A Bunch Of Famous Men Star In White House PSA On Sexual Assault

The following video is a powerful message from the 1 is 2 many campaign started in the U.S. by Vice President Biden.

Despite the significant progress made in reducing violence against women, there is still a long way to go. Young women still face the highest rates of dating violence and sexual assault. In the last year, one in 10 teens have reported being physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend. Recognizing the need for change, the White House created a task force aimed at changing attitudes that lead to violence and educating the public on the realities of abuse.

What do you think?

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Ten “Make My Life Easier” Tricks

Nicole Andrews
The Cridge Young Parent Outreach Program


As a busy Mom, these are some of my tips that I use every day to try and make my life a little easier. I have two kids and my partner has four, so every other week we become a family of eight! We both also work full-time outside of the home. That means there are lots of things that get lost, don’t get done, are forgotten . . . .sometimes even a child! These are just some practical tips I have used to try to make life easier. Hopefully one or more might work for you.

    1. Make a meal plan and shopping list on one sheet of paper. This way you know what you are eating for the week (or month) and you shop for those items instead of adding random items into your grocery basket. I love this too because the kids know what to expect for dinner each night and it saves the bickering at the grocery store about what they want to just toss in. It also means that there are no emergency trips to the store for that one item that turns into ten! There are several great printable templates available on the web. Click here for a site I recommend.
    2. Chore charts aren’t just for kids! You have some chores that need to be done every day, such as the dishes, but laundry doesn’t nor do mowing the lawn, dusting or vacuuming. Using these types of charts allows for the needs of the house to be spread out between many and you know what they say – many hands make light work! Then you can all enjoy only ten minutes of chores a day instead of a daylong battle to get them done all at once. I love this site for their printable charts and helpful hints on age appropriate chores too!
    3. Tech time-out! We are all so connected to the web, social media, gaming and Youtube that we forget that the relationships with the people we love and care about are MORE important. Be honest – you check your phone constantly for updates and many go home to watch the news and later Netflix or a movie. Facebook is an hourly update and those we love are doing the same, but we aren’t engaging with each other, and we are missing out on valuable time that we can’t get back. So decide when you are going to, as a family, go Tech free. Use this time to get outside, go for a walk, go to the park, go visit a friend or have friends over for dinner. We collect all tech at bedtime too! No one sleeps with a phone, DS, tablet, iPod or other device beside them!
    4. Put a large container at the front door for shoes. You may have to dig into it to find the mate but you know where they are. The kids know the expectations of where they go and you won’t be searching the house for five minutes for the lost shoe when you are already running ten minutes late!
    5. I love this one, because it literally sticks to your wall. Click here.
    6. Lysol or other disinfectant wipes are a blessing in disguise! It never fails that when you have your silk blouse on or your new chiffon shirt that you end up wearing spaghetti or coffee or baby spit-up on your adult clothes. My trick is to keep a few of these wipes in a ziplock in your purse. They are like magic at getting out the stain. The alcohol helps lift out the stain and voila, in a minute the alcohol dries and your prized adult clothing is stain free.
    7. Make lunches the night before! I hate mornings and yet I can’t escape them! Six kids mean I’m up early to get them to before school activities and trying to do a morning routine is tough for me from the start. So all I have to do is pull out their lunch kits in the morning and they are ready to go!
    8. The ‘Mommy Bucket’ is a new addition to our house. Before they go to bed the kids are encouraged to do a sweep of the house and collect any items that belong to them and put it away. After they go to bed, if I find it then it goes in the bucket. The kids decided on the chore list that accompanies the release of their item from the bucket. Trust me they went to town on the chore that they might have to do too! Everything from washing a vehicle to gardening for half and hour to washing kitchen walls. They learn quickly that if it means that much to them they need to look after it. If the item is not claimed in a somewhat timely fashion, it goes in the ‘to donate’ pile.
    9. That segued perfectly into this one. The ‘to donate’ bag. It sits in the corner of our office room and as the kids grow out of something or they haven’t claimed it from the “Mommy Box’ or they don’t want it any more it gets put directly in the bag. That way there aren’t dozens of items at any given time not in use in our home. With six kids that can mean a lot of stuff! It adds up quickly too!
    10. Donate to a local second hand store. I love taking our ‘to donate’ bags into Sailor Jack Family Consignment,  I can choose to pick up unsold items or they will continue the green aspect of consignment and donate the items to charity. Its win-win and you can earn money! I use the running tab to buy seasonal items that the kids need. You really can’t beat it! Nice items at a fraction of the retail.

Like I said before, there are dozens of tips I have to running a house of eight more efficiently. Maybe in the next blog I will share the next ten! :-)


Nicole Andrews
The Cridge Young Parent Outreach Program


It’s an ugly word. It causes blood pressure to go up and makes your palms sweaty. It can disrupt your day, week or months of your life. It takes energy away from other parts of your life and focus away from other issues that you may be facing. But it’s actually a natural condition. Your body produces cortisol, a biological chemical released under times of stress. It’s even, dare I say it, a healthy response to our circumstances in life at any given time. Life is fluid, always moving and changing. It’s part of our human experience. Stress helps to keep us safe. It releases other hormones too, to keep us focused and moving forward.

