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upworthy
Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

Upworthy's weekly roundup of joy

kid dancing, kangaroo doing air guitar, kid hugging santa
@kleinkwagga1/TikTok, The 2023 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards, @natasha_luigui/TikTok

From kids to kangaroos, this week's 10 things is full of delights.

Each year, the Comedy Wildlife Awards highlights photos that capture our animal friends in hilarious moments, made all the more delightful by the fact that not one of them is actually trying to be funny.

Perhaps that's one reason we love animal and little kid videos so much. Their hilarity is so pure. And we've got a whole passel of funny kiddos and furry friends in this week's list of things that made us smile.

If you're looking for some small joys to lift your spirit, we've got you covered! Enjoy!


1. Kiddo steals the show at his sister's end-of-year dance school concert

@kleinkwagga1

Doen dit lyfie doen dit! @Bernice West #Dans #fun #show Die Here het my mooi gemaak🎊🥳

That's a kid that was born to dance. Learn more about 7-year-old Klein Kwagga here.

2. New England mall's magical "Santa Elevator" is a child's Christmas dream come true

@natasha_luigui

33 Days Until Christmas! We had to take a trip to the North Pole so Kohen can tell Santa what he would like for Christmas personally 😅🥹 #santaselevator #fyp #santaselevatorexpress #santa #christmas2023

The Natick Mall has taken the mall Santa visit to a whole other level. Read the full story here.

3. You think you've seen every cute kitten-attacks-dog-friend video and then this one comes along

And the doggo was still so gentle. So darn cute.

4. Groom surprises his bride's family by learning Korean in secret

Such a thoughtful gesture. Read the full story here.

5. Delivery driver finds a baby turtle and his reaction is pure wholesomeness

So darn sweet. Read the full story here.

6. Twins separated shortly after birth were both named Jim and led wildly parallel lives

HaveSomeFun3344/YouTube

Identical twins separated as newborns may not seem like a smile-worthy story, but the parallels between their lives are so remarkable, it's like the universe decided to play a hilarious joke on everyone. Not only did their adoptive parents name them both Jim, they also both had childhood dogs named Toy and a brother named Larry. They both married women named Linda, got divorced, then married women named Betty. They both named their sons James—one of them James Alan and one of them James Allan. And that's not even the end of the bizarre coincidences in their lives before they met at age 39.

Read the full, incredible-but-true story here.

7. Sometimes confidence is the key to success and sometimes it's the key to comedy

Good effort, buddy.

8. What is love? It's all about missing teeth.

Awww. It's true, that IS love.

9. The 2023 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards are here and they're utterly delightful

kangaroo playing air guitar, turtle smiling at a dragonfly on its nose

Silly kangaroos, enchanted encounters and more make up this year's Comedy Wildlife Awards.

The 2023 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

Animals being unintentionally entertaining is the best. Check out 14 of the funniest finalists for the Comedy Wildlife Awards here.

10. Speaking of animals being unintentionally funny, these little trash bandits should get an award of their own

"Just act normal, Jim." HA.

Hope you enjoyed this week's roundup! If you'd like to get more posts like this in your inbox, sign up for the free Upworthiest newsletter here.

Sandhya with other members at a home meet-up

South Asian women across the country are finding social support in a thriving Facebook group devoted to them.

The Little Brown Diary has over 40,000 members, primarily between the ages of 20 and 40, and 100 subgroups devoted to niche topics. Some of these include mental health, entrepreneurship, career advice, and more.

Members of the group can discuss their experiences as South Asians, inner conflicts they face, and even bond over their favorite hobbies. The Facebook group has become a safe place for many of its members to find support in the most transformative periods of their lives. These include:

  • Supporting women in domestic violence and sexual assault circumstances
  • Sharing mental health and suicide resources
  • Connecting members to support each other through grief and loss
  • Helping members find the strength to get a divorce or defend their decision to be childfree
  • Helping them navigate career changes
  • Helping to find friends in a new city
  • Finding a community of other neurodivergent people in their shoes

“I joined the online community because I was looking for that sense of belonging and connection with others who shared similar experiences and backgrounds,” expressed Sandhya Simhan, one of the group admins.

“At the time, I was pregnant and eager to find other desi moms who could offer support, advice, and friendship during this significant life transition,” she says.

Another group admin, Henna Wadhwa, who works in Diversity and Inclusion in Washington, D.C., even uses the group to inspire new areas of research, including a study on ethnic-racial identity at work.

