Jenny Hodges. Tampa Librarian. Book Lover. Slow Runner. Weight Watcher. SharePoint Wife. Mom to Irish Triplets. Living and Traveling in the Autism World.

7. October 2015 09:32
by jennifer

What I'm Reading Wednesday

7. October 2015 09:32 by jennifer | 2 Comments

Hello and Happy Wednesday!!

This week I am reading a GREAT book!!


All the Light We Cannot See was awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.  This fantastic book took Mr. Doerr over a decade to write and tells the tale of a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. 

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.


Saint-Malo is an area of France that I was familiar with only because of my background in Marine Biology. Saint-Malo has the largest tidal change in ALL of Europe. 

I know I am going off on a tangent now, but just check out the tidal range for a week (October 7-15.) IT'S HUGE!!

If you look closely you will see more than a 20' difference between high and low tide. In Florida that sort of tidal range would wipe out many of our beaches for half of a day!

Okay, back to the book. I am loving this story. I am about a third of the way through the book and each page just gets better and better. His descriptive narrative is simply breathtaking. I feel like I am right there in Saint-Malo.

I've been to Germany twice so I do know firsthand some of the areas that Mr. Doerr is writing about, but France is new to me, so that is the part of the story that is keeping me the most intrigued right now. 

I have a feeling that something tragic is going to happen to Marie-Laure and/or to Werner's sister Jutta. 

Have you read this book? Did you love it? Do you typically read books that win The Pulitzer Prize?

2. October 2015 11:53
by jennifer

Florida Prepaid College Plans #StartingisBelieving

2. October 2015 11:53 by jennifer | 0 Comments

Open enrollment for the Florida Prepaid College plans for 2015-2016 begin on October 15th, 2015. Start saving for your child’s education and future NOW. I am a proud Florida Prepaid College Plan Believer. All though this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own. #StartingIsBelieving It's hard to believe that 6 years ago the #TampaTrio started school. Ronin was in PreK3, Ella in PreK4, and Haley in Kindergarten. Even though this was their first year in school, James and I had already started their college funds just a few short months after each of them were born, so they started elementary school with a Florida Prepaid College plan already in place.  Fast forward 6 years to the start of the 2015-2016 school year.  Ronin is now in 4th grade and wants to be an ER doctor, Ella is in 5th grade and wants to be a veterinarian, and Haley in 6th grade wants to be an archeologist. Thank goodness I enrolled them in the Florida Prepaid College Plan because all three of their career choices certainly require college, A LOT of college.   There are five Prepaid Plans, each with specific costs, payment schedules and benefits which all include tuition and most fees at either one of 28 Florida Colleges or 12 State Universities. Though each option is designed to be used at a Florida College or State University, the amount covered by the plan can also be applied to other schools nationwide. So as much as I want my Trio to stay close to home (forever and ever) I know that it's likely that they might desire to spread their wings and head to college out of state. Thankfully the plans can be applied to schools outside the Sunshine State. There are only certain times during each year that you can enroll your child in the plans.  For 2015-2016, open enrollment is Oct. 15, 2015 – Feb. 29, 2016. The cost of the plans vary depending on how old your child is and which of the 5 plans you choose. For a NEWBORN these are the current MONTHLY rates: 4-Yr Florida University Plan $182.63 1-Yr Florida University Plan $45.69 2 + 2 Florida Plan $144.35 4 Yr College Plan $114.69 2 Yr College Plan $53.13   Once you enroll and get your account set up you can increase your monthly payment at ANY time simply by logging into your account and making a payment. It can be a one time payment or a recurring payment. This is a great option for grandparents that might be looking to help out. We did it for Ella when she was awarded some money earlier this year. It was so easy for me to go online and make a one time payment, and then the rest of our monthly payments will be the same as they were, we will just finish her payoff sooner, rather than later.    If you have ANY questions about the Florida Prepaid College Plans, feel free to ask me and I'll do my best to answer them! I feel somewhat like a pro since we've had accounts for 11+ years now  You can also reach out to their amazing customer service team at 1800552GRAD (4723) and they will answer any and all questions you may have. You can also check out Florida Prepaid College Plans online and figure out which plan is just right for your future college student!

27. September 2015 08:42
by jennifer

2015 Kia Sedona Review

27. September 2015 08:42 by jennifer | 1 Comments

Earlier in September Drive Shop USA arranged to have a fabulous 2015 Kia Sedona delivered to my house. I came home from work on a Friday night, and there it was. My precious. I was really excited to test drive this vehicle. James and I had often discussed whether or not a mini-van would be a good choice for our family. I had also never driven a Kia, so there was that aspect too. Two firsts for me. When I got home from work that Friday evening, the kids and James were already home. Ella and Ronin were super excited by the vehicle and demanded that I immediately take them for a ride in our neighborhood, with the sunroof open. But then once we got in the vehicle we realized that is had TWO sun roofs! That's right, DUAL POWER SUNROOFS! I was so excited by the two sunroofs that I didn't get a picture, so I borrowed the one above from Kia. The #TampaTrio all loved the gadgets in this vehicle. This car is made for kids with so many amazing features but all three of my gang thought that the captains’ seats that can adjust in multiple ways, including front to back, side to side, reclining ability, and footrests that can raise up and slide out were just the coolest thing ever. The third row did not have this option available, so they all took turns riding in the third row.  When I think of the word "mini-van" my mind immediately pictures a Dodge Grand Caravan from the 1980's Rather than call the Sedona a mini-van, Kia uses the term "multi-purpose vehicle."  And it truly is a MPV. The kids also loved the large side windows. We didn't realize at first that the windows were functional but once we did, the kids wanted the sunroof open and the windows down A.L.L. the time!!  They also really liked the heated and cooled seats. It reminded Ella of the week we spent with the Audi Q7. I was also quite impressed with the large cargo area. Even with the third row up all the time, there was still plenty of room for groceries. And I also liked the SiruisXM radio. There were really so many great features on this vehicle. Surround View Monitor System which displays real-time camera images with a bird’s eye view. Remote Keyless Entry System, Forward Collision Warning System, Blind-Spot Detection, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, a slew of UVO eServices and a Smart Power Liftgate. Another tech favorite was the multiple USB charger ports and power outlets. It also had an AUX port so I was able to bring my tablet and listen to my audio books. I also had the opportunity to use the GPS system and I liked it. It was so much better than using the app on my phone.   I really enjoyed the week I got to spend with the Kia Sedona MPV. It was not only an attractive vehicle, but it was very functional. Lots of cup holders, separate climate control units, large fun windows, and enough room for all 5 of us, plus Matthew.  In a week of driving I barely used 1/2 a tank of gas. My commute is minimal and I had to work the only weekend I had the car, so I wasn't able to go anywhere "fun" with it. But I loved it. And when we went out with dad, he didn't hit his head when I went over a speed bump. The Kia is a winner in our book.