Category Archives: Indianapolis

Fresh Artistry Review

Sometimes I plan dinner for the week, go to the grocery and actually make what I plan.

Sometimes my son locks himself in my bedroom while I’m getting ready for work. And because our house is over 100 years old and still has the original doors which only lock from the inside, it’s cheaper to saw holes in the walls between closets to get him out (and get in to unlock the door) than it is to ruin a $400 door.Lucas in the wall

On those days, dinner doesn’t get planned. The meat doesn’t get taken out of the freezer. The 13 ingredients to make a nice, fresh dinner don’t get prepped. And we end up eating chicken nuggets and mac and cheese.

This is where Super Man should come flying in to save dinner with a great fresh meal ready for me to make.

But wait! That’s not Super Man! It’s Fresh Artistry!

What is Fresh Artistry? Fresh Artistry is a service that delivers locally designed recipes and fresh, proportioned ingredients to your home. Fresh Artistry helps you make chef-grade meals for your family without the hassle.

It’s pretty smart (and amazing) actually. You choose a meal (up to 3 per week) from their 7-recipe menu online and they deliver ALL THE INGREDIENTS to your door. And not just the ingredients, but measured and packaged separately with complete and SIMPLE instructions included. If you can read and follow a recipe, you can’t mess this up. It is SO CONVENIENT. And delicious.Fresh Artistry Ingredients

We were able to test out the service for a meal. We got the Peach-Chipotle Glazed Chicken with Smashed Potatoes and Green Beans. I was a little nervous about the glaze since my husband and half of my kids are pretty picky eaters. The meal was delivered to me the same day is was packed in a box with an insulated liner and ice packs. The ingredients were fresh and pre-measured for an easy and quick prep before cooking. Since the recipes are tested extensively and focused on short start-to-finish times, it was a breeze to follow and cook. Simply eliminating the shopping and prepping for a chef-grade meal made me feel like I could cook a fresh, local and delicious meal even on busy nights.

Even better? MY WHOLE FAMILY LOVED IT. Even picky Adam, who doesn’t like peach anything, asked for more of the glaze (which I put on the side just in case because of my family’s tastes). He actually even said he’d consider PAYING for the service! (If you know my husband AT ALL, you know this is a HUGE statement.)Fresh Artistry Meal

The website says the family plans should feed 2 adults and 2-3 kids, but it fed my whole family (2 adults and 4 kids ages 12 to 1.5), which will cost you about $30 per meal. They also have smaller plate plans for smaller households (which run about $20 per meal) and delivery is free for either plan.

Fresh Artistry is fully launching it’s services TOMORROW, Friday 12/5. I encourage you to try it out. Because I already make most of our meals from fresh, local ingredients, we probably won’t use the service regularly because of our budget, but we’ll definitely do it again. One of the things I loved is that my kids all wanted to try it – which is CRAAAAZY because usually when I make new things NO ONE wants to even taste it, but because this was kind of like getting carry-out (just cooked at home) my kids thought it was like eating restaurant food. Which apparently changes whether or not they even TRY new foods. (Whatever.)

Go here www.freshartistry.com/faq to read more about the company, how it got started and some details I haven’t included here. And give it a shot. I think you’ll be extremely pleased. And you’ll be supporting a local business which always a plus.

small things and the Indiana State Fair {GIVEAWAY!}

A couple weeks ago in church, I was kind of put in my place.

See, I’ve always been very irritated with how poor people eat. I’m not gonna lie. Standing in line behind someone using food stamps to purchase crap food has always been a huge struggle for me. And I was always so confused why women couldn’t figure out what WIC vouchers cover.

And then my eyes were opened by one comment at church: People who live in poverty don’t have access to grocery stores that provide good food choices – they live by gas stations and convenience stores.

So I started doing some research. I found my zip code in Indianapolis (46202) has the highest percentage of population below the poverty level. Poverty

Want to know something even crazier? There’s only ONE major grocery store in my ENTIRE zip code. One Kroger that we lovingly call GK (Ghetto Kroger) or Kroghetto. Not a single Marsh, Meijer, Aldi or Target. When I search for “grocery stores in Indianapolis 46202” only Kroghetto shows up. How are people living in poverty, heavily relying on public transportation, shopping at grocery stores with healthy food options? They simply aren’t.

To research further, I looked at the WIC food requirements. Have you seen them?! Holy details Batman. Take a look: http://www.in.gov/isdh/files/WIC_Program_Booklet_English.pdf. Seriously. Just take a few minutes and look at the requirements of what you can purchase with WIC. Two examples:

  1. You can only buy a dozen large or extra large white eggs (not medium, not 1/2 dozen, not brown, not cage free, not even the brand Eggland’s Best).
  2. You can only buy peanut butter in 16 – 18 oz. jars and you cannot buy: spread, organic, mixed with jelly, marshmallow, honey, Smucker’s Natural, Fifty 50, Jif Omega 3, Smart Balance, Krema, Better’n Peanut Butter, Health Valley, Reese’s, or even natural peanut butter.

