3 Ways to Find Balance with 3 Kids

Having children and raising a family is one of the greatest blessings and joys you can experience in life. But finding balance amongst your hectic schedule is one of the most challenging things you’ll experience in life as well––especially when the number of kids outnumbers the number of parents. Having a third child will undoubtedly test your patience and your multi-tasking ability. Not to mention, it will be next to impossible to find free time for yourself just to relax because parenthood is one of the most time-consuming jobs you’ll ever have in life. Here are 3 ways to find balance with 3 kids. 

Remember you are a team

Sometimes raising a family feels like a power struggle where one person has to win, and the other has to lose. Even when kids are as young as two, you may experience stubbornness or conflicts. However, it’s important to remember that your family is your team. So instead of always arguing back with your children, try to understand why they may be acting this way. Maybe they feel like they aren’t getting as much attention or they’re frustrated with something they don’t understand. Rather than punishing your children for their “bad” behavior, take another look at the situation and find a way to solve the conflict together. You are a team after all.

Never underestimate the power of a routine

When you have three children, time management will quickly become your best friend. With three different kids running in opposite directions at all times, it’s necessary to establish a routine to make sure you can keep track of who goes where and when. At first, it may seem unnecessary to plan out each day’s details, but once you get the hang of it, you won’t ever know how you survived without one.

Have fun

The thought of adding another kid to your already-crazy family can seem scary at times. But remember, the extra bundle of joy and laughs will be so worth it. So be patient with yourself, with your spouse, and with your kids. Even when things don’t go as planned, at the end of the day, all that really matters is that you get to spend your life with the people you love the most. And you get to have fun while you do it. You get to raise a family with your best friend––it really doesn’t get better than that!

Having a third child can be challenging at times, but follow these tips to find balance with 3 kids.

Dean and Marcie Whalen3 Ways to Find Balance with 3 Kids
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Why Mornings Should Be The Best Part of Your Day

Mornings get a bad rep from the moment the alarm goes off. Everything from chores around the house, to tasks at work, and errands to run can easily overflow your thoughts before your feet even hit the floor. Not to mention, the chaos running around your home packing lunches and trying to get kids out the door and off to right places before the sun has completely risen. So it’s completely understandable why so many people go to bed at night dreading the next morning.

But why live your life like that? If you take some time to change a few habits in your morning, you might just find that the morning should be the best part of your day.

Take 5 minutes of alone time

Before the day’s activities take priority, be sure to give yourself priority first. Just five minutes every morning to take the time to think to yourself can change your outlook for the whole day. Maybe sit down and write three things you want to keep in mind all day––to be more intentional with your family members or more patient with your coworkers. If journaling isn’t really your thing, consider just sitting with a cup of coffee and looking out the window. A few moments of down time can really set the tone for the day ahead.

Make an effort to have real conversations with your family members

Mornings are likely one of the two times your entire family will be under one roof the entire day. Instead of yelling things up the stairs like “Leaving in minutes!” or “Don’t forget your lunch!”, make an effort to have an actual conversation with your family members before everyone heads off to different destinations until the evening. Sitting down for breakfast and discussing what’s going on for everyone that day can be a game-changer for your family.

Do one thing every morning that brings you joy

Whether it’s going out for a jog or reading a few pages of your book, do one small thing each morning that makes you happy. Instead of heading straight to your email app to check what’s on the schedule for the day, take some time for self-investment. If you make sure you give yourself time for one thing you love to do each morning, it will make your alarm a lot less miserable.

Just by changing your habits you can make your mornings something to actually look forward to. Try these three tips to make mornings the best part of your day.

Dean and Marcie WhalenWhy Mornings Should Be The Best Part of Your Day
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Top 3 Questions to Ask Your Mentor

So you’ve finally found yourself a mentor who shares your values and life aspirations? Kudos to you! But now for the next step. You need to make sure you’re prepared to ask your newly found life coach the right questions to take advantage of your first meeting. In your first meeting, the most important thing to remember is to ask questions that show interest, gain insight, offer information about yourself, and get to know your mentor all at the same time. But how do you ask powerful questions that provide all of the information you need in such a limited time? Read our top 3 questions to ask your mentor to get yourself started!

