3 Ways to Make this Holiday Season One You Won’t Forget

There’s no question that the holidays are the most joyful time of the year. And there really is something to be said about carrying on family traditions from on holiday season to the next. But everyone can use a little change every now and then, so don’t be afraid to make a little tweak in your holiday plans this year! Here are 3 ways to make this holiday season one you won’t forget.

Schedule a trip

If you’re used to spending the holidays at home, planning a fun trip for the holidays will be sure to make this season you will never forget. Always wanted to have a tropical Christmas? Or maybe one abroad? This year is just as good as any other to make those dreams come true. So pack your bags and learn what it’s like to celebrate the holidays in a different culture.

Start a new family tradition

Keeping the family traditions alive is so important to maintaining the family identity, values, and culture across generations. But who says there’s any harm in making new ones? Gather your family together this season for a new family tradition. Maybe instead of opening Christmas presents on Christmas morning, you head down to the local soup kitchen to serve Christmas breakfast for those who are less fortunate than you. Or perhaps you host your first annual holiday party that raises awareness for a cause your family cares about. Whatever it is, make sure your new tradition brings the family together and brings joy into other’s lives.

Try simplifying your plans instead

Instead of breaking your back trying to make it to every single holiday party you always do, take a break. There’s no reason to attend the work party, the neighborhood party, and the holiday high school reunion party all in the same weekend. Even if it’s what you do every year, make this holiday season a bit more relaxing and family-focused. Only go to the events that mean something to you because that’s really what the holiday season is all about.

The holidays are the time of year to spend time with your family making memories and carrying on the traditions you’ve always had. But this year, try these 3 ways to make this holiday season one you will never forget!

Ty and Venessa Crandell3 Ways to Make this Holiday Season One You Won’t Forget
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The Importance of Becoming the Dreamer and the Doer

Sarah Ban Breathnach, a celebrated author and public speaker, once claimed that “the world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.” And in those two sentences, Ban Breathnach captures the entire sentiments of the mentality we all need to adopt in order to live a productive and fulfilling life. Too often, people feel the need to define themselves as one or the other––as a dreamer or a doer, a romantic or a realist, a play-it-safer or a go-getter. But progress doesn’t function in dichotomies. Progress is a result of everyone becoming their best selves and not conforming to definitions, boundaries, or labels.

In the pursuit of whatever it is that you want to get out of life, you must work on and improve both aspects of your character. You must become both the dreamer and the doer. You must embrace your inner dreamer and allow yourself to live a lifestyle that promotes and encourages creativity and imagination. Live in a way that allows you the freedom to chase inspiration wherever and whenever you may find it. In doing so, your life will fuel your passions and reignite your spirit, again and again, every day. The world needs dreamers to think outside of the box, imagine the possibilities, and challenge the standard because that is exactly how progress is made.

Additionally, in order to match your creative imagination and make your ideas and dreams constructive and fulfilling, you have to become a go-getter and take action. The world needs people who realize their dreams and act on them. More than anything, the world needs people who have come alive. There’s a difference between people who dream of their goals and the people who make them a reality. And in order for this world to advance and change, we need people to be proactive in pursuit of whatever it is that makes them come alive. So wake up every morning determined to do one thing each day that sets your dream in motion.

Essentially, Sarah Ban Breathnach got it right when she said we have to become a hybrid of both a dreamer and a doer because that is just what you need to make something meaningful out of your life.

Ty and Venessa CrandellThe Importance of Becoming the Dreamer and the Doer
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3 Beautiful Things About Pregnancy You Don’t Hear About Enough

If you take a look at what’s on the web about pregnancy or read any kind of informational pregnancy books or guides, you will no doubt get your fair share of precautions, warnings, signs to look for, and the horror stories. But people forget to share, write about, and tell you about the downright wonderful things that happen over this nine-month period. And the events of pregnancy truly are amazing. These are 3 of the most beautiful things about pregnancy that you don’t hear about enough.

