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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

That’s Me, That’s Who I Am

This is a guest post by Chaunie Brusie of Tiny Blue Lines.

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When you hear the word “Mom,” what image comes to mind?

Do you picture a woman who is polished and put-together? A mom with her hair carefully blown-out and her children’s calendars color-coordinated?

In my mind, a mom is someone who has her act together. After all, she is the source of stability for her children. The one who will stand in the kitchen with homemade, freshly-baked cookies as her children gather `round, drawing from her wisdom and strength, whether they realize it or not. 

And while I can admit that I have the cookie thing down pat, I’m not so sure about the rest.

Part of me is afraid that I’m not mom enough for the mom club

After becoming unexpectedly pregnant with my oldest daughter during my senior year of college, at the age of 21, my entire life as I knew it went into a tailspin.

I questioned everything I thought I knew about myself—my major, my future marriage, the entire life plan I had so carefully laid out.

But above all, I struggled with one question:

How could I figure out who I am if I’m busy pretending to be a mom who knows what she’s doing?

Up until this point, with three kids five and under and a fourth on the way, I kind of feel like I have been winging this whole motherhood thing. With play dates and finger paints, my kids are pretty clueless to the fact that their mom doesn’t really know what she’s doing. But now? Now that my oldest has entered school this fall, I feel like I’m braving the real face of motherhood—with a lot of moms who are older and wiser than me.

For me, one of the most important parts about motherhood has been how important it suddenly became to realize who I am as an individual in order to be strong for my children. When I think of the best mothers I know, they are always, without a doubt, women who are strong as individuals first. Insecurity and doubt aren’t exactly good cornerstones of motherhood, am I right? Someone who is wishy-washy about their own decisions in life can’t exactly steer the next generation in the right direction.

I realized that I wanted to be strong. I want to the pillar of strength for my children. I want them to be able to know, deep down, without me telling them, that their mother is secure in who she is. I realized that inner strength and stability are important to me and will have an affect on how I raise my children. I want to do motherhood on purpose.

So, how do I become the strong, secure individual that I believe is the basis of a good mother?

1. Give myself permission to have room to grow.

While part of me lamented the fact that I didn’t fully cultivate that strong basis as an individual before I became a mother (getting pregnant in college might do that to you), the other part loves that I have grown and cultivated myself alongside of my journey to motherhood. It’s like a mommyhood buffet, where I have been able to pick and choose the best aspects that motherhood has brought out in me, to create a whole, new, and hopefully better person.

2. Cultivate my passions.

As any mother knows, this one is a constantly fought battle. And some days, it literally feels like a battle to have any sort of time to do anything other than laundry and break up fights. It’s amazing to me sometimes how much I don’t do in a day here at home with kids because the day disappears in a cloud of seemingly meaningless diaper changes, naps, and preschool.

But even though it’s taken me some time to even figure out what my passion is (who has time to have passions when you’re breastfeeding for five consecutive years?) the fight to find and cultivate my passion has been the basis of redefining myself as an individual and as a mother. Which, I am starting to see, although they are intertwined, are not mutually exclusively. There will come a day when these little people don’t always need me every second of the day, even when I am peeing. And then what?

3. Let go of the guilt.

Ok, see #2 up there? You can’t have it without this one. It’s like PB & J. They just go together. Because there may be a period of time—years even, as it was for me, when you are searching just to find your passion or you really don’t have time for anything else. I’ve learned that motherhood is so seasonal and eventually, things do balance out. So biggest lesson of all—figure out what you need to do and just do it. Maybe that means exercising every day or working more than “the other mothers” or scrapping it all until your kids hit school-aged. Whatever it is, stop apologizing for your choices as a mother and let go of the guilt.

4. Realize there is no one path to motherhood.

We all get here a little differently. And that’s ok. So maybe my kids won’t have a mother who always has her nails painted or knows exactly what she wants, but they will always have a mother who is willing to grow right alongside of them. As moms, we all have unique strengths and abilities and I’m learning to forgive my less-than-perfect moments while admitting that you know what?

I’m not always put-together.

But I’m a pretty good mom.  

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Chaunie-headshot2-682x1024Chaunie Brusie is a writer, labor and delivery nurse, and young mom of three (soon to be four!). She began serving as an advocate for young women facing unplanned pregnancies after becoming a mother during her senior year of college. Chaunie has been published on sites like The Bump, Babble, and Parents and will see her first book released on February 10. Chaunie blogs at www.tinybluelines.com

Photo: Dave Beasedale via Flickr Creative Commons
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