towel

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

retreatsample3

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

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 2.16.12 PM

“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

patmore

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

Bedding Pillows.jpg

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:

oregano-edit-1024x831

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

Of to-do lists and to-dream lists

I’m a daydreamer by nature. I’ve spent many hours of my life mentally trying on new lives, new jobs, new hometowns. And this time of year, just before autumn, is a particularly fertile time for my imagination. I find myself setting large goals, dreaming big dreams, setting the bar high.

So right now, my “to-dream” list for the fall is long and ambitious. It includes domestic dreams like giving away all hand-embroidered Christmas gifts and building a root cellar; career-oriented goals like launching a new blog, podcasting, and publishing an e-book; and family-related activities like launching a business with the kids and reading the entire Harry Potter series out loud.

How many of these things will actually happen? Certainly not all of them. Probably only 10%, if that. But that’s okay – this is my to-DREAM list, not my to-DO list.

While I know life is lived from day to day and small goals are key to making large dreams happen, I believe those big, pie-in-the-sky ambitions are important, too. First of all, when you daydream you can try on lots of different fantasies. After a while you’ll see which ones keep coming back and which fade away when the novelty wears off. Second, those large-scale dreams help us hone in on our most deeply-held values and priorities. Even though we may never make the huge life changes or tackle the large-scale goals we dream about – at least not right away – they can still spur us toward making smaller changes that support the way we really want to live and the people we really want to be.

And sometimes a goal just has to recur again and again and again before we take action. That doesn’t mean all the times we dreamed and didn’t take action were wasted. I like to think of them as the building blocks of “someday.” Kind of like how “false” contractions aren’t useless…they might not mean a baby is going to be born tonight, but they get you ready, mind and body and spirit, so the big event can occur down the road.

The only trick, I think, is to make sure we don’t confuse our “to-dream” lists with our “to-do” lists. If we actually anticipate putting every pie-in-the-sky plan into action right away, pretty soon we’ll feel squashed under the weight of all those unmet expectations. But if we allow ourselves to dream, to let ideas percolate without pressure, those dreams can take root in natural, doable, attainable ways over time. Forward motion is necessary, but that forward motion can happen one very small step at a time.

After all, while it’s not terribly likely that all my friends and relatives will get a hand-embroidered Christmas gift this year (umm…I still don’t even know how to embroider), I can probably pull off a single handkerchief…if I actually start the process before December. A new website, podcast AND e-book is probably not in the cards, but letting myself dream about the possibilities makes it easier for me to decide what to prioritize.

Sometimes, I think we stop ourselves from creating “to-dream” lists because they seem juvenile or silly or like too much pressure. We worry that if we put words to those improbable or impractical or just highly ambitious goals, that we’ll look like losers if we don’t make them happen right away (or ever), or that we’ll let ourselves down if we don’t live up to them.

But what if we look at “to-dream” lists as what they really are? They’re a reflection of our best inner selves, of our deepest priorities, of our ideal lives, of the people we would want to be and the things we would want to do if time, money, energy and reality were no object.

Thing is, time, money, energy and reality ARE objects. For everyone. But there is still value in the dreaming.

So please share. This fall, if time, money, and energy were no object, what skills would you like to learn, what talents would you love to develop, what adventures would you like to experience? What is on your “to-dream” list?

Are there any ways you can turn your BIG dreams into smaller accomplishments in the coming months?

Or do you just need to let them brew for a while?

Want more ideas
for creating a happier home life?

About The Author

24 Comments

  1. Jan Udlock Reply
  2. Tragic Sandwich Reply
  3. Tara Reply
    • Meagan Francis Reply
  4. Rosie from HomeRoutines Reply
  5. Tiny Blue Lines Reply
  6. misty Reply
  7. CaroMama Reply
  8. Emily Reply
  9. Brianna Reply
  10. Natalie Reply
    • Meagan Francis Reply
  11. Karen Reply
  12. Ellen Reply
    • Meagan Francis Reply
  13. Shari Reply
  14. Heather Reply
  15. Marian Reply
  16. Ana Reply
    • stef Reply
  17. Marith Adams Reply
  18. christine Reply
  19. Dona B Reply

Reply