All About Jane: A Book Review

I had the distinct honor of receiving a free copy of All About Jane (in exchange for a GoodReads review) directly from the author, a friend, mentor, and former teacher of mine: Carrie Mattern. She sent me this piece of her heart to read and review.

photo source:

All About Jane is a pretty heavy read, and it isn’t one that should be taken lightly. It covers a pretty heavy topic, and normally wouldn’t be one in my reading list. The main characters have to deal with the suicide of a classmate, and Carrie handles this topic with enough restraint, and enough compassion so to keep the reader comfortable….for the most part.

A big part of this novella has to do with bullying, and suicide as a result of bullying. What can happen when bullying isn’t stopped. The narrator of the story is Cassie, and she takes us through Jane’s story. Carrie has written it in a way that you feel as though you are sitting in a room with Cassie hearing this come from her, and not reading it from the pages of a book. I was immediately drawn into this story…and I was riveted from beginning to end.

I can’t really tell you too much without spoiling the book, but I would like to tell you how to purchase a copy! You can make your way to Carrie’s website, and check out All About Jane, and her children’s books.

I don’t want this to turn into a PSA, but here it is: Bullying is an epidemic. Not all bullying is recognized for what it is, or even seen at all. This is something that is within our power to stop. Stand up, say something, and let’s put an end to it together! When I said at the beginning that this was a piece of Carrie’s heart, I was being completely honest with you. She has been instrumental in implementing Anti-bullying policies, and awareness groups at the High School where she teaches, the school that I attended. She has dedicated herself to this cause, and to her students….Please consider supporting her, and buy a copy. (And I can personally attest to the fact that her children’s books are AMAZING as well!). Please join me in supporting this awesome local author!



Birthday Breakfast

Saturday was my Mom’s birthday and I wanted to do something special for her, so I combed through my boards on Pinterest until I came across a Fiesta Breakfast Casserole. This is a great recipe, but I ended up modifying it based on my family’s personal preferences. Here is what I did.

1.) I sprayed a 9×13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray, and covered the bottom with a layer of frozen hash brown potatoes.

2.) I diced up one red bell pepper, and a small onion. I layered this mixture on top of the potatoes.

3.) While I was working on the veggies, I had some bacon cooking in a pan on the stove. I cooked it until it was crisp, and then crumbled it over the top of the peppers and onions. 
4.) In a mixing bowl, I mixed nine (9) eggs, and seasoned them with salt, pepper, cumin, and cilantro. I use a salt grinder so I didn’t actually measure the salt, I just used two (2) twists worth of salt, a palm full of pepper, and two (2) pinches (literal pinches, with my fingers) of cumin. The only cilantro that I have is dried so I added three or four shakes… you can see, when I’m cooking I don’t really measure…I just play around with the seasonings as I go. I whisked all of this right into the eggs…
5.) Pour the egg mixture over top of everything in your dish and top with cheddar cheese. 
6.) I did mine the night before, and left it in the fridge over night. In the morning when I got up, I put it in the oven @375 for 45 minutes. The cheese got bubbly and golden brown, and the eggs were cooked through! Serve with salsa, green onion, or whatever other fixins’ you like! 
Happy birthday to my sweet Mom! I love, and appreciate you so much more than you could imagine! 
Blessings All!! 

The Pintester Movement: Part Two

Hi guys! I’ve decided to join the Pintester Movement again! This time I will be doing a DIY Home Decorating project….that doesn’t sound hard at all does it!

I decided to tackle the “DIY Chevron Lampshade”. It looked like it would be fairly simple, so I didn’t bother clicking through to the instructions, I just tried to figure it out from looking at the pin (maybe that is where things went wrong….hmmmm?). Here is the original pin.

It looks easy! Tape, paint, and lampshade. 
I started with a lamp that I got for free at a garage sale. 

I had already applied a coat of paint here, but the lamp shade was a reddish color….I painted white, and then pink to get the shade the base color that I wanted (I also painted the lamp itself black to match my room decor). I let the paint completely dry. I gave it about 36 hours.
After the paint was dry, I started taping it off for the chevrons…..painter’s tape didn’t stick, at all. I thought it was because of the paint, but nothing worked. I ended up using some heavy duty, water proof first aid tape. Thankfully that worked……
….medical tape worked, but I can’t make a chevron to save my life! After my (wonky) chevrons were taped off I painted over the whole thing again……
Once again, I let it dry overnight because I didn’t want to ruin the paint. Once it was totally dry, I pulled all that tape off…..
….to reveal some pretty interesting looking chevrons. 
Altogether, it wasn’t too bad. I can think of some things that I might do differently if I were to try this again, but at the right angle you can’t tell how uneven the chevrons are, and I’m not planning on taking three days to do a lamp….ever again! 
My lamp certainly doesn’t look like the inspiration pin, but I think it has character! I really can’t complain about a free lamp…so what if I can’t make a chevron to save my life…The important thing is that I like the lamp, it works, and it actually looks good in my room…that is a “Pin Win” in my book! 
Make sure to check out the rest of the Pintester Movement, being hosted by The Pintester! 

7 Quick Takes: 9/20/13

Happy Friday!! I’m back to a somewhat normal routine, and can finally churn out a decent 7 Quick Takes post! YAY! I’m just going to get right to the Takes…here we go!

