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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

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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

#TalkEarly: How do you talk to your kids about alcohol responsibility?

I’m proud to be partnering with #TalkEarly, a program dedicated to preventing underage drinking sponsored by FAAR (Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility).

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Earlier this month, my friends at the #TalkEarly campaign asked me to answer this question: how – and where – do you talk to your kids about drinking responsibly? 

My answer was easy: 

“All of our conversations seem to start around the dinner table – and since that’s often the time of day that Mom or Dad are enjoying an adult beverage, it’s also a great opportunity to talk about why grown-ups can do things kids can’t. It’s not because we’re mean or hypocritical: we just understand that alcohol works differently in our bodies than it does in a developing kid’s, and it’s an opportunity to make sure they understand that, too.”

I admit there are plenty of times that my kids have wanted to know why they can’t have a taste of Mom’s wine at the table. After assuring them that they are probably much happier with their milk or water, and that young tastebuds usually don’t appreciate alcoholic drinks anyway, I always make sure to emphasize that this is not a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do situation.

I like my wine with dinner and the occasional margarita when we’re out at a Mexican restaurant, and the kids have definitely seen us enjoying ourselves over drinks with family and friends, as we will be doing this weekend during a packed family party.

It’s just…not for them. 

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, or FAAR (formerly The Century Council) has a goal of inspiring 2 million conversations between parents and kids about alcohol responsibility.

I know we all want to help our kids be prepared to make good decisions regarding alcohol, but actually having the conversation can be tricky. How do we get across the point that an adult drink is OK for you, but not for them? And how do you help them understand how to handle themselves safely in a variety of situations, many of which might involve alcohol?

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Luckily, #TalkEarly has put together this super-helpful infographic with talking points for kids from ages 6 and up. I particularly like the “just like you can’t have coffee” line. There are lots of things my kids can’t have that I can, and the way I see it, that taste of wine is no different – nor should I feel any more touchy about saying “no” to the kids while indulging in a glass myself.

Parenting is tricky, and sometimes it’s not easy to know what to say  in any given situation (just ask me how calm and collected I’ve been during “sex talks.) But what I’m realizing with my kids is that even when you fumble with your words and occasionally, bungle the whole thing entirely, it’s always better to have the conversation than to say nothing at all. Kids can handle, and learn from, imperfect conversations. But silence speaks louder than words – and that’s true from a surprisingly young age.

Have you had discussions about alcohol responsibility with your kids? What language did you use?

P.S. – Last week #TalkEarly teamed up with Scholastic Parent and Child and Dr. Michelle Borba to host a Twitter party on talking to kids about alcohol responsibility. There was a lot of great wisdom shared in the chat, so if you missed it, catch up on all the helpful tweets here!

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