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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

So, I’m the mom with braces.

If you’ve seen me in person over the last couple of years – or taken a really, really close look at some of my pictures – you might notice a quick flash of metal when I smile.

No, I haven’t morphed back into a teenager…I’m a mom with braces.

I never had braces as a teen, actually. My teeth never seemed crooked enough to warrant them, though they did stick out a little, and a dentist assured my parents that my wisdom teeth wouldn’t be a problem. But in my early 20s, my wisdom teeth decided to become a problem indeed. They slowly started coming in, shoving all the rest of my teeth forward. I have a small jaw, and there just wasn’t room for four more teeth. My teeth seemed to get more crooked by the day.

Finally I had the wisdom teeth removed. They’d never actually emerged all the way, but the damage was done anyway: my two front teeth, which had always been a bit crooked, now outright stuck out – forming a distinct “V”. You can see them in this picture, taken about four years ago:

That wasn’t so bad on its own, though that V seemed to get deeper every month. The other issue was that my bottom teeth overlapped, and I was starting to get that long-in-the-tooth look I’d always associated with middle-aged people. My dentist told me I was developing gingivitis because I wasn’t getting down into my gumline well enough when I brushed and flossed. (I had to admit I rarely flossed my bottom teeth because it really hurt and bled every single time.)

I’d tossed around the idea of getting braces since my early 20s, but when I realized that my crooked teeth weren’t just giving me a messy smile but possibly an unhealthy one, I got serious about the idea.

Still, there were some obstacles. For one thing, it seemed kind of like a frivolous thing for a 30-something mom of five kids to do. Second, I wasn’t sure I could justify the investment, and I was a little worried about walking around with a mouth full of metal for years.

But I got tired of feeling bad about wanting to do this thing for myself. I’d never really felt good about my smile – and why shouldn’t I? Eventually, I knew I’d be getting braces for most if not all of my kids. But first it was my turn.

After a few consultations I found myself drawn to Damon System braces because they had a great reputation for being more comfortable, less visible, and quicker-acting than traditional braces.

In fact, I was so impressed by the company that I wrote to them and said, “You need to hire a mom blogger to write about having braces!” And they agreed.

So I’ve had my Damon braces since December 2010. For the most part, I’ve been amazed at how easy it’s all been, and how quickly I’ve seen big changes in my smile. Here’s me the day after I got my braces on – wow, you can really see how crooked my teeth were then! (And you can hardly see the braces at all!)

and this was me in December, one year after getting them on. By the way, I’m still wearing the braces in the below picture. Can you see them?

I’ve been writing every month about the experience -how I got over my reluctance to get braces as an adult how other people have reacted, what it’s like to eat wearing braces, even how I keep my braces clean in public – for the Damon Experience blog. Since I’m writing for Damon, they covered the cost of the treatment. But now that I’m over a year in – and quickly nearing the end of my treatment! – I would absolutely do it all over again, even if I had to find room for it in the family budget and save for several years.

I’m actually kind of shocked when I take an up-close look at how crooked my teeth used to be. My new smile feels more “me”, which is good, because I like to laugh a lot. Within a few months my braces will be off, and I’ll be riding into the sunset with my new smile…or something like that.

If you’re a mom with braces, or you’re thinking about getting braces, please follow my journey at the Damon Experience blog! And if you’re a mom who doesn’t need braces but you’re just considering doing something nice for yourself, I hope you’ll be inspired to make it a reality. You may not have the time, money, or energy right now, but if it’s really important to you, it’s important enough to try to figure out a way to make it happen eventually. Hey, it took me ten years to make it happen, but I’m so, so glad I did.

Have you been considering doing any “selfish” or “frivolous” things for yourself – like getting braces! – but feel guilty or hesitant? Share here!

*My treatment costs are covered by Damon Braces. I was not compensated for, or asked to write, this post.

 

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