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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

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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

Start the conversation today.

Hi all. It’s been quiet here, hasn’t it? Over the weekend both Sarah and I traveled to the Mom 2.0 Summit in Atlanta. I was there as a speaker, an attendee, and also on behalf of #TalkEarly and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (FAAR), who sponsored the conference with the mission of inspiring conversations about underage drinking between parents and kids.

Friday morning, I was happy to share the stage with fellow #TalkEarly bloggers Leticia Barr and Stacey Ferguson as the three of us shared posts we’ve written on behalf of #TalkEarly for Mom 2.0 attendees.

I was up to read first, but we kicked off the presentation with this video.

So of course, I was pretty choked up by the time I took the stage! But I was excited to share my piece with the audience, because my experience with the “mom’s drinking room” really got me thinking both about the messages I indirectly communicate to my children about alcohol and drinking via my actions and offhand comments, as well as how I need to be also thinking about directly delivering those messages in context with the words I use. 

From the piece: 

My daughter Clara must have gotten wise to the fact that the bar area is where the grownups share juicy conversation, because the last time I was at my sister’s house, chatting in the bar area with a couple of other women, she sneaked in behind me…and hid.

We walked back out a few minutes later, not realizing she was in there, and shut the door…and Clara couldn’t get it open. A few minutes later we heard her frantic knocking and opened the door, at which point she ran out, threw her arms around my legs, and shrieked “I got TRAPPED in the MOMS DRINKING ROOM!”

You can read the whole essay here. 

The highlight of my Mom 2.0 experience was definitely attending the Iris Awards, the first-ever industry awards ceremony dedicated to parenting bloggers and online content creators. The awards show was so well-done: glamorous, inspiring, and followed by a killer after-party. Even better? I was there not only as an attendee, but as a nominee in the “best sponsored content” category for my work with #TalkEarly! 

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Yes, thats Sarah and I glamming it up on the red carpet!

 

You can see a list of all the winners here on Cool Mom Picks. I was so proud of them all, and there was a lot of frantic clapping on my part.

The Mom 2.0 experience was as awesome as ever this year: professionally inspiring and motivating, and a ridiculous amount of fun – particularly having Sarah as a roommate.

And I was honored to attend on behalf of FAAR and #TalkEarly, because everywhere I went, I could hear the discussion we’d started on Friday morning spreading. I hope that conversation will catch on in homes everywhere, too. Because when it comes to helping kids make healthy choices, both what we do and what we say matters.

So if you’re wondering how to start a conversation with your children about alcohol and underage drinking, I hope the video above will inspire you.

Why not try starting with “hello?”

I’m proud to represent FAAR as a compensated ambassador for the #TalkEarly campaign. 

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