Rest for my soul.

It’s April, y’all. APRIL. And while I thought our winter would never end, I can’t believe that it’s actually Spring. Cabin drive

Spring Break has already come and gone. For the first time, we decided to take a little trip to get away from cold Indiana Spring. We went to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee for a few days and had a really wonderful time (even with Cami & Adam having the stomach flu).

We hiked on trails…

Adam and kids hiking

…and off. Kids in waterfall

We rested at our cabin with beautiful scenery… steps

…took scenic drives through Cade’s Cove…Cade's Cove

…and took a picture of Alaina with her boys. Little did she know that meant Adam too. photo bomb

April will be over before we know it, which means Isaac’s birthday is right around the corner. 21 days to be exact. I think he’s going to be 12.Isaac

I’m hoping to take some time to really rest during Spring. I’m not talking about taking naps or relaxing in the sun, though I definitely plan on doing both of those! I’m talking about letting my stress levels drop. Having more fun with the kids. (Yelling is getting old. And it’s not even summer break yet!) Really letting my soul relax in this stage of life. There are just too many (last) firsts to miss by getting caught up in the little nothings that I so often let take hold of me each day.

(I’ll be using #lastfirst on pictures and posts on Instagram & Twitter {follow me @katieunscripted on both} if you want to follow along.)

 

Wet. Cold. PROUD.

Last Saturday morning, all I wanted to do was turn around and come home as I drove to my final Refuel Runner Ambassador Program race. Refuel Runner Pre-Race

It was pouring. It was freezing. And I was wavering.

But then I remembered my last post. About there always being an excuse. And I couldn’t let rainy and cold weather be my excuse. Because if I let either one be my excuse that morning, I’d always let something be my excuse each and every time I didn’t feel like exercising in the future. It was time to step up.

So I ran 3.1 miles with about 40 other stupid really dedicated people. To top off the rain and cold, the Rock My Run music app I had just downloaded the night before wouldn’t work without wifi (even though it said it would and I downloaded the mixes I wanted to my phone). So I ran in the rain and cold, by myself, with NO music.

It was really quite miserable to be honest. The only thing that kept me going was getting out of the crappy weather. Oh, and the funny old(er) dude that I passed early on who kept yelling “You’re my inspiration!” at me the entire rest of the run that he was behind me.

I finished in 36:42, which was an 11:48 pace (my goal was 12:00).

And while I was happy that I beat my goal, I was more proud of myself that I actually RAN THE RACE. That I didn’t turn around and drive home. That I didn’t use anything as an excuse.

Wet. Cold. PROUD.

This is a big step for me, friends. Keeping myself accountable rather than waiting for someone else to keep me accountable. It’s huge.

And while this was my final race with Indiana Dairy, this was definitely not my last race. I’m hoping to run one 5k a month through the fall. And it’s not the end of refueling with chocolate milk either. That’s for sure.

I’d love for you to join me. If it’s not actually running a race with me, choose to keep yourself accountable. Choose to not make excuses. Choose to be proud of yourself. And choose to drink chocolate milk. :)

 

Refuel Runner Ambassador

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I am working with Indiana Dairy and their Refuel Runner Ambassador Program. I’m super excited to be part of the program and to share with you my opinions and experiences. Of course, those opinions and experiences are all my own. Now go refuel with chocolate milk.

Flushed cheeks. Wet hair. Chocolate milk.

I’m good at making excuses. Excuses for not going to bed early enough, for not eating healthy enough, for putting off work until the last minute, for not doing the dishes. I can keep going if you’d like. No?

But most of my excuses center around one thing: not exercising.

Too tired. Too busy. Too much cleaning to do. Boys didn’t nap at the same time. It’s too cold outside. I hate the treadmill. Too tired. Too much laundry. JUST WANT A MINUTE ALONE SITTING ON THE COUCH DRINKING MY COFFEE. Too tired. Candy Crush. Pretty nails. Too tired.

But this? The feeling of flushed cheeks, a good shower after a good work-out and cold chocolate milk?post work out

It feels so good.

I remember this each Monday night after my zumba class. (An aside, if you’re in Indy and looking for a great zumba class, come with me!) But I so quickly forget by the time I get home from work on Tuesday afternoon. Because all the excuses come rushing back.

