The Bathroom

Deciding to tile the bathroom was a big project to take on, but the pay off was so worth it! It was time consuming and took all of us at some point to complete. My dad and Matt put in the backer board. My mom and I build a shower pan with cement. My dad and Matt did most of the tiling. My mom and I did the grout work. It was a TEAM effort!


Painting and Flooring

Once the house was drywalled, Matt got to texture the walls. Texturing the walls is a messy job! Once the texture was done, I got to paint!


After painting we laid laminate flooring. There was a definite learning curve when learning how to lay laminate flooring. However, I could not be more happy with the end result! The floors brought even more light into the house and it now feels open, spacious, and welcoming! After the flooring was in place, my mom started to add the molding.


The Drywall

Hanging drywall was rewarding, but very, very tiring. Each room came alive as we kept adding another sheet of drywall. The house also started to brighten up as we added the drywall.

As you can see, the house is taking shape.

The Interior


Hello there! I now want to invite you inside the house so you can see what is going on.

During Thanksgiving break we were able to start installing insulation. The insulation that goes under the house was done my husband. He also did the roof and the ceilings. I worked on the insulation in the walls. As we insulated, the house became quieter and much warmer.

Overall, insulation was an icthy, nasty mess. Fortunately, the process went by quickly because my husband worked fast to get the job done.

Once the insulation was done and we passed our inspection, we moved on to drywall. This is when the house starts to come together. The house also became a lot brighter with the drywall hung.




Burgh is ready to move in…


Royal Dragonfly Book Award…1st Place Winner


In early December, I received 1st place in the Cultural Diversity category of the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards. The award has a special place in my heart because the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards is for all ages! So for a children’s book to place in a category was a huge accomplishment.

Thank you Royal Dragonfly Book Award team for recognizing Just Indian.

Here is a link to learn more about the Dragonfly Book Awards!

A Press Release by Hemet Unified School District

Here is the wonderful press release written by Hemet Unified School District. It was such an honor to be recognized by the school district!

Hamilton Teachers Become Published Authors

With the end of the year quickly approaching, many people are beginning to think of a New Year’s Resolution. Some people want to put more of an effort into living a healthier lifestyle, run a marathon, or even write a book. Two teachers at Hamilton K-8 School refused to wait for the New Year to accomplish one of their goals, which was to get their books published.

Jackie Neypes is a kindergarten through first grade teacher at Hamilton. Neypes has always been interested in writing. Her book, Just Indian was published in April of this year. Just Indian is a story about a Native American boy who is struggling with negative stereotypes and how he overcomes this adversity.

Neypes said the story came from a series of dreams she had about Whale Beach, Tahoe. She is a registered Washoe Tribe member and wanted to use this story to help bring traditional stories into the modern era. The book won first place in cultural diversity from the Royal Dragonfly Awards and a bronze medal in the Moonbeam Awards in the children’s Mind-Body-Spirit/ Self-Esteem category.

Neypes, a former Hamilton graduate, says she hopes students can take a lot away from her book and her experience in getting it published. She teaches her students to not give up, and not to let little things get in your way or slow you down.

Kris Wood is a fourth grade teacher at Hamilton School. Wood’s book, From Cage to Couch was published in October. The book describes Kris’ and her husband’s journey in adopting various animals in a year. The main animal discussed in the book, Chief, is a beagle that was used for animal testing and their journey to rehabilitate him and giving him a forever home. Wood said the process was challenging because they had to teach Chief simple tasks such as eating from a bowl.

Wood said she heard about 40 beagles that were being shipped from Spain after a laboratory closed. These beagles went to The Beagle Freedom Project, which is where they rescued Chief. Wood said this experience has taught her many things like compassion, patience, and even the importance of research on animal testing.

Wood said the process of getting the book was challenging. It was sent to many publishers and after four years it was finally published. Wood said there was a point that she felt like giving up and even stopped sending it out. However, she knew she wanted to get her story out for informational purposes and to inform people about The Beagle Freedom Project. She is very thankful for the non-profit and what it has done that she is donating 10% of her profits to the animal rescue program.

Thank you Jackie and Kris for sharing your stories and for teaching the importance of perseverance to your students!”