Sometimes it can be overwhelming too. When the demands exceed our capabilities we get stressed. We all have coping mechanisms that we have learned from very early on to deal with stress. Are you a fighter? Are you a runner? Are you a procrastinator? Are you an avoider? These are some of the human personality traits that we have developed in response to stress.

There is no right way or wrong way to cope with stress that you have. You do the best you can with the biology and skills that you have. But, there are ways of making stress more manageable.

Diet. I know we can’t get away from that word but it actually means what we eat, not reducing what we eat. So making healthy choices. Grabbing a piece of fruit or a dinner with salad and protein. Not the burger and fries. A healthy diet can vastly improve our ability to cope. Giving your body good fuel to run on helps the body as a whole – physically, emotionally and mentally.

Exercise. I know we all agree that with little ones running around and our daily living we get some exercise. But to really exercise means 30 minutes of raising your heart rate, fresh air, and sweat. Moving your body and clearing your mind will help you feel better, live longer and be healthier.

Sleep. Ahh the great unattainable 8 hours a night of uninterrupted sleep with little ones that wake up throughout the night and break us of our sleep patterns. Try to get the best sleep each and every night you can. Some nights are hard but if you can try to head to bed just fifteen minutes earlier you may reap the physical benefits of thirty minutes or more. Take a nap when little ones sleep if you can, and listen to your body. When you are tired in the evening don’t try to push through one more episode of your favorite show. That’s when your body kicks in its second wind and you find yourself recharged in the late evening hours and decide to go for another few hours.

Help. This is the hard one. Asking for help when you need it can seem hard for some, silly for others and is actually stressful on its own for others. As humans we are meant to be in community with each other, allowing others to support us and for us to fall back on their strength, wisdom and knowledge. We need to have others with the skills and experience to encourage and to help work though a stress and come out the other side.

That’s what our program is all about. The Cridge Young Parent Outreach Program is portable and practical support for young families and their children. Having a coffee and a friendly ear to listen can reduce stress. A ride to the doctor’s office or to see the lawyers can be a load off a young parent’s mind as they juggle their other responsibilities. We provide support in finding quality childcare, affordable housing or a program offered in the community. Sharing some of the burden with another about life changes, parenting issues, school work and the social scene can make a situation that looks overwhelming, stressful and exhausting seem just a little easier to tackle when you know that you aren’t alone.

So if you’ve found us, then you are in the right place. If you know of someone else that you think might benefit from our program, tell him or her. We are here for you!


There is only one me!

Nicole Andrews
The Cridge Young Parent Outreach Program


Welcome to the New Year! Many of you at this time make resolutions and set goals for yourselves. Maybe it’s to de- home, or to eat healthier, or to lose a few extra pounds from all the Christmas baking. Often you are gung-ho to start the New Year off with your best foot forward and you have a ‘to-do list’ of your goals for the year.  You have the best intentions but that’s where it starts . . .  and ends.

The New Year is a great time to get all jazzed up about your goals but it is also a very emotional time. You’ve just finished Christmas and family and overwhelming deadlines and a social calendar you needed a personal assistant to help you navigate.

Depression is also much more evident at this time of year.  There is less natural sunlight and leaving in the morning in the dark and coming home in the dark plays on your natural sleep/wake (circadian rhythm).

There are also less local, accessible and affordable fresh fruits and vegetables that help keep your immune system functioning at its best. Which leads to the cold and flu season. We all know that it’s really hard to feel good when you are feeling sick!

Finally, there is the financial drain of the New Year. Annual dues for memberships, monthly bills, Christmas and travel and presents drained your bank account and if you are on Income Assistance, it’s a loooong month between cheques.

What if you started the New Year out thinking about yourself and realized that there is only one you! That you want the year to be amazing! The best ever! But that baby steps are O.K. That setting yourself up for success instead of failure in a few weeks is a better approach. What if you started small and took great pride in the accomplishment of a small goal realized?

So here is my suggestion to you: start small this New Year.

  • Step one; make a list of goals.
  • Step two; organize them into short-term and long term.
  • Step three; look at the ones that are really do-able within a week and start with those.

Start with simple, achievable steps. Maybe step one is getting a calendar this week to start getting more organized this year. Maybe it’s going to bed at 11 instead of midnight 2 nights this week so you can experience the feeling of what an extra hour of sleep at night really feels like. Maybe its trying to make sure that in each meal there is at least one fresh fruit or vegetable so that your body and brain are getting optimal fuel before you set your sights on loosing those extra pounds.

It’s a hard time of year, and being hard on yourself because you can’t meet your goals can turn a wonderful fresh start into a negative, depressing and unrealistic beginning to the year. Move slowly and set your sights on attainable goals. Celebrate your success and you will be your best advocate! You will feel good. You will feel accomplished! You will be motivated to tackle the next goal on your list. Celebrate you this year and all that you are.  You are many things to many people but you can be your biggest obstacle or your biggest advocate, motivator, and cheerleader.

I’m cheering for you!