Homeschool Update: 8-Week Check-in

We’ve been homeschooling for eight weeks now and thought I would post an update on how things are going.

A little preschool work for our youngest and our oldest working on math from Math-U-See

I am absolutely LOVING homeschooling and very pleased with our decision to homeschool this year. I think I might have picked a curriculum level too low for our son so I might adjust that next year, but we’ll see as we continue these next few weeks.

Blindfolded taste-testing game!

To be honest, this past week was full of events that we somewhat neglected our homeschool work and played “catch-up” on Friday. However, usually we only do school Monday-Thrusday. I aim to start our day around 9:30am and we get through all the subjects by lunchtime, with two breaks in between (after history and language arts).

I literally go straight through the curriculum exactly how it is listed…Bible first, followed by history then read-alouds. We are finishing up the previous book from last week, Homer Price, and will start Catching Their Talk in a Box next week, so we are behind with the read-aloud chapter book but will catch-up eventually. I will say, Homer Price is NOT my favorite book and I wish I would’ve pre-read it…I would have skipped it all together. To me it’s just a fluff chapter book with no life lessons to be learned or any depth. So not my favorite.

At the back of the curriculum, there are two sections with additional materials for the year, with one of the sections containing questions for each read aloud as well as questions for the I Can Read It! books (mentioned below). I pull those pages that I need from the back section and stick them in with that weeks work, just so I don’t have to flip back and forth as much.

After a quick break, we move into Language Arts, with spelling, phonics, handwriting, reading, and creative writing/copy-work. I bought a spiral notebook for word work and that is where my son writes all of his spelling words and his spelling test on Day 4 (for us it is usually Thursday). I would absolutely get the option Explode the Code workbooks! Don’t skip that as that is where a lot of the application, phonics, and spelling practice comes in.

We watched caterpillars turn into butterflies and it just so happened that our poetry book had poems that went right along with what we were doing, on the day the butterflies emerged!

Again, we do a quick break to get some wiggles out and so I can gather the next subjects materials, which is science and math. I play ‘Eye of the Tiger’ on our Echo Dot to get my kiddo back to the table to start our next subject and it really helps him to know its time to start back again and I don’t have to yell at him to come back. It is a nice transition and allows him time to wrap up what he is doing…he has until the end of the song to be back at the table and it works like a charm for us!

This week, with everything I had going on, we didn’t get to do the science experiment (on Day 4) but we will do it Monday to make up for the missed day. I also bought another spiral notebook for science experiments and we use that to write down observations and data.

I LOVE the science books and activities and so does my son! The Usborne books are so wonderful and the questions that my son completes are so good! Right now we are looking at Africa and he had to color in the continent on the map and make color in a separate map of Africa and table the different parts (like desert) and identify which animals live in that region. So far he has completed South America, North America, and now we are on Africa.

After science we complete the ‘Math-U-See’ math work and then we are done! I really don’t have a ton of feelings about ‘Math-U-See.’ It is fine for us and my son hasn’t been that challenged yet by it, but I don’t NOT like it, I just don’t really care either way. I have heard really great things about The Good and the Beautiful math curriculum so that might be something I look into for next year but I’ll try a free sample first before deciding.

My youngest LOVES working with his big brother and he really loves tracing these letter cards. I found them here and shrinked the printing size down to get four on one page, laminated them, cut them out, and voila! My kiddo uses a dry erase marker to trace and loves it!

Well that is a little reacap of homeschooling! What questions do you have regarding homeschooling, the curriculum, how we go through our day, etc? Post them below or on my Instagram. I will have a question sticker on my Instagram stories TODAY so you can leave your questions there, too!

Life Lately

Life has certainly been exciting these last few weeks, from accepting a new position as editor at Frisco STYLE Magazine, to other *possible* house reno stuff, as well as booking a little getaway, continuing homeschool (we’re starting week 8 today!), watching butterflies hatch…and so much more!

I shared how Target was having a sale on their Paw Patrol toys so I went ahead and bought the new Paw Patrol dinosaur toy for my Paw Patrol enthusiasts November birthday. Y’all…this is the box it came in! It came two weeks ago and I haven’t opened it yet. I loathe big toys. I knew it would be kind of big…but this box…ugh. Haha! Anyway, my little one will absolutely LOVE it and I am looking forward to his excitement when he opens it…but…yeah…it’s big.