The Anticipation

Nine months is a long time await the arrival of your son or daughter. Thinking of names, decorating the nursery, and picking out baby outfits are necessary ways to prepare for the arrival of your child, but they also build up the suspense. And oh what a wonderful suspense pregnancy is! Just as your baby is getting ready to make its way into the world, pregnancy is the perfect amount of time to make sure you are prepared and the world your baby enters into is full of love.

The Natural Glow

Pregnancy causes physical changes in your body that actually make your body glow from the inside out. Your hair is fuller, your nails are stronger, and your skin is brighter. Not to mention, life is literally pulsing through your veins, so you can’t help but smile. Your entire body naturally glows a little more than normal over this nine-month period with the gift of life.

The Relatability

Because pregnancy is such a natural process, nearly everyone you meet will make some sort of connection with you. You will hear all kinds of “congratulations” from close friends and strangers alike. Whether you run into an expectant mother in line at the grocery store, see a young family with a newborn baby on a stroll through your neighborhood, or you meet an older couple who shares the joys of parenthood with you, the “pregnancy connection” is unlike any other bond.

Sure, pregnancy can be scary, especially if you’ve never been through it before. Your body changes in ways you didn’t even know it could, and you may experience feelings and emotions you didn’t even know existed. But when it really comes down to it, pregnancy is one of the most beautiful things that can happen to a woman. What do you think of these beautiful things about pregnancy? 

Ty and Venessa Crandell3 Beautiful Things About Pregnancy You Don’t Hear About Enough
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3 Ways To Spice Up Your Family Nights

With the school year back in full swing, schedules fill up faster and the to-do list gets longer. And consequently, scheduling some time for family activities is suddenly so much harder than it was during those blissful summer months. But don’t let family time take a backseat this school year. Instead, switch up your go-to family nights with something a little different and a bit more exciting.

Read some ideas to find out how you can spice up your normal family activities into family nights no one will want to miss.

Bring movie night outdoors

While the weather is nice enough, bring the cinema under the stars. Hold a family vote on what movie you will watch, and bring a T.V. onto the back deck. Place your lawn chairs in the shape of a movie auditorium and serve popcorn for the full experience. Better yet, if you have a pool, set up a projector screen and use floats instead of lawn chairs. It may take a little more effort, but your family will be talking about outdoor movie until the next time.

Make game night a little more competitive

A little healthy competition never hurt anybody. Next time you break out the board games for family game night, invite another family over to join in on the fun. Family friends, next-door neighbors, or the in-laws all make for a fun-filled night of competition. If you really want to go all-out, create a tournament system in whatever game you play to keep the fun going all night long.

Recreate the restaurant experience at home

Instead of going out to your family’s favorite restaurant, dine in at home. Assign different jobs to every family member so everyone is involved, and get creative with the menu! Create a restaurant experience in your home complete with a candlelit table and your nicest dishes. If you want to put in some extra effort, don’t skip out on dessert. Make-your-own ice cream sundae bars complete with all the toppings are always a hit!

Family nights can get a little repetitive if you do the same old thing every time. This school year put an exciting twist on your go-to family night activities. These spiced-up family nights will have your kids asking you to clear the schedule for the next one in no time at all.

Ty and Venessa Crandell3 Ways To Spice Up Your Family Nights
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5 Tips for Raising Empathetic Kids

Every parents’ dream is to raise children who lead a life of empathy, compassion, and kindness and who inspire others to do the same. Like all other things in life, children best learn these habits by observing how their parents and other adult figures treat them when they are scared, sad, upset, or angry. Read our top tips for raising empathetic kids and establishing an empathetic environment at home so that your children show compassion and inspire others from a young age.

Be a role model

First and foremost, children learn habits and behaviors early on from watching how their parents act and respond to any and all situations. In the early years of their life and even after, children’s young minds take in and absorb everything they see around them. Not to mention, every kid grows up thinking that their parents are super-humans, and their greatest dream in life is to grow up to be just like you. So make sure you lead by example, and that your children see you living a life of compassion, and they will likely grow up and do the same.

