Candy Corn Hi-Hat Cupcakes

I was so inspired by these Mardi Gras Hi-Hat Cupcakes that transitioning them into a Halloween treat seemed right.   More than right.  Necessary even.

Surprise Inside Hi-Hat Cupcakes from iambaker.net!  #cupcakes #chocolate #surpriseinside

 

There is a very special surprise inside these chocolate hi-hat cupcakes.

Its a candy corn inspired treat and if you want to see hop on over to the Food Network!

Chocolate Hi-Hat Cupcakes with a #surpriseinside ! from iambaker.net

Candy Corn Hi-Hat Cupcakes

I hope you will check them out and leave a comment… tell me what you think!

What Every Facebook User Needs to Know

Important Info About Sharing on Facebook

There is an epidemic on facebook lately.  Beautiful and delicious recipes (and their images) are being posted.  Those images and recipes are being shared hundreds and thousands of times.

Here is the bad part: The people posting those images DO NOT OWN THEM. (example below)

They have found them on search engines, pinterest, and blogs and are posting them on their own facebook timeline.

 

Important Info About Sharing on Facebook

 

When an image is published on the internet, the owner of that image immediately owns copyright.  When a recipe is published the owner of that recipe has copyright protection on the instructions. (See US Copyright Office for Recipe Copyright and US Copyright Office for Image Sharing)

What does the U.S. law state? (Verbiage from U.S. Copyright Office)

Is it legal to download works from peer-to-peer networks and if not, what is the penalty for doing so?
Uploading or downloading works protected by copyright without the authority of the copyright owner is an infringement of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights of reproduction and/or distribution. Anyone found to have infringed a copyrighted work may be liable for statutory damages up to $30,000 for each work infringed and, if willful infringement is proven by the copyright owner, that amount may be increased up to $150,000 for each work infringed. (emphasis mine)

Could I be sued for using somebody else’s work? How about quotes or samples? If you use a copyrighted work without authorization, the owner may be entitled to bring an infringement action against you.

In all cases, it is the researcher’s obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the Library’s collections.

What does that mean?  Its up to YOU to make sure that the image you have shared on your facebook page is within legal requirements for fair use.  If you share an image that does not belong to you, you are liable.  It dosent matter if you shared it from a page that shared it a zillion times, when it ends up on your wall that responsibility now lies with you.

Lets look at an example shall we?

Example of Stolen Image and Recipe on Facebook Page: Important Info About Sharing on Facebook

 

This is posted on a popular facebook page called Incredible Recipes.  This page has over 248,000 likes. (as of 12:00pm 3/24/2013-as of 5:36pm the same day the page has grown to 261k likes)

They posted a  Blueberry Cobbler Bars recipe on 3/23/2012  which now has more than 1,000 likes and 775 shares.

This recipe and image were originally published on Cherry Tea Cakes blog on Nov. 17th, 2012.  The Incredible Recipes facebook does not credit Cherry Tea Cakes in any way.  The Incredible Recipes facebook page has copied Cherry Tea Cakes post verbatim; violating copyright law for recipe instructions, violating copyright law for photographic images, and violating  facebook’s Terms of Use.  And this is just one of the thousands they have shared.

UPDATE:  It appears the owner of the site has removed the recipe posted above as well as gone and tried to credit some of the other posts.  However, there are still many posts with full recipes listed and no source.  Hopefully she will go and delete those as well.

Another big offender of late is certain Independent  Sales Consultants*.  These third party affiliates have huge pages (growing by 10k likes a week) are are posting and sharing content daily (if not hourly).  Within the consultant facebook network, images and recipe are being shared tens of thousands of times.  In response to a bloggers inquiry, one Consultant said they knowingly share images from each others walls to increase their page activity.  Its a snowball effect of intellectual property infringement.

When contacted, these independent contractors have responded with arrogance, ignorance, and defiance.  Bloggers (often the creators of the images stolen) are being blocked, banned, and mocked for seeking justice for their work.

I have been keeping documentation of the threats and harassment to myself and fellow bloggers.  Before anyone else threatens me with legal actions please be advised, it is not harassing to point out when someone is infringing upon my work.

*I have removed the specific name of the consultants upon consideration.  Many of the thousands of consultants are law-abiding and using appropriate methods to share, and (rightly) do not want to be labeled as violators.  

Blog Post about Facebook and Copyright Theft

And just to respond to some of the comments that have been made to bloggers:

No, it is not a compliment when someones steals your work.