Book Reading at Idyllwild Library


Over Thanksgiving break, I was able to host a book reading of Just Indian at the Idyllwild Library. The experience was a learning curve and I am glad to have such a supportive community. The event took place in the front room of library on a rainy day.


I had a small turnout and I was able to answer some really great questions. Here are two questions that stuck out to me during my Q&A.

What inspired you to write the story Just Indian?

My inspiration started back in college. I had a dream about a lake with huge boulders in the water. When I did some research on my dream, I found out I was dreaming about Whale Beach, Lake Tahoe. Later, after I moved back to Anza, I was inspired by my students. This inspiration turned into an ongoing dream and the dreams revealed the story I was to write. I wrote the story to inspire my students to find who they are and to realize that they all have a special gift to give the world.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Originally when I was asked this question, I said that I had no idea I was ever going to be a writer. However, after the event, my mother reminded me about how I always talked about writing stories when I was little. When she said that, it reminded me about a little journal I had when I was little and I would fill it with poetry. My dream of being a writer was always there, but my adult mind was setting limits on my abilities, which made me think that I never thought about becoming an author.


I would love to do my Library book reads. If you know anyone who would like to schedule a book reading and signing please let them know I am available and pass along the information.


Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards

At the beginning of November, I was honored by the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award team with an award for Just Indian. The lovely event was in Traverse City, Michigan and was beyond my expectations. The ceremony was intimate, personal, and well put together. My mother and I made a whole weekend out the event and explored the quaint town.



Just Indian received the Bronze Medal for Mind, Body, Spirit, and Self Esteem. This was such a fitting category for Just Indian because the story displays the confidence that young boy gains after his amazing journey to Whale Beach, Lake Tahoe.




“The Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards are intended to bring increased recognition to exemplary children’s books and their creators, and to support childhood literacy and life-long reading. The Awards recognize and reward the best of these books and bring them to the attention of parents, booksellers, librarians – and to children themselves.”

Congratulations to all the amazing authors!! 30947130622_91ef339c3b_k.jpg

The Exterior

I have not posted about the house since September! As we bring 2016 to a close it is amazing to reflect back on all the progress we have made on the house. The last time I posted about the house, the house looked somewhat like this…


In this picture you can see that my husband and father have roofed the house. My husband is standing at the top of the house showing off his amazing work. The roof is multicolored shingles.

I am so excited to share the progress with the house with you today. To begin with, we had to wrap the house in Tyvek house wrap. This is a weather barrier for the house.


My father invested in pump jacks in order to work on the second floor. The pump jacks are the tall post you see in the front of the house. In this picture they are bolted onto the side of the house, but later on you will see that they are mounted to the top of the house so that they do not block any portion of the house.

Here is a close up of the Tyvek wrap, window, and grey trim work. That is my mother in the picture, who made sure that all of the windows were installed straight.


This day we had a whole palette of hardie board delivered to the house. This is what we used for the siding on the house.



In order to make life easier, we painted the siding on that palette as it was hung. So the green color you see is not primer, it is the actual color of the house.




Here are the first few pieces of siding that we hung!


As I took a break and went to take in all the hard we had accomplished, my mom snapped this awesome picture. I am sitting on the rock and Matt is sitting on the pump jack scaffolding.


Here is the sunset to the end of the perfect day…




This is the day I decided to try to get on the pump jacks. I lasted about a whole 5 minutes…


This is my husband sitting at the back of the house.



Here is the house from afar at a high point on the property.


Here is my husband, dog, and myself on Christmas Day in front of the closed up house!




Native American Heritage Month

Hello All!

November is Native American Heritage month and it is always a focus in my classroom. When lesson planning for Native History it is so important to focus on the facts and steer clear of the stereotypes that seem to loom over Native Culture this time of year.

I highly suggest this book for ANYONE! While it may say “for Kids” I can advise you that if you know little to nothing about the Native culture this is a great start. I have been lesson planning with this book for 4 years now and it is such a great foundation to understanding Native History.

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Keep in mind that this month is about Native Heritage and that heritage of each tribe is different and unique. If you live near any reservations, reach out to local Tribal Office and get more information about your local tribe.

Here is a link to the current 566 federally recognized tribes in America.

Post with any questions you may have about Native American Heritage Month.