Category Archives: Betterment

Canadian author aims to break world record

Spreading some good news today! I had a chance to meet Miriam Laundry last summer and wrote about it here. My kids and I also had a chance to read her book and feed Shreddy some of our CAN’TS. Well, now she’s going to try to break a world record! Read on to find out how you can get involved!

Best-selling writer Miriam Laundry hopes to raise awareness about children’s mental health

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. – Her first children’s book has already landed on the best-sellers list and now St. Catharines author Miriam Laundry has set her sights on hitting a new milestone.

Laundry, author of the recently released I Can … Believe in Myself, is aiming to set a new Guinness World RecordTM for “Most Children Reading With An Adult (multiple locations)” — but she’s going to need a lot of readers to join her in the attempt.

The record is currently held by Jumpstart, which broke the record with 238,620 children on September 20, 2007. Laundry’s record attempt will take place on May 7, 2014 over a 24-hour period, with a goal of 300,000 children reading I Can … Believe in Myself, with an adult.

“My hope is to raise awareness to the issues of children’s mental health and the power of positive children’s books. Not only is this attempt a fun way to do this, but it’s also a way to reach people around the world,” says Mrs. Laundry.

In addition to the record breaking attempt, Laundry is also using the event as opportunity to launch her ‘Healthy Minds’ campaign, which focuses on helping children understand the power of their thoughts while bringing awareness to children’s mental health.

I Can … Believe in Myself  is Laundry’s first book and comes directly from lessons she wanted to teach her children after her 17-year-old niece who was living with a mental illness took her own life.

Laundry, whose youngest child was just days old at the time, turned to writing to help deal with her family’s emotional loss and set her sights on writing books that promote positive self-esteem.

“We need to do more as a society to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health disorders so that we can improve care for people living with them,” Mrs. Laundry says. “I’m hoping my books and this world record attempt will help get young people thinking and talking about these issues in a positive way.”

Laundry Books is a proud supporter of mental health awareness, with a portion of every book sale being donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Here are a few quick stats about mental health in Canada:

  • 70% of mental health problems have their onset during childhood or adolescence. (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health)
  • Mental illness is increasingly threatening the lives of our children; with Canada’s youth suicide rate the third highest in the industrialized world. (Canadian Mental Health Association)
  • In Canada, only 1 out of 5 children who need mental health services receives them. (Canadian Mental Health Association)
  • At least 1 in 3 Canadians experience problems with their mental health each year. (Canadian Mental Health Association)

To register for the Laundry Books Guinness World RecordTM Attempt, click here.

About the Author:

Miriam Laundry writes books that empower children to make choices that promote confidence, happiness an responsibility. She lives in St. Catharines, Ont. with her husband, Mark Laundry, and their four children.

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Boundaries in an Overconnected World

The title of this book grabbed me. It took hold of all the swirling thoughts and buzzing phones and beeping computers and spun them around in my head until I could only see blurred lines from all the chaotic movement.

What I wanted to do was draw a circle around my brain just inside the vortex of buzzing and beeping and ringing and people vying for my attention and call that my boundary and force all of the noise out.

That’s what I pictured when I read the title of the book.Boundaries cover_a

And that’s what the book is all about. How to draw that line, create that boundary, stop the noise.

Anne Katherine authored another book called Boundaries: Where You End and I Begin, which I now of course have to read because it’s the basis for the concept of boundaries.

And if there’s something I’m not good at, it’s creating and maintaining boundaries.

On page 73, Anne Katherine succinctly describes my biggest issue with boundaries (or lack thereof):

“Yikes! You Mean I Have to Set Each of My Boundaries Myself?

As with any new skill, boundary setting can feel awkward at first. Many of us fear we’ll lose a friend if we set a boundary. But think about the cost to the friendship if you don’t set a boundary. Over time, the friendship is likely to fade anyway if your boundaries continue to be trampled (or if you keep trampling on someone else’s).”

To get to the meat of Boundaries in an Overconnected World, it’s a fantastic read, straightforward, serious and relevant. Though I enjoyed the whole book and all the help it provided as I become better able to establish boundaries, I was particularly interested in Chapter 10: Protecting Your Children.

As my kids get older (and spend more time online), I’m going to have to start thinking about the boundaries for them. As Anne Katherine says in her book, “Children and teens are so accustomed to computers and life online that we grownups can easily feel that they are way beyond our own capacity with electronic media. They probably are. But we still have better judgment and a clearer idea of how a chain of events can become dangerous.”

Chapter 10 provides great tips and tools for parents to help their children develop boundaries for their online activities. But beyond that, Anne Katherine really gets to the heart of the “connection” issue. Boundaries in a digital world are as much about setting rules and guidelines as they are about creating real connection with each other. She states in chapter 10: “Working closely with your children around Internet use automatically strengthens family intimacy boundaries.”