These are only two examples. There are so many restrictions on even healthy items you can buy it would take a crazy amount of time to plan and then also to shop. It makes my head swirl and I’m a completely competent, seasoned, healthy food grocery shopper. Add taking your kids with you to the grocery store with you and I think I might lose it. For real.

So when I read about easy simple ways I can help my community feed those who are hungry, I get excited. Insert another thing I get (overly) excited about: the Indiana State Fair. Put them together?! YEEHAW!!!

Indiana State Fair attendees who follow the Indiana’s Family of Farmers (IFOF) Recipe Trail at the fairgrounds will help feed the hungry (and receive a kitchen towel printed with a food safety tip). For each person who finishes the trail, IFOF partners with Feeding Indiana’s Hungry (FIsH) to donate one pound of food to food banks across the state. Last year, recipe trail travelers donated $8,372 worth of food. Let’s do better this year.

All you have to do is collect recipe cards from 10 locations around the fairgrounds and bring them to the IFOF booth at the DuPont Food Pavilion where you’ll receive your towel and get counted as a donor of a pound of food. (Extra perk: The booth also features a chance to register for a grand prize of a Frigidaire® chest freezer.)

One side of the IFOF recipe card features a recipe from a real farmer around Indiana and highlights Indiana’s commodities such as pork, beef, poultry, soybeans, corn and dairy, along with an Indiana wine pairing. (Yay!) On the reverse side of the card, fairgoers will meet the farmer and read a personal story from his or her family.

You can find the recipe cards at:

  • Exposition Hall (Rose Acre Farms booth)
  • DuPont Food Pavilion (3 stops: Purdue, Indiana Beef, Indiana Wine & Grape Council)
  • Habitat for Humanity Ag House
  • Indiana Farm Bureau Building
  • Glass Barn
  • Normandy Barn
  • Pathway to Water Quality
  • Final stop/recipe redemption point: IFoF booth at DuPont Food Pavilion

While I know going to the state fair and completing the recipe trail isn’t going to fix poverty, it *is* going to help. What’s that saying? Sometimes the smallest things can have the biggest impact? I mean, you’re already going to the fair, so you might as well do a small recipe trail. It’ll have an impact. I promise.

OH WAIT! You don’t have tickets to the state fair yet?! LUCKY FOR YOU because, thanks to my fine friends at Indiana’s Family of Farmers, I have a 4-pack of Indiana State Fair tickets to give away! (Which opens FRIDAY by the way! YEEHAW!!!)

All you have to do is leave a comment telling me your favorite thing about the Indiana State Fair. Easy peasy, but required.

Want additional entries? Earn up to two additional entries by completing each of the following:

  • Share this post on Facebook (and come back leaving me a comment telling me you did so).
  • Follow me on Twitter (@katieunscripted) and tweet about this giveaway, linking back to this post. (Something like “Win 4 tickets to the @IndyStateFair where you can do the @FamilyofFarmers recipe trail benefiting @FeedINsHungry. http://wp.me/p2QiXQ-m2”) Again, come back and leave me a link to your tweet.

(Sorry, while you’re welcome to share and tweet all you’d like about this giveaway, only one FB share and one tweet will count. Giveaway runs from now until 11:59pm on Friday, August 1st. Winner will be contacted via email and will have 24 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. No exceptions.)

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Disclosure: As an IFOF Ambassador, I received four tickets to attend the Indiana State Fair and four tickets for this giveaway. This is a sponsored post. Though, as always, all thoughts and opinions are completely mine. (Let’s be honest – my love for the fair isn’t news to anyone.)

(a different kind of) porch party

Oh boy, here it comes…

I’m angry. Like really angry. Like really, really angry.

I’m involved in a conversation online that I should never have entered. I take that back. I’ve been steaming about it for awhile now and I finally said a tiny bit of my opinion and it’s spiraling and I’m starting to shake.

Here’s the final straw that made me enter the conversation about this ongoing issue I’ve been seeing consistently in our neighborhood online group recently:tipping point

I know there have been quite a few break-ins throughout our neighborhood. (We were one, remember?) I know that crime is crazy in Indianapolis right now. I read it. I see it. I feel it. I feel a pull at my heart that the people in my city don’t value life right now. That they don’t respect others in (and out of) their community. I feel it hard.

