Iced Matcha Latte

It is warm here in North Texas and as summer looms, I am cooling down with this lovely iced matcha. It has a hint of sweetness and it is perfect for that afternoon pick-me-up!

Iced Matcha Latte

Ingredients:

1/4 cup boiling water

1 tsp organic matcha powder

1/2 tsp vanilla powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

pinch of Himilyian salt (optional)

Raw local honey (use local to you for added allergy-fighting benefits)

Fresh homemade oat milk and coconut milk (or use whatever milk you prefer, but I like mixing oat and coconut)

Directions:

Boil 1/4 cup water. Add the 1 tsp of organic matcha powder to the boiling water and mix well. Into the matcha mixture, add the vanilla powder, cinnamon and pinch of salt (if desired). Mix it well and let it cool for a moment.

In a tall glass, fill it with desired amount of ice (I fill mine up halfway), add fresh oat milk and a large tablespoon of coconut milk and mix. Make sure to not fill it up all the way to the top as you need space to pour over your matcha mixture.

To the iced milk glass, pour over the matcha mixture and enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

Tag #lifestylewithlauren on Instagram!

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Homemade Oat Milk

I started making my own homemade oat milk after indulging in one too many matcha horchatas from True Food Kitchen. I realized that it was time to make my own oat milk for my iced matcha concoction, as well as for other recipes.

Making your own dairy-free milk is really very easy and quite cheap! All you need is a nut-milk bag and a good blender and you are set! I use these bags and my Vitamix that we invested in from Costco.

So without further ado – here is my homemade oat milk recipe!

Ingredients:

4 cups water

1 cup gluten-free oats

1 organic pitted date (optional but so good!)

Large pinch of Himalayan salt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a high powder blender and blend for about 30 seconds (don’t over-blend as it makes the mixture slimy). Pour the blended oat mixture into a nut milk bag or a thin dish towel and squeeze out all the yummy “milk.” Pour the oat milk into a storage container with a lid and keep in the fridge for about 5 days.

*Note: Do not heat as it will thicken and become slimy.

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

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We Are Done with 1st Grade!

I say “we” because it was a group effort! 😉

I homeschooled our oldest son using Sonlight curriculum and thought I would share my honest review now that we have successfully completed it.

What I Loved:

Open-and-go

Christian curriculum

Great book selection

4-day or 5-day option

For my first full year of homeschool, I liked Sonlight because it was easy to use and it was a Christian curriculum. It was an open-and-go kind of curriculum that basically held my hand the entire way. There were a lot of books and I liked teaching out of “regular” books. I think Sonlight is great for new-to-homeschool parents as it really gave me a confidence boost that I could do it.

What I Didn’t Love:

Teacher-centered

Reading aloud constantly

History

Science was lack-luster

Although I was a reading teacher and really LOVE reading aloud, with Sonlight I was reading aloud constantly. My son would sit and listen well but it just felt like I was the Peanut’s teacher.

When I say a lot of reading, I mean a LOT – starting with a Christian book, Bible story, then the large history book plus chapter books and poetry book – that was all just for the ‘Intro to World History’ curriculum. Thankfully the Language Arts curriculum didn’t include a lot of reading aloud (it was all in the history and chapter books listed there). Language Arts was more of just writing and spelling. For science, it was a lot of really great Usborne books, which I liked, but again just didn’t ever feel like we really dug-in deep with the topics. Which leads to my next point…

Sonlight’s curriculum does not have a lot of built-in extensions and as a working homeschooling mom, I just don’t have the time to scour Pintrest looking for extensions for certain topics.

All of that said, I think Sonlight was a great curriculum for our first year and helped me to get a good handle on how to manage homeschooling for our home. The book selection was great, I loved the ‘Leading Little Ones to God’ book and the opportunities to read straight from the Bible.

Again, this is just my honest opinion and what I noticed with my child and what we needed.

Now for 2nd grade!

(and preschool!)

We are switching curriculums completely to the Good and the Beautiful and I am thrilled! I already sorted the science units and I think my son is going to LOVE it! I let him select the units that he was interested in and have already started planning some field trips that go along with what we are learning. Here is what we are going to do for second grade:

I already planned out the day and put it in the front of my planning binder so I know what we are doing and when.

Then on each page inside, I wrote out what unit/lesson we are doing that week.

Here are the units and items I will be using for preschool for my 4-year old and for 2nd grade for my oldest:

Bible:

We are going to work through these books for Bible this year. It is all the same reading on the same days, just on different levels for each age. I am also thinking of using our Write the Word Journals to start our day as well.

