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Mom-Tested: Just-for-You Treats
7 tried-and-true little splurges for your downtime
by Annie Schoening
Get into the groove
You don't have to be a gadget hound to like JBL's sleek Spyro speakers. They plug into iPods and computers, have one-touch volume control, and add a burst of color to any countertop. (About $130; harmanaudio.com)
"I'm amazed such powerful, clear sound could come from such small speakers! I use them every day to dance with my kids."
—Darlene Plochocki, mom of Miles and Elliot, 13 months, Phoenix
- Ned Matura
If you're splurging on a beauty treatment, you want to see results! Juara's Avocado Banana Moisture Mask takes just ten minutes—then wipes off, leaving your skin hydrated and supple. (Juara mask, $37; skinstore.com)
"After one use, my dryness was gone. My skin felt nice and smooth. And I like that it doesn't have a strong smell."
— Jaimee Snippert mom of Emily, 2 1/2, Middleburg, FL
- Ned Matura
Books. Remember those? You don't have to forsake fiction if you read short stories—you can finish one or two during naptime or soccer practice. Try Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum's Swimming With Strangers: Her tales of women and their complex relationships are gracefully written. (Chronicle Books; $17.90, amazon.com)
"I really enjoyed the stories. It feels good to finish something for once!"
—Katie Eschenbach, mom of Jack, 8, Drew, 7 Jane, 4, and Annie, 3, Oak Brook, IL
- Ned Matura
It's so nice sometimes to send a quick note—rather than an e-mail—to friends. Moms dug the classic yet modern designs of Wooster & Prince's Notecard Portfolios ($9) and Paper- Source's Norsa Wildflower Note Set ($12).
"They have a lot of room to write. I got loads of compliments on them!" —Rica Stinson, mom of Enelia, 3, and Julian, 13 months, Wilmington, NC
Who says security blankets are just for toddlers? This supersoft Angel Fleece Throw conveniently stashes into its own pillowcase, so you can cut down on clutter and keep it free of juice stains or cat hair. (Lands' End, $50; landsend.com)
"I wish they made clothes out of this material, it's so soft."
—Stephanie Wood mom of Matilda, 13, Anthony, 11, and Charlie, 7, Blauvelt, NY
Cozy but lightweight (and machine-washable!), these Soft Soles wool slippers might inspire a little waltz around the kitchen. In blue and green.*
"They look like trendy ballet slippers. And they're not embarrassing to greet the UPS guy in."
—Debbie Skolnik, Parenting staffer mom of Clara, 8, and Genie, 4
*This product is no longer available. Due to the inconvenience, Dearfoams is offering Parenting readers a 20% discount off of their order on www.dearfoams.com. Please use code DFPM20 when placing your order. This code is good until December 31, 2008. Similar styles from the Soft Soles collection are available online—styles SF320, SF321 and SF304.
This elegant mini-shaker holds just the right amount for a nightcap. We suggest adding Stirrings's preservative-free mixers and fancy sugar garnishes to your liquor of choice. They're delish, and can make up to ten drinks a bottle. (Crate & Barrel Mini Cocktail Shaker, $10, crateand barrel.com; mixers and garnishes, $10 and $5, Whole Foods stores or stirrings.com)
"The shaker is perfect for one drink, and it's easy to clean. And the mixers are tasty."
— Tonia King, mom of Gaeble, 12 and Greer, 9, Lake Stevens, WA