I understand being on edge. I understand feeling hypersensitive. Shoot, I called 911 Saturday night because we thought someone was breaking into our house when it turned out to actually be a huge raccoon scaling up the downspout to our 2nd story. (For what, we have NO idea.)

But let me tell you this. If you, FOR ONE INSTANT, think that profiling the people that look different than you isn’t just as harmful to our city, you are VERY, VERY WRONG. (If I could bold that more I totally would.)

Be alert. Watch out for your neighbors. But calling the cops about a “black man walking down the alley looking through trash cans” and posting about it to the ‘hood is going to far. It’s not illegal, first of all. And you’re throwing it away, so who cares?! I mean, obviously you, but COME ON.

And you keep seeing “homeless people” walking around the ‘hood? You must have good conversations with them if you find out they’re homeless. Oh, you don’t actually KNOW they’re homeless, you just think they LOOK homeless?

And freaking out because a pick-up truck is just sitting in the alley in the middle of the day and there’s no driver in it and now you feel scared and want people to make sure all their doors are locked? Hmmm…

If you moved to the north side of downtown because you thought it was all cool and hip and wealthy and white and perfect, you should have done some more research. It *is* cool and hip (and often wealthy and white) but it’s also extremely diverse and different and totally UNPERFECT. Which is exactly why we’re here. Don’t ruin it for us by freaking out every time someone walks on your public sidewalk.

So I’m checking out of this neighborhood online group. And I’m just going to talk to people at the park. And on walks. And while I weed my front flower beds. porch party

Oh, and on my porch. Where I’ll sit and drink if I want. And because I look like you, will never have the cops called on me. It’s way more fun than reading people freak the freak out over people who look different than they do.

 

I had intended to write this beautiful post about community and the city-wide porch party that took place on Sunday, but this is what came out instead. Oops…

a safe place

Sunday evening, at 5:45, Adam called me out to the side yard. He says “Come look at this.” Oh no. Instantly I was nervous. The last time he said that to me the ceiling in our living room was falling down. Remember that?

He points up, to our bedroom window. Slowly I lifted my eyes and they settled on this.Bird nest

Oh THANK GOD, it’s only a bird. Then this happened: Oooh! Oooh! Let’s all go see the birdy!

IMG_6933 (1280x960)

Adam’s instant plan was to just push the bird off and knock the nest down. But she wouldn’t budge. He pushed through the air conditioner panels and she just turned and looked at him. She had no plan on moving. Immediately I knew there was a reason. She must have a baby in there.

So I started stalking her. Checking every time I thought about it. Fully expecting her to fly away at some point so I could peak in her nest to confirm my baby intuition. But she hasn’t moved. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. that I’ve checked (which I won’t tell you the number because it would be embarrassing) she’s been sitting there.

But then I saw it. A little head poked out from under mama and then snuggled back under her. See it? See it’s little beak sticking out? “Mama” as I call her now, just wanted a safe place for her baby.
IMG_6938 (1280x960)

As do I, Mama. This we have in common.

This afternoon, while Alaina was babysitting Isaac and Cami (Lucas was at a friend’s), I get a frantic call from Alaina telling me she thinks someone’s in the house. She’s locked the three of them up in her room and is telling me that the (enclosed) porch screen window frame has been bent up and inside the porch and that right before she heard that happen, she heard footsteps outside.

Luckily I was less than a mile away, so I drove home, praying, keeping her on the phone with me, calmly telling her “I’m sure it’s nothing. I’m sure it was just the wind moving the window.” And she kept telling me “No. No. I saw the window, It’s not from the wind.”

And she was right. Someone had definitely tried breaking in.

So after having Alaina open her window so I could see and hear her, I called 911. Several minutes later (SEVERAL, LIKE WAY TOO MANY) a police car (leisurely, without sirens) rolls up. He goes into the house first, walking the first floor, yelling police things, then tells me to have the kids come downstairs and then he’d walk the second story once they were out.

All was fine. No one in the house. Nothing out of order. Nothing stolen off the porch even. (We’re pretty certain he/she was going after our bikes on the porch.) My guess is that the jerk could see someone in the house once he/she started in the window and then took off. But not without first scaring the crap out of my kids. And me.

See, Mama’s got it right. She’s not moving, even though she’s got to feel threatened by me being inches away from her and her baby (WAY too often). She’s standing firm. I’m positive that she knows that there’s a threat of danger EVERYWHERE. Anywhere she built that nest or flew that baby would have a possibility of something bad happening. So she stays put.

As will we. Just as we’ve said before, we’ll say it again. We’re staying put. We’ll move our bikes and shut our windows of course, but we’ll be visible. We’ll still have porch parties. We’ll play outside just as we did yesterday and we’ll help our ‘hood by staying committed.