No, I am not weird because I am not flattered.

Yes, there certainly are more important things in the world to worry about, but I certainly have a right to care about this injustice.

No, its not ‘just a recipe’ and no not everyone can make it and photograph it like I have.

No, its not ok simply because you found it on the internet.  The internet is not “fair game”.

 

Why is this an issue?

The people who create the images, developed and wrote the recipes own them.  They have often invested time and money into recipe development and photography. They have often posted that information on a website that can generate income. (For example; I have advertisements on my blog, when people visit my site I earn money.)

When sites take images and recipes and post on their facebook page, they are firguratively stealing money out of the pockets of the owners.

 

What Can You Do?

The best practice is do not post any image to your facebook page (or website) that you did not take or do not own.  If you want to share a post from another page, try to find the facebook page of origin.  This will help ensure that the proper person is getting credit.

Never ever post entire recipes to your page.

When you see a page that is posting recipes and/or images they dont own, dont “like” them.  And if you are feeling even more daring, let them know what the right way to do it is!

Better yet, you can report pages who steal content. (click on the tiny blue drop down arrow, which is typically next to the word message, and then choose Report Page.)

Important Info About Sharing on Facebook

The thing is bloggers like, no love, when you share their work the right way!  When you stop by their facebook page or pinterest page (or any other version of social media) and share their work they are Thankful and Grateful.  You sharing their images and words is part of the reason they do what they do!  When done correctly it will drive traffic and potential new friends to their sites.  This is the greatest compliment you can give a blogger.

What does ‘done correctly’ mean exactly?  Sharing a post directly from the source.  That is what that handy dandy share button is for!

 

What are “safe” ways to share pictures and recipes?

Make sure you get permission.

Only share from the original source.  Use the options that are in place, such as the “share” button, pin button, retweet, etc.

One facebook page that does an excellent job of sharing correctly is KitchenAid.

Not only do they post a DIRECT LINK to the creators blog post, they TAG the author!  (Liv Life is the author tagged below)

This is the ideal way to share content you do not own.

KitchenAid: An example of the proper way to share content on facebook!

In summary:

You are legally responsible for all content posted on your facebook page.

Be wary of sites that post entire recipes with images. Most reputable sources do not list entire recipes on facebook.

If you find a recipe you like on a questionable page, try googling it. (This is how I found who created the Blueberry Cobbler above)  Then go “like” and “share” from their facebook page.

Thanks for taking the time to read this!  Please do share this post through social media and especially on your facebook page.  The more people that can be made aware of this the better.

HERE is my facebook post if you want to share directly. ;)

***

Want more info?

Check these great posts:

Recipe Attribution

 Copyright Issues and Why They Cause A Lot of Drama

Can We Talk About Sharing

 

 

My Future Flashed Before My Eyes

Friday night didnt go as planned.

Chad was in the hospital.

I was pacing my floors like a crazy person in an asylum.

My husband wasn’t coming home tonight.  The doctors were keeping him overnight for observation because his heart was in Atrial Fibrillation.

From the Mayo Clinic website:

Atrial fibrillation is an irregular and often rapid heart rate that commonly causes poor blood flow to the body. During atrial fibrillation, the heart’s two upper chambers (the atria) beat chaotically and irregularly — out of coordination with the two lower chambers (the ventricles) of the heart. Atrial fibrillation symptoms include heart palpitations, shortness of breath and weakness.

This is not the first time I have heard of AFib.  Chads brother has been suffering with it for many years, as well as his mother.  And very recently and tragically, Chad’s father passed away and they believe it had something to do with a form of cardiac arrhythmia.

But my husband, he has always been healthy.  Never been overweight, never a big drinker (well, excluding a brief period in his youth) and not a smoker.

He is so strong.  Stronger than me.  My rock.   The backbone of our family.

Chad at Hospital

(this was him on the phone to his brother that night)

When he called from the hospital told me how serious things were, I responded like a good wife should and we hung up. ( I couldn’t go with him to the hospital, one of my kids had a cough and I don’t have a regular sitter and didn’t want anyone else to get sick.  My neighbor Jessica did come over for a few hours *thank you Jessica!* and I was able to visit him.)

But then I lost it.  Tears flowed from my very core and couldn’t control it.

It occurred to me in that raw moment of fear… I had no future without him.