And, as a parent, what I want most is for my kids to be involved and understand why we set boundaries, and for them to know that, no matter what they encounter in the great big digital world, they can always come to me and their dad and we will help them.

For those without children, Boundaries in an Overconnected World also covers personal information boundaries, online dating, chat rooms, work boundaries and many other useful topics including what to do if you can’t set boundaries for yourself.

It’s a very well-written book with lots of helpful information. Given how busy life tends to get and the fact that my blog’s name is based on how much Life Takes Over, becoming more clear on boundaries by reading this book is going to be very useful.

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Title: Boundaries in an Overconnected World: Setting Limits to Preserve Your Focus, Privacy, Relationships, and Sanity
Author: Anne Katherine
ISBN: 978-1-60868-190-7

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I received a review copy of Boundaries in an Overconnected World. The opinions above are entirely my own. I received no compensation for my review.

No commercials, but everything we need

Last year, we had cable. This year, we don’t. We still have shows for the kids, but it’s not commercial programming.

That’s my Christmas gift to me.

I have been enjoying the peace in our house without the background noise of the TV and the gimmies from my kids following every commercial break.

And my heart swelled when I asked my daughter if she wanted to write her letter to Santa in time for the Toronto Santa Claus parade and she said, “Sure!” then proceeded to ask me how to spell C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S  T-R-E-E and B-E-L-L.

I asked her why those words and she said, “Because that’s what I’m asking Santa to bring me for Christmas. I want a toy tree to go in my room and I want a bell like I got from Madame when I was the Étoile de la Semaine at school.”

Without the influence of commercials, my daughter wants her own tree, just like the big one we put up in our living room and she wants a bell. She asked for no toys, no clothes, no games. I was curious, so I asked her, “Why a tree and a bell?” Continue reading

Sometimes you just have to be amazed

If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll know that this week has been a bit rough (and we’re only half way through).

This was the first day that things went a little more smoothly and nothing out of the ordinary happened…except it did.

After reviewing my daughter’s homework the night before, I discovered she had not completed it as she said she had. So I set my alarm to get up earlier in the morning and wake her to finish it since it was due.

I woke up ready for a fight. But instead, when I went to wake her, I was greeted with a sleepy but happy child who, very willingly, came downstairs and finished up her homework. She even noticed a few mistakes she had made and took the steps to correct them.

Continue reading

Sometimes we have to laugh

The last two days at our house have been…rough. Not worse than usual, mind you, but rough just the same.

Both my kids are potty trained…and have been for quite some time.

So pee and poop accidents are jarring to say the least.

Yet, yesterday and again today, I was jarred.

The morning started out as usual. Two kids shaken from sleep, grumpy and unwilling to comply. A happy, morning-person mommy (the things we do for our kids) snuggling and tickling and whispering soft encouragement into their little ears and hearts (not that it seemed to help, but maybe it did—we’ll never know).

Eventually, they were both up and eating breakfast. And all was moving along according to plan.

Then the pee hit the floor. Quite literally. Continue reading

My Handy Little Health Journal

A short while ago, I was lamenting the fact that I had a health file that was about three inches thick with papers and cards spilling out everywhere. Definitely not a convenient package to be carting to the doctor. Although the information it contained was vital at some of my appointments.

It got me thinking about these two notebooks I kept when I was pregnant with both my kids. I wrote down all my appointments, kept notes about things my OBGYN (first kid) and midwife (second kid) said, and generally jotted down things related to my pregnancies and questions to ask the next time I had an appointment.

But these notebooks had no structure. They were just Dollar Store books that served the purpose when nothing else was available.

Recently, I received My Handy Little Health Journal to review. Wished I’d had this neat little book when I was pregnant. But I’m glad I have it now.

healthjournal

It has some great features like tips on eating smarter, reducing stress and sleeping better. It has sections to fill in your family medical history, record important medical information, prepare questions in advance for your doctor, document prescriptions, keep track of appointments, record comments or recommendations from your doctors and more. Continue reading

Fill a Sparkle Box this Christmas

Christmas is coming! Faster than we may want.

Don’t take that the wrong way. I love Christmas. I love the season, the music, the decorations, the giving, the visiting, the food, the family get-togethers, the commercialization, the screaming spoiled kids…OK, maybe not the last two.

But that’s the thing, right? It’s November 21; a little over a month to Christmas and it has already started. The stores have been decorated since November 12th (officially, decorating the day after Remembrance Day is the respectful thing to do). The commercials for kids toys, games, gadgets, you name it have been on the air since the beginning of November. And all that gives us is the “gimmies”.

At one time, December 1st was the acceptable beginning to decorating, Christmas music, advertising, etc. Every year, I swear, it gets earlier. Continue reading