During Sunday’s sermon, our pastor said something that has stuck with me: your schedule (your calendar, the way you spend your day) is a picture of how you spend the life God has given you. So I’m going to be open and share with you my schedule:

MWF:

  • Alarm at 7:15 to get girls up and ready for school.
  • Adam takes girls to school at 8:15.
  • Care for boys until girls get home from school at 3:30.
  • Homework with girls until 4:30 or 5:00.
  • Dinner prep and make 5:00 – 6:00.
  • Dinner at 6:15.
  • (On Mondays I’m gone for zumba from 7:10-9:00).
  • Isaac to bed at 7:15.
  • Bigs to bed at 8:00.
  • Bed around 11:00.

T & Th:

  • Alarm at 6:15 to get ready for work/kids ready for school.
  • Leave at 8:15 for work.
  • Work until 2:45 then pick up kids from daycare/school.
  • Homework with girls until 4:30 or 5:00
  • Dinner prep and make 5:00 – 6:00.
  • Dinner at 6:15.
  • Isaac to bed at 7:15.
  • Bigs to bed at 8:00.
  • Bed around 11:00.

Okay, so let’s get rid of the excuses. On MWF, I have 7 hours of time during the day that I watch the boys. Very seldom do they nap at the same time, but I can totally hop on the treadmill for 30 minutes while he watches his one allowed morning screen time instead of checking my email or social media or just sitting with him being lazy. If Isaac doesn’t nap in the morning, then I’ll know I can run during their afternoon naptimes. There. MWF Done.

Now T&Th. I have a good 2.5 hours between the kids going to bed and me going to bed. I’m pretty tired by 8:30 on the days I work, so I’m going to bank on exercising MWF during the day. If I miss one of those days, there’s NO REASON I can’t get my butt moving for 30 minutes on the treadmill or go for a run outside once the weather gets warmer.

No more excuses.

And more exercising means one last excuse: to drink chocolate milk after work-outs. And that’s an excuse I’ll gladly keep.

What’s your excuse? Want to share your calendar with me? I bet I can find 30 minutes of time if you’re willing to put aside the excuses. We can keep each other accountable.

Want to start this weekend with a NEW schedule? Run with me on Saturday morning! I’m doing one more #WinnersDrinkMilk Indiana Dairy Refuel Runner Ambassador race. And it’s for a great cause. It’s the Race for Roofs 5k to benefit Englewood Community Development Corporation. You can still register and you can even get $10 off your registration fee, making it only $15 (go to my friend Cherie’s website for more info).

 

Refuel Runner Ambassador

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I am working with Indiana Dairy and their Refuel Runner Ambassador Program. I’m super excited to be part of the program and to share with you my opinions and experiences. Of course, those opinions and experiences are all my own. Now go refuel with chocolate milk.

Unmemorable

So maybe I should write something here. It’s been awhile. I’ve had plenty to say. Some not appropriate to share here. Some good. Some really good. But then I sit down to write and it vanishes.

I’ve kind of just been flying under the radar.

Except. You know when you recognize people and you know they don’t recognize you? This pretty much happens to me all the time. I’m really good with faces and have a knack for remembering people. So pretty much my life is meeting people, or just seeing people several times, and them not remembering me. I guess I’m just… unmemorable. (Is that a word?)

Except tonight at the grocery store. I get in the check out lane and the young girl checking me out instantly says to me “Aren’t you that lady who was pregnant and I always checked you out?”

I really can’t imagine how many unmemorable pregnant ladies she waits on each day. And considering Isaac is 10.5 months old, I assumed she thought I was someone else. And honestly, I do recognize her, but not like some of the other ladies that work at that grocery store that I see WAY more often.

So I kind of played it off like, “Well, yeah, unless you think I’m some other pregnant woman you used to help.”

And then she started saying really crazy things that totally made me realize that I *AM* that woman she thinks I am! “Didn’t you have your baby like in April or something?” Uh, yeah, May 1st.

