Our family is practically crippled without a calendar. With four kids and busy busy schedules we rely on our kitchen calendar to keep us all organized. One problem? The little kids who cannot read and/write their own stuff onto the calendar, and of course the fact that every time one of us goes to write down an activity/event, the only writing implement in a five mile radius is a broken yellow crayon. I’ve tried to go electronic with my organizing but that doesn’t help the whole family stay in the loop and oftentimes the learning curve on assorted techno gadgets requires it’s own date on the calendar: Wed July 23: figure out how to get all the thingamabobbys to sync with the whatchamahoozits on both mac and pc. Yeah right!
So when I heard about Jenda – a simple desktop calendar device that uses voice recordings to keep track of dates and events, I thought it was worth a try. I thought it would be a novelty. But I was not expecting this somewhat low tech device to be such a hit.
How it works is simple. You press the date and the record yourself saying the event. You are able to program single date entries as well as recurring ones. Enter all the family birthdays etc once, and be done for the next few years.
When you have messages for the day, Jenda blinks at you. Press a button to hear them all. Even my four yr old was able to program and use this calendar. He and his sisters spent a day recording everyone’s birthdays, but they went a step father – actually singing the “Happy Birthday” song. They recorded their grandparents singing to them on their birthdays. The Jenda website suggests this calendar for military families and I would second that. It would be so sweet to get special recorded messages from a parent or grandparent who could not be present on your birthday, or any day really.
My children were not the only Jenda fans. I got a unit for my parents and they were thrilled to set the Jenda to remind them about everything from birthdays to medications and doctors appointments. They found the format simple and easy to use as well.
Finally I am excited about sending my dyslexic child to school with the Jenda next fall. She has had such a hard time recording her assignments in her planner in years past. It takes her longer than the other kids to write it down and she often resorts to a shorthand only to come home and discover that she left our some vital bit of information. Instead this year she plans to capture her teacher saying the assignment. It’s bound to make a huge difference for her.
The Jenda is going to be coming with us on our road trip in two weeks, as a way for the kids to track the days we are away, remind us all to send postcards and we have a plan to use it to pre-record secret missions for each kid to complete along the way.
For such a simple little low tech device, Jenda sure is a huge hit with our family. Get yourself a Jenda and I’m sure you will find a million creative uses for it too.

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