June 29, 2011

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June 23, 2011

Ten Ways NOT to Look at Children

Ten Ways NOT to Look at Children
by R.C. Sproul Jr.

Wisdom is a narrow path. Folly, on the other hand, is a wide, gaping desert. Our conversations in the church about children tend to be contentious and emotional. Few things touch closer to home. Which is why we need all the more to develop a careful, thoughtful and sober understanding of the Bible's wisdom on this issue. Below are ten common ways we err in our thinking. May He give us grace to fill our quivers with blessings, and our hearts with wisdom.

10. Children are a hassle to be avoided. What has become conventional wisdom in the world is now conventional wisdom in the church. We quip about longing for school to start, about dreading when they outgrow children's church. We make the same stupid jokes- "Do you know what causes that?", flaunting our folly. We are so biblically illiterate in the church we have no idea we are calling God a liar, who tells us children are a blessing from His hand (Psalm 127). We are so historically illiterate we don't know that every denomination in Christendom condemned practices designed to avoid blessings from the beginning of the church until little more than fifty years ago.

9. Children are more precious than rubies and must be attained at any cost. On the other side of the above spectrum are those who see having children as the only blessing, and their purpose on the planet to conceive as many babies as humanly possible. The truth is that wisdom is more precious than rubies. God, however, is the one with all wisdom, and so is best equipped to plan our families. Seeking to pry babies out of His gracious hand, employing sundry technologies and timings, ironically, like the above problem, separates the blessing of the marital act from the blessing of children. What is to be a joy, on both counts, becomes a duty on both counts.

8. Children can be ordered like new flatware from the Pottery Barn. The Bible reminds us that God is the one who opens the womb, and the one who closes the womb (Genesis 16). To suggest that you can have children of this sex or that, this far apart or that is hubris of the highest magnitude. If you want children, God may bless you, or He may not. If you don't want children, God may bless you or He may not. In the meantime you look pretty silly sitting in your baby car seat turning your toy steering wheel, thinking you are driving.

7. Their lack of children is a sign of God's peculiar disfavor. I'd like you to meet your friend Job. To affirm that children are blessing from God does not mean that those who have not been so blessed are not God's friends. God has many kinds of blessings and He gives them, in His grace, as He sees fit. You can no more measure a man's piety by the size of his quiver than you can by the level of his suffering. Neither is someone's family size proof of any error in their thinking on children. You can't rightly assume that those with small families are guilty of error #10.

6. My abundance of children is a sign of God's peculiar favor. The flipside of #5, only here the pride is slightly easier to see, and yet equally ridiculous. Children are a gracious gift, not a paycheck.*

5. Children are an unalloyed blessing. That the blessing is alloyed doesn't mean it's not a blessing. It does mean that children, even the ones in large families, sin, wake up in the middle of the night, throw up and break things, sometimes even our hearts.

4. Children are God's version of the "Hitler Youth." Our children fill our quivers in the battle against the seed of the serpent. We are drill sergeants, raising them for battle. And they are soldiers right now. But the Bible doesn't call us to do this only for the sake of battle. Instead the Bible says children are a blessing, a joy. If you are not enjoying them, you're doing it wrong. If you think the kingdom comes by breeding, you are missing the point. The kingdom comes by joy, and joy comes from many places, including the blessing of children.

3. Children are given for our glory, or our comfort. It is true, and a blessing that godly children bring honor to their parents. But that honor comes to us not as they live for us, but as they live for Him. My children do not exist to spread my fame, but to manifest the glory of the reign of Jesus Christ. There is a thin line between letting your light shine before men and praying on street corners like the Pharisees. You will only know which side you are on by humbly and honestly examining your heart.

2. Children are no longer needed; the world is overcrowded. There are plenty of thoughtful arguments to gainsay this folly, filled with statistics and sound economic theory. The simplest one is this- God said to be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. We'll know we're done when He tells us we're done.

1.We have to have more children before the west is overrun. Though the west has been profoundly blessed by the impact of the gospel, it is the gospel, not the west that matters. We don't need more white children; we need more covenant children. We don't need more Americans; we need more Christians. We don't need more Republicans; we need more citizens of the kingdom of God.

These mistakes, of course, come from all sides. Large families can make some, small families others, and some both sides can make. We would go a long way to combat all of them, however, if we believed this simple truth- children are a gracious gift from God who opens and closes the womb, for His glory and for His kingdom. We might go even farther, however, in combating these errors this way, by being certain to hug and bless the children He has given us.