1.) Last Saturday was the perfect day for apple picking. Mom, dad, and I headed out to an orchard just to the south of us and picked almost a bushel of apples, and the trees are so loaded this year that most of that bushel was from ONE tree! They were gorgeous, and now they have been canned into apple butter, and apple sauce!

2.) College football has started back up, and that means it is time for football food! There is nothing I love more than chili in the crock-pot, finger foods, and snacks on game day! I love the football too, but let me tell you, it is much more enjoyable when accompanied by some really delicious food!

3.) I know I said this would be a decent QT post, but I seem to be proving myself wrong….there really wasn’t much of consequence this week……..

4.) I do have a confession to make….I have become addicted to something. Nothing to bad, although it does seem to cause some emotional problems…..that’s right, I’m addicted to British Television. Doctor Who, Sherlock, Broadchurch. I love my BBC America channel, I have a DVR full of Doctor who repeats and specials. I find myself “geeking out” over it all. I just thought you all should know about my addiction, and accompanying emotional distress……thanks for caring.

5.) I’m leading our church’s Ladies Book Club tomorrow with one of my favorite books; Vanetta Chapman’s Falling to Pieces: A Shipshewanna Mystery. As the title suggests, it was a cute little mystery surrounding a Shipshewanna quilt shop owner’s murder. It was a delightful read and I look forward to being able to lead discussion about it!

6.) Beginning in October I will be facilitating the three year old class for our Church MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. I received my curriculum today and was able to look it over. I AM SO EXCITED! I am really looking forward to teaching these kids! I know they are three, and most of what the book calls for may need to be modified to fit the age, but I’m pretty excited. This is like coming full circle for me. My mom took me to MOPS from the time I was a toddler and now here I am teaching a class for the kids! So exciting! 
7.) I started running this week. It may be one of the stupidest things I’ve ever done, but I’m doing it, and actually kind of enjoying it. I am only running for small amounts of time, and working my way up….my ultimate goal is ten miles. I’d like to be able to do a ten mile road race here in town next year, and I’m hoping you’ll all hold me to that! 
My tired feet in the locker room after a run. 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and as always I’m linked up with Jen for Quick Takes today!


Back in the Swing of Things

I have a lot to catch up on….but I’ll try to keep it pretty brief:

School started, I started running, I finished a few books, started a few books, baked some new recipes, working on a book review (or two or three), and I have a few new sewing projects in the planning stages.
I’m really loving my Abnormal Psychology class. It’s been pretty interesting learning about what “Abnormal Psychology” really means, and you’d be surprised how our society today has kind of twisted that into something totally different.

I started running….something that I haven’t done in 7 or 8 years. I haven’t done it since I was graded on how fast I could run a mile in High School. Let me tell you, running at my pace, when I want to, because I WANT to…is much more fun than being made to do it for a grade.

I have a Lemon-Blueberry bar recipe to share with you soon….

I have a book review in my drafts that I’m still working on, look for that coming soon…

and at some point I will share a tutorial for a homemade iPod/iPhone arm band for running, walking, mowing the lawn, and what have you!

So, be looking for those posts coming to you soon!!



Back to School; 7 Quick Takes

Happy Friday, and Happy Back-to-School!! I’ve been slacking recently in my posting, I apologize for that! School started this week, and I am so happy with my decision to switch schools, and majors. I can already tell that this year is going to be fantastic! As for this post pulling double duty, it is 1.) Meant to wish you all a Happy back to school, and 2.) 7 Quick takes. I’m doing another themed 7QT hope you don’t mind : )

1.) I am officially a student of The University of Michigan (Flint). I love the campus! I have a free gym membership to the rec center on campus, there is a lovely little cafe within walking distance, and best of all…. I have friends on this campus. People that I’ve known for years and years. More than anything I’m excited to know people on campus!

2.) I mentioned the free gym membership…I fully intend to take advantage of this. My goal, and I’m telling you this so that you can hold me accountable to it, is to be able to run ten miles by this time next year. Every year here in Flint we have this big 10 Mile road race–The Crim. I’ve walked a 5k, and my long term goal is running the 10 Mile. So, on the days I have class I will be going down to school a few hours early to start working out. If anyone knows of a good plan for beginning runners I would love to have your advice!!

3.) I have a new major. I am now a Clinical Psychology major. This means that my ultimate goal is to become a Therapist…more specifically a Christian Counselor. I have a long road ahead of me, but I’m trusting that God will provide, and carry me through!

4.) My class for this semester is Abnormal Psychology, and I’m really looking forward to it. This class is meant to take us inside the mind and how it works. We will be covering all of the disorders, syndromes, and malfunctions…what causes them, how the work, and how to treat them. We will also begin taking a look a research practices, statistical research, and case studies….I’m so excited for this class.

5.) I went back to school shopping today….new jeans, and some adorable leopard print flats. I’ve NEVER owned anything that was leopard print, so this is a bit of a leap for my and my wardrobe…I’ve had these shoes for about two hours, and I haven’t taken them off….I think we have a winner!!

6.) URGENT PRAYER REQUEST!!! Please pray for a family from our church. The grandfather of a friend of mine walked away from the senior living apartments where he has been living. He suffered a stroke around Easter time, but seems to have been in good health since then. They believe that he is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. He has been missing for almost 72 hours now. Search and rescue teams have been working tirelessly to find him, but his family is frantic. Please please pray that he is safe, that he is found, and that all will be well. Thank you so much.

7.) As always, I’m linking up with Jen and the others at Conversion Diary….go check it out!!