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31 Family Ties Printable List!

You asked for it, and now you’ve got it!

I had many people ask about a printable list of all 31 family ties to keep somewhere in their home as a visual reminder – you guys are so smart!

The list is just the main idea of each family tie, but if you’ve already read through them, I think it is enough to jog your memory!

An ebook of this series may be in the works at some point, but right now I’m focusing on the FAMILY part and letting the writing happen when time allows!

For this week, all you need to do is click this link or the image above to get your free printable list! After this week, it will only be available to subscribers, which I, of course hope all of you are or will become right now {hint, hint}!

And if you find this printable useful, would you please tell your friends about it?! Tweet it? Facebook it? Pin it? Thanks – you’re the best!

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31 Days: Laugh!

It’s been a special 31 days for me this October.

God has shown me countless ways to strengthen our family and I just let Him lead me in sharing them with you as well.

And today, we cross the finish line, triumphantly, with one last family tie:

Laugh.

Every day.

With your kids. With your spouse.

Even at yourself, if necessary.

It will feel good. For everyone. I promise.

A cheerful heart is good medicine… ~Proverbs 17:22

I know of few things that make me enjoy my family more than laughing with them. My spirit is lifted and it IS like medicine for any bad attitude or frustration to which I may be holding!

In the midst of child-rearing and laundry and homework and…

Take at least a moment to lighten up and laugh it up with your family!

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Family Tie #31: Whatever the day may hold, laugh with your family! And make it happen every day!

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As some of you have requested, I will be posting a printable with all 31 “Family Ties” in the next few days, but right now I just have to say…

Thank you!

It have been SO wonderful having you join me on this 31 days journey! I have been extremely blessed by your comments and tweets and encouragement through this month!

There’s a lot swirling in my mind about where to go from here and I look forward to sharing as God directs! To keep up with what’s coming next here at Home with the Boys, you can sign up to get each post sent right to your inbox for FREE!

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Just out of curiosity, did you have a favorite family tie from the past 31 days? Or one you really want to focus on? I would love to hear more of your thoughts on the whole topic of strengthening our families! And feel free to email me at homewiththeboys at gmail dot com as well!

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31 Days: Serve Together

We’re headed to the store today to shop for our Operation Christmas Child boxes, which brings me to our second to last family tie:

Serve others together.

We’ve talked about putting others in our family above ourselves, but doing that TOGETHER as a family for those in need is very powerful as well.

Serving others as a family can bring about great feelings of gratitude, along with building cooperative skills and providing perspective.

Last year, the boys and I went to Target to pick out various items to pack a shoebox. We chose to pack a box for a boy similar to the boys’ ages to help them relate. We picked some necessities and some toys and the boys had so much fun shopping for the boy who would receive the box, especially when I explained this would probably be the only gift he received at Christmas.

They are quite excited to bless a boy or two with a shoebox again this year!

Operation Christmas Child is one of my favorite ways to serve with our kids, but there are SO many options for this family tie!

Compassion is another favorite for us – the boys love helping write letters and draw pictures and pray for Samson!

I mention these two first because they are great to do with children of any age. And for those of you with young children, these two options are wonderful because they are very flexible and don’t require a large time commitment that may be taxing on toddlers and babies – and you!

Your church will most likely have several ways for your family to serve throughout the year. The MOB Society did a feature this summer on service projects for boys that contains lots of inspiring ideas as well!

Choose something that uses your family’s strengths and/or talents to bless others!

I just love the conversations I have had with Big J that have come from time spent serving together in some way. These discussions that involve worldview and Christ and so much more are just another way our relationship is strengthened when we take on these projects as a family!

What is your favorite way for your family to serve together?

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Family Tie #30: Consider the ages, talents, and strengths of your family and pick a way to serve others in your community together. The holidays are a great time to find a way to bless a family with a meal or gifts or aid of some kind. Contact your church or a local charity if you need ideas!

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Operation Christmas Child Operation Christmas Child National Collection Week is November 12-19 so you still have lots of time to participate! For more information on Operation Christmas Child, check out these helpful links…

*How to Pack a Shoe Box

*100 Shoebox Ideas for Boys

*100 Shoebox Ideas for Girls

*Hosting a Packing Party

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To keep up with this 31 Days series, you can sign up to get each post sent right to your inbox for FREE! I will also link to them at the bottom of this post as they go live!

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31 Days: Do What You Love – Together!

I remember the first time The Hubby had Big J join him to go golfing. Big J beamed from ear to ear because he was being included in one of Daddy’s favorite activities – or maybe it was because he got to ride in the golf cart! Either way, it was a memorable experience!

