Tuesday, July 3, 2012


NutterButter and Chocolate Overload Cupcakes

    How could you not fall in love with these sweeties?! The aroma of peanut butter filled the kitchen as we were prepping them... We could hardly wait for the first bite. Delicious!  

Prep Time:15 Min
Cook Time:25 Min


1 bx cake mix, devils food..mix as directed
1 pkg regular sized nutterbutter cookies
1 pkg mini nutterbutter cookies
1 can(s) chocolate frosting


1 c creamy peanut butter
8 Tbsp
butter room temperature
2 c powdered sugar
3-4 Tbsp heavy cream..you can use milk also..until frosting is thinned a little
2 tsp pure vanilla


1.    Preheat oven to 350.Take 12 NutterButter cookies and cut them in half.Line cupcake tins with cupcake papers and drop a half a cookie in the bottom of each.
2.    Mix cake mix according to directions on the box.
3.  Chop approx 12 cookies coarsely and mix them in the cake mix.
4.   Fill the cupcake tins and bake aprrox 15-18 min.
5.   Prepare Frosting, Cream togather peanut butter and butter. Add vanilla. Slowly add powdered sugar. Add cream or milk to thin the frosting as desirsed.
6.   Frost cupcake ..leave a well in the center the place a dab of chocolate frosting and place a mini NutterButter on top.


   During the forming of this list I was blown away by the sheer number of patriotic films that have been made in the US. In going through the pile of possibilities, I have intentionally chosen not to just represent saccharine movies which show only the good side of life – the films I have picked include war films, films about corruption, and films involving racism. There is, however, one underlying current in all of them – they all involve the triumph of freedom – the very heart of American patriotism. I have excluded films that would not be considered to be the best of the best – for that reason don’t expect to see Independence Day or The Patriot here.  Happy 4th of July!

10. The Sullivans/Lloyd Bacon, 1944
   The Sullivans (also known as the Fighting Sullivans) is a true story of five brothers who died when their ship was destroyed during a naval battle in the Pacific during World War II. Their deaths changed U.S. military policy about family enlistments (limiting siblings serving together), and later acted as a partial story catalyst for “Saving Private Ryan,” which was about the rescue of one family’s last surviving military son. Despite the battle deaths of the Sullivans, the film spends little time with them in uniform. Instead, it is a movie about growing up in heartland USA–Waterloo, Iowa. The constantly scrapping brothers (thus the title, “The Fighting Sullivans”) are likable, funny, and loyal to their siblings.
9. Glory/Edward Zwick, 1989
   Glory recounts the bravery of a group of Civil War soldiers often overlooked by history–the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts, a troop of free black men who fought to help win liberty for their enslaved brothers. Based on the historical novels One Gallant Rush by Peter Burchand and Lay This Laurel by Lincoln Kirstein and the letters of Robert Gould Shaw, the film follows the youthful Colonel Shaw (Matthew Broderick) as he takes responsibility for readying these soldiers for battle.
8. To Kill A Mockingbird/Robert Mulligan, 1962
   This film is set in the rural American south during the depths of the Depression; two children watch as their principled father takes a stand against intolerance. Based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning book of 1960. Atticus Finch is a lawyer in a racially divided Alabama town in the 1930s. He agrees to defend a young black man who is accused of raping a white woman. Many of the townspeople try to get Atticus to pull out of the trial, but he decides to go ahead.
7. All The President’s Men/Alan J. Pakula, 1976
   Enactment of the work of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein who uncovered the dirty tricks campaign and the coverup of the White House’s involvement in the Watergate break in. The stories they wrote were very instrumental in the eventual resignation of President Richard Nixon. This is an engrossing mystery that reminds us why the founding fathers placed such great value on freedom of the press. Additionally, it illustrates how no one – not even the President, is above the law.
6. Rocky/John G. Avildsen, 1976
   Rocky Balboa (a true American underdog) is a struggling boxer trying to make the big time. Working in a meat factory in Philadelphia for a pittance, he also earns extra cash as a debt collector. When heavyweight champion Apollo Creed visits Philadelphia, his managers want to set up an exhibition match between Creed and a struggling boxer, touting the fight as a chance for a “nobody” to become a “somebody”. The match is supposed to be easily won by Creed, but someone forgot to tell Rocky, who sees this as his only shot at the big time.
5. The Great Escape/John Sturges, 1963
   The Nazis, exasperated at the number of escapes from their prison camps by a relatively small number of Allied prisoners, relocates them to a high-security “escape-proof” camp to sit out the remainder of the war. Undaunted, the prisoners plan one of the most ambitious escape attempts of World War II. Based on a true story.
4. Yankee Doodle Dandy/Michael Curtiz, 1942
   A musical portrait of composer/singer/dancer George M. Cohan. From his early days as a child-star in his family’s vaudeville show up to the time of his comeback at which he received a medal from the president for his special contributions to the US, this is the life- story of George M. Cohan, who produced, directed, wrote and starred in his own musical shows for which he composed his famous songs.
3. Saving Private Ryan/Steven Spielberg, 1998
   Following the Allied invasion of Normandy, two brothers lay dead in the wake of the onslaught. Meanwhile, in New Guinea, a third brother has been killed fighting the Japanese. After the Army General Staff learns that a fourth brother is missing in the French countryside, a rescue mission is ordered to find the young soldier and return him safely home. The mission is mounted by a veteran Ranger Captain commanding a squad of men who have mixed feelings about risking their lives to “Save Private Ryan”.
2. Patton/Franklin J. Schaffner, 1970
   The story of General George S. Patton, Jr. during World War II. His battlefield genius garners him fear and respect from the Germans, and resentment and misunderstanding from the Allies. A military historian and poet, he believes he was a warrior in many past lives, and that he is destined for something great during this life, but his stubbornness and controversial methods nearly prevent the fulfillment of that destiny.
1. Mr Smith Goes To Washington/Frank Capra, 1939
   Naive and idealistic Jefferson Smith, leader of the Boy Rangers, is appointed on a lark by the spineless governor of his state. He is reunited with the state’s senior senator–presidential hopeful and childhood hero, Senator Joseph Paine. In Washington, however, Smith discovers many of the shortcomings of the political process as his earnest goal of a national boys’ camp leads to a conflict with the state political boss, Jim Taylor. Taylor first tries to corrupt Smith and then later attempts to destroy Smith through a scandal.


