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! :-)

Alcohol use climbing faster on Island

Alcohol consumption is climbing at a faster rate on Vancouver Island than in other regions in B.C., according to the Centre for Addictions Research of B.C. at UVic.

Centre director Tim Stockwell suggests the Island’s higher rate, measured between 2002 and 2009, was fuelled by strong economic conditions prior to the recession, and by the growth of private liquor stores.

The amount of alcohol consumed is heavily influenced by price and physical availability, he said.

“As a community, we need to make decisions how we regulate this product because it is not like other products. It is not like milk and orange juice.”

The centre carries out research and education on substance abuse, harm reduction and addiction. It was founded because of provincial concerns about health and social problems resulting from alcohol, drugs and tobacco in B.C. Alcohol has been linked to a wide range of medical issues.

The centre released a January study saying that alcohol-related deaths and alcohol consumption seem to be rising in B.C. as the number of private liquor stores have increased. From 2003 and 2008, the number of government liquor stores slid to 199 from 222, while private store numbers rose to 977 from 727.

The number of alcoholrelated deaths grew to 2,011 in 2008, from 1,937 in 2003. More than 20,000 hospital admissions in B.C. in 2009 were alcohol-related, according to data from the centre.

“I think local municipalities need to take a long, hard look at policies around the number of liquor outlets they have and where they are placed.”

The Island’s per capita consumption, for people 15 years old and up, climbed by 23 per cent between 2002 and 2009. In 2009, the per capita amount of alcohol consumed was 10.7 litres, up from 8.68 litres in 2002. One litre of alcohol is equal to 58 standard drinks, the centre said. That puts the Island rate at 620.9 drinks for the year.

“There are a lot of people drinking much lower [amounts],” while others consume far more, Stockwell said Saturday.

Within our population, 10 per cent of the people are responsible for drinking 50 per cent of the alcohol, he said. B.C.’s Interior region followed with an increase of 17.7 per cent, the Fraser Valley rose by 11.45 per cent, Vancouver-Coastal area by 9.84 per cent and Northern B.C. by 9.8 per cent.

The centre collects data from the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch, Statistics Canada, U-Brew and U-Vin sales and its own analysis of alcohol content in products. Consumption could also reflect, in part, drinking by tourists, Stockwell said.

While consumption climbed in all regions of B.C., numbers also showed a drop in consumption between 2008 and 2009. Data from 2010 are being analyzed now, Stockwell said.

Dr. John Copen, Vancouver Island Health Authority’s chief for psychiatry for the South Island, has not seen the centre’s study but said when it comes to alcohol, “I think there’s a problem, pretty much North American-wide.”

“Alcohol has major impacts on almost every body system … When any intoxication occurs if you have a mental health issue, oftentimes your reasons for not acting go down and you become impulsive, it increases the risk of suicide, of homicide, pretty much anything violent.”

He pointed to the U.S. National Institute of Drug Abuse (www.nida.nih.gov /infofacts/lessons.html), which lists lessons from research, including the importance of parental support and involvement, and early intervention for those at risk.

Randy Wilson, co-owner of Liquor Plus stores on Vancouver Island, questions Stockwell’s conclusions, saying data being compared are too narrow, and more factors need to be included.

He takes issue with Stockwell’s thoughts on the impact of price and availability. Washington State and California are among jurisdictions with similar rates of alcohol-related accident deaths but prices in those states are far lower – B.C. has a higher tax level – and alcohol is sold in a wider variety of outlets.

Also, sales to restaurants, for example, do not necessarily reflect consumption because wine may be part of inventory and not sold, Wilson said.

Higher alcohol consumption in B.C. and on the Island could have been connected to a booming economy, Wilson said, noting that many workers came to this province to work on development projects.

“I like liquor laws being tight. We do sell a controlled substance.” But only a small percentage of the population has addition issues, Wilson said. “We don’t want to tar the 97 per cent of the people who drink responsibly.” cjwilson@timescolonist.com

© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist
By Carla Wilson, Times Colonist

Energy Drinks and Alcohol – A Risky Combo at the Bar

Energy and BoozeSince the introduction of Red Bull in the U.S. in 1997, the market for high-caffeine energy drinks has grown exponentially. And it didn’t take long for young co-eds to concoct alcoholic, high-energy mixtures.

From “Jager Bombs” (Jagermeister and Red Bull) to “Red Bull and Vodka,” these drinks have become favourites on the bar scene. Now, in Elsevier’s Addictive Behaviors, researchers explore the associations between energy drink consumption, alcohol intoxication and intention to drive a motor vehicle in patrons exiting bars at night. Data was collected in a U.S. college bar district from 802 randomly selected and self-selected patrons, asking them questions about their energy drink consumption and energy drink consumption mixed with alcohol. Breath alcohol concentration readings were taken.

Results showed that patrons who had consumed alcohol mixed with energy drinks were at a three-fold increased risk of leaving a bar highly intoxicated, as well as a four-fold increased risk of intending to drive upon leaving the bar district, compared to other drinking patrons who did not consume alcohol mixed with energy drinks.

This field of study of energy drink and alcohol consumption continues to grow. The authors suggest product labelling could potentially include a clear warning about risks that might be experienced when combining energy drinks and alcohol. Policy seeking to curtail on-premise marketing of alcoholic drinks mixed with energy drinks could also be considered as a tactic to educate about the risks of this mixture.

Cited from Elsevier February 2010

LifeRing – Unsung Islander – Jessica Russell

The Cridge Young Parent programs is very proud of Jessica. Over the last few years, she has overcome many challenges. In this TV spot, which aired on CHEK TV March 4th, Jessica talkes about her roll in bringing the LifeRing program to Kawanis House in Victoria, BC.

LifeRing is a self-directed approach for people looking to recover from addiction to alcohol and/or drugs, or who are in relationships where chemical dependancy is a problem. LifeRing supports individuals building their own recovery programs, and requires no particular steps other than abstinence from alcohol and drugs.