Teach them to be kind before anything else

Your children will no doubt grow to be intelligent, wonderful, witty, talented, beautiful, and brave people in this world. But make sure they know that, before any of these other things, the most important thing for them to be is kind. Teach them that a warm heart and an open mind will take them far in life. More than anything, teach them kindness by showing kindness––to them, to your spouse, to friends, and to strangers.

Hold them to high standards and communicate your expectations to them

The biggest and easiest parenting mistake to make is to reward your children for every single instance of good behavior or after every good deed they do. It’s important to remember that we should expect our kids to be kind and compassionate, and that showing kindness is not always worthy of an award. Be sure to hold your kids to a high standard when it comes to their behavior and the way they treat others, and communicate your expectations clearly. Refrain from rewarding them after every instance they act with kindness to teach them that this kind of behavior should be expected at all times.

Make your child is aware about the world around them

It’s never too early to start showing your children the importance of service and philanthropy. Volunteer with a local charity and bring them along. Talk about the news and causes you care about around them. Raise their awareness even if they don’t completely understand the cause. If anything, they will know that you are passionate about something, they will understand it’s important to care for others, and that will instill in them a desire to act with passion as well.

Empower your kids

Teach them they can make a difference, and they will. Encourage them every single day to show one intentional act of kindness, and they will feel empowered to do so. Stop helicopter-parenting and let your children prove to you and to themselves that they can accomplish anything they want to as long as it’s fueled by a passion and desire to make the world a better place.

Establish these parenting habits early, so your children grow up in a home with clear and defined expectations of kindness, empathy, and compassion. In doing so, your children will learn habits they will use for the rest of their lives to inspire others to hold themselves to the same standard as well.

Check out The Most Important Thing You Can Leave Behind for Your Kids to learn more about our thoughts on family legacy and the importance of instilling values in your children.

Ty and Venessa Crandell5 Tips for Raising Empathetic Kids
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4 Ways To Celebrate The Fourth With Your Kids

It really is true that children make all holidays more exciting, and the Fourth of July is no exception. While watching fireworks at the end of the day is usually the the most traditional and most anticipated aspect of this holiday for children, there are so many fun things to do before the show starts. The Fourth of July festivities don’t have to wait until dark to commence, and there are a lot of great ways to celebrate with your kids earlier in the day. If you’re wondering what activities to plan, read these 4 ways to celebrate the Fourth with your kids.

Make red white and blue treats

Whipping up some sweet treats are an easy way to entertain your children while enjoying quality bonding time. Look up a good sugar cookie recipe, or even more American, an apple pie, and teach your children how to make it. Baking is a simple, fun activity and provides a finished product that acts as the perfect canvas for children to decorate with red, white, and blue icing and star-shaped sprinkles. Decorating treats are also perfect for bigger groups of kids of all ages, but be sure to make plenty because they go fast! Visit our Pinterest board for some good Fourth of July recipes.

Plan fun crafts on hand

Patriotic crafts are a great way to get in the holiday spirit with your children, and are fun for both you and them. Crafts keep kids engaged while developing a family tradition that everyone is sure to cherish. The best crafts for children involve letting them be creative and take reign of their work. Have your child pick out a few rocks from the yard that they can paint with red, white, and blue designs, or create firework artwork using red, white, and blue paint and some straws. View our Fourth of July Pinterest board for more ideas for fun crafts:

Play sports together

Backyard sports are a great way to get your children active on the Fourth, and are also a good way to bond as a family. Set up a volleyball net in the backyard for your family to hit the ball back and forth, or maybe start up a competitive tournament. The more the merrier! Badminton is another backyard sports favorite that is super easy to set up and play. If you want to stray away from the conventional sports, you can even get creative and hold a relay race or water balloon war if it gets really warm.  

Participate in a neighborhood parade

Have your kids decorate their bicycle or golf cart with patriotic decorations to ride in the local Fourth of July parade. Many neighborhoods and cities have small parades in which kids and their parents can join in and display their American pride. Decorating their bicycle and dressing up in red, white, and blue to parade around the neighborhood is a great way to get your kids excited about the day, and is a fun social activity as well.

