It is a late post and sadly, no podcast aired today. We enjoyed the long weekend and just relaxed, worshiped, and had a lazy day on the lake. I hope you all have a wonderful Labor Day weekend as well!
I did bring my favorite sparkling water on the boat with me…Mad Tasty AND they have a new flavor!!
The Yuzu Citrus flavor is so delicious and refreshing!
I love Mad Tasty because it tastes GREAT, but it also has 20 mg broad-spectrum hemp extract, zero sugar, under 15 calories per can, it is gluten-free and vegan!
You can try Mad Tasty’s newest flavor, Yuzu Citrus, or try any of their other yummy sparkling waters (like the Unicorn Tears!). Click here and use code LAURENG10 for 10% off your purchase!
New podcast episodes will be back next week and I know you are going to love to hear from my next guest…Jamie Kelley.
You will be able to listen to this episode (and all the others!) on your favorite podcast platform (Anchor, Spotify, Apple, etc). You can also watch our conversation on YouTube!
As a reminder, so far this season I have chatted with Adriana Lewin (LPC and warrior mom), Kortnee VanCleave (my very talented hairstylist), Dusti Famer (cancer warrior and brain tumor survivor), Sarah Bowlin (mom traveling the Great Loop with her husband and kids), Maddie Bowen (who shares her adoption and foster care story), Emily Honea (teaches us valuable information about the stages of grief), and SO MANY MORE AMAZING GUESTS!!
As I was editing a recent podcast and creating the blog post for the episode, it dawned on me that over the past year + of blogging, I have over 100 posts! It is so fun to see the change in my writing style and even the…
My guest for the Go & Tell Podcast with Lauren Greci: Episode 21 is Jamie Kelley. Jamie and I know each other from church and a few years ago and shared her incredible testimony about how God protected her through a terrible accident that left her in a coma for days.
My guest for the Go & Tell Podcast with Lauren Greci: Episode 20 is Christen Patin. Christen shares her walk with the Lord through the loss of her mother, depression, anxieties, and more. She is real and raw and I just love her vulnerability and openness.
My guest for the Go & Tell Podcast with Lauren Greci: Episode 18 is Alexcia Griffin. Alexcia recently moved to Texas, joined our Life Group at church, and we instantly connected!
Alexcia shares how she met her husband through a rehearsal for a play in NYC, how she accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior, and shares more about her walk with God.
The Go & Tell Podcast is all about sharing testimonies but this episode is a little different. Hebrews 11, otherwise known as the ‘Hall of Faith,’ has been weighing on my heart and mind and I just felt like I needed to share the testimonies of these ‘hall of faithers’ stories, confirming the fact that God chose seemingly unlikely people to further His Kingdom, who were called to obey and be faithful with what God commanded.
I remember once being asked what my favorite pregnancy book was and immediately a slew of ‘What to Expect When You’re Excepting’ type of books flooded my brain. But then as I was thinking about it – and honestly my best advice of what to read when pregnant is this…
Read parenting books, not pregnancy books.
You are only pregnant for a few months but you care for a child for at least 18 years. However, when you are sleep-deprived, exhausted, pulled on, and constantly caring for your precious child’s life, you really don’t have that much time to read a parenting book…or much desire to read it for that matter.
So I always tell my pregnant momma friends to read all the parenting books now, while you have more free time because once a baby enters the world, you will be hard-pressed to find that time…or have the energy to find that time 😉
Below are some of my favorite parenting books that I have read throughout the years (and some of these I read in college for my education courses!). These are books that have been gifted to me by ministry leaders, from fellow moms, family, and friends as well.
Do you have a parenting book that you love? Comment your favorite below!
*Please note that I am NOT an expert at parenting and fail daily, but I find comfort in knowing that God is always in control and He is the ultimate Father, He is the Redeemer and He will never fail me or my children.
I remember a couple of years ago fully jumping on the Marie Kondo organizing train and stuck to it for a while. It really helped me to declutter and organize and was a great start for daily organization.
Problem is kids are messy! They don’t care if they pull out allllll the toys and then walk away! They don’t mind throwing their wet towels on the floor of their closet. They don’t see the mess or the toys or the clutter or the markers or the Legos or…you get my point 😉
So what are some practical tips that can help with all of the clutter and the mess?
I have incorporated a few daily tricks that help with some of the mess. Here are some practical things that help me to stay sane and organized:
Run the dishwasher EVERY evening + put it all away first thing in the morning.