* = My personal opinion and is not included in the quote.
*Octomom, Jon&Kate and even (gasp) The Duggars.... I'm looking at you.

June 21, 2011


Today, 5 years ago, Autry Scott joined our family!
I had been having annoying, yet, not painful contractions for a week or so before feeling the real thing on Tuesday evening. At my doctor's appointment the day before, Dr. DuHamel had said she was amazed by how low he was sitting and I was already 4 cm dilated and 75% effaced. I was told that Autry would be born in the next 72 hours. And sure enough, I started having labor contractions at around 5 pm the next day (Tuesday.) So, off we went to the hospital with big brother, Milo, thrilled to finally get to meet him! After about 7 hours of labor I asked for something to "help me!!!!" but not an epidural. They checked me and I was 7 cm and decided to give me Stadol. (Yuck no one get this!) I felt horrible, almost drunk-like and Matthew said my speech was blurred. But right afterward I was complaining about a pain by my left hip that would not go away. They checked again and his head was on it's way out! The dr on call, Dr. Murrillo, who had also delivered Milo, was still at home so they sort of freaked out a little and told me to lay on my side while they turned off the pitocin until she could get there. Matthew called my parents to see where they were and luckily they were in the parking lot on their way in.. So, Nana and Papa arrived just in time to see Autry be born. Two pushes and he was out!
Autry, you (and your brothers) are my greatest accomplishments and the joy of my life! This is truly a day that no one celebrates more than me! I love you!
Happy Birthday to my Amazing Autry!

June 17, 2011

PLEASE watch these!

Food Allergies... Disease.... Cancer..... Why is our food making us sick?

This is why I garden. Why we shop at Trader Joes and Jimbos. Why I cook almost every single thing from scratch. This is why I've become a "food nazi." Yes, we have cravings for the junk food we used to eat liberally because the chemicals and the additives used sometimes have an addictive quality. But once you know the truth....

They say, "Ignorance is bliss," right?

Well, now, what will you do with the knowledge?

Please, do your own research. Watch the documentaries. Find out for yourselves and then make a change. My children and my husband are too important to not make sacrifices for, in order to feed them REAL food. What about yours?

June 15, 2011

Stromboli !


Simple Stromboli "simple" options are in parenthesis

2 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp cornmeal
1 lb homemade pizza dough (13.8 oz pkg refrigerated)
1/2 pkg pepperoni, or enough to cover (4 oz ham slices)
1 C shredded mozzarella
1 C fresh prewashed baby or torn spinach
1/2 lb sweet italian sausage (4 oz turkey slices)
1/4 C kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1/3 C red/ green/ yellow bell pepper
1 egg lightly beaten

*Preheat oven to 375. Lightly brush a baking sheet with olive oil and sprinkle with cornmeal; set aside.
*On a lightly floured surface, carefully stretch or roll pizza dough into a 13 x 10 inch rectangle. Arrange pepperoni on dough in a single layer leaving a 1/2 inch around the edges. Sprinkle with half the cheese. Layer spinach and sausage on the cheese. Top with remaining cheese, olives and peppers. Roll up the dough, starting from a long side. Pinch to seal the seams and edges.
*Place loaf, seam side down, on prepared baking sheet. Brush with egg. Using a sharp knife, cut slits in the top for steam to escape. Bake about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes and slice into serving size pieces.

(We tried the "simple" version of this recipe first and it was tasty and affordable but wasn't a legit stromboli in our opinion. So, I improvised.)
Either way you make it.... Enjoy!

June 13, 2011

Since Wednesday ...

*I colored my hair red again
and discovered that my hair has finally reached the point that I need 3 boxes to cover it all. Gaah!
*Joyously found out that our charter school has decided to make an exception and pay for the entire Calvert curriculum for BOTH boys and even cover the difference beyond the $700 they typically allow by rolling over Milo's remaining EU's from this year! Praise God!
*Our seeds have sprouted in the garden boxes! The boys and I are always excited to see seedlings popping through. It just feels good, for some reason.
*We Enjoyed a "graduation Sunday" carnival on the back lot at church yesterday. It was a great time and the boys were surprisingly well behaved. They partook in inflatable fun, hot dogs/ corndogs (eeew), a train ride and even jousting.
Autry got in ONE good hit before...
his inevitable defeat.
Then at the car they ALL decided they just had to pee. They're 6, 4 & 2. Don't judge me...
Then we had a great time with my brother, Mike and his sweet girlfriend, Rachel, who came up to help out, hang out and devour some In-N-Out with us. Mmmmmmmm....
*I had my 20 wk prenatal check up. I took Finlay with me and the older boys went to pick out plants for the back hill with Matthew. It was actually quite fun having him with me. He helped Mary, my midwife, find and listen to the baby's heartbeat and asked 100 cute questions and even got four Spiderman stickers for being so good. Then he and I went to Starbucks for treats on the way home.
There was more mundane stuff but who wants to know that much about us, really?
Much love,
The Bennetts