    Every amateur photographer wants to take great photos of fireworks. The beautiful fireworks displays and photography just seem to go hand in hand. Photographing fireworks can be tricky. Using a digital camera to photograph fireworks makes the process even more difficult. But there are some photography tips that may help get that perfect fireworks photo on the Fourth of July or New Year's eve.
    Get to the event plenty early. Scope out possible photography locations. Great shooting locations aren't necessarily right up front. Often this is the worst location. There will be lots of people. They will obstruct your view. They may knock over your equipment. Also, you will probably be blocking the views of other people. Also, be on the lookout for trees that may block your shots. Often, the best place is away from the crowd. The crowd could even serve as a foreground for your photos.

    Try to incorporate some sort of landmark into your shots for more better fireworks photos. This adds perspective to the photo. Water in the foreground also creates interesting photo opportunities during fireworks displays. If an interesting building or crowd isn't available, try to at least frame your photo with a tree or use a silhouette of a person in the foreground or some similar photography technique.
    Another location item to consider is the direction of the wind. Try to get upwind. Otherwise, a few minutes after the fireworks begin, the smoke will completely obscure your photo shoot.

    Take a tripod. Make sure to set up your tripod in a level area. This is a necessity if you want a great fireworks photo. Your exposure will be much longer than normal photos, so this is an absolute. The camera will record any movement. The camera must be kept absolutely still during the whole exposure in order to get clear photo results.
Make sure your battery is charged. Take an extra battery just to be sure you will be able to photograph the entire fireworks show. Don't forget to take extra memory cards, too. You will be surprised how many photos you will take. Don't be caught during the fireworks finale unable to take any more photographs.

    Use the highest resolution setting possible when shooting fireworks photos. If youave a RAW format option, use it. This will slow down your camera's speed. If this becomes too bothersome, go to the next resolution size. Set the focus to infinity if your camera has this option. Don't use the flash to photograph fireworks. Instead, set the color balance to 'Sunny' or something similar. Set the ISO setting to 100 or ISO 200 to avoid digital camera noise.

    Concentrate most of your photography efforts on the start and ending of the fireworks show. This is because the very first fireworks have a better chance of being surprisingly clear due to the lack of smoke. And the end of the fireworks is always the best. The fireworks finale creates the opportunity to fill your camera viewfinder with multiple fireworks bursts of many colors. It's much easier to capture fireworks on camera during the finale than trying to time your photo shots perfectly during the rest of the fireworks show. Plus, this gives you time to enjoy some of the fireworks yourself.

