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Monday, November 19, 2012

Mind Over Matter (M.O.M.) Books - MOM Books

Mind Over Matter (M.O.M.) Books - MOM Books

Interview: Spotlight with Kasey Crawford Kellem, Creator of M.O.M. Books - Page 2 - Books - Blogcritics

Interview: Spotlight with Kasey Crawford Kellem, Creator of M.O.M. Books - Page 2 - Books - Blogcritics

Squashie-Dipity: Mind Over Matter- Believe

Squashie-Dipity: Mind Over Matter- Believe: M.O.M. (Mind Over Matter) are wonderful children's books that are written by Kasey Crawford Kellem, illustrated by Janet Hill, and publis...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Love your Country

Love your Country and be proud to be an American! I certainly do! My favorite part of July is going to Holiday Valley and seeing the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra play all of the military theme songs. While they are performing, the conductor asks for the members and retirees of each branch to stand and be acknowledged during their theme song. Not an eye is dry during that beautiful gesture of appreciation to all of the military troops. I often look to the sky and thank God for the freedoms and pleasures I have because I live in the USA!!!

As a counselor and former teacher, I am grateful for the opportunity to say the Pledge of Allegiance daily as a part of our morning announcements. All students and staff are expected to stand and most often do. A few years ago, I had one student sent to me after he refused to stand during the pledge. I was less than pleasant to him and let him know the very freedom he is trying to exercise is due to his being an American. The student was obstinate and I was not giving in about his need to stand for the pledge. I was very vocal and demanding and gave, what I felt, was an award winning speech to him on why he should value what the flag represents. I was gratefully surprised that no parent or administrator admonished me for my harshness towards this young man's act of defiance. I received Kudos from his teacher and the several staff members who worked in my office area and heard my lecture. There are many things I tolerate in this country, but not saying the Pledge of Allegiance in a school, is not one of them!

I am proud to be an American and hope you are, too. Thank you to all who have served or are presently serving in any branch of service in the USA. I am forever grateful for your sacrifices and hard work! God Bless!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Believe you can hit a homerun

Well, my grandfather must have know when he delivered me and named me "Kasey" that I would be a Tomboy and enjoy sports, especially baseball.  In the neighborhood, and when I met people, I was sometimes referred to as "Casey at the Bat," an old children's book character. It fit well when I was growing up as I played softball for many years and was a huge fan of the Cleveland Indians.

A favorite childhood memory is when my father  took me out of school for an opening day game. We rode the rapids down to the bitterly cold stadium and  enthusiastically watched the game while some  moment in history happen on the field.   To this day my neighbor friends have to remind me that I was too young to even know what had happened (some african american manager also played and stole a base or something??) I was in too much awe over the entire scenario to notice such sophisticated details! I returned to school the next day with a note from my mother simply stating, "Please excuse Kasey from school. She was absent yesterday." You can imagine the nun's facial expression as I stood there with my fresh Indians pennant, an Indians program and probably Cracker Jack crumbs still on me.

My grade school softball team won the trophy 3 out of 4 years. The final year they finally separated my teammate, Monica and I and we ended up in playoffs against each other. After many innings, and extra innings, of very competitive play, Monica's team finally won the championship. Still, I was a great player, at least everyone thought I was. I, too, thought I was. I was "Kasey at the Bat!!!" I believed I was great and could hit a homerun without any doubt. I had believers behind me and the belief within me and that was all it took.

It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized otherwise. First was when I reflected back to a basketball camp I attended the summer before 9th grade. I was hot on the courts at my little elementary school so it seemed only natural for the coach to send me off to camp so I could play for my upcoming private all-girls high school. However, at camp I was not the fastest on the court and therefore couldn't get to the hoop in time to make several attempts at a basket. To put it bluntly, I sucked. I put the experience behind me and took to Cross Country and Track in high school, instead.