“I was surprised and excited for a group that brought together South Asian/brown women. I wanted to meet other women with similar research interests and who wanted to conduct academic research on South Asian American women,” Wadhwa says.


While social media isn’t always the best place to spend our time, studies show that the sense of community people get from joining online groups can be valuable to our mental health.

“The presence of LBD has allowed so many South Asian women to truly feel safe in their identity. The community we have built encourages each person to authentically and freely be themselves. It is a powerful sight to witness these South Asian women be vulnerable, break barriers, and support each other in their journeys,” says Wadhwa.

Hena and Neesha

According to an article in Psychology Today, a study on college students looked at whether social media could serve as a source of social support in times of stress. Turns out, these students were more likely to turn to their social media network rather than parents or mental health professionals for connection. The anonymity of virtual communities was also seen as appealing to those experiencing depression.

“The social support received in the online group promotes a sense of well-being and was associated with positive relationships and personal growth,” the article states.

This is why finding a community of like-minded individuals online can have such a positive impact in your life.

“There are almost half a million women in our target audience (millennial South Asians in North America) and about 10% of them are part of LBD. It’s been a game-changer for our community. LBD is all about embracing your true self and living your most authentic life. It's amazing to see how the members support, relate, learn, and lift each other,” says Wadhwa and Simhan.

Carl Sagan and a sliced apple

The concept of the fourth dimension seems beyond human comprehension. As three-dimensional beings, we are unable to see beyond a physical object's height, width and depth. What else could there be?

Enter Carl Sagan, revered as one of the greatest science communicators of his time. He possessed a unique gift for demystifying complex scientific concepts, making them accessible and thrilling for the general public. In 1980, on Episode 10 of the groundbreaking PBS show “Cosmos,” Sagan embarked on a mission to explain the seemingly impossible fourth dimension.


What’s excellent about Sagan’s explanation is that he uses simple and relatable objects: an apple and a Tesseract, or a hypercube.

Sagan began by discussing how a two-dimensional being living in a flat world would perceive a three-dimensional object like an apple.

“Imagine we live in this ‘flatland’/2-D plane with no concept of ‘up’ or ‘down.’ Then along comes a 3-D object like an apple. We do not even notice it until it crosses our plane of existence — and even then, we have no idea what the apple is,” Sagan explains. “We see only a fragment as it passes through our plane. There is no way we can comprehend the 3-D quality/dimension of the apple, because it is more than we can understand. We only have the evidence of what has passed through our plane.”

Sagan then related this two-dimensional experience of the third dimension to how we might try to understand the fourth. To do so, he used the Tesseract, a four-dimensional cube, to demonstrate how difficult it is for us to perceive or visualize dimensions beyond our own three. At this point, Sagan is asking the viewer to expand their minds to understand the fourth dimension metaphorically.

Sagan’s demonstration of the fourth dimension isn’t just a wonderful explanation of a scientific idea that many of us find difficult to comprehend; it’s also a great example of how to teach complex ideas by combining clear explanations with thought-provoking visuals.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Family

Overwhelmed new mother hears the perfect parenting advice from her mom on doorbell cam

Monica Murphy was just one month into welcoming her third child into the world.

@monica_murphy/Instagram

Sometimes mom knows just what to say

“How on earth can one person do it all?”

This is a question so many mothers ask themselves. Especially after giving birth, when life seems to expect them to take care of their newborn, get their body back, return to work and keep a clean house all at the same time.

It’s a question that had completely overwhelmed Monica Murphy, only one month into welcoming her third child, while still recovering from a C-section and taking care of her other children, who were also nursing, according to Today.com.

Luckily for Murphy, her mom had the perfect piece of advice to ease her troubled mind. And luckily for us, it was all caught on the family’s doorbell cam.

In a now-viral Instagram post, Murphy wrote her formidable to-do list, which included:

Working

Staying present on social media

Maintaining a clean home

Tandem breastfeeding

Being present with my kids

Eating a nutritious diet

Making time for my husband

Keeping in touch with friends

Making time for myself

Planning activities for kids

Frick decorate for Christmas

Followed by that burning question: “How on earth can one person do it all?”

Of course, Murphy hadn’t expressed any of these stresses to her mom, who had been visiting. But still, her mom knew something heavily weighed on her daughter's mind.

