Monday, March 31, 2014

Desperation in the Kitchen: Taco-stuffed shell pasta

I'm posting a ton today! After a weekend of dealing with a migraine that almost sent me to the hospital, I'm catching up.

Without further ado, here's the recipe I've had several of my facebook friends ask about. I mostly made it up, so bear with me here.

Taco-stuffed Shell Pasta


*Shell pasta
*Olive Oil
*Ground Beef
*Taco seasoning
*Diced tomatoes
*Cream Cheese
*Shredded Mexican-blend cheese

Brown ground beef and onion together

Boil your shell pasta until it's al-dente

Drain your shells and set them out on a cookie sheet

Add taco seasoning to your ground beef

Add cream cheese, and tomatoes and mix well

Stuff your shells and top with cheese

Bake at 350 until cheese is melted and the meat is heated through. Serve with lettuce, salsa, guacamole, sour cream or whatever else you like!


13/52: Yep, it's a blurry picture and my laundry room is kind of a mess. But she was dancing with the broom, jamming out to Mandisa's "Overcomer" and I had to snap a picture. Before long, she'll grow out of all of this. Maybe. After all, I still haven't :)
13/52, Sunday. Notice the fancy hair but lack of fancy clothes. Church did not happen in the Unbehaun household. Snow, 50mph winds and my killer migraine and nausea effectively killed that. We did venture out once, hence the picture. We went to the grocery store across the street and since I plan on doing this project til the end, I snapped this picture of her by the door.

Desperation in the Kitchen: Baked Potato Bar

Every once in a while, I don't feel like cooking anything fancy and just want something I can throw on the table.

Like a still-frozen pizza with a note attached.

"Bake me. Mom's on leave."

I haven't done that. Yet.

Until the day I do, there's this.

I bake a bunch of potatoes, put them out on the table with a variety of toppings and my husband and daughter think I've fussed over dinner.

Suckers ;)

Baked Potato Bar

*Enough potatoes to feed your family
*Olive oil
*various toppings (whatever your  little heart desires)

Here's What You do:

*Wash your potatoes

*Brush them with olive oil

*Poke them full of holes, using a fork

*Bake at 375 until done (45 minutes to an hour)

*Set them on a plate on your table, and set our various toppings. I have everything from butter to ranch dressing to bacon bits to pizza sauce. Use your imagination!


Ella made a pizza-potato

Gabe usually goes all out with his potatoes and puts everything on them

I tend to do this once a month or so, usually on a Friday. :)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lessons Learned the Hard Way: On Parenting

This week has been ROUGH, let me tell ya.

From Ella still recovering from this cold/sinus/whatever to me not feeling well to our weather going completely insane here in the great state of North Carolina...

it's been one of those hard-to-homeschool, whiny-kid, snappy-mom weeks.

It all led to me sitting at the kitchen table last night, Bible in hand, thinking, "I am a horrible parent. I suck as a mom." I prayed about it. Asked God to make me better.

This morning, as I left for work, I promised myself..."Today will be different. Today, I will smile instead of snapping. Today, I will listen instead of talking. Today will be better."

When I returned from work, we set right to work on her lessons. My attitude toward Ella today was different than yesterday. Today, I didn't get exasperated. Today, I smiled a lot and didn't snap.

Today, school flew by.

Today, whining was nonexistent.

After school, we went to the library, and read a book about snails. We found out that snails are either "left handed" or "right handed", depending on which way the opening of the shell turns. Most snails, like most people, are right handed. A few snails are left-handed.

We went to the river, and found a (left handed) snail shell. We talked, and reconnected.

Ella told me she loves spending time with me.

Will there be days when I snap? Probably.

Will there ever be a day when I don't love this kid?


Parenthood is so hard sometimes. For both the parent and the child.

As long as you keep your relationship grounded in the Lord and keep in the Bible (we read a nightly devotional together from here) , it will be much easier when things get rough.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring in North Carolina... NOT supposed to look like this.