Every dream I have is with him.  Includes him.  Is about him.  He is who I want to be with and who I want to love.   He is the father I want my kids to have and person I want my kids to grow up and be like.

Chad and Parker

The thought of losing him had never occurred to me before, and this new realization that my strong husband may not be ok literally made me sick to my stomach.

I could not even begin to wrap my head around it.

After I saw him and got some more details, I realized we were not in the middle of a life threatening situation.  I also knew that the pain of just losing Chads father to a similar situation was weighing heavily on my ability to use any reason.  So with some prayer and quiet time, calmness was achievable.

The good news is, you can live with heart arrhythmia.  We are working on finding ways to manage it naturally, looking at diet, supplements and lifestyle changes.  Maybe no more coffee in our house, no drinking, no extreme exercise (I will especially get on bored with this one) and better ways of managing stress and sleep.

Chad and Kids at Pumpkin Patch

I have decided that we will try to make changes together, not just expect Chad to make adjustments on his own.  I hope that we can find a new normal, a new way to live with and manage something that is potentially life threatening.  I hope that we are able to lean on God and trust His grand plan for us.

After all, we are a family. One big, dysfunctional, happy family.  And I hope to keep it that way for a long, long time. :)

 

Rejection and Forgiveness

I came across this quote recently and couldn’t help but take notice.

Inspirational Quote

 

“When you forgive, you heal your own anger and hurt and are able to let love lead again.  Its like spring cleaning for your heart.”

-Marco Schimoff

I sorta dismissed it because I generally disagree with the concept of “healing thyself”.  But dismissing it right away wasnt right.  Because dont we need to let God in so He can do the work He needs to?  Dont we need to make the choice to forgive before forgiveness can begin its healing properties?

Recently the value of this quote shed some light.

I have been struggling with rejection.  Worldly rejection.  Familial rejection.  Just… rejection.  And I just happen to be that person that lets things fester.

The other day I woke up and it was wonderful.  I worked out, had great devotional time, started the kids homeschooling… everything was going well.

Quite by accident, I found out that some friends had decided to exclude me from a new project.

Now, I have no idea why they made this choice.  It could have been because they had too many people with the same name as me.  Or because it was Wednesday.  Or because they needed a change.  Or because they truly didnt think about me and knowingly reject me.

But in my mind, it was completely intentional rejection.  How could they do this and not include me?  It had to be intentional.  They made a conscious choice to exclude me.

I was devastated and it proceeded to ruin my entire day.  I just couldnt let it go.

In bed that night, the situation kept running through my head.  Since there was no logical way to reason out the situation, I decided that my only option was to reject them back.  Without them knowing why, I was no longer going to support them and their choices.  If they didnt want me as a part of their project, then that choice was going to ultimately remove me from their lives.

I could almost feel the bitterness growing.  My choice to react and reject based on a situation that I had no clear facts on had planted a seed of resentment in my heart.  It grew when I fed it.  It grew when I didnt.  It was quickly growing beyond my control.

The only remedy to this kind of bitterness is forgiveness.  The absolutely only way that I would be able to get my heart back would be to forgive them.

To forgive them.  To make the choice to let go of any hurt I had perceived they caused me.

I had to pray, “Lord, you know my heartache in this.  But I trust you.  I know that sometimes you put people in my life to teach me just like you remove them to teach me.  Lord, help me to truly forgive these precious ladies and to simply love them.  Remove my judgement.  Remove my bitterness.  No matter what they may say or do, help me to love them as You love them.”

Prayer

In all honestly, prayers such as that are not life long in their healing.  Since I still do not know the reasoning behind my friends actions, I still have occasional doubt and insecurity when I interact with them.  But now, instead of feeding into bitterness, I know where to direct those un-godly feelings.  And remember to look to Him for my value.  To trust Him that when I am in His will, He has me exactly where I need to be.

Funny things is that they will never know the heart struggle that their actions inspired.

But I am thankful for their actions non the less, because through them, I am learning to lean more on God.

Colton

I have been spending lots of quality time with my kids lately.  As a homeschooling stay at home mom, (HSAHM) ~I just made that up~ (IJMTU) who lives in the middle of no where in Minnesota where its really cold, being together a lot is the norm.

But as I rushed through Coltons lessons one morning because Eddie was about to have a meltdown, I realized something.

He is a cool kid.

Colton

 

He looked at me and said, “Need me to take care of it mom?” I just about burst into tears.  Not from being sad or anything, but thankfulness and joy and love.  Since I had no idea what he would do or how he would do it, I said, “Sure.”