Now that running has become a big part of our lives, Big J has set a goal to run a mile!

Both of these experiences prove my point for today:

Our children like to be included in the things we love!

The sense of belonging that comes from being included in someone’s favorite activity, especially when it is a child and parent, is so valuable!

And it can go the other way, as well! When a child has a hobby or activity they love, it can mean so much to them if mom or dad want to participate with them! {This might not be as true as they get older, but they will still appreciate mom and dad showing interest!}

I love to bake. Instead of spending hours in the kitchen by myself, asking the children to find their own thing to do while I bake, I can include them in making cookies or bread!

Our boys love playing Legos {big surprise!}. They love it when Daddy builds with them or gives them a Lego building “assignment.”

It really doesn’t take much effort to make this family tie happen, but it may take a little extra patience! My baking process might go a little slower if I let the boys measure the ingredients. The Hubby’s golf game might not be as peaceful with one of the boys riding along in the cart.

It is worth it, though, as we are creating wonderful memories and stronger family bonds when we include our family members in the things we love to do!

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Family Tie #29: Make a list of your favorite things to do. Find one that you could do with another family member and do it! Watch what your child enjoys doing and ask if you can join them!

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To keep up with this 31 Days series, you can sign up to get each post sent right to your inbox for FREE! I will also link to them at the bottom of this post as they go live!

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31 Days: Respect and Honor

If you want to have a strong family, there is not better place to look for guidance than the Bible.

Over and over again, in the discussion of family dynamics and relationships with others in the Word, one theme is emphasized:

Honor and respect.

Ooh, I love those words. Here’s a few places they are used in Scripture…

{emphasis my own}

Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. ~Exodus 20:12

However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. ~Ephesians 5:33

Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God… ~1 Peter 2:17

Honor and respect are not about us being “less than” anyone else in our family!

When we show honor and respect to our family members, we communicate just how very important they are to us. And when we teach our children to honor and respect others, we give them the best foundation for being a blessing to others outside of our home.

I love what these words mean for us as we relate as a family.  I love how they focus our words and actions on someone else – not ourselves.

And my very favorite verse on this topic is Romans 12:10…

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. ~Romans 12:10 {NIV}

Devoted. Committed. Resolved to love and honor one another. What a picture of beauty and strength the family who follows this verse will be!

Let’s take it one step further with the command given in the ESV translation of this verse…

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. ~Romans 12:10 {ESV}

Suddenly it’s become a contest and it’s the very best kind of contest – who can honor others MORE? How about that as a challenge for your family?! The blessings that will flow from this kind of attitude in your family are boundless!

Encourage honor and respect within your household, and more importantly, model it in your own life!

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Family Tie #28: Choose a version of Romans 12:10 that speaks to you and your family. Download it, print it, and post it in your home. Talk about it often. And pray for the strength, wisdom, and grace to live it out!

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To keep up with this 31 Days series, you can sign up to get each post sent right to your inbox for FREE! I will also link to them at the bottom of this post as they go live!

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31 Days: Share the Workload

Saturdays were cleaning days in my house growing up.

We all pitched in, but in reality, I’m pretty sure I could and should have done a lot more to contribute. {I’m sorry, Mom & Dad!}

Maybe if I had done a little more back then, I would have realized just how much work it is to maintain a house BEFORE I had one of my own to take care of! I came into this marriage as the messy, disorganized one, but nine years later, I’m starting to find my way.

Now that I am the family manager, I have taken on the responsibilities that come with a home and a family, but I have a new problem.

I am terrible at delegating and asking for help.

The Hubby and I recently had a discussion about how he is willing to help more around the house as time and work allow, but I just need to ask or else he won’t know I need help! And we do have able-bodied children who are getting old enough to do lots of little things around the house.

I have to remind myself that I am NOT weak when I need to ask for help. Recognizing the times I can’t get it all done and rustling up some help {no, we don’t live on a ranch} is what good leaders do!

I’m also discovering that not all of the things that make a family stronger are fun! Chores are not anyone’s idea of a good time, but when everyone shares the workload, there will be more time for fun in the end!

And we are training our children to be hard workers and team players when we include them in household chores. I know we will see the blessings of this even more as they get older!

Get the whole family on board with the work that needs to be done and enjoy that extra time you have leftover when everyone pitches in!

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Family Tie #27: Write down ALL of the chores that need to be done in and around the house. Decide which ones only you and your spouse can do. Pick age-appropriate chores for your children to do and assign them on a regular basis for the purpose of consistency. And if you’re overwhelmed, ASK FOR HELP!

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To keep up with this 31 Days series, you can sign up to get each post sent right to your inbox for FREE! I will also link to them at the bottom of this post as they go live!

