Monday, January 18, 2016

That Moment....When My Eyes Were Opened....

"Open my me inside...." "Open the eyes of my heart, Lord...." We sing these phrases all the time during worship and we pray them often. However, I don't think we're ever fully prepared for our eyes to actually be opened the way that God intends them to be....because the other day God opened my eyes to a situation and I almost went blind from the sun exposure.

   See, I was all like, "I'm a good Christian! I want more of God! Of course I want my eyes opened! Why wouldn't I want my eyes opened?!?"

  And God was like "Are you sure, my Child??"

        Me: "Yes! Yes!!! A thousand times, yes!!!"

       God: "Okay, Kid. Here ya go"

::cue to eyes slowly fluttering open behind closed lids....then *BAM*

 The searing light of the sun burns my eyelids like when one welds without a welder mask. Oops.

   Needless to say, I was completely unprepared for what I had been pleading for. Like a child who begs for a puppy, but doesn't understand the weight of the responsibility that comes with it.

    But I had my wish. My goal, my dream. Was it what I had anticipated?? No, far from it. My answer was on a completely differrent plane than my expectations. So, I adulted, sucked it up and dealt with my changed reality.
   Did I lose my eyes? No...instead, I received different lenses. 

       Moral of the story- be careful what you wish may come true....

Friday, December 11, 2015

Space Cadet Defined

       Space Cadet. To some, it is an occupation- a live person who goes into space with a special suit, oxygen and freeze-dried food.  In the van Veen household, it meant something totally different. It was only recently that I came to the discovery that apparently I do not share the same definition of the term "Space Cadet" as most of my peers do.
    This often leads to awkward conversations where I unabashedly say things like "Yeah, so-and-so is a total space cadet," and my conversation buddy is all like, "No way! Can they give me a tour of NASA??". This is the part where, unfortunately, I have to burst their celebrity bubble. And now, I shall burst yours too.
         See, here is the not-so-famous *van Veen* definition of the term "Space Cadet": "someone whose brain has left the planet, is deprived of oxygen...and is now floating around in space, lost and faaaaaaaar from home". These folk display characteristics such as "extreme blondeness" and no common knowlege or ability to grasp such simple concepts such as 2 +2, or "the grass is green".
          For example: that person who just asked you where the crosswalk was (that you were both standing in), heard your response, then proceeded to walk across the street in the not-a-cross-walk.
    Granted, we all have moments in our lives where we forget things or our blonde roots start to show, but Space Cadets are the extreme version of is their life ALL. THE. TIME.
     Now, to be honest, no one know how or where these lovely people derive from. Some may have been created through circumstance while others are a product of of their environments....and the rest must just grow on trees, because they just keep showing up....

Monday, November 30, 2015

How To Give Thanks For Your Kids When You Just Can't

   Ever have one of those days where everything's going crazy and it's Friday, but it feels like a "Groundhog Day"-Monday-day?? I'm talking, like, one kid is sky diving off the couch while another is spinning a fresh roll of toilet paper all over the house, #3 is eating the dog's food and the the dog is lapping up your pricey coffee that is seeping into the carpet...because, of course, SkyDiver sometimes misses the ottoman or the floor and slams into the coffee table.
   These are the days I'm referring to. The ones where it seems like God went all "man" on you and left you to clean up the mess He helped create. The times where it's super hard to even utter the words "children are blessing" (Psalm 127:3)....and you can't help but wonder what in the world you did to deserve this kind of "blessing"??
    That's right. I said it (hey, *you* were thinking it!!!). Sometimes we can't help but wonder what in the world we've gotten ourselves into and start questioning who in the world thought that we were capable of adulting?? (Especially since that younger acts like he doesn't understand English and that your words {like "No!" and "Don't you dare!!"} mean nothing)
     I've been there. I've done that....and that's why I can write about this. And hopefully bless your heart a little bit.
    Giving thanks for your kids when you feel like you "just can't", when your mental capacities are about to explode, when you're two seconds from hiding under your bed and sobbing yourself to sleep is hard. It's hard to look at the mess, look at the chaos and say, "Thank You, God. Thank You for these blessing. For these children who are my reward from You."
    In fact, as you read that aloud, you heard the insanity. But you felt just a little better didn't you?? Now, say it again. And again. Exhale. Because your children ARE a blessing. Sure, you may not see it now, but it is true. And when you continue to thank God for (and pray for) your children, you will start to notice the little when my seven-year-old announces that she carries paper and pen with her when we leave the house "just in case you forget your list, Mommy, so that you can write one down" or when the youngest gives me gross, wet kisses, then giggles about it.
   It's okay. It's okay to feel overwhelmed at times. It's okay to cry. And call for help when you need it. Have your circle of Mommy friends. The best times to thank God are when it's when you're scrubbing the bathroom floor because the toilet overflowed because too many dinosaurs were flushed down it. But those are also the best times. Because through them, God will remind you of how blessed and loved you really are.

Monday, November 9, 2015

BlondieChell's Fab Granola Recipe

   Apparently I make this really fab homemade granola, and throngs of people desire the recipe. so here it is. To be fair, this is adapted from BuzzFeed's Granola Recipe, but a more specific version.