Then, as an adult, while playing co-ed softball with a number of kids from my neighborhood, my one neighbor approached me in the dugout. She said, "Man, Kasey, when you were a kid, you were hot, you were the best softball player in the neighborhood. Everyone feared you................NOW, you suck!" WOW was she right! I hadn't played for about 10 years and quite frankly, I couldn't hit very far at all. I truly sucked at the game and was eventually made Designated Runner.  I had realized that the only thing that made me good at both sports was my ability to outrun everyone. Once I faced bigger competition at the camp and with adult men, I couldn't outrun their plays. I really didn't hit the ball that far to get my homeruns, I just ran faster than the outfielders could play.

Thank goodness for my belief in myself and the belief from others. Had I realized as a child that the only gift I had was the ability to outrun poor outfielders, I may not have played so well. I am grateful for all of those who also didn't see this and believed in me and my ability to hit homeruns!

Now as a counselor, I get new students coming to my big public school from their  small parochial schools. Their parents tell me what outstanding athletes they are and how their child will be playing varsity sports with us because they are so good. I just can't help but wonder if it's really only that they can outrun the slow players....but hey, I would never destroy what a child believes in him/herself!!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Laugh in the pool

Well the dog days of summer are gone, but the memories still linger! When I am asked how my summer was or what I did over my summer vacation, I immediately smile. My memories are fond and full of fun times, mainly at our pool.

It became an expected weekly event to have pool parties on specific days of the week based on everyone else's work schedule. Mondays, Fridays and Sundays were a weekly given! Ages ranged from 3 to, well, over 3.... Often times it was hard to separate who the kids were and who the adults were. We had chicken fights, swim contests and diving contests. Laughter ensued in all activities whether organized or not!

My older sister, with whom I swam with all of my life, even participated in the diving events for the first time ever! We laughed heartily watching her attempt various acrobatic stunts off of the diving board with little to no grace! We were in stitches watching all of the girls, adults and kids, entertaining us on the diving board while the boys judged their attempts. My father and uncle often times stopped by just to hang out and would laugh heartily at the lighthearted fun going on in the pool. It made their day!

I even had an old friend come over who has been in odd sorts over the years. To see her laughing at the pool really meant a lot to me! The pool can bring out the best in anyone and help people forget their woos.Friends and family members going through divorce, depression, financial losses, etc., seemed to be in good spirits when around our pool!

The children really help make the experience fun!  They have no inhibitions and forget their woos and worries rather quickly. They are resilient and fun-loving and seem to always be looking for ways to keep themselves laugh! They teach us to be young at heart and to laugh at the silly, simple and fun things. We need to never lose our ability to laugh at the little things and the fun times!!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Relax outside

Relaxing outside is one of my favorite  afternoon activities in the summer! I have a hammock and lounge chairs and alternate between them for my afternoon nap. I usually take my snooze between noon and 1:00, right before anyone and everyone comes over to swim and play with me! After that great recharging outdoor nap, I am ready to face the latter part of my day!

I don't know why we ever stopped taking naps in the afternoon. Everyone needs to relax 30-60 minutes each afternoon to refuel for the rest of the day! Why do we stop doing that? I feel so rejuvenated after my afternoon siesta and am rearing and ready to go with all that I will face the rest of the day! Resting outdoors in just an extra bonus. Lying in the sun and catching some light rays while snoozing is very relaxing. Relaxing in the shade with a nice breeze is refreshing! I just can't get enough of the outdoors!

I'll bet if your children just took 30 minutes each afternoon to relax outdoors, in the sun or shade, they would be in better moods, more alert, healthier and just have an overall better day! They would be better prepared for the rest of the day...play time, dinnertime, t-ball, dance, gymnastics, karate.  etc...  Fresh air cleans the soul and refreshes the body! Try it, they'll like it!!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Daydream

Daydreaming is a great way to escape the day. It helps remove us from any present unfriendly circumstance or boredom. Daydreaming allows us to be in control when things in our real world may be out of control. Daydreaming brings to mind the ideal life, lifestyle, relationships and interactions we so desire. Daydreaming gets us through our days!

Daydreaming was what got me through Social Studies classes through most of my education! Sadly, had ADHD and Ritalin been around back in the early 70's I would have been identified and drugged up. Actually, I was just day dreaming most of the time. I was as attentive as could be come Math or Science classes, probably because I was actively involved in those classes. Once I got the the Social Studies lecture classes, I was bored and unchallenged which left me  inattentive and, well, on "Daydream mode."

