Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Honey, do you want to keep your sideburns?..Oh, nevermind...

I may have just given my very last haircut to my two youngest boys. Josh, age 6, did okay, but informed me that he would rather opt for this:

A barber, in other words.

My 13 year-old, Gabe, was less diplomatic. I apparently have no bedside manner. So he offered to pay me not to cut his hair. I deferred payment and told him I got the hint.

Which is just okey-dokey. I'm pretty sure I pay more to cut my boys' hair myself than I do when I take them to a barber. I think the actual haircut looks pretty okay, but at this moment I'm covered in tiny, prickly hairs and spent 15 minutes vacc'ing up hair. I think I got a hair splinter in my left pinkie. I'm serious. Plus, I think I heard the words, "bowl cut" come out of someone's mouth (not Jon's, bless his heart) after taking a look at Gabe's hair.

So, Emily & Jodi at B.L.Barber, we'll be back next month for our regularly scheduled haircuts, and I may be tipping more than my usual amount.

You're worth every penny.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I love this artwork by my 5-year-old son, Josh. In this drawing, he has captured the pure terror of someone who has, after seeing a caged lion, chosen to dive headlong into the sand in front of the cage. (for anyone reading who is unschooled in interpreting child art, that round shape on the left is the lower half of the body, and the L-shaped things sticking out are the wriggling legs. See the motion lines he drew?) Rather than running for his life, climbing a nearby tree, or, for that matter, realizing that the lion is in fact, caged, this person is experiencing neither the thrill of a chase nor the thrill of looking fear in the face. All he's passively experiencing now is the taste of sand. This is a perfect picture of how some people do experience life, and sometimes how I have lived mine: running from things in a self-destructive manner rather than facing them and possibly even enjoying them for the learning opportunities they truly are.

For the past year and a half, God has been saying to me that it's okay for me to edge out of the areas I've always considered "safe" and within my boundaries. He has, in fact, told me to do it.
There are areas where I do think safety is a kingdom principle. Relationally, I like being a safe place for Jon & my children, as well as my closest relationships. But I will and do disappoint them--just as they disappoint me sometimes. I wrote in my journal over a year ago that I want to be more brave in my relationships: be the first one to make a phone call, initiate a contact, open up in a real way, or say "I love you". Yes, that's a thing of mine. I'm most often the last to say I love you and the first to say "I have to go". So I've worked on those things this year and I'm getting better at them; although I think I'm still a little awkward at it.
Jesus has this way of giving me nerve, though. It's amazing and kind of funny. He comes in, surrounds me, whispers and imparts things to me that are lovely and occasionally hard--but always sweet, and then I feel much more focused in all areas of life. Like someone almost removed my peripheral vision and all I can see is a pathway ahead that's illuminated. Do that activity? Nah...don't think so. Call that thing what it is? Sure. Make that decision that I've been procrastinating about? Absolutely. I'm usually somewhat indecisive, that I almost blink with disbelief in those moments.

This month I've already felt a quickening of this thing in me. It excites and scares me a little bit, but mostly I'm aware of how privileged I am to be alive and stepping out of the squishy, sleepy land of Comfort. I may be quaking inside, but if God is speaking it to me and I'm doing it, isn't that the only way to really live?
I'm getting more and more ready.

Friday, November 5, 2010


I do not understand why some places on the earth seem to suffer so, so much more than others.
This morning Haiti is being battered by 80 mph winds even as they try and deal with a cholera outbreak inside tented walls---still reeling from the 7.0 earthquake that killed over three hundred thousand people 10 short months ago.

So they gathered together in tents made of tarps, are scraping an existence together with threats to life and well-being daily, and now a hurricane is bludgeoning them, and they're too afraid of losing the tarp they call a home to evacuate.