Top 3 Questions to Ask Your Mentor

What mistakes led you to your successes?

Be sure to include a series of questions that hone in on your mentor’s skill-building process. This question knocks out two birds with one stone. It invites your mentor to describe both his or her weaknesses and elaborate on his or her successes. By asking about both strengths and weaknesses, you will gain insight as to how the two can be related and how to make the best of unfavorable situations. Additionally, your mentor is likely to identify and elaborate on his or her greatest accomplishments and give you advice on what could have been executed differently. Listen closely because you might find out something you’ve never even thought of before.

How do you spend your free time?

Not only does finding out what your mentor does to relax and unwind allow you to get to know them on a personal level, it also bridges the conversation from professional to personal development and provides insight on how all areas of your life can and should be dynamic and connected. Pay special attention to the answer to this question––you never know what you might learn!   

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time?

Asking any question that indicates self-awareness gives you the most insight on your mentor’s career successes. This question paves the way for a much more personal conversation that builds trust and imparts valuable wisdom. It’s important to build a relationship with your mentor that opens the conversation to both career-driven thoughts and personal facts on past lessons learned.

By thoughtfully preparing for your first mentoring session, you’ll be guaranteed to get more out of it and your relationship with your mentor is likely to be much more successful. Happy mentoring!

Dean and Marcie WhalenTop 3 Questions to Ask Your Mentor
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3 Ways To Teach Children About Philanthropy

Teaching your children about philanthropy is one of the best ways to establish a serving heart at a young age. But sometimes it can be hard to get them involved when they don’t fully understand the impact they are making. It can be hard for young minds to completely comprehend the purpose and reality of philanthropies and those who are on the receiving end of them. However, read these 3 ways to teach children about philanthropy and make sure they get the most out of their philanthropic efforts – even if it takes a little more explaining on your part.

Discover these 3 Ways To Teach Children About Philanthropy Early On

Encourage them to raise their own money for a charity

Remember the days when a twenty-dollar bill could buy you all you ever wanted in the world? A new toy or your favorite candy bar could turn any day around. This mentality still exists in young minds, and is still perhaps the reason for lemonade stands on summer days. However, the next time your children want to host a lemonade stand, or a car wash, or whatever it is your young entrepreneurs have their minds made up on, suggest making a donation with some of the money. As you encourage your children to start raising money for themselves, encourage them to donate a percentage of it, no matter how small, to a charity of their choice. In doing so, you will first empower them to pick a charity that interests them establishing a passion for a certain cause. And second, you will help foster a spirit of giving that they will keep with them for the rest of their lives.

Volunteer at a nursing home

Volunteering at neighborhood nursing home is a great service to introduce your children to philanthropy. At its heart, philanthropy is the act of serving others and that is exactly what your family will be doing when you volunteer to spend an hour or two at a nursing home. Consider visiting regularly, even if it’s only once a month, to make sure your children get the most out of the experience. By making routine visits, your children will get the chance to build relationships and the difference they are making will have more of an impact that will inspire them to continue to serving others when they’re older.

Take them to donate to a food bank

Next time you’re grocery shopping with your children tell them to pick out some canned goods or other nonperishable items and drop them off at the closest food bank on the way home. In doing so, you will introduce the idea that serving others does not have to be something remarkable in order for it to make a difference. Instead, it will teach them the fact that serving others can and should be an everyday activity.

Dean and Marcie Whalen3 Ways To Teach Children About Philanthropy
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Healthy Living Is About More Than Losing Weight

With message after message in the media implying that the secret to happiness is losing weight, it can be easy to conflate healthy living with being skinny. But, the truth is, you can be skinny and still not be living the healthiest lifestyle. The key to healthy living isn’t losing weight (although that generally doesn’t hurt, if you do it the right way); the key is creating a lifestyle that makes you feel your happiest, most energized, and most capable.