So, as she was walking out, Murphy’s mom left her with these words of wisdom:

“They aren’t gonna remember a clean house, they are gonna remember how much you loved them and hung out with them.”

Murphy told Today.com that she “broke down” crying after her mom had left, and was instantly inspired to share the video for other moms who needed similar encouragement.

Indeed, the message struck an emotional chord with thousands of viewers.

“The way I would’ve just bawled if she said that to me,” one person commented.

Another added, “I needed to hear this today.”

Some shared how it was a sentiment they sadly would never hear from their own mothers, and how they are now re-parenting themselves.

“My mom would just nag I’m lazy and how am I supposed to leave my house a mess. So I’m just easing my anxiety with gentle words from other people’s mothers. As I’ve been doing my whole life. Clean house was above happy children,” one person wrote.

It can be so easy for moms to lose themselves in the never ending cycle of responsibilities and, frankly, unrealistic societal expectations. But hopefully this sweet message can help moms everywhere go a bit easier on themselves, and actually enjoy the time they have with their kids. That’s part of what family is all about, after all.


This article originally appeared on 11.15.23

Pop Culture

'Britain's Got Talent' contestant blew Simon Cowell away singing a song he 'hates'

Her heartfelt version of "Tomorrow" brought people to tears—and completely changed Simon's tune.

Sydnie Christmas nailed her rendition of "Tomorrow" from "Annie"

Contestants on "Britain's Got Talent" (as well as "American Idol" and "America's Got Talent") have long feared Simon Cowell's judgment, so imagine auditioning with a song choice that automatically brings out his sour side.

That's what contestant Sydnie Christmas did when she chose to sing "Tomorrow" from the musical "Annie," which is Simon Cowell's least favorite song. But much to everyone's surprise, she totally blew him away with her beautiful soulful rendition, causing him to change his tune.

Before performing, Christmas bounded onto the stage with her genuine smile and spunky energy, which endeared her to the judges and audience immediately. She even cracked a joke about her middle name being "Mary" (Sydnie Mary Christmas would be quite the name choice) and got everyone laughing with her.


However, when she announced she'd be singing "Tomorrow," Cowell winced and the other judges groaned.

"That is Simon's worst song," warned judge Amanda Holden.

But when Christmas, who works as a receptionist at a gym, began to sing, it soon became clear that this wasn't an ordinary rendition of the musical classic. Soulful, heartfelt, sad but hopeful, she built the song up bit by bit, bringing the audience along with her on an emotional ride.

Watch:

Not only did she get the coveted Golden Buzzer, but she also managed to get Simon Cowell to say he now loves the song he said he'd hated just minutes before. Viewers loved it, too.

"That was the first time I could take this song serious. Before today I hated it, too," wrote one person.

"When they say you have to make the song your own, she did just that. I have never heard a better version," wrote another.

"Absolutely beautiful; love how the word “tomorrow” always sounded unique EVERY TIME! Listened over and over…" added another.

"I've heard that song a million times and she REALLY got the poignancy of it," shared another. "It is a sad song, but a song of hope, and it is hard to walk that line and she KILLED IT. It's not just about her voice, it is how she sold that song."

She even pulled in people from various walks of life, moving them with her performance:

"I'm a 60 year old highway worker. Just got off work and my wife sent this to me. What I'm trying to figure out is who's been cutting onions in my vehicle? Seriously, teared me up. This took me COMPLETELY off guard and I am so delighted to have experienced this diamond!"

"41 year old hip hop head here and never did I think I would be touched like this. The sound of suffering with a glimmer of hope in the sound. Who is cutting onions at this time."

"I’m a 60 year old builder sitting in my van having lunch. I just watched this. The guys in the next van are taking the P coz I’m crying my eyes out! Brilliant!"

As someone named Annie, I've had "Tomorrow" sung to me countless times over the years, so I shared Simon Cowell's initial grimace upon hearing what she was going to sing. But I too was moved by Christmas's performance and gained a whole new appreciation for the song after her gorgeous rendition. Not an easy feat. What a delightful surprise for us all.

@our.mama.guide/Instagram

Where was this camp when we were kids?

There’s a wide variety of summer camps out there with activities ranging from classics like bonfires and water balloon fights to the uber niche, ala putting on musicals or prepping for space adventures.

Still, even with the plentiful themes in existence, people are calling one mom’s unique but oh-so-practical camp idea pure genius.