Speaking of our Paw Patrol enthusiast, he was working hard this week tracing his letters and doing a great job! He loves to do schoolwork alongside his Bubbie!

And our other son turned into an eagle, haha! He is so creative and makes ALL sorts of things out of paper (and if anyone EVER wants to send us a truckload of tape and printer paper, I’ll send you our address ;)). This day, after watching Wild Kratts, he decided to make a creature disc and turned himself into a Bald Eagle. He’s so creative!

Lake life!

We went on the lake last weekend and the water was so calm and pretty! We anchored down by this little cliff spot and the boys loved swimming back and forth to land and back to the boat. We grilled hotdogs and enjoyed the day!

Our butterflies finally emerged last week! My boys were so exited and kept watching ALL day to witness them come out of their chrysalis. Two emerged without us watching, one we caught the end of it, and the last one we were able to see it completely from beginning to end and it was the COOLEST! We will definitely do this again!

And it just so happened that the same day we were instructed to read a poem from one of the books in our curriculum about butterflies!

And we celebrated my hubby’s birthday!! If you didn’t catch my love story post, you can read it here, but we celebrated the way I know best…with food! I love cooking and baking and so he got to choose what he wanted for breakfast…and he picked French toast! So had to make it special and put it on our red plate, plus a bit of dusting of powder sugar. Then I bought a special Tres Leches cake and they boys enjoyed that after dinner!

For school, Troy had to make a 3D replica of the Sonoran dessert, and here was his work! He made animals on the red construction paper, a green cactus held up with a toilet paper roll, and used quinoa for the dirt. So clever!

And to end this week, he also made a bird feeder from a kit from Hobby Lobby! Love it! He also painted it and it is now hanging outside our window, filled with bird seed.

Well that’s it for a little recap of life lately! What have you all been up to?

Also, how can I pray for you this week/month? Please feel free to message me or comment below and I will pray for you!

I’ll see you all back here Wednesday! Have a blessed start of your week!

My Lobster

“As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.””

– Ephesians 5:31 NLT

Any ‘Friends’ fans here? ‘The One With the Prom Video’ is one of my favorites, because as Ross is airing his frustrations about taking messages for Rachel’s suitors, Phoebe unassumingly tells Ross that Rachel is his lobster and not to worry. She continues with how lobsters fall in love and mate for life. Well, I met my “lobster” in 2006.

I was still in college but living in my own apartment and trying to get away from the party life that I was living. The only way I met guys in our college town was by going to bars and clubs and I didn’t want to do that anymore. There had to be another way to meet guys, to meet THE guy…but I just didn’t know how or where. I felt God’s prompting and leading. It was new and different, and I was hesitant, but thankfully I listened. I signed up for…of all places! I wanted to meet a decent guy, not a party guy.

Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the LORD will be joyful. 

– Proverbs 16:20 NLT

Signing up for was scary and exciting all at the same time…but I am smiling because it led me to my husband. My Stephen. My lobster. God was working and there is NO DOUBT that His hand was in this. 

Apparently we both signed up for within a week or two of each other. I think it was around the start of the year when we both signed up. This was back in 2006. I found his profile and sent him a “wink”. I still deny that I initiated our relationship…but Stephen pulled an old email that showed a notification where I, in fact, winked at him first. 

So after the initial wink, we chatted for a bit and we set up our first date for Valentine’s Day of 2006. However, I unfortunately had to cancel. Stephen still won’t let me hear the end of that! But let me clear the air…I was babysitting pretty regularly for a family and that was how I made ends meet in college. I babysat ALL THE TIME and I loved it! Well, this family that I was a nanny for asked me to babysit and I could not turn it down. It was money and I needed it! And it was GOOD money! They always overpaid me and were the sweetest ever and the kids were awesome! So I called Stephen to let him know that I couldn’t go out for Valentines Day and he was ok with it (but apparently not for how much he still hassles me about it! Haha!). 