Healthy Living Should Make You Happier

When you step into a healthier lifestyle, one that includes regular exercise, you naturally increase your endorphin production. Endorphins are responsible for that happy, elated feeling you get when you go for a long run or finally conquer the mountain you’ve been climbing.

In essence, endorphins are the reason that regular exercise makes you a happier person all around. That alone should be enough to encourage you to lace up those old running shoes and hit the pavement. It isn’t about looking your best in your bathing suit this summer; it’s about feeling your best all year long.

Healthy Living Should Energize You

A healthy lifestyle shouldn’t just be about exercising more regularly. You should also make it a point to pay attention to the nourishing food you put in your body.

Whether it’s a protein-packed breakfast smoothie or a nice fillet of fresh-caught salmon for dinner, what you choose to put into your body does just as much for healthy living as does working out.

One of the most destructive notions about dieting is that food is the enemy, that calories are to be feared and restricted. But, if you pick energizing foods that nourish your body, you should start to feel more energized and healthy—and you’ll never feel deprived.

Healthy Living Should Help You Feel More Capable

Not living up to your potential health-wise can be detrimental in so many ways. When you look at yourself in the mirror and you don’t like your reflection, it can frankly be pretty upsetting. But what’s worse is feeling like you can’t quite keep up with life. You miss out on living life to the fullest when you lead an unhealthy lifestyle.

Healthy living should help you feel more capable and better able to get out there and do all of the things you’ve been wanting to try. It should also enable you to keep up with your kids. What greater joy is there than being able to play with your kids?

In short, when you stick with a healthy lifestyle, you allow yourself to be an active participant in life’s greatest joys.

Dean and Marcie WhalenHealthy Living Is About More Than Losing Weight
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3 Real, Tangible Ways to Make an Impact on Poverty

As the wise Nelson Mandela once said, “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that generation.” It’s true. We can be a part of the generation that has a real, tangible impact on poverty, and perhaps, if we teach them well, our children can find a way to end the vicious cycle once and for all. In the meantime, there are some very real, very tangible ways to make a difference when it comes to poverty—both abroad and within your own community.

3 Real, Tangible Ways to Make an Impact on Poverty

Participate in Sustainable Philanthropy

It is not enough just to give a child clean water for a day, just as it is not enough to give a man a fish for a day. But, when you find a way to teach that child, or those children, how to fish for themselves metaphorically, you have the chance to make a real and lasting impact on poverty as a whole.

When we empower those who seem powerless, we don’t just change the lives of the people we work with directly; we also start a snowball effect that keeps rolling on long after we’re physically gone. That’s the meaning of sustainable philanthropy: when you don’t have to be present to have your presence felt ever after.

Start with Your Local Community

Many people make the mistake of thinking that only those in developing nations are in need of help. It’s simply not true. That harmful belief is what helps to foster the destructive cycle of poverty.

In order to have a real, tangible impact on poverty, it’s crucial to start with your home base. There are no doubt pockets of poverty in your town or city, no matter where you live. It’s a sad reality, but it’s one that can be greatly impacted and eventually eradicated if we direct attention to it and help out in any way we can. Reach out to your local homeless shelter, soup kitchen, or women’s shelter. Look for volunteer opportunities as well as chances to donate necessary supplies.

Teach Your Children About Giving Back

In the end, this is the legacy we leave: the lessons we impart to our children about how to relate to their world. If you grace your children with philanthropic hearts and minds, that is what they’ll come to know. They’ll naturally adopt the mentality that helping others to help themselves is the best gift they can give to their brothers and sisters in Christ.

Teach your children about giving back to their communities and abroad in meaningful and lasting ways—that way, their generation will be the ones to end poverty as we know it finally.

