Archive for the ‘books’ Category

Reading with kids digitally and with paper books. A list of favorite books read in 2014.
Last year I got a new tablet for Christmas, downloaded a library app and have been checking out all sorts of books. I started the New Year reading the Divergent series. Here are a few of my favorites from this year and a little one-liner of my thoughts.

matched trilogyTypically my favorite genre. I feel like I read more of these but these stand out the most.

Divergent Series (3 books): I couldn’t put the first couple books down. Very fun to read.

Matched Series (3 books): Also very good, it’s hard for me to choose a favorite between these two. Both were post-apocalyptic society-type books.

Gone Girl: I read because it was recommended to me based on the books I’d been reading. I was seriously frightened and disturbed at some parts but it was an unexpected mystery book that I enjoyed.


One of my goals was to read more auto-biographies this year.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me: A hilarious way to start my attempt to dive into biographies.

Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons– I bought this book before the publishing company sent me one because my friends wrote it. It’s hilarious, and uplifting, and a great read. You don’t need to be mad or black or Mormon to enjoy it.

5 Love Languages: My first “self-help” book and wow… I loved it, still reference it, and I just bought it so I can read it again with my husband.

Children’s Books

Of-thee-i-singThis category isn’t as long because we have so many classics and favorites that we read over and over. But there are still a few new ones that jump out at me.

Of Thee I Sing: A historical book with gorgeous illustrations. Written by Barack Obama. The book tells short stories of boys and girls who grew to be miraculous men and women who changed our country. I love hearing Lil’ J talk about Jackie Robinson, Neil Armstrong, Jane Addams and Helen Keller. I want to find more books like this one.
Reading with kids digitally and with paper books. A list of favorite books read in 2014.The Boxcar Children: Lil’ J was so excited to show me a new movie she discovered on Netflix. As she described it to me I realized she was talking about the Boxcar Children. I surprised her and downloaded a digital copy of the book so we can read it together at bedtime. I’m amazed at how interested she is in the story, and how she notices subtle differences from the movie. I’m hopeful we can continue to read this series together.

Reading with kids digitally and with paper books. A list of favorite books read in 2014.

I’m also re-reading Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, reading the Maze Runner series, the latest Percy Jackson book (I know, I’m a dork), and a book a friend from church wrote and is letting me read before some big publisher picks it up. I’m rooting for her!

Depending on who you are (and how much you get to read) you may be wondering where I find the time. I don’t feel like I read THAT much. If I had it my way I’d plow through way more books. But the fact is I typically get to read after my work is done and the kids are occupied or asleep. But most often I’ll read while working out on a cardio machine at the gym or while I’m rocking each kid to sleep.

Nothing beats the smell and feel of a physical book… Unless you’re a mom who loves to read but lacks the time. Then a tablet beats that hard-cover book. I have yet to really get into audio books, I feel like they’re great for long drives and I don’t take those very often. I want my kids to grow up with a love for books no matter what format it’s in.

Reading with kids digitally and with paper books. A list of favorite books read in 2014.

Our latest digital device is the Samsung Galaxy Tab® 4 NOOK®. It’s easy to hold with it’s 7-inch vibrant display. My son loves watching Elmo song videos on it, and my daughter has enjoyed sharing stories with me.

I can read in the dark while my kids are dozing off in my arms, or on the elliptical when I can’t steady a book. It’s also nice because I can put in some headphones and turn on background music, or even watch a show when I’m done. I always have it with me, and I can pick up reading where I left off while I’m waiting for dance class to end, or stuck in a long line.

This isn’t meant to argue paper books vs digital books, just stating some of the benefits I’ve enjoyed and noticed this year since it’s been my first year as a portable tablet owner. Hopefully next year will be full of just as many or more enjoyable books.

Reading with kids digitally and with paper books. A list of favorite books read in 2014.

What have you been reading lately? What books do you recommend?

Visit this page and tell me what feature you like most about the New NOOK by Samsung, then leave a comment by Monday November 17th and you’ll be entered to win the New NOOK by Samsung which comes in black or white, and loaded with $200 worth of entertainment. The device also has front and rear cameras for picture-taking and epic selfies, GPS, and it’s a fraction of the cost of other popular tablets. My Facebook Fans, Pinterest Followers or Google Plus Followers get one extra entry.

**Winner Alert 11/19** Cynthia who said “I am new to the Nooks. I’ve never own one but looks the information on the BN website I am excited about the parental controls. My daughter is constantly using my Ipad and going to other things that she is not supposed to go to. This feature will definitely keep her from going on Youtube etc.” Is the lucky Random.org winner of the New NOOK by Samsung. Thank you everyone for entering!

Big thanks to Barnes & Noble and The New NOOK by Samsung for sponsoring this giveaway. Samsung sent me a tablet to test for the purpose of the review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I’m not typically one to follow the crowd, nor am I one who would attempt to read a romantic novel, but curiosity got the best of me when it came to this book.