History:

For history, we are going to use the Good and the Beautiful History Year 2. We will be alternating days of history and science, so we will complete two lessons a week for history; two lessons a week for science.

Science:

Alternating days with history – for science we are going to do these units (which I have already hole-punched and put in binders), as well as Mammals and Botany (not pictured). If all goes as planned, we should be done with all of these lessons and units (starting July 5, 2021) on April 28, 2022 (which also includes review weeks, holidays, etc.)

English, Reading, Language Arts:

I haven’t purchased it yet, but we are going to do a little mix of the Good and the Beautiful Language Arts Year 2 and some other reading and writing stuff from another curriculum. I also scheduled independent reading time in the day because if I don’t, it won’t happen! 😉

Math:

For math, I will be using the Good and the Beautiful Math 2. What I LOVE about this is that there are fun games intertwined in the learning, which my son will love! Even though we didn’t have any issues with Math-U-See, he verbally has expressed to me that he “hates math because it is so boring.” So I think switching to TGTB math curriculum will really make a difference for him.

Preschool:

For my little one, I am going to use the Good and the Beautiful Level K Primer. I will also read aloud books, work on counting and doing a lot of other little games with him to make learning fun for him.

We are also moving all of the school stuff to the playroom and making that room the designated school room. TGTB curriculum provides a lot of little posters for word walls and I need a designated space to hang those up, vs our nook where we are currently doing school. I need a space where I can feel more at ease to hang things on the wall and be more of a “school room.” Stay tuned for those pictures!

Well, that’s it!

We finished our first year of homeschool and I am thrilled!

We made it!

He made it!

I made it! 😉

We all made it and I am thankful to have the opportunity to continue homeschooling him. The memories made and the time spent together is something I will never regret – even though some days are hard and challenging, I really love it! We are taking it year by year and reassessing after each year. So for now, we will continue homeschooling 🙂

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Even If

After facing much opposition for His teaching, Jesus was betrayed by Judas, deserted by His disciples, crucified and died. Three days later He rose from the grave and appeared to the disciples, which confirmed that He is indeed…

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Even If

After facing much opposition for His teaching, Jesus was betrayed by Judas, deserted by His disciples, crucified and died. Three days later He rose from the grave and appeared to the disciples, which confirmed that He is indeed the King of Kings.

Let us back up a moment and look at what happened in His last days and how He treated those around Him. Let us remember that He KNEW full well that Judas was going to betray him, yet He washed Judas’ feet:

“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”

English Standard Version, 2016, John 13:1-5

Washing guests’ feet was a job for the household servant to carry out when guests arrived. Let’s put into context what it was like then as well … people’s feet were covered in dirt, feces and very unclean. Yet Jesus, the King of Kings, lowered himself and washed and dried each of His disciple’s feet … even Judas’ feet.

God in flesh completed a job the lowliest servant would do. Are you willing to follow Christ’s example of serving? Even if it is hard? Even if you know they are talking about you behind your back, disparaging your name? Even if you know you will be betrayed? 

I know I haven’t always done this and it is definitely not easy.

“When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.”

English Standard Version, 2016, John 12:12-16

Jesus’ display of servitude is one of humility, kindness and love. Let us be reminded this Easter season, not only of the Father’s extraordinary love for us by sending His Son to die on the cross for us sinners who don’t deserve it but let us be reminded to show servitude to others like Jesus did for Judas, who that very same evening betrayed Him. Even if it is hard. Even if you feel the other person “doesn’t deserve it.” Even if it is done in quiet and not seen by others.

Even if.

EVEN IF….

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Lauren’s Grain-Free Matcha Horchata

My husband and I finally got to have a day date and left the kids at home with the amazing grands…I cant even begin to tell you the last time we went anywhere sans kids for the day! Well, of course, I got to choose the lunch location and I picked my favorite: True Food Kitchen! After indulging in ALL the food, I decided to cap the meal with their matcha horchata and it was DELICIOUS! Seriously, SO GOOD! I quickly realized that I must make my own version at home, so here it is! This is my grain-free matcha horchata. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Lauren’s Grain-Free Matcha Horchata

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 oz water
  • 1/2 tsp organic matcha
  • 1 tsp raw honey (or more – depending on how sweet you want it)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Heaping TB of coconut milk (or 1/2 cup – then reduce water to 1/2 cup)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients, minus the honey, in a small saucepan and gently warm, mixing/stirring while it warms. Pour the warm liquid into your cup of preference and stir in the honey. Sip and enjoy!

