Monthly Archives: February 2014

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.
http://katieunscripted.com/2014/02/party-popcorn/

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).
http://katieunscripted.com/2014/02/easy-artichoke-dip/

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.

Adventures in cloth diapering (and a giveaway!)

Where does time go?! This (not so) little guy? Nine months old already. Nuts.Isaac 9 months old

It feels like forever ago, when I was about 5 months pregnant, that I started considering what it would look like to switch to cloth diapers for Isaac, simply because of the cost of disposable diapers. Adding an unexpected FOURTH child to our family sent chills up my spine when I thought about how it would affect our family financially.

But after my beginning internet searches and social media polls, I felt totally overwhelmed by all the choices and the HUGE price differences in the cloth diaper world. I mean, a single cloth diaper can cost up to $40. But you can also find them for under $10 on Etsy. I just couldn’t figure out from online research if the expensive diapers were really any better than the cheapo ones. I even had contacted a company about their diapers, trying to figure out if their cheaper diapers held up to the more expensive ones. They kindly sent me one to review.

And I kindly gave up on the idea once Isaac was born. I just couldn’t handle the thought of more laundry. And then I looked at our budget, shrinking because of so many things, but one HUGE change was of course buying disposable diapers SO. FREAKING. OFTEN. It was seriously money thrown in the trash can. 5-6 times a day. Every day. With no end in sight.

So I pulled out the diaper Glow Bug Cloth Diapers sent to me so long ago and bought some gently used (bumGenius 4.0) cloth diapers from a good friend and committed. Adam, not so eagerly, let me do it.

I was curious to see if the Glow Bug diaper (priced at $12.50 each) held up to the bumGenius 4.0 diaper (priced at about $18 each). I’ve been amazingly surprised and actually prefer my Glow Bug to the bumGenius 4.0. Here are a few reasons why:

First: Double Gussets. The only consistent problem I’ve had with cloth diapers is a small amount of leaking around the legs. But I have less leaking with my Glow Bug diaper and I think it’s because of the double gussets. (Now, they have recently changed the gussets and now they have a 360* gusset that is supposed to help keep the pooh contained better. It still provides the same double gusset around the legs, which is the most important part to me.)Glow Bug double gusset

There are two openings with waterproof flaps to help prevent leaking as well. This is a pretty standard feature on cloth diapers from what I’ve seen.

Another feature that I love is the wing snaps, which help prevent drooping and gaping around the waist. The bumGenius 4.0 doesn’t have this extra snap and I think it’s a great, simple addition to the Glow Bug diaper.Glow Bug wing snaps

I also love LOVE how stinking cute the diaper is. I really didn’t think I’d care what the diaper looked like since it’s under clothes, but I just want to let Isaac hang out in just his diaper because he has cassette tapes on his bum.Glow Bug pattern

One other thing I love about this diaper is how it fits. I really don’t like the bulk of cloth diapers, so having a slimmer diaper is a great option for us. Glow Bug uses a new SlimDry™ fabric that keeps baby’s skin dry without the bulk. The elastic at the back of the diaper is also much stretchier on the Glow Bug diaper which I think is helpful when you have a baby who’s packing a little extra chunk.Glow Bug Cloth Diapers

I do have to say, I know there’s wear on my bumGenius diapers since I bought them used. I really should point that out, that I don’t have NEW bumGenius. BUT STILL, if I were buying cloth diapers again, I’d truthfully buy these over the bumGenius 4.0’s. I’m that impressed. Here are their design features from their website:

  • Each set of 12 diapers are packaged in a free wet bag!!!
  • Two sets of cross-over snaps through the waist band for a perfect fit around newborn tummies
  • Double rows of snaps with square tabs for a trim fit through the hip
  • 2 hip snaps to prevent “wing droop”
  • Four size settings fitting babies from birth through potty training (7lbs-35lbs)
  • Coordinating colored snaps for every print
  • Waterproof flaps in the front and the back of each diaper to prevent leaks
  • NEW Revolutionary 360° Gusset design – 360 degrees of protection!
  • NEW SlimDry™ fabric keeps baby’s skin dry without the bulk
  • Two openings in the pocket makes it easier to get the absorbent inset in and out
  • Snap-in inserts to keep it in place while baby’s on the move

That being said, one thing I don’t love is that you can’t buy a single diaper right now. They only come in packs of 12. So not great if you just want to add a few to your stash. And not great if you are really specific about patterns, because you don’t get to pick and choose which 12 you want. The patterns are super cute though, and brand new patterns are being released on March 1st and April 1st. (You can preview them on their Facebook page.)

(Update: They do have a sale once a month where you can pick and choose single diapers through their Glow Bug and Friends group on Facebook.  Here is a link to the group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/GlowBugAndFriends/)

But you can WIN one Glow Bug cloth diaper right here thanks to Glow Bug! Simply enter by using the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Details: The contest is open through Monday, February 10th. The winner will be chosen and contacted via email on Tuesday, February 11th (so please make sure your email address is correct so I can reach you). The winner will have 24 hours to reply or another winner will be chosen. No exceptions. 

Want to get a great deal? Because Glow Bug is releasing new patterns on April 1st, they are having a great sale on their diaper sets. You can get a package of 12 diapers (plus a wet bag) for $137 or 2 packages for $257. That takes the per diaper price down to $11.42 and $10.71, respectively. Click here to order: Glow Bug Cloth Diaper Store.

 

Disclosure: I received a free cloth diaper from Glow Bug Cloth Diapers in order to complete this review. I was not paid for this post and all opinions are mine.