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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

I discovered the secret of courageousness–and it’s shockingly easy.

This post is by Heather Caliri, regular contributor to The Happiest Home and blogger at A Little Yes. Heather writes about saying “yes” to little things that scare us. You can read all her posts here.

I used to define myself by what I wouldn’t do.

Dive headfirst in a pool. Duck under an ocean wave. Watch scary movies, even “scary” movies meant for children. Rollercoasters. Heights. Anything starting with the word “extreme.” I hate calling to order takeout. I hesitate, really, to pick up the phone at all. My heart pounds if I try to wear a belt as an accessory instead of a way to hold up my pants. And don’t get me started on bees.

When I started saying “yes” to things that scared me about a year ago, I thought I’d push against the fears that had defined me. In other words: extreme. I tried a balance board and nearly broke my wrist. I tried (gasp) to accessorize.

I was determined to start being brave for the first time.

That was a worthy goal, but something else happened instead.

I started realizing I was already brave. Period.

Because “bravery” isn’t something that happens only to bungee jumpers or tightrope walkers. Bravery belongs to the bookish as well as the brash. Bravery comes in as many shades as there are people.

Bravery is much simpler than I realized.

Bravery is facing one fear, no matter how small, and moving forward anyway.

By that definition, all of us has the chance to be brave right now. And all of us are probably much braver than we give ourselves credit for.

Recognizing my own bravery made it easier to move forwards towards the goals I was longing to reach. Because placing bravery well within my reach made a huge difference in my life.

Just one step forward. I could handle that.

I was scared to start a website. But spending fifteen minutes researching hosting companies made me less worried about the bigger goal.

I was afraid about being needy while living abroad. But talking to one friend about my loneliness made me realize how important it was to ask for help.

I sketched a portrait of my daughter and hated the results. But I hung it on the wall anyway, and the next morning, I was surprised to realize my effort was much better than I’d thought.

One step forward in the face of fears and internal resistance paved the way for the next steps. And it didn’t matter how inconsequential the step seemed. Being brave in the small things made me feel surer I could be brave in the larger things. The more I practiced small bravery, the more I started seeing all the ways I’d been brave, extreme sports notwithstanding.

I’m convinced that most of us are already brave.

Sure, we might not feel that way when we compare ourselves to the geniuses, artists and wily entrepreneurs that shine on TV. But there’s a quieter bravery that’s the bedrock of everyday life.

  • The parents that roll out of bed in the dark to care for a newborn, wondering how they’ll make it through the day.
  • The beginning artist that keeps after her craft, even though the skills elude her.
  • The stay at home mom that brushes off her resume, straightens her back, and starts networking.
  • The couple that decides to get rid of their debt once and for all.

And dismissing all that bravery hurts us. If we don’t see the ways that we’re showing up, facing fears, and carrying on already, how will wee see ourselves (with love to Glennon Mellon) as warriors that can soldier on to our dreams?

The truth is, you are already braver than you imagine. You are already conquering dragons that would leave me shivering in my boots. You and me both are ready to keep on being brave in ordinary ways.

We’re ready–ready!– to start practicing the extraordinary bravery that will launch us towards our dreams.

Image credit: Balazs Gardi

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