 

The girls are good. We’ve talked a lot about what happened today. They feel okay about what happened. They think it’s pretty funny that Alaina almost had to poop in a trashcan in her room because I wouldn’t let them leave until the police arrived. But we’ll take your prayers for continued mental well-being. 🙂

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.

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.

 

 

Celebration Crossing at Indiana State Museum

So I kind of take pride in that I’ve taken my kids to most all of the museums in Indianapolis. And we try to hit each of them at least once a year (with the exception being the Children’s Museum that we go to ALL THE TIME). And in order to keep my kids interested so we’re not just looking at the same things over and over, we try to visit at different times of the year.

But I have a confession: We’ve never been to the annual Celebration Crossing festival at the Indiana State Museum.

I really don’t know why. Sometimes I feel totally overwhelmed by holiday exhibits because SO. MANY. PEOPLE. go to them. And I don’t really like being around ALL. THOSE. PEOPLE. Especially with ALL. MY. KIDS. So we generally stay away from holiday exhibits.

But for some reason, I’m super excited about Thanksgiving and Christmas this year and it’s overflowing into my desire to go to all the holiday exhibits we’ve totally missed out on.

Like Celebration Crossing!Celebration Crossing

This November and December, the Indiana State Museum will host its annual Celebration Crossing festival from Friday, Nov. 29th through Tuesday, Dec. 31st where visitors can enjoy holiday food, fun, sights and sounds. Below are the top eight reasons not to miss Celebration Crossing this year, according to the museum:

1. Celebration Crossing Opening Day: On Friday, Nov. 29th, the celebration opens with holiday merriment from the sounds of bands and choirs to the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus on the front lawn by helicopter. Children of all ages are invited to ride the Santa Claus Express, make crafts and rekindle memories of holidays past as they gaze into the recreated L.S. Ayres store windows.

2. L.S. Ayres Tea Room: This year, the historic L.S. Ayres Tea Room will be converted into the perfect holiday place to have the perfect holiday meal. From Friday, Nov. 29th through Tuesday, Dec. 31st, walk-in diners will be invited to celebrate the season with friends and family and select from a menu of amazing appetizers to devilish desserts, all while enjoying the festive decorations, music and scheduled entertainment. Reservations required.

3. Santa’s Holiday Breakfast presented by Macy’s: During the first, second and fourth weekends in December, guests will get to start their mornings off with delicious holiday breakfast as Mrs. Claus, Raggedy Ann and other holiday characters entertain the young ones before they visit Santa Claus and ride the Santa Claus Express. Reservations required.

4. Santa’s Holiday Brunch presented by Macy’s: On Sunday, Dec. 15th, adults and kids alike will join in the fun during this holiday brunch featuring traditional brunch dishes and festive holiday mimosas(!!). Brunch also includes a visit with Santa and access to the rest of the Celebration Crossing activities. Reservations required.Santa Smiling

5. Santa’s PlaygroundThroughout the month of December, guests will be treated to Santa’s (Imagination) playground in the Earl Goode Education Center on level 2. In addition to the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-based activity area, there will also be crafts and a place for caregivers to sit and relax while their children play.

6. Hoosier Radio Hour : A 1940’s Christmas: During the first, second, fourth and fifth weekends, guests will get to join the Indiana State Museum Legacy Theater Troupe as they celebrate the holidays with “Hoosier Radio Hour: A 1940’s Christmas.” Original skits and familiar carols are part of this heart-warming production, suitable for Hoosiers of all ages. Audience members will be invited to join the fun onstage as members of the sound effects staff.

7. Holiday Sounds: School and community choirs, bands, ensembles and soloists perform holiday music in the museum’s Governor Frank O’Bannon Great Hall each day. Enjoy holiday sounds in a spectacular atmosphere.

8. Celebration Crossing: A Family New Year’s Eve: End the year with a bang with a family-friendly, alcohol-free celebration in the Governor Frank O’Bannon Great Hall on Tuesday, Dec. 31st from 6 to 9 p.m. Activities include face-painting, arts and craft, games, door prizes and a special musical performance by Indianapolis band The Tides. A balloon drop at 8 p.m. allows little ones to celebrate the New Year in style. Reservations recommended.

I know the kids are going to love visiting Celebration Crossing. And for the first time since Alaina was little, I’m going to have the kids’ picture taken with Santa. I can’t wait.

Seriously, for some reason I’m really excited about this. I don’t know why. It just feels good. It feels magical. And I can’t wait to share this feeling I have with my family. Won’t you join us?

 

Disclosure: My family is receiving free entrance into the Indiana State Museum to visit Celebration Crossing and the rest of the museum. I was not paid for this post and all opinions are mine.