Either I or my husband puts the kids to bed and the other one stays in the kitchen to clean up – wash dishes, load dishwasher and start it, clean countertops, clear the table, etc. That way, before we sit down, the kitchen is clean. Once we sit at the end of the day, there is no getting up! 😉 Haha!
In the morning I clean out the dishwasher (or my son does for his chore) while the kids eat breakfast (after eating) and then it is free to load throughout the day so dishes don’t accumulate in the sink (but somehow dishes still wind up there – apparently opening the dishwasher to put things IN it is really hard…#amiright?) Haha!
Now the kitchen is clean, lights are off and it is ready for another day!
Make your bed every morning.
There is just something about making your bed that makes the day “official” and starts it off right. I also tell my kids to make their own beds (which is hit or miss), but I try to make mine everyday. Our master bedroom is also right off the living room and kitchen so we see it all day, unless we close the door (which is practically never). Theres nothing fancy happening in our room – but a made bed just feels “clean” and tidy.
Run a load of laundry everyday.
If you have children*, I recommend washing a load of laundry everyday and putting it away immediately. Now I will be honest with you – I don’t do this all the time, BUT when I do – it is GAME CHANGING!! But it takes just one day to miss and suddenly it seems like I’m in a mound of laundry again! But when I am on it and wash everyday then immediately fold and put it away – it is so so SO worth it and makes laundry seem less of a challenge.
*Now I say this as a suggestion if you have children because if you don’t (if it is just you and your spouse or you alone), washing daily is a waste of water. In that case, I would suggest making one day a week as your laundry day, then wash it all, dry, fold and put away – you can even make it a movie day! But something about two boys and two adults – we always have enough clothes to wash a full load everyday.
Have a “lost” bin.
There are ALWAYS game pieces, random Legos and miscellaneous toys throughout the house. Find a time at the end of the day to take a bin and walk through the house, putting all the random things in the “lost” bin. Then in the morning, assign a child (or all the children) to take the bin and put all the things away where they are suppose to go. This way, the little game pieces get put back in their boxes and if the kids don’t know where something goes or it simply doesn’t have a “home,” then it can stay in the bin until it finds a home. Then when they are looking for an item and can’t find it – I tell them to check the “lost” bin.
Along with the “lost” bin idea – I also have a larger bin for other toys that I find throughout the house (even in the playroom). In the evening, ANYTHING that has been left out (books, cars, games, stuffed animals, etc.) goes in the bin and again – in the morning the kids take the bin and put everything where it is suppose to go. If they don’t know where to put something or it doesn’t have a home – it goes in the “lost” bin.
Give kids chores.
This one is HUGE. Kids are totally capable to doing things – it is just my personal OCD that prevents them from doing it 😉 However, being a full-time working mom + homeschooling + blogging + cooking and meal planning and all the things that comes with motherhood – I just simply don’t have the time to do it all myself. BUT my kids can help with things and I just have to let it go (anyone else singing Frozen?!)
My 7-year old is in charge of folding his clothes and putting it away (again – it’s a MESS in his drawers but I just close my eyes). He also is in charge of folding the towels and putting them away (and yes, I find kitchen towels in my bathroom but I just grab those and move them when I see it and tell him so he knows for next time). Here you can see his other chores:
My boys can pick what chores they want to do – some days they don’t do any and some days they do them all…just depends. But my oldest always wants to earn money to save up for a Lego set so this gives him options.
I just made this in Excel, print and trimmed. I got some old scrapbooking paper that I had, trimmed it and put the chore list on top, then laminated it and taped it to the fridge. Now the boys can use dry erase markers and mark their chores and it wipes clean at the end of the week.
Toss it if you don’t need it.
This is kind of like the Marie Kondo rule – if it doesn’t bring you joy, then get rid of it. But seriously – this is so true! Declutter is the key! There will be more toys on the floor if there are more toys 😉 There will be more clothes to fold if there are more clothes…there will be more junk to put away if it gathers on your counter. You get my drift. So go though the house and decide what is it that you really NEED. Anything that the kids don’t play with anymore – donate it! I can’t keep all of my kids drawings so I only pick the ones that are more special and took more time or we did together. I have to say that I am pretty good at tossing things and getting even better now about selling things off that we just don’t need. We’ve been painting the house and I haven’t put much back on the walls because I am really thinking about what I have and if I really like it and need it. We had an entryway table that I moved from another place and then had nothing to put on it – so instead of buying decor to put on it, I just sold the table. That’s where I am in life. Less is more. 😉
Let some of it go and be ok with it.