It makes me wonder how many kids are thought of, diagnosed and/or drugged for ADD/ADHD when in fact they may simply be daydreaming? Maybe their life at home is chaotic and filled with stress. School is a great, safe place to let their minds explore and daydream the ideal life they wish to have at home. Maybe school is the locus of their struggles and daydreaming is their way of escaping the pain, humiliation, bullying, learning issues or other challenges experienced at school. Does anyone ever just ask these inattentive children what they are thinking or what is going on in their minds when they are not attentive in school and why they are not attentive???

Daydreaming is safe. It brings hope to those feeling hopeless. Daydreaming sparks new ideas and creativity. Daydreaming allows one to be in control and shape their future. Daydreaming obliterates the bad guy, rescues the good guy and brings happiness to those involved. Daydreaming is a great outlet for children and people of all ages. God knows I still daydream....only it's in my weekly meetings with other adults where I am bored and unchallenged, leaving me  inattentive and, well, on "Daydream mode."  Somethings never change!!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Love ice cream

Who doesn't love ice cream? Kids and adults alike enjoy a good scoop or two of that sweet treat! For me, the best time of the year is when the local mom and pop ice cream shop opens up usually in May. Because this year's weather in Cleveland has been quite exceptional, our local ice cream shop opened two months earlier!  Just seeing that ice cream store open this year has made remember such fond memories of being a child!

My sister, Anne has a sweet tooth beyond anyone I know. Her daughter, Jackie, has inherited this a bit, too! I got such a kick out of taking all of my nieces to an ice cream-like yogurt store this Spring. I watched as my health conscientious niece, Elie, prepared her tasty treat with fruit and low sugar, low sodium yogurt ice cream. In the mean time, her cousin, Jackie loaded up her cup with the most sugary, multi-flavored yogurt topped with  candy and cereal pieces galore! Luckily, Anne, Jackie and their family live right down the street from their neighborhood ice cream shop! They take a lot of walks to this store and have formed some great childhood memories, as a result!

Recently, my husband and I were at a restaurant that returned to town and located itself in the heart of where I spent a lot of my time as a child. The restaurant was a former home in this town and they had pictures of the neighborhood and former stores throughout the now restaurant. We had been there a few times, but this particular time we were seated in one of the bedrooms. Right above our table was an old picture of the Penguin Ice Cream Shop. I literally started to tear up and cry. My husband couldn't understand me at first until I finally sputtered that my parents took my older sister and I there often after night time cruises in our roadsters and dune buggies. I have such fond memories of getting the lemon ice cream  and the peppermint ice cream, as they were quite unique flavors during that time.

Ice cream brings a family together. It is used at birthday parties, social gatherings and play dates. The memories brought on by enjoying this tasty treat will stay with your children forever. Every child deserves some sweet memories!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Believe in Your Dreams

I dedicate this blog to my dear niece, Jackie Kennedy, who is 11 years old today! Happy birthday, Jackie! Five years ago she was sweet enough to spend a lot of time with me to brainstorm pages for my books.  We spent a few days & nights that summer just brainstorming. I told her my dream and she believed!  But I put the books to rest once the school year began.....


My dream to write children’s books then came to full fruition this past
year as I published my first book, “Believe” and completed the
additional four books in my Mind Over Matter Series. I am still amazed
by how fast the whole process happened once I set my mind to making this
dream a reality. Literally one year ago I shared my idea with my close
friend, Dawn....


I don’t remember stopping to think about the process, time and work that was 
going into the books throughout the next few months. I
was on automatic pilot. Within a few months I hired Jan the artist, Kim
my Graphic Designer, Halo International Publisher and unofficially made
Dawn my manager.  It all just came together. I was on a roll and nothing
was going to stop me from following this dream.