 

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31 Days: Date Night

Two words for you today:

Date. Night.

Two more words:

Do. It.

It doesn’t matter what or where or when, just set one up, get out, and enjoy yourselves!

Disclaimer: I know it’s not always easy to make this happen. We’ve been in that place – we’re in that place now. New town. Strange work hours. No babysitter. But we know we just HAVE to find a way.

Tonight, the kids are camping with Grandma and Grandpa, and the baby is coming with us for a date night at our favorite restaurant. Having one kid {that doesn’t talk} with us is better than not having a date at all!

Here’s the deal: We could all use some fresh ideas in this area and some inspiration on how to make dates happen in unusual or difficult circumstances, so share your favorite date night ideas in the comments today!

And I pray you get to go on those dates very soon!

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Family Tie #26: Make a date night happen ASAP! If possible, set up a regular date night – weekly, monthly, whatever works – and put it on the calendar now! Don’t let your honeymoon be the last time you got out and had some fun together! {Yes, that picture is us on our honeymoon!}

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To keep up with this 31 Days series, you can sign up to get each post sent right to your inbox for FREE! I will also link to them at the bottom of this post as they go live!

 

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31 Days: Picture This… {And 31 Days of Thanks!}

There is one simple activity that has brought me to a place of true gratitude for my family more than almost anything else:

Looking through pictures.

I find this to be especially true after a family trip, a big birthday party, or even a field trip with the kiddos. These kind of activities, while fun, often leave me feeling drained. But that weariness seems to diminish when I look at images I have captured of our family in action!

Whether I’m browsing through them myself or with The Hubby or kids, I am flooded with gratitude at the images on my screen and here’s why…

1. Pictures allow me step back and really see my children outside of my daily mothering duties.

In a picture, I catch personality glimpses I may have missed while trying to keep an eye all three kiddos. I notice little things that are hard to catch in the day-to-day, like the way the older two stick out their tongue when working hard on something or the expressions on their faces as they discuss something out of my earshot.

2. Pictures emphasize the positive in my children.

Like how stinking cute they are. How can I not smile when I look at those faces and the precious – or precarious – things they are doing?!

3. Pictures serve as “stones.”

Just as God commanded Joshua and the Israelites to set up stones to remember what He had done for them {Joshua 4}, pictures are “stones” or milestone-markers for me. I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of thanksgiving as I look through photos of birthdays and gatherings and “firsts” and backyard fun and so on. Memories pour back into my mind when I flip through pictures, both old and new, and my internal “blessings meter” goes through the roof!

Photography leads me to a place where I am more grateful for my husband, children, and family as a whole.

And for that form of strengthening of my family, I am even more thankful.

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Family Tie #25: Take lots of pictures and look at them more often! You don’t need a fancy camera – use whatever you have and snap away! And as you look back through them, thank God for each blessing in those moments frozen in time!

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To keep up with this 31 Days series, you can sign up to get each post sent right to your inbox for FREE! I will also link to them at the bottom of this post as they go live!

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31 Days of ThanksThis post is also a part of 31 Days of Thanks, a wonderful month-long blogger celebration of gratitude organized by Meg from Homeschoolin Mama! So blessed to be included in this fun!

As part of the festivities, there are a TON of prizes being given away! Here’s a look at this week’s prize package:

Amazing, right?! And there are new prizes every week – a $1450 value total! Talk about celebrating Thanksgiving the right way!

Just use Rafflecopter below to enter and make sure to follow this great series all the way through for new prizes every week!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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31 Days: Give Them Space to Be Kids

I like to watch HGTV. I especially love the shows where people are renovating their current house and/or looking for a new one. I am fascinated by what people are looking for in a home, maybe even more so because we just went through this process!

As I’ve watched these shows recently, something has bothered me:

Many parents on these shows are complaining about their children’s things being in their living room or kitchen or other main living areas.

Now, The Hubby and I like a very neat and orderly house as much or more than the next family {he has rubbed off on me in this area quite a bit}, but what I’m hearing and seeing in these parents has made me think about our children’s place – and space – in our home.

We cannot expect our children to “live” in one or two rooms of the house. Restricting children and their “stuff” from main living areas does not promote a strong sense of family in any way!

Play rooms are great! Storing toys in the kids’ room is wonderful!

I’m not advocating for children to have toys and books and art supplies strewn about the house, but sharing life involves sharing space. And playing with your children just won’t happen as much if that “play” is limited to a play room only!

Give them permission to play throughout the house! Teach them to put everything back in its place when they are done, but let them build a huge Lego city in the living room every once in a while! Let them color at the dining room table while you clean up the dishes after dinner!