*Reason why I state heaping TB of coconut milk is that I use a very thick coconut milk brand, thus when I get some, it is not a liquid and more of a cream. So I just spoon out a heaping TB into the saucepan and mix it with the water. If your coconut milk is more watery, I would suggest just using that all together. You could also swap the coconut milk with a different dairy-free milk of your choosing, like cashew milk, oat milk, almond milk, etc.

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March Book Club Pick!

My friend Kari and I started a book club in January 2021 so we could encourage each other to read more books this year.

In January we read American Dirt and it was GOOD!

Now for February … we read The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo.

I have to say, this book was NOT my favorite for a LOT of reasons. Without spoiling the book … it was frustrating! The main character in the book is Lucy who has fallen in love with Gabe, but later makes decisions that lead her in a different direction, but throughout the book she is constantly battling in her brain and comaparing two men. IT IS FRUSTRATING! The chapters are quick and easy to read, so that was nice, but it just seemed to go on and on and on. The ending, to me, was very predictable and a let down. I have questions and kind of want answers … but at the same time I don’t need them or, honestly, really don’t want them answered because I honestly don’t care and just want to move on. Haha!

If you loved this book, sorry for the bad review, but I just didn’t love it!

This was Reese Witherspoon’s comment on the book:

“This love story between Lucy & Gabe spans decades and continents as two star-crossed lovers try to return to each other…Will they ever meet again? This book kept me up at night, turning the pages to find out, and the ending did not disappoint.”

Sorry, Reese … it was a disappointment and I am sad you steered me in this direction with your raving review. I forgive you though and will give you another chance! 😉 Haha!

SOOOOO without further ado …

Our March book club pick is *hopefully* a good GOOD one!

We have chosen The Vanishing Half: A Novel by Brit Bennett

Named a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by The New York TimesThe Washington PostTime, NPR, Entertainment Weekly, Vulture, USA TodayGQVanity Fair, Harper’s BazaarGlamour, and Bustle

Praise for The Vanishing Half
“[Bennett’s] second [book], The Vanishing Half, more than lives up to her early promise. . . more expansive yet also deeper, a multi-generational family saga that tackles prickly issues of racial identity and bigotry and conveys the corrosive effects of secrets and dissembling. It’s also a great read that will transport you out of your current circumstances, whatever they are. . . Like The Mothers, this novel keeps you turning pages not just to find out what happens.” —NPR 

“Bennett’s gorgeously written second novel, an ambitious meditation on race and identity, considers the divergent fates of twin sisters, born in the Jim Crow South, after one decides to pass for white. Bennett balances the literary demands of dynamic characterization with the historical and social realities of her subject matter.”The New York Times

If you would like to read with us, head over to our Facebook Page and join the group! We just started reading it with our goal to finish by the end of the month.

Happy reading!

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*As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


Here. We. Go!

Photo by Dmitry Demidov on Pexels.com

I’m so excited for this new adventure!! And slightly terrified, to be completely transparent! 😉

I’m recording my very first podcast this weekend!! I can’t believe it. I’ve thought about doing this for a while but the thing holding me back was fear of the unknown. I don’t know what I am doing! I don’t know how to create a podcast. To me, this seems like a rather big obstacle…but sometimes you just have do it! Why wait?! So here I am! Not waiting, just jumping in! Thankfully I have some amazingly talented people around me who know a whole lot more about this stuff than I do!

Of course all the thoughts invade my brain, wondering if anyone would even want to listen to this! Wondering what the heck I am even thinking. Then I remembered my “why.” I know some incredible people with testimonies that should be shared, that NEED to be shared. Hopefully some of you will enjoy our conversations. Some of you will be encouraged, find yourself laughing along with us and find joy in each episode. 

My podcast with be not only audio, but also visual!

It’ll be a friend and I chatting about all the things…life, motherhood, health & beauty, Jesus and so much more! I would love it if you wanted to join us. Watch and listen while you run or do the dishes, listen while you drive around town or peruse Target! And I would love if you subscribed! Click HERE and subscribe now so you don’t miss my first episode!

My podcasts will also be posted on my blog under the ‘podcast’ tab, as well as shared on social media. I will likely have it on iTunes as well but I’ve got to play around first and see how to do that! 😉 Haha! I’m learning as I go!

I will take you along with me the entire way! I’ll share here on the blog what I am learning, what programs I am using and all the details!

I’m so excited and I hope you will join me on this new adventure!! And again, please subscribe to show your love and support!