The first picture we took together in March 2006

So we moved our first date to the following Saturday and we met up at Johnny Carino’s, an Italian restaurant in Denton. I was super nervous to meet him and I felt so awkward. We met inside the breezeway of the restaurant and got seated. I was automatically enamored with Stephen. He was so cute and so sweet and had a very quiet personality, which I liked. I excused myself to the restroom at one point and called my sweet friend, Shauna, and told her how much I liked him. I think I even told her that he was THE ONE! Y’all, I was smitten! I was smiling from ear to ear and could not hide how much I liked him. 

Well, there is no way to say this than to just say it, but I had a date after this date. Yup. Back to back dates. I mean, I was on and trying to find THE ONE so I had to make the most of my time! 

I remember wanting to cancel that other date so badly but there was just no way I could and I didn’t want to be rude and stand the guy up. My date with Stephen was ending and the other date with the other guy was taking place in an hour. So I graciously thanked Stephen for a wonderful dinner and evening and was overjoyed. I was practically skipping to my car. I really liked this guy. But now I had to go meet this other guy, whom I knew in my heart of hearts was not the one even before I met him. But onward I went on to the other date…at a bar for drinks. I should have known better. His profile picture was cute and we chatted a bit and he was nice, so I went along with his idea to meet at a bar for drinks. Old habits die hard. 

From our first camping trip together to Possum Kingdom Lake

As soon as we sat down, he opened his mouth and the rudest, crudest comments came flying out. I was disgusted and over it before I even had my first drink. I continued to sit there, trying not to be rude, and sipped my drink thinking about Stephen. I joke that this date just made Stephen that much more desirable!

Well, after that date ended, I went home and all I could think about was Stephen. We made plans for a second date, and then a third, and so on. After a few months, we were exclusive. About a year into our dating, we moved in together, to some dismay from loved ones. Now as a parent, I get it. At the time, I didn’t understand, but I was also not a Christian. To us, living together was not that big of a deal. We didn’t care, just thought of it logically. We felt like we had valid reasons for moving in together. My student teaching was about to go full-time and I would be just miles from his house working with middle school students, so living together made sense. We were already always together and there was no point in spending money on an apartment if I wasn’t going to be there…so we moved in together. I paid Stephen rent and helped out with some other stuff here and there, so I wasn’t just freeloading off of him.

Thankfully it worked out for us. 

I graduated from college, got a great job teaching reading and writing, and in 2008, Stephen proposed! 

He was out of town for two weeks for a work trip in China and missed my birthday, so when he got home he took me out to celebrate. I remember getting ready and thinking Stephen was acting odd because he was taking pictures of me while I was curling my hair. After I was ready, he took me to the living room to give me my gift. As I unwrapped it, I noticed it was a clipboard. Honestly, at first I was kind of disappointed. I mean, a clipboard…for my birthday?! But then I flipped it around and on the back, written across the bottom were the words “Mrs. Greci.” After I saw that, it was such a blur! I remember Stephen getting down on one knew and telling me such sweet words, and I just wanted to scream out “YES!” the whole time! He finally got to the part where he asked me to marry him and of course I said yes! 🙂

After he proposed, we went to Rick’s Chophouse in downtown McKinney, which, by the way, has THE BEST steaks in the area! We had the ‘Porterhouse for Two’, followed by a dessert gifted to us by the restaurant with “Congratulations” written on the plate in chocolate syrup. Then, to top off the night, as we were leaving there was a horse-drawn carriage outside the restaurant, which is not unusual because they do tours around the area. I LOVE horses and always wanted to take a horse-drawn carriage ride before. Stephen sensed my excitement and we went for a ride around the square. We rode around McKinney, bundled up, in love, and excited for the future. Two newly engaged, eager, young adults ready to tackle anything!

The night Stephen proposed: November 1, 2006
Celebrating our 10-year anniversary at the same place Stephen proposed

And today, my sweet husband turns another year older. As we both get closer to entering a new decade, I am so thankful to have him by my side during all of it. He is the best friend and husband that I could ever have asked for.

2020 is definitely a year that we will never forget, but I also never want to forget our love story. So as I wish my husband a very happy 39th birthday, I am also reminded how each day is so special and worthwhile. I am so lucky to have you, Stephen. You are my lobster!

Morning Routine

I am a morning person! I literally get out of bed and put on my workout clothes and go for a walk…all within 10 minutes of waking up. I can get up and go! Do I always want to, no 😉 I do have some days where I just want to lay in bed and be lazy, but most days (especially weekdays), I am ready to get up and get going.