 

Ty and Venessa Crandell4 Ways To Celebrate The Fourth With Your Kids
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4 Ways Mentoring Enhances Your Life

Making the decision to join and participate in a mentoring program may be a personal one, but it should never be a difficult one. Choosing which program is the best fit for your personal needs, on the other hand, is where the most important decision-making comes into play. But, generally speaking, simply deciding to participate in a mentoring program should be a no-brainer because these programs offer countless benefits that provide both the mentor and the mentee with invaluable opportunities and experience, and here’s why.

For those considering mentorship, here are 4 Ways Mentoring Enhances Your Life

Mentoring sessions are 100% supportive and completely confidential.

Mentoring sessions are completely confidential, and they provide the mentee with a trusted confidant to talk through any difficulties, setbacks, or problems that are relevant at the time. With the guaranteed trust of both the mentor and the mentee, each mentoring session is certain to a be a productive one, and likely both people will leave feeling refreshed and encouraged on their individual life endeavors.

Mentoring sessions enhances chances for success.

By participating in mentoring sessions, the mentee will gain knowledge, advice, and skills from the real-life experience of someone who is already successful and established in a particular field. Mentoring sessions also provide the mentee with guidance on how to most effectively incorporate the knowledge, advice, and lessons learned into their own life for the highest chances of success.

Mentoring sessions increase professional socialization.

Mentoring sessions are also a chance for the mentee to gain experience in conversing with someone highly well-informed in their field. In doing so, the mentee will gain professional social skills that are tailored to their field and required for success in it. If nothing else, mentoring sessions provide a valuable chance for mentees to network with successful business professionals on a similar career path.

Mentoring sessions provide clarity.

It is completely acceptable for a mentee to go into a mentoring session without a clear idea in mind of what they want their next five, ten, or fifteen years to look like. And what a relieving feeling that is!  Mentoring sessions serve as a tool to create a forward-thinking plan that clarifies future goals and the methods necessary to achieve them. In fact, it’s encouraged to leave behind certain thoughts about the future at the door and enter each session with an open mind. Even if the mentee is sure of their future plans and goals, mentoring sessions provide an opportunity to question and refine these plans so that they serve the mentee in the most successful way possible.

Ty and Venessa Crandell4 Ways Mentoring Enhances Your Life
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Why Traveling the World is Actually an Investment in Yourself

One of the main reasons that people don’t just take off from work to travel the world is that they feel that it’s an expensive luxury. They operate under the assumption that travel is for the rich. While it’s true that it takes money and time to be able to travel, it’s anything but a luxury. Traveling the world is actually an investment in yourself. So, this year, make time to broaden your horizon and better yourself by traveling to new places and experiencing other parts of the world.

Traveling the World Puts Your Problems in Perspective

If you’ve ever felt like the weight of the world was on your shoulders, there’s nothing like traveling to a country where others are far less fortunate to alleviate that pressure. When you see how the vast majority of the world lives, it’s almost impossible to feel resentful of your own circumstances.

Hopefully, having your own problems put in perspective will inspire you to give back in a sustainable way to the communities you visit.

Even if you happen to visit corners of the world where people have similar privileges, those experiences still have the ability to impact your perspective. After all, humanity is humanity, and we all have issues we need to work through. When you travel the world, you get a front-row seat to see how everyone else lives, and you start to realize that we all need to work with one another to make the world a better place.

Traveling the World Eliminates Fear of Other Cultures

Again, when you get that front-row seat to the way everyone else lives, you begin to develop a greater sense of empathy. You realize that everyone is a person; everyone deserves love and compassion.

It’s so easy to classify people who don’t look or sound like you as “other,” but the truth is that we’re all human, and there’s no reason to fear one another. The first step to eliminating that fear is to foray into understanding. When you travel the world, you take that leap into understanding and being a part of someone else’s rich and colorful life.

Traveling the World Inspires You to Achieve Greatness

Finally, traveling the world is an investment in yourself in that it inspires you to achieve greatness. Opening yourself up to new perspectives and seeing the world through different lenses allows you to see greater potential in yourself and in others.