Dean and Marcie Whalen3 Real, Tangible Ways to Make an Impact on Poverty
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How to Survive Grocery Shopping with a Toddler

Grocery shopping with a toddler: add it to the top of the list of things no one loves to do. Between the screaming, the grabbing, the running away, and the sneaking of miscellaneous items into the cart, there’s a whole host of nightmare scenarios that just come with the territory of bringing a toddler to the grocery store with you. If you’re a parent, you’ve more than likely been there, and you’re nodding your head right now. If you’re even thinking of having kids, you’ll someday know this pain (and encounter it weekly).

For all of you struggling parents out there, there are three tips that will help anyone survive grocery shopping with even the most stubborn of toddlers.

Let Your Toddler Help with the List

There’s nothing more frustrating for a curious toddler than not knowing what’s going on and not being a part of the action.

Get your little one involved in the choices that you make at the store by holding up prospective items and letting them pick which one they’d prefer. Hold up an apple in one hand and a pear in another; whichever your toddler lunges for, add a few of them to the cart. That way, your child feels a sense of agency, instead of helplessness, when you’re grocery shopping together.

Keep Your Toddler Comfy While Shopping

When it’s cold outside, and you enter a heated store, the first thing you do is peel off your coat and strip off your hat and gloves. Your toddler doesn’t quite have the sense to do that just yet, so you’ll have to be their climate control.

If the store’s usually on the cold side (as many grocery stores are), make sure you bring an extra sweater or jacket to keep your toddler nice and comfy while you shop.

Make Sure Your Toddler isn’t Hangry

You wouldn’t dare go grocery shopping when you’re hungry—or if you do, you immediately regret it when the bill is tallied up. So, why would you bring your toddler to the store with an empty tummy and hungry eyes? It’s a recipe for disaster!

The next time you plan to head to the store with your toddler, make sure they’re not hangry (hungry to the point of anger) by giving them a small snack in preparation. Having something to nibble on while you’re perusing the vegetables will cut down on the screaming, crying, and it will definitely diminish the grabbing and putting random items in the cart. Thank goodness for animal crackers!

Dean and Marcie WhalenHow to Survive Grocery Shopping with a Toddler
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3 Must-Haves for Tropical Island Hopping

You’ve been saving up for the ultimate dream vacation, and you finally have enough to be able to splurge on yourself. You’re eagerly planning a lavish tropical island hopping getaway. Perhaps you’ve got your sights set on the many islands of Fiji, or maybe the breathtaking Hawaiian islands are more your scene.

In any case, there are three main essentials—three must-haves, if you will—that you’ll absolutely need to bring with you when you’re tropical island hopping.

1. Sunscreen

No one is immune to the sun’s harsh rays. No matter how tan your skin naturally is, everyone needs to slather on the SPF. The closer you are to the equator, the more likely you are to be burned.

Who wants to spend their tropical island vacation looking like a lobster and feeling like they’re made of glass, too fragile to touch or be touched? Instead of frying yourself in the hopes of coming back with a sun-kissed glow, be smart and save your skin with at least SPF 30. You’ll have a much better time, and you’ll still probably come home with some color.

2. Pen and Paper

When you’re on vacation, exploring all that tropical islands have to offer you, it’s important to unplug. Put your phone away; forget about your e-reader. Focus on the here and the now.

At the end of each day, though, be sure that you’re recording your thoughts and feelings with pen and paper. Why post a fleeting status on Facebook when you can put pen to paper and have that treasured memory forever?

3. Camera

The final must-have for a tropical island hopping vacation: a camera for all of those moments that transcend words. It’s true what they say, “A picture’s worth a thousand words.” In addition to your priceless journaling, you should take snapshots of your travels.

Those captured moments will be looked upon fondly for years to come. If you want to make them extra special, don’t just post them online; get them printed and hang them up. That way, you’ll have a little piece of paradise, just hanging in your living room.