I NEED to be better about setting my alarm clock so I can get some stuff done before the kids get up, but when I DO set my alarm, I get dressed in workout clothes and go sit at the computer to get some work done for the magazine. Then when our youngest gets up at 6:30am, I get him situated with a snack and I go for my morning walk.

When I come back from my walk, I change clothes, wash my face (you can read about my cleaning routine here), brew some Four Sigmatic mushroom coffee in the AeroPress and start working on breakfast for the boys as well as clean the kitchen and tidy up a bit.

Sometimes after breakfast, the boys and I go on a morning bike ride and I let them play in the field close to our home…nice way to get some wiggles out first thing! 😉

After a bit more cleaning and picking up around the house or getting laundry going, we start school. Usually it is around 9/9:30am when we start. Troy and I always start with our Write the Word journal entries, which helps us to quiet our thoughts and get ready for the school day.

We are LOVING Sonlight’s curriculum and I literally just follow the schedule that they have created in their lesson plans. Like I said, we don’t have a specific start time, but our flow is the same all school day. After we complete our Write the Word journals, we dive into the Bible lesson, followed by history, then a quick break to play while I get the next subject ready. Then we work on word work, language arts and reading, followed by another break, then science and math.

Then it is lunchtime!

Our morning goes by really fast! By lunch, we are done with school, already got most of our chores complete, and got some movement in by either walking or a bike ride.

Come back next week to see what my afternoon/evening routine looks like!

How are your mornings? Are you a morning person or a night owl? Share below!

Till next time!

You Are So Priceless

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NASB)

Glorify God in your body.

Did I do that as a teen? Nope. Do I do it as a grown woman? No again. I am definitely better at treating my body like the holy temple it is, that God has created. I tell myself often that I was given this one body and I am to take care of it. I have learned so much through the years and most definitely do a better job eating and watching what ingredients I am putting in my body than in the past. Now I know to avoid carrageenan, because it is a cancer-causing ingredient. I personally avoid “natural flavors” because that could still be a slew of chemically processed ingredients. For the most part I avoid things that are fake or processed. But do I do it all the time? No. But now that I am aware of these bad things, I slow down my consumption of them or avoid them all together. 

That was not the case when I was younger.

I was naive.

I was more concerned with being thin. And to me, being thin meant I was fitting in and accepted.

I didn’t care that I was putting my body through hell. I didn’t think that there would be consequences to my actions. 

Boy was I wrong. 

Growing up, being “thin” was all there was to be. The household I grew up in was a very critical household, especially when it came to weight. I would like to give my parents grace here because I feel that they honestly didn’t know better and didn’t realize how often they judged others based on their weight…or how often I noticed it. I think when they were growing up, they witnessed the same thing and it just tricked down because that is all they knew. So I am trying to give grace. Does that change the perception I had of myself? Absolutely not. I did not know God like I know Him now. Don’t get me wrong, I went to church and was aware of Him, but I didn’t KNOW Him. My value was in other people. Not in Him. And to be totally honest, I still struggle a bit with this (I mean, I am a 2w3 on the Enneagram, y’all).

I have mentioned in previous posts about taking diet pills when I was a senior in high school. Well, it wasn’t enough. I started watching my calorie intake. And by watching, I mean severely limiting my calorie intake and writing down everything I ate. I was only consuming 1,000 calories a day and was always counting. I could still tell you how many calories a banana has. Or an apple. But thankfully not much more. I use to be able to count it in my head because it was all I saw in food. I didn’t see the value of food. I only saw calories. 

One night, I exceeded my self-induced calorie allotment for that day and I felt guilty. I felt miserable and shameful. So I purged. I made myself throw up. I remember crying and feeling horrible for what I did, but at the same time I felt justified because I went over my calorie allotment so I needed to take care of it. 

It is very hard to write that.