I first heard about it on a local radio show when one of the DJs lost a best and had to read it and report back about it on the show along the way.

Then I saw a Saturday Night Live skit about Amazon and 50 Shades of Grey. I haven’t even read the book but I had heard enough hype to understand the joke.

Then I heard it was Twilight fan-fiction and got REALLY confused. What? It’s another vampire book? No.

A friend of mine scooped up the series and texted me for an entire week about the spicy book. But I was not going to give in.

Finally, during my trip to Atlanta, the novel came up yet again at the dinner table. Everyone who had read it was raving about how good it was.

I had to ask the question: Why?

Some call it a love story, but admit it’s got a kinky spicy side. Others read it for that side and claim their husbands appreciate the… Uh, inspiration?

I was morally torn about this dang book, but a bit of peer pressure, a couple nights alone in a hotel, and my innate desire to get to the bottom of things got the best of me, and I bought the book on my iPad.

Mind you, this was after I read about 15 1-star reviews on Amazon, all saying how much the writing sucked and how there’s no real storyline. I had nothing to lose… Ok, well just $10. Other than that I had nothing to lose.

Typically my style of book is historical fiction, or any kind of fiction really. Currently I had been reading the second Percy Jackson series–Heroes of Olympus. Sure, it’s written for 13-year-olds, but it’s written dang well, and it’s captivating and exciting. I set that book aside to pick up 50 Shades… An entirely different kind of book.

I sped through the first five chapters trying to understand the story yet get to the good part. Immediately I noticed the inferior writing compared to what I’m used to reading. Words like “murmur” and “medulla oblongata” shouldn’t be used more than once in a book, much less in the first seven chapters. I didn’t think “bad writing” would annoy me so much but it annoyed me to the point of being unable to enjoy the story.

Some people say Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books weren’t written well… They haven’t seen nothin’ yet.

On the flight back home the pregnant woman next to me pulled out noise cancellation headphones, and 50 Shades of Grey. I saw she was getting toward the end and couldn’t help but ask her if it gets better.


“Same story different chapter” is what she told me.

I forced myself to make it through the first “hot” scene, but eight chapters in I was less than thrilled and decided to hang it up.

Maybe I’m giving the book a hard time. Perhaps if I wasn’t thinking about it as being a professionally edited and written book–if I read it thinking of it as fan-fiction or a blog, I could enjoy it more. Either way, I decided to go back to my middle-school books involving Greek mythology and demigods because I’d rather read a good book for kids than a sucky book that reads like it was written by a kid.

I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t get the hype, but it seems I’m in the minority. Every day I come across Facebook posts about the it, and SomeCards on Pinterest that giggle at their own obsession over these books. It seems as though everyone and their cousin loves it. To me it just felt like 50 shades of suck. Edited to add: For those who haven’t read it, the first 7/8 chapters I read were boring compared to what I’ve heard was coming. I didn’t make it far enough to get to any kinky stuff and the one steamy part I did read wasn’t much of anything you wouldn’t find in another adult book with a love story… Except with lame writing. Also, the fact that I’m semi-prudish may have affected my opinion. But trut me, from what I read, you ain’t missin nothin.

It’s the most controversial book since the Bible.

Ok, well, maybe not quite. From my knowledge people don’t burn Baby Wise to prove a point. But if words were fire this book would be up in flames.

It’s a book so many people swear by. In fact I’ve heard more moms say the principals of this book worked wonders for their child more than any other book. Even more so than the Dr. Sears whatevertheheck book. I’ve heard raves from “my baby is so happy now” to “It was a lifesaver.” But I’ve also heard the other end of the spectrum– THIS BOOK WILL KILL YOUR BABY.

Not an exact quote, but close.

I haven’t read Baby Wise or any other baby books for that matter. I swear, the easiest way to make a bunch of money these days is to write a book about baby advice and BOOM! You’re rich! I hate that there are so many books with so many contradicting facts and principals and just decided to skip the whole book thing and learn by trial and error.

Then I went back to work.

And my daughter stopped sleeping 5-6 hours and instead has gone back to waking up every 2 hours. And I am a zombie. And being a zombie with 45+ hours of work to do every week just isn’t good. Especially when you’re operating heavy machinery like cars, or breast pumps.

This has been going on for long enough. Long enough for me to know it’s no longer a growth spurt, or a phase (well maybe it’s a phase to some degree, but I’d rather it not continue for months). My grandmother told me that if there’s something that’s stressing you out either do something about it to fix it or get over it, but there’s no use stressing or complaining about it. So I’ve decided I need to do SOMETHING.