June 8, 2011

Eggplant Parmesan

Easy Eggplant Parmesan
1 average / large eggplant
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp water
1/4 C unbleached flour (or chickpea flour for my wheat free friends)
1/8 tsp pepper
2-4 tbsp unrefined oil, for frying
1 C parmesan cheese
1 jar spaghetti sauce, a thicker/ creamier kind works better than a watery/ chunky style
1 C mozzarella
shredded fresh basil (optional)

The first thing you need to know about cooking with fresh eggplant is that you need to get that bitter juice out so that that's not all you taste. Wash, skin if you like and slice your eggplant into 1/2 inch slices. generously salt both sides of each slice and let them sit in a dish to juice up in the fridge 30 minutes to an hour.
see the droplets? Rinse them off and set them on a towel to dry while you start the next step.
Preheat your oven to 400. Begin heating the oil over medium heat. In a little bowl mix the flour and pepper. Combine your eggs and water in another dish and dip each slice of eggplant into the egg first and then the flour, coating both sides. Drop them into the hot oil and cook, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides. Remove and let drain over a towel on a wire rack.
Then spread a spoonful of pasta sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish and make a single layer of cooked eggplant. Top with parmesan and a sparing layer of pasta sauce. Repeat until you run out of eggplant. top with enough sauce to thinly cover the whole surface and sprinkle with the mozzarella evenly.
Bake uncovered, for 12 to 15 minutes and top with the basil, if you want it.

June 7, 2011


Today was a pretty relaxing day, actually. After breakfast we went out back to work in the yard some more while the kids ran around on their new grass and jumped on the trampoline and Fin played in the playhouse. It was really nice. Matthew stained Peppers fence and I started planting veggie seeds in my new garden boxes that have finally found their permanent home.
We took a break and ran to Lowes as a family to get more stain and buy some starts that I didn't already have seeds for, and I made out like a bandit.
I planted:
lettuce, peas, carrots, green and yellow beans, broccoli, bell peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, chives, tomatoes and strawberries. And I still have our zucchini and straight neck squash to plant tomorrow. I'm so excited to finally have started planting. I've been chomping at the bit but haven't been able to plant any veggies because of all the other yard work. Fortunately our long growing season here in Sunny southern California gives me a grace period. And Matthew has decided that I do, indeed, need more garden boxes. So, although I doubt I'll see anymore before next Monday, I'm very excited to have more space to plant. I'd like to actually have enough to can this year. Last year, we ate everything as it came up.
A very tired gardener :)
These raspberries were gobbled up seconds later.

I, also, wanted to share that despite my excitement about the Calvert curriculum, finances and a change to the schools curriculum buying process have scrapped the Calvert idea for us. While we still get $700 or EU's to purchase curriculum from our charter school, it is now broken up into $400 for the Fall semester and $300 for the Spring. Calvert requires that you purchase the entire curriculum at once and thus we would have had to front the difference for both boys. Yikes. So, on the hunt I went for a new curriculum that was not only secular (already a bummer) but a complete package, within the $400 Fall budget AND that I liked.
And I found Oak Meadow.
It's a Waldorf education style and I like everything about it although it's VERY lenient (and thus far below Milo's current level) in language arts. So, I'll be supplementing with A Reason for Handwriting for both boys(http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/easy_find?event=EBRN&N=1030439&Ne=1030439&Nso=1&Nu=product.endeca_rollup&Ns=product.number_sold) and AOP's Lifepac Bible worktexts (http://www.aophomeschooling.com/product/bib0100/)for Milo and This other workbook (http://www.christianbook.com/bible-story-puzzles-lessons-goodness-grades/linda-standke/9780887248658/pd/48650?event=1016BIB|1776486|1016#curr) for Autry.
Those supplements are out of pocket but so worth the money. So, now that that's settled in my mind and ordered I was at peace about it today.
God is good all the time and all the time God is good.

June 6, 2011


They say, "The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again but excpect a different result." So, that means that everyone in my house needs to be institutionalized. For example, I have been taught that consistency in discipline is going to pay off.
However, that payday must be far in the future because no matter how many times I have drilled into their heads AND reminded them in the moment to, "obey the first time" they ignore me, none the less.
SO, am I insane to expect that this time it's gonna work?

