Good Enough is the New Perfect

Good Enough is the New PerfectI’ve been reading Hollee and Becky, as they are known on Twitter, for many months now, and they never fail to impress me.  Whether the topic is going back to work or giving up the guilt, they’re always there with an encouraging word.

Their new book, “Good Enough is the New Perfect,” brings their experiences interviewing over a hundred working mothers – and surveying over 800 more – about work, life, mothering, breathing space, and striving for the best that we can possibly be into a compact, easily digestible book that is a must for anyone beating themselves up over motherhood.  Or work.  Or the combination.

The book has hundreds of examples and showcases just as many ways of making it work.  It’s this decade’s compendium of how we’re making it work, and it’s a great read, browse, or just-carry-around-because-you’re-so-busy-book.  Check it out.  Take a breath.  And realize – you are working hard, and you can achieve great things.

Perfect is optional.

Disclosure: I was sent this book to review by Hollee and Becky (or their publicist – who remembers?); I received no compensation for this post.  Which is good, because it’s about two months late. 🙂

Mystery novels featuring new mothers

Bundle of TroubleLook what I found at Type A Mom!  Bundle of Trouble, by Diana Orgain, is a mystery novel featuring a brand-new mom trying to balance her own interests and goals with the chaos of new motherhood.  The book was light but engaging, and every detail rang absolutely true with this mom of two – work-life balance isn’t easy, and this book sure tells the truth about how difficult it can be to care for a newborn and strike out on your own to create a job that gives you the work-life balance you need.

I bought the book myself, at the conference market, and received no compensation for this post.

Fun family card game – Jungle Speed

Jungle SpeedLooking for a fun family game that everyone from kindergartners to grandparents can enjoy?  Jungle Speed is a new game that encourages the family to sit together around the table and take turns playing a card from the stack in front of them.  The little ones will enjoy the fact that they don’t have to hold cards in their hands, and adults will like the easy play that allows conversation.

The concept is simple – play a card, and check to see if it matches any of the other players’ top cards in shape or color.  If it does, grab the totem!  First one to grab the totem wins the round, and the other player takes both stacks of cards.

The game shifts with the addition of three special cards, alike enough to be a challenge, but different enough that a quick 5 year old can play — and keep pace with Mom or Dad.  We were sent this game to check out recently, and it’s quickly become one of our go-to games.

Disclosure: I was mailed a game to review; I received no compensation for this post.

Filtrete Water Pitcher

The Filtrete Water Pitcher fills super-fast!
The thin filter filters out large particles and improves the taste, and best of all it fills quickly enough that the water is ready to drink by the time the water is turned off.
That makes this pitcher something we will actually USE – every day.
Works for us!

Disclosure clause: No product or compensation was received for this review.

Filtrete Water Station

The Filtrete water station is perfect for families on the go!  I saw the water station in action at BlogHer 2010 in August and had to get to Wal-Mart to get my own right away!  We’ve been using it weekly or more ever since, filling up the boys’ water bottles for school and soccer practice, and one for Mama to have in the car while I’m shuttling them around!

The water tastes clean and fresh, and the water station (you’ll want to buy extra bottles, or use your own aluminium ones by holding them up to the spouts) makes refilling them over and over again very easy.

Thanks, 3M, for this great new product!

Disclosure clause: No product or compensation was received for this review.

Fisher Price iXL

Now, I’m not normally a big fan of electronics for little kids, but since I let them play on my iPhone, I agreed to let them try out the new Fisher Price iXL.  This sturdy little touch-screen device comes pre-loaded with a number game, a read-aloud story, and a doodling program.  The cute animations are of little monkeys that make us all laugh, and the story is appropriately paced for preschoolers.  I’ve enjoyed their interest in this iphone-sized personal electronic device (it’s significantly thicker than the iPhone, but approximately the same length and width.

What I didn’t expect was how much more fun we’d have with it when we put the CD in and customized it, which I finally did this weekend.  Now each of the boys have their own login, customized with their name, picture, favorite colors — and the included story picks up on the favorites that I entered, so the story is slightly different for each kid! 

I also spent a little time uploading some favorite pictures of family and friends, as well as MP3 files of our favorite kids’ CDs — and now the iXL is their very own digital picture frame (with full-featured doodle program for them to customize their own pictures!) AND MP3 player.  Which means we now have music whereever we go – and with a good speaker so that they (and only they) can hear their music in the backseat of the car, at Grandma’s house, or in the playroom, even if I forget to turn the music on!

Which I do sometimes.  Motherhood?  Is demanding.  This little device empowers my kids to flip through photos and play their own music — I’m sure we’ll be using it a lot this holiday season! 

Now, where did I put that Christmas music?

Disclosure: Fisher Price sent me an iXL to review after BlogHer. 

Playmobil take along tower

By the looks of things around here, our family has fully entered the Lego phase of boyhood. Legos are everywhere, especially in the little one’s hands, where he creates Jet Zoomer after Jet Zoomer, interrupted only by Boomers (which adults would call guns, but I swear I’ve never even told him the word).  My kindergartner outgrew Fisher-Price playsets long ago, and my preschooler went through the play people phase very quickly, abandoning them for Matchbox cars before he turned three.  But somehow, the Playmobil is still attractive.

Before I had kids, I had visions of perfectly arranged Playmobil sets dotting the living room – the veterinary office, the zoo, the fire station.  Then I had kids, and I saw how fickle a young child’s interest can be, and I satisfied this craving with a bag of secondhand Playmobil from the church garage sale.  But that bag contained two castles, just right for a battle, and the children and I put it together and play with it every so often.

Then the mail came on Wedesday, bringing two of Playmobil’s latest creations: the Knights Take Along Tower and the Pirates Take Along Dungeon.  My kids were hooked.  The littlest claimed the dungeon (“You’re in the dungeon!” being one of his favorite pronouncements) and my kindergartner was happy to take ownership of the castle and its knights.  They happily played for an hour, battling knights vs. pirates, putting the accessories on and off, and most particularly firing the cannon at each other (one comes in each set). 

It’s been four days now, and the mock battles continue.  The tower and dungeon each have a handle for easy carrying (by them, no less!) and all the pieces fold up inside for easy cleanup.  This is a great new addition to our playroom – and our travel kit, where they will surely go along to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, most likely with a couple of the Unicorn Take Along Castles for their girl cousins.  The easy cleanup and low price ($12.99) make these an attractive gift for any child 4-7 who likes battles, cannon, and/or lots and lots of small pieces and accessories.

Disclosure:  I received Playmobil’s Knights Take Along Tower and the Pirates Take Along Dungeon for this review.