- My iPod Touch.
Especially useful to me (which shows what a dorky housewife I really am) I really love the free OurGroceries app. I can create separate lists for Aldi, Kroger, Costco, and (belying the name) Home Depot, etc. It remembers things I have put on the list before and makes adding things, transferring things between lists and such other necessities very easy. It also has a recipe feature that I have never used, but I could imagine being a good tool for some people.
I also am rather fond of e-readers. I haven't tried out the Nook, but I have the Kindle app, Overdrive (which lets me check books out from my library) and Stanza (probably my favorite of the three in terms of looks -- I'm a sucker for the pages "flipping" when you tap them.)
- Goody Hair Styling thingies (I believe that's the technical term). I was bemoaning the fact that I am hair incompetent (barely even managing a decent ponytail to keep my hair out of the mouth of my grabby baby) to an acquaintance, and she told me about the "spin pin" and the "updo maker." The other day when I was at Target I remembered to look for them. I'm still not managing the spin pins quit right, but it didn't take long to manage a perfectly decent updo with the other thing, which is sort of like a bobby pin on steroids. Cool!
- Leap Frog videos. My friend Meredith recommended these to me years ago, and I was skeptical. I saw them recommended again on Wildflowers and Marbles, and remembering Meredith's recommendation, I put the Letter Factory video on my four year old's Christmas list. He loved it and within a few watchings had memorized most of the letter sounds. Another friend lent us the sequels -- Code Word Caper and Talking Words Factory and my four year old started quickly to grasp sounding words out. Now I'm using them as a bribe -- one video after one reading lesson in Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and he's making quicker and easier progress than any of my other children (though he's also older than most of the others were when we started doing reading lessons).
- Amazon's Subscribe and Save and as a subset a free trial subscription to Amazon Mom. So far, I have subscriptions for pull-ups for my children who still wet the bed and diapers for the little ones, which at a 30% discount are a very good price (15% off for the subscription and 15% off for Amazon Mom). I also have signed up for a subscription for coffee and maple syrup. You can tell where my priorities lie. Keep the kids dry, the coffee cup full and the pancakes sweetened.
- Teaching Textbooks. I love having removed myself from math battles with my 8 year old. It's made a world of difference.
- Michael Clay Thompson's Language Arts Curriculum.When I read about this last year, it sounded like a great program for my 11 year old, who has always found such programs rather boring. He's excelling with this curriculum -- getting a great grasp of grammar, expanding his vocabulary and writing some funny poems.
What kinds of things have you found lately that are useful and interesting?