💛🎙🎧


What’s Up Wednesday – January 2021

Well – we are officially in February and I am still late to the game on posting my What’s Up Wednesday posts! Haha! Maybe I will just go with the flow and make my What’s Up Wednesday posts the first Wednesday of the month instead of the last since that is what I have been doing recently! 😉

Well either way – here we are and here are somethings that I am loving, what we’ve been up to, what we’re eating and watching and so much more! Happy Wednesday, friends!

WHAT WE’RE EATING THIS WEEK:

This week I dove into my Danielle Walker cookbooks and Thugs Kitchen cookbook and I will be making a chicken & veggie one-sheet pan dish, burgers with sweet potato fries, sweet potato enchiladas and one night we will have tacos/taco salad. Plus a takeout night in there somewhere. Pretty easy and good 😉

But look at THIS!

I found this online and heard it is available at Costco!! Look at the sugars and carbs! We usually get Costco’s organic pure maple syrup but I want to give this a try!

We love dates and I think my boys will love this! I will let you know the verdict!!

WHAT I’M REMINISCING ABOUT:

Honestly January was kind of a blur! It all came and went rather quickly but nothing fantastic happened – just the ordinary daily things. But I am thinking back to a year ago when we went on our last (but didn’t know it would be our last) cruise and that was pretty amazing. Oh how I miss childcare. And beaches. And vacations. 😉

WHAT I’M LOVING:

I am on the launch team for Angie Smith’s new book and if you liked Seamless, you will love this. If you didn’t read Seamless, read this! Her writing is my fav – she is so personable and makes things so easy to understand. When Woven officially launches, I highly suggest you grabbing a copy for yourself and your girlfriends! You can even pre-order it on Amazon!

WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO:

January was pretty slow as far as things to do – just getting back into our school routine after taking a few weeks of for Christmas. We are loving our KiwiCo boxes, as you can see from this cutie bug ❤ Other than that, it’s just been work, book club, homeschool, reading, cooking, repeat! 😉

WHAT I’M WORKING ON:

I am going to be on a podcast soon so I am prepping for that and getting my thoughts in order because I tend to ramble if I don’t have a general idea of what I need or want to say (not making a script or anything…just bullet points of ideas and Bible verses). At the magazine we are working on the March ‘Education’ issue and I think it is going to be really awesome!! But I say that for each month – but I really do love what we have coming out! So many great stories and people and it will be a fun one 🙂

WHAT I’M EXCITED ABOUT:

I am excited about chatting with my friend on her podcast…the hubs and I have been making some goals and dreams and I am excited about those…we are almost done painting the house and that is REALLY exciting!! Can’t WAIT to be done with that! And I found this gorgeous color that I think would look amazing in the master bathroom:

It’s called Benjamin Moore Water’s Edge…but we like to use Sherwin Williams so hoping I can find a close match…any suggestions???

WHAT I’M WATCHING/READING:

I am working my way back through ‘Gilmore Girls’ for the umpteenth time – it is just so good! I love to have it on as background noise when I am doing chores or just sit and indulge when I can’t find anything else to watch. It’s the best! 🙂

We of course are watching ‘The Challenge’ every Wednesday night plus the new Fixer Upper shows and a few other remodel shows on Discovery+.

In addition to Woven, I am reading our February book club pick, The Light We Lost and so far so good! It has short chapters, which I love, because I always flip though and see how many pages till the next chapter and I think, “Yeah, I can do one more…” and find myself one-moring many times over.

I finished American Dirt in January and OH. MY. Goodness! This book is HIGH up on my favorite books of all time list!

WHAT I’M LISTENING TO:

Honestly not much recently. I haven’t been in the car [alone] too much to listen to a podcast and it is just impossible at home with the kids. When I want to listen to music (which isn’t that much either! There is just so much noise these days that when it is quiet enough for music – I just want silence and to hear nothing)…anyway…when I want to listen, I ask Alexa to play Hillsong. My boys love asking her to play ‘Who Let the Dogs Out’…so that’s fun. 😉

We were running a couple errands the other day and I had a hankering for some Gwen, so I found a Gwen Stefani station on Pandora and it has been so much fun! The boys loved the songs (apparently every song was Clark’s favorite – he knows whats what), but I love the variety on Pandora…it’s like a walk down memory lane!

WHAT I’M WEARING:

I purchased Peloton pants and boy are they like butter! They are so comfortable, stay put and just feel amazing!! Definitely pleased with my purchase!