*BlondieChell's Fab Granola Recipe*

    To start, find a large mixing bowl, a pan with raised edges (I like to use wax paper on mine), some measuring cups and a spoon or small spatula to stir with.
   You will need:
   3 cups of rolled oats (aka "old fashioned oats")
   1 cup almonds
   1 cup pecans
   1 & 1/2 cups sunflower seeds
   1 tsp Pink Himalayan salt,
   1 tbsp ground cinnamon
   1/2 cup agave nectar
   1/4 cup olive oil
   1 tbsp vanilla extract

   1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
   2. Mix the oats, almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, salt and cinnamon together in the big bowl until it looks well-blended.
   3. Add in the oil, nectar and vanilla extract. Mix super-well, until all the dry ingredients are wet with something.
   4. Line your baking pan with parchment paper, then smear the granola mixture onto that. Spread it out so it's as flat as you can get it.
   5. Put it in the oven for 20 minutes, then take it out of the oven and mix it around a bit, then put it back into the oven for 15 more minutes.
   6. Pull pan out of the oven and let cool. I like to take the parchment paper and wiggle it back and forth a bit so the wax paper doesn't melt to the pan.
   ....and....enjoy!!!! I let cook overnight, but then store in an air-tight container so it doesn't stale.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

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   *This is a sponsored post, which means that in exchange for posting this ad, I will receive something in return. All thoughts and options are my own and I only post/showcase products I love!

Monday, July 13, 2015

What Happens When BlondieChell Attends Group Exercise Classes

     Ever have a friend who is a great friend and you've been through just about everything together, but then she goes and just stops friending in the middle of an intensish yoga/pilates/athletic training class called "Centergy"??
   Well, I do. and for the sake of this post, she shall remain nameless. But we shall call her "T".  And in order to understand her misguided actions, you must first acknowledge the kind of pressure she was under...that "I-didn't-come-here-with-her-and-I-have-no-idea-who-this-crazy-woman-is" pressure.
         The situation started when my good friend "T" and I decided that we would take our not-so-flexible bodies to a Centergy course offered at the local gym. Because sometimes we're over-confident and we enjoy trying new things.
        Since we arrived a little later than the designated class time, we were forced to unroll our yoga mats in the front row, while all the slender-bodied women who obviously take this class religiously were positioned towards the back of the room. The instructor was a gracious, elderly woman who seemed new to the routine that she was introducing to the class. (And if hadn't have walked away with at least one humorous story, it would have been a waste of an hour.)
      About three-quarters of the way through the class, we were led into this pose called "the frog". The instructor herself seemed confused on the exact position, but basically,  you fold over your mat (so there's a bump towards the front of you) then melt down into a wide-legged child's pose, mangling the soles of your feet until they touch. then you take one arm and shoulder roll towards the opposite side, sliding that arm under the other. Until you are stuck. And you remain in that position until your lose all feeling in your knees.
      Once I had completely committed the rest of my life to this pose, the instructor then led us to unmangle ourselves from the "frog". And I tried. And I tried. And tried. Apparently I was stuck- face-first on the floor with one arm crossed under the other and my knees bent at the most unnatural angle. I was also the only student still lying on the floor. And unable to make eye contact with "T".
      I tried really hard to convince my anatomy to move-to at least allow me to wiggle to one side so I could resume the class. But, no. Nothing was working. So I had two choices: remain in this position for the rest of the class time or disrupt the class by asking for help.  
      In a quiet voice, I asked the instructor if she could repeat the was to get out of the pose. She did. And again, nothing moved. As I lay there, tears flowed from my eyes. (Why?? I don't know. I wasn't crying.) I was embarrassed and laughing at my situation, but I don't think anyone else was on the same page with me. To them, not only was I stuck, but I was silently sobbing about it. Great.

                            (it may have resembled something like this....)    

       Since I was evidently stuck (I may also have announced this) some of the other class members along with the instructor rushed over unpositioned my legs for me. (Notice I didn't mention "T"?? She was frozen with the rest of the class-gawking at the sight I had become)
       After I was returned ot my full-upright postion, "T" leaned over and asked if I was okay. Somehow she had discovered how to friend again. We finished the class without anymore delays or surprises, and in the end, we felt stronger. And more secure in our relationship.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Grilled Mac N Cheese *Recipe*

    Unlike most folks, I try to stay away from traditional recipes (it also doesn't help that the kitchen and I are frenemies).  Instead, I let my imagination take charge, creating recipes that look like they came from a "What To Expect When You're Expecting" cookbook. Like this one.
     Simply put, it is a grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with mac n cheese.  And it is yum. One of those "you'll thank me later" recipes.

        Heated macaroni and cheese (a great use for those leftovers!)
        Cheese (to make the sandwich stick together)
        2 Slices of Bread
        Butter (if you have any of Papa John's garlic butter sauce laying around, substitute that)
         1. Grease your frying pan with the butter.
         2. Layer heated mac n cheese and cheese onto the bread and place sandwich in frying pan.
         3. Flip sandwich over after a few minutes.
         4. Check to make sure you didn't burn the sandwich, and scoop out of the pan and onto a plate. Cut in half. Thank me later.

   This lovely photo is a variation of the Grilled Mac N Cheese. It's the "Mac N Cheese Quesadilla". Same concept, only I added taco meat and used tortillas. (The mac n cheese pictured is a special spaghetti kind my friend makes)