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Bing In The Classroom #adfreesearch #bingclassroom @Bing

I’m so thrilled to be partnering with Bing for today’s post. All opinions are my own.

Most of you know that I have three kids, ages 1, 5, and 6. My kids LOVE technology. My 1 year old has her toy remote, and the 5 and 6 year olds have their electronic gadgets and a computer that is used for schoolwork.   If your kids are anything like my kids, they love to use the computer.   We do have guidelines for screen time in our house, and they are restricted to what sites they are allowed to visit.  Knowing that we will be incorporating more internet research into our classroom next year,  I worry about online safety for them.   And that is with me there, monitoring their searches!   I can’t imagine how much more I would worry if my kids were using a computer in a classroom or school library that isn’t within arms reach of me!

Bing Classroom

As you know, I homeschool.  I realize that this is not a viable option for many of my readers, and many parents as a whole, which is why I wanted to share with you exciting news about Bing in the Classroom!

In schools, when students use search engines other than Bing, they are shown ads that can distract from their studies. With Bing in the Classroom, all advertising is removed, there are strict filters for adult content, and enhanced privacy protection.   Along with providing educational enhancements, Bing in the Classroom removes ads and blocks searches from being used for personalized advertising for all Bing searches done through the school’s network, making Bing the only major search engine to provide a search offering tailored specifically for the classroom.   Please note: As a part of the program, all searches performed with Bing in the Classroom will be ad free, however, websites discovered and visited via search will still provide ads. Students will not be served ads in the Bing experience.

Bing didn’t stop with #adfreesearch, though.  With the popular Bing Rewards program, you can help the school of your choice earn credits towards Surface tablets simply by signing up and searching with Bing. Now it is easier than ever to see how many Rewards credits an individual school has earned. You can search for any school by ZIP code and see how many other people are contributing, how many Surface tablets the school has earned so far, and how many credits are needed to earn the next Surface. And you can see if a school is registered for the search enhancements, so you can know if your kids are receiving ad-free, safer, more private search in the classroom when they choose Bing.

Anyone can earn credits just by searching the web with Bing—similar to a frequent flyer program. Credits can be donated to help get free Microsoft Surface tablets for schools.  It’s easy! Just go to the campaign landing page and select “Find your school” map in the lower right corner of the page.  Next, enter your school’s zip code and select the name of your school via the dropdown menu and select “Find”.   From here, select the “Support Your School” section and click on the “Try it now, FREE!” section.  You’ll be prompted to create a Microsoft account, or sign in with your Facebook account.  All you have to do is stay signed in as you search with Bing, and you earn credits for the school of your choice.

How Bingtastic is that?

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Cyber Bullying is Just Wrong #HugDontJudge #BeautyIsDiverse

I grew up being made fun of for my unique appearance. I am affected by ectodermal dysplasia, and as a result am uniquely beautiful. My Mom and Dad, who are awesome by the way, always taught me that people make fun when they don’t understand and that if you make them understand, they won’t make fun. shaq instagram screenshotNow is just one of those times when the opportunity presents to educate someone about ectodermal dysplasia and to reinforce the truth that beauty is, in fact, diverse.

Jahmel Binion is Michigan man, also affected by ectodermal dysplasia. Jahmel, too, has been teased all of his life because of his unique appearance. Jahmel recently posted a selfie on Instagram, and soon found himself as the brunt of the joke again. Only this time, it was by none other than Shaquille O’Neal, who posted a split photo of himself next to Jahmel, making fun of Jahmel’s appearance. The photo has been removed from Shaq’s account. Trey Burke and Wacha Flocka Flame are said to have joined in the teasing.

Rather than hang his head in shame, though, Jahmel was inspired to create a “Hug Don’t Judge” campaign against bullying!

I have to applaud Jahmel for keeping his response positive. It takes strength of character to do that. I bet he has awesome parents, too. ;)

I wanted to share with you the interview Jahmel had with Fox news, so you can see him yourself.

Fox 2 News Headlines

The National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasia has extended an open invitation to Mr. Shaquille O’Neal to attend the annual family conference in Columbus, Ohio, so that he can learn about ectodermal dysplasia and meet the people it affects. I hope you’ll lend your support and share the invitation via your social media channels.

I would be remiss not to share a video that the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasia put together that tells more of our collective story.

Please know that my aim in sharing this is not to shame Mr. O’Neal, though his actions were unkind in the very least. Instead, it is my hope– and the hope of the community of men, women, and children that are affected by ectodermal dysplasia, that Mr. O’Neal will learn from his actions and join our efforts to fight cyber bullying. After all, beauty is diverse.

Will you help us spread the message by sharing this post or by tweeting this message “@Shaq Beauty is diverse. Let us show you. #HugDontJudge #NFED @nfed_org


NFED #HugDontJudge


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The Truth is Black and White

While browsing the internet, I came across an article on that shows a picture of the Russian Socialite, Dasha Zhukova, sitting atop a chair that is composed of a  leather seat attached to a statue of a near-naked black woman.  Clad only in very short hot pants and tall leather boots, the woman is depicted in a contorted pose and the leather seat rests upon her laurels.   The image of Zhukova was initially published in an article on  Buro 24/7 on 01/20/14, the day celebrated as Martin Luther King Day in the US.   To say that the public outcry was swift and heated would be putting it mildly.  Miroslava Duma, the fashion editor and owner of the site, quickly cropped said photo and issued an apology for the apparently unintentional act of racism.  Both Duma and Zhukova have issued public apologies, stating their abhorrence of racism.  While I know nothing of either woman, or their personal beliefs, I do know that the truth is black and white. “Artwork” that depicts the objectification, oppression, dehumanization, and/or humiliation of anyone is tasteless and deplorable.

