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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

15 Read-Aloud Chapter Books That Kids & Grownups Love

by Sarah Powers

In our house, bedtime stories come in the form of a chapter book read aloud to the older two kids, ages 6 and 4. Last year we went on a big Magic Tree House series kick, which made choosing the next book easy since there are approximately 4837 in the series. We were nowhere near the end before needing a break and looking for something different.

Next came Roald Dahl, a huge hit. But as we neared the end of the last book in our boxed set of Dahl stories, we were at a loss for what to read next. We need stories that will keep the interest of the four-year-old (who doesn’t mind the lack of pictures or lots of dialogue but does prefer a story with lots of adventure) and satisfy the six-year-old’s sense of humor and love of all things silly. And of course, it really helps if mom or dad can enjoy the books too (a huge perk of moving beyond the board book phase, in my opinion).

So I asked you guys (or those of you who hang out on Facebook at least):

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And as usual, you came through. The thread developed into a hugely helpful list of read-aloud chapter books that both kids AND grownups love. Since what happens on Facebook tends to get buried in other stuff that happens on Facebook, I thought I’ll pull from your comments on that thread and share a list of the titles that came up most often.

You can read all the suggestions on our Facebook page here (be sure to “Like” us while you’re there if you don’t already!), or keep reading for a list of the 15 most popular suggestions. We’re into The Indian in the Cupboard these days, and we’re also listening to the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle stories on audio book in the car – both of which I’d read as a kid but forgotten about until hearing from you all. 

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15 Read-Aloud Chapter Books That Kids & Grownups Love

Ramona Quimby Series (Beverly Cleary)

Little House Series (Laura Ingalls Wilder)

The Indian in the Cupboard (Lynne Reid Banks)

Chronicles of Narnia (C. S. Lewis)

Junie B. Jones: First Grader (Barbara Park)

Because of Winn Dixie (Kate DiCamillo)

Mary Poppins (Dr. P. L. Travers)

The Phantom Tollbooth (Norton Juster)

Magic Tree House (Mary Pope Osborne)

The BFG (Roald Dahl)

Stuart Little (E. B. White)

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle (Betty MacDonald)

Pippi Longstocking (Astrid Lindgren)

Judy Blume’s Fudge Box Set (Judy Blume)

Harriet The Spy (Louise Fitzhugh) 

What are you and your kids reading these days? What would you add to this list?

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