What am I doing? We’re sleeping in the guest bed in her room. She wakes up every two hours and it takes me awhile to go back to sleep. Sometimes she’ll wake back up the moment I set her down and climb back into bed. When I first returned to work I fell asleep with her in bed with me and she nursed throughout the night. Before that she’d sleep 5-6 hours so I’m wondering if that formed some kind of habit, and on top of that, perhaps being in her room is waking her up. If she sleeps with me, I can’t sleep. If she doesn’t, I’m up every two hours and it takes me a good while to fall back asleep, so I’m at an impasse.

The past week and a half I’ve started a new bed time routine where we give her a bath, massage her, get her in her nighttime diaper, read her a story and feed her, but then I’m like ‘What now?’ I usually feed her until she’s asleep then set her in her crib but I think putting her in her crib awake is the trick. So I tried that but then she cries and cries until you pick her up. Then I feed her again and… You get the idea.

I need to try something new to see if it helps. I’m not asking for a full eight hours of sleep. Heck, four hours straight at this point would be nice. It’s effecting my work, and that’s really not good. In fact, it’s very, very bad. So bad that I had the worst live shot experience of my life last week but didn’t dare pull the “but I have a 4-month-old who isn’t sleeping yet” card. But maybe I should have, because I’m sorta on the you-know-what-list right now because of it. And one bad move takes ten good moves to make up for it. So by this time next year, if I’m lucky, I’ll be out of the dog house.

My husband says it’s not the end of the world if she goes to bed late and wakes up all night for the first year, but that’s greatly because he isn’t waking up with her, or going to work after a half-nights sleep.

So, I’m desperate. And I’m considering turning to this raved about/ cursed book for ideas and answers.

I’ve probably read an entire book worth of facts on why I should stay away from the book–given to me by people who haven’t read the book themselves, but hate it anyway. So I think it’s only fair to read the actual book now, with an open mind, to see the other side and form my own opinions of it.

I know the book is about schedules and many are against schedules but truth is, sooner or later my daughter will be starting childcare and the only way someone watching multiple kids can accomplish things I’m sure, is to have some sort of plan. It doesn’t mean I’m going to take the advice as scripture, or put Lil’ J on a strict eating routine we can’t deter from and starve her in the process. It’s just that we’re going to try something new. Because what we’re doing now aint working out. At least not for me. And considering the fact that I provide the food and shelter for all of us right now, I think my opinion rules.

Some people are ok with having their children sleep with them, or wake up through the night for over a year, but I’d rather find out whats working for the other set of the population who have children don’t need that.

I know this may just be a time in life where I have to survive with lack of sleep, but I can’t just go along with that not knowing if I can do something else that can make this situation better for us all.

Besides, I’m pretty sure Lil’ J would be happier with a happy, healthier, well rested mommy.

I just bought the book on Ebay for 99 cents. If it sucks I’ll tell you about it. Then burn it.

Any other books you recommend while I’m at it? A friend from work with her second baby, also a 4-month-old said baby 411 has lots of tips and different routines to try. I think I’ll buy that one too.

I organized more of the nursery yesterday, and fumbled around with a CD player that’s attached to the crib. I got it as a gift at my baby shower. I’m excited to share the gift of music with my baby girl. I pretty much immediately began searching for good lullabys to buy and save to CD to play for her at night.

Eager to start a new tradition, I bought some church primary songs off iTunes. Primary songs are children’s songs kids sing at my church during the third hour… Yes, third hour of church. After Sacrament meeting and Sunday School.

My family joined the LDS church and became active when I was about 11-years-old. I’ve always felt “behind” compared to everyone else my age. I didn’t know the songs the kids would all sing in primary, and since you graduate at 12, I didn’t have much time to learn them.

I’ve always been a very outgoing girl. My whole life, I’ve never been regarded as a “shy” one. But the one place you’re likely to find me out of my element is church.
When I was younger I’d always avoid eye contact with the teacher who would surely call on me to say the prayer if I looked him in the eye. I was always too afraid to answer a question about the Bible… Afraid I’d give the wrong answer and people would laugh at me. No one ever laughed at anyone, but I feared I’d be the first.
The question could be as simple as: “Who built the giant ark to hold all of the animals before the flood?” Of course I knew it was Noah, but I was to scared to answer wrong anyway… Thinking maybe there was a second guy I somehow missed reading about.
I guess religion is one of those subjects that’s so serious, and important, I felt bad that I didn’t know all of the answers.
As I’ve gotten older, much of my spirituality has grown from life’s experiences, prayer, and just going to church. I still haven’t overcome my anxiety with public prayers, or answering a class question, but I’ve gotten better. One thing I know will help me is just learning the stories better.
I’ve read and heard scripture stories over and over but it’s so easy for me to mix people and places up. I’ve learn to forgive myself for this too, and just realize the only way to get better is to keep reading.
I don’t want my daughter to have the same worries I do. I want her to feel confidant in knowing her scripture stories, and sing her primary songs loud and proud. I hope she’ll be eager to say a prayer before our family, or in front of her Sunday school class, and be unapologetic about it.
It’s never too late to build upon your spirituality, and learn more about the Gospel. I feel like having a child kind of gives me a chance to re-learn everything myself, but have a study buddy in the process.
From primary songs, to scripture stories, it’ll give me a chance to learn about the gospel starting at a level I never had a chance to experience. It’s an opportunity I’m so blessed to have.
If you know of any good children’s Bible or Book of Mormon books? I’m not even sure how many of my readers are Christian or LDS, but this would really help me narrow down my search! The more stories in them, the better!