“You were having a boy right?” Yeah…

“What did you end up naming him? Was it something with a (hard) “c”?” Yeah, Isaac…

And then she starts taking my heavy bags over to my cart, instead of letting me put them in my cart and I’m all “DING! DING! DING! I really am that woman!” And I say “I can get those. I remember you always bringing them to my cart for me when I was pregnant. You were the only one who ever did that. No one else ever even offered.”

And she was all “Yeah! Because I kept wondering if you were EVER going to have that baby! Like I was pregnant with you the whole time and I felt like you were pregnant FOR. EVER.” She wasn’t really pregnant with me. She just felt like she was going through my prenancy with me, she told me.

I think she is my friend soul mate. I should have gotten her number. I mean, she remembered me.

Party popcorn in the house tonight

I could seriously live off popcorn. I absolutely love it. I’m actually eating it right now as I type.

It’s cheap, it’s a snack, it’s dinner, it’s dessert, it’s a chip substitute, it’s EVERYTHING I TELL YOU!!!

Ahem, where was I…

I often bring popcorn as my contribution when I get together with friends for book club or birthdays or “Let’s drink wine” nights (which *is* different from book club). But sometimes I feel like just popping some corn doesn’t feel “fancy” enough or “fun” enough to bring with me or send somewhere with my kids.

So I introduce you to Party Popcorn! party popcorn

Mmmm, candy drizzled popcorn with sprinkles? Salty AND sweet AND fun?! Yep, it’s the total package. :)

Party popcorn is so simple to make and you can customize it for any holiday. I like the colors above for a super cute addition to a Mardis Gras party. Pink drizzle with red and white sprinkles for Valentine’s Day, green with red and white for Christmas, orange with black for Halloween, the list goes on. And what an easy birthday party treat!

So what do you need? Here you go.

Party Popcorn

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 cup popping corn
  • Salt to taste
  • 8 oz. candy melts
  • sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Pop the popping corn with the oil. (Or use 16 cups of pre-popped corn.)
  2. Spread the popcorn onto two large cookie sheets and lightly salt.
  3. Melt 1/2 of the candy melts as directed on the package and drizzle evenly over the popcorn on one cookie sheet.
  4. Immediately shake the sprinkles over the drizzled popcorn.
  5. Repeat with the other 1/2 of the candy melts, popcorn and sprinkles.
  6. When cooled completely, carefully slide a spatula between the cookie sheet and popcorn. Gently break apart the larger pieces that are stuck together.
  7. Store in a covered container to keep fresh.
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You could also use white chocolate in place of the candy melts and tint with food coloring if you want the white chocolate taste but still want the color of the candy melts. It tastes great both ways. The untinted white chocolate is fun because it blends in with the popcorn so you see just the sprinkles.

Party popcorn is always a hit with kids and adults. Let me know how you like it if you try it!

 

a shooting too close to home

Yesterday, an hour and a half after my girls got out of school, a 16 year old boy was shot and killed in the alley behind their school. From what we’ve heard, he was shot by his “friend” with whom he walking home from Dollar General after they got into some type of argument.

Craziness. Try explaining that to your kids. Alaina’s first response? “The guy’s in jail right?” Um, not yet.

And reassuring them that they are safe. Cami said, “Why do they want to shoot *us*?” They don’t sweetie. It wasn’t a random shooting.

I’ve been so troubled by it all night and today. There was hardly anything in the news about it. A brief “another killed earlier today” comment on a local news station. Too many deaths, Indy. Too many deaths if a 16 year old being shot and killed before 5pm right by a school in an established urban neighborhood becomes an added sentence to a different “breaking” news story about four others being found dead.

The one thing the shooting has confirmed for me: That revitalizing a neighborhood is never a finished project. There’s more work to do. There’s more reason to stay. There’s a continued need for commitment.

I could write so much more, about how we need to get guns out of kids’ hands, about the family life (or lack thereof) of so many kids these days, about women who make stupid choices with the wrong men, etc. But I’m not going to.

I just want to ask you to stay committed. If you live downtown, don’t pack up and move. If you worship downtown, pray about how God will use you and your church. If you send your kids to school downtown, enroll for another year. If you work or volunteer with urban youth, DON’T STOP.

The only way this violence is going to get better is through relationships where these kids see that shooting someone isn’t the answer. They have to see that there has got to be a better way, a better life. Seeing how families should treat each other, love each other. What being a man really means and looks like.

