Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Photo, Snap, Shot

During the library reading challenge this past Winter, I discovered the Kiki Lowenstein Scrap-N-Craft Mystery books by Joanna Campbell Slan.  The series quickly made it to my favorite reads list.  As soon as book number 3 became available in the library's system, I placed my hold.  Monday,  "Photo, Snap, Shot" was placed upon that glorious hold cart just for me.  I could swear brilliant light shone upon this brand new unread copy as I approached.  The yet uncreased cover of the the book made me feel as though I'd won a prize.  My selection was checked out and I was on my way home in no time, hoping for some free time to read.  There is much happening around me at the moment, unfinished projects, incomplete chores, and general every day activities to accomplish, yet I simply cannot fully apply my focus to the aforementioned thoughts and tasks.  No, I'm distracted by the need to absorb the latest mystery in the life of Kiki Lowenstein and her fellow cast of characters!  

Where does the local Book Addicts Anonymous group meet?
Are you reading any good books right now?  What's your favorite old/new book series?  Have I tempted anyone into checking out this book series yet?  If so, check out the author's website for more details...

My week hasn't gone as planned so far, so I'm hoping to catch up on the blogs I read this afternoon!
Happy Wednesday!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Renew Reuse Recycle

Were you aware that Earth Day took place this past Thursday, April 22nd?  Going green is a big movement in our modern day existence.  Why must we do our best to protect our environment and produce less waste in this world?  The John Denver song says it best, "plant a tree for your tomorrow..."  Now, I'm not telling you that you need to go out and plant a tree today.  What I'm intending to impart is that by preserving the world we live in, we can ensure that our children have a healthy planet to live on for years to come.  Renew, reuse, and recycle as often as possible.

In honor of Earth Day, I would like to share one of the ways that I accomplish the triple R.  

Behold, the plastic cases where my bareMinerals makeup once resided.
I saved the little containers and washed them with dish soap and warm water.

Now here they are again...  only now they are being reused!  

In fact, you will find two other items that were also given renewed life.  As a scrapbooker and crafter, these former makeup, candy, and office supply containment devices are very handy for holding my tiny embellishments.  Leftover project glitter will be placed in the cases with a "sifter" to be reused at a later date.  I can label the cases or leave them as is.  Not a crafter?  These would also come in in handy to store a few pairs of earrings, trinkets, safety pins, or loose change.  They also fit conveniently in your purse.  What a simple way to recycle!  What other things could you use these items for?  

What ways have you been know to Renew, Reuse, or Recycle?  What ways do you preserve the world we live in?  How have you "gone green?"  Do you think we need improvement, are doing well, or are in need of major help when it comes to preserving our planet today?  Happy Belated Earth Day!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Post 101: Winners

Thank you to everyone who celebrated 100 posts with me on Monday!
I'm considering another prize give away on my 1 year blog anniversary, May 12, 2010.  I'll keep you posted.  Until then, please keep following CMOMProductions and check out this week's winners below!

Winners were selected via True Random Number Generator at approximately 11:45am today!

...drum roll please... has selected the winner of the All of Me Melinda Marie cd...
Congrats to T. Anne!!!

True Random Number Generator  3Powered by RANDOM.ORG has selected the winner of the Crafty Post-it note holder and pen set...
Congrats to Jody Hedlund!!!

True Random Number Generator  7Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Winners please contact me at...  melindamarie at melindamarie dot com
or leave a comment and your email address below!

Thanks again to all of my followers and blog readers!

Please Note:  Random Generator's max number was designated as 10, however when transferred to blogger it is showing as 100.  Clearly, the numbers are low enough to indicate 10 was actually used. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Celebrating 100 Posts

 It's time to CELEBRATE!

Today is post #100 for CMOM Productions!

If you don't already follow CMOMProductions blog, please click "follow" to your right.
Then be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win 1 of 2 fabulous prizes!

Prize #1

Melinda Marie "All of Me" is my first traditional country cd.  
This is the first time that I stepped into the studio to record an album.  Although I have changed drastically in the 10 years since it was released, it's still a glimpse at the person I was at that time.  If you win and aren't a fan of traditional country music, pass it on to a friend of family member who is.

Prize #2 
light blue post-its inside

the back
Presenting a crafty CMOM Productions post-it note holder!  I learned how to make this simple craft from Kerry's paper crafting blog.  The note holder, and matching pen, featured in the photos is prize #2 today! 

A random number for each prize (first comment left is #1 and so on) will be chosen via  Please check back on Wednesday, April 21st to find out if you are a winner!  
Good luck!!!

...Another part of today's celebration...

While I was on my blog vacation, I got a chance to accomplish a few simple goals.  One of those goals just happens to be a revamped website.  As today is a special day, I thought it would be the perfect time to unveil the new look for you, my blog followers. 

...drum roll please...