The chair in the photo that sparked the outrage was created by Bjarne Melgaard, a New York based artist born in Norway.

the truth is black and white

The Chair by Bjarne Melgaard is meant to be reminiscent of the controversial Chair by Allen Jones, which was created in 1969 and later damaged with paint stripper by feminists in 1986.

Never mind the fact that one of my daughter’s is bi-racial, this “artwork” is offensive to me on so many levels.  As a Christian.  As a Woman.  As a Wife.  As a Mother.  <–Just to name a few.

What do you think?

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Lucky Day for Elephant Pair

elephant pair stuck in mudA pair of elephants, a mother and her calf, became stuck in quagmire in Zambia yesterday.

On their side of the international date line it was 11-11-11.

According to reports, the pair became stuck when the mother elephant attempted to rescue the baby from the muddy lagoon, and then they refused to be separated.   With drying mud limiting their movement, as they struggled for freedom, they began to tire.  When conservationists at the Kapani Safari Lodge in Zambia saw that the pair were losing the struggle to gain freedom, they broke their customary mindset, that man should not interfere with mother nature, and intervened.

They teamed up with South Luangwa Conservation Society (SLCS) and the local wildlife authority to come up with a plan to get the two elephants back on solid ground.

elephant calf pulled from mudThe team slipped a rope around the calf’s belly, and after several attempts, managed to pull her to freedom.  Despite being pulled from the mud, the baby elephant was hesitant to leave her mother, and had to be pulled further away before the rope was removed.  She reluctantly turned and ran to the herd who stood nearby watching.

The mother elephant’s weight proved to be too much for the rope and human hands alone.  Rescuers brought in a tractor and attached the rope to the tractor to haul her out.

After the dramatic rescue, rescue team member Rachel McRobb, who is from from the South Luangwa Conservation Society, said: “Most conservationists believe that man should not meddle with the natural order and that we should allow nature to run her course however cruel or grim it seems to be.  We agree on the whole, unless a wildlife problem has been created by man (for instance in the case of snaring or being trapped in a fence, in which case it’s justifiable to intervene) then nature should be left to her own devices. She has a plan.

However – every rule has an exception and the dreadful plight of a baby elephant trapped in the mud of the Kapani Lagoon and her mother, who had also got stuck trying to save her yesterday had us all in a frenzy of activity.

We simply could not stand by and watch them struggle and slowly die.”

I’ve often heard people wish for the luck of an elephant, and say that an elephant with his trunk up brings good luck… in this case, the elephants good luck came from human hands.

Three cheers for South Luangwa Conservation Society and the Norman Carr Safari staff who made 11-11-11 a lucky day for this elephant pair.

I, for one, am glad that they chose to meddle with the natural order.

source: Norman Carr Safaris

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B.D. Sports | Charred But Not Crushed

trophies litter the sidewalk outside of the former B.D. SportsYou might recall, from a previous post, that my brother’s workplace, B.D. Sports, was destroyed by the Alton fire on 10/01/11.  At the time of that posting, the fire was still being battled by several fire departments, and had destroyed two businesses.  When all that remained of the fire was ash, five businesses were destroyed.

When I stopped by a few days later, tears sprang to my eyes.  To see such destruction was devastating—to know how it affected my brother, and his friend Jason, was heartbreaking.

Though Jason had requested quotes from an agent just a few days prior, B.D. Sports was without insurance, and he lost nearly everything when fire destroyed approximately $300,000 in equipment and inventory.  The loss included all of the businesses records, as well as the clothes from their label, CageReady Fight Wear, which Darrel and Jason formed because they are both fight fans and know what fans and fighters like to wear.

<—Trophies, a small testament to the business, litter the sidewalk outside of the former B.D. Sports, which was destroyed by the fire.  To see more photos of the damage caused by the fire, check out my Alton Fire album.

After the fire, Darrel called and asked if he and Jason could use our laser printer.  Of course, I said yes, we would work out the logistics.  I live on the opposite side of the mighty Mississippi River than they do, and generally only go to the Illinois side when I volunteer on Mondays.  So, we hashed out a plan that I would pick him up after my volunteer shift ended, and bring him back home with me.  He would use our printer to print the transparencies that he needed to screen print, and then I would take him back home.  It would mean driving to Illinois twice in one day for me, but it was a small sacrifice, considering all they had lost.

imageOn Monday, though, Darrel called me and told me that a colleague offered to allow B.D. Sports to use the printing press that he had in his basement, saying that if they needed it for six months, they were welcome.  Having access to a printing press so quickly after the fire was a complete Godwink, so they decided it would be a better use of their time if they got a new printer and Darrel stayed on the Illinois side, trying to recover artwork from emails that had been sent to customers while also printing the transparencies.   While I was a bit bummed that he wasn’t coming over (I was looking forward to feeding him dinner), I was ecstatic that a colleague stepped up and offered to share his equipment.

In the two weeks that have passed since the fire, Darrel and Jason have worked like mad to fulfill orders that had been placed before the fire.  And because they are eager to rebuild, they are seeking new business.

Another colleague, from Sport Fighting League (SFL) , has also stepped up to help rebuild the dream by hosting a CageReady Fight Wear Benefit fight on November 4, 2011.

Proceeds from the fight, which will be at the Heart of St. Charles Banquet Center in St. Charles, Missouri, will help Jason and Darrel rebuild B.D. Sports and CageReady Fight Wear.

CageReady Fight Wear will be available at the benefit fight.   If you are unable to attend the benefit fight night, and are interested in purchasing CageReady Fight Wear, contact B.D. Sports.

Tickets for the fight range from $20 to $40 and can be obtained by calling B.D. Sports at 618-462-5861 or 618-530-9630.

You can also contact B.D. Sports by email at with inquiries or quote requests.

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