Traveling is one of the most inspirational things you can do, so what are you waiting for? Achieve greatness, broaden your horizons, and learn to love the world!

Ty and Venessa CrandellWhy Traveling the World is Actually an Investment in Yourself
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The Most Important Thing You Can Leave Behind for Your Kids?

What is your legacy? What do you leave behind for your family once you’re no longer with them? If your first thought was just to say, “I have a significant amount of money saved up to take care of them,” then you probably haven’t built a legacy. A legacy is about so much more than money; it’s about the lessons and the values you instill in your kids, the kind that last a lifetime and beyond.

Leave Your Kids a Legacy of Hope

In the darkest of times, the most important of all resources is one that can’t be drilled or mined or even synthesized in a lab. The world needs hope.

One of the greatest and most important things that you can leave behind for your kids is a legacy of hope. Teach them that hope lights up the darkness and dispels all negativity. Instill in them the sense that hope persists, even in the face of extreme adversity.

When you teach your children to hope beyond measure, you create an immeasurably positive legacy that has the power to change the world.

Build a Legacy of Trust

Trust cannot be won. Trust cannot be bought. Trust must be earned and built over time. Like hope, trust is a priceless commodity.

If you possibly can, leave your children with a legacy of trust. Help them to understand the fundamental principles involved in building and maintaining trust. Again, this effort will go a long way to making the world a better place—not only for your kids, but for their kids, and their kids’ kids.

Create a Legacy of Kindness

Above all else, kindness is a virtue that’s everlasting. When you impart the value of kindness to your children, you leave behind a remarkable legacy.

Being kind to their fellow man will not only serve your kids well, it will also improve the world in priceless ways.

Leaving behind financial freedom for your children is wonderful to ensure that they’ll never worry about material comforts, but what’s more important in the end is that your children are kind, trustworthy (and trusting), and hopeful. That legacy will be carried on for generations to come.

Ty and Venessa CrandellThe Most Important Thing You Can Leave Behind for Your Kids?
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Why Fit Mothers Make for Better Parents

Before you get up in arms, thinking that this is a body-shaming article, rest assured that this article is solely focused on empowering bodies of all types. Fitness is a spectrum, and being fit has almost nothing to do with the way you look and everything to do with the way you function and feel. When you work out and make positive fitness goals for yourself as a mother, you’re far more likely to parent positively and be a happier person all around. Not to mention the strength you develop when you exercise daily! All of that weight-lifting and cardio adds up to being able to chase after and keep up with playfully errant toddlers all day, every day.

In the end, what makes fit mothers better parents? Let’s find out.

Fit Mothers Have Greater Patience

When you’re exhausted, and you feel weak, it can be so much harder to have patience with a screaming kid who’s throwing spaghetti at the wall—and in your face. Luckily, exercising can help mitigate those circumstances.

Getting in a quick morning workout, even just jogging around the neighborhood with the kids in the stroller, makes it that much easier to have patience throughout the day.

Fit Mothers Know How to Manage Time

Speaking of making time for workouts in the morning, being a fit mother means being able to manage time really well. Any parent will tell you that having kids is a full-time, 24/7 job. So, when is there time to sleep, much less workout?

The answer is that fit mothers know how to manage their time. It’s a strength that comes from internal discipline—and also just from a need to stay on top of their fitness. In that way, fit mothers are like super-superheroes.

Fit Mothers Have More Energy

It’s just a fact that exercise gives you more energy. When you’re a new mother—or even if you’ve been a mother for many years—more energy is guaranteed to be at the top of your list of desires.

Having more energy no doubt makes you a better parent. When you’re not tuckered out at the end of the day, you’re able to do more with your kids and be a more engaging and present parent.

All of this is not to say that mothers who don’t exercise aren’t great parents. Parenting, like fitness, is a spectrum, and we all fluctuate from time to time. It’s always important, as with anything, to try to do your best no matter what.

Ty and Venessa CrandellWhy Fit Mothers Make for Better Parents
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