Oh how I look forward to reading to my little girl. I already will grab a book from her little bookshelves, plop myself down and read her a story. I just think it’ll be so much cooler once she’s here so I can see her reaction.

At first I guess it’ll just be blinks, blank stares, quite possibly tears and toots, but that won’t keep me from reading a story to her every day and night!
On my baby shower invites, guests were asked to bring a book instead of a card to sign their name in. This quickly multiplied the size of Lil’ J’s library. From hand puppet books, to touch and feel books, to bigger, children’s books, we’ve got a good stash going now! That and my addiction to Half Priced Books doesn’t hurt. I get Dr. Seuss books for a fraction of the normal cost.
There are a few books we don’t have yet that I’d like to get fairly soon. For one, I want a children’s version of The Good Book… The scriptures I mean. I need some recommendations for that! There’s SO many to choose from, and I want to pick a good one.

I’m also trying to get some of the “classics” like Goodnight Moon, Guess How Much I Love You, Cat in The Hat, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, and others I have yet to hear about (which if you know of any good ones please let me know!)
I have a couple of books coming from Incredibundles.com. It’s an online store that sells children’s gifts in the bundle, so you save money versus buying everything in the bundle separate. They have lots of book bundles, but I saw a toy bundle I had to get. A few friends kept recommending the Sophie giraffe to me… It’s a chew toy… Excuse me, teething toy, for babies. SO many people told me their kid/nephew/cousin loved it so I’ve decided to give it a try.
I’m a little worried that Snoop will get that crazy look in his eyes after the first squeak (yes, she squeaks, I told you it’s like a chew toy) and just wait for the opportune time to eat it up. I can just picture it now… Us coming home to find Sophie torn to shreds, Snoop with a satisfied look in his eyes. I guess training a dog to know the difference between his toys and the baby’s toys is a battle I’ll soon learn to fight.
“I didn’t do it” his face will say… And I’ll have to remind him that there are Lil’ J’s toys…And his toys… … Lil’ J and Snoop dog, I just realized our family is beginning to sound like a rap group.


We just got Sophie and our toy bundle and here’s Snoop’s first reaction:

(yes, I know I’m bad for taunting my dog with a baby toy)

Anyway, adding to Lil’ J’s toybox, Incredibundles.com is sending her the Learn and Grow Premium Bundle. I’m excited to see how she likes all of the toys, and I can’t wait to add the Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes and the touch and feel book to her collection.I’m also thrilled cause I get to share the gift of reading with you! 25 of you! Want a free book, or TWO? I know a lot of you like to show off your kiddos so this shouldn’t be hard.

The first 25 Babymakinmachine.com Readers who enter the IncrediBundles.com Happy Baby Contest will receive a free children’s book!
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Enter the Happy Baby Contest (www.happybabycontest.com) for a chance to win A Year of Diapers and A Year of Triple Paste.
Step 2: Send an email to happybaby@incredibundles.com with “babymakinmachine” in the subject line. IncrediBundles.com will respond with instructions on how to redeem your free book.


“Like” IncrediBundles.com on Facebook to get a second book for free!
If Lil’ J starts laughing before August 31st (the entry deadline) we may enter ourselves! If you don’t have a baby, and can’t borrow one to make a video, there’s still a discount code you can use!

Special Discount for all of my readers! Use the coupon code MACH15 good for 15% off any product on the site! Coupon expires 7/15/10.

Want to learn more about IncrediBundles.com?
IncrediBundles.com, the home of extraordinary baby gifts, features a fresh modern twist on the baby gift basket. You won’t find wicker, cellophane or paper shred at this stylish retailer. In their place, the company designed adorably chic reusable storage containers and filled them with the very best award-winning toys, books and products for babies – selected by experts and approved by parents. Whether you are a gift-giver or an expecting mom or dad creating a Registry, be sure to check out their Year of Diapers Subscriptions. An IncrediBundles.com 3, 6, 9 or 12-Month Diaper Subscription is the foolproof gift that is always appreciated.

*Opinions expressed are my own. Thanks Incredibundles.com for letting me experience being a customer and order a bundle set for free.*

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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