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Pardon our dust! (And, yay for changes!)

We’re doing a little spring cleaning here at The Happiest Home! Sarah’s been working hard behind the scenes to switch us to a new theme that will make it easier for you to navigate content and discover gems that have gotten buried over the years. We appreciate your patience while we roll out the new changes, and – whoops! – apologize if some older content somehow winds up in your inbox along the way. Want to stay up to date on what’s happening here amid all the changes? Fill out the box below and we’ll get in touch with you via email

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Looking for inspiration and real-life connection? Join me at the BEYOND Retreat next fall.

You know one of the biggest benefits of slowing down and doing less? When you step off of the merry-go-round of doing, doing, doing just because it seems like, well, the thing to do, you suddenly have all this “new” time and energy and brain space to pursue things that mean a lot to you. For years I’ve been dreaming of putting together an event bringing together awesome women in one place to dream, plan, recharge and get inspired. And now it’s time to make it happen. In October of 2015 I’ll be hosting a small but mighty group of women (is

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“Fun Parent” vs. “Boring Parent” – It’s Not Fair! But Is It True?

My husband made this lunch for my daughter last week. I know. I should have known it was coming when I caught him poring over Bento box tutorials on YouTube, watching a woman meticulously arrange smiley faces onto tiny rice-ball heads, then cap them off with pita-pocket hats. The very next day, Jon made a special trip to the grocery store for supplies. And that evening, he and Clara hovered over the kitchen island for a good half-hour creating The Lunch To End All Lunches.  Heart-shaped salami framed by heart-shaped cheese slices, people. A tiny little star cutout peanut-butter sandwich with honey and sprinkles

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Delegate Like Downton: A Strategy For Managing Home Helpers

Imagine this: it’s a Sunday afternoon. One child just got done shoveling the walk, and another is unloading the dishwasher. You, on the other hand, are reading a magazine, sipping a cup of tea and enjoying the calm of a neat (enough) kitchen…that you didn’t even have to tidy up yourself. Sound like a fantasy? It’s not! It’s actually how my Sunday afternoon played out…and it’s a pretty common scenario around here. It hasn’t always been this way. Earlier in marriage and motherhood, I was surrounded by mess and chaos, and bogged down by resentment. Why didn’t other family members recognize

At Home with Meagan

5 Must-Have Kitchen Tools

I’ve been wanting to do a regular video series, like, forEVER. But when I had kids home with me during the day, I found it was just too difficult to find quiet pockets of time to shoot and edit regularly. A five-minute video may not seem like it takes much time to do, but there’s a lot of set-up and production involved, even in the most “candid” vids.  Now that my days are my own, though, I’m finding that I’ve got the space and quiet to take on some of those things I’ve been wanting to do! So, here it

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Whimsical Girl’s Bedroom Ideas

We’re moving! In less than two weeks my family is relocating to Southern California and we couldn’t be more excited. Our new house is ready and waiting for us and I’m itching to get into it and start settling in. One of the biggest differences between our current house and the one we’re moving into is the flooring. We have carpet now – lots of it – and we’re moving into a house with all hardwood floors. And while the new floors are beautiful, it’s going to be awfully echo-y in there until we get some area rugs down. One problem:

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Gardening with Kids, The (Really) Easy Way

I’ve always wanted to think of myself as the kind of mom who grows herbs indoors using a DIY seed-starting kit, turning toilet-paper rolls or egg cartons into frugal mini-gardens which nurture her child’s green thumb, creativity and resourcefulness. In reality, I’m the kind of mom who intends, every year, to start seeds indoors eight weeks before the ground is warm, or start a windowsill herb garden, but always forgets to gather the supplies or set aside an afternoon for putting together a system. So this year, I decided to skip all the usual “Oh man, I can’t believe I

3 ways to celebrate the end of the school year

We’re really excited to kick off a new series of posts by Tricia of the blog Raising Humans. Tricia will be sharing ideas for simple, sane, and satisfying celebrations throughout the year – ways to acknowledge milestones and recognize accomplishments without going overboard. First up: three simple ways to celebrate the end of the school year with your kids. Enjoy! -Meagan

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Last year, my daughter completed her ‘first year of school.’

Granted, it was just preschool, but sitting at her end-of-year concert and watching her smile and sing and laugh with her friends and classmates made me realize how far she had come in just nine short months. She’d transitioned from tentative little toddler to full on preschooler, ready for Pre-K. I wanted to celebrate her, her hard work, and her journey. I wanted her to know that completing a school year is an accomplishment, an occasion worthy of a little time to reflect and a time to celebrate.

Whether it’s the first, the last, or any of the multitudes in between, the end of the school year is a naturally perfect time to reflect on your child’s accomplishments and to celebrate her and all of her hard work.

Now, before you start to hyperventilate over the wild and crazy celebration ideas that the Internet probably holds, take a deep breath. When I say celebrate, I’m not talking about Billy-Madison-style extravaganzas to mark the end of second grade. Celebrating doesn’t take a lot and, especially on the brink of summer vacation, a little can go a long way.

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Here are a few small, simple ways to mark the end of another school year and start the summer off on a celebratory note!

1. Reflect over a meal

The school year just officially ended, mere seconds ago. Maybe you’re all dressed up. Maybe you’re all just amped up on excitement and adrenalin. Either way, heading straight home feels a little anti-climactic. So where do you head with your newly free little birds

Out to eat!

Some of my loveliest family memories have taken place over a plate of quesadillas. Gathered around a table in the first hours of summer vacation, you and your kiddos can take a minute to breathe in that new sense of freedom and reflect on the year that brought you there. While you eat, daydream back nine months to those first days of school, relive the ups, and some of the downs, and celebrate the accomplishments big and small of the school year that has passed. As a parent, you’ll get to enjoy this time to reflect on your growing child and your child will learn how important it is to take a moment to look back at how far he’s come.

2. Give a little gift

In general, I’m not talking about anything extravagant here. While some years, such as those that end with a formal graduation, might warrant a big gift, most do not. In fact, the best small gift to mark the end of a year of school is a book.

Choose a title that your child is interested in and would love to read for fun, now that she has the time to do so. Resist the temptation to scan next year’s reading list in hopes of getting a head start on the upcoming syllabus and, rather, use this time to remind your child how much she loves to read and how much fun it is to get lost in a good story. We started this tradition last year with my daughter and I look forward to celebrating her, and adding to her personal library, at the start of each summer.

3. Make it a movie night

With the end of school come the easy, breezy days of summer. The sun lingers longer into the evening before settling beneath the horizon… and little ones believe it their right to linger a little longer too before settling into bed! Give into that later bedtime request, at least for a night, and stay up to watch a movie as a family. Make popcorn or eat pizza, curl up under blankets on the couch or spread a bed out on the floor, whatever makes for fun viewing in your home. If you don’t do this kind of thing often, staying up late will feel so exciting to your kids. And hey, you don’t have to pack a lunch for tomorrow so you can enjoy the evening too!

How do you celebrate the end of the school year with your kids?

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Thanks so much, Tricia! Look for Tricia’s ideas on simple celebrations every other month or so here at The Happiest Home. In the meantime, go grab some more of her lovely words on her blog, Raising Humans, or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

 Balloon image via Allison H, Flickr Creative Commons
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