    Vertical photography shots work better with fireworks than horizontal ones. Vertical shots seem to add movement to the photos. Of course, a great panoramic photo opportunity shouldn't be ignored.
    Follow these photography steps to produce clearer, brighter, more colorful photos of fireworks. But don't forget to also take time to enjoy the dazzling display for yourself.


    A little known fact is that fifty-four of the fifty-six signatories of the Declaration of Independence were believers. These men understood the powerful influence that the Savior God had on each and every individual who had signed this and pledged allegiance to it. Their signatures could have possibly sealed their deaths and they were all fully aware of it.
    In their framework of the Declaration, they sought God's wisdom in creating a document that would become this great nation's most important testament. Little did the signers of the Declaration of Independence know that with the signing of this Declaration, the birth of a new nation had begun, and "the shot that was heard around the world", the first shot fired against a British soldier, would be the beginning of the end for Great Britain's rule over the American colonies.

The Declaration of Independence
   With the signing of the Declaration of Independence, on July 4th, 1776, the United States of America declared to England, its demand for independence from England. The Declaration contained two parts. One was the preamble, which stated that man was due his god-given rights to "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". The second part of the Declaration was a list of grievances against England and a declaration that the American colonies should be separate from Great Britain.

    The Declaration of Independence was actually first debated on June 7th, 1776, in the
Continental Congress. On June 11th of this same year, the Congress chose a committee to write a formal document to prepare as a formal declaration of separation from England. The original committee consisted of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, John Adams and Robert Livingston. The Committee selected Thomas Jefferson to write the first draft which was to be presented to the Continental Congress.
think rather than calling it the "4th of July", it is actually Independence Day. We don't call Christmas the "25th of December". I believe it is more honorable to call it what it is: Independence Day. It rightfully ought to follow as Independence Day and dependence upon god.

The First Draft of the Declaration of Independence

   The original author of the Declaration of Independence,
Thomas Jefferson, used much of the language of the English philosopher, John Locke (1632-1704). Locke's philosophy was sweeping through the American colonies at the time. Locke's assertion was that man's natural rights were a right to have a free life, liberty to live that life, and happiness, which Locke felt was even more important than a guarantee of being able to own personal property.

    John Adams and Benjamin Franklin made some minor changes in the language of the Declaration before it was submitted to the Congress on July 2nd, 1776. Congress adopted Richard Henry Lee's resolution, which officially called for the separation from England. Part of what was taken out of the Declaration was a strong statement condemning slave trade, since Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner. The Declaration may have never passed the Continental Congress if this prohibition of slavery was left in; because many Southern colonists already owned slaves and a majority of Northern merchants had ships that were operated by slaves. After this revision, the Declaration was approved by Congress on July 4th, 1776. It wasn't until July 8th that the Declaration was made public by reading it aloud from the balcony of Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

Hidden Identities

    The Continental Congress worried about the safety of those who had signed the Declaration, so the names of the men who signed it were not made public until January 18th, 1777. The original Declaration of Independence today is displayed at the Library of Congress. The real author of the Declaration of Independence may have actually been Benjamin Franklin, who in 1775, spoke about the need for a "United Colonies of North America", which was to be an alignment for common defense, where each of the 13 colonies would have its own territories and be independent of the other colonies. Congress would only have authority of affairs outside of each colony. The colonists were still concerned about a central government having too much power of the colonies, since that is the reason many of the colonists came to the New World in the first place, to escape a strong ruling government over all the people.

    A national revival is not scheduled for a certain date like a church posts a sign that a revival is coming up on such and such a date. No, revival begins with prayer and supplication to God. Revival starts with me and with you, in the heart and with prayer. This nation needs a national revival like the Great Revivals in the 18th and 19th Century.
A pastor in the 1700's preached expositional preaching out of the Bible. In time, pastors began to start questioning the deity of Jesus and the veracity or truthfulness of the Bible. At the same time, the culture, not ironically, started to deteriorate morally. One way to turn this nation back into a prosperous one is found in the Old Testament and the movement towards prosperity starts on our knees. God changes not and will answer a national repentance today as He did thousands of years ago. If we, as a nation, and if all individual Christians would return to the Lord our God in prayer, these words can ring true again. They are still as relevant today for America as they were then for ancient Israel: "I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land" (2 Chron. 7:14). So pray for God once again to bless America.