The girl I was at that time is not the same woman that is sitting here typing this today. She was insecure, lost, searching for worth in the wrong places and never feeling satisfied or content. I was miserable. Now, I know my worth cannot be found in men or in my body or how I look. My worth is found in God. I have a peace that is incredible. I am content. I am happy. Even though I am chasing after children and cooking and cleaning and keeping up our home, I feel at rest. I am not constantly chasing after something that cannot be obtained. I am loved by God. And more importantly, I am forgiven by God. I use to have shame for my sins and my old self. But I am free from that shame now. I still feel guilty occasionally, but I fell that that is good. It is the Holy Spirit nudging me letting me know that what I say or do is wrong and so I stop and repent. I am still a sinner. And I will always be a sinner. I will always fall short of the glory of God. But I am forgiven and loved and made new everyday. I get a fresh start everyday to be a better mother, a better wife, a better example of God’s love and grace and mercy. 

Once I made myself throw up for the first time, that was all it took. Anytime I overate, or indulged in a “bad” food, I would just throw it up. Y’all, it was gross. Not going to lie. It was a very gross thing to do and it wrecked my body.

My mom was bulimic, too. I learned about her bulimia sometime in high school or right after college. I don’t know if that is how the idea was implanted in my head or what, but the first time I threw up I was missing my mom terribly and I remember feeling a connection to her, even though she was not here. It was a very odd and weird feeling. Like by throwing up, I was with her and felt her. I think part of me was longing for her and by throwing up I was like her and wanted her with me.

My bulimia continued for a few years and eventually told my soon-to-be husband, Stephen, about it. That was a very hard, emotional conversation for me. Here is this man that God has given me, who is handsome and strong and smart, and I felt very insecure and ashamed. What if I tell him this secret and he breaks up with me? What if he laughs at me? What if he now watches everything I eat and then pays attention to me going to the bathroom? 

I didn’t want to worry him but I also knew that I needed to tell him and get help. Stephen was the sweetest, of course. Just talking to him helped me so much. It helped me to break free from the secrets and feel like I could move on. I brought the dark to the light and felt so much relief!

The last time I threw up was the night before my college graduation. I remember feeling like I needed to be “thin” for the next day and told myself that that would be the last time. I look at my college graduation pictures and can see the pain in my eyes. I look like a completely different person now. I had a college graduation party and the pictures just get me every time. I can see into my soul with those pictures and see how tortured I was by my weight, and my self-confidence was at a record low. I was determined after I graduated to never do it again.

And I haven’t since. 

After a couple of months of healing and learning how to eat without thinking about calories and wanting to purge, I bought a book about eating clean. It was a game changer. I learned how to eat, what to eat, and how to live a healthy lifestyle. I don’t count calories. I don’t obsess over food. I eat fresh, organic foods and avoid processed foods as much as possible. I don’t drink sodas or juice. When I want a treat, I make one and enjoy it! I want my boys to live a healthy life as well. I feed them the same good foods that I eat and I am cautious about my words. I don’t want my boys to grow up in a house that focuses on the body. I want our boys to know God. To know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made and that they are perfect in God’s image.

Be kind to your body.

You get only one.

If you or someone you know is struggling with food issues, please help them! Find a Christian counselor, a pastor, a friend that can help them get the help that they need. Be kind and don’t negate their feelings. What they feel is real.

I am always here to lend a listening ear and I hope that my story helps heal those that are also suffering. Know that you are strong. You are worthy. God made YOU. And YOU are loved!

I’ve Got Some News!

I have some exciting news to share!

Before I share, let’s back up a bit…

As I mentioned when I launched the blog, this was something that I had started crafting and working on a couple years ago. I had some posts saved and things written, but never took the plunge and launched the site. Clark was still waking up in the night and I was really struggling with extreme exhaustion and health issues and it just didnt feel like the right time.

Fast froward to earlier this year when I reached out to a few magazines and wrote my first article for a local magazine. I felt God nudging me to launch my blog to showcase my published articles and to share my other writings so publishers can get a feel for my writing style, so I did and it felt right. This was the time. Thus Lifestyle with Lauren was born!

I continued to write for local magazines and had more article assignments sent my way. Recently I decided to write up my own un-assigned article and submit it to the magazines that I write for, plus a few others. Frisco STYLE Magazine’s publisher responded and told me that he wanted to use it in their magazine and continued to tell me that he went to my blog, read over my bio and liked my writing style. He then asked if I would be interested in their open editor position and if I could come in a chat with him.

>> ONLY GOD! <<

Only God could have made all of this happen!