What do you think?
Are you ready to win a prize?
Thanks to all of you who read this CMOMProductions blog!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Self Imposed Pressures

How many of you live your life with self imposed pressures?  I know I do.  Do you see all of those shining trophies in the distance and start racing full speed ahead to grab them up?  When I decide to take on a task, I often put a large amount of pressure on myself to complete it.  However, I don't always stop there.  I have some issues with the desire to pull things off without a hitch.  Perfectionist?  Yeah, sometimes.  Does this magnificent goal of perfect completion always happen?  Of course not!  Life happens.

When I say life happens, I simply mean that distractions are everywhere in this world.  I find them to be very frustrating at times, yet they also come in the form of fun.  Let's name a few of these distractions today...

Not fun:  kids whining, household items breaking, injury to oneself, work of any kind, etc.   
Fun:  cuddling with the kids, books, movies, music, a night out with the hubby, hobbies, etc.

At times these distractions can result in tantrums meltdowns having a bad day.  I've had a lot of few of these moments myself.  Does this mean that I should give up?  No!  Should I let those self imposed pressures get the best of me?  No!  Should I keep striving to git'r done and do my best?  YES!

Throw of the shackles of your own self imposed pressures today.  Ignore those unnecessary distractions for the moment.  Do what you need to do and put forth your best effort.  If it's not perfect or you have to take a break to handle what life has placed on your lap (hopefully it's not your soda), don't worry about it.  Do what you need to do and don't be too hard on yourself.  Remember, life happens!

What are some of your self imposed pressures and/or tasks?  What shining trophy are you racing towards?  Your worst distractions?  Your best distractions?  Do you want to win 1 of 2 prizes next week?  Well then ask yourself this last question... Are you planning to stop back here for my 100th blog post on April 19th?  


Post #99 in the count up to 100!
Be sure to leave a comment on post #100 for a chance to win 1 of 2 prizes!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Life Lessons: Report Card Woes

Before I get to the main focus of my post today, I would like to direct your attention to It's So Very Cheri's latest give-a-way!  Cheri has some great posts, so check her out if you haven't yet.  I'd also like to say a big THANK YOU to Cheri for the beautiful set of necklace tiles that I won via Diane Estrella's blog!  THANKS to Diane too!


Whether it's peeling carrots for the first time or dealing with someone you love letting you down, life lessons are everywhere.  Simple challenges can leave us feeling confident and give us a great boost of self esteem, but those are just the easy tasks.  At times it's hard to handle the learning curves that are thrown our way, but I've found it's even more difficult to see my children paddling through those rough waters.  Our latest lesson has fallen onto my oldest son, O, as well as my husband and me.

O is a very smart little man.  I realize that as his Mom, this doesn't come across as strongly as it would if I was an objective party, but I promise this to be the truth.  O has always performed above his grade level (and still is).  During March is Reading Month, my son was among the top readers of his elementary school.  He consistently meets and exceeds the goals placed before him.  It is this fact that caused us some concern when his last report card was received.

When the white envelope came home from school, it never crossed my mind that we would find anything but excellence.  In fact we fell into that category in every area... except for one.  We discovered that O was "experiencing difficulty" in... writing.  I emailed O's teacher right away and our parent/teacher conference took place less than a week later.

With this report card grade being noted, many of you might be surprised to learn that O is in an advanced writing group in his class.  In fact, I assist two days a week to monitor and help these kids.  Knowing this extra piece of information, you might have a few questions as to how a student in a higher learning group would be unable to excel in this area.  Trust me, I was asking the same questions.  What happened here?!?

Many of you may be aware that young elementary students are often tested in their areas of skill to determine their final report card grade.  As the writing "test" was given, the students were expected to meet the criteria of 5 star sentences.  On this particular day, my son decided that he wasn't interested in taking his time or doing his best.  He chose to rush through and not correct the mistakes he made in his haste to finish (so that he could read for fun).  The problem is that my son is bored with writing and although he has proven he is capable of producing 5 star sentences, he doesn't want to consistently do his best work.  Therefore, his lack of care led to a "experiencing difficulty" grade.  His teacher did however make us aware that O is doing work meant for the grade level above his own.

While we discussed the issue with his teacher, O quickly admitted to all 3 of us that he knew he hadn't done his best and could have fixed things during his test.  In return, my husband and I made him aware of what needed to change beyond his grade... his attitude towards writing.  To try and remedy the situation we determined that the following few weeks would result in no tv or video games.  A much yearned for end of the school year reward was put into jeopardy as well.

Now the lesson in this for O should be clear.  Always do your best!  If you don't try your hardest, you won't achieve your goals and may lose what's important to you as a result.

As for me, I am learning something else.  My lesson in this situation is that sometimes I need to let my children fail.  I can tell my sons what's best for them and encourage them along the way, but I can't make them do what needs to be done.  There will be moments in life when they will need to learn the hard way.  At this moment, I have to let go.  It's up to O to decide if his end of the year reward is worth working for.  If he doesn't do his best, he will be disappointed.  My job as his Mom is to let him learn this lesson in his own way.  Whatever O chooses to do, I'll be there to help him understand the positive or negative consequences of our actions or inactions.  Either way, it will involve a hug and all the love a Mom can give her son.