Now this is hard – I get it!!! I am an enneagram 2 with a strong wing 1 and 3 (depends on the month/day) and perfectionism is something I struggle with…especially when it comes to clutter and house stuff. There are just some things that are never going to be “perfect” – especially with kids. There will always be a mess, there will always be toys, scrapes of paper, tape everywhere, crayons left out, a random sock on the floor, etc. It is what it is. I would have to clean and pick up 24/7 for it to be “perfect” and even then, I would turn around and find my toddler making a mess right behind me. Haha! It is part of motherhood – it is just plain messy – in all ways. I have to remind myself that we LIVE in this house and give myself grace…and my family.
Well those are my seven tips. What do you do daily that helps keep your house clean and organized? Share below!
“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 Match.com…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 Match.com 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 Match.com 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!).
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 Match.com 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.
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!
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!
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!
It’s another Friday Favorites over here!!! I love this day and try to be creative with what my “favorites” are that I share…and today is no different!
If you are gluten-free, you will LOVE this post! I am sharing all of my favorite gluten-free snacks! From pre-packaged items, to fresh fruits and veggies, here are some of my favorite gluten-free snack items:
*Note: I currently can’t eat all of these because of my diet restrictions with Systemic Candida; however, when I was following ONLY a gluten-free lifestyle, these were/are (some I still can eat) my favorites.
**Note 2: I will never be able to eat sugar like I did before. So some of these items I may not be able to eat ever again :(. However, natural sugars (like dates and honey and those from fruits) I will be able to eat again once my Systemic Candida is healed completely.
MY FAVORITE GLUTEN-FREE SNACKS
These are my favorite!! I seriously have eaten an entire bag in one sitting! So watch out! 😉 I have to force myself to stop or pour just enough into a bowl and then put the chips back in the pantry. Eating straight out of the bag is dangerous! Haha!
I love eating these just as is…or with homemade guacamole (just squash an entire avocado in a bowl, sprinkle a little onion and garlic powder, chop up a small cherry tomato, maybe a little purple onion, cilantro and fresh lime juice, stir and that’s it!).
Flax4Life Chocolate Coconut Brownies
A sweet friend introduced us to these AMAZING brownies (ok, maybe not the healthiest snack, but hey, it has flax in it so that counts, right?!?) and they are so yummy! Now I can’t eat this currently because of my diet restrictions with Candida, but for now, my boys and hubby absolutely LOVE these!
I know, SUPER easy but SO good! I use to LOVE to quickly toast a frozen gluten-free waffle (the pumpkin spice was my favorite) and top it with organic almond butter. It was filling and delicious!
Veggies + Hummus
This is the hummus that we buy at Costco and it is one of Clark’s favorites, too! We both love cutting up fresh organic bell pepper and dipping it in this hummus. I also like to dip fresh organic broccoli, celery, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, and carrots.
Coconut Yogurt + Berries
This is one of my personal favorite yogurts. It is contains only raw young coconut, raw young coconut water, and probiotic cultures…that’s it!! They also have a few other flavors, like raspberry, cacao, and vanilla. You could add a little bit of raw organic local honey (how many times can I say ‘raw’?! haha!) and then top with your favorite organic fresh berries. One container gives me at least two servings.
Chocolate Protein Shake
I make my favorite chocolate protein shake often for breakfast or lunch, but if I don’t drink it as my meal, sometimes I will make a super-fast version and drink it as my snack. I use 4 oz coconut milk, 4 oz water and a few ice cubes, 1 scoop Truvani chocolate protein, 1 TB almond butter, and blend! It is filling, delicious, and satiates my sweet tooth!
Apple + Almond Butter
I love eating a crisp organic green apple with a big tablespoon of organic almond butter! My boys love it, too! The almond butter helps to make this easy snack a little more filling, and the crisp apple is just so delicious!
This Kirkland almond butter is the one that I love to purchase. I have also been digging crunchy almond butter recently, so if I am out of this one, I will grab the Sprouts brand organic crunchy almond butter.