WHAT I’M DOING THIS WEEKEND:

Not sure yet! The weekends are honestly not my favorite…I know that sounds weird! But I love the structure that the week provides…homeschool, work, blogging…I like having set things to do. SO my goal is to find some local things to do, outside, away from crowds. I am actually going to work on that list today ❤ I’ll post what I find on my IG.

WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH (aka current month):

Next month meaning THIS month since I am a week behind posting…soooo I am excited for my hair appointment Friday because I am going to take a few inches off plus lighten it up a bit more. I have my doctor appointment, which I do love, because it means more blood work and I love to see whats going on and hopefully see progress! Plus I get an IV-therapy treatment and I always love those!

We are looking at a few VRBOs to take a little family getaway (like Arkansas, Tennessee (yes, again!), Alabama, possibly Florida) but we are looking forward to a vacation somewhere! Hopefully we will find something and book it this month.

WHAT ELSE IS NEW:

February Frisco STYLE Magazine dropped and it is so cute and lovely and sprinkled with little love stories for Valentines Day ❤ It is just the sweetest!

We are discussing ways to transform our laundry room and trying to figure out a few storage options for that space…just the ordinary adulting stuff happening! Haha!


Well that was a look back at January!

How was your January?!

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February Book Club Pick!

My friend Kari and I started a book club in January so we could encourage each other to read more books this year and boy, was January’s book a good one!

Kari and I will host a Facebook Live Sunday, January 31st at 8pm to discuss our January book: American Dirt. Y’all! If you haven’t read American Dirt – DO IT!!! It is so, so good and we are going to have quite the discussion!!

And now for the February pick…we are THRILLED to read …

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

We wanted to pick a little more romantic book for February and we think you are going to love this book!

“This love story between Lucy & Gabe spans decades and continents as two star-crossed lovers try to return to each other…Will they ever meet again? This book kept me up at night, turning the pages to find out, and the ending did not disappoint.” – Reese Witherspoon

He was the first person to inspire her, to move her, to truly understand her. Was he meant to be the last?

Lucy is faced with a life-altering choice. But before she can make her decision, she must start her story–their story–at the very beginning.

Lucy and Gabe meet as seniors at Columbia University on a day that changes both of their lives forever. Together, they decide they want their lives to mean something, to matter. When they meet again a year later, it seems fated–perhaps they’ll find life’s meaning in each other. But then Gabe becomes a photojournalist assigned to the Middle East and Lucy pursues a career in New York. What follows is a thirteen-year journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and, ultimately, of love. Was it fate that brought them together? Is it choice that has kept them away? Their journey takes Lucy and Gabe continents apart, but never out of each other’s hearts.

This devastatingly romantic debut novel about the enduring power of first love, with a shocking, unforgettable ending, is Love Story for a new generation.

Amazon

If you would like to read with us, head over to our Facebook Page and join the group! We will start reading February 1st with our goal to finish by the end of the month.

Happy reading!


Recipe: Breakfast Casserole

This week I was DETERMINED to be better about making breakfast for myself so Sunday I made a quick breakfast casserole that I have been munching on all week. It only took a few minutes to prep and then baked in the oven. Super easy and customizable! I used spinach, onion, sweet potato, tomato, and bell pepper, but you can easily swap any of those ingredients for something you like (zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms, etc.). I didn’t add cheese but you could add a little almond cheese or dairy cheese of your liking. Serve with sliced avocado and a hot cup of coffee and you’re golden!

This breakfast casserole is dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, candida-friendly (if you are further along in your healing journey as the sweet potatoes are on the ‘no’ list in the beginning) and vegetarian.

Lauren’s Breakfast Casserole

Prep Time: 10 minutes; Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 10 pasture-raised eggs
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut milk
  • 1 organic sweet potato, grated
  • 1 organic orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion, diced
  • 2 cups organic spinach
  • 1 organic tomato, diced
  • Himalayan salt and fresh ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whip the eggs and the coconut milk until fully mixed.
  3. Grate the sweet potato in your food processor with the grater disc attachment (or use your box grater) and then add the grated sweet potato to the bowl with the eggs.
  4. Add the bell pepper, onion, spinach, tomato and a dash of salt and pepper to the bowl with the eggs and gently mix.
  5. Pour the egg mixture into a 9×9 or 9×13 casserole dish that has been lightly sprayed with coconut oil, like this one. Place the dish in your preheated oven and cook for about 45 minutes, or until set in the center.
  6. Let cool a bit, slice and serve with fresh organic avocado and for us Texans, a splash of hot sauce!

Did you make this recipe?

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