What lessons have you learned lately?  Have you learned any good lessons from or through your children?  Do you feel that you are constantly learning?  Share one of your special life lessons.


Post #98 in the count up to 100!
Be sure to leave a comment on post #100 for a chance to win 1 of 2 prizes!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Signs of Spring

Signs of Spring are upon us!  The snow has melted, the green grass is slowly starting to appear, and the stems of flowers unbloomed are beginning to poke through the ground.  Although the breezes may still be cool, the temperatures are beginning to rise.  

One of the surest signs that Spring has sprung is the number of schools that are taking a break.  I cannot deny that I enjoy this part of the season immensely.  Today I am blessed to be enjoying my day with my sons and friends due to the school break.

I must admit that Spring felt more real for me with the announcement of a nearby movie drive-in reopening for the season.  Just the thought of it made my eyes sparkle a little brighter.  With all the signs around us, I can't help but smile.  

Whether you enjoy sprucing up your garden or just love soaking up the warm sunshine without wearing a winter coat, it's clear that Spring has stepped into the spotlight.  Isn't it lovely?

How do you feel about Spring?  Are you dreading those April showers?  Looking forward to May flowers?  Has your countdown to Summer days already begun?  Do you  have any big plans for the Spring season?


Post #97 in the count up to 100!
Be sure to leave a comment on post #100 for a chance to win 1 of 2 prizes!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Falling In Love With Characters

Over the many years that I've been reading, I find that I'm often falling in love with a bunch of characters.  As a young girl, I enjoyed reading about Stan and Jan Berenstain's grizzly creations, the Berenstain Bears.  I loved Mama, Papa, Sister, and Brother as though they were practically an extension of my real family.

As I grew older, I admit that I started getting a little more girly with my thoughts.  When I read, and watched the movie, Anne of Green Gables, I developed a crush on Gilbert Blythe.  Throughout many mysteries, I was often torn between brother detectives Frank and Joe Hardy.  Today, I fully understand Bella's Jacob vs Edward dilemma, except that I love Jacob the best.  

I grew up identifying with and wanting to be like strong female characters.  My admiration for Anne Shirley, Nancy Drew, Jo March, Elizabeth Wakefield, Caddie Woodlawn, and many others has not faded to this day.  I have added other characters to the list since becoming an adult, such as Princess Mia Thermopolis, Kiki Lowenstein, and Alice Cullen to name a few.

Stories are nothing without the literary heroes and villians portrayed within the words.  As a writer, I want to create a character that is remembered and loved.  Feeling connected to those carrying a story is a factor that can make or break your reader's interest.  With this in mind, I'm asking myself a very important question.  Am I falling in love with the characters in my WIP?  Would others fall in love with my characters?

What are some of your favorite characters (as a child & today)?  If you are a writer, do you ask yourself those same questions as you write?  If you are not a writer (then of course you must be a reader), what makes you fall in love with the characters of your favorite stories?


My Reading Challenge Update:
Blackout BINGO (entire sheet) Completed:  3/16/10
Automatic Prize Received With 2nd Bingo:  Window Scraper with library logo
Prizes Won:  $20 Meijer Gift Card
Total Books Read: 16/16
Challenge Ended:  March 31, 2010

Books Read (in no special order):
The Gift by Cecelia Ahern
Unconventional by J.J. Hebert
Austenland: A Novel by Shannon Hale
The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus
The Nanny Returns by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus
Silver Bells by Debbie Macomber
Vision In White by Nora Roberts
Real Life & Liars by Kristina Riggle
It's All About Him: Finding The Love Of My Life by Denise Jackson
Scrap Everything by Lesley Gould
Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner
Paper, Scissors, Death: A Kiki Lowenstein Scrap-N-Craft Mystery by Joanna Campbell Slan
Cut, Crop, & Die: A Kiki Lowenstein Scrap-N-Craft Mystery by Joanna Campbell Slan
Christmas With Anne by L.M. Montgomery
Between Sisters by Kristin Hannah
Everything I Needed To Know About Being A Girl I Learned From Judy Blume by Jennifer O'Connell (& various authors)

Favorite Book(s) Read & Other Comments:  I discovered a new book series by Joanna Campbell Slan!  I wasn't able to put either book down without constantly thinking about whodunit!  I'm looking forward to May when the 3rd book in the series is released.  Go check out Paper, Scissors, Death  and Cut, Crop, & Die!

I really enjoy this Winter reading challenge.  Reading 16 books in the amount of time given was a great goal, but adding in the large number of new to me authors added to it.  All but 1 of the writers were new to me this year and gave me the opportunity to open myself up to great stories.


Post #96 in the Count Up to 100!