I remember the day I learned from my publisher that I was going to have
to start my own business to sell these books. My head was spinning. I
had been  in education the past 22 years…not business, and more
specifically, not marketing. This was not part of the dream! My dear husband, a successful business
owner for 27 years, saw my distress and immediately took a bottle of
wine, my book notes and me to my Ma’am cave to help me establish my
first (and only) business: Mind Over Matter Books (M.O.M). His advice, support and gentle words helped me quickly integrate this unwanted addition into my dream...and I started to really enjoy it!


In less than one year I have marketed the heck out of the first book, Believe. We have been published in several local newspapers, reviewed by several blog and book sites, interviewed by radio and tv personalities and displayed in several local libraries. We've had a few book signings and have a big book signing on  April 14th at the Avon Library! I have a full business set up in my home office including all the necessary materials for billing, mailing and marketing. I have mastered the art of marketing without ever knowing that would be part a part of my book writing dream!


Now, not all dreams work out exactly like one plans and this has been no exception. My ambitious drive to have LOVE out by Valentines, LAUGH out by April Fools Day, RELAX out by summer and DREAM out by next winter was, well, simply over ambitious and not realistic. But, hey, a girl can dream! LOVE may not get out until next Valentines and I am ok with that. The minor detail I was missing is having the thousands of dollars to go to print for the remaining 4 books. I basically have to sell enough of BELIEVE before I can afford to go to print with the next book. I am ok with that, because I BELIEVE I WILL get all of these books to print and into many hands of the children. 


I have told this story to several of my high school students who have talked about their dreams. I encourage them  to never stop believing they can follow their dream! If you have the drive and ambition, you can make it happen! There may be some roadblocks and challenges, but it is all worth the end product of having reached your dream. My book sits proudly in my high school office as a true testament that anyone can make their dreams come true...as long as they BELIEVE!!! Most importantly, I hope my experience encourages Jackie and all of my family to believe in their dreams and follow them!!


Thank you, Jackie and Team MOM for believing in my dream and helping me reach it! 



Saturday, March 17, 2012

Believe in Good Luck

I'm not  a  good luck fanatic, but I do believe there is some credence to good luck. I don't rub a rabbit's foot, blow on dice before rolling them or have one special lucky number, but I still believe sometimes we are lucky. I wrote this blog for my very Irish BFF, Mary Pat O'Toole. I have spent many St. Paddy's days with her, traveled to Ireland with her and have enjoyed her friendship for over 20 years.  

About a year ago we were playing Keno at a local establishment. We had gone in on a ticket together and selected our numbers accordingly.  We were down to one last number and had two favorites from which to choose. I liked the number 17 because it was my mother's favorite number, the date in which she was buried and my parents anniversary date....ok, and it was Brian Sipes number, too...and he was kinda dreamy back in the 80's.  Mary Pat also liked 17 because that was a birthdate of one of her parents and of course it is the date of St. Paddy's day, her favorite holiday!  We both liked the number 14 due to additional significant dates in our parents' lives. Though I was leaning heavily towards 17, I let my lucky Irish friend pick and she chose 14. Well, 17 would have  gotten us $1000. We settled for the $100 payoff which was basically enough to pay our tab and I reminded her of this not-so-lucky encounter for several weeks. 

Years earlier when  Mary Pat & I  were in Ireland a bird pooped on my new Irish sweater. Given the deposit size I was certain it was a  pterodactyl   that flew over me! I ran into the restroom in hopes to restore my prized possession. An Irish woman next to me at the sink immediately asked, "Is that bird poop?" I unenthusiastically responded with an affirmative to which the woman cackled heavily and loudly. I was miffed to say the least! When she finally came up for air from her obnoxious laughter, she informed me in her Irish brogue that bird poop was good luck. I immediately questioned why, in the vast greenness of Ireland, could I not  just have found a four-leaf clover?

Well, as it turned out, that bird poop WAS good luck! I had three strange, yet wonderful, encounters with money upon my return home. I received an unexpected supplemental paycheck. Bonus! I won a scratch-off lottery for a small amount of money, but hey I won! Bonus! Finally, I received a rare, and I mean RARE, refund from my insurance company! BONUS again! I was lucky, indeed!

So, why not believe in good luck? It can't hurt? There's very little you have to invest in it to believe in it!

