Calendar Conundrums + Echo Show

Jun 3, 2022

Over here at The Semi-Together Home, we are having a bit of a calendar kerfuffle. You see, Dr. Together and I each have our own work Outlook calendars, with at least two work trips per month each. We also each have a Google calendar with a co-parent and our respective children. Let’s add in four kids (two of whom have smart phones) in four different schools across two school districts, and we are facing the serious potential for some calendar collisions. Some of said children enter events and activities directly into our Google calendar, but we do not have ONE single primary boss calendar. Also:

  1. Yes, I know I could use iCal, but I’m not really a full-on Mac human, so I’m taking a pass there.
  2. Formerly, you could import Google calendar into the background of Outlook, but evil Microsoft seems to have blocked that feature. (Maia shakes fist into sky).

Detour: I just spent an hour Googling this, and I’m experimenting with the app One Calendar to see if it will soak up all of our calendars into one location. It DOES, but I also don’t love the interface.

In the meantime, you can imagine when my dear colleague and friend, Shannon, sent me THIS photo, I almost fell on the floor with excitement. Shannon also has a Big Blended Family, like me, so calendars get complex. Shannon started with this photo and told me, “We digitized our family calendar with the Echo Show 15, and it’s the best $250 I ever spent. We add meals and other items on here too, and my partner and I can access all info, such as calendar, shopping lists, etc.) from our phones at any time and the kids can always see it there.” BE STILL, MY HEART.

I asked Shannon the why of her switch, and she said, “My husband I have had a shared digital calendar for years on our iPhones, and I also have a shared Google calendar with my co-parent for our kids’ activities and custody schedule. Those things worked fine, until our kids got older and needed to start to know what is going on too! The Echo Show lets us sync everything in one highly visible place.”

I asked Shannon how things USED to work, and she said, “I used to write events on a paper calendar and meals on a chalkboard menu, but that meant I was putting the same information in multiple places, but now I just enter and change appointments on my phone, and we can all go check for ourselves at any time.”

As an added side bonus, Shannon says, “The shopping list function also replaced the pen-and-paper method I have used for decades, and now I never have to worry about forgetting to add an item. I just call it out while cooking, or enter from my phone when I’m out and about. The kids can also view it and add directly.”

I’m intrigued, because our current solution over here in The Semi-Together House is to:

  • Publish a memo called Winnepeg Weekly so that the kids, babysitter, Dr. Together and I can all see schedule, tasks, chores and dinner
  • Maintain a large whiteboard with events for the month posted

Semi-Together House Whiteboard

Help a human out here. We are more of a Google household than an Amazon household, and Google doesn’t have an equivalent to the Echo Show. We have the tiny Smart Hub in the kitchen, but it isn’t as visual and cannot include our Outlook calendars – which are very cluttered anyway! How would you solve our Calendar Conundrum?