Or when my husband comes home everyday expecting to walk into a spotless, peaceful sanctuary of a home and gets shot down daily because that expectation is simply more than this insane Mama can muster; does that make him insane?

How about our children?
Milo comes to the supper table every single night and throws a tantrum (yes, he's 6) because he "hates!" this food. Every single night....
Autry (almost 5) still cries and screams when he's angry or frustrated despite being told a bazillion that screaming and crying NEVER gets you what you want.
And Fin is still only 2 but runs in the house more times a day than I can count regardless of how many times (in the same day) he slips or trips on the wood floor and hurts himself.

Is this insanity? It certainly feels like it.....
But Scripture says:
Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Ephesians 6:4
And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

Thus, I'm praying that He will give me peace in my heart and like the p31 woman;
Proverbs 31:26
She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
I want to be like her.... truly.
And I'll just keep praying that I can hold out until all this training up and consistency comes to fruition.

June 4, 2011

A few finishing touches...

Though we'll probably never be done.

Fast & Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

4 C chicken broth
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 lg carrot or 8-10 baby carrots
1 stalk celery, sliced
1/2 C rotini pasta (we like brown rice pasta)
1 C shredded cooked chicken
Bring the broth, pepper and veggies to a boil. Add the noodle and chicken and cook another 10 minutes and you're done! So easy and classic.

June 2, 2011

Honey Dijon Chicken

It could be called Staple Chicken because I make this on a week when we're a little strapped since all I have to buy, if I don't already have it, is the chicken.
You'll need:

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb)
1/4 C honey
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Preheat to 350. Put the chicken in an ungreased baking dish. Combine all the other ingredients and pour over the chicken. Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until juices run clear, turning and basting with juices every 15 minutes.

Serve with rice and a salad and you're set. Enjoy! I forgot to take a picture, sorry.

Win a Boon Flair Highchair!!!

Who doesn't want one of those?

More pics of the yard!

I'm getting an itch for a bbq....

June 1, 2011

Herb Roasted Chicken and Veggies with Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower

Oh yes I did!

Herb Roasted Chicken
1 4 lb whole broiler chicken
2 tbsp melted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp dried basil, crushed
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp dried thyme, crushed
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp melted butter, additional for basting

*Preheat to 400. Place chicken, breast side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Brush with melted butter and rub with garlic.
*In a small bowl mix all the other ingredients and rub onto the chicken.

1 lb red potatoes, halved or quartered based on size
a handful of baby carrots
1 medium turnip, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 in pieces
1 medium onion, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 bell pepper, roughly chopped

*Cook the potatoes, carrots and turnip in boiling water for 5 minutes; drain.
* In a large bowl toss the drained veggies plus the onion and bell pepper with enough seasoning salt to suit your taste.
Arrange around your chicken in the roasting pan.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes; remove foil turn veggies and baste chicken with additional butter and bake another 30 minutes.

Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower
1 medium sized cauliflower, stem and leaves removed
1 C chicken broth, low sodium
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 tbsp olive oil
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 C milk

*Bring broth to a boil in a large pot and add prepared cauliflower and garlic; drizzle with olive oil and cook, covered, 8-10 minutes.
*Check for softness with a fork or potato masher. If it's soft enough let the broth begin to cook off while you break up the cauliflower and add the cream cheese and milk. I use a hand held food processor to get them creamy like mashed potatoes.
Season with salt and pepper if you think it needs it.

The yard !


Wordy Wednesday!

Praying for Self-Control, Diligence, and Self-Discipline
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.
Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness
and peace for those who have been trained by it.
- Hebrews 12:11

Consider the following warnings from the book of Proverbs:
* "Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control."
* "He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin."
* "The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied."
* "The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly."

By contrast, the future looks bright for children who learn to exercise self-discipline, diligence, and self-control. Proverbs 10:4 says, "Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth." Hebrews 12:11 promises that discipline will produce "A harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained in it." And 2 Peter 1:5-8 links attributes like self-control and perseverance to effective, productive Christianity.

Which do you want for your kids: Poverty, dissatisfaction and unrest... or wealth, righteousness and peace? Brokenness, ruin and death... or effective, productive living? If you picked the latter traits, then character traits like diligence and self-control are not optional in your childrens lives. They are mandatory assets without which genuine happiness, contentment and satisfaction become impossible to attain.

I am so blessed by the wisdom in this book, "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children" by Jodie Berndt and I so recommend that you buy the book yourselves.