I have been praying and praying for a job that I would not only LOVE but be able to have flexibility and continue to homeschool.

AND GOD in His amazing GLORY answered my prayers so much greater than I could had ever imagined!

So I am delighted and thrilled to announce that I am now an official member of the amazing Frisco STYLE Magazine as editor!

I am so excited for this new chapter and praying that God will give me wisdom for this new role and above all, I am so thankful that He has opened this door and provided such an amazing opportunity.

Thank you Chris and the rest of the Frisco STYLE Magazine! I am humbled beyond belief and excited to be apart of the family!

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.

– Psalm 86:12 ESV

Are the Foods You’re Eating Slowly Killing You? Part 2: Sugar

In this new series of posts, I am debunking common myths about food, beliefs that I use to have myself. If you didn’t catch Part 1, you can go read it here.

Today I am sharing all about an important topic that seems to be the hardest one to get out of our diets: sugar! Why should we avoid sugar? How do our bodies react to sugar? And what can we eat in replace of sugar?

I’m sharing all of that today! So let’s dive right in…

Just Say No to Sugar

You probably guessed it already, but sugar is the enemy, not fat, as I mentioned in my last post.. And sugar goes by a variety of different names making it easy for manufacturers to hide how much sugar is truly in a given product. stated:

“When reading a label, it’s important to check the ingredients list and look out for any of the sugars listed. Often SUGAR will be on the list but companies are getting cheeky now and are using these other names like ‘evaporated cane juice’ or ‘organic palm sugar’ as a disguise and to avoid the word SUGAR. These are still an added ‘free sugar’ and usually contain fructose as a sweetener.”

Dangers of Sugar

There are many dangers to having too much sugar. For one, it may cause heart problems. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey gathered information to identify what could happen when we consume too much sugar. Their results indicated “that most U.S. adults consume more added sugar than is recommended for a healthy diet, resulting in a higher risk cardiovascular disease mortality.”

Diabetes is probably the most concerning when it comes to excessive amounts of sugar. Our liver converts sugar into energy, but when we consume too much sugar, our liver simply cannot metabolize it, thus metabolic syndrome occurs and our bodies become insulin resistant. 

Another trend on the rise is Candida overgrowth, which can occur because of too much sugar, stress, antibiotics, and other factors. I personally was diagnosed with Systemic Candidiasis in November of 2019. It had been growing and happening for a few years. Sugar, even in natural form from fruits, can be damaging when excessively consumed. I was in survival mode as a mother and heavily neglected my body. I ate too much fruit and not enough vegetables and drank too many sweetened caffeinated drinks from a popular coffee chain. I knew I was harming my body, but I kept on consuming and eating too much sugar. I knew better. I go into more detail about my healing journey with Systemic Candida here:

What is Candida?

My Healing Journey I’ve stated in the past that I have been battling many health issues. One of which is Systemic Candida…that means it is in my blood. Everyone, EVERYONE, has Candida. However, it is contained in the gut and in a good balance. However, as soon as you add antibiotics, sugar, gluten, stress, anxiety, … Read More

Since eliminating sugar from my diet (including most fruits) in November of 2019, my Candida is almost completely healed! I have been able to reintroduce some more fruits into my diet as well as other foods that were “banned” from the strict Candida Diet. I went hardcore into the diet and followed it to a T, from November of 2019 to May of 2020. I still follow it a bit (since I still have some Systemic Candida), for instance I am not consuming many high starch vegetables (like potatoes) and only consume a 1/4 of a very ripe banana maybe once a week. I still follow (and always will) a gluten-free, dairy-free, added sugar-free lifestyle.

Honestly, I don’t miss much. My energy levels are so much better than they use to be, my skin has cleared up tremendously, my tastebuds are insane (even the slightest sweet food is crazy sweet!), and food just tastes better in general.

What Sugar Can I Consume?

The most common comment I hear when I tell people I am sugar-free is, “Wow! I could never do that!” And a part of me wants to say, “Your right! If you believe that you won’t be able to do it.”

