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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

Clean. Organize. Rinse. Repeat.

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Hmm, I feel like we’ve tackled this topic here before. Maybe even three or four times before. But that’s OK. As I’ve written repeatedly, I believe that getting your house clean and organized is a process – and a practice – not a project.

What’s the difference? Well, projects have specific end points. When you reach your goal, the job is done.

But there is no point at which I will be able to throw my hands in the air and say “I did it! My entire life is COMPLETELY CLEAN AND ORGANIZED!” and then just move on to some new thing, like, I dunno, knitting a sweater.

Knitting a sweater, after all, is a project. Once it’s knitted, it generally stays that way. But no matter how clean my house gets or how neat and tidy my desk is, all it takes is one afternoon – or in this case, one Spring Break – to put it all out of order again.

And that can be frustrating and even demoralizing – especially if we’re looking at cleaning as a project, something we have to “complete” before we can move on to anything else (whether it’s spending time with our families or going out to the movies with a friend.)

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I’ve heard some moms say that it’s hard to relax because it feels like there’s always something we “could” be doing – the dishes, dusting, laundry, etc. But that mindset is a trap, because it’s truly impossible to ever “finish” cleaning, and trying to is akin to a hamster running on a wheel hoping to “get there.” (hint, Mr. Hamster: there is no “there”.)

Instead of focusing on tasks to be done or “finishing”, I try to go by the way I feel when I’m in my home. Do I feel functional and peaceful? Are there messes that are getting in the way of my being able to use my kitchen or work space well? Are toys, books, pencils and craft supplies, etc. accessible?

If the answer is yes, hooray! Time for me to put my feet up and watch House Hunters. If not, no biggie – that’s life. Pick a spot and chip away until it looks and feels better, with the understanding that I’ll be doing it again and again and again.

plan a better week
This week I’m focusing on the practice of putting things back in order, with the realization that this won’t be the last, or the second to last, or even the hundredth-t0-last time it will need to be done.

Like rolling out of bed in the morning or brushing my teeth before bed at night, cleaning up is just a part of life. And this week I’m putting it front and center.

What about you? Could your life use a little attention to the practice of keeping things clean enough – even though they will definitely get messy again?

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