Kaitlyn Rowe, mom of four and content creator in Utah, gave her kiddos a list of super basic, but very important life skills to learn at home throughout summer, in what she calls “How To Be A Person” camp.

The difficulty level of each task would be age dependent. Rowe’s 3-year-old son learned things like making the bed, safely using scissors and glue, introducing himself to a new friend and organizing his toys. Whereas Rowe’s eldest daughter, age 6, would learn slightly more complex things like scrambling an egg on the stove, blow-drying her hair and packing an overnight bag. There was also a list of skills the siblings would learn together, like putting away groceries, pool safety and talking on the phone.

As Rowe shared in an interview with Good Morning America, she actually got the idea from fellow mom Emily Ley, who created this alternative camp during the peak days of COVID-19.

Overwhelmed with homeschooling, Ley thought if she could teach her kids “some age-appropriate independence,” it would take the load off of her as well. Rowe borrowed the idea and the “How To Be A Person” camp title as she compiled her own list of activities in lieu of sending her kids to an actual camp. So far, her kids have loved it. And with her post currently having over 54,000 views on Instagram, it seems other parents are in love with the idea as well.

It’s no secret that many of us reach adulthood having learned obscure academic subjects and somehow skimming over the things we would actually incorporate into everyday life. Nothing against algebra and trigonometry, but it sure would have been nice to have learned about doing taxes instead, you know what I’m saying?

Plus, it’s well documented that kids genuinely enjoy mimicking adults, so having them engage in grown-up duties is not only a rewarding activity in the moment, it potentially creates a positive relationship with household chores that they can hold onto throughout their life.

Another cool thing about the “How To Be A Person” camp idea is that it’s fully customizable. It can be a list that parents create, or it can be child-led. It can be 100% practical or silly. A healthy mix is probably the best of both worlds.

Per some suggestions in the comments, it seems that Rowe will be changing the name to “How To Do The Important Stuff” camp to be more inclusive towards those with special needs. Point being: this camp can be for every kid. And honestly, probably should be.

To see Rowe’s complete “How To Be A Person” camp list, go to Instagram.


This article originally appeared on 6.15.23

Family

Mom wonders if she made a mistake giving her baby an 'adult' name

The name isn't currently matching his "squishy baby" personality.

@_heatherel_/TikTok

What's in a name? A lot, actually.

The names parents give their children make a profound impact on their lives—for better, or for worse. And the different strategies for picking the right name—including spending upwards of thousands of dollars for professional help—is a hot topic of discussion for well intentioned moms and dads.


It wasn’t too long ago that one mom went viral for encouraging parents to give their kids “adult names” that they wouldn’t outgrow. However, another mom who tried that tactic is having some second thoughts.

In a video posted to her TikTok, Heather, known as @_heatherel_ opened up about her mixed feelings since naming her son Reed four months ago.

"Since the beginning, I'm not convinced I like his name ... even though I like his name," she says, laughing at herself.

Heather goes on to say that she intended to give her son an “adult name,” but is still “having a hard time connecting it to him because he's a little squishy baby,” leaving her unsure as to whether or not she actually likes the name at all.

The experience left Heather wondering if any other moms who gave their kids, particularly their sons, more “traditional adult” names felt the same sort of ambivalence.

@_heatherel_ Just me?? #boymom #momtok #babynames #babyboynames #adultnames #regerts #momlife #workingmon #needadvice #babytok #babyboy ♬ original sound - Heather

While she did get a few who commiserated with her situation, Heather mostly received a whole lotta advice and encouragement.

“I have a Thomas, Henry, Levi and Woody. They all took some time for me to connect their name with them! But they all fit now!” one mom commented.

Undoubtedly the main tip was to incorporate a squishy baby-friendly nickname.

“My grandson is a Reed. I LOVE his name. When he was a baby I would call him Reeder, Reedster, Reedman…Just playing with him,” one person wrote.

“I named my son Reid and I love his name! He’s a young adult now, but when he was a squishy baby we just nicknamed him,” another added. “Sometimes we called him Reido, sometimes we called him Reidie.”

Another mom chimed in to reiterate that changing a name is perfectly okay.

“My son was supposed to be Daniel. It just did not fit him at all. We changed his name to Joseph. Fits him much better,” she commented.

Since Heather told People in an exclusive interview that the name Reed has “sentimental value,” there won’t be any plans of changing it. But now, with a little support, hopefully she can feel more confident in her decision.