You HAVE to change your mentality. Just knowing that sugar causes cancer, how it causes your body to react just like if you did a line of cocaine, that it is more addictive than drugs, that it causes inflammation in your body, and that is causes a SLEW of other health issues should be enough for you to drop it cold turkey. But again, you have to completely change your mindset. Instead of focusing on all the foods that you canNOT have because it contains sugar, focus on all the foods you CAN have! You can still eat fruit (now, I can’t in high doses because I have Systemic Candida, but that doesn’t mean that everyone can’t…and once my Systemic Candida is healed I will consume more!), replace your cane sugar with raw, natural honey, and it is safe to bake with organic, whole-leaf stevia. I still get to indulge in sweet treats, like mug cakes and chocolate fat bombs.

And when the holidays roll around, I will bake my own sugar-free desserts and bring those for others to eat as well.

My go-to thought that I share often is that we get this one body. God gave you a vessel to live in on their earth and you are to take care of it. Love it well by fueling it with healthy, organic, natural foods that He gave us.


It is possible!

If you want to watch something to get you fired up some more, I highly recommend the documentary Fed Up.

Another good one is The Sugar Film:


What are some ingredients/additives that you want to avoid? Let me start by saying that the ingredients label will now become your best friend. In my next post, ‘Are the Foods You’re Eating Slowly Killing You? – Part 3’, I will go into actual ingredient names that you want to avoid and why, as well as answer any questions that you have for me via Instagram and Facebook. Look for those polls to come in my stories this week!

Until next time! Have a blessed, sugar-free day! 😉

Tax-Free Weekend!

It is officially tax-free weekend here in Texas!!

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Comptroller encourages all taxpayers to continue practicing social distancing and support Texas businesses while saving money on tax-free purchases of most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks (sold for less than $100) during the annual Tax-Free weekend.”

Today I am sharing a quick list of places that are having sales and offering some great deals for tax-free weekend, so let’s get right into it! Click the links below to be taken directly to the store:

Old Navy: Up to 50% off all jeans & tees, plus, up to 60% off kids. Styles from $4. PLUS on 8/8/20 ONLY 50% off all adult & kids active. PLUS so much more!!

Target: 30% off kids jeans Friday and Saturday ONLY + sale on kids activewear, ready-for-school sale, uniform sale, BOGO 50% off women bras

DSW: 25% off select sneakers with code ‘BOARDWALK’ + free purple kids headphones (while supplies last with kids purchase over $29) with code ‘PURPLETOONS’ or blue headphones with code “BLUETOONS’

Academy: 25% off top brands + up to 30% off athletic shoes + 25% off backpacks and lunchboxes + 25% off water waterbottles

Carters: $5 and $6 tees, shorts, dresses + BOGO free shoes, socks, and undies + up to 40% off clearance

Gap: 40% off everything with code ‘FRIENDS’ + extra 10% off with code ‘FAMILY’

Teacher Items

I found some GREAT sales on bulk items on Amazon for teachers! Here is what I found:

Elmer’s Liquid School Glue, Washable, 4 Ounces Each , 12 Count for only $6

Elmer’s Disappearing Purple School Glue, Washable, 30 Pack, 0.24-ounce sticks for only $6.99

EXPO 1944748 Magnetic Dry Erase Markers with Eraser, Fine Tip, Assorted Colors, 8-Count for only $9.99

TICONDEROGA Pencils, Wood-Cased, Pre-Sharpened, Graphite #2 HB Soft, Yellow, 30-Pack for $5.99

Paper Mate Pink Pearl Erasers, Large, 12 Count for $4.99

Sharpie 25145 Tank Highlighters, Chisel Tip, Assorted Fluorescent, 12-Count for only $5.47

My favorite pens!!

Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens, Medium Point (0.7mm), Assorted Colors, 24 Count for $18.02!

BIC Round Stic Xtra Life Ballpoint Pen, Medium Point (1.0mm), Blue, 60-Count (GSM609-BLUE) for only $5!!

EXPO Low Odor Dry Erase Markers, Chisel Tip, Assorted, 16 Count for $12.49

Post-it Flags Assorted Color Combo Pack, 320 Flags Total, 200 1-Inch Wide Flags and 120 .5-Inch Wide Flags, 4 On-The-Go Dispensers/Pack for $10.62

Bostitch Personal Electric Pencil Sharpener, Blue (EPS4-BLUE) for only $14.28

Happy and safe shopping!

Friday Favorites: Random Amazon Finds!

