’d like to win the book so my 2 eldest kids and I can sit down read it together (read: so my 2 eldest kids might get some ideas and insight into what it takes to run a family). ;-)

    Love & stuff
    Mrs M

  28. says

    Love your review …and my tupperware but I am not so organised that I can ever find all my lids and bottoms at the same time either.
    I have a copy already so don’t enter me !
    Ps Thanks for the dates I’ll try to go say hi !

  29. Joanne says

    I have also come across Nicole’s blog and I would love a copy of her book. I have had her blog update bookmarked for ages to go in and buy her book but still have not found the time to do so. I loved her update about what makes her Grumpy. Mine is also clutttered benches. Now I am going to clean these up and I am hoping that this will help me on the way to feeling more ontop of things.

  30. Julie Fuller says

    Thankyou so much for sharing your insight and reminding us mums that we are not alone in our daily quest to “try” and be more organized!
    I need to read Nicoles book because I have a 9 mth old on the move and a toddler who is bored with watching DVDs when I’m busy so I need to be able to plan my days so that I can play and spend time with both of my children!

  31. says

    I NEEED to win this book!

    Yesterday my two year drew on our couch with a Sharpie pen (that’s a permanent marker in case you’re not familiar with it – though I’m sure you are!). Okay, that has happened to everyone, BUT he is my fourth toddler, I should know better, AND he’s the only child I have a home, so it’s not like he was colluding with an older sibling, AND I was sure we’d organised things so he COULDN’T ever get his little mits on the permanent markers.

    At this point in time, with all the parenting experience I supposedly have, I have bow down to the authority of someone who hasn’t just had the kids, but also THOUGHT out strategies for dealing with the kids…

    Also, I can’t afford to actually buy a copy myself until tax tme, and by then I’m afraid the two year old will have managed to destroy my entire house!

  32. Pam Lawler says

    I would love a copy of your book, to help me get organised with my three & two year olds. Three year old is full on.

  33. says

    I need Nicole’s book to help me to get my boys to start contributing to the household. At 5 and 8 they are more than ready, but getting them to help out still eludes me. Please help…!

  34. Sam Connell says

    I have a really organised and super efficient women hiding inside of me….I know she is there (and she wants to get out)….I would like to meet her…let her ‘loose’…..I’m sure Nicole’s book will help!

  35. Jessie says

    I would love to read this book. I have been in the fuzzy blur of the dreaded baby-brain for too long, and I need some strategies for staying on top of life with 3 (plus another soon) little ones under 5. Help!

  36. Shauna says

    Planning With Kids is the latest book I need to add to my bedside table to read!! I was working 20 hours but now I am working full time as a kinder teacher and I feel I am so organised at work but not at home. Nicole’s book would be my guiding light in the dark tunnel of working, being a mum to 3 boys at primary school and all our chaotic after school routines plus meetings and workshops!!

  37. says

    Last night’s live chat answered it all – I am the only mum in the world who decides to start cooking at 6.30pm when hubby gets home because having the dinner ready earlier seems too “housewifey” and organised. I NEED help adjusting to the fact that I actually am a MUM! (And have been for nearly 5 years, btw – ouch!)

  38. Sari says

    I NEED THIS BOOK!! No matter how organised I try to be I struggle to get out of the house on time every morning, with everything I’m ment to be taking. School notes are constantly late, bills get misplaced and 5.30 brings the mad rush to decide on dinner and get it done before the kids need to be in bed.

  39. says

    Ooh, I need this book… I’m just about to start homeschooling my two boys, and we’re planning on having another baby in the next year. I need help and this books sounds like the answer! Thanks for the comp.

  40. Deb says

    Well the book sounds like a treasure trove of practical help for families. After the birth of my second baby late last year I’m still trying to find my groove… It’s just that bit trickier with two – my son is now 3!

    Sometimes it will take me an hour to pack all we need for the day, so we can get out the door. Other days it seems so effortless… Sleep deprivation, illness, constant medical appointments, starting up family day care, trying to lose weight… Not to mention to keep the house clean and tidy, and spending quality time with my husband! Did I mention sleep deprivation? What do I win again??

  41. Renee says

    I definately need this. I have three rowdy awesome little boys, in three different schools. Three different schedules, and my own!

  42. says

    I would love to grow our family and i think a book like this would be perfect for me who has Type A tendencies, but is not quite sure how to organise our life so it runs smoothly for everyone!

  43. Samone says

    What a great book!
    As I’m writing I’m sitting in my car – on our way to school – flat tyre – 3 kids – i am wishing I had packed things for the kids!

  44. Sarah says

    I NEED this book. I have 3 gorgeous children and I run our business from home. The guilt of not giving my children the complete attention they need because of my disorganision is killing me. I’m sick of hearing myself say to them….wait or once I get this done I will do something fun. I feel like I am missing out on soooo much as my babies are growing up while I’m always trying to get some organisation in my life…If I keep going the way I am before I know it they will be grown up & you can’t ever get those years back…..I NEED this book!!!