Sparrow the cat just came in covered in snow. I am not loving this at all. It's almost April! Arrrrrgggggggh.
That is all.
Have a blessed day. If you're in North Carolina and you're reading this, stay warm.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday night randomness, and kid pictures too.

The passage of time is a scary thing sometimes.

I watched the sunset with my almost 8 year old tonight.

How on earth can she be almost eight?

I remember all of this like it was just yesterday...



Yep, that's Ella eating a giant slice of pizza :)
I cannot believe that in less two months my rainbow girl will be 8.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Much-Needed Slap in the Face

When I was a little girl, I was terrified of Jesus on the Cross. To the point of tears. All of that suffering scared me.

When I was 19 or 20, I saw The Passion of the Christ with my Mom and Dad. I cried until my throat was raw, and spent most of the movie with my eyes shielded. The suffering scared me.

Today, while in church, I heard a sermon on Peter denying Christ. (Luke 22:55-62)

I was prompted to skip forward a few verses in Luke 22.

Suddenly, all I could see was His suffering. Not just Jesus on the cross, but Jesus before the cross. The people persecuting Him, going out of their way, to cause Him harm.

He wasn't a criminal.

He had done nothing wrong.

He never even spoke His defense.

At one point during the service, I found myself looking off to one side, because I half expected to see Him. That's never happened before.

I felt like someone had slapped me across the face. HARD.

Academically, I've "known" what He went through to save me. To save any of us, really.
Today, is the first time I really thought about it. About all the pain. All the suffering. Today, I didn't stop myself from thinking about it. I didn't look away. I didn't think about something else.

We sang "Jesus Loves Even Me" today.

The magnitude of that love...

How much He must love us. To suffer. To bleed. To die. To never speak a word in His own defense even though He was innocent, and didn't deserve a bit of what happened to Him. All so we wouldn't get what WE deserve.

How can we reject that kind of love?


12/52: Ella got sick this week, which does not happen very often. She ate lots of chicken soup and rested a lot. It was not her idea of a "fun week."

12/52, Sunday: It's cold today. And rainy. And Ella is still recovering from this cold. She's not happy about having to wear long sleeves and a corduroy jumper dress because "it's supposed to be warmer outside!" I agree. Snow is forecasted for Tuesday. Ugh!

Friday, March 21, 2014

The "Invisible Mom".

This morning, I opened my email "inbox" to many, many notes from angel Moms.

One email said that this particular lady felt like she was an "invisible mom."

And that said it perfectly. That's exactly how us grieving moms feel if we don't have living children "to show".

I know so many women are being tired of being invisible moms, of not having the acknowledgment from others.

My husband said today, "Life begins at conception. So does parenthood."


Again, for those who don't know what I'm doing, I'm sending Mother's Day cards to any grieving Mom who wants to feel supported, and loved.

The outpouring of love and support for this project is already overwhelming. I feel like God has brought me to this point. I feel like this is what He wants me to do. Like I am fulfilling a purpose. Like I have come home.

For all of those who have replied: I am honored to send you a card.

For all of those who have offered to help: Thank you. A thousand times thank you. I am humbled and amazed by your willingness to help.

For all of those who feel alone: You're not. If you'd like to be part of the Mother'sDay Project, please email me at   I would be honored to include you in this project.

To all of my fellow angel moms: We were not MEANT to be invisible.

Ding Ding Ding!

We have a winner for our giveaway.

To ensure total fairness, I wrote each name on an identical strip of paper, and folded them all the same way.

To further ensure fairness, I used the help of my lovely assistant (the ever-amazing Ella) to pick a name!

Annnddddd...the winner is....

Erica Hines of Georgia, who said she wanted to win this so she could feel like she was at the beach. Oh, and for the texture ;). That said, it's WAY warmer where Erica is than where I am, so I don't think she has any right to complain about not being at the beach :) ....Erica, your sea salt spray will be on its way to you soon!

Stay tuned for the next giveaway, which will  be announced sometime next week!