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


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


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:


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

I let myself feel stupid and it made me smarter.


Last month I did something that scared me: I took a voice lesson.

Considering my past, the fact that I was afraid of singing in front of one other person seemed really dumb. After all, I grew up singing in front of other people – solos in church when I was a little kid, six years of choir, leads in the school musicals.

But that was then, you know? Over the past decade and a half I’ve mostly just sung in the shower, and it’s been so long since I’ve had formal training that I couldn’t even say for sure what my vocal range is anymore.

I’ve been meaning to get back to it – either performing, or just stretching my voice on a more regular basis – for years, but have chickened out, again and again.

When I was younger, I was fearless about performing. I was the first one to grab the karaoke mic (no stiff drink needed) and didn’t even get nervous at auditions.

I guess after all those years of disuse, my performance muscle had become weak. I’ve become unaccustomed to standing in front of a room and belting out a song, and less and less confident in my skills as the time has gone by.

Plus, over the years I’ve gotten good at other things, and have forgotten what it feels like to be an ignorant beginner. Admitting that I don’t really know how to use my voice effectively, and need a lot of help and practice to be good, is harder at 36 than it would have been at 16.

But finally, I made myself do it. I contacted the music school and – gasp! – even followed up when my original email went unanswered. I deep-breathed away impending panic as the day grew nearer, and ignored the nagging voice in my head that urged me to call and cancel.

I had no idea what I should bring to a voice lesson, so I showed up on the first day of class with nothing but a smile and a check for a month’s worth of classes (so I would be forced to go back.)

And I learned a few things.

First, I can still sing! Yes, I’m rusty and need a lot of practice, but I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I haven’t been delusional all this time.

Second, there were awkward moments. Plenty of them. I kept forgetting to breathe from my diaphragm (the muscle that supports your lungs and allows you to sing more strongly and sustain notes longer). I didn’t open my mouth wide enough when I sang those sustained vowel sounds and they sounded pinched and breathy.

My instructor asked me what kinds of songs I like to sing, and for some inexplicable reason I became totally tongue-tied and couldn’t think of a single one (of course I thought of about two hundred on the drive home.)

But you know what? Awkward moments happen. Letting yourself feel silly, ignorant, and very much not on-top-of-everything puts other people in the position to help you. You get through the awkwardness and the embarrassment, and on the other side there is learning, growth and accomplishment.

On the other hand, never put yourself “out there” and you’ll never know what you might be able to do.

When we avoid experiencing discomfort, we never learn what we’re capable of.

I really don’t know what my musical future holds. Maybe I’ll be satisfied singing casually. Maybe I’ll look for performing opportunities again, whether it’s in a choir or a musical.

But either way, I’m so glad I pushed through the discomfort and nerves and forced myself to take this essential first step. Four weeks after that first, uncomfortable lesson, I’m finding my groove again, feeling more and more confident every time I walk into the studio, and – yep – singing a lot better than I was just a month ago.

note to self

If you have a skill or talent that’s been lying dormant for a while, maybe you know what I’m talking about. There’s a first step you need to take to get on the path, but you’re afraid…afraid of failing, afraid of looking foolish, afraid of finding out you aren’t as talented as you once thought or that you lost your skills in the upheaval of new motherhood.

If you’re feeling that way, I want to challenge you to do what I did: let yourself feel silly. Just accept it as an inevitability and even laugh at yourself a little.

The nervousness, embarrassment, and awkwardness won’t last. But experiencing those feelings may be the only way to get back to that thing you love.


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