So don’t run. Don’t stay holed up in your house because you’re scared. Be seen. And be active. It’s the only way we’ll make a difference.

 

 

An Update and Easy Artichoke Dip (they totally go together!)

At the end of 2013, I said I was going to start loving myself more. I wasn’t exactly sure how that looked, emotionally, spiritually or physically, but I knew I needed to do it for more than just myself.

And I’ll tell you it’s been harder than I thought.

I think it’s been hard because I’ve only had about 10 good nights of sleep in over 9 months (since Isaac was born). And that might be a gracious number. I’ve been so sleep deprived that it’s been wearing me down in all aspects of my life. But I’m committed to loving myself better even through the tiredness, so I’ve been trying hard to keep up with a few things.

First, I’ve been trying to pray for other people more. I decided that I needed to use my day time better at home so when I’m feeding Isaac alone or putting him down for a nap, I pray for many of you during that quiet time instead of checking email or social media on my phone. I encourage you to put down your phone or computer the next time you have 10 extra minutes and pray for a few people instead.

I’ve also been trying to exercise regularly. I’ve been going to a Monday night Zumba class a friend teaches with some friends and besides it making me sweat, it’s also a ton of fun dancing around a high school gym with a bunch of friends. (And other strangers too, but I just don’t look at them and pretend they aren’t there, hoping they do the same with me!) And I’m signing up to run another 5k in March so I’m excited about that.

The other thing I’ve been doing is trying to eat only when I’m hungry. I have a really bad habit of eating just to eat or eating way too much after the kids go to bed. And by eating only when I’m hungry, I think about WHAT I’m eating too. I’m trying to eat things that are healthier and will keep me fuller, longer. And I have to keep reminding myself that since I’m still breastfeeding I need to be really conscious of what I eat. And one thing I’m horrible at is eating protein. I don’t love meat and while I normally fix a pretty balanced dinner with fruits and veggies, I struggle with getting enough protein to get all of the essential amino acids my body needs to build and maintain muscles and help my body work properly.

But what I’ve realized is that I still need to eat food that SOUNDS good to me too or I’ll go on a binge. So I’ll eat a sliced banana with peanut butter (protein!) and 1/2 a cup of chocolate chips so that I don’t end up eating 14 handfuls of chocolate chips. The other thing I’ve learned to do is to use yogurt in recipes to make them healthier and increase the protein content as well. Yogurt contains high-quality protein that provides all the essential amino acids your body can’t make on its own, so I try to use it whenever I can as a substitute in recipes.

One food I’ve been craving for weeks has been creamy, rich artichoke dip. Artichoke Dip

Like I’ve been searching for recipes several times a week finding recipe upon recipe using loads of sour cream and mayonnaise.  I even bought marinated artichokes at Trader Joe’s last week. Even though I already had some in my cabinet. The exact same jar.

So today I decided I needed to make an easy, healthier artichoke dip that would hit the spot. All you need is three ingredients: artichokes, plain yogurt and cheese. SO easy. And SO much healthier than the recipes I had been finding online. And it has a TON of high-quality protein because of the yogurt and cheese.

Easy Artichoke Dip 

Easy Artichoke Dip

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. marinated artichokes, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup plain, whole milk yogurt
  • 3/4 cup cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375*.
  2. Combine artichokes, yogurt and 1/2 cup cheese in a bowl.
  3. Spread into a chafing dish or pie plate.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese on top and bake until bubbling around the edges (about 5 min).
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I used 1/4 cup Parmesan and 1/4 cup Cheddar and Monterrey Jack in the dip and another 1/4 cup Cheddar and Monterrey Jack on top. It was all I had and it was SO GOOD. But use the cheese you like best to make it your own.

I’m hoping to find more recipes that use yogurt (or that I can use yogurt as a sub) so that I can still enjoy some comfort food while taking better care of my body. Have a yogurt recipe to share with me?! I’d love to try it! Leave a link in the comments or email it to me at katieunscripted @ gmail.com.

 

Indiana Dairy Ambassador

 

Disclosure: As an Indiana Dairy Ambassador, I was sponsored for this post. Though, as always, all thoughts and opinions are completely mine.