Wednesday I asked you all what you wanted to see for my Friday Favorites, and between Ulta and Amazon…Amazon WON by a LANDSLIDE! So today I am sharing a few of my favorite Amazon finds. It is seriously crazy mixed up and there is no flow to it AT ALL. So bare with me but these are some of my most recent Amazon purchases and finds:

Butterfly Garden

We just purchased this and got our caterpillars earlier this week. My boys are loving watching the caterpillars and hopefully well get to witness a few butterflies emerge from their chrysalis in just a few weeks!

Peruvian Maca

I purchase a few shelf-stable food items from Amazon but I always check the seller first (you should ALWAYS check that the seller is the brand you are purchasing). I have been adding Peruvian Maca to my smoothies and can really feel a difference. It has many benefits, from balancing hormones, cleaning up acne, helping with depression and adrenals…the list goes on!

Miracle Berry Powder

I have shared my love for the Schisandra Berry before…but I really do love it! I purchase it from Lost Empire Herbs and the quality is great! There are so many health benifits as well, and I listed those out here.

My Own Personal Laminator…Because Why Not?!

The best part of homeschooling…laminating! Haha just kidding!! But the teacher is me is seriously LOVING this personal laminator!! I love it so much! It is by far my favorite homeschool purchase! It works so well, doesn’t take up a ton of space, and makes great use of school items so I don’t have to keep printing things over and over again. I even laminated my kiddos chore charts and use a dry erase marker to check off each day! AND IT IS ON SALE!!!

Activate Creature Power!

If you have any Wild Kratt fans in your house, then they will LOVE these fun animal discs! I bought these because my oldest was always making homemade paper discs and then I found these on Amazon and knew he would love them! Sure enough, my two boys have a blast pretending to be animals with their creature power discs!

Pet Pee Pads

Ok ok…hear me out…our 13-year old pup is having some bladder issues as of late and we were going on a road trip and she needed a washable, portable mat to sit on while in the car and at my in-laws home. So I bought these two mats and they are the best! No leaks, washes well, and looks nice…for a pee pad 😉 You’re welcome. 😉

My Kids Favorite Rash Guard

I love this rash guard! I bought one for each kid and they keep them warm, versus all the others we use to buy that would freeze them out after they got wet! It holds up well, washes nicely, and keeps my kiddos from burning. Win, win, win!

The Best Leggings for Only $25!

I have mentioned it before and I will mention it again…THESE ARE THE BEST LEGGINGS EVER! Y’all, you know I don’t spend a ton of money on clothes so when I heard these were super soft and similar to some of those really expensive leggings, I just had to try it! I mean, if it didn’t work out, I would just send it back. I FELL IN LOVE! Take my word for it…the best $25 you will spend! Trust me!

And to wrap up the random Amazon find list…

The Ice Roller For Your Face!

This thing is so amazing! Just pop off that green roller, pop it in the freezer at night, and in the morning pop it back on and roll it all over your face! It is so soothing and is suppose to help with fine lines and wrinkles. I don’t use it enough to know if it really helps, but it sure feels fabulous and reduces puffiness…and thats a win for me!

Thanks for hanging in with the most random assortment of Amazon finds! Next time I will narrow my focus for you, but these are just some of my favorite recent purchases and totally random!

What are you loving right now that you found on Amazon? Share below!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Our Crazy ‘Day in the Life’ on Stories!

Happy Wednesday, friends!!

Today I thought it would be fun to document a “day in the life” as it happens live over on my Instagram account.

By the time you read this, I am already up and got my walk done for the morning (or wrapping it up) so head on over to Instagram and look me up @lifestylewithlaurenblog, or by clicking here, and see my stories by clicking my profile picture. I will post pics and videos throughout the day of what we’re doing, including some homeschooling stuff, food prep and cooking, mommy-ing, and writing…so stop by, say hi, and check it out!

If you are on IG, let’s make it a PARTY! Comment your IG handle below and post your own “day in the life” along with me!

I will also save this day as a “highlight” on my profile page too in case you’re seeing this later!

Make sure to come back here Friday for my weekly Friday Favorites! And I need your help! What would you like me to post about? Favorite food? Favorite makeup? Favorite homeschool item? General life favs? Favorite sugar-free treats? Favorite what?!?! Head over to my stories to add your vote!