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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

My Path to Motherhood: I’m that frazzled mom in Target

This post is part of our reader-submitted guest post series, My Path to Motherhood. For more about the series, read this post. To read all posts in the series, click here.

I'm that frazzled mom in Target

If you ran into me at Target this morning, you’d immediately think, “Wow!  She has her hands full!” You’d witness a sweatpants-clad, 30-ish woman, pushing a cart with three-year-old twin girls strapped in the in the front and an active five-year-old begging for the Lightning McQueen mac-n-cheese.

What you probably wouldn’t realize is how much I struggled to become a mom and how my journey has impacted not only my parenting, but also my worldview.

My journey to become a parent didn’t follow a traditional path and while I currently feel that my arms are overflowing, I remember when my arms were empty and my only real wish was to have a child. After my husband and I threw away the birth control pills in September of 2004, I saw two pink lines in February of 2005. We thought we were on our way to creating our family. Our joyous news ended as an ectopic pregnancy, causing me to lose both fallopian tubes.

I was only 24 and there was no chance of conception without Invitro Fertilization (IVF). IVF is a costly and invasive procedure that involves retrieving eggs and fertilizing them outside of the womb. After countless surgeries, more shots than I can remember, way too many pee sticks, and 5 IVF cycles – we were blessed with our son.  On our little guy’s first birthday, I started the medication to begin IVF again. Our 6th IVF cycle was successful and we soon found out we were expecting twins.

My struggle to become a mom changed me in many fundamental ways – not only did it make me a stronger person, but I believe it made me a better mom. I feel like I appreciate my kids more after all that we went through to conceive them and infertility helped me to develop key parenting skills like dealing with frustration and the ultimate parenting need – patience.

After my girls were born, my husband and I agreed that our family was complete. However, we had three embryos remaining. It didn’t take us long to decide to donate the remaining embryos to another couple who was trying to conceive. We knew all too well the pain and the willingness to do anything to have a child. While ultimately the other family was not successful, I am still glad that we gave them a chance. Before we experienced infertility I am sure I would have balked at even the thought of another couple raising my biological child. I now realize what a gift a child could have been for that family – and being able to recognize that was evidence of one of infertility’s greatest gifts to me: more compassion.

I still wouldn’t wish infertility on my worst enemy, but over time, I’ve come to see many of the positives that came along with the experience. I have more patience, more compassion, and a totally different worldview than I did prior to this experience. I’m not sure I’d recognize these changes in such a positive light if we hadn’t had a happy ending, but some of them – like increased compassion and changed political views – would have occurred no matter what the outcome.

If you happen to notice a somewhat frazzled mom juggling three small children at Target in the next few weeks, don’t immediately think that she must not have any idea how to utilize birth control. If she’s anything like me, the crazy chaos of her life isn’t a nightmare, but a dream come true.

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Jamie Weitl is a thirty-something, WAHM. Her trio, Bo (5), and twin girls, Clara and Anna (3) ensure that every day is a new adventure. When she isn’t chasing her children, Jamie teaches online full-time for a university in addition to freelancing. She blogs regularly about her family life at Sticky Feet and is also a food blogger at Five Wooden Spoons. You can find her on Twitter @jamieweitl.

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