He went over to Eddie and started making funny faces.  And pretending like he was going to tickle him.  And jumping up and down like a silly monkey.  He brought Eddie a book and started reading it to him.

Eddie loved it.

And so did I.

For as much as I have regrets… as often as I lay in bed at night and beg my Father for forgiveness because I was impatient or yelled or inattentive or any laundry list of faults… I also have these little moments of joy.  And am proud.  And grateful.

Colton is turning 8 in a few weeks.  He is our first born, our first son, our first miracle.

He is a wonderful kid.  He loves his siblings and loves that they look up to him.

He truly has a servants heart.

colton

And he is silly.  And excited.  And loud.  And likes Angry Birds a little too much and thinks saying “poop deck” is quite possible the funniest thing he has heard in his whole life.

My sweet boy,

You bless me with your innocence

and teach me through your actions

about the person I want to be.

I pray you will always want to serve

and  bless others

with your light and your laughter.

You are a beloved

chosen

cherished

and accepted

child of God.

Now go clean your room.

 

Forever Reign

I volunteer at my church’s youth group.  There are a few reasons why this is completely ridiculous.

1. I am old.

2. I am exhausted.

3. Being hip is apparently a cool thing and not someone calling me fat.  Not that anyone has called me fat.  To my face.

But there are a also a couple reasons why this is exactly where God wants me.

1. It is completely overwhelmingly acutely awesome seeing young people of faith.  How jealous I am of their love for the Lord at such a young age!

2. I get to hear cool young music.

This brings us to this song that I would be remiss not to share.

The youth group has a worhsip team and they are pretty awesome.  And the first time I heard this song it totally crept into my heart and has embedded itself there ever since.

Hillsong Lyrics to Forever Reign

 

photo credit spiritualinspiration.tumblr.com

 

When they started singing the chorus I pretty much had to strap my hands to my sides. (Sidenote: cause as much as I love Jesus, I am MORTIFIED to raise up my hands in church.  Seriously, I have issues.)

“And oh, I’m running to your arms

I’m running to your arms

the riches of your love

will always be enough

Nothing compares to your embrace

Light of the world Forever Reign!”

Even listening to it now I just close my eyes and feel myself being drawn closer to Him.  These words and this music is truly a worship experience for me.

Now dont go telling those kids that they are a big influence on me.  I want to remain as cool and hip in their minds as possible. ;)

Hillsong Music can be purchased here.

 

2013

After all the trials and tribulations of 2012, I was determined to embrace hope for 2013.  I desperately hoped that in 2013 there would be no deaths, no heartbreaks, no disappointments, no rejection.

Just. No. More.

Recently I posted a story that I consider life changing.  You know, one of those stories that sticks with you and pops into your head in the most opportune moments.  When I recall it, I am in such awe that someone can put their own baggage and sense of personal loss aside to embrace a greater good moves me in a way that I can only describe as divine.

Its been about five months since my husband lost his father unexpectedly.  For some reason, the pain of losing him has not lessened.  Every new holiday that is our “first” without him, every new circumstance that we must handle without his wisdom and guidance, every memory that brings the most acute and sharp pain to our hearts… I just cant seem to find acceptance in that fact that he is no longer here.

I remember in the immediate aftermath of his passing of being so inspired by his life.  The way that he gave, the sacrifices he made, the impact he had on those around him.  Every story that people told made me realize what a gift I had in just knowing him.  And how blessed my kids were to call him grandpa.

His life moved me to the point that I wanted to change mine.

Over the holidays we spent a great deal of time with family.  My kids got used to seeing their grandparents and cousins.  When the New Year started and we didnt have plans to see them immediately, they were visibly saddened.  It was just so normal and so right… being with the people that we love.

While in Fargo we even had family pictures taken.

Looking at them now, I am trying to look past my double chins and huge belly and less than stellar fashion sense and see the family around me.  When I start to feel sad about Dennis I need to remember what his life was about.  He loved people and took care of them and gave them everything he could.  He lived.

My “i am mommy” blog might take a different turn this year, as I start to post more and more about family.  And about my growing family!

About little moments that may not mean anything to others, but mean the world to me.  (Like this one, with my Audrey and one of her namesakes, Grandma Audrey) The pictures and memories in the making that one day will hopefully mean as much to them as it does to me.  I will be sharing my faith, as I truly believe that anything that inspires and moves you deserves to be shared.