  45. hannah says

    a mum to now 3 kids (one fresh out of the oven), running our household and helping my husband run our business i need all the pointers i can get. the book sounds like a brilliant read!

    • Janine says

      Wow – where do I start, I would love and very much appreciate a copy of this book. I am a stay at home mum of 4 kids aged 2 – 13 and me and Hubby do it all on our own.
      I have been a mum since I was 17 years old and lived with my mum so what a shock to the system when I got married and went on to have another 3 children. Woah, Our house is organised chaos and I am sure as most mums would no, it is extremely hard to keep our heads above water. I love my children more than anything but the constant chaos wears us down. I feel like such a bad mum at times when the kids go to school and I realise that they have forgotten to take their library books back because I didn’t have a ‘list’ somewhere or when I forget about things because I haven’t filed it somewhere. Mornings are awful in a word because I don’t know how to be organised no-one has been able to show me (my mum passed away 8 years ago). I want to be the type of mum who can be proud of myself, and whose kids are proud of me too, not the type who is always late to everything or who is making a mad dash to the local supermarket because I forgot there was no milk for the morning. Maybe if I knew how to handle all the stress and chaos, I would be able to get on and be a ‘fun’ mum spending time with my children that doesn’t include rushing and yelling because things aren’t done. Soooo…….. as you can see I would really benefit from some help. This book sounds like it would be amazingly helpful for me.
      Thanks xxx

  46. Karen says

    I have four kids myself & with only one in school & my twins being just turning two I need help with organisation. I do take muffins & water bottles everywhere, but thats about the only thing I get right. I think my daughter has been early for school once in the whole 2.5 years she’s been going!!! Great website by the way.

  47. says

    I remember Nicole breezing into the room, smiling, beautifully dressed, happy and charming kids, being super organised and also a beautiful person. Me? I had ditched the kids at school, was running late, pretty sure my clothes had remnants of some meal on them and my hair wouldn’t have been done in weeks. I wondered when did this become me?

    I started this parenting journey super organised. I packed light but always had everything I would need with 2 little kids, probably because we travelled a lot. I felt pretty darn good about it all.

    Now the kids are older, I imagined things would get easier but in fact they are crazier. Trying to juggle full time work, kids (only 2 of them), kids activities, domesticity, uni, crazy schedules, sport… I was wrong, really wrong. I need to plan but need to find time to learn how to plan the busy that is this time in our lives. Something has got to give before my sanity goes completely.

    The co-ordinated tupperware range hasn’t helped me either, let’s hope Nicole can.

  48. terri says

    I read the Mummy blogs when my children sleep, I find the whole blogging community to be inspiring, somthing non-judgemental to strive for. I love to read peoples peferctly imperfect lives. When it all gets overwhelming I sit with my cup of tea and feel the love to be the best I can. Now if only I had matching tupperware and some mad organizational skills.

  49. Tracy Williams says

    As I sit here, dinner settling in the tum, dishes in the sink, washing waiting to be folded (been there a few days…) I think there must be an easier way and look what I find! a book, I LOVE BOOKS! I would love a planning with kids book!
    BTW Love your blog :)

  50. ella says

    I need nicole’s book as I am never organised! And I only have one child.. imagine what i’ll be like when we have another..

  51. Narelle Anderton says

    I so need this book. I have been a stay at home mum for a number of years and have just returned to work part time. I have 3 DD, 6, 3 and 10 monthsand out life has all of a sudden become chaotic! I need help and new ideas.

  52. Bee says

    Everyday I’m so unorgasnised that I start my day at 1pm!
    We are still in our jarmies after 1pm.
    If I have to go out on an errand that an organised person would have done in half an hour it takes me 2 hours.
    If I have to meet someone at 10:30, I’m always there at 10:45 and have busted my arse to get there, have unironed clothes thrown on, unruly hair hidden under a hat in desperation and have to buy everything out because I haven’t organised any snacks or drinks for my daughter.
    My daughter wears what’s she worn to bed out as it has to double as both in unorganised emergencies!
    My handbag is a reusable shopping bag as I’ve never gotten myself a proper bag and just grab whatever is around on my mad dash out the door.
    My partner gets home from work at 7pm and asks what’s for dinner and I haven’t even thought about it.
    My linen closet contents have lived in the kitchen for 2 years cause I’ve never got round to cleaning out the linen closet. This is just one example of how messy my house is and the way we have to live (getting towels from the kitchen corner).
    I always go grocery shopping at least 2 days past completely run out of an important everyday item.
    I could go on… a bit worried that I may be TOO bad though and my life too chaotic! Let’s just say there is no organisation in my life!