I HAVE MOVED...

I have moved to a new blog: Nikki's Thoughts On

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November 29, 2015

Hello Barbie: Why I'm saying No!

Part of the reason I do not support CCS and avoid CCS aligned materials especially CCS aligned websites is because of the data mining. So you can imagine my horror when I learned about "Hello Barbie".
Just like a real friend, Hello Barbie doll listens and adapts to the user's likes and dislikes. 
What does this mean? It sounds harmless enough. However it's not just harmless. Mattel is using Hello Barbie to datamine your children or anyone else using the doll. The conversations you have with the doll are recorded and stored on Mattel's servers. The TOS states:

We may also use, store, process, convert, transcribe, analyze or review Recordings (along with text and transcriptions derived from the Recordings) in order to provide, maintain, analyze and improve the functioning of the Services, to develop, test or improve speech recognition technology and artificial intelligence algorithms, or for other research and development and data analysis purposes. We do not use Recordings or their content, including any personal information that may be captured therein, to contact children or to advertise to them.
All of that basically means the recordings we collect will be used to help us with marketing and whatever else we feel we need to use it for we just won't use the doll, Hello Barbie, to directly market to your child. Meaning the doll will never say to your child or anyone else using the doll to buy this or that, but you better believe that Mattel is using the info for their gain and whatever else that falls under "other research".

So you might not buy one, but your neighbor might have so be aware of what your child is playing with even at Jane's house.  This Hello Barbie doll looks like a normal Barbie -- you might not even realize they are using a datamining toy.

I know many will say datamining is everywhere you can't avoid it. It's on the computers, google, facebook, smartphones, etc. While true this I believe is in a whole new realm and has pushed the envelope even more.

And for the record I don't have a beef with Barbie or any other fashion type doll in general. I don't care for the Bratz or Monster High dolls -- mainly because I don't care for the make-up and look of them -- but Barbie and other fashion dolls are fine with me. -- I just don't like this Hello Barbie!

People need to start fighting back on the datamining and say NO more!

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November 22, 2015

Sunday Mass: Christ The King

Today is Christ The King

Today's Bible Readings:
  • First Reading: Daniel 7: 13-14
  • Responsorial Psalm: 1, 1-2, 5
  • Second Reading: Revelation 1:5-8
  • Gospel Reading: John 18:33-37
A video of today's Mass:



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November 12, 2015

Throwback Thursday: AFO, surgery, toe walking

It's Thursday. Many do a Throwback Thursday post, picture, etc.

I decided today to do a throwback: May need NEW Braces!?!?

Looking back and knowing my son today it's hard to believe that 6 years ago he had surgery to correct toe walking and spent a year in AFO.

Looking at him today and watching him you most likely would have no clue he had surgery to correct toe walking and wore AFO for a year.  There is no sign of this on him expect for some scars that are really not as noticeable now then they were a few years ago. Can thank puberty and "hairy man legs" for making the scars less noticeable.

Looking back at the old posting, photos, etc I'm just blown away by how well he recovered and how well he's doing all these years later.  I honestly forget sometimes that he had this done --- it's just amazing!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something. See our full disclosure policy for more details.

November 9, 2015

Eagle Scout: Civil War

Eagle Project: Civil War Grave Stones
As I mentioned a few weeks back my son, Superstar, has made Life Rank.

Life Rank is one step below Eagle Scout. My son has 5 merit badges and 1 Eagle project to do to make Eagle Rank.

He is still not sure what to do for his Eagle project. We have been looking at the ideas at My Project Finder to try to get the ideas flowing.

He is unsure about his Eagle project at this point, but he does have a clear goal that he wants to be done with everything by his 17th Birthday so he has a shot at earning some Eagle Palms

Even though my son does not have an Eagle project, at this point, the Eagle project process does mean he has had the opportunity to help the older scouts on their Eagle projects.  One of the more recent Eagle scouts in my son's troop Eagle project was researching, finding, and requesting new grave stones for Civil War Vets in our local cemetery.

My son helped on a couple of the days needed to find the graves. The scout ended up submitting over 40 names to to have new grave markers -- markers that were never there to begin with or damage over the years -- and to date 9 of the graves markers have been approved and replaced.

Over the weekend there was a ceremony to mark the occasion.  It was after the ceremony and talking to the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War, that were present, that we learned that during the Civil War they estimate that nearly 700 young women  served the military as soldiers.  This in today's time might not seem shocking, but remember in this era of American history women were not allowed to serve in the military and were not allowed to vote. If they were serving it was because they were disguise as men.  If they were voting it was because again they were living as a man and even their closet friends didn't know the truth of their gender.

I knew women did these things but I had no idea the number was as high as the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War shared with us. They also told us the story of some women that even POST war kept on living a man and that how no one knew... for one local woman it really wasn't until she seriously injured in an automobile accident in 1910 that her secret came out.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something. See our full disclosure policy for more details.


Do you have an Eagle Scout? Or almost Eagle Scout? What did you do for an Eagle project? What will you do for an Eagle project? What projects have the scouts in your troop recently do?


November 8, 2015

Teens and Messy Rooms

Oh the mountain of STUFF.  Stuff, stuff, stuff... thank goodness for doors and I can just close it off and not see it, but that doesn't really solve the issue.  Teens and Messy rooms.

We have always have had messy rooms... and over the years things like toy bins, storage carts, and other organizational tools have helped, but now it just seems the mess is just papers and other miscellaneous items that can't really be stored away in toy bins, storage carts, shoe boxes, etc.

Seeing we are young teens we are in that in between stage of toys and no toys. I want them, yet I don't, some of the items have been sitting in the bins and have a dust on them a mile high because we simply do not play with them like we use too, but we aren't quite ready to get rid of them --- because well some rainy day I might be board and decided to blow of the dust and actually play with them. It's weird stage.

Looking back at my own childhood I'm not even exactly sure when I got rid of the toys.... I know by the time I moved out -- I didn't have toys in my room anymore, but I really don't remember when I got rid of them. When I decided I really didn't want toys -- I remember getting movies, video games, and things of that nature as a teen along with clothing and I know toys weren't really on the list and I just don't remember when I got rid of the toys in my room.  I know I had them, I know I played with toys, I just don't remember when my personal space was purge of them.

So, I really don't know when my kids will feel the need to purge their own personal space from the toys either.  I don't know if we are there with them being 13/14. I don't know if I went to them and say how do you feel about that if they will be ready or feel pressure to do it.

I want them to be "kids" for as long as they want. I want them to feel secure and happy and I don't want to pressure them to get rid of things they simply are not ready for; it's a weird place to be.



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If your kids are older like mine when did they get rid of the toys? When did you get rid of the toys? How do you help your teen keep a cleaner room? Or are you like me: just close the door?

November 4, 2015

Warm Nov. Weather Means Homeschooling Outside

For the 3rd day in the row we have been having what I believe to be unseasonably warm weather for Northern Illinois.  Pant/T-shirt weather so today for the 3rd day in a row we have done what any other reasonable homeschooler would do in my shoes: Homeschool Outside!

We gathered up the magazine holders with our books, notebooks, and went outside to sit at the table and do our work.

Our dogs also have been enjoying the outdoor weather. We are still working with Onyx not to bark and all our neighbors. -- we just want him to be cool with the environment around him and only really bark and be on alert if someone is actually on on property.  It's a slow process -- some days are better then others.

I'm so thankful to be able to allow my daughter the ability to sit outside and enjoy these warm temps vs. being stuck in a classroom/school building all day. Hopefully I will be able to bring my son back home soon so he can enjoy these type of days again too.



Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something. See our full disclosure policy for more details.
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