It’s been a long day today. I wanted to get so much done, but my brain wouldn’t cooperate. Some days are like that. Those are the days where you are so tired, and bed is so very welcome. You crawl in expecting sweet slumber…

And. Your. Mind. Won’t. Shut. Off.

I’ve been battling insomnia a lot lately. Benadryl has the same ingredient as the sleep aids, so I’ve been using that. But I need to get my body sleeping on its own again.

So, who out there struggles with insomnia? And how do you get yourself sleeping well again? I’d love to hear your tips!

In the meantime, I’m going to finish my banana, and knock myself out. Night all.

NaBloPoMo AKA Blogging Marathon

NaBloPoMo November 2014

Sometimes life gets a little nutty. You feel like it’s wildly out of control, and you just want something sane in the midst of it all. This will sound weird, but the sanity in the middle of my life will be the craziness of a blogging marathon called NaBloPoMo. And no, I’m not speaking some foreign language. NaBloPoMo stands for National Blog Posting Month.

So as I sit here waiting for my pregnant daughter to tell me she is in labor which will begin the sprint to pack up our family of six on a dime and travel five hours to be there for her, I reflect on everything else vying for my attention: prepping for Thanksgiving meal and company, writing several reviews, getting packed for my 3-5 day stay for an EEG at OHSU, and preparing for Christmas and all it entails including company and babysitting pets. That plus the normal day to day business would be plenty to make one take deep breathes to ward off panic.

But now? Now let us add the needle that broke the camel’s back: WE ARE MOVING! Yes, you read that right. We just found out we are moving come January. So on top of everything, we will be packing the entire house and getting it ready to sell.

My response? I decided to join in the fun and insane NaBloPoMo challenge because it feels like a little bit of silliness which I desperately need right about now. So I will be posting and it may be deep and personal. It might be a photo. Perhaps I’ll vlog a bit. Or maybe share a YouTube video to make you smile. It might even be a messy post because the electrical storms in my brain make things a little messier at times. Like this week. So please forgive any typos and punctuation because I am pushing through to write anything coherent today. And that’s okay. I want to do it anyway, and make the best of this life that God has blessed me with even when it seems hard at times.

I will end Day Two here. Only 28 more days and posts to go…I look forward to seeing what pours out of me as i go through this month. I hope you patiently join me and see where my meandering mind takes us…

The “Summer’s Flying By Reading Challenge” Ends

Thank you Karen Blaha for the use of your photo.

REMEMBER: To be eligible for the prize drawing, you must have linked up your kick-off post AND you need to link up your wrap-up post down below.

WOOHOO! We did it! A little longer than intended which I, again, apologize for, but here we are at the finale. I can’t wait to hear how everyone did, and I hope you had a blast. Here’s my recap…I only included books I finished, but I do have some still in progress.

Books I’ve Read Not Related To Mini-Challenges
Pinteresting: Pinterest Strategies for Brands and Bloggers by Tabitha Philen
Shattered by Dani Pettrey
Stranded by Dani Pettrey


S – Submerged by Dani Pettrey
U – Unfriend Yourself by Kyle Tennant
M – Mastering Your DSLR Camera
M – (The) Minimalist Cleaning Method by Annie Jean Brewer
E – Einstein The Lazy Kitty by Renae Rae (kids)
R – (The) Restorer by Sharon Hinck

I think my favorite out of these were Submerged, Unfriend Yourself (really made me think), and The Restorer.


I didn’t get this one finished.


A book with the month I was born in the title:
October Smiled Back by Lisa Westberg Peters (kids)

O – One Pea by Julia Meyer and Marie Tabler (kids)
C – Create: Stop Making Excuses and Start Making Stuff by Stephen Altrogge
T – Together A Novel of Shared Vision by Tom Sullivan with Betty White
O – Out of Control by Mary Connealy
B – (A) Bride For Keeps by Melissa Jagears

E –
R – Rags: Hero Dog of WWI – A True Story by Margot Theis Raven (kids)


Didn’t get to this one.


A main character named Audra: In Too Deep by Mary Connealy


I did read some new to me authors, but I plugged them in to other parts of the challenges.


Over The Edge by Mary Connealy


Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion

That makes a grand total of about 19 books (that I can remember) and considering how crazy our life became (I’ll be sharing about that soon), I’m happy with that. So how did you do? Link your wrap-up posts below. The linky will stay open until either next Friday or until all participants eligible for the giveaway link up. Winner will be announced immediately after and the prize sent to you.

If you need a reminder about the overall reading challenge, read The “Summer’s Flying By” Reading Challenge post.