Dean and Marcie Whalen3 Must-Haves for Tropical Island Hopping
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High-Protein Breakfast Ideas to Help Fuel Your Morning Workout

There’s nothing quite like starting your day off with an intense workout session. It makes your whole day better and kicks things off in the right direction. But, if you skip breakfast to sneak in that little bit of extra sleep before your 6 a.m. kickboxing session, you’ll be kicking yourself when your stomach grumbles loudly 15 minutes into sparring.

To avoid that pain and embarrassment, check out these high-protein breakfast ideas that are guaranteed to keep you full and fuel your favorite morning workout.

Chocolate-Banana Protein Shakes

If you’re crunched on time before you get your daily set of crunches on, then this high-protein breakfast idea is perfect for you. It only takes a few minutes right when you wake up to throw together a delicious, high-protein shake that will help you power through whatever the day has in store for you.

To make an ideal high-protein shake, start with frozen banana chunks. For protein, add in a cup of almond milk, two tablespoons of peanut butter, and whatever protein powder you prefer. To get that extra chocolatey taste without the extra sugar, add a couple of tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder.

Bonus: the flavonoids in the cocoa powder will give your body an added antioxidant boost!

Veggie Power Protein Omelets

Eggs are a staple in both the breakfast arena and the workout realm. If you want to bulk up and get fit, eggs are a powerhouse food; they’re practically made for the gym.

Take that protein power that eggs bring to the table and multiply it by the health benefits you can derive from veggies. Depending on your tastes, you can add things like iron-rich spinach, fiber-dense broccoli, or lycopene-full tomatoes to take your power omelet (and your morning workout) to the next level—and beyond!

Apples and Cottage Cheese

Again, this high-protein breakfast solution is for those who don’t have a lot of time to spare in the morning. This spectacular combo is easy to throw together when you’re groggy first thing in the morning and need a quick, lasting burst of energy to get you going.

In just a single serving, cottage cheese packs a whopping 28 grams of pure protein. That’s tough to beat. Throw in an apple for long-lasting fiber and energy. You’ll be powering through your morning workout in no time—with no pesky stomach growling in sight.

Dean and Marcie WhalenHigh-Protein Breakfast Ideas to Help Fuel Your Morning Workout
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3 Habits You Should Quit Right Now

Everyone has vices. For some, it’s biting their nails. For others, it’s smoking cigarettes. But for most people, the worst habits they pick up aren’t the most noticeable. They’re not as obvious as smoking, swearing, drinking, or biting nails; they’re more internal—and that’s what makes them all the more nefarious.

Chances are, you’re guilty of at least one of these habits you should quit right now.

Quit Letting Distractions Rule Your Life

In the age of social media, smartphones, and tablets, it’s hard not to be completely immersed in distractions. Digital notifications have the same kind of addictive quality that some of the most insidious hard drugs do. Your brain lights up like a Christmas tree the moment your screen lights up.

But, if you want to live a successful, happy life, you have to let go of these distractions. You don’t have to completely unplug, but it’s for the best if you limit your exposure to digital distractions as much as possible. Don’t let them rule your life. Turn off all of the notifications; silence the voices shouting at you from your tiny screen. Listen to the input of the people who are actually around you more.

Quit Hanging Around ‘Negative Nancys’

Speaking of the people around you, if you’re surrounded by a horde of naysayers and ‘Debbie Downers,’ then now is the time to quit. Drop ‘Negative Nancys’ like they’re hot potatoes. They’re not adding value to your life, and you can’t change their negative perceptions of the world.

You’re both better off if you don’t associate with one another. You won’t be able to drag them out of the mire, and they’ll only pull you down to their level. The people you choose to surround yourself with inform others who you are as a person, so make sure you choose them wisely.

Quit Comparing Your Journey to Others

As the old adage goes, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” If you waste your time comparing your life to those of the people around you, you’ll never find happiness.

Not only that, but you’ll also wind up not being as successful. In order to be your best self, you have to focus on just that: being your best self.

Dean and Marcie Whalen3 Habits You Should Quit Right Now
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