Before I had to restrict my fruit because of my Systemic Candida, I LOVED the Carrot Cake Larabar! It was by far my favorite one!! With only a few clean ingredients, these bars are still my go-to bars for my boys and one day I’ll be able to eat these again!
Sprouted Rice Cereal with Almond Butter + Blueberries
I know this is going to sound super crazy…but I LOVED this snack before Candida! I would fill a bowl with this Sprouted Brown Rice Crisps cereal, topped with a heaping tablespoon of organic almond butter, added in about a tablespoon of coconut flakes, some hemp seeds, a few chopped walnut, and a handful of fresh organic blueberries. I would splash just enough of a nut milk (or Ripple milk) to get it a bit soft and be able to mix it together, but not too much! Y’all. It was DELICIOUS! This is one snack (or if I made a big bowl: breakfast) that I miss SOOO much!
Rice Cakes with Almond Butter + Fruit + Honey
I loved topping a rice cake with organic almond butter, slicing a bit of banana and laying it on top, then drizzling it with raw local honey. Such an easy, filling snack that would give me a little boost of energy!
What are some of your favorite gluten-free snacks? Share below!!
See you all back here on Monday! Have a blessed 4th of July weekend!
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Happy Wednesday friends!! It is officially JULY!! I feel like June flew by and hoping July can slow down and we can absorb this last full month of “official summer” before school starts.
I was reading another sweet momma’s blog and she decided that the first of the month she would set herself some goals for that month. I think that is a great idea…especially in the current climate. It seems like everyday is Groundhog Day and with restrictions starting to gear back up, I think setting intentional goals each month is a great way to stay motivated, on track, and to have more fun!
So here you go friends, my July Goals…
Read one book a month. This one seems pretty easy, right? I LOVE to read but finding time to read these days have been a struggle. So my goal is to read and finish at least one book a month. And by book, I mean fiction/nonfiction, something that I will read in addition to my Bible studies.
Not look at my computer on Saturdays. Sundays we have virtual church and Life Group, so I can’t pick that day. I usually do pretty good about staying of the computer on Saturdays but noticing that I am doing it more and more. So Saturday will be my “off” day!
No phone from 5-7pm. I have been on my phone more than ever it seems, so I want to be intentional about not looking at my phone at all from 5-7pm. So if you text me at 5:45pm…I am not texting you back till after 7pm! 😉 Haha!
Spend one-on-one time with my kids. With quarantine and COVID-19 happening, this will be a bit more tricky…but will force me to be creative! From riding bikes together, going on walks, painting together, going for ice cream, whatever it may be, I will find something that we can do together and have solo time, while still observing the current restrictions in place.
Write notes. I love getting cards in the mail, so this month, I’m going to send some to people I love. I know text messages and emails are nice…but so is a good old fashioned card. I’m very thankful for so many people, and this month, I’m going to be intentional and send notes of encouragement and love to those who I know need some right now.
Yoga at least 3 times a week. I LOVE yoga! Stretching, improving flexibility, and just the overall slowing down to move is so appealing to me and I love it when I do it. I was doing really well and completing my Yoga with Adriene series but then slacked and have fallen off the mat! 😉 So I will do better and my goal is to do at least three sessions a week.
Break a sweat 5 days a week. I have been following the Tone It Up workout series: Summer Tone Up and I love it…but like yoga, I haven’t been super committed recently. I will do better! I am going to make sure to workout somehow 5x a week…be it the TIU app, walks, Body Beast, whatever it may be…but I will move by body and sweat it out!
So that’s that!
What are you focusing on this month? I’d love to know!
Today is the LAST day to take advantage of Truvani’s plant-based protein SALE! They never have sales like this, so take advantage while you can!! If you’ve ever wanted to try Truvani’s protein, now is the time! You get 50% off your first order of chocolate or vanilla protein PLUS a free reusable glass straw AND three protein recipe guides…all for only $25!!
Click THIS link to claim your special 50% off offer!
AND guess what else?? Starting today until July 15th, Truvani is offering a BOGO of Truvani’s Immune Support supplement!! When you purchase one bottle, you get a second bottle FREE!! Plus, you will also receive the ‘Ultimate Guide to Immune Health’ eBook delivered after your purchase! SO exciting!! Hurry and snag these deals while you can!
To get your free bottle of Immune Support, click here and don’t forget that I am also giving away TWO bottles over on my Instagram and Facebook accounts! Head there, too, and enter the giveaway!
That’s it for today! See you Friday!
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