Recent articles

10 Ways to Turn Your Pessimist Into a Positive Thinker

“What was the best part about school,” Diana Stanwell* asked her 10-year old son, Miles*. “Nothing,” he grunted. “Come on,” she pushed, “there must be one good thing that happened.” “I didn’t die,” he shrugged before chucking his backpack into the trunk.

As an optimist, Diana sometimes struggles with the fact that Miles sees his glass as half empty. He is at the top of his class academically, has loads of friends and shines on the baseball diamond, but his constant negativity concerns her.

Luckily, there’s a bright side for Debbie Downers. According to a study in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, genetics only account for 25 percent of a person’s risk of becoming a pessimist. That leaves kids like Miles with a 75 percent chance to break out of their funks. And researchers have found that we can retrain our brains to become more positive. Read more


Fentanyl – The drug that’s killing our teens

Eden Lal was 14 when she tried marijuana. Before long, the Calgary-based teen was using it every day to escape her tumultuous life. Her father was convicted of molesting her older sister and her mother struggled through poverty and alcoholism while trying to raise four kids. It wasn’t long before the high from marijuana wasn’t strong enough to mask Lal’s pain, so she turned to more powerful drugs including fentanyl, an opioid that’s killed 665 Canadians between 2009 and 2014, according to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

During her worst moments of drug addiction, Lal would disappear from home for days, sleeping on various people’s couches, in crack houses or on the street.  Her disease ended up taking over every moral, value and boundary she ever had, Lal’s mother, Vanisha Breault, explains. It was heart-breaking. Every single day I waited for that call, “the one phone call every parent fears.”

Here’s what you need to know about fentanyl and what to do if your teen is trying it. Read more


 mother and two children at eilean donan castle in scotland

To my children, from your mother with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome

Dear kids,

My favourite part of every day happens long after you’ve fallen asleep. I quietly slip into your rooms and watch you doze. A smile creeps over my face as I catch sight of your legs dangling over the edge, your arms clutched tightly around a stuffed toy. I don’t pick you up and rock you back and forth as I would like. Sadly, my elbows won’t allow me to do that (and you’d think it was totally creepy). Instead, I slowly bend down (if my body will let me) and place a soft kiss on your warm, smooth cheeks. Some nights, when my back won’t allow me to bend, I kiss my hand and press it lightly to your cheek. When I struggle to walk, I hobble as close as I can on my crutches and blow my kiss in the air, hoping it doesn’t miss its mark along the journey.  Read more


It took me 26 years to get diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome

In the early days of our relationship, my then boyfriend (now husband of 14 years) would laugh when I stumbled during our walks. He assumed I did it to get closer to him. “You’re such a klutz,” he’d tease. As the stumbles became worse, his laughter turned to concern. We’d be out for a walk when my ankle would suddenly invert, the bone hitting the ground before the rest of me followed. Sometimes I could catch myself before the inevitable fall. Other times I’d hit the ground. Hard.  Read more


About Shandley

Shandley began her first “novel” at age 10. Her biggest (and only) fan was her younger sister who constantly begged her to finish the next chapter of her suspenseful tween thriller. Unfortunately for her and the cliff-hanging protagonist named Beau, Shandley decided to pursue more realistic stories about community events. She  interviewed family members, friends and anyone else who was willing to talk. She had decided to become a journalist.

Over the past 22 years, Shandley made that dream a reality, writing articles for top magazines like Chatelaine, InBetween, Time Out New York Kids, Parents Canada and Today’s Parent. She’s also contributed stories to online magazines like AKA Mom,,, and

In her spare time, Shandley has penned three books: Hey Baby! What’s Your Name? A Canadian Guide to Naming Your Baby (John Wiley and Sons), Under Your Nose (co-authored with her mother, Judith McMurray and published by Firefly Books) and the recently released On The Reef (another collaboration with her mother, also published by Firefly Books).


Stuff My Kids Say
Guess what! My kids are funny. And I mean crazy funny. I promise I’m not just saying that ’cause I’m their Mom (well, maybe a little bit). Read my blog and find out for yourself. I guarantee you’ll laugh, or at least chuckle under your breath. And if you don’t, there’s something wrong with you. Seriously! You may want to see a doctor.