I'm speechless.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sweet Things

 Well, friends, I just ate my first full serving of dessert tonight since breaking my lenten fast from sweets.  It was a decadent, fudgy brownie from a ginormous pan of them that I made for a bunch of boys that had dropped by for a spontaneous movie-watching night. Movies require either chocolate or popcorn, and seeing as I had no microwave popcorn, I whipped up a batch of Brooke's Bombshell Brownies. They have an entire cup of Dutch process cocoa powder in them, along with 4 eggs, a cup of butter, and a cup of chocolate morsels. Can you say, "rich"? And let me tell you, after snacking on banana chips and dried cranberries for 2 months, it was indeed an intoxicating experience. I missed chocolate like you can't imagine. Craved it. Brownies I really missed. So they were yummy but after eating a smallish brownie and milk, I could've sworn I'd just consumed a brick of sugar. 'Head's swimming just a tad.
The boys thanked me about 4 times apiece, calling me, "Mrs. Helmuth"...still makes me feel weird when children call me that. But I also like it. I guess I spent enough time in the South growing up to know it's a sign of respect, not just age (don't worry, though...I know I'm "old" now that I'm in my thirties). The boys, by the way, didn't seem at all bothered by the sugar content.
In other news, Kate's started doing something new that's really cute. When you tell her not to do something, like climb the back of the rocking chair, she'll randomly pick someone to blame it on. "But MOM....Daddy TOLD me to c-wimb!"  I can't really be mad at her fib since she's not even yet aware of truth versus a made-up lie, so I tickle her til she admits that Daddy did not tell her to climb the rocking chair. I love this stage of her life...she's SWEET in just about all she does, and I'm soaking up the sweetness of her.
Much like I did with those brownies.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How Moms Make It Fun

Ater you've tried homemade play dough, you'll never buy it again--or at least not without thinking about how much better your homemade dough was. My mom always made play dough, and I remember helping her knead it as it came out of the hot bowl after cooking and mixing it. I LOVED playing with it while it was warm. Totally a wonderful childhood memory.

So here's my version, using just a few ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. Cream of tarter is the most expensive item on the list. But I can make a batch of play dough (enough for 2 medium balls of dough) for about 45 cents.

You will need:

A medium saucepan for cooking the dough. A small bowl for mixing dry ingredients.

Play Dough
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 T. oil
2 tsp. cream of tarter
1 c. water
a little food coloring

First, heat the oil slightly in the sauce pan.

Next, add the mixed dry ingredients and the water.

Stir till completely combined, continuing to cook until the mixture gets nice and thick and heated through.

Remove the dough from the pan and divide if you're planning on adding different colors to it. Use a toothpick to place a small amout of food coloring on the dough and fold it over to begin kneading it in.

Knead the dough until colors are uniform and dough feels nice and elastic.

Soft, squishy and toasty warm! Too much fun! You'll love how soft this dough is, and yet it's very elastic for molding.

Store in a ziplock bag for up to a month. By then my children have gotten every bit of life out of it and are ready to pick out colors again for their new dough.

One last picture:
As I was making play dough I also had cookies in the oven and Josh stopped long enough to enjoy a few with milk before going back to full-time play dough fun.

That's all, folks!

Monday, February 1, 2010


Behold my new favorite breakfast. Suzanne over at her blog, At Home with the Farmer's Wife, showed me how to make this with strawberries this morning, but I figured I'd try it with pears (any fruit that has both sweet and tart in it would probably work) and it was delicious. That's low-fat sour cream in the little esspresso cup, brown sugar, and ripe, red pear slices. It's pretty self-explanatory, but you just dip pear slice into cream and then sugar til it's gone! Basically like un-assembled fruit dip. But something about the crunchy sugar and creamy sour cream--unmixed--is kinda fun and different. Perfect way to start off a Monday. I'd love to try it with strawberries once they're in season.
Thanks, "Farmer's Wife" Suzanne!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


These things are displaced and living in a refugee camp called the laundry room.

As of two 11:30 today they're in need of asylum for safety reasons. When they'll be able to safely return home is at this point unknown. I'll keep you uprised of news as the situation develops.