Asha Dornfest, who started the fantastic Parent Hacks website right around the time I started Ask Moxie, just published a book of the top 150ish hacks of the run of the website!
You should buy it. (At your local bookseller–they can order it for you if they don’t already have it–or here: http://www.amazon.com/Parent-Hacks-Genius-Shortcuts-Life/dp/0761184317 )
You know how sometimes hacks are just ways to spend more money so you don’t have to do as much work? These aren’t that. These are genuine “make your life easier by using some five-cent object you already have in your drawer or just doing something in reverse order” time- and effort-saving hacks that don’t assume you have unlimited funds or help. Some are for babies, some are for little kids, but a lot are for general family life. They cover a variety of situations and living configurations.
Here’s the thing I really super-like about this book, though (being useful should be enough, but that’s not my favorite part): It’s totally straightforward and helpful and good-natured. It’s not snarky or ironic. I know we’re all supposed to want to be ironic and not care and be cool, so everything written about being a parent is supposed to be detached and backhanded and uttered between sips of barrel-aged bourbon. But Asha is a real person who wouldn’t cut you at the playground for not having the cool shoes, and her book is the same way. Helpful, kind, and no subtext. Refreshing.
If I’m making suggestions, I’d say that a really fantastic one-two punch for a baby shower or new parent gift or anytime gift for a parent would be this Parent Hacks book and my You’re The Best Parent For Your Child book. Asha’s got the practical stuff covered, and I’ve got the emotional stuff covered. It’s a You Can Do It kit.
tl;dr version: Buy this book.