For the record, we definitely do send the boys off to play in their room! Parents and children need some space. And a few rooms should be off-limits to the kids for the most part, such as the master bedroom and bathroom.

But if our kids are ALWAYS being sent to another room to do their thing, I feel like we miss out on the joy of watching them just play and be kids!

Let’s make sure relationship and time with our children is more important than keeping toys out of the living room!

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Family Tie #24: What is the “play policy” in your house? Do you restrict play in certain areas of your home just to keep them clean? Make sure your children don’t feel like they can only “be kids” in one part of the house! At least once this week, let them do some fun or unexpected play in a different room of the house than normal!

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To keep up with this 31 Days series, you can sign up to get each post sent right to your inbox for FREE! I will also link to them at the bottom of this post as they go live!

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31 Days: A Change in Discipline

No, I’m not touching on the topic of disciplining your child today! We’re talking about a whole different kind of discipline for the whole family!

I’m over at the Tommy Nelson blog today, reflecting on the changes that come with fall and the impact of little changes in our own lives!

I’ve been thinking about little changes and big changes and life changes in general a lot lately.

I am not naturally a very disciplined person. I am a scatter-brained, big picture thinker who often forgets little details that are actually really important. And I’m terrible at follow-through.

I consider it a major victory that I now workout at least five times a week, but it was hard work getting there and it is hard work sticking with it!

I want to set a good example of self-discipline for our boys so they are able to pick a task to complete or a habit they want to start, make a plan, and make it happen! 

I have lots of other areas of my life in which I want to become more disciplined, but sometimes I don’t even know where to start! Anybody else ever feel that way? Once I know what I want to do, I know what I need to keep going.

Discipline and accountability are directly related for me. Working out has stuck because I check in with my hubby and best friend every day. Reading my Bible every morning works because I check in on Twitter with others who are having their quiet time.

Your family could be just the accountability one another needs to become more disciplined – your own accountability group right there in your own home! Imagine the encouragement and motivation that could happen in your family as you all work on goals and good habits together!

To give you an extra boost, my friend Crystal {Money Saving Mom} has a brand new book {just released TODAY!} that is helping me take my discipline one step further!

21 Days to a More Disciplined Life is one of the most practical guides to becoming more disciplined I have ever read. And even better, it is not overwhelming in any way!

Crystal shares in the book that she is not a naturally disciplined person either, but has learned to be by taking small steps every day to reach her goals.

Seriously, just reading through this book has me excited to tackle my “mega-project” broken down into smaller pieces! A long list of small projects is much less paralyzing to me than a short list of big projects!

Wait – what’s a mega-project?

That’s what Crystal calls a project that has just seemed too big to take on in the past. But with Crystal’s steps, you and I will be finishing it – or at least putting a major dent in it – in just 21 days! Your mega-project could be de-cluttering your house, losing weight, creating a new morning routine, even breaking a bad habit.

Do you have a project like this you’ve been putting off because it was overwhelming?

I do. I have a few of them {and some you’ll really like!}, so I’m taking this 21-day challenge and I hope you’ll join me!

First of all, you need to buy 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life, and for the next three days, it is only 99 CENTS! Both the PDF and Kindle versions are 99 cents through Thursday, after which the price goes up to $4.99.

Now that you have the book, you’re going to want someone – or several someones – to help keep you accountable. I suggest sharing your goals with your family, but outside accountability is a major motivator as well. I have good news for you in this area!

Crystal from Serving Joyfully and Laura from Super Sweet Life will be blogging their way through 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life starting November 1st and they will be encouraging you as you work through it as well! Check out their post today for more details!

And to go along with their challenge, I will be leading the accountability during this time on Twitter, using the hashtag #disciplined21! Just follow me at @homewiththeboys and check in daily starting November 1st as we all work on being more disciplined!

Let’s join together to work towards a more disciplined life for ourselves and our families!

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Want to win one of FIVE copies of 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life?

Just leave a comment here with a mega-project you need to make happen to be entered!

This giveaway is only open until 9:00 p.m. CST TONIGHT! Five winners will be chosen at random and notified by email.

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Family Tie #23: Help each person in your family pick one project or goal to focus on for the next three weeks. Yep, even the kids can do this one! Choose a reward for the whole family to enjoy at the end of those three weeks as you meet these goals!

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To keep up with this 31 Days series, you can sign up to get each post sent right to your inbox for FREE! I will also link to them at the bottom of this post as they go live!

 

*I was given a copy of this book to review. I was not compensated in any other way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own!

**This post contains affiliate links.

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