Happy St. Paddy's day Everyone! Believe in that good luck!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Laugh at Clowns

I don't remember when exactly it began, but as a child I  collected clowns: ceramics, paintings, music boxes and stuffed dolls.  My mother bought them for me for birthdays and Christmas. My room was covered with clowns. But oddly, my mother feared them. She found clowns creepy and disturbing and most importantly, sad. Once when I was a child I told her that when I grew up I wanted to be a clown and perform in the circus. My mother informed me that clowns lived a very sad life and that their smile was simply painted on. Deep down, they were lonely and sad and away from their families. Kinda ruined that dream real quick. 

However, years later, when I was studying to be a counselor we were asked to write down who we admired and why. I wrote about clowns. I said I admired them because they were able to maintain smiles and fun even though, according to my mother, they were really sad and lonely. I felt, at the time, that was a real sense of resiliency and because of that, I admired clowns.  I learned through my professor's lesson that often times the person we admire and the characteristics for which we admire them becomes a part of us and who we try to emulate in life. I could certainly relate as that was a somewhat turbulent time in my life, though none of my colleagues or students would ever have known it. I came to school with a smile on my face and was always trying to be the class clown...even as the teacher. 

Though I stopped collecting clowns once I became an adult, I still kept a few of the clowns my mother gave me. At times when I am feeling a bit nostalgic or melancholy, I turn to the clown on my nightstand and listen to the music box melody. It reminds me to smile and laugh despite whatever has me saddened at the moment. After all, the clowns did it for centuries. I certainly can do it!

If your children aren't creeped out by clowns like my mother was, maybe a little clown decoration in their room can be a subtle reminder to keep on smiling and laughing despite the challenges and obstacles they are facing. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love Your Family

Blood is thicker than water. If I had a dollar for every time I heard
that statement from my mother, well, I probably would have spent it. My mother
came from a small Italian family and they were the only ones in America,
as the rest were in Italy. Her parents died when she was a young adult
but she was very close to her brother and his family. She ingrained in
us from the get-go that no matter what, family is always more important
than friends. You can’t pick your family and you can’t oust them out
of your lives when you disagree with something they have done or said.
It is because of my mother that my sisters and I are so close despite
infrequent differences and occasional poor choices. (guilty).

We had a very nice upbringing but somehow, I can at least speak for
myself, put a lot of “fun” into some dysfunctional adult choices. No
matter how crazy one of us got, the others were always able to pull us
all back in again to regroup. Ultimately, no matter what happens, we are
always able to find humor in it, as well.  I can’t imagine my life
without my sisters and father. Our love is unconditional and I feel it
gets stronger over the years due to our ability to sift through various
elements of our lives.

It is important to instill in our children early on that their family
is important and they should love each member even when they may make
some mistakes along the way. Parents should role model this
unconditional love even when they are having problems with each other.
Harsh words towards or about a spouse or other family member in front of
children is unnecessary and often harmful to the children.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Maggie Project: Mind Over Matter Books

The Maggie Project: Mind Over Matter Books: Mind Over Matter (M.O.M.) Books are geared towards preschoolers to help them learn how to be resilient. Life comes at us fast and children h...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

Love snowmen

      How can we not giggle and love the sights of snowmen!!! I get a kick out of driving down the roads and seeing the creative snowmen displayed in people's front yards. The creativity ranges with various accessories including hats, scarves, stick arms, carrot noses, etc....
     Each year, my sister's kids display their idea of their family as snowmen. They range in size from tall to real small representing the two parents and four young kids. It brings me to giggles when I see it! My fondest memory was making a snowman with my father when I was older. He was certainly creative and thought outside the box often. He rolled one large snowball making the head only. He left it in the middle of the yard, decorated it accordingly as a face with a hat and a scarf wrapped around the bottom. In front of the head were two stick arms with mittens attached...as if the snowman had melted slightly. It looked pretty funny and got a number of cars to stop in front of our home for weeks!
     This winter I encourage you to get out and make snowmen with your children. Be spontaneous and get the kids out of the house! be creative and step outside of the box with your snowman decoration! Let the kids make the family members including snowdogs, snowcats.....Have fun and enjoy the snow!