Previous Mini-Challenges (can be done at any time):
Mini-Challenge #1: It Begins With SUMMER
Mini-Challenge #2: Not Your Typical Genre
Mini-Challenge #3: A Reader Is Born
Mini-Challenge #4: Summer TITLE Waves
Mini-Challenge #5: What’s In A Name?
Mini-Challenge #6: Have We Met?
Mini-Challenge #7: A Little Bit Of Summer
Mini-Challenge #8: Down Memory Lane

When London Burned (A Review)

Jim Hodges Productions Review

Jim Hodges Productions sent us an MP3 CD with the story of When London Burned: A Tale of the Plague and the Great Fire by G.A. Henty plus a PDF copy of the corresponding Study Guide. I have fallen in love with audio books for times of traveling, when the kids need to be still due to feeling poorly, or just to enjoy while coloring or drawing. They are terrific for a quiet time activity. The G.A. Henty stories are great for ages 10 and up if reading them, and ages 8 and up if listening to the recordings.

The G.A. Henty Audio Books are complete, unabridged recordings of his classic historical novels and they are perfect for either simply listening to them or following along with the actual book. Since these are in an MP3 format, you will need to play them on your computer or laptop, a DVD player or on an MP3 compatible CD player. Your regular CD player will not work for these. You can also copy them from the CD onto your computer and then download them onto your iPod or iPad. If you have the write cord, you can then play it through your car stereo system.

Jim Hodges is the voice behind the recordings, and it’s pretty neat learning about how he got into this work, how he chooses a book, and his process for recording it. He even gives pointers on how to get into recording books for those interested in doing so. You can read all about these things on his Frequently Asked Questions page.

When London Burned: A Tale of the Plague and the Great Fire is a story about Cyril who inherits nothing except the title of his father, Sir Aubrey Shenstone. He works hard as a bookkeeper for different tradesmen in London and through his keen intelligence and strong character, he manages to uncover the plot of some thieves, is wounded during a battle at sea while diverting a fire-ship, comes down with the Plague after assisting a doctor helping others with the Plague and even prevents his friend’s murder. In the end, he receives the estates his father lost as a reward. This is such a great example of persevering, being a man with principles, and in the end, receiving a blessing for all your hard work.

Jim Hodges Productions Review

The story takes place and gives us a glimpse of the 1660s in England. Some of the things that happen during that time are Cromwell’s defeat, Charles II is restored to the throne, the Dutch declares war on England, the Plague hits, and the Great Fire of London destroys half of the city.

There are 22 chapters and a total listening time of 13 hours and 21 minutes of real history, action and adventure, and strong, godly role models.

The Study Guide for G. A. Henty’s When London Burned includes vocabulary words, chapter questions, and various activities such as alphabetizing the vocabulary words, researching various things, making charts, creative writing, mapping, writing reports, sketching, field trips, and more. You will also find four quizzes spread out through the guide, answer keys, and a character qualities definition chart with 49 character qualities listed – a nice resource for children to learn how to identify strong character traits. There is a rich smorgasbord to choose from to add to the learning of this part of history. You can find a sample at the bottom of the study guide page.


How We Used It

We used my laptop to listen to the CD and all got comfy in the living room. Sometimes they would grab pillows and blankets to get comfy. Other times they would color or draw while listening. After they listened to a chapter, we skimmed the vocabulary words and then I would ask the chapter questions out loud. Everyone would give their answers and then I’d read the answer from the Study Guide. For the sake of this review, we didn’t dive into as many activities as we would have liked, but we will be remedying that for sure. The activities we chose were worked on together for the most part and we did them orally where possible. Quizzes were read like the chapter questions.


What We Thought

Wow. Really, the story is exciting, captivating and a neat way to make history come alive. The kids loved it, and the downtime while listening was wonderful. The study guides add so much to the learning and offer a wide variety of activities to keep things interesting. The study guide can easily be used by the students to build a really nice notebook about the historical events in the story. Jim Hodges is a terrific storyteller and these will definitely become a part of our history studies. I love that he has created a Scope and Sequence chart covering his audio books and showing which are best for elementary, middle school and high school. You can really tell he has a passion for history and great stories. I would definitely recommend these. Both the audio book and the study guide are well done.

Pricing and Other Information

When London Burned: A Tale of the Plague and the Great Fire – the MP3 CD costs $25. You can also opt for a Digital Download which costs $18. The study guide is available for $12. If you click on the link, you can hear a sample of the audio book and see the chapter titles.

If you’d like to keep up with new products added or sale happenings, you can subscribe to his newsletter on his sidebar. You can also see more videos about his other audio books on his YouTube channel. Jim Hodges Audio Books can be found on Facebook as well. Lastly, you might find his articles interesting.

Click to read Crew Reviews

*Pricing and information is accurate to the best of my knowledge at time of posting.

Crew Disclaimer