I dont have resolutions for 2013.  I know there will be trials and pain and loss just like I have faith that there will be highlights and joy and new life.

And lots and lots of laughter.

 

2 Corinthians 4:16-18  

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Shark Day

“Mom, are sharks teeth like triangles?”

“Yes.”

“Mom, are they sharp triangles?”

“Yes.”

“Thanks.”

“You bet sweety.”

Ten minutes later.

“Mom, look!”

“I’m a shark!”

1 roll tape .99

a stack of white copy paper 3.49

seeing how your kid can use his imagination priceless

Family Holiday Gatherings: A Biblical Perspective

I love Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Having hubby home, the spirit behind the seasons, the amazing food… its all enough to make me dream about these holidays for weeks before hand.

But there is another side to gatherings, one that can be sometimes stressful.

The truth is sometimes we just dont get along.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I deal with family.  Sometimes I look for the negative and not the positive in the people I love.  Sometimes I react to them in defensiveness based on my own issues, not on what they have actually said.  Sadly, its been easier for me to be in a pattern of critical thinking during those long holiday gatherings.

I forget how impactful the words I say are, and how lasting their impression is.  Even if what I am saying is not a true reflection of my heart, but simply an indication of a sour emotions or a bad attitude.

I came across these verses and I believe they have a direct correlation to how I can choose to think about extended time with family.

1 Peter 3:10-11 NLT

For the Scriptures say,  “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.  Turn away from evil and do good.  Search for peace, and work to maintain it…”

I love that part, “search for peace”.  What if I looked for good in others?  On purpose?

1 Corinthians 2:1-2 NLT

When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan.  For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified.

This is Paul talking to the Corinthians.  One interpretation I heard of this message was that he was saying to them, “I am not here to listen to the gossip or the quarrels.  I am not focusing on this things of this world, I only want to focus on Jesus.”

I can only imagine the changes that others would see in me if my focus was truly on Him!  If I did not get caught up in strife, yet set my focus to the Lord.

Proverbs 19:11 ESV

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

One observation that I have noticed is that the deeper you love someone, the more vulnerable we are to feeling hurt.  I dont know about you, but I have heard words from family or close friends that cut like a knife.  Coming from a stranger would not have nearly the impact.

I know that those people love me,  and want the best for me, but I cant help but be torn up at how painful their sharp words are.  The above verse speaks to that so acutely for me.  I know I would want my family to forgive me when I say things I shouldnt, and here God is telling us that it is wise to do this right away!  Dont let things fester and turn into bitterness.  Forgive and let go.

Here are a few more versus that can help a troubled heart:

1 John 4:19-21 ESV

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Romans 12:18 ESV

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

John 13:34 ESV

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

Hebrews 12:14 ESV

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

From the OpenBible.info.

 Heavenly Father,

I pray that your holy words will be permanently cemented into my heart.  That I will look for the good in others always.  That I will seek positive and loving words when speaking.  That I will honor you with my thoughts and actions.

Lord, please bless my family and our time together.  Help me to overlook things that may hurt, and to forgive as readily as You forgive me.  Help me to be an example of Your peace and love.  Help me to love others as You love them.

Thank you for this wonderful time we have together, where we can celebrate the birth and life of your Son.

In Your precious name I pray!

Amen.

 

Chocolate Curls Christmas Cake

I know I said I would stop with the red and green but apparently I was totally lying.  Sorry.

I made a white cake, tinted some frosting red and green, then melted some chocolate.  Have you ever made chocolate curls?  I had tried once before.  It was a major fail.  I am pretty sure there were even some comments mocking my skills, and if they werent totally right I might have been upset.

Ok, so looks like I still have not mastered this technique.  I could not get one single perfect swirly curl.

I blame the red candy melts I used.  And the warm December weather. And that one boy in 2nd grade who called me 4-eyes. *cough*

Clearly I have issues.

In addition to sharing this sweet little Christmas cake with you, I also wanted to give you a chance to share something with someone you love.  Say that sentence three times fast.  Or dont.  Just remember I am not an English major.  I am not even an English minor.  Words. Good.

 

Would you like to win a brand new Motorola DROID RAZR smartphone?  These things are awesome.

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A Beautiful New Smartphone.

A $50 Verizon Giftcard.

A sweet little cake.

Its the recipe for a perfect Christmas folks. ;)

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