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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

practicing random acts of mom-kindness

As I’m poring over dozens and dozens of emails, Facebook and blog comments, cards, plants and notes from friends, internet buddies, and clients sending me prayers, thoughts, and sympathy, it occurs to me: people can be really nice, and really thoughtful and helpful in a crisis. It just shows you that most of us have our hearts and our intentions in the right places. It’s during the everyday grind of life–standing in the checkout line, driving carpool, waiting in the hall for your parent-teacher conference–that we tend to forget how big a difference those little acts of kindness can have on another mom’s day. I was reminded of this last week when I tried to go grocery shopping the day the last of my family members packed up and went home. The entire day, I felt like I was walking through soup. I probably looked normal (except for the extreme slowwwwness of my movements) but each little kindness I was granted–like the guy who waved for me to cross with my cart in front of his car even though he didn’t have a stop sign, or the friend who sent a supportive text at just the right moment–made a huge difference. Even on a good day, all moms could use a helping hand–whether it’s a knowing smile at just the right moment or a surprise offer to babysit.

When I take the time to stop and be nice–whether to a friend or a total stranger–I always get a little boost out of it myself. It’s just reminding myself to stop and take a moment that’s the tricky part. So I’m going to consider this post my reminder…and would love it if you felt inspired by it, too.

Here are a few ideas for ways you can make a fellow mom’s life a little easier this week:

  • When you’re shopping without kids–or when you’ve got just older, easier kids with you–give up that prize “right by the shopping carts and front door” parking spot in the hopes that a mom with a bolting toddler or newborn baby will get it. I do this regularly and while I know there’s a good chance some young, able-bodied person will snag it instead, I figure at least once in a while it’s got to help out a mom in need (or maybe somebody else who really could use the closer spot).
  • Stop in to see a friend today, and offer to grab her kids and take them to the park. Just imagine how good you’d feel if somebody unexpectedly offered you an hour to yourself today. It’s not that hard to give that gift to somebody else.
  • Next time you’re at the grocery store, call a friend and see if she needs you to pick anything up. You know what a bummer it is to head out to the store in bad weather when all you need is a gallon of milk, right? You can save somebody else the effort with practically no additional effort of your own.
  • You’re at Target and there’s a mom with a wailing, inconsolable child in the aisle with you. Regardless of how you feel about the way she’s speaking to or looking at her child, regardless of how ill-behaved he seems, regardless of how busy you are or how painful the piercing screams are to listen to…look at her and smile. Maybe grab the cart if she needs help steadying it while removing her fit-throwing kid, or just give her a kind word. Another time, you might be the “mean mom” with the “bratty kid” hoping desperately that everyone around you knows that you really aren’t usually so grumpy and your child usually isn’t so scream-y.

I’d love for you to add your own suggestions in the comments, or let us know about random acts of mom-kindness that have brightened your day, whether you’ve been on the receiving or giving end.

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